Getting ready to set up your first website? If so, there are a number of things you need to think about, one of the most important of which is web hosting.
The hosting you choose for your website will have a huge impact on its performance and security, and could potentially make or break its success.
Maybe you’ve been looking around and have stumbled across free web hosting? Maybe you’re even giving it serious consideration?
We’re here to tell you that, for most purposes, cost-free web hosting is not a good solution. Though it can appear attractive at first glance, the reality of free web hosting is really quite ugly.
Want us to elaborate on that statement? We’re about to do so. Read on to discover the costly, hidden danger of free web hosting companies.
The only real upside to free web hosting is that it is, in fact, free. This can be beneficial to those who are looking to get into website creation.
Such individuals can utilize free hosting as a means of cheaply experimenting with web design. This could, in turn, spark further interest in web design and creation.
However, apart from this, free hosting has no real upsides. It should not be used by serious webmasters.
Free hosting falters on a number of fronts. After reading about the ways in which it falls short, there’s very little chance that you’ll have any interest in using it.
While some free hosting sites are firmly established and stable, the vast majority of them are not. These sites are generally set up quickly in an effort to secure advertising revenue. Most free hosting companies care little about their customers and will pull the rug out from under them as soon as the money dries up.
This means that one day your website could be up and running and the next day it could be entirely demolished. You are completely at the will of the hosting company’s actions.
All hosting experiences at least a little bit of downtime. However, paid hosting sites typically experience much less downtime than do free hosting sites.
The reason for this? The servers used by free hosting sites are usually unreliable and overloaded.
Some free hosting sites are down for as long as 1 hour each day. On the other hand, paid hosting sites will do their best to supply an uptime of around 99.9%. This equals only around 43 minutes of downtime each month.
As you can see, the difference is staggering.
The big difference between paid and free hosting sites is that paid sites must maintain a quality product in order to stay in business. In other words, paid sites have a lot more to lose by losing customers. Because of this, their quality control is a lot more intensive than what you would get with a free hosting site.
In fact, some free hosting sites don’t even have quality control processes. They put their product on the market in an effort to make a quick and easy buck and then let it work its magic until it implodes.
Who gets caught in the middle of this implosion? The customers.
Websites start small. However, as they become more and more popular, they see more traffic, necessitating more storage as well as dedicated servers. This concept is known as scalability.
Unfortunately, most free hosting sites offer very little in the way of scalability. Those that do allow you to expand almost always end up charging you money to upgrade. And in some cases, these upgrades will cause you to lose all of your website data.
Paid web hosting is capable of growing with your website, accommodating its server and storage needs without losing any data. If you plan on your website becoming successful, paid hosting is the only reasonable option.
One of the most common problems you’ll encounter with cost-free web hosting is exceedingly slow website speeds. Because free hosting companies tend to overload their servers, their users’ websites don’t have enough bandwidth to consistently move at a reasonable pace.
By using a paid hosting service, your website speed will improve substantially. Paid hosting services don’t overload their servers, thus providing plenty of bandwidth for each and every one of their customers.
Because they can’t utilize top-notch content management systems such as WordPress, free web hosting companies generally can only accommodate limited design options. This means that the aesthetic theme of your website your website will probably be bland and boring.
On the other hand, by utilizing paid services, you can make use of all types of content management systems. This leaves you with an essentially endless array of visual themes to choose from and create.
Just as free web hosting limits your design options, it also limits your functional options. For example, let’s say that you want to place a social media button on a specific portion of your website. Because free hosting sites limit your functional capabilities, you likely won’t be able to do so.
Paid hosting, on the other hand, will allow you to use content management systems with all types of functional capabilities. Your website will be your proverbial oyster.
Free web hosting sites are notorious for their lack of security. By using free hosting for your website, you leave it vulnerable to hackers, viruses, and every other destructive force that’s present on the internet.
Paid sites go out of their way to keep customers’ websites secure. They know that if they don’t provide top-notch security, their customers will look for hosting elsewhere.
Nobody wants their hosting to crash. However, on rare occasions, that very thing can happen. At that point, the only way to save your website is to hope that it was backed up.
Unfortunately, most free hosting sites don’t back up the websites of their customers. Therefore, if your free hosting site crashes, your website will likely be wiped away entirely.
In contrast, all reputable paid hosting companies provide backup for their customers’ websites. That way, if they experience a crash, they can help their customers to easily get their websites up and running again.
Let’s say you start your website with free hosting. It goes well for a while, but then you decide to switch your website over to a paid hosting service. The only problem is…you can’t.
See, many cost-free hosting services will lock down any of the data that exists on your website, preventing it from being moved. At this point, your only options will be to either forget about it and start from scratch or move it all over manually.
A big part of optimizing and growing your website is using in-depth analytics to monitor what is and isn’t working. Unfortunately, the vast majority of free web hosting services do not allow you to use analytics on the websites they host.
An inability to analyze your website can substantially hurt its performance in the long run. The only way to know what’s effective is by monitoring total clicks, total page visits, and total page visitation time. If you can’t tell what you’re doing wrong, you can’t improve.
You might be surprised to hear that some free hosting sites actually make their money by selling customer information to external companies. What this means is that, by using free hosting, your phone number, email address, and website data could all be vulnerable. While such companies will tell you about these practices in their terms of service, most webmasters will lose focus of these words in the jumble of legal jargon.
Paid hosting companies do not participate in these shady practices. When you pay for hosting, your information will belong to you and you only.
If you want your online users to take your website seriously, you need to affix it with a proper domain name. Unfortunately, if you use a free hosting site, you might have some trouble doing this. Many free hosting sites require all of their websites’ domain names to contain additional extensions.
For instance, the free version of WordPress requires all of its websites to contain a “wordpress.com” at the end of their domain names. This looks cheap and tacky, and will not be taken seriously by potential visitors.
The only way to do away with this problem is by utilizing a paid hosting service. Doing so will allow you to choose any domain name you’d like.
The thing about free hosting sites is that they typically don’t remain free as websites progress. As websites grow bigger and require more bandwidth, they need their hosting services to grow with them.
A free hosting service may do this, but it will never do it without a price increase. In other words, your free hosting will eventually cease to be free. When this happens, you could find yourself paying for hosting that you don’t really even like.
You’re much better off choosing high-quality, paid services from the beginning. Basic plans are really quite cost-effective when you consider all that they provide you.
One of the great things about running a website is that, through affiliate links and advertising, they can make you a good deal of money. Unless, of course, your website exists on a free hosting service which doesn’t allow such practices.
Because the majority of free hosting services are designed to make money from ads that they place on your website, they typically don’t allow you to post ads and affiliate links of your own. So, while they’re free to sign up for, they also prevent you from making money in the long run.
As was just noted, a good portion of free hosting companies insert ads on their customers’ websites whether those customers want them to or not. While this might not bother you, we can assure you that it will undoubtedly drag down the credit and aesthetic value of your website.
A website that’s covered in excessive and unrelated ads instantly comes across as tacky. Visitors don’t see it as a site that they can trust, but as a site that’s designed to make money. This, naturally, turns those visitors away for good.
It’s usually not too difficult to tell the difference between a website with free hosting and a website with paid hosting. There are little clues that stick out everywhere.
Visitors notice everything from awkward domain names to advertisements to ugly page themes and more. Together, all of these things add up to make a website that is extremely unappealing.
The result of this? The website is eventually ignored and forgotten about.
The great thing about paid hosting sites is that most of them do everything they can to provide top-notch customer service. In fact, a good many of them offer 24/7 phone lines that you can call whenever you stumble across a problem.
The vast majority of free hosting sites do not offer this. Most of them provide some baseline instructional documentation and nothing more. What this means is that, if you run into a problem, you’re left to your own devices.
As you can see, free web hosting is a bit of a disaster. It might suffice if you’re just building a website for fun, but if you’re building a serious website, you need to make use of paid hosting.
Looking for quality web hosting in Ireland? Host.ie is the web hosting company you need. We offer a variety of web hosting options, each of which provides something a little different in the ways of storage and performance.
Take a look at our web hosting options now!