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There are many free
web hosting options on the web, but do some research before you
use one for your online business.
|Where can I find
free web hosting?
There are hundreds of free web hosting services on the web. You can type
“free web hosting” into any major search engine and get an
expanded list. However, when you sign up for free hosting
account, you are basically signing an expanded advertising
What exactly is free hosting?
In exchange for free hosting, the company can place ads your website. The
ads can be placed on the top of the main page, the top of every
page, or on the sides. The ads are usually not targeted. It is
possible that they won’t match the demographics of your web
visitors. In addition, they are not customized to match the
content on your web page.
This is a very expensive exchange program if your goal is to build up an
online business. The area above the fold, everything that is
visible without scrolling, is the most effective advertising
area on the entire site. This is the area you should use for
your affiliate links, Google Adsense, paid links and expanded
Some free web hosting contracts go a step further and ask for your
participation in their email marketing campaigns. You will
receive emails that require a click through to a merchant site,
and/or fill out endless surveys. This can be very time consuming
Before you sign any free hosting contract ask to see sample sites. You want
to get a feel for the types of ads that are being shown on other
website. What do you want to look for?
1. Do you see pop-up ads? What about banners?
2. How large are the ads?
3. Are they just off topic or are they inappropriate?
4. Where are the ads? Are they on every single page or on selected pages?
Even if the ads are not on every page, watch out. It could mean that the
hosting service has figured out which pages bring in the most
revenue and they can afford to ignore everything else. Guess
what? If it brings in lots of revenue for them, it could
probably bring in lots of revenue for you.
There’s free and then there’s FREE
If the space is free, what about the domain name?
If your new site will look like http://yoursite.freewebhost.com you’re
getting a subdomain for your site. It’s not really your unique
domain name. They are simply loaning you a space for your stuff.
This is not a unique domain name that you can use to brand your business.
You can’t use it anywhere except with this particular web
hosting company. Ditto if the new domain names is
So what if they offer a truly unique domain name?
How long will it take before you actually own the domain name? Even the
cheap web hosting services will require that you stay with the
company for thirty to sixty days before you can keep a free
What happens if you want to switch to another company before the period is
up? Sometimes there’s a charge to keep the domain name or to
transfer it. This should be clearly stated in their FAQ's or in
the text of the hosting contract before you agree to use their
Do you have enough bandwidth?
Many free web hosting services are providing their services in such a way
that you will need to upgrade your hosting package if your site
has any degree of minor success. The tipping point is usually
bandwidth. That is a measure of how much text, pictures, ftps
etc. you can send to your web customers every month.
The Bandwidth in your contract is measured on a monthly basis. Check the
contract to see if there are any fees for going over your
monthly amount, or if you will lose your free hosting
Free host today, no host tomorrow
There is a very high turnover for free web hosting services that heavily
depend on advertising revenue. Even the most successful web
companies will find that their advertising revenue varies on a
monthly basis. Will the company suddenly go out business if they
hit a three month slump?
There should be a written policy on what happens to your content if they
site suddenly goes out of business. Can you still access your
files? Is there an alternative URL or login site with your
information? How much time do you have?
You are only as reliable as your hosting service
Check out the statistics on the uptime for their servers. This applies to
any hosting service, whether you are paying or not. If their
uptime is in the low 90’s and below, then try to find another
You are taking a big risk if you use a free web hosting services for your
business site. The inability to control your advertising, high
turnover rates among the free hosting providers, and variable
contracts usually spells disaster for e-commerce sites.
To run a successful online venture, 24-hour live customer service, high
uptimes ratios and control of your advertising space is a must.
These features are also the major weaknesses of the average free
A better option for you company would be to sign up for an affordable or
cheap web hosting provider. You will have many service options
in this category and can usually avoid the limitations of the
free hosting companies.
About the author:
Syd Johnson is the Executive Editor of RapidLingo.com, a Financial
Solutions Website. This article may be freely distributed as
long as the author's bio is included with an active link to