With the economy the way it is right now, new online entrepreneurs are looking for ways to save money in their startup costs. Everyone seems to be looking for free web hosting but they really don’t understand the cost to their business by doing this.
When you use free web hosting, your URL (the web link for you website) will look something like this: http://Is-Free-webhosting-really-free.blogspot.com/
In the example above blogspot.com is the company providing the free hosting.
If this is a business blog or website, it doesn’t give the appearance that you are serious about your business.
For a more professional image of your business, it would be prudent of you to invest in a domain name and some professional hosting.
At some point your website/blog will outgrow the features offered by free web hosting providers.
If you move from free web hosting to your own domain with paid web hosting you don’t have the capability to upload a .htaccess file to redirect the search engines and visitors to your new web hosting space. To let the search engines know you have moved you use instructions in the .htaccess file to 301 permanently redirect them to your new location.
Also, you cannot use a .htaccess instruction to permanently redirect your visitors and search engines when you delete a page within your site.
After years of building your website/blog on free webhosting, your efforts will be lost and you will have to start over, from scratch.
Another problem with free web hosting is that you will not be able to use custom error pages. Error pages are used by the web server to show the visitor there has been an error. For example, a 404 error is shown when a page is not found within the webspace. On a free web hosting space the visitor will be shown the web hosting company’s stock error page and give no direction as to how to find what it was they were looking for. A confused visitor will just leave.
With the right paid web hosting account, you can provide a custom error page for each type of error. This gives the visitor comfort that they are not lost (especially if they are a novice web surfer) when the error page is formatted to match your site and provides help on how what happened and how to find what it is they are looking for.
When using a free web hosting service there is no guarantee that they will stick around. A some point, even large providers of free hosting decide to pack it in.
Case in point: Yahoo! has decided to close their 360 service on July 13, 2009. They have also decided to close GeoCities free web hosting service.
Ok, paid web hosting companies don’t last forever either but, if you have a web hosting account where you are able to download your whole site, then you are covered. You have a backup of your site that you can upload to a new hosting company and get back up and running quickly. You should backup your website each time you make a change anyways.
Free web hosting accounts have limits on what you can and cannot do. You are limited to the features provided by the service.
Some paid web hosting accounts have limits too. If you create a checklist before signing up for the account then you will be aware of the limits of the plan. These limitations are generally less confining that those at free web hosting service providers.
Last but not least....a fair warning of Google :
"…If a free hosting service begins to show patterns of spam, we make a strong effort to be granular and tackle only spammy pages or sites. However, in some cases, when the spammers have pretty much taken over the free web hosting service or a large fraction of the service, we may be forced to take more decisive steps to protect our users and remove the entire free web hosting service from our search results…." Read more
I could go on and on ...but these few reasons I gave should already ring a bell with you.
At C.O.M. we offer web hosting for the serious online entrepreneur. Take a look at it here.