Choosing a hosting provider is an important decision, and possibly an expensive one. If you’re concerned about your budget, you may be considering using free web hosting. However, this can end up costing you in the long run.
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable hosting options available. Even at lower price points, these alternatives tend to provide superior features and performance to what you can expect from a free hosting plan.
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s wise to avoid free web hosting. Then, we’ll share six affordable alternatives so you can get quality hosting without breaking the bank. Let’s go!
Why You Should Avoid Free Web Hosting
While free web hosting might sound appealing, there are some definite drawbacks. To start with, most free options provide limited bandwidth and storage. You may not feel these limitations when you’re first starting out, but as your traffic increases and you add more content, you’ll likely outgrow your plan quickly.
Additionally, most free hosting options have no or limited customer support. Typically this will come in the form of a knowledgebase or help forum. If you run into problems, you might find yourself spending a lot of time researching and troubleshooting the issue.
Not having control over the ads on your site is another potential pitfall. In order to offer free hosting, many companies will place ads on your site or dashboard:
These ads may not be relevant to your site’s content and could annoy your visitors and users.
Perhaps not surprisingly, you’ll likely see poor performance from a site with free hosting. This might come in the form of slow loading times or excessive downtime.
Finally, there’s always the danger that your host may suddenly go out of business, leaving you without a website. It’s also possible to have your website deleted if you exceed bandwidth restrictions or other limits. Even if you decide to leave your free host voluntarily, it’s often difficult to migrate your website.
6 Affordable Alternatives to Free Web Hosting
With the dangers of free web hosting in mind, you may feel backed into a corner. However, it’s definitely possible to keep website costs manageable while still opting for a quality shared hosting plan. Here are six providers that offer affordable pricing.
Hostinger provides a reasonably robust hosting package, even at its most basic Single Shared Hosting tier. The control panel is user-friendly, and even beginners should have little difficulty navigating it.
Customer service is available 24/7 via live chat and email. However, there is no phone support. Fortunately, Hostinger does provide a wide variety of WordPress tutorials to help you learn the ropes.
- One free email account
- Quick and easy WordPress installation
- Weekly backups
Price: Shared hosting starts at $0.99 per month.
If you’re just getting started with your website, DreamHost has a lot to offer. This company provides free domain name registration for your first year as well as an SSL certificate. You’ll also be able to install WordPress with one click.
DreamHost isn’t just for beginners. It’s also an excellent choice if you’re hoping to migrate an existing WordPress site. If you’re unhappy for any reason, you’re covered by a generous 97-day money-back guarantee.
- Award-winning customer service
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Free WordPress migration using a plugin
Price: Shared hosting starts at $2.59 per month.
Each website hosted by BlueHost comes with WordPress installed and ready to go. This is no surprise since the company is one of the few hosts recommended by WordPress. All of BlueHost’s shared hosting plans include resource protection, which means your website’s performance is unaffected by other sites on the same server.
If you plan to have more than one website, BlueHost’s Domain Manager is helpful for keeping track of them all. Plans are also scalable, so there’s no need to worry if your site outgrows the basic tier.
- 24/7 support by phone or live chat
- Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN) included with all plans
- Free domain registration (one year) and SSL certificate
Price: Shared hosting starts at $2.95 per month.
4. A2 Hosting
Next, we’ll look at A2 Hosting. If performance is your primary concern, you’ll probably like what this provider has to offer. The company claims speeds up to 20 times faster than the competition, although this is only available at higher pricing tiers.
If you’re more concerned with ease of use than speed, A2 Hosting is still a suitable option. This host offers a user-friendly cPanel dashboard as well as 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support. There’s also an excellent knowledgebase available if you prefer to find your own solutions.
- Choice of datacenter location
- Unlimited email accounts
- 100 GB of storage
Price: Shared hosting starts at $2.99 per month.
The internet is tough on the environment, but GreenGeeks aims to be a part of the solution. In fact, the company returns three times the power it consumes in the form of renewable energy.
In addition to being environmentally aware, GreenGeeks also makes it easy to get started with a new hosting plan. If you need to migrate, there’s a team ready to help you free of charge, and a free domain registration transfer is included. If you’re just launching your site, you’ll get free domain name registration for your first year.
- 300 percent green energy match
- Unlimited email accounts
- Nightly backups
Price: Shared hosting starts at $2.49 per month.
Last but not least, we have HostGator. If you expect your website will need more resources in the near future, HostGator’s scalability may appeal to you. There is also a slew of advanced features to take advantage of as you grow your skillset.
HostGator offers several upgrades you can add to your hosting plan, often at low cost. These include additional security features, automated backups, and SSL certificate upgrades. If you decide HostGator isn’t for you, you can take advantage of the 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Free SSL certificate
- Unmetered bandwidth and disk space
- One-click WordPress installation
Price: Shared hosting starts at $2.75 per month.
While free web hosting may be tempting, it often comes with many risks and significant disadvantages. With the availability of affordable, quality hosting, you should be able to find a company that suits your needs as well as your budget.
Ultimately, your own unique situation and preferences should guide you when choosing a web host. For services that you can scale up as your website grows, have a look at what HostGator has to offer. If you value sustainability, you may want to give GreenGeeks a try.
What are you looking for in an affordable web hosting service? Let us know in the comments section below!