Free Web Hosting that Works

Free web hosting doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations.  However, the fact that there are so many free web hosts means that they must be doing something right.  The fact is, many people can and do use free web hosting very successfully.  With a little ingenuity, free web hosting can be made to work very well for you, too.

Running a small website on free hosting

First of all, look for a free web host company that will allow you to use your own domain name.  Although most free hosts include their company name in the domain title, there are some companies who offer this virtual hosting service.  Using your own domain name, of course, looks more professional.

In the same way, look for a free web host that allows you some degree of freedom in creating your website, or, at the very least, a company that has decent website templates.  Being restricted to a company template isn’t a bad thing if you like the look of that template and it’s suitable for your purposes.

Check out the lock-in periods before you sign up to anything.  Even though no money has changed hands, some free hosting contracts stipulate that you can’t move your domain to another host for anything up to a year.  This is a long time if you’re not happy with your current host.  Go through the small print in minute detail, and if there’s anything in there you don’t agree with, refuse to sign.

Look at the issue of advertisements.  This is how most free web hosts make their money.  Again, this might not be an issue if the adverts are hosted discreetly, and can be made to fit seamlessly into your web design.  Most websites carry adverts these days, and consumers have come to see these as normal.  However, if your website is going to be plastered with pop-ups, banners and posters, it will look cheap, messy and nasty, and will actively put your visitors off.  Be aware aswell that you have no control over the content of those ads, which might be inappropriate for the image you’re trying to portray.

Security and reliability are other areas you should consider.  Free web hosts generally have more basic levels of security than paid providers, and experience more downtime.  Make sure that both of these things are at least tolerable for your purposes.  Be aware that a free web host is unlikely to have much in the way of technical support, so if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.  Lack of security also means that it would be unwise to host credit card processing facilities on a free website.
Finally, see if your free web hosting account will accommodate things such as file transfer and server side script editing.  These will allow you a much greater degree of control over your own site.

If all of those things are in place, there is no reason why you shouldn’t run a small to medium sized website on a free web host with a great deal of success.  After all, you have nothing to lose.

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