Time to be candid – Many people and companies are going to tell you to avoid free web hosting, because they have an interest in selling web hosting. There is nothing new about the concept of people charging for something that you can get free. There is also nothing new to people bad mouthing free things to try to get you to pay.
For example, when President Obama voiced the idea of a free health service, hundreds of voices came out against it saying how bad it was. The British have a free health service, and one journalist even ran the tag line, “If Stephen Hawking was British, he would be dead now”. With the irony being that Stephen Hawking IS British and DOES owe his life to the free British health service (NHS).
With that said you should still remember the old saying, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Even the NHS is being paid for through the taxes of British industry. So, if you are considering taking up free web hosting, then consider the points made below. They are not criticisms of free web hosting, just issues that you should keep in mind if you want to play it safe.
Reasons to avoid Free Web hosting
Ads, Ads, Ads?
Free web hosting has to make its money somewhere. If they are not conning you in some way, then they have to do it via legitimate means. One way is through putting advertisements onto your website. This may be in the form of banner ads or pop up ads. The biggest downside to this, is the fact that you have little control over the advertising. For example if you have a church website which decries sex before marriage, the keywords of “s*x” and “wrong”, may prompt automatic “adult” adverts, which are going to seriously undermine your website, and anger your readers.
Limited, Limited, Limited, Traffic?
Free services issued to a lot of people puts a lot of strain on the systems of the host company. For this reason, they may limit your bandwidth. If you get lots of visitors, then there is nothing you do to stop yourself going offline until next month’s quota comes into action.
Fewer, Fewer, Fewer, Features?
It would be a stretch to demand plenty of features when you are getting it free. You should also remember that if the host does not allow you to fiddle with the base code, then you are seriously restricted to the services that their features provide.
Less, Less, Less, Security?
This is not always the case, since the hosting company will also tend to use their own services, and are not too keen on having their security broken. Nevertheless, without the financial and legal rules brought in for paid services, there is no incentive to keep security up to date week on week. This means that if a new virus is sweeping through the system, then it will no doubt get to your services and start mining your files for data. Fewer free hosts have a back-up file procedure, so there is a good chance that if your website is gone, then it is gone.