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Free Web Hosting

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Definition:

Free web hosting is a web hosting service that is provided at no cost. Almost always this service is supported through advertisements that display on your site. Alternatively, many premium web hosts offer a basic or entry-level package at no charge. The concept is quite simple: offer an amazing service at no charge and as the site grows the site owners continue to use the paid versions of this web host.

Risks associated with the free web host service

There are two primary concerns when looking at using a free web hosting service:

  1. They are usually advertisement-based: the ads could be either irrelevant or distracting. But more often than not they are actually completely relevant to your offering. In this case the ads will actually be taking visitors off your site to visit the advertisers site. And you won't receive any compensation for this.
  2. The reliability is usually not that good: the old adage "you get what you pay for" applies here. Not paying for your host most likely means you aren't going to get very much. An exception applies to some of the premium services that offer a free (starter) hosting package. These hosts provide their free service on the same servers (reliable) as their premium hosts.

Free hosting usually has specific limitations. Usually either the number of visitors or the volume of traffic is limited or throttled. Also, the url is often a sub-domain of the provider (ie. yoursite.freehosting.com). This can have significant implications both on your branding and on search engine optimization.

Examples of free web hosts:

While free hosting might be attractive to new businesses there is more to consider than just costs. When starting your online business you need to also consider reliability and ease-of-use.

Learn more about premium managed web hosting and how to choose a web host.

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