Free Web Hosting: Benefits and Drawbacks
Going live on the web or using the web servers to host files, downloadables or softwares essentially requires some form of web hosting or another. Web hosting basically means buying some disk space, internet bandwidth for data transfer and installation or availability of some softwares that are essential for successful operation of a website, file downloads, file transfer and database management etc.
While searching for a web hosting service we have two basic options Free web hosting and Paid web hosting. Of course they depend on the budget and resources available which can be dedicated towards the web hosting be it money or manpower or technical abilities. Again depending on what kind of server you want to deploy your website there can be options like Windows web hosting and Linux web hosting which obviously the options to choose from Free or Paid versions. In this post we will be discussing the benefits and drawbacks of Linux web hosting (Free Version) since this blog is basically about WordPress and it is mostly hosted on Linux platforms. This means we will be analyzing the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP based servers). Let us begin with the analysis of the most appealing web hosting – Free web hosting.
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What is Free Web Hosting?
As the name suggests Free web hosting offers web space and other resources required such as bandwidth, databases and other associated services for Free. The user is not asked to pay any money and the services are provided. Free web hosting is indeed a lucrative and money saving option and there should be no problem in going for a Free web host if it provides all the features and services we require.
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Benefits of Free Web Hosting:
- Freedom from regular payments of hosting: Free web hosting doesn’t require any money what so ever. Many free web host just ask for your email and some basic details like the type of site you are going to host and some legal formalities so that the web host doesn’t land in trouble over the kind of stuff you are going to host on the server. So this means money saving, which is good for a person who is just starting on the web and wants to get some hands on experience before going for a full fledged hosting package.
- No hassles of Domain name: Free web hosting providers doesn’t require that you have a domain name before starting a website. In fact most of such providers give you the option of having a sub-domain on their server and you can start your website. Two most popular examples, which allow you to start a web blog for free are Blogger and WordPress. All they require is that you create an account, choose a name for your web-blog and you are ready to go.
- Freedom from technical issues: Managing domains, DNS Servers, mysql databases, configuration issues, installation of essential softwares are all taken care by the web host. They also provide a free backend which in most cases is very easy to understand and operate and takes the burden from the person owning the website.
- No technical staff required: Again this is a big money saver, since all the technicalities are taken care of by the web host. All you need is to focus on your website and its marketing effort.
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Free web hosting is a very good to have option if it meets all your requirements. The big plus is the money it saves which gives a lot of relief to people who want to have a web presences but are not able to afford it or have the budget to go for a paid hosting package. It also comes as a big relief for people who are technically challenged and want a hassle free hosting which doesn’t drain the mental resources too much. But is Free web hosting really Free? Let us check out some drawbacks of Free web hosting services, which are more or less common among such providers and how can they impact your plans to go live on the web.
Drawbacks of Free Web Hosting:
- Finding a good Free hosting provider: Hosting is a very costly service to maintain. It requires buying and maintaining the hardware and softwares required to provide the service, maintenance costs, manpower costs, bandwidth costs and other associated costs. This makes it very challenging for companies which provide free web hosting to people to be profitable while doing so. So, free web hosting services are getting rarer and rarer and this makes it relatively difficult to find a good free web host.
- Problems of Resources: Free web hosts generally provide limited bandwidths disk space, software options and databases. This means that it will be difficult to find a web host which meets all your requirements.
- Lack of technical support: There is little or no technical support provided in case you run into a problem. Searching the internet for a solution or getting help from a techie would be your best options in such case.
- Ad supported hosting: Free web hosts keep serious limitations on whether you can add services like adsense or other money making options to your site. Instead they keep the right to place all kinds of ad on your web pages.
- Lack of reliability: Internet is full of stories which tell about Free web hosting companies running into financial trouble and other issues and face rapid shutdown. Very often all this happens at a short notice and this gives you very little time to backup your things from the server and find another home.
Conclusion about Free Web Hosting Benefits & Drawbacks
There are very few true free servers, which provide full-fledged hosting features totally free of cost. A good option is to go for paid hosting services from service providers like Blue Host or Hostgator, which will be more than happy to provide you with the most viable option for your web presence but they don’t come for free.