As the common saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free,’ right? The answer is no when it comes to hosting. Depending on your expectations and needs, this may not or may be true. Many web hosts provide free web hosting — however, is it really ‘free’? An objective analysis helps shed more light on why you should or shouldn’t sign up for such services.
What Is ‘Free Web Hosting?’
Free web hosting is a space on a website server that is housed somewhere in a server datacenter or farm situated anywhere in the world, made available free. It comes without a fee so that you can ‘self-host’ your files, supported software application, website, or blog in a web server that is on your computer. Users are responsible for installing, maintaining, and creating files and applications. Free web host providers offer only the tools and space to get your applications and files working and accessible through the internet.
One -click installation or easy site builders tools may not or may be included in your free package depending on limits placed on the account.
It is important not to confuse free web hosting with website builders or hosted blogging platforms that provide pay-as-you-go/premium or free services, such as About.Me, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Tumblr, WordPress.com and many other popular web-based services.
Here are the pros and cons of free web hosting:
Pros of Free Web Hosting:
- Cost effective
The fact that you do not have to pay a cent for web hosting is the biggest advantage.
- Testing purposes
If you need to test a particular element of a web page, or you want just to learn about website design, then free hosting will surely do the trick for you. With free hosting, you can poke around, or test some software scripts from a web server.
Cons of Free Web Hosting:
Now that you are enjoying free hosting, website owners have to make money. Moreover, since the money is not coming from you, they have to generate through other means. Revenue from advertisement comes in the form of affiliate links or ads. If you sign up for free hosting, expect ads.
- Customer support
With free hosting, once you experience any technical hitches on installation, or you need guidance/tutorial, there is no one you can ask for help.
- No primary domain
Free hosting plans never provide a separate domain name. They only offer a sub domain on their domain name. Ever seen some personal blogs with an address in such a format — mywebsite.blogspot.com or mywebsite.wordpress.com? If you want your own main domain name, you must get paid hosting services.
- Limited speed and bandwidth
Free hosting services have limited data transfer speeds and bandwidth. If you exceed the limits, the provider halts the hosting thus forcing you to sign up for the paid hosting plans.
Previously offered at very low bandwidth, today’s internet connectivity comes at fast speeds with minimal charges. With the current economy, new entrepreneurs are looking for efficient ways of saving money when it comes to startup costs. Most individuals are settling for free web hosting. Is it worth it, both in the short and long term? The above are some of the pros and cons of free web hosting.