Almost everyone who designs, plans, or simply wants websites considers free web hosting at some point - and who can blame them? Life's expensive enough without having to pay for a website. And in some situations, a free web host can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Before you leap at the offer, though, consider what you're using your site for - and whether free web site hosting is for you.
What is a web host?
If a website is like your house, a web host is like the bank: they lease you the space you build your house on (i.e., the real estate). Without that land, your house couldn't exist. The same goes for your site: you can't put a website online without a place to store it.
That's why free web page hosting is such a popular concept. They provide free real estate to host your site. What could be better, right?
The ups and downs
If you're simply building a personal website, free web page hosting may work for you. But if you're planning to use your site for any sort of business or revenue, you'll want to avoid free web hosts like the plague.
The reason is very simple. Like everyone else, free hosting services are in the game for the money. I don't mean to suggest that they're more profiteering than anyone else, only that they're running a business, and unless your business turns a profit, it's not much good. Since a free web host provides your virtual real estate for free, that profit has to come from somewhere else.
You can probably already guess where that somewhere else is: advertising. In other words, if you choose to use free web site hosting, expect visitors to have to deal with banner ads and pop-ups. If you're running a business, this is the last thing you want - if anyone clicks on an ad, they're navigating away from your site!
So before you decide on free web hosting, price out the options and make sure you're doing what's best for you in the long run.