Free web hosting is one of the many, many options available to the business-minded website owner looking to make their way in the online world. Like anything, free web hosting has its pros and cons, so before you spend time building a website on a free service only to realise it isn’t for you, here’s the downside to free web hosting so you can be fully informed:
– You will be restricted.
The amount of web space, bandwidth and even visitors you can receive will be massively restricted if you use a free web hosting provider. However, the space offered is usually perfectly adequate for a small business or a fun fan site.
– You will most likely have to have a add-on domain name.
Instead of www.yoursite.com, your domain name with a free web hosting provider is likely to be something like: www.yourfreewebhostingprovider.com/yoursite or http://yoursite.freewebhostingprovider.com – meaning your site is immediately associated with another company. It isn’t a specific problem, just something to be aware of.
– The meaning of ‘free’.
While you may be getting the web space for free, with most free web hosting companies you will be expected to run adverts on the site. Usually these are generated and placed on your site without you needing to do anything – and you have no way of removing them. Running the ads is essentially how you ‘pay’ for your ‘free’ service. There’s no workaround for this; the web host has to make money somehow.
If you are looking to host a small, easy website with only a few pages, it may be worth considering free web hosting. For another more, you’re going to need to self-host.
The Good Side of Free Web Hosting
In a world that is dismiss anything that is labelled ‘free’ as suspicious, when users are looking to build a website they will likely give the concept of free web hosting short shrift. However, there are some significant upsides to using a free web hosting provider – so before you dismiss the concept, take a read of the list below.
– It’s free!
It may seem like an odd point to include in this list – isn’t it obvious that ‘free’ web hosting is, er, free?! – but it’s the aspect you should focus your attention on. No, free web hosting is not going to work if you are looking to make a lot of money from that website – but if you just want a small corner on the web, somewhere personal or as a small business listing, then the free aspect is important.
Essentially, there’s no point investing a lot of money in a website if you are not intending for that website to make you money – so it may be worth putting up with the minor inconveniences a free web host provides, and using your money elsewhere.
– Support for beginners.
Most free web hosting providers have their own support forums, which are moderated by their own staff as well as including posts from users of the service. This means you’ll have an immediate support base should you run in to any trouble.
– You don’t need to be technically experienced to build a website.
A lot of free web hosts offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website building, meaning you don’t need to learn HTML or anything else complicated. You can just plug and play.