Free Web hosting is a great option if you want to establish an online presence and and don’t have the money to invest in paid hosting. It also enables you to test the waters before making a large investment. There are a couple different options for free web hosting. One is to seek out a company that offers free hosting. The other is to build a free website with one of the online services that also offer free hosting e.g. WordPress dot com, Blogspot dot com, etc.
Pros of Free Hosting
1. No costs
It will only cost time to build your website because the hosting is free. It’s great for a beginner because you can get your hands dirty without incurring any expenses. It will enable you to learn and experiment with all the features offered by the hosting company.
2. Create unlimited websites
If you use a service such as WordPress dot com you can build unlimited websites without expense. This enables you to test market your product or service before investing a lot of money.
Cons of Free Hosting
1. Unable to host your own domain name
If you want to establish a professional online business you need to register and host your own domain. WordPress dot com will give you a free domain name and hosting but must you include WordPress in your domain name e.g. bob.WordPress dot com. This subdomain looks unprofessional and may be a hindrance to doing business with other professionals in your niche.
2. No professional e-mail address
A professional online business should have an e-mail address that reflects the domain name of your business. If you use a free e-mail address from Gmail or Hotmail customers may think you are a “fly-by-night” business person. This is because many spammers use these free e-mail accounts to send out spam messages or to hide their identity.
3. No guarantees
There is no guarantee a free web host is going to be there all the time. They may simply be offering this free service to bring in a lot customers or running a trial. The service may suddenly disappear or may start charging a fee once they get established. If the company disappears you’ll lose your domain name, website and all the content you created.
4. Limited technical support
Free hosts need to maintain low operating costs. This means they can’t afford to hire technical support staff. If you have a technical problem you may not receive any help or it may be very slow.
Some companies offer free Web hosting by displaying advertisements on your web pages. This will annoy your customers and drive them away plus it looks very unprofessional. A professional website should not have banners or pop-ups that display ads unrelated to your niche.
6. Lack of control
Because you don’t have your own hosting account you have limited control over your website. For example you won’t be able to install your own scripts, software, create your own e-mail accounts or observe your website statistics.
7. Inability to optimize web pages
In order to attract visitors to your website the web pages need to be optimized for the search engines. This means you need to create the appropriate meta-tags, header tags, file names, image descriptions, navigation links, etc. to make your site search engine friendly. A website built on a free hosting account won’t enable you to do this therefore you’ll miss out on receiving a lot of traffic from the search engines.
The cons of free web hosting clearly outweigh the pros. Don’t waste a lot of time and money investing in a free web hosting account. Instead purchase your own hosting account to show others in your niche you are a professional business person.