When it comes to web hosting, there are a lot of options available. With so many alternatives to choose from, you might be tempted to consider one of the many free web hosting services out there. However, there are some common pitfalls related to that approach that can end up costing you and your business a lot of money down the road. Therefore, it is important to know what these red flags are so you can avoid them.
Here are 6 great reasons to avoid free web hosting:
- Lost Credibility. Your web site will often be the first impression your potential customers have of your business. With free hosting, you may be stuck with a very long domain name such as http://freehostingservice.com/~yourbusiness. A domain name like this is an instant signal to your prospects that your business is still in the minor leagues. It is very difficult to build trust and credibility when your web presence appears to be fly-by-night.
- Banner Ads. The main reason these services are free is because you agree to allow banner ads on your site. So you invest the time, money and energy into driving traffic to your site and the free hosting service profits by directing that traffic away from you. Clearly not the best way to build a successful, long-term business.
- Limited Features. Free hosts usually offer a limited number of services. This lack of flexibility can seriously hinder your ability to conduct and grow your business online. For example, if you select a free service, you may have limited or no access to email, FTP accounts, content management systems or ecommerce options.
- Lack of Portability. When you pay to register and host your own domain, you have the option to transfer it. With free hosting services, this is usually not the case. So, if you spend a year or two building up your site and driving traffic to it before realizing how beneficial it would be to have your own domain name, your hard work may be out the window.
- Overcrowded Servers. This leads to slow load time for pages and increased downtime for your site. Of course, both of these issues can have a serious negative impact on the growth and profitability of your business.
- Poor Customer Service. Another major issue with free hosting services is that they offer little to nothing in the way of customer support. If there is a problem with your site, you will have a very hard time contacting anyone to help resolve it. Every minute your site is down carries with it a huge opportunity cost in terms of frustrated customers and lost sales.
Based on this list, you can see that "you get what you pay for" with free hosting services. Instead, consider quality web hosting an important investment into your business - one that will continue to yield positive results for your business long into the future.