Free Webhosts: Should You Still Care About Them? – Part 3

In the previous part of our free webhosting series, we discussed the advantages to having your sites hosted for free, as opposed to the disadvantages mentioned in the first part.

Now you have enough information to support your decision. If you choose to try a free webhost — even when you are aware of its probable limitations and risks — , there are still several factors that you should take into consideration before picking any company.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a free webhost:

1. Make sure the free webhosting provider offers exactly what you need. Will they let you display your own ads on your pages? Which file types are allowed? Are MySQL databases available to users? Can you build your site from scratch or do you have to stick to pre-made templates?

2. Your site may not need as much bandwidth and disk space as you think. So, don’t get easily impressed at free webhosts that offer vast amounts of either. Otherwise you will expose yourself to the risk of having an unpleasant surprise some months later… when the company modifies their features in the most drastic way possible (in case you’re wondering: yes, it’s happened to me). Please take this piece of advice: pick a free webhost that offers realistic packages.

3. Always take the time to visit several sites or blogs hosted by the free webhosting company you’re interested in. Many free webhosts have directories. Others will display links to some users on their front page. In any case, try to study the sites, analyse their load time and take a good look at the default ads forced by the webhost (if any).

4. If you plan to make money from your site or blog, study all the possibilities *before* starting your site. If you save this task for a later time, you will be disappointed when you are rejected by potential advertisers because your site is hosted for free. So, analyse the money-making opportunities available to free webhosting users before you do anything else.

5. Does the free webhosting provider make it easy to access their sign up page? If it doesn’t, don’t host your site there. I’ve seen a free webhost do a rather ambitious startup campaign, but when I visited their site and tried to register, their sign up page didn’t load. All webhosting companies are subject to downtime, of course. But let’s just say that an inner voice advised me to stay away from that specific one because it had overpromised and underdelivered.

6. Don’t let anyone make you feel less important just because you chose a free webhost. Many (arrogant, prejudiced) people state that they won’t even visit a site if they know it is hosted for free. In fact, some of those people are able to make ruder statements on this subject. They will want to make you feel worthless. Now, tell me: can you please everyone at once? Of course you can’t. So, relax, forget the offences and just do what you feel that is right for you at this moment.

A final word of wisdom that applies to both free and paid webhost users: never ever forget to back up your sites regularly. Don’t rely solely on the back up facilities offered by your webhost, no matter how reliable they appear to be. Bad things can happen to the best companies. Accept this fact and do what you can to prevent the loss of your precious files.

As always, feel free to leave comments and share your own tips and pieces of info regarding free webhosts.

And this is the end of the free webhosting series. Or is it?

While writing this final article, I just came up with enough ideas for a whole new post. So, click here now to subscribe to our feed and you will soon be reading tips on how not to lose visitors when you move from a free webhost to a paid one.

Karen Zara has been involved with Internet-based projects since 2002. She is the creator of Abaminds, a blog for content producers that you can visit by clicking here.

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2 Responses to “Free Webhosts: Should You Still Care About Them? – Part 3”

  1. I spent ages looking for a decent, reliable web host. After much searching, I found a reasonably priced host with excellent plans and customer service (which you’ll probably need at some point).

  2. Bilski says:

    Best free webhost that ive come across is this site.

    Havent paid a cent and ive been running my site for over a year.


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