Free web hosting has become very common these days. Free is attractive, right? Who doesn’t like free, let’s be honest here! But when it comes to serious stuff, serious business, you cannot always rely on free options.
When you want to start an online business, the number one thing you need is an online space, a website, and there are various ways in which you can start a website. We can broadly categorize them as free and paid ways.
Free sounds attractive especially when you’re starting out because you might have a pretty thin wallet and at this time anything that appears to help your business for free definitely sounds promising. One such example is free web hosting.
There are many free web hosting options like blogger platforms wordpress.com Typepad, etc. On the one hand, you have the option to self-host your website.
What is a self-hosted website? A self-hosted website is where you host your website files on a server which is yours entirely. Well not exactly! It depends on the hosting plans options. If you choose a cheap web hosting plan (a shared hosting usually), you pay for a small portion of the space and resources of a server that you share with others like you. If you choose a more expensive option such as a dedicated server or VPS, you pay for the full server, which is totally yours. In any case, you pay for a server space where to host your website files and that’s why it’s called a self-hosted web site. You host it for yourself.
So what’s wrong with free hosting? There’s nothing wrong with free hosting, but here are some of the reasons why you should not be choosing free web hosting as an option for a serious business like yours.
Reason #1: if you don’t host it you don’t own it.
With a free web hosting option, they host your website files. This means the hosting space is not yours and hence the web site files are not yours – it is their space and they can do whatever they want.
Reason #2 is limitations.
Free always comes with a catch. You might have experienced this in various other free stuff you come across every day. If free is totally free, nobody will be making any money and everybody will be getting everything for free and god knows what will bridge the flow of money between people who offer free stuff and the people who receive those free stuff.
In reality, free does come with a catch. By offering you free web hosting, the popular platforms are making money in some other way. For instance, they might run ads on your own blog. You create the content, you do the marketing, and you drive traffic to your website but someone else is running ads on your website and making money from it, and actually driving the traffic away from your website too. That’s because you have absolutely no control on the ads that run on your own website.
Most platforms have a limit in place abut you putting up your own ads on your own website and some of the platforms absolutely don’t even allow you to run your own ads. Some platforms want you to have a certain number of visitors per day or per month in terms of traffic, so you can start putting up your own ads. On some of the platforms, you might have to pay them to take their ads away, so you can show a clean website to your visitors.
There is no free really and you don’t have total freedom on how your website looks like, you may not make custom changes to your design beyond a certain limit; so in the name of free popular platforms are actually making you play by their rules.
Reason #3 is you fail to demonstrate seriousness and professionalism to your clients.
If you cannot invest in your core asset, your website, then it is pretty clear that you are not serious about your business and you will be demonstrating exactly this to your potential clients and customers. If your website dwells on any of the free blogging platforms, then your website URL will look something like yourwebsite.wordpress.com or yourwebsite.typepad.com. Does it look professional to you? No, of course! You have the option to remove that clumsy URL and have a custom domain name, but then you have to pay them. So there is no free actually even if you pay them and it is not hard for anyone to find out if your website is self-hosted or hosted by any other blogging platform. Once your clients find out this fact, they won’t take you very seriously.
Going for a self-hosted website is a wise decision you can take for the sake of your business or company. You are serious about your business, aren’t you? You want to make money from your business, don’t you? In that case, you have to take your website seriously. Your website is your online presence, it is your asset so don’t take it lightly. Get serious about your business and go for a self-hosted option.