Is Free Web Hosting Actually “Free”?

Jul 26,2021 by Manoj Yadav

There is no such thing as a free lunch and the same is true of website hosting too. No matter what a hosting provider may claim to offer, you can be sure it is never going to provide you with free of cost solutions. There will always be some hidden costs and conditions which are not clearly disclosed. This is exactly why not every business opts for a free hosting plan; they would rather pay money to get hosting solutions from a reliable web hosting service. These are some important reasons why choosing a free web hosting package may not be the best decision to take:

The truth is that no one can offer anything for free for very long. So, the companies which try to lure new clients with the temptations of free hosting plans are actually waiting to charge them later when they seek an upgrade after a few months. The clients that make a beeline to sign up for free hosting offers will soon realize that to continue receiving the services, they would have to go for an upgrade which is chargeable.

Many people feel that free hosted sites will be secure, but in reality, these vendors will never support the SSL certificates unless you have upgraded to a paid package. So, with free hosting, your personal data is liable for thefts as the information is not encrypted. An SSL certificate is essential for a website which is conducting online financial transactions because it protects data from hackers.

Since free hosting service providers will not be focusing on security, they end up distributing malware. So, your site’s online visibility is in any case compromised as result of the security lapses.

Many of these promotional free hosting offers are also time-bound. So, they act like trial periods and soon you are asked to pay up. They usually also ask for credit card details on their sites before you can enjoy the free services. This means that you will be automatically charged when the trial period ends. Even if you do manage to get your hands on free hosting offers, you will probably realize sooner or later that your storage and bandwidth limits are inadequate for content transfer.​

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You will find that startups are considered to be the ones which are most benefitted by such free hosting plans, but the truth is, that their websites are the worst affected. They do not have funds to afford costly hosting solutions in the first place. Moreover, free hosts will overload their servers in catering to hundreds of websites. This will automatically slow down sites of start-ups and result in poor user experiences. When web pages take more than three seconds to load up, visitors are found to navigate to other websites. Google uses page loading speed as one of the criteria for determining search engine rankings; so, your slow-loading site is not going to be able to come within the first few ranks in search results.

Most of the hosts offering free plans will depend upon advertisements for generating revenues. This means that your site is likely to be cluttered with pop-ups of ads which are impossible to get rid of.

Besides, with free hosting, you are not likely to get round-the-clock support for troubleshooting technical problems. The result is that the site becomes unsafe and shuts down eventually.

Free hosted websites will usually have an unimpressive URL which is anything but professional looking. Prospective clients are not likely to trust a website with such a dubious ID.

The companies which extend free services will also need revenues to sustain themselves and they are likely to sell your personal data to others for money. When this data falls into the hands of scammers, your accounts can be compromised.

With reputed providers, you can get access to handy site-building tools. This advantage is missing when you sign up for free services. So, site designing and management are compromised in the process and it ends up looking very unprofessional. You can only expect to get the most basic services when you choose free hosting; you will not be free to customize the site or create mailing lists or optimize the site for search engines.

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It is not true that a good web hosting will invariably be expensive and unaffordable. When you are keen to make your online presence felt you should be willing to pay for hosting solutions. There are many reliable web hosts which offer value for money so that you do not have to worry about data loss or cyber attacks.

When you sign up for free hosting plans, you will notice that in most cases, you will be asked to sign agreements saying that you cannot sell your site or even transfer it to anyone else. Your site becomes their property in exchange for the free services.

The truth is that most free web hosting services will not backup data for your website. This implies that whenever there is a server crash or malware attack, you do not have any means to recover the data and restore the site.

Free hosting platforms will also not be able to provide you with useful e-commerce features; there will not be any access to databases or SSL features which are mandatory for running these sites.

Finally, free hosting will never offer technical support; you will be expected to install the site on your own, probably with help from freelancers. Free hosts will also not have resilient data centers; chances of data theft are very high.

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