Is Free Web Hosting Good for Business?
Website development can be a huge expense for any business. For this reason, many small business owners chose to create their own website, using a website building tool or a content management system such as WordPress, to save the cost of web design and development. Beside the cost of creating a website there are other expenses such as domain name and web hosting, which are a fraction of the cost of the actual web development. For instance a .com domain costs around $10 per year and a professional hosting account costs around $5 per month, paid upfront for a year. There are, however, many site owners who cheap out on hosting and choose to get a free hosting, hoping that they can get around by purchasing a domain only. This sounds great, you can save a lot of money, but at what cost? In this article I will show you couple of the many reasons why you should avoid using free web hosting for your business website.
Why you should not choose a free host?
First of all, you should note that running a web server cost more than $100 per month. Why would give away anybody this service for free? Well, there are lots of benefits for the companies who offer the service for free, however the user can suffer a lot from this. Free hosting providers try to attract as many webmasters as possible to use their free service and eventually upgrade to a paid subscription. This is a good marketing strategy, however it not always paying off.
Major security issues of free hosting
Because servers are very expensive to rent and to maintain, the hosting provider who provides free hosing plans, pay less attention on the security of the free accounts, because those do not generate revenue, instead is just a money loss. Because of the low security level of the server, it happens very often that hackers will compromise the server, delete website, and eventually will steal users’ identity.
Limitations of free web hosting
If the provider allows you to add-on your domain, probably you found a very good free host, because most of them only allow using sub-domains. There are drastic limitations on web space and bandwidth as well. Lots of file types can also be excluded, so if you are planning to create a php website with a contact form, or upload some images, you may not be able to do it on a free hosting account.
Free hosts comes with poor service and support
Due to high number of user accounts hosted on the same server, it will result in slow website loading and poor performance. In rush-hours you may not even be able to access your website, how would you expect to get an inquiry from potential customers via your site? In case of free hosting, support is very unprofessional or non-existing, so you are left alone to solve the problem, which only a system admin could do.
Forced advertising on free hosting accounts
The most common practice among free hosting providers is to force advertisement on user’s websites. It is impossible to get rid of those ads, unless you switch to paid version. Unrelated banners can result in website traffic and business loss, and is also a sign of unprofessionalism. On top of this, it can also hurt search engine rankings.
Losing your website and your account
If the above mentioned problems are not a reason for avoiding free hosting, probably losing your website will give you a warning. Yes, it is possible, that the company stops providing the free service without any prior notice. In this case it is impossible to recover the files of your site. Maybe you had a backup, but it will take time until you get a new hosting provider and set up your site again.
Alternative to free hosting
I always say, that web hosting is the base of a successful website. If you choose a good and reliable hosting service, you can concentrate on building your online business and do not worry about the technical stuff that is behind web hosting. If you care about your business and want to be successful, you should not get miser on web hosting. Choose a cheap paid hosting instead going for a free one. Team up with a friend and share the cost of the hosting if that is possible, but do not rely on free host. For instance you can get unlimited hosting for only $2 per month at iPage.com hosting; you will have to pay upfront for at least 12 months, but in return you will get professional support, great performance, ability to host any type of website, included website builder, and a free domain as well.
So if you are serious about your website and want to establish a strong online presence for your business, go with a paid web hosting plan. Good luck!