Free web hosting: when is it the best choice and when should you not use it?

Setting up a small website for private use is a good way to introduce you to the world of web hosting. There are multiple free options at your disposal and all of them have their own pros and cons to worry about.

However, the most notable thing you should ask yourself is whether or not free hosting is suitable for your needs? Keep in mind that every service provider needs to make a return in some shape or form, and “free” hosting is only free in its initial title card.

Why is it free at all?

The question you should ask yourself if you come across a seemingly free web hosting platform is why is it free in the first place? If their service is so professional and sought after, they should charge for their customer support and make revenue, right? Of course, web hosting companies know this better than anyone, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons as to why a web hosting platform would offer free services to someone:

  • Marketing purposes. Web hosting platforms sometimes offer free trial periods that can give you a glimpse of their services and make it easier to decide whether or not you want to use them long-term. These trials are often in a 1-3 month period form after which you will have to pay or have your site shut down.
  • Testing servers. Sometimes a web hosting agency will provide free hosting for people who accept to be a part of their quality control and assessment program. What this means is that you can get free hosting for your private website and give useful feedback about the services and systems in place by the hosting agency. This is a win-win scenario for both parties and serves as a good way of getting proper hosting support for no price whatsoever.
  • Heavy ad support. The “aha” moment that many users face once they have created their free website is that it just became riddled with ads. Banners, pop-up ads and other intrusive offers for whatever product the hosting agency is promoting will allow you to use the hosting services free of charge. In exchange, your visitors will have to deal with obstructive advertisement that makes no sense in the context of your own content.

The pros

  • A good place to start

Using a free web hosting service isn’t as bad as it seems at first. Starting your own blog and using the benefits of free hosting all while employing some professional writing services to edit your texts is a good way to get ahead.

Many bloggers start from scratch. And many business owners use free hosting at first because it’s risky free and costs nothing. No matter what niche you want to dedicate your newly-started website, you can rest assured that free hosting is a good choice. You can always upgrade to accommodate the needs of your content and the hits you get on a monthly basis. Until that happens, make sure to get the most of what you can with free hosting options.

  • A platform without costs

As we have mentioned earlier, web hosting does cost money, like everything else in the world. The question is who pays for it instead of you and in what way? When it comes to you and your users, you don’t need to worry about it. Since the company you chose to host your website already has plans in motion to cover your expenses.

The “costs” go far beyond the monetary expenses you can experience with using premium web hosting services however. This is a good way to test out new web design templates, play around with coding and do pretty much anything you want in a controlled environment with user support only a few clicks away. Keep in mind that you are also under no contract or obligation towards the service provider. Which is a double-benefit if you plan on starting a website with experimental ideas in mind (like new and unexplored blogging topics).

The cons

  • Lack of advanced functionality

When it comes to cons however, free hosting might just cost you a bit too much to handle. Advanced functionality is something you should really utilize if you want to start your own website. Using custom plugins, widgets, e-commerce tools and other premium site functionality is basically impossible when free hosting is concerned.

Even if the provider offers the support for these features, you should make sure if that is truly the case. You could end up losing your own money in the process due to server failures or other problems. If you are looking for ways to start a simple blogging platform or anything that might only require the rudimentary tools to function properly, don’t be afraid of using a free hosting solution.

  • Intrusive nature of advertisement

How bothersome are ads when using a free hosting program? It depends on the service provider. But you can rest assured that your visitors won’t have a fun time browsing through your content if the banners they see around the edges of your content have nothing to do with it.

For example, having a website about animals and pet care sponsor ads that promote frozen goods or cleaning products makes no sense in practice, and it shouldn’t have a spot on your site. If you are planning on using your site for local/semi-public purposes, this is something you can deal with and it won’t make much of a difference for your visitors. However, people who plan on using free hosting solutions for their international websites or in order to run legitimate businesses should think twice if their reputation is worth the few hundred dollars they might spend for premium hosting on a yearly basis.

Weighing your options

Try using free hosting for several weeks and make sure to toy around with the limits in which you are able to operate in. If whatever the provider offers you is enough for your needs (at the moment), why not opt for it and see how it goes? Premium hosting should always be the smart choice for people who plan on running long-term businesses or sites that are crucial to their day-to-day work.

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Article Author Details

Alaine Gordon

Alaine Gordon is young and talented content manager. She has been writing professionally since 2010 about almost everything, starting from psychology and to the finance. Alaine Gordon graduated from the University of Colorado with B.A. in Journalism, 2011. She is open-minded, creative person who loves to make the people smile. Her credo is ‘Life is a fun enterprise’. In her free time she loves traveling, reading science fiction and knitting. Her huge dream is to visit every single country in the world.