Every business needs a website if wants to be found on the internet. A website has to be hosted on a web server. For a physical store it is very important the location of the building where products are sold, for a business website the web hosting server is one of the most important things. If you do a quick search, probably you will be able to find a lot of free hosting services, and you may think, why to pay for hosting if there are some for free. In this article we will talk about the downsides of free web hosting.
How free web hosting works?
Webpages are hosted on servers, and maintaining a server can be difficult and expensive. This is why most business owners and individuals choose to use a web hosting company to host their website. There are many web hosting providers offering hosting service for different price and with different features. Some of them are offering free hosting as well. But what is the catch if free service if everything cost money?
Is free hosting really free?
The goal of every company is to make a profit, and providers who offer free services, in this case hosting, have to figure out a way to recover the loss that is generated by the servers that are offered for free. They will try to sell premium hosting, domain names and other services to their free users. There are also cases, when the free hosting is offered only for trial period, and if you want to continue you will have to pay after a certain time. Even if you think you will be saving money, in the long run it can hurt your business if continue using free service. The two major issues are the reliability and security of your website.
Is free hosting reliable and secure?
Usually free hosting is offered by not so popular companies or hobbyists trying to build up a business. In most of the cases these servers are rented from big hosting companies but I met cases when someone had his servers at home. These servers probably are not built to support hundreds of accounts and thousands of connection, so the result will be slow website loading, outages, delays and a lot of other problems. If a website is hacked on the server, all other accounts can be compromised as well, so there is a big downfall in security as well. Another problem beside unreliability and security can be the guarantee issue. Some companies can vanish overnight and all your hard work and website is gone. If you don’t have a backup of your website, probably you will have to start again from scratch.
Another problem that you will find with free host accounts is the unwanted ads on your site. Having your site on a server, the admin of that web server can control your site and change it anytime. Some free hosting services insert banners and text links to your site, trying to recover the loss this way. It is obvious that they will take all the profit, but you will get free hosting in return. Another problem is that you don’t have control over the ads: you can wake up seeing your competitor’s ads on your site, which will drive away visitors and potential customers from you.
Features and limitation in free hosting
Because the server resources are limited, free hosting always has some kind of limitation: they can limit the maximum size of your website, restrict the number of pages for your site, etc. There could be a limitation to the bandwidth as well, that means, if your site reaches a certain amount of downloads, it will be shut down without any prior notice. In most of the cases only html and css files can be hosted, and images and other multimedia files have to be uploaded elsewhere. It can be very difficult to manage your files having them in multiple locations.
Paid services over free hosting
Having a paid hosting account will make things easier, and you can spend your time for more productive things then managing and worry about your website. On a shared hosting account there are very few limitations and comes with lots of benefits, such as: domain name, professional email address, support for multimedia, support for blog and forum, and in most of the cases 24/7 customer support to help you with any hosting related issue.
If you want to build a professional website using a site builder, iPage will do the job, if you want a WordPress blog, you may check out BlueHost. These two companies are offering reliable services at a very competitive price. You can also get a free domain name if and a lot of other features that are nonexistent in free hosting.
The bottom line
I’m not trying here to convince you to go for a paid hosting, but if you want to build a professional website and you really care about your business, please avoid free hosting. A cheap shared hosting account will do the job for a startup website and you can expand later on, but believe me, you don’t want to save money on free hosting.