Today there are several hosting services who claim to offer great features, performance and pricing, including discounts. It can be challenging for a new user to navigate the web hosting landscape, especially when a wide variety of hosting services offer “free” web hosting. What is “free” web hosting, when it is advisable to use a free web host and when should you forgo the free web host for a standard paid web hosting. In this article I will answer these questions, so that all you guys out there who are new to web hosting have a good idea of some of the jargon that is a part of the world of web hosting.
Before we get to free vs paid web hosting, I’m sure you’d like clarity on what exactly “free” means. The very reason the term, “free” is so eye grabbing is because we all know it is ridiculous to expect a free service, since we’ve grown up having been told that there are in fact no freebies in life and that everything has its price. However, there are hosting services that offer web hosting without any payment including a free sign up. But, why would they offer a free service? The reason is that they have an ulterior motive, which is to run their advertisements on your website. These advertisements are where these web hosts make their money. As you can imagine, a big banner ad at the top of your page or a pop-up ad for every click through is going to hugely hamper the user friendliness of your web page.
When Should you use a Free Web Hosting
Now while there are lots of cases where it not advisable to use a free web host at all, there are a few exceptions where it can be beneficial to use a free web host. Although, free web hosting is free, it is not necessarily a great investment if its going to hurt you in the future, but there are places where it is profitable to use free web host.
Free web hosting is a great option for beginners who are looking to learn the ropes of running their own website or blog for the first time. The majority of free web hosts offer all the basic features of a paid web host, including MySQL , CPanel, email and more. The great thing is that you get to play around with all the different features, as well as CMS systems like WordPress or Joomla, which come free as well and would have otherwise cost you a couple bucks.
Another great way to utilize a free hosting, is for experimentation. Not only can you play around with the basic features on offer, you can also experiment with code. This works especially well, if you already have a website up and running and you are attracting a good number of visitors to your site everyday. With a free hosting, you can play with the code and not have to worry about affecting your site or bring it down and losing your visitors.
When Should you not use a Free Web Hosting
While free hosting has its merits, if you plan on getting serious about your online efforts at generating revenue, either through running a successful blog or a business website, you should definitely consider a reliable paid web host.
Customer Support: Although, free hosts offer most of the standard features, the quality of their service is less than poor. With free hosts, you absolutely cannot depend on email or chat support let alone phone assistance. Support is almost non-existent and you will find yourself doing most of your own research. If you plan on running a business, you need to make sure that your host provides 24/7 customer support and technical assistance, so that you sail through the glitches that have the potential to ruin your business. Check out my Bluehost and Hostgator reviews to learn about the best hosting features at great prices.
Downtime: This is another area where free hosts are horrible. They do not particularly care about the quality of service to their free clients, and so you cannot rely or depend on their service when you might need it the most.
Uptime: Most reliable and established paid hosts will guarantee up to 99.5% of uptime, which is great for any kind of venture. Free hosts will more often than not have no mention about uptime or support anywhere on their website, and even if they do, there won’t be any guarantee.
To summarize, free host are great for learning and experimentation, but not for business or blog or any kind of website through which you hope to earn an income. Google does not care for free hosts, so if you do use them for your websites, it will hurt your online impression and you pretty much won’t have one, since you won’t be visible on search engines.