When it comes to the words “free” and “WordPress,” there’s a fantastic option and a not-so-attractive one — at least not once you examine the facts. While WordPress itself is free and open source, which is indeed the “good” side of this coin, opting for free WordPress hosting can end up costing you much more in the end. While the old adage of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” can definitely apply here, we thought we’d break down exactly why you should reconsider using a free site for your WordPress hosting needs.
It’s All Good Until It’s Not
With many of the hosting options out there you’re not only on a shared server, meaning your site is on the same server as hundreds of others because you are a free client, there usually isn’t any sort of uptime monitoring. This means that it can be hours or even days before your web host is even aware that your customers can’t access the site.
Downtime can mean lost revenue of course, but it can also result in losing customers overall. If potential clients cannot access your site initially, there’s a good chance that they will turn to your competitor, even if they rank lower than you on the search engines. If that same customer attempts to access your site again, no matter if it’s the next day or the following month, they’re going to be highly unlikely to give you a third chance.
With free hosting, you’re also not likely to have support available, especially if the downtime happens overnight. Even if you detect a trend in your outages or receive numerous customer complaints, there likely isn’t much you’re provider will do — unless of course, you’re willing to upgrade to one of their other packages.
What Happens When You Grow?
In addition to the shared hosting mentioned above, many free web hosts will employ some rather unsavory tactics at some of the most inopportune moments — at least for you anyway. If your site starts seeing high visitor rates, which likely means increased sales or leads for you, you may well see your customers start to experience slower loading on your website, which can result in loss of sales.
Sending out coupons, having sales, hosting Facebook parties, and all of your other hard work can quickly be negated by a web host that throttles your server speeds. Not only that, a sudden traffic spike or the rare event that your site or product goes viral can result in the host actually shutting off your site. This could last for minutes, hours, days or indefinitely, and in the meantime, you’re losing customers.
On the same side of this fence is the fact that your website can suffer if someone else’s site gains popularity or has a traffic increase. On those shared servers you share everything, and that includes allocated bandwidth. If someone on the same server as you is constantly being throttled, chances are pretty good that you’re website is being affected as well.
Who Do You Call When You Need Help?
As we’ve mentioned, with web hosting and web host providers that offer free services, it is super rare that support will be included. This means that in the event of a breach, outage, technical issue, or you find yourself needing some basic support, you’re pretty much on your own.
Even if they do offer technical support it is likely going to be very costly, and may only be available if you “upgrade” your hosting package or even sign a longterm support or hosting package. They may also only offer assistance during certain days or hours, which doesn’t do you much good if your issues fall outside that timeframe.
What about needing help with a plugin or other update? Even if it is a critical update that addresses vulnerabilities or bug, chances are you’re going to be on your own. While many times those WordPress and other updates go smoothly and without issue, and there’s plenty of help sites that instantly pop up to provide step by step instructions, when you have installation or update issues is when you could usually use the help most.
Switch to BionicWP for Peace of Mind & More
Ensuring that your website traffic is never prevented access or experiences aggravating slowdowns is almost reason enough alone for a switch from free hosting. But when you include real-time up-time monitoring, 90-days of off-site backups, daily malware scans, expert support, as well as secure servers, BionicWP wins hand’s down.
Free can indeed be a great thing, even in the “if it’s too good to be true” world we live in today. However, when it comes to the security of your website and customer data, it’s no time to try and cut corners. Downtime and breached information can be exceedingly costly and the damage to your reputation may end up being irreparable.