What is the Impact of Free vs Paid Web Hosting?

What is the Impact of Free vs Paid Web Hosting?

Choosing between free vs. paid web hosting is one dilemma you’ll face when starting your own website. For many, the goal is to pick the hosting plan with the lowest price. But doing so may lead to poor service or even scams, putting sensitive personal data at risk. 

So, how do you decide which web hosting provider is right for you? And on what basis should you compare free and paid hosting other than the obvious difference in cost?  

We will answer such questions and more throughout this article. 

5 Key Differences Between Paid and Free Web Hosting

1. Bandwidth and storage 

Web hosting bandwidth is the amount of data a website can deliver to its visitors over a certain period. Storage space represents the room you have on a server to store files, databases, and folders.  

Paid web hosting plans often remove restrictions on bandwidth and storage. But this would depend on the hosting provider and the web hosting type you choose. For example, Bigrock offers unmetered disk space and bandwidth with most of its shared and specialised hosting plans 

On the other hand, free web hosts often throttle back these assets to fit in more websites and customers on each of their servers. This means you might not be able to publish everything you envisioned on your website or be accessible to your audience 24/7 due to limited storage space and bandwidth.

2. Features and upgrades 

A free web hosting server usually hampers your ability to create what you want. You won’t be able to create more than one website and a handful of pages that use a certain set of file types. 

Additionally, you won’t get server access or the support of platforms like cPanel that enable users to configure SSL certificates and backups, install WordPress, or add an FTP account or email address

3. Domain name and branding 

Paid and free web hosting services may tout a free domain name, but there is a key difference. Free web hosting companies give you a domain with their name in the URL — also referred to as a free subdomain — and custom domain registration may be available as a paid upgrade. 

Whereas many paid web hosting plans give you a free custom domain for a year, with renewal fees priced at half of what you will see elsewhere in the industry. 

4. Performance and reliability 

Restricted resources in free web hosting plans limit your website’s speed and availability. 

Even if you find a platform with good loading speed, you will have to bear with a few hours of scheduled downtime every day for your server to keep up with the demands of every website it is hosting.  

Unsurprisingly, paid web hosts leverage modern technologies to stay on the forefront of stability and performance, guaranteeing 99.99% uptime with their hosting plans.

5. Search engine rankings and optimization 

Slow loading pages have a major impact on website traffic and rankings. Google has been counting website speed in its algorithm for a couple of years, making it an important metric for businesses online. 

Regardless of the performance, free website hosting providers often supplement their revenue by displaying ads on your website, with no regard to their professionalism and relevance to your website’s subject matter.  

Add to that the prevalence of dubious or otherwise spammy websites on these free web hosting platforms and you get to understand why search engines don’t rank these domains on their search results pages. 


Free Web Hosting Drawbacks to Watch Out For 

Free web hosting is not really free

Some companies offer free hosting with the intent to sign you up on their platform. Once you become their customer and start creating a website, you will often find it impossible to create and maintain a website with a free hosting plan.  

The reason is that they provide limited features with their hosting plans and charge you for essential tools and features like bandwidth, SSL, disk space, control panel, and more. 

Your website may experience frequent crashes

Free hosting servers are not often properly maintained properly on a regular basis. Since the services are free, the company goes easy on the maintenance, causing your website to crash frequently.  

With paid hosting plans like shared web hosting, the hosting company gives you a service guarantee as they charge money for the services rendered. This ensures that you can hold your web hosting provider accountable for your uptime scores and demand your money back if you aren’t satisfied with the services. 

Little to no customer support

If you buy free website hosting, you can expect a delayed or no response whenever you need help. Although they may have some rules and support timelines for free websites, it might not help you much.  

Shared Hosting is Best for Businesses 

While free hosting may seem to be an appealing option as it would help in cutting costs, it often provides limited features and gives an unsatisfactory performance. In the long run, you may end up paying for additional features or switching to a paid hosting plan. 

It’s evident that paid hosting plans triumph over free hosting as better features, performance and rankings are vital for any website and the business. Looking to kickstart your online journey? Consider Bigrock’s wide array of robust shared hosting solutions and check which fits your business needs best. 


A SEO & Content Specialist who enjoys road trips and excels in the web hosting industry. Let's drive your online presence to new heights.