Building a Freelance Website: Should I Get Self-Hosted or Free Hosting?

19.09.2018

When setting up a freelance website for your business, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to use a free or self-hosted platform. Here, we’re going to cover why investing in a self-hosted blogging platform may be the better option for your freelance business in the long run.

First though, you may be wondering what exactly a self-hosted blog is, and why there is such a thing as free blogging platforms and ones you need to pay for. 

Below, we’re going to outline the key differences as well as the pros and cons of each option.

 

What is Free Hosting?

Free website hosting is exactly as it sounds: free to sign up to and use. These types of websites are very easy to use and you can get your site up and running in minutes.

Popular free blogging platforms include:

 

What are the benefits of free hosting?

  1. It’s free! Of course, one of the biggest benefits to using a free website hosting platform is that it’s free to use, so you don’t need to pay anything to build your freelance website.
  2. Easy to use. Free blogging platforms are very easy to navigate, often providing tutorials to help guide you through the setup process within minutes. If you have no technical experience, this can be helpful when trying to setup your website.
  3. They can handle large numbers of visitors. If you receive a sudden surge of visitors to your website, you will not really have to worry about upgrading your hosting with a free platform - this can be a concern for self-hosted websites.

 

What are the cons of free hosting?

  1. You don’t own your website. Your website’s files are stored on your blogging platform servers with free hosting, which means you have no real control over what happens to your website. In a worst case scenario, you could be signed up to a blogging host that disappears entirely - or your website could be suddenly deleted without your say so.
  2. Less professional. Free hosting means your domain will have the name of your hosting provider tacked onto the end of it, for example, yourwebsite.blogger.com. This looks less professional than a proper domain name for your freelance website. 
  1. It’s harder to monetize. Free platforms will typically have a limit on your advertising options, so it can be much harder to monetize your site with ads and affiliate marketing if this is something you might want to do in the future.

 


 

What is self-hosting?

A self-hosted blog means you have your own server, although most people pay a third-party platform to host their website. Popular self-hosting providers include Bluehost, GoDaddy, Reclaim Hosting, SiteGround, and HostGator, although there are many other options to choose from. Using a self-hosting platform essentially means you are paying to “rent” storage space online to run your website.

 

What are the benefits of self-hosting?

  1. Total control. Using a self-hosted platform gives you total control over your blog, from the layout and design, to monetizing your website and managing your SEO. If you are planning on starting your freelance website for the long-term, having full control over your website is extremely beneficial.
  2. Professional. With a self-hosted website, you will get your own domain name such as yourwebsite.com, which will look much more professional to prospective employers.
  3. Easy to use. Many self-hosted platforms offer an easy, one-click install of an accessible interface to use to build your website without too much hassle. There are also a huge number of tutorials online to help you to set up your self-hosted website. 
  1. Easier to monetize. Self-hosted websites are far easier to monetize with ad revenue and affiliate marketing, so this is definitely something worth bearing in mind for the future.

 

What are the cons of self-hosting?

  1. It costs money. All the benefits you get from using a self-hosted platform come with a cost that you can either pay up-front or on a monthly basis.
  2. Requires a more advanced technical knowledge. Setting up your website on a self-hosted platform does require more technical knowledge than using a free platform, but this does also mean you can completely customise your site to suit your purposes.

 

Which is best?

Overall, self-hosting is a far better option when starting your freelance website. It will look more professional to potential employers, gives you total control over your website, and will allow you to customise your theme and layout to align with your branding.

However, if you are very new to blogging and are not sure you will stick with your website in the long term (for example, you want a hobby blog over a professional freelance website), a free hosting option will work just fine. Some free hosting sites offer paid hosting upgrades as well, so be sure to look into a variety of options!

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