So many things on the web operate on the freemium model, so we are all accustomed to expect freebies. However, if you are a business, the one thing that you definitely should invest in is your web presence. Given the low cost of webhosting and domain registration these days, it is simply not worth it to use free webhosting. Here are some of the issues and disadvantages the comes with free webhosting:
1. You don’t own your site.
When you don’t own your own site, you have no power over its existence or presence. The company can decide to take away your free-dom any time. Your site can be removed for many reasons.
When you use free webhosting, you are paying for it by allowing the host to place advertisements on your website. You will have banners and/or pop-up ads on your homepage and/or all of your pages. You will have no control over the kind of ads that show up on your site or how they show up on your website. While there are free hosts that does not force advertising, they tend to close down with alarming frequency due to lack of revenue.
When you have your own website, you can even make money from placing your own advertising.
3. Lack of credibility
Let’s face it, you are telling the world that you are cheap and small fry. For less than $10 per month you can own your own hosting, and for as low as $10 a year you can have your own domain name.Â If you are hosting your business on yourbusiness.freesite.com instead of yourbusiness.com, it tells your potential customers that you don’t take your business all that seriously.
4. Search engines wont’ like your site as much
It’s not just the visitors to your website, but the search engines will also not take you quite as seriously.
5. Lack of flexibility in design and functionality.
Your website will be limited by what templates the free webhosting company offer you. Often you won’t be able to change look and feel easily, change layout, or add interactive features (e.g. plugins, shopping carts, forums, chat rooms, etc.).
6. Lack of help and support options (if any)
You get what you pay for — if you find a good webhost, you often get support and reliability. With free webhosts, there is no guarantee of reliability and if you have problems you are on your own.
7. Free web hosting is notoriously unreliable.
Free hosting don’t have generally have a great reputation for speed, uptime, and availability. They also tend to shut down a lot. Remember GeoCities? That is long dead. Free hosting is only ok for people who don’t care if their site is very available. It’s OK for hobby sites, for testing, but definitely not for business.
If you are determined to use a free site, then at least get yourself a domain name. This will make sure that your address stays with you, even if your host goes caput.
Here’s a good resource on different types of free hosts.
Most free webhosting providers have tiered services for a reason — usually, once you have a website, you will grow to need more. If you choose a free webhosting provider, you will have to think ahead because chances are you will be stuck with your host unless you want to spend extra money and effort to move it. Start your web presence right to begin with, and you can save yourself from a lot problems down the line.