The thought of free website hosting is undoubtedly tempting. You’ll find lots of companies offering free website hosting. And you’ll probably also wonder why everyone else isn’t using a free website hosting plan. To help you choose the right web hosting platform for your personal or official website, we’ve created a list of ten most common misconceptions about free website hosting – and why it’s not a good idea.
In a nutshell, after doing a reality check on free web hosting providers, you’ll find that:
– Free web hosting (in most cases) has too many limitations
– A lot of free hosting plans have hidden costs
It’s all too easy for first-time buyers to get tricked with free offers. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we briefly discuss the ten most common myths about free website hosting.
Myth #1: Free Web Hosting is 100% Free
Nothing of real commercial value is free in this world. The companies that work on a freemium business model usually provide limited free versions of hosting services. This means you’ll soon be forced to upgrade to a paid service. For example, you may get limited storage and bandwidth with no FTP access or option to transfer your content to another provider.
Also, many free web hosting offers turn out to be limited period trials (in case you miss to read the fine print). This means you’ll soon be asked to pay up as soon as the trial period ends. And if you’ve added your credit card during signup, you will most likely be charged.
Myth #2: Free Web Hosting is Great for Startups
Free web hosting can prove to be very expensive for anyone, even start-ups. It can negatively impact your website in many ways, such as:
i) Slow load times
Many free website hosting companies overload their servers with hundreds of websites, and this severely slows down the servers. As a result, your website takes longer to load. This not only creates a poor user experience but also adversely impacts your website’s conversions and rankings.
ii) Poor page appearance
Since freemium models depend on ads for revenues, your website will typically be cluttered with ads that you can’t remove (even if you’re a coding expert).
iii) Risk of your website shutting down
If your free website hosting provider faces any technical issues (not uncommon), your website could disappear for hours or days. While this may be mentioned in the terms and conditions, it doesn’t guarantee that your website content is safe. However, if the company folds up and you didn’t transfer your content to another provider, you could lose all your content forever.
iv)Unprofessional web address
Having a website address such as yourbusiness.myfreewebsite.biz doesn’t look professional. As a result, your website visitors and prospective customers may find it difficult to determine the authenticity of your business.
Companies providing free services need to make money to stay in business. Just remember that if you’re getting the services free, they could even sell your email address, personal information and your website details to other companies. If such information ends up with scamsters, it could be used to hack into your bank account or cheat you in different ways.
vi)Outdated site building tools
Unlike good paid hosting providers, free web hosting companies typically offer very limited (or obsolete) tools and services. This not only makes it difficult (and time-consuming) to manage your website, but will most likely make your website look unprofessional.
Myth #3: Free Web Hosting Is Safe
Most free web hosting providers do not support SSL unless you upgrade to a paid plan. This makes it easy for hackers to steal your private information – such as names, phone numbers, and passwords – because the information is not encrypted (an SSL certificate protects the integrity and confidentiality of data, thereby making it difficult for hackers to steal information).
They also have a poor reputation for distributing malware – due to inadequate security measures, financial limitations or (usually) a mix of both. Regardless of the reason, it will adversely affect your website, brand and online visibility.
Myth #4: Good Web Hosts Are Expensive
A good host doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. If your goal is to sustain your business and make profits, paid web hosting services offer great value for money. For example, HostGator India provides (among other things) 24/7 support, 45-day money back guarantee, 99.9% uptime, Host-in-India promise with up to 10x lower latency and faster load times. The most significant benefit of opting for a paid hosting provider is that it lets you focus on your business without having to worry about your website.
Myth #5: Free Web Hosts Allow the Same Monetization Opportunities
Most free web hosting providers run their ads, and add affiliate links or AdSense to your website, due to which you won’t be able to make the most out of your website.
If you’ve read the terms and conditions of most free hosting providers, you’ll find that:
– You can’t sell your website or transfer it to someone else because it’s their property, not yours.
– Many of them can restrict your ability to monetize your blog by posting ads on your website.
Myth #6: Free Web Hosts Will Backup Your Website
Most free web hosting providers do not offer backup services (or will only provide limited backup space). This means during a malware attack, server failure or disaster, there’s no way you can restore your website.
Myth #7: Free Web Hosts Provide E-commerce Features
If you’re planning to run an online store (with zero investment) on a free web hosting platform, think again because most free web hosting providers:
– Do not provide database access, thereby making it impossible to run an e-commerce store
– Do not support SSL3 features that are necessary to run an e-commerce site
Myth #8: Free Web Hosts Have Their Own Data Centers
Most free web hosting companies will hint at owning their data center with their private servers. However, unless they explicitly mention it, do not believe them. If the data centers where your data is hosted are not reliable, you might risk losing your data through data theft. And if your website is hacked, you will find it extremely difficult (or impossible) to recover your data.
A good hosting provider has full command over their data center, servers, and hardware. They are better equipped to provide an added level of protection. Paid hosting providers such as HostGator India house their physical servers in extremely safe data centers with professionally managed intrusion detection mechanisms to prevent unwanted people accessing or disrupting them on-site.
Myth #9: You Can Easily Improve Your Free Website
Free hosting offers a very basic level of services – and that excludes most plugins and latest scripts. This means that you will not be able to customize your website and server to your liking or even:
– Start a mailing list to communicate with your readers and target audience
– Optimize your website for search engines (such as by reducing your page load time, etc. so that you can outrank your competitors)
– Use a good website builder tool to manage your website properly
The bottom line is that if you want to move beyond the basics, you will need to upgrade to paid hosting.
Myth #10: Free Web Hosting Comes with Free Support
Most free website hosting providers do not offer any support. This could mean having to set up your website on your own – at best with the help of poorly presented and limited documentation. This can invariably mean having to hire a freelancer to set up your website.
With so many companies offering free web hosting services, it’s easy to be taken for a ride. Therefore, it pays to read the fine print and ask a few questions about what you’ve just read above. If you do, you will no doubt find an excellent web host that meets your needs and fits your budget.