With the economy hitting not only the individual but also businesses, many people are looking towards free web hosting as a cost-saving option. For monetary reasons, free web hosting looks great on the surface. But going free is not always the best choice. In fact, cost your business money in the long run.
The majority of companies who offer free web hosting services tend to place advertisements on their customer's websites. These advertisements may be placed at the sides, top or bottom of a web page and completely out of the customer's control. Some companies try to gear ads towards being relevant to the site topic. Unfortunately, this might mean there is a chance your competition may be placed on your website. In addition, these ads can scare off visitors and potential customers - the more advertisements a website displays, the less credibility it holds with visitors.
Because free web hosting packages do not charge website owners any money, the majority of free web hosting providers will provide extremely limited customer support. You might be limited to perhaps some online forum area to ask your questions but you won't have numbers to call, or and email ticket support system. This would also mean that if something happens to your website, the host will probably take no responsibility or urgency in fixing the problem. If your business site isn't working, this can end up costing you a lot of money.
Limitations - conflict with new website theme
There are tons of limitations to free web hosting. While there are some free web hosting providers that do not require advertisement posting on free web hosting accounts, the majority of them are still unable to provide e-commerce tools and solutions. Most free hosting companies do not offer a control panel or an ftp access account to allow administration of a web site. Your website is simply another template-website and you can't change the look of your website, install a tracking code or upload additional images to your website.
Consider yourself very lucky if you can find a free web hosting provider that provides you a control panel, a decent monthly bandwidth and disk storage quota and at the same time, doesn't force ads on your web pages.
Beware of the Middleman
When running across a cheap hosting plan, there may be a chance that you are not dealing with a web hosting company at all, yet an agent selling packages on their behalf. This is known as reseller hosting, a practice that allows entrepreneurs and small businesses to profit from web hosting. Although reseller hosting isn't necessarily a bad thing, you should keep in mind that you will have no direct contact with the web host, the company who is doing all the work and actually housing your data.
There is nothing wrong with cheap hosting as it can be a viable option in many situations. With that said, it helps to be informed on these questionable practices so you can stay away from the companies sacrificing quality for a cheap service.