Free vs Self-hosted: Which One is Right for Me?


Web hosting providers offer so many variations of services that choosing the right option can take time and research. If you are looking to get a website up and running quickly, then you might not have a great deal of time to enable you to make a fully informed decision. So you will probably have to rely on the recommendations of others to help you to make that choice.

Free hosted

Free hosting appeals to many, predominantly because it is a free service. When budgets are limited, anything that you can get for free is a bonus. Generally, a free host makes money by displaying ads on websites. The website owner will have no control over what ads are displayed or where they are displayed. So for many businesses who want a professional looking website, this is a major barrier in going with this type of solution.

With free hosting providers, you are also likely to find that there are many limitations in terms of usage. For example, you will be restricted to a small amount of bandwidth and less storage than you might get with self-hosted plans. This can first start to develop issues when you are looking to expand your digital marketing strategy. You may even find that you have to start all over again with your website, using a different host.

Another aspect that tends to put people off is the domain name restrictions. Most free hosts will allow you to use your own domain name at a cost but some will restrict you to use their subdomain. What this essentially means is that your website address will be quite long and difficult to remember. Which is not great in terms of marketing effectiveness.


Self-hosted web providers use private servers to host a website. To differentiate between the two, it helps to look at WordPress as an example. Someone could use the free CMS to set up their website without paying a fee. However, to have access to the wealth of features and themes WordPress is famous for, you would need to install the software onto a private server. Generally, a webmaster will pay a hosting provider to then host the site on their server, which is known as self-hosting.

Most businesses will choose self-hosted services over free hosting because it helps them to achieve a higher quality of website and deliver better online marketing outcomes. If a business is reliant on their website to generate leads then the site needs to have the necessary elements that will drive online conversions.

To start with, your website needs to perform to a high standard and by this, we mean the pages must be fast-loading and users are not waiting for your website to open. It also means that your website should be attractive, using images and features that make your website stand out from the crowd. It should demonstrate proven marketing and conversion techniques including strong call to actions, content that engages visitors and makes them want to do business with you.

It will be very difficult to achieve most of this using a free host as they just do not offer the same level of capabilities that paid hosting services provide. If you want to use opt-in forms, professional looking themes and advanced usage insight then free hosting might not be the right solution for your website.

When you are deciding which type of hosting solution is right for your business, you should do your research and see what companies similar to yours say about hosts in their reviews. Some reviews will tell you which hosting options work best for start-up companies or small businesses with limited marketing budgets. So take a look at what the web hosting experts recommend before you delve into the world of website ownership, to make sure that you start off in the right direction.