Why You Should Avoid Free Web Hosting

Free hosting is not a good practice for a legitimate business website. Learn why you should NOT use free web hosting & how to find a better alternative.

Why you should avoid free web hosting

For many small business owners, owning a website is an important strategy for success. Unfortunately, owning a website can be expensive. Even if you decide to build a website yourself and cut down on the costs of hiring a professional web designer, you still need to pay for web hosting and a domain name. Web hosting is not too costly, but it is an ongoing service that you must continually pay for. Most web hosts charge around $5 to $10 per month; unless, you choose one of those web hosts that sounds “too good to be true” offering completely free web hosting.

Is Free Really Worth It?

Wait, a minute. Free hosting? That sounds great, right? Before you get too excited and upload your website files to some free server, it’s important to remember nothing is truly free. If you’re serious about your online business and want a professional website, then you should reconsider and read these reasons why you should NOT use free web hosting:

Virus/Malware/Hacking

Many of these so called “free web hosting” companies inject malware into your website or even share your personal information with others. Some even use “free hosting” as a front for identity theft. Because of the “free” business model, that means they don’t have the financial resources to protect you from determined hackers. Your site could get defaced or even deleted due to poor security practices.

Content Limitations

When you get something for free, there’s always going to be some kind of drastic limitation. You may be limited to a mere 20MB of space for just a few photos or images and text. They may limit your bandwidth to untenable amounts. You may be out of luck when it comes to the number of blogs you can have or emails you can send, or any other number of things that could hurt your business or personal use.

Poor Performance

Free hosting is often unreliable and is very unprofessional for a legitimate business website. Free hosting can have extremely slow page load speeds, so beware!

Poor Customer Support… or None at All!

Free web hosting often lacks good customer support. Some might not even offer customer support at all. If you have a problem, you are basically on your own.

Spam Advertising

Free web hosting companies have to make money somehow. Many of them will inject your website with paid ads so they can make a few extra bucks. Unfortunately, this can make your website look like spam and can even hurt your rankings on search engines.

Website Ownership Issues

Some free web hosts have been known to delete their member’s website for no reason. This can be very frustrating if you spent a lot of time building your own website. Imagine spending a week building and customizing your website to exactly how you want it, only to find it’s been deleted the next day for no reason. And, according to many free host terms of service, you don’t actually have full ownership of your site as long as it’s hosted with them.

Branding

Which looks more professional to your customers: Example.com or Example.SuperCoolFreeHost.com? If you want free web hosting, most likely you’re not going to get a free top-level domain name setup with it. If you do, great, but the foregoing warnings still apply.

Search Engine Optimization

Good search engine optimization can be the difference between being on page 42 of Google search results pages (SERPs) or being on page 1. Which would you rather have? If you answered “page 1”, then you want to run as far away as you can from free web hosting. In fact, you’ll want to pay a premium so that you can rest assured that your hosting is secure, reliable, fast, and not part of a “bad neighborhood” of shared hosting. Free web hosting meets none of these critical requirements.

A better Alternative to Free Web Hosting

A serious business owner shouldn’t use a free web hosting service. Paid hosting is the best way to go. But what about the high costs of a paid web host? If you’re on a really tight budget, then you might want to check out a cheap, shared web hosting account. There are literally hundreds of web hosting providers that offer shared web hosting. It is also a completely legitimate and safe practice for small businesses who need web hosting. One of the best and most affordable shared web hosting companies is iPage. They are a legitimate web hosting provider that offers secure and reliable web hosting at an affordable price. You can find their website at www.ipage.com and purchase a web hosting account for about $2/month. To learn more about iPage, read our full iPage review.

About the author


  • How To Get Online is a resource for entrepreneurs & do-it-yourselfers who want to learn about building websites and getting their business online. We publish helpful tips, reviews, and news on web technologies & trends.

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  • Tristan J.

    If, for some reason, it is free, then there’s always a caveat to it. Actually, there are other good options that are still free. The first is GitHub. You can host your website on GitHub Pages, all you need is an account. The second option is Dropbox. Lastly, there’s Weebly, a free and cheap web hosting service.