Free vs Paid Web Hosting: You Get What You Pay For


You get what you pay for. This saying is well known that it even became like an automated response to someone complaining about a product that he/she got for a low or discounted price. From clothes, food, travel packages, everywhere, discounts exist. It is a marketing strategy to attract consumers to avail a service or buy a product. Did you ever bought a cheap pair of shoes that worn out after a few uses? Then, I must say to you, “You Get What You Pay For”.  But there are also good deals that you can get a cheap cost. So, here it is. What if you get something for free? What will you expect about its quality or … usability?

I Think I Can Have It Free


Or cheap?

If you are one of the first visitors of this blog, there is a great chance that you aware that this blog once run in a free hosting service. It is because I thought that I can settle in a free service for atleast 6 months to a year. And yes, as you may guess, before I upgrade to a paid plan or  migrating to a better host. As of this writing, this blog is only 3 weeks old. You might be confused because there are posts archived in April 2015 (Know the story). This is considered to be a real fresh blog with few visitors a day and should not have any problems laying on a free server. But, as it turned out, a serious person that do blogging should spend money. I am now in a paid host for almost a week now and I can say, there are massive improvements on all aspects!

Free vs Paid Hosting

Improvements of Paid over Free:
1. Faster page loads even without any other optimizations
2. Hassle free uploads, no timed out notifications
3. No more cloudflare error 500 and error 520
4. Relax and worry-free feeling

I am really impressed with the most noticeable changes from free to paid. Even if I am using CDN (Cloudflare) on the free host before, it is still annoying to see the loading circle near the page title that takes a second or two before a page is downloaded completely, even if it is already a low size page. However, it is not always the case since there are times that pages load pretty fast. This annoying thing disappeared instantly when I shifted to a paid service.

I usually encounter http timed out notifications during uploads that gives additional work on choosing images on my local file again and re-uploading them – a thing I never experience the past days inspite of bulk uploads of photos. Before, daily cloudflare errors are prominent. Frequent but short downtimes also exist almost everyday. Still, the free host says that there are no server problems in their end. They keep insisting that cloudflare is the reason for the errors. Yet, with the same setup with a new (and paid) host,  I did not encounter these errors.

And the most important is, I feel relax and worry free. Why? Won’t you feel relax and worry-free that your site will not go down anytime or get suspended due to exceeding limits of a free account? Of course, you’ll feel the same like me. However, these things also exist even if you pay but they hardly appear if your blog is well optimized. In short, you are secured that chances of having problems are minimal. It is because you pay and you have the right to complain if a problem arise.

June 22 Update. Recommended Reading: Hostinger Free Web Hosting Review and ByetHost Free Hosting Review.

The Learning Experience

I tried many web hosts that provide free services. Sadly, none of them satisfies me. There are features I like in one company but it lacks something. This sentence repeats itself, again and again.

What I learned about this experience is that, to get the service you want, you should avail such by paying for it, not relying and looking for a free alternative. As of now, I availed a low cost SSD hosting and I am satisfied. Yes, it is cheap but way better compared before that I didn’t pay anything.

Nonetheless, you can still opt for an adventure finding a good free host. Through my experience, there are good hosts that exist. Some are pretty reliable but you shouldn’t expect a premium service from them like upright support, high uptime, etc. Reliable free host is the one that can provide a service that is good enough for new or low traffic sites. If you have many requirements or expecting higher traffic, a free host is not for you. In the end, it still go along with the saying, “You get what you pay for.”

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