Why Free Web Hosting is Not the Best Option for Your Website?

In order for visitors to access your news site, blog, online store catalog, or information intended for mass distribution, the web resource must be run on a web server. If you are just studying the offers of providers, you are definitely going to come across ads for free hosting. What lies behind such positions and is it worth taking them in an attempt to save money? We asked Hostzealot, a well-known provider in Europe and the U.S. that offers high service and affordable plans. 

How do providers make money on free hosting?

There is a saying “Free cheese is only in a mousetrap”. For those who don’t know much about folklore, let’s clarify. The point of this statement is that there is always a catch behind the free offer. What’s wrong with free hosting?

  • Providers offer such a modest free package that after a very short period of time the customer is forced to buy additional features – power, memory, and so on. Otherwise, the site works slowly, traffic does not grow, and the conversion is zero. The service, which is positioned by the hoster as free, requires more and more investment for the normal operation of the site. In the end, the free service becomes so conditional that only the client believes in it, and does not want to admit that they have been cheated. The second scenario is that the dissatisfied client switches to a paid account with the same company. The provider gets a new client. In terms of costs, the hoster considers such cooperation with clients as a marketing expense.
  • The second way providers make money on free hosting is by placing ads or affiliate links on customer sites. Every time someone visits your page, the hoster makes a profit. Even if you are not used to counting other people’s profits, this fact should alert you. First, you do not know what products will be advertised on your pages. It could be your direct competitors. Well, bright advertising can distract visitors from your product. So it is worth a few times to think before you agree to such a “free” hosting.       

Why do you need this information? To understand that the lack of subscription fees is the cheese that attracts customers. But you still have to pay for the service. And if you value your site, free web hosting is not always the most reliable option. 

What risks may face the site owner who agrees to free hosting?   

  • slow speed of the site; 
  • lack of quality technical support; 
  • severe capacity constraints;
  • high downtime.  

To provide free services, many hosting companies use outdated equipment that can no longer provide good paid service. They also place a large number of sites on such servers, which slows down response time. And if a client complains about downtime or low speeds, technical support is silent or points out that the free package does not include a wide range of services. 

Well, when choosing free hosting, be prepared for the fact that you will not be able to make changes to the server. You will get the server environment as it is, and you will not be able to change the situation. For example, there may be no options such as automatic backups, or SSL certificates. Frequent downtime is a common problem with free accounts. Indeed, no one promised you uptime.

The most serious risk the site owner gets with free hosting is the termination of the service. The company offering the free service may discontinue it at any time. When that happens, the site will shut down. And given that the backup was not kept, the files will be irretrievably lost. 

How do I choose a web hosting provider?

The main advice given by experts to site owners who choose web hosting and are not willing to overpay is to stop at a balanced offer, which has sufficient functionality and an adequate, reasonable price. 

For example, for a small site with publicly available information, it is not necessary to rent a dedicated server or VPS. The optimal variant for this case is shared hosting from a reliable provider. For the virtual store, which only increases the clientele, a virtual private server will be enough. But for a large banking site, the best option is a dedicated server that can provide stable operation and maximum data security. That is, the ratio of the needs of the site and server capacity should be in the same plane. And most importantly, any reputable hosting company always gives tenants the opportunity to switch from one pricing plan to another. This means that as the needs grow, so can the opportunities.  

What to do if free hosting is the only option? 

Some users need free hosting. For example, in case no budget is allocated for testing the site. Or a novice web designer is practicing their skills and is not willing to pay for it. In such cases, a free account is better than nothing. Here are a few parameters to pay attention to if free web hosting is your choice: 

  • Find out how many years the company has been on the market.
  • If the provider requires advertising on your site as a fee, find out what will be advertised. 
  • Read customer reviews on independent forums.   
  • Get acquainted with pricing plans to understand the overall picture. 

A provider who has been on the market for many years will not disappear overnight. A serious player won’t place potentially dangerous and “adult” ads on customer sites. Find out the details and pitfalls from other renters who already use a free account. Also, getting to know the rates will allow you to see if your wallet can handle the transition to a paid service when the need arises.

When to switch to paid hosting

The key indicators that it’s time to change from free hosting to a paid account are as follows: 

  • the site started making money;
  • It is important for you to provide the best service to your clients; 
  • you care about the smooth operation of the resource; 
  • the traffic is growing. 

If you want to make money on the website, you will definitely need paid hosting. After all, only in that case you can not fear downtime and prevent a long response time. Each of these risks will always hit the wallet much harder than the cost of the service provider.

For a reputable company, reputation is important. Your customers should be able to learn more about the business, the principles, and the rules of operation. Paid hosting options guarantee that customers will have a positive experience when they visit a web resource. 

The most common reason for the transition to paid hosting is an increase in traffic. Free services imply limited disk space, low bandwidth, and the number of visitors per month. If you have become cramped with the free services, go to the paid package. This is the only way the site will continue to grow. 


In conclusion, we would like to say that good paid hosting costs not much – for a few dollars a month, you can get an inexpensive entry-level package. Do not think that you can try with the free package, and there as you grow to switch to a paid service. Estimate how much time you will lose in site development. Assess the extent of the frustrations that await you in the process of using free hosting. Do not take the decision lightly.