5 Things Often Overlooked When Choosing a Free WordPress Hosting


free wordpress hosting - good or bad?

Introduction: When creating a new blog or personal website, it is natural to find the idea of free WordPress hosting very attractive. Yet the truth is “you get what you pay for (usually)”. It is expensive to maintain the web servers and internet connection. Even WordPress advises against free hosting. Why would some hosting company provide WordPress hosting for free? They want to get more money from you. To avoid being the next victim, you should avail yourself with the following knowledge.

Perhaps you are Googling the internet for “free hosting for WordPress” and come across this post. Perhaps you are considering and comparing different free WordPress hosting companies to sign up for one. Pause for a moment and read the following five factors to consider when choosing a hosting plan for your WordPress website.

1. Any Technical Support Included? Backup?

This is of utmost importance if you care about the uptime of your website or blog. Everyone would assume that the website or blog should be accessible round the clock. What would happen if you just could not gain access to your web server or website?

Paid hosting companies usually respond to your technical queries or calls in under an hour and they have full back up solutions in case of hardware failure so that your website or blog can be retrieved unharmed. These all require extra resources and that’s why you have to pay the monthly fee. Even paid hosting servers will experience technical errors or downtime once in a while, how much confidence can you put on free hosting? 

2. Is the Hosting Really Free?

The free hosting companies are NOT there to change the world, they are there for a profit. They just try to use the “Freemium” tactics to lure you into a paid customers or a source of income. You might just try to be careful but who the companies know more than you. The following is just a small list of what they would earn money from you:

  • Insert advertisements into your contents without asking for permission and take all the revenues from the advertisements
  • Charge you for extra use of disk space or traffic volume over the limit without seeking your endorsement first
  • Suddenly stop the free plan and ask you to upgrade or your materials will be deleted
  • Send you tons of emails to persuade you to purchase upgrades of hosting plan or services
  • Sell your email address and other personal particulars to 3rd party advertisers
  • Charge you for use of email addresses with your domain name

Beware if they ask you for your credit card number during registration. This is a telltale of something wrong.

3. Do You Own the Website Materials Uploaded?

You should read the fine prints carefully. Large companies such as the Facebook previously declared that all the photos and texts uploaded by Facebook users were the property of the Facebook. It just backed off under public pressure. If large companies do this, how about small companies such as the free WordPress hosting companies?

Everything you create should belong to you, you should be free to edit them, distribute them or move them to another location. But what if the web company hold the copyright of all your creations? They can use your creations whatever they like. It is just like you work for the hosting for FREE in return for the several bucks per month normally charged for paid hosting.

4. Do You Own the Domain?

The domain is the first part of the URL to your website, e.g. www.edward-designer.com is the domain of this website.

If you are serious about blogging or your website, the domain is the most valuable internet asset for you. If you write quality posts and build up a trusted relationship with Google, your website articles can rank much higher in the search result pages which will bring in much more visitors to your site. After all, the

Since domain registration takes money, if the hosting company tells you that it gives out domain for free, you should take caution. Normally the registration for domain costs around US$10 per year (usually with discount for the first year, e.g. GoDaddy offers the cheapest service starting from US$2.95).

In order to sustain the business, the free web hosting companies might:

  • provide the domain for free for the first year, but charge you much more afterwards
  • just provide a sub-domain, e.g. yourname.edward-designer.com (in this case, you do not actually own the domain, it belongs to the hosting company)
  • charge you an enormous sum when you decide to move the domain to another company

Free WordPress hosting companies usually have inferior servers and connections, this may be okay if you are starting small. How if your website or blog is so popular that you get tens of thousands of visitors each month? The traffic load might be too large that their servers could not handle. Visitors might get warning message or have to wait for a very long time for the contents to load. Visitors may just abandon your website. Search engines like Google will also abandon your website with the slow loading speed.

If you just take all your contents and materials if to a better hosting but just give up your domain, all your hard-earned search engine rankings and connections will be lost for good. You have to start anew.

5. Is the Web Hosting Company Backlisted by Google?

Google will determine the rankings of a website based on a matrix of factors. One of such is whether low quality or spam websites are to be found on the same server as your website. Google will backlist the IP address of that server, all the website on the same IP address will suffer penalties in the search result rankings. The end result is: nobody will find your website or blog.

Free WordPress Hosting – The Bottom Line

If you would like to try the free route, ensure you have read all the fine prints and technical details before signing up for a free WordPress hosting plan. Or better, sign up for a quality paid WordPress hosting service with automatic WordPress installation (e.g. A2 Hosting at US$3.89 per month [with use of coupon code: WHTPRIME] or Bluehost at $4.95 per month, domain name included for 1 year).

There is a simple and easy way to have your website or blog paying for itself – advertisements or affiliate marketing. You can insert advertisements in a non-intrusive way yet can generate the revenue to cover the cost of hosting. As an example, by signing up as an affiliate of A2 Hosting, you will get US$85 for each referral to sign up for their hosting service, click here to register for the program (for a limited time, if you sign up through the link here, you will get US$10 upon registration!).

In this way, you can virtually get a free WordPress hosting but enjoy the quality service of a paid hosting.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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