Do you have to pay for web hosting? The short answer is no but if you are serious about making your blog or website successful then the answer is most definitely yes. There are some critical reasons why this is the case that we get into below.
But before we do that let’s just make sure we know what the options are.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that stores and operates your website’s online presence. Think of it as rented accommodation for your website.
It’s what allows your website to exist, operate and be found online by your users.
Free Web Hosting
So do you have to pay for web hosting? As we mentioned the simple answer is no you do not have to pay for web hosting. There are plenty of free website options out there that mean you won’t need to pay for hosting. Let’s take a quick look at a few:
- WordPress.com:– They’ll let you setup a website for free and they’re one of the most popular platforms around.
- Wix.com: You can setup a free website with their slick looking templates and be up and running quickly.
There are plenty of others out there but these two are the ones we’ve had personal experience with.
What Are The Pros of Free Web Hosting?
You guessed it – top of the list is the fact your web hosting comes completely free. We mention this again because it allows you the freedom to play around with different ideas and start to get used to building out websites without having to spend any money.
You Can Experiment
Theres no real limit on how many free websites you can start and play around with which is great for you fleshing out ideas. My free WordPress dashboard is littered with short-lived experiments. If I get started with something for free on WordPress that I think has legs I switch across to Bluehost which is a paid for web host that includes WordPress automatically.
What Are The Cons of Free Web Hosting?
You Don’t Get The Full Package
As you might expect, with free web hosting you do not get the full benefits that a hosting platform has to offer. The area you may feel this the most is for example not being able to install plugins for WordPress which will severely limit your ability to optimise your website’s performance. Though this may not seem like much of a concern when you’re just starting out, it will very quickly limit your ambitions of you hope to grow your site beyond a little hobby.
You Won’t Be Able To Brand It
A major drawback of free hosting plans is that you’ll be very limited in terms of branding. As the hosting platform is giving you the service for free they’ll also be free to plaster their brand across your site as they see fit – typically this in the form of advertising.
You Can’t Name Your Baby
Perhaps the most pressing issue for you if you’re trying to develop a brand and following is the fact you won’t get a custom domain name. Your site will carry the name of the provider so for example mysite.wordpress.com. This will make it very difficult for you to try and build credibility with an audience.
You Won’t Be Able To Fully Monetise Your Site
Another significant downer with free hosting plans is that you won’t be able to fully monetise your site. The biggest limitation will come in advertising; your web hosting provider will be able to display their own ads on your site. In many cases they may even restrict you from displaying your own ads. This will hamper your efforts to create a revenue stream from your web traffic if you get to those levels.
What Are The Benefits Of Paid Hosting Plans?
You Get Full Control
The biggest benefit of a paid hosting plan over a free plan is the fact you get absolute full control over your website. You don’t have the many restrictions that you get with free plans meaning you can grow your site as you need to and make use of all the tools available on platforms like Bluehost and WordPress.
You Can Use Your Own Domain Name
Another major plus of paid hosting plans over free ones is the fact you can use your own unique domain name for your website. You have the option of purchasing your domain separately from places like GoDaddy.com or getting them as part of a paid hosting plan with providers like Bluehost. This will give you more credibility with potential customers and a better chance of ranking highly on Google to generate your search engine traffic.
You Can Fully Monetise Your Site
If like a lot of people you want to make money from your website then a paid web hosting plan is really the only way to go. As you have complete control you can pick and choose what advertising goes onto your website rather than not being able to advertise at all. There are also no restrictions on actually making money on your website that you get with a lot of free plans.
What’s The Best Web Hosting Platform?
It’s clear that there are many major advantages to paid web hosting plans. Once you’ve made the choice to go the paid route, you then need to decide which one to go for.
We recommend Bluehost because of its excellent service, brilliant technical support and affordable pricing. We also recommend as it’s what we use for our websites and it’s been awesome. Check it out here to get a free domain included with your setup.
What’s The Verdict?
So in summary, do you have to pay for web hosting? The quick answer is no but if you want to grow your website from a little hobby to something that makes an impact and has the potential to make you money then a paid hosting plan really is the only way.
Do You Have To Pay For Web Hosting?: Tell us what you think!