Unless all you want is to have a small website or blog to share with friends and family, free web hosting is far from ideal. If you hope to make money from your site or establish an online presence for a traditional business, free web hosting packages may offer an easily accessible and convenient service, however they do come at a high cost – the integrity of your website.
Online business generally requires minimal investment, but it does require some money to start up nonetheless. If you want to start a money-making website, you will need to pay for it but fortunately the costs are usually quite low. If you are still convinced that you want to give free hosting a try, consider first the reasons why it should be avoided.
Lack of Professionalism
Few visitors are going to take your site seriously if you use a free web hosting package. Most people will realise straight away that you’re using a free hosting package simply because you won’t have your own domain. In most cases, your address will look something like this: “yourfreehostsname.com/yourwebsite.” This hardly looks professional in the eyes of the visitor and the address won’t be as easy to remember either. The first impression that many people will have is that you aren’t serious about online business and that you are approaching it in completely the wrong way.
Almost all free hosting packages are supported by advertising. This means that you will, in most cases, have no control over the advertising that appears on your site. You could end even up advertising a competitor’s websites. In other cases, the advertising might not suit the theme of your site and this will greatly degrade its entire look and feel.
When you are not paying anything for hosting, the provider is rarely under any obligation to provide a stable and reliable service. The site could go down at any time and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it. What business websites really need is a guaranteed uptime of 99.6 per cent at the very least but even this is not likely to be a feature of a free hosting package. You will also have a much lower bandwidth allocation which means that your site could automatically go off air if it uses up its bandwidth quota.
Poor Technical Support
Customer service and technical support with any reputable paid hosting package is typically available 24/7 and this often includes round-the-clock phone support as well. Do not forget that for every hour your business website is offline, you could be losing money. If something goes wrong, you need to be in contact with customer service sooner rather than later and be able to rely on them for fixing such problems promptly.
Limited Set of Features
Most free hosting packages include their own very basic content management system (CMS) which allows novice users to easily build a website without getting involved in any coding, database setups or other complications difficulties associated with web design. It is very unlikely that you will be able to use your own CMS and thus you will be stuck with the very limited set of tools provided to you at the start. These features will probably allow you to add a few pictures and choose from a few preset themes but little more.
With free Web hosting, you can generally forget about ecommerce features. You will likely not be able to add a shopping cart and a payment system to your site. You will not usually be able to add your own advertising or affiliate programs. Basically, most if not all the things that allow you to make money online will be unavailable to you. Minimal security will also be a factor.
Looking for the Alternatives
When you consider the vast disadvantages of free hosting, particularly when it comes to business websites, it quickly becomes obvious why it is necessary to start looking for the alternatives. What any business needs is its own domain name, good customer support, high bandwidth and guaranteed uptime. The package also needs to be scalable, offering you the opportunity to purchase extra features, more disk space and more bandwidth as your business grows. To start with, however, the costs are typically negligible. You can often find an adequate hosting package that starts from as low as five dollars per month. Domain registration costs vary greatly, but for most unregistered and available .com addresses, you will not usually have to spend more than fifteen dollars per year. When you consider the great advantages of cheap web hosting as opposed to a free hosting package, it really is a no-brainer when it comes to deciding which solution to go for.
To find out about the services offered by Digital Pacific including domain name registration, shared web hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting solutions, visit www.digitalpacific.com.au or call 1300 MY HOST to speak with one of our friendly team members.