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36 Reasons Why Having a “Free Website” is a Bad Idea

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

The thought of getting a free website is tempting. The internet is full of companies offering free website hosting, even for self-hosted WordPress.

You’re probably wondering what’s the catch? Why isn’t everyone else using a free WordPress website?

In this article, we will share all the reasons why having a free website is a bad idea and something that you should AVOID at all costs.

Why free website is a bad idea

What Do We Mean by a Free Website?

Most beginners who want to start their own website want to keep the costs low, which is understandable.

So, you typically Google the term ‘free website’ and find many companies offering free website hosting services.

The thought of having free web hosting and building your site without paying anything is tempting.

Until you get a reality check, once you sign up for these so-called ‘free website services,’ you slowly start discovering the limitations, and many of them turn out to be not free at all.

TLDR: We recommend Bluehost and Hostinger as alternatives to free website services. They are top WordPress hosting companies, and your website will be in much safer hands with them.

If you are thinking about getting a free website, then stop now.

And read these 36 reasons why free websites are almost always a bad idea.

1. Extremely Slow Websites

Most free website hosting providers put hundreds of websites sharing the same server.

This makes all their websites load at very low speeds. Slow websites create a bad user experience and are bad for SEO (search engine optimization).

2. Unprofessional Web Address

Having a website address like does not look professional at all.

Visitors and potential customers will find it quite difficult to take your website seriously when you don’t even have a proper domain name.

And when you ask these companies for a custom domain name, you usually have to pay a premium – something like $19 – $25 for a domain that usually costs $14.99.

3. Trial Service is Not Really Free

Many of these free website services often turn out to be limited trials.

After a while, you are asked to sign up for a premium plan. In most cases, this price is usually way higher than normal WordPress hosting services. If you added a credit card during signup, then they can charge you without giving you any warning.

4. Hidden Charges for Free Website

Like any other business, these free website companies need to make money, too.

Some of them charge their users for additional services like image hosting, email accounts, FTP access, website transfer, eCommerce stores, etc. These charges are often outrageously high.

5. They Can Lock Down Your Data

Many users who start with a free website and then want to move to a paid service, find it impossible to move their website data.

These service providers do not offer any tools or integrations to migrate your site easily. Users end up paying freelancers to manually export their content, which can quickly increase their bills.

6. Irrelevant Advertisements on Your Website

Most of these free website services are supported by advertisements. You create content and build your website, but they get paid for the ads. Often, these ads are distracting, intrusive, and look ugly.

The worst part is that sometimes your savvy competitors can then pay these free website hosting companies to advertise on your website. Talk about sabotaging your business.

7. They Can Shut Down Your Website

The terms and conditions of these services clearly state that they can shut down your website at any time without providing you with a reason.

If they shut down a website, they usually don’t give your data or provide you a way to save your content.

Site not found

8. These Companies Can Disappear at Anytime

At any time, the free website company can decide to pack up their business and go.

If they shut down their servers, you would lose your website and all the data. However, their terms of service give them full legal protection to do so.

9. You Will Lose Your Site Address

If they decide to close the service or shut down your website, then you will lose your web address.

Most of the time, it is a subdomain associated with the service. You cannot replicate that address or redirect users to your new site elsewhere.

10. They Can Sell Your Information

Remember that these services need to make money to remain in business. A good rule of thumb is that if you are not paying for it, then you are the product.

These companies find other ways to make money, such as selling your email address, phone number, personal information, and website address to other companies. Their terms and conditions, which no one really reads, provide them total legal immunity.

11. No Site Building Tools

Website builder

Unlike real web hosting services that offer easy drag-and-drop website builders, these free companies offer very limited website building tools and functionality to their users.

With these limited tools, the website you will create will look even more unprofessional.

12. No WordPress

Many of these free services do not allow you to install WordPress on your free website.

This means that you can’t install helpful WordPress SEO tools, social media plugins, eCommerce plugins, and other WordPress marketing tools to grow your business website.

WordPress requires a little more resources than a free website builder service can afford.

13. Limited WordPress

Even if they allow you to host WordPress, their servers are simply not capable of running it.

You will come across many errors, and it will ruin your WordPress experience.

14. Malware Distribution

Free website services are notorious for distributing malware. This could be due to their poor security, or they could be doing it for monetary benefits.

In either case, it hurts your website’s reputation and SEO.

15. You May Become Part of a Link Farm

The reason why these services keep disappearing and then reappearing is because they try to generate money using unethical methods.

Building link farms is one such practice where they sell thousands of web pages created by their users to spammers, fake drugs and gambling sites, online scams, etc.

16. Limited Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from the server to the user browser.

It costs money and most free websites come with very limited bandwidth caps.

17. Low Disk Storage

Free website companies host hundreds of websites sharing the same server and hard disks.

They usually give you very limited storage to store your data. When you reach that limit, you are often asked to pay for more storage.

18. Vulnerable to Hacking Attempts

Hacked websites

Due to poor security, free websites are often more vulnerable to hacking attempts.

If your site is hacked, it will be a lot more difficult to get it recovered because these companies give you very limited access to your own files and data.

19. HTML-Only Sites with Limited Number of Pages

Some of these free website companies offer only a limited number of pages on your website.

If you want to add more pages, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan.

20. Low Credibility Among Your Users

When your site is hosted on a free service, your users will feel less inclined to trust it.

If users are not comfortable sharing their information, then the whole purpose of creating a website will be defeated.

21. Limited Design Choices

Design and layouts

Unlike a self-hosted WordPress site where you can choose from thousands of WordPress themes, free websites offer only a handful of poorly designed website templates or layouts.

You cannot use your own website designs or any other design from the web.

22. No Help or Customer Support

These free websites offer no help to users.

You will have to set up your site on your own with the help of very limited and poorly presented documentation. You are pretty much on your own if you can’t figure it out.

23. You Can’t Run Advertisements or Make Money

Even though your free website company runs its own ads on your website, they do not allow you to run ads. You will not be able to add affiliate links or add Google AdSense to your website.

Many free website services also won’t allow you to start an online store, create a paid membership site, or use other popular monetization strategies.

24. There Are no Backups

There is no concept of regular backups on these free websites.

They do not back up your data, and if your site is damaged, you cannot restore it.

25. Difficult to Get Rid Off

The companies offering these services often make money from content created by users like you.

They intentionally make it difficult for you to delete your own website. This means your website will remain on their servers, and you will have a hard time removing it.

26. No Statistics or Decent Analytics

With a good hosting company, you can get built-in statistics about your site’s visitors. You can even install Google Analytics or any other traffic counter.

On free websites, they do not allow you to add Google Analytics because they run their own analytics code on your website.

27. You Will be Targeted With Email Offers

Remember that these companies need to cover their costs by making money using alternative methods.

They will continuously send you email campaigns with special offers. Not to mention that they could sell your email address to other marketing companies as well.

28. No Support for Mobile Devices

You cannot update your website from your mobile or hand-held devices.

Free website companies mostly design their dashboards for desktops, which makes it harder to update your site from mobile.

29. No Responsive Designs

Most free website companies offer web designs that are very old and do not work on mobile phones.

Mobile users make up a significant portion of internet traffic. By not having a responsive design you will lose all those users, and it will be difficult to grow your online presence.

30. No Branded Email

Email domain

You cannot create email accounts with your own domain name.

This means you will have to use your Gmail or Hotmail email account which does not look very professional for email marketing.

31. No Contact Forms or Email Forwards

Every website on the internet needs a good contact form. However, these free website companies do not allow you to add custom contact forms.

You also don’t get to forward emails received on their own poorly configured form scripts.

32. Limited File Upload Features

With paid hosting companies, you can upload unlimited files to your site using an FTP client or media uploader in WordPress.

Free website companies only offer you a web-based interface where you can upload one file at a time.

34. No Way to Setup Redirects

With WordPress, you can set up redirection in many different ways. This is a very useful way to maintain your site’s SEO scores.

With free websites, you cannot set up any kind of redirects at all. Even if you move to a paid service later, you will not be able to redirect users from your free site.

35. Investing Time in Free Website Is Unwise

If you have any serious intention of building a small business on the web, then you should never start with a free website.

As you have read in this article, they are unreliable, unsafe, and difficult and severely limit your growth options.

36. Not Even for Practice

Free websites are terrible, even if you want to practice only.

Good Alternatives to a Free Website

The best alternative to a free website is, of course, a paid professional website. There are plenty of hosting services offering WordPress hosting at meager costs.

You can start with Bluehost. They offer shared website hosting services and are one of the official WordPress hosting services.

For WPBeginner readers, they offer a generous discount, a free domain name, a free SSL certificate, and more. Basically, you can get started for just $2.75 per month.

You can follow our step-by-step guide on how to make a website (the right way).

If you don’t want to pay at all and just want to learn, then you can practice on your own computer. You can easily install WordPress on your Windows computer using WAMP or MAMP for Mac.

If you haven’t used WordPress before, you can learn about it with our free WordPress course. This step-by-step video course will walk you through initial installation and how to use WordPress to build professional-grade websites.

We hope this article helped you learn why having a free website is a bad idea. You may also want to read our guide explaining why you should use WordPress or this article on why is WordPress free, what are the costs, and what is the catch?

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

47 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
    You can get more details about the contest from here.
    Start sharing your thoughts below to stand a chance to win!

  2. Dennis Muthomi says

    Excellent article.
    I have used them when I was getting started in blogging, and can personally relate to the slow speeds and limited resuorces.
    But, the biggest risk that I didn’t fully consider was losing all my hard work if the hosting company went MIA.

  3. Mrteesurez says

    Well said, you have said it all. I don’t advise settling for a free website except for experiment, one will start from somewhere as I have also used free website in the initial days of my online endeavour.
    The fact is you will finally migrate to a professional website no matter how long you used free website, you will be encountering more of the problems and limitations mentioned in this post.
    The worst of it are, no help or support, ugly domain and they make money off you with advertisement but never allow you to make your own. lol.

  4. Hannah says

    Could you tell me what a key word is please and how it affects personal and meaningful conversations ??!

    Thank you.

  5. Hannah says

    Could you give me some more information about the bluehost basic hosting account. I have chatted to them but don’t find I’m getting the right response.

    Is it the best place to go for a web site total beginner.

    Does it carry outside advertising ie from companies or services. I don’t want to have advertising if poss.

    Do all hosting accounts charge the full term up front.

    This is something I feel I might like to try but don’t want to get embroiled into a financial net.

    Your information was really excellent about free web sites but I still like I’m at the beginning of a twisty labrynth.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Where to start for a beginner is a large amount of personal preference. We have recommended hosts here:
      Your site should only have ads that you place on it.
      Not all hosts, you would need to check with the hosts for if they have a monthly plan.


  6. Matt says

    Not everyone wants to start a blog to make money. In fact, real writers proabably do so to show off their work. Not for the money. This might be a reason why some people use free hosting sites.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      While not all sites are looking to monetize, 14 and 15 are major concerns for free hosting that is not official such as


  7. George says

    Hi Sir Thanks for sharing this post. I really need this. I am working on Blogspot and joomla demo version. I also WordPress site using free web host companies. I faced problems in installing plugins. I think that how they give us free hosting while bluehost, and other sites give us paid hosting then I searched it on google then I found your informative article.

    Sir I have question…
    Some companies also provide free domain .tk .cm, and many others but .com
    .org are paid. Should I use their free domains..???
    Sir Reply me must…plzzzzz

    • Jalu Kaba says

      If you want to be serious about blogging. To my knowledge, all professionals in the world of bloggers strongly recommend buying your own hosting and domain. Because each one is free, there is a risk in it.

      I’ve read free domains sometimes used as mounts for farming cryptocurrency. And there are cases when your traffic is good, then your free domain will be claimed and you will be asked a high price if you want to have it.

      It is safer and you are calm in blogging if you buying domain and self-hosting. Many trusted companies provide cheap packages, around $ 2- $3 / month.

  8. Gareth says

    I’m just completely blown-away by the amount of people that have a website hosted on a free platform like Blogger/ and struggle to get traffic, make it successful, make money, etc.

    I think it goes without saying; You get what you pay for.

    I understand the need to be frugal and everything, but most of these people that start blogs on free platforms, are the same people that have read that you can make a living with a blog, simply writing dailyabout your passion. They don’t want to part wth any money.

    That’s mind-boggling to me.

    Here’s another relative saying; “You have to spend money to make money”.


  9. Hansama says

    thanks, it’s very good information, btw i’m using blogger so there is something that i don’t agree about your opinion. but i want to move to a self-hosted wordpress. which one must i do, blogger(free) or wordpress ? thanks before.
    sorry for my english,

  10. Ali says

    I try it free then if i really like it i will pay for it
    Bcuz Good job deserve lot of money it is nothing to discuss about

  11. Nessa says

    So I started a blog on about 2 years ago. For the content I deal with, it’s been fairly successful. At the time, I didn’t realize the perks to having a a site vs and would like to switch over. I’m worried that doing so will cause all of my stats and posts to get deleted though; is that the case? Will I have to copy and paste all of my posts and lose all of my comments/followers?

  12. Eric Snissaert says

    What about the free I personally don’t use it. I own 2 paid WP websites which meet my needs fully. But I can imaging someone with a very low budget who want to build a website for a club or something like that could start off with Or not?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Moving websites is painful, specially if you are not a developer. Users could spend months building a following and search traffic and all of this could get affected during a move to self hosted WordPress. It’s best to start with the most flexible platform right in the beginning so that you have plenty of room to grow.


  13. GLGale says

    It shouldn’t surprise me that a site for WordPress beginners which is heavily geared towards promoting nothing but WordPress should be bashing free websites. There are probably plenty of bad free website companies out there but there are also some pretty damn good ones as well. I’ve designed professional sites using various software for over 15 years, from a basic text editor to Dreamweaver to WordPress and many others I’ve forgotten. They all have their own quirks and bugs and different learning curves.

    However, I’ve been running a number of free multi-page sites on Weebly for over 5 years now. I’ve had no problem with speed, upload limits, storage, visits, forms, customized pages or any of the numerous negatives you accuse free sites of. I’ve had almost 10x as much traffic on these sites as I’ve ever had on my Dreamweaver and WordPress sites and I’ve had no problem setting my own SEO. I have one site that duplicates an older Dreamweaver site that gets even more traffic and both sites are still active and have the same SEO.

    I don’t disagree with some of your points and they do offer fair warning to avoid free site builders with no history or track record, but I think you are unfairly tossing everyone but WordPress under the bus for no reason. In truth I’ve found WordPress to be far more unwieldy for handing over to clients who can’t handle the learning curve and then proceed to dismantle what was once a beautiful site. I’ve never had this problem with clients on a weebly site, they just work.

    • Editorial Staff says

      Thanks Gale. This article is for business owners who are about to start their site. Starting on a free hosting company or web page builder isn’t a good long term solution. That includes (free blog hosting) which we don’t recommend.

      We are recommending the self-hosted WordPress and we have always done so.


  14. Katharine says

    I know I should move my site over to blue, but I have a friend who did this and actually got the half price. I cannot figure out how to do that and there was not link to that info on your post. Help!

  15. Liz Bobeck says

    Great article, whole-heartedly agree with you, although the low cost options are really only low cost options for the initial period of time. Bluehost is bad about this, give you a deal, then screw you later by jacking up the prices. Then they screw with your site and never tell you. I’d rather use Siteground.

  16. Dave Lum says

    For a small “mom and pop” business, free websites are just fine. Our five pages had content uploaded from my computer, and would take about four hours to re-create. There is a free contact form, which works. There’s free Google Analytics to track activity. Yes, we do pay for a custom domain, but that’s peanuts. Free is great for some.

    Your article should have a subtitle: “and ten situations where a free website is great.”

  17. Md Nazmul Islam says

    Thank you Syed Balkhi to find out and explain great things. So, what about the reusing themes?

  18. Jacob Christian Glover says

    Excellent Article! I started out with my first WordPress website and hosting through ipage, nearly three years ago. It’s been a wonderful learning experience that I wouldn’t trade. I’ve always thought of the possible limits to having a “free website” and your article has more than confirmed some of my deepest concerns. Ten WordPress sites later and I don’t see any chance of slowing down in sight. It’s a great feeling to know that every site that I build is mine from A to Z! Thanks again, great information, be well Mr. Winney!

    • Jacob Christian Glover says

      Correction! I credited the wrong person in my comments, this is a great piece that many individuals seeking the personal gratification of building a website should read. Great job to the Editorial Staff, and many apologies for crediting the wrong person, be well!

  19. Tim says

    Good article. We actually get free hosting from Bluehost, due to our nonprofit status. Had to jump through a couple hoops with and update our info there, but overall, well worth it! Might be worth looking at Jason.

  20. Grant Winney says

    Great article. Lots of valid points here.

    I use DigitalOcean with pretty low hardware specs to run a WordPress blog, and it’s been good. They’re getting paid, so they can actually offer help when people need it. If I need more bandwidth or memory or whatever, I can just up it… I’m not stuck with some bottom-of-the-barrel “free” service with a bunch of artificial limits.

    The worst would be gaining some traction, attracting some traffic, having some conversations with people.. and then having the rug pulled out from under you, and the company disappears and takes your url with them. And now no one can find you.

    Totally worth paying 5-10 bucks a month to save the headache. There’s more than one kind of “free”, and free providers are anything but.

  21. Jeff Mills says

    Great article. I especially like the line in #10 “if you are not paying for it, then you are the product”.

  22. Jason says

    Really, really great article. I’ve encouraged people to switch from these free hosting companies for quite a while. The only one I recommended to start was WordPress.COM. However, it doesn’t pay to stay there–you’ll eventually need to move to self-hosted on Bluehost or someone similar.

    The other thing I learned in the past couple years–don’t use website companies. They usually are not built on the WordPress system and they control the site look/feel have their own tools that are proprietary to their organization.

    I recently moved our church from a hosting site like mentioned above to WordPress.ORG. It was like pulling teeth to get our domain transfered to Bluehost. They ended up selling our domain to another registrar–whom I didn’t know. It was rough.

    I’m very happy with WordPress for our church – if you want to check it out. I’ve been on WordPress for a while – you can check it out below.

    I’ll be sharing this article on my social networks. Thanks Syed for sharing this information.



  23. Jan McClintock says

    Very nice roundup, thank you! I have a similar post from a while ago but this adds quite a few more reasons. Love this blog.

  24. Amobi chuks says

    That really feel so bad. I’m running a wordpress site that always give me series of nightmares from memory limit to page not found. Currently using their shared hosting. Virtual hosting is really too high for students.

  25. Angelica Costa says

    I was expecting something about a website that gives a away free stuff, but it its about a free hosted websited. My bad.
    Nice article, indeed there is no reason today to to use free hosting. There are really cheap and good services out there.

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