7 Reasons Not To Use a Free Web Hosting Service
There’s an old saying that nothing in this world is free. Even if a company offers a free product or service, there’s usually an ulterior motive, such as collecting customers information or upselling them additional products or services. Well, web hosting is no exception. There are many reasons that can impact your website negatively. Here’s why you shouldn’t use free web hosting.
Ads, Ads, Ads
Free web hosting services have to make money somehow, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to keep their servers running. The most common monetization method used by free web hosts is forced advertisements. They’ll display ads for which they earn money on users websites. The user doesn’t earn this money, however, nor can he or she opt out. Instead, they are forced to display ads while filling the host’s coffers.
Not surprisingly, free web hosts have more downtime than their premium counterparts. With limited personnel and outdated hardware, free hosts often struggle to keep their servers up and running. Granted, many still advertise 99.9% uptime, but this is far from what they offer.
Roughly 30,000 websites get hacked each day, according to a Sophos Security Threat Report. While factors affect a website’s susceptibility to cyber intrusion, web hosting is one of the most influential. Free web hosting services often run outdated software, such as PHP, phpMyAdmin, and MySQL, that hackers can exploit to access clients’ websites.
Furthermore, nearly all free hosting services use shared hosting instead of dedicated or virtual private servers (VPS). As a result, servers are congested with thousands of websites. That is concerning because the security of a server is only as good as its weakest link. With thousands of sites hosted on the same server, there’s a higher risk of cyber attack when using free hosting services.
Limited Disk Space
Free web hosting services also offer limited disk space. If you just recently launched your website, this may not be a problem. If your site is established and contains hundreds of pages of content, however, you may encounter a “Disk Space Limit Reached” message in your account.
Most free web hosting services offer between 500 MB and 1 GB of disk space. According to a report by the HTTP Archive, the average size of a web page is roughly 2 MB, which means you can publish 250 to 500 pages if each page is 2 MB. Realistically, though, you’ll probably reach 500 MB to 1 GB with significantly fewer pages due to the large file sizes of images, video, and other media.
In addition to disk space, free web hosting also places limits on bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted between the server and clients in a specified period. If a free web host offers 5 GB of bandwidth per month, for instance, visitors can only download and upload 5 GB worth of data from your site every month.
Again, limited bandwidth may not be an issue if your site is new or otherwise small. As your site grows and becomes more popular, though, your bandwidth requirements will also increase.
Pay for Upgrades
While free web hosting services have limited bandwidth and disk space, you can usually increase these limits – but only if you’re willing to pay. As previously mentioned, free web hosts make money by displaying ads on users’ websites. However, another way they make money is by selling optional upgrades.
Poor Customer Service
Finally, free web hosts offer poor customer service at best or non-existent customer service at worst. When a server fault causes your website to go offline, you’ll want to contact your web host as soon as possible to resolve the issue. The longer your site is offline, the more traffic you’ll lose. And for online businesses, traffic means money. Unfortunately, it can take days to get a response from a free web host.
As you can see, free web hosting poses many problems for webmasters. Even if there is no cost for the initial service, you could end up paying for upgrades later down the road. If you’re serious about building a website, choose a premium, reputable hosting service. It’s a smart investment that lays the groundwork for a successful online presence.