19 Apr Why You Need to Avoid Free Web Hosting
In order to be a successful business today, you need to have a website. But for a website to exist on the internet, it needs to be hosted by a hosting service provider. There are two types of hosting providers—free web hosting and paid/premium web hosting. It’s important to know which web hosting option will be the most beneficial for your business long-term.
Website hosting plays just as vital a component as web design and usability do for your online presence. While free web hosting might initially sound tempting, it’s important to know why it might be best to avoid. Free web hosting providers might offer you a free domain and other supposed benefits, there are many downsides that are best to be aware of before making your web hosting commitments.
There are several reasons why to avoid free web hosting. First, though, we will uncover what web hosting even is.
What is Web Hosting?
A web host is a service provider that allows users to use memory space on its servers through leasing or directly buying space. This is memory space that is used to store and publish your website online. Additionally, web hosts can offer physical space and an internet connection for servers owned by other parties. All of these services are what is known as web hosting.
Why Does Hosting Matter?
The user experience of your customers is the most crucial part of your website, which is why it’s important to find a reliable web hosting service provider. Unfortunately, free web hosting services don’t offer great user experience options.
Web hosting comes into play for web design and user experience by providing space for your web files to be stored on the provider’s servers. These files are then accessed and put to use when users visit your website. Not putting careful thought and caution into selecting your web hosting service provider can tank your SEO results, put your website and information at threat for security issues and malware attacks, and ultimately lead to lost revenue.
Reasons to Avoid Free Web Hosting
You stand to lose far more than you would gain when choosing free web hosting. Here are just a few of the most important reasons why you should avoid free web hosting services:
• Nothing is really free — Free web hosting providers only offer a free but limited version of their hosting services. In order to access the full options, you will have to pay a high price to upgrade. The free versions will only offer a miniscule amount of storage space, barely any bandwidth, no FTP access and no option to transfer your web content to another provider in the future. Upgrading to the paid version may seem like a good idea, but the premium services generally cost more than other paid hosting options.
• You can’t sell your site — Reading the terms and conditions of free hosting providers will reveal that you actually aren’t the owner of your website. This makes selling or transferring your site impossible because it’s not your property, it’s theirs. Always carefully read your terms and conditions agreements, especially for web hosting.
• You could lose your website at any given time — The free hosting provider may shut down services if they find themselves in a sticky situation. While you may receive some advance notice of this, your site content may be in jeopardy. Your site may be available for a period of time if only new signups to the provider are prohibited, but there’s also the chance they could shut down completely, deleting all of your content with it. Free hosting providers can also frequently take down sites that break the terms and conditions of the service.
• You have limited design options — Free hosting providers only offer a few, very basic layout themes. These themes come with minimal customization options. Forced ads will also likely be plastered across your site, which both bring in revenue to the provider and to your competitors of whose ads may be shown on your website.
• You don’t have server control — With free web hosting, there’s no way to grow your server options as your website and web traffic grow. Free hosting service usually can’t handle more than a little traffic for each website. Low bandwidth with high web traffic leads to downtimes and slower load speeds, which can ruin your user experience and bring down your search engine ranking.
• The free domain you get is not yours — You are usually offered a “free” domain name when you sign up with a free web host, which usually looks something like “yoursitename.freesitename.com”—which doesn’t look professional. This domain is actually a subdomain, meaning it is owned by the provider, not you. If they go out of business, your domain will disappear along with them.
• Improving your site isn’t possible — Not only will your design options be limited, as stated above, but there will be no way to customize the functionality of your site. Free hosting providers do not offer plugins, which are added-on features that allow you to do things like sell items, start an email list and more. If you need anything other than the bare-bones basics, you will have to upgrade to premium hosting.
• Transferring to a new provider is difficult — Free service providers intentionally make it very difficult to move your website off of their servers to a new provider, so that you will be more likely to keep using their free services or be more likely to upgrade with them. The steps become very complicated, or near impossible.
• You won’t have good SEO rankings — Websites from free web hosts are usually ranked very low on search engines like Google. This is often because of the poor usability, slow load times, and frequent downtimes of these sites. Site visitors are also more susceptible to spammers on free websites, and it can be difficult to rank high on search results for certain keywords.
• You can’t earn ad revenue — Because free hosting providers are only out to make money for themselves, they usually prohibit putting your own ads or affiliate links on your own website. Going against the conditions of your terms and conditions by including your own ads can result in your website being taken down.
Free web hosting may seem like a great idea at the outset, but it’s a hard trap to get out of once you want to grow your website. Premium web hosting providers offer customizable hosting options that allow for growth as your business and website expand over time. They are also more reliable and better equipped to improve your SEO strategy.
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Contact us to learn more.