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You Get What You (Don’t) Pay For: 8 Reasons To Be Wary Of Free Web Hosting



Web hosting plays a very important role in your website’s performance. The selection of a hosting service is a matter that deserves some careful thought. Above all else, though, you need to weigh the relative merits and drawbacks of free hosting very carefully. The price it entails can’t be beat, of course, but here are eight ways in which free hosting is eminently beatable:

1. Downtime. When servers go down, the websites they host are unavailable. This happens far more often with free hosts than with paid ones. In companies that offer free hosting alongside paid hosting, you can imagine which servers get repaired faster and maintained better.

2. SEO. This is especially important if you want your website to make you money. Search engine optimization can increase the flow of traffic to your site, but it relies on having your own domain name. This is not something you’ll get from a free host, and so your hands are tied in the SEO arena.

3. Customer support. As mentioned in point number one, the companies that offer free hosting usually also have paying customers. The lion’s share of customer service is naturally going to flow towards them, because the dangers of losing their patronage are greater for the hosting company.

4. Bandwidth and storage. Free hosting services provide the absolute minimum amount of these two vital online resources. In fact, if your website becomes very popular and traffic climbs too high, you may find that your “free” hosting has become paid hosting thanks to overage charges.

5. Limited growth. Thanks to the factors mentioned in the previous point, it is extremely difficult to foster a growing website on a free hosting service. There is simply not much room available. If you know a flower is going to grow quickly, why plant it in a tiny pot?

6. Limited functionality. Modern websites rely on some very advanced programming, and a lot of it calls for robust support from the server. Features like SSL encryption and PHP dynamic pages need a server set up to use them, and many free hosting servers will not be.

7. Security. In keeping with their general theme of minimalism, free web hosting services employ only the most basic security measures to protect your data. Security software is often outdated, and sometimes it doesn’t get the regular updating that it needs to stay effective.

8. Minimal savings. For the last point, here is the most important thing to consider: Free web hosting saves you very little money. Effective paid hosting packages that suffer none of the drawbacks listed here start around five dollars a month, and that price will not grow until your website does.

Of course, free web hosting is not without its uses. It is excellent for putting up small personal web pages. If your hosting needs are grander than that, you should put away the dream of free hosting and concentrate on finding a cost-effective hosting service. Do not be afraid; it’s a lot easier than you think!