If you have read our eBook “Website Redesign 101”, then you know just how much goes into both designing and redesigning a website. It’s important from time to time to redesign and rebuild your site as it could potentially drive more traffic to your website. One of the first things to consider is web hosting. If you have already looked into web hosting, then you know that there are two options: free web hosting, and paid web hosting.
Of course, hearing that anything is free is pretty appealing. Free is free, and you could easily put the money you would have otherwise spent on web hosting towards other things (like hiring on an inbound marketing firm!). But does free mean that you’re getting a shoddy web host? Or is web hosting now just so common that companies offer it for free to stay competitive?
Today we’re going to go over what’s good about free web hosting, what’s bad about it, and whether it’s right for you and your company. When you read the pros and cons below, think about the kind of website you have, its purpose, and the kind of traffic that you are hoping to have come through once you get up and running.
The Benefits of Free Web Hosting
If you’re considering free web hosting, then you should have a website that’s been created for personal reasons and that has fairly simple web pages. If you don’t plan on having a lot of data interaction, then a free web host may be for you.
Another reason why free web hosts rock are for their testing purposes. If you want to test out a certain element of your web page or just learn about web design, then a free web host is definitely for you. They’re also very helpful when it comes to sharing content amongst different niche groups. Voluntary and non-profit organizations without a whole lot of extra money in their budget should also consider opting for a free web host.
The Drawbacks to Free Web Hosting
You have probably read on a million free web host sites about how they have a 99.9% guaranteed uptime and limitless bandwidth and e-mail capacity. But when you read the fine print, you have to make sure that your website is primarily of a certain nature (i.e. personal and simple sites, like we mentioned) in order for that to be true. Oftentimes the website load times are slow. And if your website crashes, you can cause the whole server to crash. Or if someone else crashes the server, guess what? Down goes your site too. Can your business afford to be offline for 4, 6, 12, or even 24 hours?
Another drawback to free web hosting is that they typically don’t have a whole lot of storage space and they have no database. That means that there are no SQL or MySQL databases either. And while a lot of these web hosting places will tell you that they have customer service, they often:
- don’t actually have any.
- the customer service is so atrocious that you end up feeling more frustrated with your situation after you contacted them.
Now consider this: free web hosts have to make their money somehow, right? Here’s how they do it: with advertisements. Where do you think they place those advertisements? On your website and blog, of course! And while you may think that having these ads on your site isn’t such a bad deal, in reality it is.
The advertisements are in no way relevant to your web content. This makes your site look cheap and tacky. If someone’s on your site to learn about the new iPad3 and you have weight loss and get rich quick scheme advertisements at the header, footer, and sides of your blog, do you think your visitors are going to be impressed? Not likely. It looks unprofessional.
Here are some disadvantages simply put:
- Websites from free hosts often don’t show up on search engine results like others—now consider the fact that most people look for products and brands on the internet using search engines. Can you really afford NOT showing up in results for people to find?
- There’s been such a bad name created for these hosts by hackers and spammers that most people won’t even visit your site at all if they see it’s a free website.
- It basically can look like you don’t believe in your business enough to even pay for webhosting. If you don’t believe in your business, why should anyone else?
One last drawback to mention: most free web hosts won’t give you your own domain. This does you no favors. If you want to have a fully branded company and fully optimize your site for SEO, then you need your own domain.
Free web hosting is decent – or at least it’s decent for anyone with a personal web page. But if you’re looking to run a professional and legit business online, yet have a small budget, check out some $3/month web hosting plans. They offer a whole lot more for anyone on a shoestring budget.
If web hosting is something you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today for your free marketing analysis.