If you’ve been looking into hosts for your website, you will no doubt have come across various choices that are described as free. Understandably, this is tempting for newcomers to the website creation game, as it effectively provides a risk-free option to get started.

However, is it the best choice for your website idea?

As you should expect, there are limitations to using a free web hosting company. The question is: are these limitations detrimental to what you want to produce, or do you need the freedom and scale offered by paid hosting alternatives?

Below we will review both options, and show whether you should go for free or paid web hosting when setting up a website.

Features you need

One of the disadvantages about picking free hosting is that you typically only have access to a limited number of features. You will be restricted as to the design and functionality elements of your website, and customer support is somewhat limited.

In comparison, a paid hosting company like www.certahosting.co.uk usually offers a wealth of benefits such as 24-hour support, regular backups of your files, and the option to download various Content Management Systems (think WordPress and Magento). The cost of using such a hosting company is also reasonable. There will also be space to upgrade with minimal disruption to your website; keeping your readers happy.

Professional appearance

If your website is for a business, paid hosting is the only way to go.

Along with the other points mentioned in this article, the reason behind this is professionalism. With a free host, your website URL will sadly include the hosting company’s name. Clearly, this is not a good look when potential customers visit your site – to the point where they won’t take you seriously as a business.

As aforementioned, you are also restricted in terms of the design of your website, which can affect its aesthetics in a professional sense.

Uptime and performance

Downtime is arguably the quickest thing to kill a visitor’s interest in a website. If they have to wait even three seconds for a site to load, they will turn back around and select an alternative site.

As a result, the continued uptime of your website is highly recommended. Generally, paid hosting companies provide the guarantee of 99.9% uptime at least, while free hosts are less reliable on the whole. In addition, paid hosts usually deliver better overall performance when it comes to website functionality and ranking with search engines.

Is it really ‘free’?

Although the ‘free’ aspect is the big selling point for hosts that supply their service at no cost, it really isn’t free in an overall sense. Not only are you paying in terms of limited website performance, professionalism and customizability, but you are also required to include ads of some kind – you don’t have a choice of what they’re about – on your created site.

So, in many cases, going with a paid host is much more advantageous than going with the free option overall.