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Downsides of Cheap Free Web Hosting

By Staff

If you are looking for a host for your website, you may be weighing the options of paid hosting vs. free hosting sites. You may be thinking that if you can get the hosting services that you need for free, why pay for it. The answer is clear, because you will get exactly what you pay for and with free hosting exactly what you are not paying for. Depending on what type of site you have, the consideration of whether to use a paid host or a free host will make a big difference to you.

For instance, if you have a business site that you want hosted, you should not consider using a free host. The reason being that if you are trying to portray your business as successful but it is obvious that your site is unprofessional because it lacks the bells and whistles that paid hosts offer, then how do you really expect to gain new customers? On the other hand, if your site will be used for personal reasons like sharing information, photo’s etc. with family and friends, then free hosting may be for you. You wouldn’t want to pay a host for hosting that type of site.

If for some strange reason you choose to use a free web host for your site there are some downfalls to doing this that you should be aware of. There are tons of startup hosting providers that offer free hosting because more and more people are using the Internet, so they want to attract you to put a site up and offer it free to make it easy for you to do so. 

The first downside to accepting free hosting is the various annoyances that you will experience with a free host. For example, the main reason that free hosting is offered is simple, advertising. Companies pay the free host as sponsors to allow them to put “banner ads” or annoying “pop-up ads” on your site so that everyone who visits your site will view their ads and maybe buy their product or service. These ads can be quite unseemly due to the nature of the ads and the quality of them. They can be located anywhere on your website or pop up at will. This will hardly make a good impression on potential customers.

Free hosts offer you a chance to put your website on the Internet without having to pay for it. They don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts, they do it to make money, period. While giving you the offer of using their service s for free, they fail to tell you that you will be getting “limited” space to use. They will also remove you from their service if you should exceed the use of the allotted space you have been given. Ask your self how that will fit into your plan to grow your business.

 Ah, but all is not lost. A new breed of free hosts is emerging, hosts that provide “bannerless” ads and in some cases, more space that most free hosts. In other words no more banner ads on your free site and a little more room so that you don’t feel so closed in. Is this progress or what? Absolutely not. This is another downfall in the world of free hosting. The way this little scheme works is that they give you free hosting without ads on your site, then run at an operating loss for about 6-months. Suddenly out of nowhere you are contacted by them letting you know that because they have no advertising ads and are running at a loss, they now need to charge you a monthly fee for your hosting services. They basically used the 6-month period to draw in as many new free host clients as possible hoping to build a nice following who wouldn’t leave them once they started charging for their services. Nice plan huh?

The biggest downfall with using free web hosts is the lack of good support. What they offer by way of support services is poor at best. They also experience frequent “down-times” when no one, not even you can access your site. This is extremely bad for your potential customers and could result in lost sales for your business. In addition, the terms and conditions they set are outrageous in some cases and are changed whenever they feel like changing them, often without notice to you. The single most disturbing fact about free hosts is that they actually consider anything you create and publish on your site to be THEIR intellectual property, not yours!

It is a fact that most free web hosts became a factor on the web about 4-years ago, and the fact of the matter is that most of them do not stay in business longer that 1-year. How’s that for stability? If you have a business site or a mission critical site, can you really afford to have it in constant jeopardy? These services are saturated with flaws that can have a detrimental effect on your website. So, it really gets down to asking your self if it really is worth it all.

Let’s recap the downfalls of using a free web host vs. a paid host to host your website. A few were not discussed above but exist none the less.

         Overload in advertising and banner/pop-up ads.

         Frequent downtime without access to your site.

         Lack of support, dependability or reliability.

         Use of limited space, then possible removal if you overuse the space allotted.

         Lack of secure server access.

         The speed of their servers may be slower than those of paid hosts.

         Restrictions on file sizes and types allowed to be uploaded to your free site.

         Unremarkable or easily forgettable domain names that are so long that they take your breath away before you can even remember them.

You also need to be aware of the “so-called” free hosts. There are many of these free hosts that offer free hosting but charge you a ridiculous amount of money for a domain name for your site. Others will try to lure with free hosting hoping to convince you to upgrade your service and pay for additional features. In essence, their service is not free at all. Look for the hidden catches in all offerings from so-called free web hosts.

The Final Decision

After analyzing all the facts on free host providers vs. paid host providers, it is easy to see that the differences between them is significant, just as the impact from using free host services can have a very negative effect on your business.

It’s a fact that paid host providers offer more secure services, which is what you are paying for. More reliability, dependability and support comes with a price and is simply not matched by any free host provider. As you can see, in most cases, a paid web host provides a significantly better service than do free hosts. I f you are convinced however that free hosting is right for you, do a little homework first. Review free host sites to see what type and how many ads are places there. Fins any website review articles that you can and read them carefully. Look up free hosting sites on various free host directories available in the Internet. The point here is to “look before you leap!” After all, the saying that “you get what you pay for” really does hold true when considering the services of a free web host.


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