Most affordable way to build your website

When you need to make a website on a budget, “free” is super appealing. That’s why a lot of small business owners and other people who need an online presence turn to free website builder services that don’t charge to host their site.  

Besides being free, these platforms are usually easy to use, which helps people who aren’t super-technical to make a simple site fast. All in all, it seems like a good deal. 

But free website builders can have downsides, too. Some of these disadvantages become clear while you’re putting your site together. Others only show up when your business—and your website—need to grow.  

Potential downsides of “free” site building or hosting 

Before you decide to build your site on a free site-building and hosting platform, it’s smart to think about how these issues might affect your new site or your business:  


Free site builder services have to make money somehow, and it’s often through ads that will appear on your website. This creates two issues.  

One is that your visitors may click on an ad and leave instead of sticking around to do business with you. The other is that you may not have any control over what type of ads show up on your site. That can affect the impression that you want your site to make on customers. 

Design options (or lack thereof)

These free services typically only offer simple themes and limited customization options, while offering upgraded options for a fee.  

Co-branded domain name

When you use a totally free service, they may give you a domain name that includes their brand. This can make your site look amateurish, and it means you don’t get to choose the domain name that’s best for your website.  

Limited functionality 

Like design options, you may not always find everything you need from a free site builder. For example, don’t let you integrate shipping apps that you’ll need for eCommerce.  


A free site builder plan may work great when your business is small. But as it grows, you may need more powerful hosting to support more traffic and more features.  

However, it can be difficult to migrate your domain and your site content from a totally free service to another web host. In the worst-case scenario, you could have to build a whole new site on a new domain. 


Using a free service to build and host your site can create SEO issues in a couple of ways. First, not all free site services make it easy for search engine crawlers to index your website, so it may not rank as well in search results as it could.  

Second, if you ever need to move your site to a new host and you can’t keep your domain name or migrate your site files easily, you’ll need to start your SEO from scratch on the new site.  

Support and customer service

It’s so common to need help when you’re setting up a new website but going with a totally free plan may mean you spend a lot of time on hold when you need to focus on your business. 

How to build an affordable website that lasts 

Getting a paid hosting plan can help you avoid many of the downsides of free website builder plans, so you can create a site that will showcase your brand, help you get found in search results, inspire confidence in your visitors, and grow with your needs. And it doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. 

The right hosting plan can also give you lots of free options for building your site. For example, with a Shared Hosting plan from HostGator, you can install WordPress for free and choose from thousands of free themes and plugins to customize your site. You can find tons of WordPress tips and tutorials on our blog.

Need someone to talk you through it? Watch our WordPress 101 series on YouTube to see how it’s done, starting with 1-click WordPress installation: 

WordPress not your thing? You can use the Gator Website Builder. This smart website builder uses AI to turn your answers to a few questions, your logo and your choice of images into a good-looking, hardworking, customizable site.  

The Gator Website Builder is an especially good option if you need to get an online store up and running fast. PC Magazine named HostGator Website Builder “Best for E-Commerce” for 2021, because it’s “a robust tool that features beautiful templates, strong uptime, and the ability to sell products—even digital downloads.”  

More ways to save on building and hosting your website 

Even when you’re paying for hosting, you can avoid paying full price with these tips.  

  • Shop the sales. Look for introductory offers and holiday promos that give new customers a discount on hosting plans.  
  • Pay up front. Most hosting services will give you a discount off the monthly rate for your plan if you pay for whole year when you sign up.  
  • Buy in “bulk.” When you know your site is going to be active for two or three years or longer, it may make sense—and save you money—to sign up for an extended hosting plan instead of a more expensive one-year plan.  
  • Refer your friends. Some hosts will give you a discount or pay you for referrals. For example, HostGator will give its U.S. customers a $40 prepaid Visa card for every person they refer who signs up for a hosting plan. The new customer gets a discount, too, so everybody wins.  

The bottom line is that buying a hosting plan to build your website doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it can help you save money and hassles—and bring in more customers–as your business grows.  

Ready to create an awesome yet affordable website that’s built to last and grow with your business? Choose your shared hosting plan and start now.  

Casey is the Senior Director of Marketing for Hosting and has been in the web hosting space for 7 years. He loves the slopes and hanging out with his kids.