It’s Time to Leave That Free Site – This is Why


Free Site, WordPress Hosting, WP Engine, Domain Names, Namecheap, Free Site Companies, Website setup, Recommendations

Free Is Not Free After All

The year is winding down fast and it’s been some good months since you took up that tempting free offer to start your blog/website. Naturally, you are totally loving the idea of having a space that finally allows you to say your piece. A medium to have your voice heard and you are busy plugging away for hours on end.

Congratulations. That’s certainly a step in the right direction, but I must burst a little part of your bubble with some hard truth about ‘free sites,’ that’s the wrong direction.

There’s a CATCH to this free bait and if possible, you must AVOID it at all costs.

Many beginner bloggers/writers start their site with the thought of keeping their costs down to spending nothing at all, therefore they plunge into the choppy waters of the internet with glee and a feeling of smartness until reality slaps them in the face real hard.

Short of telling you that it’s a dumb idea to accept free hosting – no offense meant, the internet is popping full of companies that offer free hosting that you have to exercise caution before accepting such invitation to treat and if you know someone who plans to do same, just hold their hands and ask them to press pause on that right there.

Here’s why I say so

  • Shutting down your site

How would you like to wake up five months after you’ve worked hard on that blog, posting your book chapter by chapter, writing your witty articles, connecting with people from all walks of life and all the stuff that people do on blogs only to find out that you can no longer access your site? It’s been deleted due to spamming!

Such miserable moment is better left imagined. I know a blogger whose site went forever 404 on her and all attempt made to contact the service provider to restore it received no attention. There was no help desk or anyone to connect to, to navigate through this challenge.

Things are rough out there and it’s natural for anyone to want to build their website at a low-cost, but please avoid free – no exceptions here. Except self-inflicted heartache is your kind of thing, don’t take such shortcuts especially these days when Web-hosting is cheap that it’s worth that little investment to gain ownership of your site. When you put this cost in perspective, it does not amount to the cost of a box of Dunkin Donuts or a McDonald’s’ burger or whatever it is you indulge in eating.

  • Networking Issues

In order to grow your audience, it requires a lot of social media networking, traffic, and social engagement and search engines attach more trust and credibility to paid domains. You won’t even be able to add your blog to certain services because you need to prove ownership of your site which you don’t have.

I know how many times that I’ve had to prove ownership of my site with an advertiser before I could get on their programs and when your site is a free site the perception is different.

  • Unprofessional looking address

Owning a website that its name reads something like ‘mylittlecorner.Simplecheapandfreesite.com’ looks dreadful and unprofessional. There’s a lot to say in a name and Perfect domains are hereyour visitors will definitely notice this. At the end of the day when you figure out that you want to buy a domain name that would have cost you less, the free site company ends up charging you twice that amount.

  • Absolutely no support

You have jumped in and you now find out that there’s absolutely no helping hands in the free site kingdom. No connection whatsoever. Free site companies don’t give any support services to users. You are left to swim through the overwhelming process of setting up your site with limited documentation, good luck with that.

  • Extremely slow websites

Using free websites is simply setting yourself up for bad user experience. Most of these companies that offer free sites don’t have the support for it. Running sites costs money and servers are expensive, so they simply lump hundreds of websites on a server which slows down the sites loading to such a snail speed that makes a web page difficult to discover.

  • Lack of website building tools and limited space for your web pages.

In most cases, these companies will not let you install WordPress on your free site because to run WordPress would cost them more and they lack the facility to offer that. Even when you install WordPress on their platform, you’ll meet loads of errors and downtime. Your pages and building tools are limited that to get anything more to improve your experience would need a paid upgrade. At the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing – possibly spending more money than you bargained for.

  • Poor backup support, hacking, and security

Having backup support on free sites is a pipe dream and if something goes wrong with your site per chance, you stand a good chance of losing your entire data because they are unable to restore it. Free website companies are a thriving ground for malware and they are vulnerable to frequent hack attempts due to poor security practice.

  • Locking down your data

People will often say, ‘let me start with the free one, then I’ll upgrade when I make some money.‘ No, you won’t make money on a free site, secondly, you’ll discover that when you do want to migrate your data from a free site to a paid one it becomes tedious because free website companies don’t have the tools to do this easily. At the end of the day, you’ll either end up leaving the data behind or seeking the services of someone with the know-how to manually move your data and the cost is not cheap.


  • You can’t monetize your blog and they place their independent ads on your pages

If it’s part of your dream to earn from your free site, let me give you a pat on your back now and tell you to shelve that thought ’cause it’s not gonna happen. Remember that these companies exist to make money, so you create the content and the company, however, capitalize on it and plant their intrusive advertisements all over your pages. You simply have no control. To get this slice of pie, you’ve got to go get a proper site.

  • They could close shop and that’s it

There are no guarantees on the longevity of some of these companies. Some are one-trick ponies that could decide to simply shut down their servers and pack up their business for a myriad of reasons and because the terms of their modus operandi cover them legally, they are fully protected.

  • No protection of your information which could be sold

Always ask yourself what the catch is. In this case, most of these free website companies collect email addresses and sell them to other marketing companies as a way of making money.

  • Lack of responsive designs and support for mobile devices

Most free website companies don’t offer responsive designs that work on mobiles phones because what they offer are often too old to support the fluidity of mobile devices, thus your dashboard is restricted to desktop which infers that you would not be able to update your site from your phone, neither can mobile phone visitors find you and you must remember that handheld device is part of everyday life today and it drives a reasonable amount of traffic that you would not get.

  • There are no contact forms or branded emails

Your contact form and about page are one of the first things that you put up on a good site. It’s through your contact form that you would most probably receive business requests – if your site is business driven and other requests. Most free sites don’t have a way to add a custom contact form neither can you create an email account name with your domain name if you are interested in doing so.

  • Difficult to get rid of your site and data

Peradventure you decide to cut ties with the free website company, it’s almost impossible to drop your site from their server because they deliberately make it difficult to do so since most times they use the content created by free users to earn money.

  • Limited upload features and poor statistics

Paid hosting buys you the benefit of uploading unlimited files to your site using the media uploader that’s on WordPress, but with free site companies, you only get a web interface that’s slow where you can only upload one file at a time to a restricted amount. On the other hand, you are in no way able to install traffic counters such as google to gain an understanding of your sites stats.

  • You are investing so much of your time for nothing

You are working as hard if not even harder than the paid user and it all amounts to nothing. Blogging takes up a lot of one’s time and as is often said, your time is your money and you have to choose how you invest it wisely.

There are reputable sites that offer free plans, but they are few and far between. If your aim is to build something tenable and serious online, then you should never start with a free site. Without mincing words, it’s a waste of time, it’s unsafe, unreliable, could be a harrowing experience and your growth potentials are seriously hindered.

There are better ways

My recommendation is that you register your domain name and build your site. You won’t wake up tomorrow to find that it has vanished into thin air. There are top-notch hosting companies that offer WordPress open software hosting at a decent cost and they will help you with the support that you need to meet this.

I hope you’ll make a smart business decision today and ditch free hosting because free is not free after all.

If you find this article useful please share it and educate others. I would love to hear from you.

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I am Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. A freelance writer, author and serial blogger. I am a passionate life enthusiast, a peoples' person who loves to read, write and tell stories. I love the art of photography and how a single image tells many stories. My driving objective is not only to achieve my creative goals and full potentials but to hopefully serve and inspire others who are equally on the same quest as I. Connect with me on social media. I would love to hear from you.

25 Comments

  1. Reply

    Thank you for a most interesting and informational text Jackie. this is my fifth year on a free blog at WordPress with acceptable success. I have heard many of my friend bloggers with premium sites tell me they are often left out, not appearing in the reader or emails and I know this is a fact. I am not by any means saying it isn’t wonderful to have your own .com or .org but I don’t see a need for that as I am getting all I need from freebie. We can download our blogs as you know and that is a good back up if (and I have not heard of it happening) someone’s blog should disappear. Anyway, that’s my thought on this and I appreciate yours. Have a beautiful weekend!

    • Reply

      In my opinion, WordPress.com is about the most reputable platform that offers freebie sites and that’s how I started my blog. I trust the platform completely and have backed up my blogs severally. Nonetheless, for me it’s a long term plan that I’m looking at. The fact that there are restrictions on the platform with what you can achieve for yourself financially – for those interested in that. Without doubt the community of WordPress.com is a fantastic community that helps a blogger to grow and gain traction and I can understand the bloggers who feel left out because they don’t appear in the reader. These are issues that they can resolve based on their hosting service. If they choose a WordPress focused hosting service company then they are able to install plugins that allows them this privilege which is what I’ve done for my new site. I use WP Engine and it’s coming along gradually.
      Thank you for your insightful comment and do have a lovely weekend too 🙂

  2. Reply

    Such excellent advice Jacqui!!!! I wish I had known this when I first started my blog. I have lost over two years online work before getting my own domain and choosing a great service provider! If I hadn’t already created a paperback book of all my blog posts they would be gone forever!

    • Reply

      Wow! Thankfully, you had something to fall back on. I too wish I had known more like I do now before embarking on blogging. As a matter of fact, I’ll be moving my first blog to self-hosted by first quarter next year once my subscription expires. All these hours spent blogging away has to pay itself 😉 Thank you for reading.

  3. Reply

    There you go…catching me in my naiveté again! Good advice. I have so many questions though before converting to WordPress.org, such as what happens to my second blog? What host to use? and so on. Can you feel my panic, lol?

    • Reply

      When you want to move the compress your files and your hosting company migrates it easily if you chose a decent one. Don’t panic. I know what you mean but you shouldn’t. All the information you need is there but the most important is to start with an excellent host. I will unashamedly recommend WP Engine ‘cos that’s what I’m using and their affiliate programs reward is awesome.

    • Reply

      Thank you too Van for reading. WordPress.com is actually one of the reputable one’s out there except that there are lots of limitations to what you can achieve with your site if ever you want to earn from it.

  4. Reply

    Hi Sis,

    Ah! you are so knowledgeable about blogging matters, I learned so much from this article.

    I purchased my domain name over a year ago but I’m still on the free WordPress platform, I plan to move the blog to my own self-built site next year as I’m considering starting an online business platform.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Reply

      My dear, once I knew that I was interested in this, I started soaking up and learning as much as I could with my eyes open. You’ve got a good plan in the offing and please choose a solid hosting provider – that’s the deal breaker. I hope when you are ready to do so, let’s talk.

  5. Reply

    WordPress does seem relatively reputable, but they tied to gather info from my visitors, which is vey impolite. The site is not exactly “on” the “internet,” but is kept in a sort of bubble, so that almost no traffic comes from searches, but all from word of mouth, and a bit from the WordPress reader. I was offered to pay an extortion fee to correct this little problem, which I call a toll booth in my driveway to the internet. My plan was to sell a book though an e-Junkie account and use my free blogging as advertising, assuming the website was “on” the “internet.” Then I could “upgrade,” get id of the adds, and everyone would make a bit of money, including WordPress. Unfortunately, only starving writers in my WordPress bubble, and a few politicians and journalists, ever saw the offer. No one looking for a book like that, a commentary on the Revelation, ever had a chance to buy the e-book, and two Kickstarter campaigns also failed due in pat to being stuck in their bubble. This was my last chance, as I was bankrupted from school loans and tax debts to begin, and am now too old and sick to work. Maybe WordPress wants to sell that information to someone who takes advantage of such people! I’ll bet they have made 49 cents advertising on my blocked website!

    Always nice to hear you, Jacqui! Keep up the good work.

    P. S. Wix tried to lead me down a corridor by clicking alluring women, even before I got my site stated, so, (since they weren’t going to include their phone numbers anyway!) I put my free site on WordPress. Soon internet integrity may become a commodity, and then there might be more of it.

    P. S. S: There is no capital “p” in WordPress. The English language is not a prostitute for logos. Grow the rest of the fruit, Mellon-wedge!

    • Reply

      Hmm! Food for thought. I know WordPress is reputable but they still have to make money to sustain their systems which is why after learning the pros and cons, I don’t think free is the best way to go.

      • Reply

        It is not really free, but the exchange of mutual benefits. We say: make money by creating value, not by using the power of your position. Imagine having a guest visit your home and being shaken down for saleable info by your landlord! Or, hiring a driveway paving company, even for mutual favors, and coming home to find a toll booth in your driveway. Being blocked from search engine trafick is going to be illegal in America, a violation of free speech, as is clear when I try to run for office. My whole effort was based on the premise that the website would be “on” the internet, not I pay them 3-12 hundred dollars when I discover that 97% of my traffic is word of mouth and non-wordpress traffic is not welcome or is shaken down.

    • Reply

      Thank you Vanessa. It’s imperative that we take certain steps if we are going to make any profit from all the hard work. All the best with it. Feel free to reach out anytime 🙂

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