For a small business owner who is trying to save money or simply working from a bootstrap budget, free web hosting can certainly at first seem appealing. A quick search for “free web hosting” on any search engine will produce hundreds of returns from hosting companies offering this kind of service.
But is free web hosting right for a small business trying to start from scratch? Or even for an established business? We think the answer is no, and here are the reasons why:
Extremely Limited Disk Space and Bandwidth
Utilizing a free web hosting account may save you a few dollars a month on expenses, but the total cost in lost revenue could be painful. Free web hosting accounts are targeted toward personal or blog websites, webmasters testing new designs, or even neighborhood businesses who just want a “business card” website on the ‘net’.
With this in mind most web hosting companies offer free accounts with very limited amounts of disk storage space, and constrained bandwidth. If your online customers cannot access your account due to exceeded bandwidth, your business suffers. Avoid free web hosting if your web traffic is likely cut off.
Unwanted banner ads, landing page ads, and pop-up ads are common with free web hosting accounts. Your customers may be fed up, frustrated, or even scared off due to these types of forced unwanted advertisements.
No Unique Domain
If you want to establish your own unique domain such as YourBusinessName.com, forget it. If you sign up for a free web hosting account, you will likely be assigned a URL that contains the name of your hosting service. If you are trying to establish an online presence with a competitive advantage, an assigned URL will be a big disadvantage.
No Email Accounts
A reliable web hosting account will usually provide email accounts for your domain. A free web hosting account usually does not have email provided, which prevents you from communicating with your customers or clients without a “free” Gmail, Yahoo!, or other similar email.
No Uptime Guarantee
Free web accounts are usually not granted a “guarantee” of uptime. That means if the web host experiences frequent and common server errors, your business website could disappear from the web every time the host server gets a ‘bug’.
Lack of Scripting Support
A free web hosting account is “no frills”. That means you won’t get the added features usually found with regular paid accounts like script language support, software plugins, eCommerce tools, or even multimedia files.
Sure, if your business is small and just needs a place to “hang your hat” on the ‘Net, a free web hosting account may be right for you. But if you are conducting business, communications, or any other internet marketing through your business website, it is best to avoid the “free” accounts offered by web hosts.