Website hosting companies are far too common nowadays on the internet, and all of them claim to be the best value for money. Now and then you may come across a host offering free web hosting. Is there really such a thing, does it exist and if so what do you actually get for free?
The simple answer is YES - There is such a thing as free web hosting, but it does come with expected restrictions and we’d highly recommend investigating what these are and how they will impact your website.
Having your own website has become essential for small and large businesses alike, and extremely beneficial for a plethora of other reasons (freelancing, CVs, portfolios, services…), everybody could use one. To have your own website, it needs to be hosted in some way, whether that be through a website building service, entering shared hosting, even going all out and purchasing your own server for the site to be hosted from. If your site isn’t hosted nobody will be able to access it, apart from yourself, which isn’t very useful for getting your business’ name out there.
Perhaps this is your first attempt at building a website. If that is the case some of the compromises associated with free web hosting may be perfectly acceptable to you. Everybody has to get started online somewhere and it makes sense to practice producing and managing a website without spending any money. If you choose to opt for free hosting, you will need to evaluate the importance of areas such as features, uptime and connection speed, because these are where the hosts have cut corners. These restrictions make free hosting an unlikely solution for any website expecting any sort of sustained traffic. With traffic, you will also require your own custom domain which all of the options will not allow. Instead your website will only be accessed via a subdomain of the hosting company, for example, yourwebsitename.hostingcompanyfree.com. Finally, it is likely to be plastered with intrusive adverts as that is where the company will be making their money.
Some website builder companies offer free web hosting as part of their free accounts, which is a great option for anyone looking to practice website building and develop their skills. In general, website building packages are much more substantial, for example for a fee you can add a store to your website and track your site’s performance. We would say, for a starter who’d like to practice, it is far better to go through a website builder to get your free hosting.
To conclude, if the site you want to host is just for you, you are not building it for any customers to visit and you want to try out some of the building tools available, free hosting could well be a viable option for you. Free web hosting is only beneficial if the limitations are not deal breakers for your website. If you just want to get your website off the ground, free hosting is a great starting point. Do bear in mind, however, how you can then move your site over to a more substantial hosting plan once you need to connect a domain and start accepting traffic.
It is possible to host a website for free, but before you jump at the first opportunity, do some research as to which option is more worth your time. Despite the fact there is no monetary cost, you will still be spending valuable time building your site that could end up being a waste if you haven’t done your research.