If you are searching for web hosts, the chances are that you will come across plenty of services that are available for nothing. However, is free web hosting worthwhile? Let’s take a lo and find out.
When Free Web Hosts Can Work
If you are running a very simple, personal website, then free web hosts can work for you. If you write a blog, for example, or just want somewhere to post your current resume, then there is nothing wrong with using a free service.
What About For Business?
If you are serious about your business, then free web hosting isn’t going to do you many favors. There will be some severe restrictions applied to your service that are more worthwhile paying for. For example, if you want to have shopping pages or a large website that requires a half decent amount of disk space, then you won’t find what you need without paying money for it.
Another problem with free web hosting is that the only reason they don’t charge you is because they earn money through advertising. This means that you can expect banner ads splashed across your pages from many of these free services. It isn’t a professional look, and you have no control over what ads appear.
Flexibility and Speed
You can expect a limited amount of flexibility with a free web host. Most will allow you very little disk space. Many only enable you to have static pages – although some will give you the ability to add some customization in exchange for them placing ads on your site. They also tend to be slower and less reliable. Check out our article to find out more on why web host speed is important.
Expect little in the way of customer service. Most free web hosts have customer forums where you can find support from other users. Others will usually have some kind of knowledge base where you can read up on common problems. However, you are unlikely to find a free service offering support on the phone 24/7 – which could be critical if you are running an online business.
Although a free web host will save you money in the short-term, there are going to be costs involved that you will have to pay for. This is especially true if you are in business. The primary reason is that with no customer service of any real description, you are going to need to invest in professional IT support. If you don’t, you will be risking your bottom line through outages and downtimes – which will be beyond your control. Even so, a good IT support firm will be able to help you navigate through some of those issues, but certainly not all of them.
There are valid reasons for using a free web host. If your website is for personal use, or you are just starting out on a new business venture, then they can prove useful, especially if you have little or no budget. However, if you want to grow your business and make a more customizable website, then paying for your web host service will bring a tremendous amount of benefits. For those reasons, free web hosting cannot be recommended for businesses with an eye on success.
[Image: Tim Dorr/Flickr]