There are 3 essential things required to make your website live on the internet to be accessed around the globe. The website address or domain name, a website (files), and last but definitely not the least, a reliable hosting service to store your website.
Types of hosting
There are several hosting solutions available from shared-hosting to VPS to dedicated servers. Dedicated servers are generally quite expensive where you will have to buy a machine that is dedicated only for the websites and web services you are hosting. In case of VPN, although websites of several clients are stored in a single physical machine, each hosting will function more independently like a dedicated servers, but will be slightly less expensive compared to dedicated machines. Shared hosting is the most popular kind of web hosting for personal blogs and small to medium-sized business websites. As the name insists your website will be hosted along with hundreds or sites and share the resources.
There are also some free shared webhosting services out there, which can help you host your website without spending a dime. This could work especially if you are on a shoe string budget or if you are just experimenting something and don’t really want to subscribe to a hosting service. There are some advantages to using a free hosting and there are certainly some disadvantages of using such a service. Free shared hosting might work well for some kind of websites and might not work for others. Without further ado let us take a look at the good and bad of free hosting services.
Free website address
Most of the free hosting services will also provide you with a free website address. The URL might not look pretty or professional and your website will not be hosted on the root domain. Your website address might look something like, yoursitename.domain.com or domain.com/yoursitename.
Also some free web hosting services allow you to use your own domain name. If you already have a domain name you have purchase with domain name registrars like WMD or GoDaddy. You can update the appropriate name server and use your own domain name, as well. But then you will be spending $10 to buy a new domain which beats the whole purpose of making a site live without spending money.
Free blogging platforms like Blogger by Google and WordPress are technically speaking free hosting services, but they will not provide you CPanel access like popular free hosting services out there.
This is a no brainer. Of course you don’t have to pay anything or give you credit card details and subscribe to a payment plan. As mentioned earlier if you are just testing something or can’t afford a hosting service, you can go for free hosting service.
Fancy tools and features for free
Most free shared hosting services provide you with all the luxuries that are provided by regular paid hosting. Some of the features include, CPanel, web mail hosting, web tools, free script installer, FTP, etc.
They use CPanel which is the most popular Unix-based control panel with useful tools and an easy to use GUI. If you are a newbie and want to get your hands on the real deal without subscribing to a paid hosting service. A hosting service with a complimentary sub-domain could be just perfect for you. You can also use your free hosting service as testing ground to experiment everything.
Only for small websites
Free webhosting might not work for larger websites because of the limited amount of resource. They usually don’t provide with enough bandwidth and space for your website. They might work for small websites which do not get a lot of visitors with only a limited number of pages. If you are planning to host a social networking website, a thriving forum, or an e-commerce website which demand a lot of resource, you might have to go for a paid web hosting service.
These web hosting providers might claim they are free, but they are not. Most of them will show advertisements on websites that are hosted with them. If these websites are generating enough traffic they could well be making more money than they would be making by billing their customers.
These obtrusive advertisements will make you website look unprofessional. It could even be damaging to the website if the hosting provider is using annoying pop-ups. Their terms and conditions will also require you to let them post advertisements on your website.
Some free webhosting services provide support only through community forums. If you are not a techie and don’t have the expertise and can’t waste your time fixing issues, you should probably stay away from free web hosting services. Some providers might, require you to pay for support, as well. So, even though you are not actually paying anything for the hosting, you might have to pay if you need any help. Also, free hosting service support executives are quite notorious for not replying to emails quickly.
They might host more websites than they are supposed to and the quality of their servers might not be good either. Therefore, you will have to face unexpected down times and your website might generally preforming pretty bad. If there are more visitors to you website and is using more resource than it should be using, these free hosting providers might shut your site down without any warning. Also, all your data is at risk since they might discontinue their service and pack their bags whenever they want and they can’t be hold accountable.
A lot of these hosting services since they are free are used by hackers and scammers. If they get banned, they can always create a new account. Chances are that some scam websites and your websites will be sharing the same IP address. If Google figures out your neighbors are into doing something shady, it will also affect ranking in search page and reputation.