Beginner’s Guide to Free Web Hosting
There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to finding a UK web hosting service that is right for you. While the features of a hosting service may be of particular importance to some individuals and businesses, budgetary allowances can also be another major consideration, particularly for start-ups.
Fortunately, as the array of features offered varies from service to service, so does the cost for their packages. For small businesses or individuals on a tight budget, a free web hosting service may be the best option for those looking to get a basic handle on building a website.
What Is Free Web Hosting?
Free web hosting provides users with the opportunity to create a website and get started with some very basic hosting features free of any recurring costs.
There are four primary types of web hosting services:
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting – typically $30 – $100+ a month
- Cheap/Shared Web Hosting – free/$3.95+ a month
- Reseller Hosting – $14+ a month
- Dedicated Hosting – $100 – $200 a month
- UK WordPress Hosting – $3.95+ a month
Free web hosting services loosely fall under the category of cheap/shared web hosting services, though the cost of most shared hosting packages typically begin at about $3.95+ a month.
While larger businesses may have a designated allowance set aside for hosting a quality website and may be able to invest in a more expensive service, this is not a viable option for everyone.
Small business owners, or start-ups, may not have the budget for such an investment. Similarly, local businesses that possess little expertise on how to navigate more complex web hosting services, but are nonetheless interested in making their online debut, may feel more inclined to keep their web hosting costs low. Or, in this case, free.
As this guide touches on below, there are both pros and cons to choosing a free service rather than opting for a premium or shared hosting plan.
How Do They Keep It Free?
After learning that there are UK web hosting services that will charge users upwards of $100 a month, one may be dubious that any service would offer their hosting service for free.
Indeed, there are several reasons free hosting services such as 000webhost, x10Hosting, and Weebly are able to offer their service at no cost to their users.
Primarily, it is because of just how bare-boned their features are, in that they constitute a very basic service. While this may be just as well for users who are not in need of the more innovative features, or otherwise feel uncomfortable navigating the complexity of sharing or VPN services, it is part of the price – no pun intended – of opting for a no-cost service.
No-cost providers may also display advertisements on the sites of their users, with users having little to no control over the matter. These may include banners and pop-up ads that, while offering virtually no benefit to your own site, are inserted by the provider for their own financial gain – as this gives them the opportunity to make money with each click.
When it comes to free web hosting, the phrase, “You get what you pay for” generally rings true. However, there are users – such as those that meet descriptions provided above – that are willing to put up with the cons in favour of their pros.
Pros and Cons
Speaking of pros and cons, here they are spelled out:
- The price ‒ It’s free!
- Budget-friendly for small businesses ‒ Although experts generally still recommend shared/cheap hosting plans (that can begin at as little as $3.95/mo) for small business owners or those on a tight budget, some users will still jump at any opportunity to save money on web hosting.
- Easy for beginners – Individuals who are looking to get a basic feel of what it is to build and host a website can certainly get that from a free web hosting service. Particularly for those less tech-savvy, starting out with a free service may be a less daunting way to wade into the deeper digital waters.
- Lack of customer support ‒ Free hosting services rarely, if ever, offer much in the way of customer support as compared to VPN or even sharing host providers.
- No growth potential ‒ While free web hosting can be a convenient option for users who are building a website for the first time, if you have any intention of growing your website, you will likely outgrow the limited features and storage capacity of your free hosting plan. After a time, it will probably be necessary to upgrade to a premium service offering.
- Potentially unreliable ‒ Choosing a no-cost web hosting service runs the risk of running into a number of troublesome issues, including: slow loading times, site crashes, security issues, and unresponsiveness.
- Not ideal for SEO ‒ Google is not known to be a fan of free web hosting, which will make it more difficult to get your website ranked higher in their search results.