Is Free Hosting Good for my Business?

Although free hosting is a tempting prospect for anybody looking to run a website on a budget, as a long term option, it has severe limitations.  In this article, we’ll look at what those limitations might be, and how they might affect your online business.

Disadvantage of free web hosting

Lack of space.  Free web hosts generally tend to offer much lower amounts of disk space, something like 15 megabytes on average (compared to an average of 250 megabytes for even the cheapest paid hosting plan).  This allowance will get used up very quickly, leaving you no room to expand your website.

Lack of bandwidth.  In the same way, free web hosts are not renowned for their generous bandwidth allowances.  You could very quickly find that even modest amounts of traffic will exceed your allowance, bringing your site crashing down.

Lack of security.  Security is an area where free web hosts tend to cut costs.  Sadly, it’s an area that can’t really be compromised on.  A website hosted on a free server is far more likely to get hacked, or to be corrupted by a virus.

Lack of control over advertisements.  Free web hosts make their money by selling advertising space on your website.  You have no control over this.  As you’ll know from your own browsing experiences, a website that’s dominated by pop-ups and banner ads is a very unattractive website indeed.  Also bear in mind that you’ll have no control over the content of those ads.

Lack of e-commerce resources.  A free web host is highly unlikely to have SSL security features installed on its servers.  This means that you can’t accept online payments with any degree of safety, effectively preventing you from running an e-commerce operation on a free server.

Lack of control over domain names.  If you own your own domain name, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to use it.  A website hosted on a free server is usually listed as a sub-domain of the hosting company.  If you’re running a business, this can damage your credibility and therefore your online earnings.  At the very least, it doesn’t look very professional.

Lack of reliability.  Free web hosts are notorious for excessive server downtime, and slow response speeds.  This might be because the host is running outdated servers in an effort to cut costs, or simply because the server is overcrowded by lots of users.  In any event, if you want to be sure that people can actually see your website, you may need to pay for the privilege.
With all that said, free hosting does have its place, especially for beginners and personal websites.  As a long term business option, however, a free web host would be a very unwise choice indeed.

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