Who pays for hosting and domain name when you make free websites to build your portfolio?

I didn’t really know where else to ask this…

I am interested in becoming a freelance website designer. I have been learning WordPress, and I think I’m close to being able to put together a website good enough for a small business to use.

I want to find a couple of shops near me that don’t have websites, so I can make them one in exchange for testimonials (common freelance advice). My question is, if I do this, do I pay for the hosting and the domain name? Or do they? And if they do, when/how do I tell them it’s not exactly free?

Any help/advice on the topic would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

You could do one of these:
You pay for the domain name and hosting and you charge them for more than what you pay (your service has a cost).
Or they pay for the domain name and the hosting, but then they have to give you access to do your job.
Of the two, I would prefer the first solution.

Also do consider selling them the maintenance of the WordPress website.
I don’t really like the idea of working for free, I advise against it.
And don’t forget to write a contract stating precisely what both the parts will provide, so you won’t get scammed :slight_smile:
A common thing is to find yourself with a customer that keeps changing the scope of the project, driving you mad.

When you make a site for someone else they have to pay. There are a few hosts that have a free tier of traffic then the sites owner pays when that level is exceeded. However they don’t host wordpress. Self hosted wordpress is more customizable than wordpress.com and in that case they always have to pay. I suggest build static sites for free, if you think you have to, and advanced features cost money. That is the case with hosting with a free tier once you store images there - you pay, want form submissions? - you pay, etc. They have to pay for a domain name, always.

Netlify is good for hosting you portfolio on a free tier until it builds traffic. And you can make fictitious sites to demo your abilities.

Generally speaking, clients always already have the domain name and hosting purchased before they contact you. I cannot think of a single instance where this was not the case for me.

They won’t want free or bottom tier hosting usually because of performance issues. Most clients are sensitive about their SEO score, and the hosting they pick has quite a big influence on these scores.

Most everyone wants the hosting provider to be doing regular backups, and provide a cPanel, etc. Better hosting providers provide a staging server solution. That is a godsend for a developer.

It is worth the clients time to do some shopping around.