Pros & Cons of Free Web Hosting – Should You Consider Free Hosting Plan?
Web hosting is inevitably a subject you must consider when launching a new website, no matter its type or subject. Finding the best hosting service out there isn’t easy. After all, there are hundreds of services from different companies all over the world.
You could choose from many possibilities: shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting and even ecommerce hosting (and lots of others). But in this article, we’ll take a look at a hosting service that is often left out of the equation: free web hosting.
And by FREE WEB HOSTING, I mean entirely free of charge hosting for your new website. Basically, the whole package offered by the company at hand, is free to use, without the need to pay a dime.
But you might ask yourself, why would it be a good idea for companies to give free hosting for people, when they can charge for it? After all, it might seem too good to be true.
There are at least 2 big reasons why companies offer free hosting, and later we’ll see why it could be good for you as well.
Marketing Method of Free Hosting
This is easily the first and most popular reason why many companies offer free hosting services. But what does it mean exactly?
Many hosts offer free hosting as a trial period or as a free tier package that will let their customers get used to the service they offer. In many cases a trial package isn’t a fully-fledged hosting service. It is only available to make users confident enough to buy the regular plan for a competitive price.
Being such, there are lots of free hosting services that work for a limited period. Once the trial period expires though, you have to pay for the service to use it.
Another marketing method used by companies that relies on free web hosting, is the strategy to place ads on the website’s layout without the possibility to remove them in the free plan.
If your website grows bigger and more popular, this can become quite annoying. So, it’s best to look for a premium hosting package.
Testing Free Hosting Service
Testing is the second reason why free hosting services are offered by so many companies. A lot of them offer web hosting services for free, when they want to test a new service which will later be provided by them on a regular basis.
Because of the fact that they offer it for free, hundreds and possibly thousands of people will sign up, and thus the company will be able to test this new service in the real world with real users.
Since we talk about testing, the hosting provided this way, could disappear from the web in a matter of months. The other situation that occurs very often, is for companies to charge a price for a service they previously offered for free because it was still in testing phase.
Anyhow, signing up for a free hosting service is still possible. Not every single company makes you pay once a certain period has expired. So keeping this in mind, let’s see what are some of the positive aspects about hosting a website on a free plan. After that, we’ll also list some cons to this method.
Pros of Free Hosting
The first and foremost positive (quite obvious) that I must mention is the pricing: which is non existent. Yes, after all, the service being free entirely is the most important aspect for lots of people. But why is this especially good in your specific case?
Well, just think about it! When you launch a new website, you won’t have thousands of monthly visitors from the get-go. Getting there, takes time and effort. Since this is the case, making money out of your website won’t be a reality until your grow it big and popular enough for that to happen .
So, the point is, that putting a lot of money into a new website, isn’t very wise. Instead, getting a free web hosting account until you get going and having a steady income of visitors could be a better idea.
Of course, when the site grows in popularity too much, it’s best to look for a paid specific hosting plan, that fits all the needs of your website to work properly.
The next pro that comes with free hosting, is only true if you are a certain type of individual. This might sound like a weird statement, but it’s actually true. What am I talking about? Let me tell you!
Are you a type of person who likes to solve everything on his/her own? Or do you like experimenting with new technology and get used to it by yourself? If you’re that type of guy/girl, free hosting could be a good idea for you.
With a free hosting service, there won’t be a lot of premium features coming. And when I say ‘premium features’, I mean mostly customer support. Top-notch customer support is mostly a premium option at almost every single hosting company out there.
But, if you’re a person like I described above, you won’t need a fast and reliable support from the company. The truth is, you can learn everything by yourself, without help from the support team. The only difference is: it takes more time (the amount is relative from 1 person to another).
If you do things this way, later when you’ll possibly sign up for a paid hosting plan, you’ll know exactly what a company should provide and how the whole hosting management works.
Here’s the last pro I’m going to mention in this article: when you sign up for a free hosting service, you are not tied by any contract. Since the plan is free to use, that means, you can end it anytime you see fit.
Contrary to a paid hosting service, where you have to end a certain period of time that you signed up for, a free plan grants you the chance to leave whenever you want.
Now, let’s move on to the negatives.
Cons of Free Hosting
We could talk about many negative aspects here (the internet is full of them), but I’ll only mention the really important ones, so you know exactly what to expect from a free hosting plan.
The first con worth mentioning can be the service itself, or at least what it offers you. It’s widely talked about that a free service, no matter its type (hosting or not), won’t give you the same number of features a paid one does. And unfortunately, with web hosting this is totally true.
A paid plan will give you pretty much everything needed to manage your website. Let’s list only some of them: SSD storage space (even unlimited) for fast loading speeds, free SSL certificate for a secure website (of utmost importance these days), free professional email accounts, dedicated customer support, 1-click installs for many free programs, website builder platform, free domain name (not every company offers this), and the list could go on.
So, if you want to have all these features granted by the service at hand, it’s best to choose a cheap hosting plan that offers these in its package. With a free service, you won’t know (yes, it happens) for sure what you get included.
The other important negative aspect is the quality of the service. Don’t get me wrong! There are quality free hosting services out there. But you really have to dig deep to find them.
Unfortunately, in many cases a free plan is not a quality service. For example, your site could crash while someone is using it. Or having a low uptime number is also a common problem with most free hosting plans.
And uptime is really important for any website, even if you just launched it. Usually, the industry standard for server uptime is 99,9% / year. With a free hosting service, the percentage could go down significantly. So keep this in mind when you search for free hosting.
Now, I think you should have a pretty good idea about what free hosting is, and why companies choose to offer this service.
Most importantly, you know why free hosting could be a good choice for certain types of people, and why it could be a wrong decision for others.
To be able to make the right decision, you have to think about what you expect from a hosting service in the first place. If you do not want too many features, just the basic package enough to own a website and you’re also not really bothered by uptime figures, free hosting could be ok for you.
Something else you should also take into consideration, is what your website needs to work seamlessly. Smaller, simpler websites could very well work on a free hosting platform. But bigger and more complex ones will need a paid service to back them up. If you are looking for a good hosting for your business website, I recommend checking out our list of top 20 hosting providers, which offer good service for affordable price.
To put it simple, free hosting is great for beginners who want to start their online venture on a $0 budget. For businesses, free web hosting is not an option.