If you are new to website building, no doubt you will be bombarded with advertisements for free website hosting companies. You might wonder how hosting providers can offer free hosting. The simple reason they can offer this service is that they make their money selling advertisements. Often, these won’t be the sleek, professional looking sites, rather, they will be heavy on flashy ads and pop-ups that temporarily block the view of your content.

You have to make an educated guess about whether your target consumer or reader will be sufficiently distracted by the flashy extras that have nothing to do with your site to go elsewhere. Often, the answer is yes, unfortunately. Besides selling banner and other ads that will go on your site, free host companies pick up opportunities to add to their customer base every time someone links to your new site.

But there are good things about free web hosting. The main one is cost. If you are just starting out, you may have a very limited budget, and you may want to concentrate your funds on other aspects of your business than your website. You can go ahead and set up one or more free websites using different hosts, and by trying out the features on each, determine which of the free sites works best for your needs. You might also pick up valuable information, such as which free sites get you indexed by search engines and listed on Google fastest. You’ll only be out the cost of your time for doing this kind of research.

This article assumes that you are a novice webmaster, and that is one reason you’re exploring the use of a free host service. Before you make that decision, however, you need to have a business plan, and you have to know what kinds of features you want your website to have. If “ad-free” is one of the features, then free web hosting is not for you. Do you want multiple email accounts? How much hand holding do you need as you set up your site? Will your site be heavy on graphics, or will it be mostly text? Knowing the answers to those questions will help you rule out service providers quickly.

If you’re willing to put up with a few inconveniences, like the pop-up ads, then free hosting just might work, at least when you’re starting out. To find the good free hosts, don’t just go to the host’s own site. You’re unlikely to find any criticism there. Rather, find a site forum that discusses types of web hosting, and ask some questions. You’re more likely to get honest answers from those with experience using these services. But you do have to be careful, however. Companies have been known to have “plants” in discussion forums to give glowing reviews of their services, and/or scathing reviews of the competition. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t place too much stock in overly positive or overly negative reviews, particularly the kinds with plenty of capital letters and exclamation marks. Let cooler heads prevail.

No one free hosting service will please everyone, because website needs vary so widely. You will have to weigh your business plan against the perks offered by free sites, and you may have to compromise on some things to make the free service work for you. For example, many free sites don’t offer you your own domain name, but rather, your own sub-domain name, as in http://yourwebsitename.freewebhostprovider.com. Another factor to consider is that the free hosting services often come in at the bottom of search engine rankings, which could prevent a lot of traffic from getting to your site.

After you’ve been with a free hosting service for awhile, you may start feeling its limitations, which may include unprofessional looking layouts. Then, it may be time to purchase a domain name, a paid hosting plan and building your own pages that match to the “brand” you want your company to reflect.

We have done some investigating and provided a list of free hosts that have no banner ads here.


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Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Can Free Web Hosting Work for You?”

  1. Cabdulrasaaq Says:

    “they make their money selling advertisements…Often, these won’t be the sleek, professional looking sites, rather, they will be heavy on flashy ads and pop-ups “.

    This may apply to the majority of free web hosting providers but not to all of them.
    Free web hosting with no ads does exist.

  2. Alonso Mendel Says:

    Hey, I searched for this site on Yahoo and found this list quite informative. I currently host at 000webhost and love it.