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What is Free Web Hosting?

Jul 27, 2008
Many times small businesses wishing to gain exposure online have a limited budget. They seek out services that offer free hosting services to ease their expenses. This is usually true for companies wanting to try an online business for the first time. This type of web hosting is offered by various companies to help small business get started. The whole idea behind free web host services is simple: the web host allows for free service for a small business in order to put a website online. In order to do this the host company puts ads on the client's website so that they can get some return for the space given. This type of free service is supported entirely by the web host's advertisements and comes with some limitations.

The free website hosts are making money with the application of such services as client's can be easily lured by such a zero-price offer. These web hosts display popup, put banners, or advertisements on WebPages of the client's website thus earning enough from free web hosting. There are several web hosting companies that provide free services to their clients against the condition that clients would click on banners that are their in their control panel or simply display banners in file manager with the expectations that client's will click on them.

With the advent of several cheap hosting services the requirements for free web hosting is diminishing at a faster rate. People are now able to access shared and dedicated web hosting services at a much lesser rate that is also hosting their sites faster. However, the emergence of blog has boosted the growth of free hosting services. Since blogs are easy to set up and manage, people often feel that they can opt for such an easy going service rather that hiring and spending on companies for website hosting. With Free web hosting services companies are trying to impart the benefits of individual websites that has several other advantages over blogs.

How reliable are free web hosts?

Since the free hosts make money from the banner advertisements or resources related to it, they have more possibility of staying in the business. But it often happens that someone or some other company complains against their web hosting server declaring it as spam, hacker, etc, Complaints also crawl up if any free web hosting company utilizes an automated instant activation to offer other features like that of PHP or CGI. This is because free server consumes lot of downtime or the performance reduces considerably. This however, happens with the new web hosts but those who are professional generally don't go for such offers.

The upside of free web hosts:

1. The free web hosting environments are great for students practicing web design, and their own hosting along with development. It allows them to store their projects, test them, and create them for free with no stress. They can expand their knowledge bank, and even share the information between each other. It is a valuable testing tool so they can see if their concepts are applicable and functional. It is a wonderful environment for creativity. Some web hosts cater specifically to that crowd such as boinc.ch who allows free accounts on their server for developers and students. People interested in creating a personal homepage can make great use of the features from these sites as well as it gives them the ability and freedom to share their personal life for free.

2. There are several voluntary organizations and non profit institutes who want to send their messages to public via internet. Since internet is the best possible way to reach out to the world, such organization would definitely find it useful and would like to utilize them. There may be several web hosts who would serve them free of cost due to emotional reasons. But apart form this, general free web hosting services, utilized by small businesses and students, can be equally fruitful to these organizations. They usually have a dearth of capital but an urgency to communicate with the world. They can use these services and create a basic website where information and news on their activities can be published.

3. There are a large number of groups or communities who are eager to share their ideas and feeling on various big and small issues. Free websites can be helpful for such groups who don't have enough money to invest on a shared or dedicated server. They can utilize the free service by posting useful information and also providing mutual links to their respective websites. This increases their search engine visibility and improves their rankings. Therefore both from SEO and financial perspective they are enjoying the benefit of free web hosting services.

4. Free web hosts are a great idea for family websites too. Members of a family can share the special moments with the world in the form of pictures and diaries. Free web hosts have limitations on how much space is allowed to host such things but most can be done in a small amount.

Cons of free web hosting

Even though the above organizations and individuals can save a great deal of money on free web hosting there are some things to consider before opting for those services.

1. Free hosts provide subdomain and not a second-level domain contrary to the paid services.

2. Bandwidth to share pictures and data is very low on a free service provider. You will get much more with a paid service.

3. Free space is also very low meaning you have very limited disk space on the server for holding your files and data.

4. To earn money against such a free services web host would stuff banner and popup advertises as much as possible in the client's website. This not only diminishes the actual space in the website for the owner but it also creates a negative impression about the website. The web host banners are also placed in the client's site compulsorily.

5. There is usually no guarantee of uptime.

6. Free websites often restrict certain file types such as those for music, movies, and others like zip files etc.

7. Most of the free hosts do not provide any customer support as they consider it as of low priority. Even if, some provide such services, it is often limited to a month or so.
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This article is published with permission from http://www.webhostingmadness.com, a provider of hosting company ratings, comparisons and detailed articles about the web hosting industry.
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