For the small business owner or new startup, free server hosting can look tempting. However, unless the free service is run by a charity organization, it must have a business model. In short, they must generate revenue in order to maintain the service and make a profit. A common way to generate revenue is through the use of advertisements. The content you create brings in traffic which the hosting provider profits from when they click on the ads. Advertisements look unprofessional and divert a percentage of your traffic.
There are some free hosting services that don’t monetize with ads and provide all the tools needed to set up a professional looking website. Some even provide tools for running an ecommerce site. If they are a legitimate hosting service, then they typically provide a free starter package which has a very modest bandwidth limit. If your site exceeds this, you run the risk of losing your account unless you upgrade to one of their premium accounts.
If you go into this knowing in advance that you will ultimately upgrade to the premium account, then joining the free hosting plan might make sense. However, many people join these free plans with the idea that they will have free hosting forever. When their business takes off and traffic levels ramp up, they find themselves under pressure to either upgrade or find a new hosting provider. Good business decisions are rarely made in such crisis situations.
Another problem with free hosting services is the possibility that they could be a dishonest scheme. They may be an attempt to collect credit card numbers and run by individuals in foreign countries. Setting up this kind of front is easy since all that’s required is getting a reseller hosting account so that their scheme does appear to actually host websites.
Free hosting accounts are often used by web spammers who create thousands of junk sites with the goal of making money from traffic sent to them via the search engines. Search engines respond in kind by not indexing websites using free hosting that has been abused by web spammers. If you unknowingly use one of these hosting providers, your site won’t get indexed either.
Free web hosting providers also have little incentive to provide a quality service since their profits don’t come from customer payments. This means poor reliability, slow page loading speeds, and little to no customer service.
The risks and downsides of free server hosting are not worth the small savings in money. For more information on quality and reliable server hosting, please contact us.