These days, starting up a website is easy, fast and effortless. You can create a nice-looking website without spending a cent using such trusted sites like Blogger, WordPress or Wix website builder. While this may sound like a brilliant option for people who blog for fun, it’s not the best fit for small business owners, independent professionals and professional bloggers.
Undoubtedly, free hosting is good for testing and other temporary purposes, but it’s important to be aware of its downsides. So, here are some major pitfalls of free web hosting:
One of the major dangers is vulnerability to hackers and other e-nasties. Free hosts simply can’t afford providing the security you need for your site. Your site can be ruined after a full-blown malware attack and there will be no way to restore it. Don’t even try to restore justice.
So, how do these guys earn money if they provide their services free of charge? Mostly by rotating pretty noticeable ads all over your website. Annoying pop-ups and banners can drive away visitors and substantially damage your brand. Even worse, Google doesn’t like ads-heavy websites. Even very popular, established free blogging platforms reserve the right to place ads on your site and can legally modify your content. So I highly recommend perusing the ‘Terms of Service’ agreements each time you sign a contract.
Even more, you might not be the owner of your own website. Therefore, when the platform closes, so does your website. In other words, when you use free hosting, you’re at mercy of your provider.
More often than not you’re not allowed to use your own domain if you opt for a free hosting account. This means your web address will be unbearably long and ugly :). You’ll get something like ‘yoursite.yourfreehostingprovidername.com’. Firstly, it looks unprofessional. Secondly, it tells your site visitors that you skimp on hosting services.
No Room to Grow
As a rule, free hosting accounts don’t provide enough disk space and data transfer capabilities. At best, you can upgrade your account at a reasonable price as your site grows. At worst, you’ll have to completely move your website if it’s allowed (go back to the Terms of Service again) or pay exorbitant sums to get more room from your current ‘free’ hosting provider.
To Wrap It Up
Opting for a free hosting provider is a very risky decision, especially if you are looking to build a business website. Web hosting isn’t the place to skimp on, since your web reputation, site performance and information security will directly depend on your web hosting provider.
You’ll be surprised to learn that web hosting doesn’t necessarily have to break your budget – some packages start at as little as $2 per month! Besides, you can get a free domain name as a gift when paying for a whole year. Just check out some inexpensive, yet reputable web hosting companies at http://inexpensivewebhosting.org/. There are handy comparing charts allowing you to evaluate multiple providers at glance.
Basil Mac is a passionate blogger specializing in web hosting, technology and everything in between. He mostly spends his time reviewing and comparing popular web hosting providers.