Are there really free web hosts? You know, the ones who let you build a website and host it too without costing you anything. The answer is yes, many of them. But if you are asking “Are they really RELIABLE free web hosts?”, well, the answer is still yes but only a few.
How free web host works
Free web hosting companies need to earn their living too. How do they do so? There are many ways. A large number place ads and popups (that you have no control over) on your website. Others, who assure you that there are “no banners and popups”, may have advertisements on your control panel, hoping that you would click on them.
While at the same time, you need to be aware of unscrupulous ones who may sell your email address. Of course, there are also those who genuinely offer you free hosting with the hope that you will upgrade to a premium full-features plan later.
Issues with free web hosts
Generally, there are almost always some catch to free web hosting plans. Some are on limited resources while others may require you to fork out money for other services and as such, is not technically free. So my advice is to always read the “Terms of Service” and reviews about the web hosts first, to avoid being misled.
Some common issues with free web hosts are:
- Limited resources
It’s free hosting so chances are that they won’t be allocating so much bandwidth, disk space and email accounts for your website. On some cases, these web hosting providers may oversell (squeezing a lot of websites on a server).
- Limited features
Free web hosting plans are usually made for basic websites. This means that you will get simple features that won’t cost the company too much, if at all. Advanced features such as PHP, MySQL, and cPanel might not be available.
- Less privilege when comes to support
Web hosts generally gives privilege to paid customers when extending technical support.
- Excessive downtime and poorly maintained servers
Look at it this way, server maintenance require professionals and they in turn, costs money. In order to reduce the company’s expenses (remember you are not paying them for the hosting service), servers may not be maintained as often as they should. This may result in numerous and longer downtime!
- May not last
Anyone remember GeoCities? They were the grandfather of website (more like just the homepage) building and free web hosting service back when Internet was in its infancy. Fast forward to today, this service is now history, except in Japan. At the time of writing, GeoCities Japan is still online, and is still accepting new member registrations.
If you are running an online business or plan to bring your website to a greater level, it pays to invest in your domain name and a professional web design, rather than use the free web host’s sub-domain and standard website templates. A professional image reflects just how serious you are about your business or brand!
Free web hosting companies to avoid
Take for example 000webhost.com. They used to be very good as free web hosts and we were happy to encourage our readers to check them out. However, their service has recently deteriorated drastically and had proven to be very unreliable, so much so that we are no longer recommending them.
We had received lots of complaints about them, from lots of downtime and script errors to missing technical support! Horrors! Can you imagine how scary that would be, especially when the web host is supposed to make sure their servers are always online and in good running condition!
I guess they took in more customers than they can manage. So until they improve their service, we are not going to recommend them. If you were thinking about setting up a new account with them, I would suggest that you think again and possibly look elsewhere.
Recommended free web hosting – Weebly
And where is “elsewhere“? Is free web hosting too good to be true? Well, not necessarily. There are still some pretty good free web hosting choices out there. A notable one is Weebly, who has over 12 million people and businesses being hosted with them!
Now, I have written a couple of posts about Weebly and had pretty much covered all areas. But here are a few features that I find great about them.
Weebly has redundant data centers and cloud based hosting infrastructure. These features help deliver reliable hosting service where you can be assured of your website’s uptime and speed.
Round the clock support
On top of helpful tutorials and information pages, they also have round the clock team to man the support center. You can be assured that your support tickets will be replied to promptly.
Easy and fun, and award winning
Among the rewards received is Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of the year. This award recognizes the fact that building a website on Weebly is not only free but also simple and fun to do!
No forced advertising
Weebly does not force ads on your website. Instead, they are giving you the option to install your own AdSense if you choose to.
They also offer Weebly Pro, which comes with more resources and features. Costs are less than $5 per month, depending on the length of your sign-up. However, if you don’t plan to have a complicated website, then the free version is adequate. You can always choose to upgrade when the time comes and when you want to.
Free hosting does exist but you need to be careful not to get tricked by those unscrupulous ones. Rule of thumb, if they sound too good to be true, they probably are. If you are looking for a reliable and free web host, try Weebly. They are one of the best free web host I have tested so far!