The main reason to create a website from a free website provider is of course the fact that you are free from hosting fees, domain name fees, design fees, template fees, and more or less any other fees usually associated with designing a website. They are usually very easy to edit (even for novices) and you can go live on the world wide web within minutes of signing up. Most are even able to integrate social media buttons as well so that people are able to like and share content.
There are however also downsides to creating a free website. Firstly they usually include their name to your domain name, so instead of www.your-website.com, it would be www.your-website.their-website.com. Also the number of templates you can choose from is usually quite small in comparison to the number offered to paying customers. This means that there is a greater chance of running into websites that look almost identical to yours. Not good for branding. Additionally, most times you do not get a personalized email plan, meaning that you will have to use a free one from your regular provider eg: gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc. You may also find some of their branding in different sections of your website. What this means is that although there is still a considerable amount of functionality with a free website, its overall look and feel does sometimes give it an unprofessional feel.
The bottom line is if you are making a personal website this option is just fine. If you are looking to start a professional business website and your branding is important, you may want to look into upgrading to a paid plan.
The only real disadvantage with choosing a paid website, if any, would be the costs attached to it. But there are many ways to avoid much of those costs by choosing the plan that best suits your needs. The first thing to understand is that you have to pay for a domain name (eg. www.my-website.com). This is fairly cheap and is a yearly cost rather than a monthly. Next you have to pay to have your domain name hosted on a company’s server. In simple terms you are paying them to display your site online from their equipment. This can be either a monthly cost or a yearly cost. The price of hosting can vary drastically depending on what features you are looking for and what package you ultimately choose.
Another big consideration with creating a website is design. If you want to avoid designing your website altogether, you can hire a web designer. If you are watching your overhead, you can opt to do it yourself. Most website companies offer easy to use, drag-and-drop website design builders for novices, so after a quick tutorial or two, you should be ready to build your website.
As a paying customer you will have access to countless themes or you have the option to build your website from scratch. Another bonus is that you can have professional looking emails with your domain name on it (eg: [email protected]). Sometimes they are offered free with your plan and sometimes they too carry an additional fee. At the end of it all, if you want to portray your business professionally and gain trust from your readers, this is really the best option.