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Whether you want to create a personal website or a site focused on your business, you need web hosting in place so people can access it. Many people who are just starting find that some companies offer free hosting and are tempted to save some money by going that route.

While free hosting can be a good idea in some circumstances, it’s usually a mistake. In this article, we explain why free web hosting isn’t the best option and how you can find high-quality hosting solutions without breaking your budget.

Key takeaways:

  • Whether some web hosting is truly free and how companies offer free services
  • What to look for in a hosting company
  • How to get started with free web hosting
  • When it is best to switch to a paid company
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Is Free Web Hosting Really Free?

You may wonder why a hosting company would offer free hosting and how it would make money. There are two ways companies with free hosting benefit: upgrades and advertising.

Web hosts know customers are usually dissatisfied with the free services they offer. When a customer wants improved hosting solutions, they’ll likely upgrade to a paid account with that company, so the hosting company looks at the expenses of free hosting as part of its marketing costs.

Also, many places offer free hosting to make money from these accounts. Most free hosting providers insert advertisements onto your website. Any time someone visits your page, the web host earns money from advertising revenue. Some hosting companies even insert affiliate links onto these pages to earn more.

How Do Hosting Companies Offer Free Services?

Companies also keep their costs extremely low to give the hosting away. When you sign up for a free hosting account, you can expect to experience some or all of the following issues:

  • Slow speeds: Hosting companies use out-of-date hardware that doesn’t provide fast response times. They also oversell free servers, so there are too many sites on each server, which slows things down.
  • Poor customer service: In most cases, customers on free hosting accounts can’t get the same customer service typically available for paid hosting customers.
  • Severe feature limits: You can’t modify the server on a free hosting account.
  • Frequent downtime: Downtime is quite common on free hosting accounts, and they don’t come with any type of uptime guarantee.
  • No stability: In addition to being unstable with frequent downtime, many companies that offer free hosting either go out of business or stop offering this service. When that happens, your site will go offline, and all your files will be lost.

What Should You Look For in a Web Hosting Provider?

Whenever shopping around for web hosting for your site, find the right balance between high-quality features and a price you can afford. For example, it’s best not to sign up for a dedicated hosting server if you only offer a personal blog since you would be wasting lots of money each month.

If you lack experience with web hosting, it may be difficult to find that balance. Most sites for individuals and small businesses (especially local) ― need a good, shared hosting account. Midsize businesses, or those with fairly high-traffic sites, need the best virtual private server (VPS) they can find. Only the largest sites or those with major system requirements need dedicated servers. As long as you do business with a reputable hosting company, you can always upgrade from one type of hosting to another without any downtime.

What Should You Do if You Must Start With a Free Web Hosting Provider?

While rare, there are certain times it is best to go with a free hosting account. For example, if you’re just practicing your web design skills, a free hosting solution may allow you to do that without spending money. In addition, if you have no budget available, a free hosting account may be better than nothing. Make sure you think everything through before you push forward with free hosting.

Tips to find the best free web hosting

If you choose free web hosting, make sure you get the best one available. Keep in mind that even the best free hosting isn’t nearly as good as even an entry-level inexpensive hosting package. Consider these factors when you compare free web hosts:

  • History: How old is the company providing the free hosting? Work with a well-established company to reduce the risk of it disappearing.
  • Advertisements: Make sure you know exactly what type of ads the company will put on your site. Some free hosting companies use ads that are either unsafe ― due to viruses or malware ― or even adult in nature. For example, the last thing you’d want for a family blog is to see an advertisement for an inappropriate product or service.
  • Reviews: It’s always a good idea to read professional web hosting reviews to see what type of reputation it has.

When to switch to paid hosting

If you decide on free web hosting, it is also helpful to think about when to upgrade to a paid hosting package. For your site to grow and become popular, you’ll eventually need to upgrade and find the best hosting for your situation. Planning how and when to move to a higher-quality option helps ensure you’re ready when the time comes.

How Do You Find Good Web Hosting on a Budget?

Everyone loves getting something for free, so it’s no surprise so many people are attracted to the offer of free web hosting. While few people would expect free hosting to be of the highest quality, most people don’t realize you can get good hosting for a few dollars per month.

There is a huge difference in quality between free hosting and inexpensive entry-level shared hosting packages. With some research, you can find the best cheap web hosting available and have a great hosting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Free Web Hosting

Are free web hosting services secure?

Free web hosting is not secure: there is no (or hardly any) protection against cyberattacks. There are often security flaws that hackers can use to their advantage.

Are free web hosting services slow?

Free web hosting is known to slow down your website due to hosting companies using older hardware and having too many sites on each server.

How do you get rid of ads on a free website hosting service?

The best way to eliminate ads is to upgrade to a paid hosting service. You can also use a third-party ad blocker.

If I start with free web hosting, is it hard to move to paid hosting later?

As long as you do business with a reputable hosting company, you can always upgrade from one type of hosting to another without any downtime.