Perhaps a paid software would have been a better option to begin with.
Maybe. Not that paid software is any guarantee of anything. It has happened that a developer poured all resources into some new version, forcing old version customers upgrade sooner or later at a higher price. Sometimes that was coupled with a not so great new piece of software and poor support of it.
For the small hosts, getting decent software for no money has surely been a boon - while it lasted. Now it's simply time to pay up, or move on. It's the bigger hosts that would have a bit of a more complicated decision to make IMHO.