Hosting a WordPress Site for Free with a Free Hosting Provider
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems available, and it’s been around for more than a decade. The software is free and open source, which means that everyone has access to all of its features and documentation. If you’ve been waiting to try out WordPress, this is the perfect opportunity!
While WordPress ships with a free host, DreamHost, you may want to consider moving to another service provider due to their pricing. With DreamHost, you’re looking at spending about $2.95 per day (plus taxes) to host a standard WordPress installation. If you expect to see any noticeable growth or engage with your audience through email marketing or sales, you may want to look into a different host.
Alternative Free Hosting Providers
While DreamHost is a great option for those seeking a Free WordPress hosting solution, there are other providers that offer hosting for free or at a significantly discounted rate. For example, Bluehost offers a free domain and installs WordPress automatically for you, along with a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for faster page loads.
Another fantastic alternative is Ghost, which is another open source option that you can download and set up on your own server. Like WordPress, Ghost also installs a CDN for you so that your site can load extremely fast for users. Ghost applications include a landing page, a blog, a shop, or an online store, and it’s fully customizable through their dashboard.
WordPress and its ecosystem cover a wide range of use cases, and while there are many solutions available, you may not want to use one that’s not designed for the tasks you need it to perform. For example, if your site serves as a small business’ blog, you may not want to use WordPress’ built-in blog functionality as you’ll likely be charged for the privilege.
Pricing Shifts with the Changing Zeitgeist
Every year, the cost of web hosting shifts, and while the cost of entry is relatively low, it’s not something that should be ignored, especially if you’re looking to scale your business. In 2020, with the economic malaise that many face, individuals and small businesses are seeking to move offline as much as possible, therefore reducing their digital footprints. As a result, the cost of web hosting as a % of revenue is projected to decline by 4% in 2021.
When it comes to budgeting, many businesses are seeking to reduce spending, and while this may be difficult, especially in the middle of a pandemic, it’s an excellent opportunity to examine where your spending is going and whether it’s necessary. Are you paying for a premium domain that you don’t use? Are you running a WordPress site that you could instead run on a free platform like Blogger or Typeform? What are you spending on that seemingly endless stack of email newsletters you send out?
Once you have a good idea of what you’re spending on, you can work on reducing it. Cut out any subscription services that you don’t need (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Music, etc.) and examine the value that you’re providing. If you’re not sure what kind of value you’re providing, consider taking a moment to think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. This will help you identify key areas of your operations where you can streamline to provide more value and minimize costs. It’s never easy to reduce expenses, but during an economic downturn, it’s a necessity.
As a business owner, if you’re selecting a web host for your site, you’ll want to make sure that the features match your needs. For example, do you need a feature that allows you to install WordPress plugins, or do you need static pages that visitors can browse?
If you go with the first option (i.e., allow you to install plugins), be sure to check out the list of the most popular WordPress plugins and consider whether or not they’re still maintained well enough to meet your needs. If you go with the second option (i.e., static pages), be sure to look into the host’s documentation or contact support to get an idea of the features available. Knowing what you need upfront will help you determine the right hosting plan for your needs.
Security vs. Speed
When it comes to selecting a web host, you’ll want to balance security with speed. While it’s always nice to have a host that’s quick to respond to support tickets and implement security patches, you may not want to sacrifice security for speed.
If you’re looking for a free solution, consider a host that uses a CSP (Content Security Policy), which is a security measure that prevents third parties from injecting scripts into your site without your permission. In 2020, Let’s Encrypt (formerly known as the Internet Security Authority) launched a new certificate authority to increase the security of HTTPS websites. If you’re looking for a free solution and want to take advantage of this new certificate authority, then consider moving to a hosting plan that uses Let’s Encrypt.
Another option to consider is Cloudflare’s free tier, which they call the Free Plan. This plan provides all the features you need for basic site functionality and serves as an excellent starting point for those seeking to build a foundation for their site. Once you’re up and running, Cloudflare offers a paid tier (platinum) that provides additional security features.
Your web host’s scalability is another important consideration. Do you need a small hosting plan that you can access from any home computer or do you need a large plan that can serve multiple websites?
If you choose the first option (i.e., small plan), be sure to look into the limits that are imposed by the service provider. While it would be wonderful to have a site that you can access from any home computer, especially in these times where social distancing is prominent, you may need to limit the number of pages that can be accessed by any one person. It’s always good practice to examine your host’s documentation to know what you’re getting into.
If you choose the second option (i.e., large plan), consider the features that are included. Are you looking for a free solution for an e-commerce store? Look no further as many hosting providers offer an e-commerce store along with the standard WordPress platform.
As you can see from the list of considerations above, there are many aspects to think about when selecting a web host. However, keep in mind that this is a long-term decision and you’ll want to be sure that you’re committing to a service provider that meets your needs, and then builds on those foundations to provide you with years of service.
If you’re seeking to build a profitable business, consider hosting on a free platform (i.e., Blogger, Typeform, etc.) as opposed to a paid platform (i.e., WordPress, SquareSpace, etc.) as you’ll have the opportunity to monetize your content without any limitations. While this may be tempting given the current climate, be sure to research the options available and work on finding the right business partner in order to provide you with the best service.