At the start of your web hosting journey, there always seem to be many options on the table. This variety of options is a good thing but can also be confusing. Gone are the days when you always have to pay a sizable amount to host your website.
With the improvement in technology and stiff competition in the hosting industry, the price for hosting has dropped considerably. However, even at this affordable price, it might still prove costly for new businesses or websites just starting.
Thankfully, the aforementioned improvement and competition have led to the availability of free web hosting. With free hosting, you can host your website effectively online and make it accessible for all. Now, with this incredible opportunity coupled with a disappointing performance from some paid web hosting companies, you might be wondering what the fuss is all about with paid hosting.
Therefore, we have put together this piece to get a clearer view of these two web hosting forms.
As the name implies, it is the act of hosting your website on a host server without paying a dime. It is cost-effective and an excellent option to have if you encounter a reliable one. Though everything with advantages will have its disadvantages, and that is the case with free hosting too. The major drawback of this type of hosting is its apparent limitations, which will be discussed in detail.
Paid hosting requires you to pay before you can host your website. However, the cost of paid hosting depends on the hosting you want.
As with all goods paid for, there is accountability in paid web hosting, which leads to effectiveness. But, like everything right, you cannot help but notice the wrong side too. The apparent downside of paid hosting is the failure of some hosting companies, which sometimes leads to exploitation.
HOW THEY COMPARE
After defining the two hosting types, let’s have them at loggerheads using some of the basic web hosting features.
Performance and Reliability
The major performance metric that most people look forward to is uptime. This feature is one of the major advantages of paid hosting over their free counterparts. Most paid hosting companies display the uptime guarantees to back their reliability claims. Some even offer money-back or compensation policies in case of downtime caused by a failure on their part. This process is called redundancy.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for free hosting. Most free hosting companies have scheduled downtime daily to help balance and refresh their servers. Also, unlike some of the paid hosting companies that use the latest SSD technology to achieve mesmerizing performances and stability, free hosts prefer the HDD technology with more space but slower speed. This eventually affects loading speed as well as uptime.
Bandwidth and Storage Space
Bandwidth and storage space are always top of the requirement list when choosing a web hosting company. The bandwidth is the amount of data transferrable at a point in time. On the other hand, storage space is the amount of space allocated to your website on a server. For paid web hosting, you decide how much bandwidth and space storage you want, depending on your plan. Some even go as far as offering unlimited bandwidth, provided you stick with their terms of service. With this, you can grow your website and business considerably without limitations.
Unsurprisingly, this is not the case with free hosting. Since you are not paying for space and bandwidth and other websites hosted vying for the same opportunity, free hosts allocate little spaces to accommodate and satisfy more customers. This causes limitations as you might not have enough space to do everything you planned for your website.
Lastly, limitations in bandwidth and storage space restrict a website’s growth, which might prove detrimental to new businesses. Though, simple blog websites and other related websites fare better in this condition.
Domain Name and Uniqueness
Your domain name is your unique address that visitors can use to search for your website. An example is www.teqporte.com.
Credible, free web hosting companies offer you a free domain name to get you started. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of the address drops considerably. This is because your domain name must have the hostname as part of the URL. An example is myname.wix.com, with my name being your domain name and wix.com being the hostname. Though removing the company name might come as part of a paid upgrade, it will be more than the paid domain. Similarly, most paid hosts offer free domain as an incentive to attract you to their companies. However, this domain will be the usual unique custom domain, and the yearly renewal fee will be almost half the regular price.
Customer support is probably the most important feature of web hosting. It can make or break your website.
Paid hosts thrive on this feature, and it is one of the significant competitive edges. Hence, they invest heavily in it. Free hosts, on the other hand, rarely invest in customer support. It is non existent in most. Consequently, when you encounter a problem with your website, you might have no one to turn.
There are lots of essential features that give website stability and security. Some of these features include SSL certificates, email accounts and subdomains, e-commerce features, and many more.
All of these features are used as bragging rights by paid hosts over their free counterparts. Scalability
This is the ability of your business or website to grow without limitations. In paid hosting like cloud hosting, auto-scaling is a feature that allows your website to expand beyond its current state without restrictions.
The same cannot be said for free hosting. Your growth is set in stone to your current state. Often, if you want to grow your business, you will eventually have to move to a paid website after suffering detrimental effects.
Privacy and Security
Privacy and security need no further introduction. Although getting everything for free is cool, it shouldn’t come at the cost of compromising your valuable data and that of your customers. There are worst free hosting platforms that gather customers’ information and sell them out to extortionists. However, there are very reliable free hosting companies that ensure your security, but they are still susceptible to data theft. On the other hand, paid hosts mightily invest in security as their reputation and business depend mainly on it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization and ranking are vital for a website, hoping to rise to the biggest stages. This is because the highly ranked websites are the ones displayed should a random visitor type a related keyword on the search engine.
A combination of poor performance, limited traffic, and slow page loads puts free hosting at a disadvantage with SEO. Add the constant display of ads that free hosts use to raise revenue and the high number of fake or spamming websites related with free hosting, and you have the reason why they are hardly rated by search engines.
With paid hosting, you have no restriction with SEO, and you can quickly get to the top of the rankings if you play your hands right.
It is without a doubt that each of these hosting options has its advantages and downsides. If you are running a simple website like a simple blog that does not involve sharing valuable data, you can go for free hosting. Likewise, if you want to try your hands out at hosting, you can begin with free hosting to see how it goes.
However, if your website is a heavy one with valuable data and a considerable growth plan, paid hosting is your only option.
The no-cost nature of free hosting makes it an attractive prospect, but it comes with significant disadvantages. Though, if it meets your needs, it can be a great option; else, it can prove to be detrimental.
Conclusively, paid hosting need not be very expensive, depending on your needs. For you to invest big in paid hosting, you must have been making a sufficient lot to make it worthwhile.