There are plenty of free and cheap web hosting options in the market, but how do you know which option is best for you? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of free and low-cost hosting so you can make an informed decision.
At a Glance
|Free Web Hosting||Cheap Web Hosting|
|Ease of use||User-friendly||User-friendly|
|Reliability||Lower uptime||Better uptime|
|Ads and branding||Intrusive ads||No ads|
|Scalability||Less suitable||Greater potential|
|Top Choices||Awardspace, 000WebHost||Hostinger, TMD Hosting|
Free Web Hosting: A Double-edged Sword
Anything that comes with the word “free” can be very tempting. Understandably, most beginners who are starting a website for the first time would like to keep their costs low and save money.
But keep in mind that nothing is truly free in this world.
On top of the ugly subdomain (ie. yourwebsite.000webhost.com) that is forced on your website, there are numerous hosting performance and security risks with a free web host.
Who Should Go with a Free Web Hosting?
If your website has minimal content and very basic needs – a free web hosting plan offers the opportunity to assess your needs before jumping into a paid plan. Free hosting could also be enough for temporary projects, non-profits, or experiments that don't need a long-term commitment.
Free Web Hosting Pros & Cons
- Free: As the name suggests, free web hosting offers you a platform to launch your website at no cost. This can be a great option for beginners or those looking to test the waters before committing to a paid plan.
- Easy to use: Most free web hosting providers offer a user-friendly interface, making it simple for even the least tech-savvy individuals to create and manage their websites.
- Limited resources: Free web hosting plans typically come with limited storage, bandwidth, and features, which may not be suitable for larger or growing websites.
- Terrible branding: Your free-hosted website will be using a long subdomain like yourwebsite.000webhost.com, which is terrible for branding.
- Forced Ads: Many free web hosts display ads on your site, which can be intrusive and detract from your website's professional appearance.
- Reliability: In order help saves server costs, a lot of providers will lump together hundreds, or even thousands, of websites in a single shared server. When you have that many websites sharing the same server resources, it’s inevitable that your website will suffer plenty of server issues such as slow-loading websites or lots of downtime.
Popular Choices in Free Web Hosting
Offering website hosting services since 2004, AwardSpace has been around the block a few times and is still standing. Over time they have been tweaking their free hosting offering and keeping up with the competition (and the times). Just last year they launched a completely redesigned website and streamlined their services.
Awardspace offers 1GB storage and 5GB bandwidth, one-click app installer, an Advanced web hosting control panel; and does not force ads to your free-hosted sites.
No uptime guarantee
The free version of Awardspace comes with a no uptime guarantee. For that you’ll have to sign up with one of their paid plans. At least for those there is a Service Level Agreement at 99.9%, plus a no-questions-asked refund within the first 30 days if you’re unhappy with the company.
Since 2007, 000Webhost has been offering free website hosting that is unencumbered by advertising requirements. Since they also offer paid hosting options, their business model revolves around offering free website hosting services that are funded by the paid end of the business. This works out in everyone’s favor since users of the free hosting also have the option to scale up their sites by becoming paid customers at any time they wish.
000WebHost offers 1GB of storage, 10GB of bandwidth, and a free website builder. This option is best suited for small projects or testing purposes.
$0/mo hosting but one hour daily sleep time
There is a 99% uptime guarantee for free accounts, but in the case of 000Webhost, you’ll have to consider that there’s an enforced one-hour sleep period per day. That means your actual server uptime starts at 95.83% – less any actual technical difficulties.
Cheap Web Hosting: A Worthy Investment
Today most cheap hosting plans are cheaper than $5 per month. Additionally, paid hosting usually offers better customer support and more advanced features, which can be crucial for growing your online presence.
For those who require more server resources, better hosting performance, and greater control over their website – cheap shared hosting is an ideal launch point.
Cheap Web Hosting Pros & Cons
- Affordable pricing: Cheap web hosting plans provide a cost-effective solution for those on a budget, often starting at just a few dollars per month.
- Better resources: Compared to free hosting, cheap web hosting typically offers more storage, bandwidth, and features, allowing for greater flexibility and growth potential.
- Customizability: With a paid plan, you have greater control over your website's appearance and functionality, including the ability to remove ads and use custom domain names.
- Enhanced security and reliability: Cheap web hosts often provide better security features and uptime guarantees, ensuring that your site stays safe and accessible.
- Still limited: While cheap web hosting offers more than free options, there may still be limitations on resources and features compared to more expensive plans.
- Customer support: Some budget hosting providers may skimp on customer service, making it challenging to get timely assistance when you need it.
Top Choices in Cheap Web Hosting
Hostinger offers a wide variety of hosting solutions, ranging from advanced VPS hosting plans to beginners who just want to get started with cheap shared hosting.
Hostinger's cheapest plan – “Single” is priced at $1.99 per month. At the price of slightly more than a dollar, you get to host 1 website with 30 GB SSD disk space and 100 GB bandwidth – which is adequate for about 10,000 visits monthly.
Check Pricing & Compare Hostinger Plans
For first-time customers, TMD Hosting cheapest shared hosting plan starts at $2.95 per month – a 60% price cut from the standard renewal price. The company has been around for over 10 years and has four data centers spread across the United States and an overseas data center in Amsterdam.
Personally, I think TMD is one of the hidden gems in the hosting industry and I recommend them to friends and families who are in need of a reliable web hosting solution.
Check Pricing & Compare TMD Hosting Plans
How Much Should You Pay for Website Hosting?
Based on our recent market research, low-cost shared hosting plans range in price from $2.51 to $4.63 per month. VPS Hosting is typically between $13.41 to $21.89 per month. However, do note that the price you pay to your hosting companies might varies due to a number of factors:
- Server capacity: Make sure your chosen plan offers enough storage and bandwidth to accommodate your website's needs.
- Features: Look for essential features like a free domain, SSL certificate, and email accounts.
- Reliability: A reliable web host should offer at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee to ensure your site remains accessible.
- Customer support: Opt for a hosting provider that offers 24/7 customer support, so you can get help when needed.
- Scalability: Choose a web host that offers plans that can grow with your website's needs, making it easier to upgrade in the future.
When it comes to free vs. cheap web hosting, the best option depends on your individual needs and goals. While free hosting can be tempting, a low-cost hosting account offers more resources, better performance, and greater control, making it ideal for those who are serious about their websites. Consider your requirements and budget when choosing the right hosting solution for you.