Free vs Paid Website Hosting

by Mike on October 8, 2008
in Hosting

Free vs Paid Website Hosting

Many newbies to the world of blogging and website building think they can save themselves some money by using a free web host. And while they do save themselves a few bucks a month, they cost themselves a lot more in the end. In this showdown of free vs paid website hosting the winner is clear…and its a knockout.

Here are 7 reasons why free website hosting sucks…

1. Your domain name looks like crap.  If you use a free service to host your site or blog you’ll have a domain that looks similar to these:

http://www.geocities.com/mikecollins/

http://mikecollins.blogspot.com/

You don’t really have your own domain, you’re just piggybacking on someone elses.  It looks amateurish and if you’re trying to build an online business no one will take you seriously.  They’ll just think, “What kind of business can’t afford the $9 a year for their own domain?”

2.  Most free hosts severely limit the amount of disk space you have to build your site. You’ll only have enough room to build a few pages and then you’ll quickly run out of room. 

3.  In addition to space limitations you’ll also get slapped with a bandwidth cap.  As soon as your site becomes even mildly popular you’ll exceed the cap and your site will be shut off.  No one will be able to access your site until the cap is lifted at the end of the month.  That’s just an insane way to do business.

4.  Offering web hosting services for free is probably not the most profitable business plan.  In order to actually make some money or at least break even free hosting providers impose their own advertising on your site.  Check out this typical geocities site to see what I mean.  Do you think the guy who created all the content on that page makes money off those ads to the right?  BUZZ!!  Wrong!  Geocities does.  Nothing like giving away your visitors for free!

5.  Most free hosts don’t offer any domain based email.  In other words you won’t be able to have an address like me@yourdomain.com.  This isn’t the end of the world as I actually prefer to use Gmail most of the time anyway…but it does look more professional to have a real email address that matches your domain. 

6.  One of the biggest expenses web hosting providers face is customer support.  A well-trained and effective customer support team doesn’t come cheap.  Many free hosting providers get around this by severely limiting support.  Others eliminate it altogether.  Now if your site is down or you run into technical problems, wouldn’t it be nice to know you had someone to turn to?  Even the cheapest of paid hosting services offer 24 hour support and you’ll be glad its there when you need it. 

7.  When it comes to free website hosting…you don’t actually own anything.  You’re simply borrowing space on someone else’s site and they can take it away at any time and without warning.  Awhile back there was a big uproar over Blogger blogs being deleted without notice.  Lots of bloggers lost all of their original content and had to start over from scratch.  What if your host deletes your account (on purpose or by accident) or goes out of business?  You’ll lose everything. 

So there we have it.  The battle of free vs paid website hosting is over.  By now you should see the importance of finding a reliable web host and price shouldn’t be your only concern.  Look for a reliable host that offers a combination of features you need for an affordable price.  And be sure to check out web host reviews to see what actual customers are saying before making a decision.