If you’re looking to set up a website on the smallest of budgets then you will no doubt be considering whether or not to use a free web hosting solution. A free web hosting deal is seen as the ideal option for many people, particularly for non-business related websites or start-ups with no funds to throw at marketing.
Some people make the mistake of going into setting up a website without thinking about the long-term. They spend weeks and even months curating excellent content and developing their digital marketing strategy around their free web hosting solution. Then comes the realisation that the web hosting option they chose isn’t going to do the job they need. Maybe they have run out of storage space, or their host can’t handle the volume of users. Or perhaps they want to use features that simply aren’t available through the selected host.
This is when it becomes apparent that you have wasted a whole lot of time and effort on something that isn’t going to work. Hopefully, you will have gone with a host that offers an upgrade so you don’t have to start all over again from scratch to build up your content.
Having said all of that, free web host options can do the job for some people so don’t rule it out until you see the pros and cons:
Pros – Without question, the biggest attraction to free web hosting options is that it costs you nothing. If you are happy with the restrictions then you can get your website set up very quickly without spending a penny. There are cheaper hosting options which are not “free” but deals can be found for less than $2/month.
Also, free web hosting solutions are generally used by people just starting up, so they have simple, easy to use tools to help them set up a very basic website. If you don’t need the top web features then why overcomplicate things? A free website can be up and running very quickly without spending time on deciding which payment plan is best.
Cons – Okay so start off with, you won’t be able to select your own domain name. Or at least you won’t be able to do so without paying the host for the privilege. Free hosts will generally provide you with a domain name that includes the host company’s name, therefore advertising it and making it pretty long! The problem with long domain names is that they are difficult for people to remember so it lessens the likelihood of someone remembering your exact address. If people cannot easily find your website then you will be missing out on business.
When you are first setting up a website, you may need some technical help. If you go for a free web host then you are not entitled to customer support. This could prove to be critical should you encounter issues at any point down the line. If your site goes offline or you lose data you may find yourself in desperate need of some help but none will be available through your host, your best hopes will be paying expensive fees for an expert to help you out.
In terms of performance, a free web host is never going to give you the top levels that you will need to run a busy, popular website. If you don’t want to frustrate your potential customers with slow loading pages, frequent downtime and limited bandwidth capacity, free web hosting probably isn’t right for you.
And then of course there are the ads. Free hosts have full rights to display ads all over your website. This could be annoying for your customers and make your site look less professional.
Overall, as long as you know what you are or are not getting with free web hosting you can take advantage of the free service.