Whether you’re setting up your first blog or creating a website for your business, everyone is always keen for the cheapest hosting possible option when it comes to web hosting. Therefore, when you see offers for free web hosting it can be incredibly tempting.
However, there is some truth in the saying ‘you get what you pay for’, and it’s rarely more pertinent than with free web hosting. Sure, if you need to host a small poster or brochure type website for a very short period of time, you may be able to get away with using a free hosting service. However, it’s not recommended and can actually create many more problems than it solves.
Here are four reasons why you should avoid using free web hosting services and instead shop around for a good deals on web hosting.
If a company or organisation is offering free web hosting, then you would be right to have concerns over several aspects. First would be reliability. When paying to host a website with a well-established web hosting company, they can usually boast certain ‘uptime guarantees’ and you will be able to back this up with user reviews.
However, a free web host is highly unlikely to have the means of guaranteeing your website remains online for any period of time. It may go offline during peak periods or suffer from technical issues. Unlike those paid-for services where your contract with the hosting provider will guarantee they have a team on hand to deal with any technical queries or downtime, you won’t have the same luxury on free services. You may even have no idea when or if your website will return.
This is possibly one of the biggest issues with a free web hosting company. All of the big household names in the web hosting game will invest heavily in security, ensuring that the software they use on their servers is constantly maintained and updated to ensure any security holes are kept out. However, this is an incredibly expensive thing to do, and if your website is being hosted free of charge, you’d have to be concerned whether the company doing so has any means for keeping up with security.
Additionally, if your website is ever hacked, you will almost certainly have no back-ups available from a free web host whereas paid services will often be generating regular back-ups automatically for you.
If you cast your mind back 10-15 years, you could name a whole range of websites that used to exist offering some sort of free website hosting. From Yahoo Geocities to Lycos Tripod, there have been many. All of them have one thing in common; they did not last.
If you’re building a website it is likely that you want to establish that site and run it for many years. Doing so on a free web hosting service is risky business, as it can simply just be turned off without notice nor recompense. Sure, any company can close down, but at least if your paid-for web hosting company was to close, you’d get some sort of notice and warning.
Our final reason for avoiding free web hosting services is because in nearly every instance, there will be something in the small print that essentially says some of the freedom you expect does not exist. This could be as drastic as you not owning any of the content, but will very likely include you not being able to sell your website/blog should it become successful.
You may also find some other restrictions, such as selling advertising. Even when using WordPress’s free hosting, you have to carry their own advertising and you are not allowing to monetise the site by using getting your own advertisers for your website.
There may also be limitations when it comes to what types of software and functionality you can use on your website.