Free Web Hosting: Pitfalls & Rewards

When it’s time to find Web hosting, you have two choices: get a free Web hosting provider or pay for your Web hosting services. Both of these options each have their own downfalls and their own rewards, and it is up to you to make an informed decision. The more informed you are about your decision, the more likely you will be to receive something that is best for you and your situation. Learn some of the reports and pitfalls of free Web hosting below.

One of the best things about free Web hosting, of course, is that it is free. This means that you can try out a website without any investment. With free Web hosting, it is also likely that you won’t have to pay any setup fee. Set up fees are quite common with paid hosting, however, some companies will be willing to waive their set up fees in order to get your business. While this is a great perk, free Web hosting is best for those who want to build a small personal site that only their friends and family will visit. If you need a website because you want to start a small business, it is best to go with paid hosting. It is very unprofessional to have pop-ups and banner ads all over your website, not to mention that you will have more options to choose from with paid hosting.

That brings us to the first and very most important pitfall of free Web hosting: banner ads and pop ups. Even though the provider is offering you free Web hosting, they still have to make their money. This is done by putting banner advertisements and pop up ads on your website. While this can be okay for a small personal site, that is only for your very close friends and family, these type of advertisements can be very annoying to many Web users. That is why, if you want your website for more than that, you should pay for your hosting -- which can be as cheap as five dollars per month. To great news about these pop ups and banner ads is that they keep free Web hosting open as an option for those who need it.

The second pitfall with free Web hosting is that you won’t have as many options. This again is okay for those who want a small personal website for friends and family to check out, because they really don’t need a professional-looking site and likely will spend little time with it. If you expect your website to be viewed by a wide audience, you will not only need more bandwidth to help with all the traffic, but you will also want more options so that you can do more things with your site to make a more aesthetically pleasing to your visitors. This is especially true for a business website. If your website is going to make you money, you need to spend money on it.

The third free Web hosting pitfall is that it can be unreliable. Many Web hosts still do what they can to make their hosting the best it can be, but you may not have any kind of guarantees on the uptime of your site. Most free Web hosts offer this kind of guarantee and you will be compensated if they fail to meet their promises. This gives you a sense of security because you know that your website will be accessible to visitors at least 90% of the time -- and if it isn’t you will receive a credit to your account or free hosting for your trouble. This is especially important for anyone running a small business because, if your customers can’t get on your website, it will cost you money. Therefore, you need to choose a provider that is so confident in their service, that they are willing to back it with this kind of guarantee. The better the compensation for the guarantee, the less you stand to lose if they fail to keep their promise.

Although you may not want to ante up any money for Web hosting services before you know if you want to stick with the provider, most paid hosting providers do offer some kind of “free” trial. They will allow you to use the service, usually for a full month, and then let you choose whether or not you are satisfied enough to stick with the company. If you aren’t fully satisfied with the services you have received thus far, you can request a refund and go to a different provider. It may take extra effort to switch providers after you already have a website up and running, but it may be better than paying for a service that you’re not happy with.

Whether you choose paid for free hosting, the more you know about your choices and the more informed you are when you make a decision, the more satisfied you will likely be in the end. This is because, if you know you have choices and you know what those choices are, you can choose what you think is right for you, your situation, and your website. Take the time to discover the different providers out there, pick the one that you think may be best for you, and put them to the test with a free trial. If you like them, great; otherwise you have the opportunity to move on without risk. This is one of the best things about hosting and, if you can afford not to go with a free Web host, it is best to find a cheap -- but good -- hosting provider that offers the things that you need.