Why Not to Use a Free Web Host

by Kathryn Beach

Take a moment to think about what you would lose if your free or cheap webhost disappeared tomorrow. How many hours of work have you put into your website, how many personal photos, how much writing? How many customers and sales would you lose, how many contacts, how much pride, how much trust?

Assuming that you have backed up your website content yourself, religiously, then you will only lose visitors, customers, trust and money if you have to scramble for a new web host. Without your own backup of your web content, everything can disappear.

Many web-hosting companies have come and gone, leaving their customers without a site until the customer can find a new service. You have to understand fully that this is NOT uncommon. One reason for this is obvious. Your free or cheap web host service can be just breaking even thanks to advertising. Have you thought about this: customers need help?

A free or cheap webhost, by its very nature, caters to new webmasters, who by their very nature often require more time than those willing and able to pay for services. Just crunch the numbers. Your web host charges you $4-$10 a month. You require maybe 20 minutes of a customer service rep's time in a month.

You do indeed get what you pay for. You can't expect much from customer service reps whose hours or wages just got cut in order to preserve the company's bottom line. If such a web host wants to survive, they can either cut their services and therefore their costs, or they can start charging for a service.

When you use a cheap or free hosting company, consider who else may be using that same company - spammers, webmasters of adult sites, etc. These are people whose activities, when reported to the proper authorities, can get a web hosting service blocked or shut down.

Either way, you have to realize that you are affected by how other people use the same service that you are using.

Remember, just like with any other purchase you make, you get what you pay for. Don't be fooled by web hosting services that offer you huge database storage capabilities for cheap. This is because data base storage is indeed inexpensive, but the service you won't be getting is what has real value - technical expertise; guaranteed uninterrupted, high-speed internet access; and quality customer support.

Kathryn Beach has built numerous niche websites since 1998 and has used at least 6 different web hosts, both free and by paid subscription. To read more about how she evaluates web hosting services, visit her website.