If you’re thinking about starting a website, then you have inevitably come across free hosting. This allows you to have a website without any hosting charges, and you may not even have to pay for a domain. Some people are overzealous and they jump on getting a free website, but others are a little cautious and wonder about the potential pros and cons. Here’s why free hosting is available, and whether it’s good for your website.
While there are many different hosts that offer this service, it’s usually done in one of three ways. The first way is that you get a subdomain. For example: mywebsite.provider.com. Most social websites, like Tumblr, offer this service. It’s also popular amongst blogging engines, like Blogger and the free version of WordPress. You can choose the subdomain (the “mywebsite” part), but the provider section is controlled by the service provider.
The second way is that advertising is placed on your website. You can typically use your own domain, but there are some that just use a subdomain. You may get some money from advertisements, but typically the provider keeps the majority. The ads typically come from AdSense, but they can also be affiliate ads.
Lastly, there are those that allow you to use your own domain and a respectable cPanel-based service, which you get with most premium hosts, but the bandwidth and disk space are incredibly low. Most of these hosts make money by either selling domains or offering premium services. They may also place some advertisements on your website, but this is becoming unpopular.
ProsThe best thing is that you can get a website for free. You don’t have to pay $10 to $15 for a domain (unless you use a free host that allows you to do this), and you don’t have to pay the monthly or yearly hosting charges. There are many sites out there that provides good hosting reviews such as allpowermoves.com, GoDaddy, etc.
These websites also give you an opportunity to run a website without having a face a penalty (ie: wasting money). Owning and operating a website isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but making sure that your website grows, gets traffic and is safe can be tasking. A free website allows you to see if you really want a premium website, or if you even like having a website. Many of the cPanel hosts are best for this because you’ll learn how to upload files and perform common managerial tasks, but subdomains work well, too.
Building a free website is also incredibly easy. Since most people who use this service are novices, the majority of free hosts offer templates and helpful tools so that you can put a website together in minutes. You can do the same with a CMS like WordPress, but it’s still a good benefit if you’re new.
You aren’t in full control of the website. This is the worst part, and it’s why hosting a store or serious business venture on a free host is a terrible idea. Yes, you can typically write and post anything that you want (within reason, even premium hosts typically don’t allow you to post foul language or pornography), but that’s not the point. Let’s say that the host isn’t making any money. The service provider can shut down all of the connected websites without even giving you a warning. For example, Yahoo’s GeoCities was running for years, but it recently shut down and all of the subdomains are gone.
You’re going to work a lot harder to gain traffic. There are two reasons for this. First of all, most search engines don’t give subdomains and free hosts the prominence that premium hosts get. Before you ask, the same goes for Blogger, even though it’s owned by Google. You might have to do 5X the SEO work just to get ranked. Secondly, people don’t trust free websites as much. While you won’t face this problem so much if you are running a small blog, you’ll notice that people feel wary about visiting and buying from your website if you offer products and services.
The terms and conditions may not work in your favor. First of all, the host might place many advertisements on your page. So much that your content will fade into the background and visitors will run away as quickly as possible. The host might also require you to place their logo and a “Power by ‘Provider'” label on the bottom of the page. The host may also have very strict guidelines when it comes to posting content and doing anything else on your website.
There are two people who would love free hosting. The first group of people are those that just want a website for fun. You aren’t looking to make money. You just want to post your thoughts on a blog or some of your favorite pictures. For you, the Internet is a way to express yourself and you want to do that without looking into a host’s resources or paying a bill.
The second group of people are those who are a little scared of paying for a website because they don’t know what to do with it. Use free hosting to see if you even like owning a website. You can also see if you have what it takes to come up with enough content to keep readers happy without running out of steam. This gives you a chance to learn the basics without having to pay about $30-$50 (depending on how long it takes) for a premium host.
Otherwise, use free hosting with caution. It’ll hurt you sales and business, won’t give you enough resources and might shut down at any time. These hosts are great for certain people, but they’ll hurt your efforts if you don’t fit into the two groups listed above. These hosts are fun, but they’re not reliable enough to use for your business.