The age-old expression penny wise and pound-foolish hits the mark when considering whether to choose between free hosting service or a paid one. Indeed, expensive is not always better but usually paid services are miles ahead of free ones. Let us be honest, very few services are free and if they are you end up having to pay with something else in the end; may it be with time, convenience or your security.
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What is paid hosting?
Paid hosting is simply paying a fee to rent a space on a server which comes with perks like bonus tools, support and the ability to customise your domain name. While free hosting is paying nothing for space on one’s server but usually comes with no added benefit and ironically may not even be cost-effective if you are to evaluate other costs outside of money. In other words, paid hosting is like renting an apartment where you get more living space, more garage space and even the facility of movers to get started if you’d like and even landowner ready to listen to your concerns.
On the other hand, free hosting is like government subsidised housing where the space is limited, the neighbours can be shady and if you have complaints you have to do some administrative gymnastics.
10 Reasons to use paid hosting services
Here are the top ten ways Paid hosting is better than Free Hosting.
1. Search engine optimisation
SEO is the buzz of our generation and the crux of all digital marketing. If you want to get ahead, well you better be first on Google’s result page. Free hosting sites unfortunately do not allow for this as well because they are particularly coveted by spammers and scammers. Due to the illicit nature of these sketchy activities, they prefer low investment free shared host servers because even if their site gets shut down or forever lost “in the after page 3” of Google’s result page they could always start again at no cost.
Here’s our recommended SEO service, choose free or premium to start.
How does this affect other users on that shared host server?
Surely, if there are just a few spammy websites Google will not punish other users hosted on that site but if you happen to be one of the few normal sites on a shared server where there is mostly shady sites, well search engines will be suspicious of yours too and you will end up being penalised in terms of SEO.
As previously stated, these questionable users prefer not to invest in paid hosting websites as the risk of them being shut down is ever present thus it is next to impossible that you will have this problem with premium shared webhosting. Outside of that issue, there are several areas where paid hosting is simply better than free hosting for your SEO such as website loading speed and responsiveness, downtime and security. All the above will be discussed throughout the article.
Free hosting services have more downtime because they maintain their servers less frequently and understandably so, as clients are not paying for the service.
Imagine if you wanted to buy something from a particular online store and the site was not functioning for some reason then it would be likely that you will be a tad annoyed and choose another store to do businesses.
Having website downtime can make you lose out on traffic from upset clients, resulting in negative reviews about your business on review websites further plummeting your traffic and even lead to major search engines considering your website as unreliable because of technical issues causing even less traffic.
Paid hosting services however boast 99% uptime, so visitors of your website are way less likely to run into issues of that nature.
On top of having more downtime, free websites back up the data of their users’ data less. This is particularly concerning if one considers the likelihood of outages and technical errors associated with free hosting services. Ideally, backing up data should occur on a daily or weekly basis depending on how frequently data is being added or modified on a site. The biggest advantage of this is the peace of mind as they are securely stored on a cloud with redundant copies for added protection and will facilitate speedy site recovery if anything ever happens, so you don’t lose out on precious revenue.
3. No ads
Is free actually free? Free webhosting services must get their revenue somewhere. While this is reasonable of course, this is unfortunately often done by shooting up pop up ads on their patron’s websites. This is problematic for several reasons.
- Websites with pop-up ads look tacky and quite frankly unprofessional and can dissuade people from conducting business with you.
- Potential clients may accidentally click on links that will distract them away from what you’re offering this is particularly problematic if it’s a competitor.
- Websites on hosted by a free website could risk having inappropriate ads on their page which could hurt a business’ identity later.
With paid hosting you will not come across these situations because you would have already paid for the service so people can see your clean, sleek webpage without being cluttered by out of place ads.
4. Website security
We have all been taught to steer clear from pop-up ads as they can potentially lead us to phishing websites, or download viruses. Users tend to be wary of these dangers and free hosting services do little to ease their concerns. Free hosting sites do not often provide SSL certificates to prevent hacking and spying.
SSL certificates keep the transmission of sensitive data through the internet private. In fact, users are less willing to conduct business with a website without one. They will be informed as to whether your website is secure or not by looking on the icon next to your website’s hyperlink in the navigation bar. Moreover, search engines like Google prioritise websites that have SSL authentication on their results page.
The answer should be clear if you plan to have payment transactions and donations on your website on your website. You should most definitely use secure web hosting services. Even outside of monetary transactions if your users are required to provide you with their addresses or any other personal information you should think of their security so that prying eyes will not have access.
5. Unlimited webpages and Sufficient Storage Space
You can only do so much for free. Free hosting services do not have that much storage space, nor do they allow users to have a lot of web pages. This hinders the development of a website as having a limited number of webpages means that one may have to overload particular pages which could affect their loading speed and is troublesome from a design standpoint.
Furthermore, for SEO reasons it is recommended to have multiple webpages to spread out your content and long loading speed will also affect your ranking for many search engines. Sometimes, this lack of storage space could be because of lack of resources on the free host’s end or something else.
Often times, these services promise free hosting as a sales grab to attract unsuspecting customers while knowing good and well that the limited webpage and content restrictions they impose would be too stifling for most users. After they use upsell tactics where they require that clients pay to surpass a certain amount. Sometimes these free web hosting services are only free for a limited duration then you will have to pay a premium to continue using their services and if you decline it may be difficult to migrate because of lack of customer support or technical reasons.
With paid hosting you know exactly what you are getting, and quality web host services allow you migrate your site from one host to another with absolutely no hassle.
6. Support and assistance
Free webhosts have limited customer service, barely responsive admins to answer questions, customer service locked behind a pay wall or a measly FAQ page.
Quality Paid Webhosting however provides their users with on demand customer care through live chat on the site or email. And all this service is provided from the jump.
Unlike with free webhosting you will be able to create a customised error page. A custom error page looks professional, and it communicates to your client exactly why the webpage is not displayed so they feel more assured and might just explore other pages on your site. However, if the interested party were to receive a generic message, they it is more probable that they will just leave your website never to return.
7. Extra Perks and Tools
Free hosts do not boast certain perks that premium web hosts do. With paid webhost services you can enjoy the benefits of awesome tools like a website builder to facilitate the creation of your website. These tools can be as easy as simply dragging and dropping what you need to design your website’s page. Or even a Seo tool to help attract organic traffic to your site by analysing how well optimised your site is for popular search engines then providing you with tips on how to improve. This amazing as you will have support for your hosting plan site along with the tools used to help you create and manage your website all under one umbrella.
8. More Email accounts
It is rare to see free hosting sites that host both websites and email and if they do you will only have one email under its domain name. A lot of premium web hosts provide this email hosting service and can be vital when operating a mid-size to large company. This service is usually very secure and often come with built-in tools to scan your mailbox for spam or potential phishing links and other suspicious activity. This not only protects your business but your employees from giving out personal data to phishing sites.
Having a custom email tied to your domain name will help clients to know with greater certainty that you are who you say when you contact them by mail.
9. Website speed
We all know that if a website doesn’t load quickly enough, we become ever so tempted to click that return button and search for another website. Which is why it is important to have quick loading speeds especially if one is visiting your site for the first time. Free web host services tend to have lower port speed and smaller bandwidth.
Paid hosting typically have faster port speed and more bandwidth. You will even have the choice to pick what suits you best through several plans like WordPress hosting for less data intensive sites to VPS hosting where users can expect optimal speed and performance.
10. Own domain name
Free hosting sites usually require the user to use a subdomain. These subdomain names are prebuilt and thus can cause some concerns.
Free hosting vs paid hosting
Some free webhosts have a list of domain names you can choose from like freevar.com. So, if you were to create an online store called candleshop.com it would have to be freevar.candleshop.com. Not only is it not intuitive but it can be hard to remember for customers to find if you were promoting your business in the real world.
|– Outages and Downtime||– 99 – 99.9% uptime|
|– Rarely or Never Backs up your data||– Daily or Weekly Back up|
|– Pop up ads for revenue. Upsell tactics||– No ads. Fixed Rate|
|– Vulnerable Websites||– SSL authentication|
|– Average Speed and Small Bandwidth||– Greater Port Speed and Larger Bandwidth|
|– Non-existent or Poor customer Support||– On demand customer support|
|– Restrictive domain name options due to sub domain||– Your domain name is your own|
Choosing free hosting sites may cost you more in the long run, so think about the big picture. Not to mention how cheap it is to find a great monthly deal for a hosting plan so you might as well invest wisely. Check out our plans when you’re ready to start or switch to the fastest UK hosting network.