Like the title says, Avoid Free Web Hosts, you get for what you pay. Getting something for free obviously has some bending. Like pirated products, free web hosts won’t give full benefits and you cannot survive long. I’m writing this article with personal experience since I initially hosted HellBound Bloggers (HBB) on a free web host and I know the hazards. If you want your blog to run in a smooth way, please don’t go for it. Below I have mentioned some reasons why you should avoid free web hosts.
Why You Should Avoid Free Web Hosts
1. Poor/No Customer Support
Your site crashes. Database got wrecked. Someone hacked your site. It’s your headache, and you can’t expect your free host to fix it. They won’t provide 24×7 Live Chat support or Ticket System.
Even if you mail to the default Support email address (say email@example.com), it will take years to get a reply, I bet that will also be a default one like, “Your query has been received and a member of our staff will review it and reply accordingly.” The End.
If you ask, “Why would someone give something for free?”, the term “Advertisement” comes into play. They monetize your account or your blog and earn through it.
In exchange for your free hosting space, they will keep advertisements on your site. These advertisments support your free host and give them the money they invested. The advertisements will be normally pop up and pop-under.
In Websites : They used to display a leaderboard ad at the top of every website hosted on their free hosting servers. A big loss for blog owners.
In cPanel & Plesk : That’s not the end, they’ll also put some ads in your cPanel or Plesk, and you need to think twice before clicking a link, that might be a advertisement.
3. Bad Downtime
You won’t have stable uptime. Since it is free you can expect more number of users there. Free hosts won’t have much resource to control all those users, so you can expect a good downtime now and then. You don’t want to disappoint your readers with a “Server Not Found” or any such errors right?
You write some awesome posts and it gets viral, next day if you check the Analytics it will be below the normal range. Why? Site gets down because of that viral traffic.
4. Not Reliable
It’s not possible to trust them entirely. They won’t bother your site much, they have other works to do.
Such free hosting providers can shut down or stop providing you the services without any prior notice.
5. Lack of features
Free Hosts won’t have much important features a normal “web host” should have. They have restricted features which is only available for premium account holders. They won’t have fantastico, Softaculous and more. Why we need them? Because you won’t have any problem for installing WordPress, it takes only few clicks.
That’s not the end, you have unlimited features on premium web hosts and that’ll save you lots of time, so that you can work on other stuffs.
6. Credibility Loss
You can’t expect your customers or clients to trust your service when you use a free host for your sites. They will think that you are not serious about what you are doing.
If you ask me, I’ll wonder, what’s the point in earning money when you can’t buy a good host for your site. It won’t be good for branding your blogs or websites. When someone finds out that you are using such hosts, they rarely approach you for any service or feedback about hosting.
7. Lack of Security
Even big and reliable hosting services are facing these issues and they are trying their best to enhance their security. So we can have a safe side there. Hackers normally target free hosts and find the loopholes.
Remember this, in shared hosting, if hackers are able to access one website, then they can easily gain access to all the other sites by using malware or other hacking techniques. Don’t be a victim of this.
8. Slow Loading Pages
Remember Google hates that. More importantly, your readers hate that. You don’t want your readers to bookmark your post (say some tutorial) and forget that completely right?
Free hosts have poor configuration, so you will have issues while loading the pages. Adding more fuel to the fire, even some cache plugins will not work.
9. It will affect, when you sell your blog
At one point you may want to sell your blog and having a free host will eat your reputation. It will decrease the value/price of your blog. That’s one thing.
And you can won’t able to easily transfer the data from your existing host to new one. Having a host with support facility makes this process without fuss.
10. Limited Disk Space and Bandwidth
Well, obvious, limited space and bandwidth. Why do you want to feed your blog with low quality food? Having poor space and bandwidth will destroy your blog very soon.
If your site draws too much traffic in future, then your blog will be affected by that low bandwidth.
11. You host your blog with spammy websites
That is what “Shared Hosting” is about. You host your website along with other websites in a server. If it is a free host, you can brag yourself that you are hosting your site with some dangerous spammy websites. Thus reducing the overall ranking of your site.
Matt Cutts, of Google fame, says that if you have 1000s of spammy websites that are on one IP or shared hosting account, then that can look bad. You can check this useful video from Matt.
You can use tools like Yougetsignal for doing a reverse IP Check to find the domains hosted on your server.
12. Normally Hosted On Subdomains
Most of the free hosts won’t have the feature to link with your DNS. So you’ll probably end with their subdomain for your site.
Suppose if your host’s name is free-hosting.com then you may need to use something like yourdomain.free-hosting.com for your site. Looks disappointing? You have no choice.
13. Strict file size limits
They have file size limits. So if you have a high resolution picture or some video clips, you won’t be able to upload using your free plan. You’ll probably end up with messing the server. Almost every free hosting plan has strict file size limits.
14. Short & unreliable FTP sessions
When you try to upload or download some files using FTP client like Filezilla (Check alternatives), you may face short sessions, and you may not successfully receive or send all the files because of short session.
And those sessions could be unreliable, so you might face intrusion.
15. No Tutorials
If you are hosting your site on HostGator, you’ll find tonnes of tutorials regarding them on the web. But for free hosts, you won’t. You’ll end up seeking other webmasters answers.
16. Trimmed Down Apache Server
Trimmed down apache servers will have limited modules or some modules would be disabled. What’s the big deal? You won’t be able to install some top plugins like W3 Total Cache where such modules are required.
17. Hidden Costs
I hate Hidden costs. They should be candid about their service. Free hosts, like the name says, are not free to the core. They might have hidden costs, especially when you cross the allowed free quota. They’ll also charge extra for other basic features. Normally you won’t be allowed to use fantisto, which is normally used to install software like WordPress. They’ll either limit the usage or costs to use them.
18. Bad for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. Using a free web host and promoting other premium web hosts will affect your marketing.
19. You own your blog, think again?
This could be the worst part, because you might not own your blog if is hosted on a free space. Because they provide you for free, meaning they have the right to take it down anytime they want.
Suppose if your free host is sold to some other company, then that could be the end of your blog. Be not only the owner of your blog, but also the space.
20. Google Apps Integration
I heard from many that free hosts won’t support Google Apps. You don’t want to miss your awesome firstname.lastname@example.org email address right? The default email accounts will also suck.
21. The last one: You can buy one!
See, hosting space is not costly. You just have to pick the right economic one for your site. You can make use of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” offers for grabbing exciting offers. If you don’t have the money to buy web hosting for a year, you can opt for monthly package.
You can find a free host having premium features, but might include hidden costs. If you want to try WordPress or Joomla, you can use those free hosts to give them a try. But when you launch a professional website or blog, or maybe, eCommerce site for providing goods, you should consider buying a one which has features to control your site today and tomorrow.
Why I wrote this post?
1. Not because I hate free hosts. They are doing a great job by helping newbies and poor people with free space.
2. This blog will become meaningless if you stick to free hosts. Because what I’m going to share here needs a standard web host to work with.
3. Your blog deserves a good host. Because it pays you. In the long run it won’t suit you, so avoid free web hosts.