While it might not be at the forefront of your mind, web hosting services play an important part in your website’s success. When it comes to the website development, every little thing matters. While we all know that design and usability of a website directly affect user experience, website hosting is an important component in building a successful online presence too. Of course, it’s a pleasure to save some money but, sometimes, the result is quite the opposite.
The best way to save your budget while building a website is to save on its development. Sure thing, it’s not easy to find an affordable and at the same time professional services. Then again, remote is, probably, the future of work and there’s outstaffing model that is more reliable and efficient. Thus, it’s no longer a surprise that hiring web designers in Ukraine or any other popular outsourcing directions will save some cash. Actually, this is a common way to reduce the price when building a website but, of course, nothing is without flaws.
Let’s get back to choosing a reliable website hosting provider that follows your business needs. Since there are many ways the web host you choose can impact your website (business), you should educate yourself on well-known mistakes you’ll want to stay away from. Wondering what’s at the top of the list? Choosing free web hosting is the most common mistake most businesses make when developing their online presence.
Why hosting matters when you build a website?
There’s a lot of work you need to do to plan a website. There are many ways different ways to create your perfect online image, but one fact remains the same regardless of what route you take. Finding a reliable web hosting company is an important step in delivering the best user experience to your customers. And this is something free web hosting services don’t offer.
After you decide on a website design, the development process begins. To successfully deliver your content to viewers, you’ll need a place to store your files. That’s where hosting comes in. Remote computer servers serve as a source of storage for your information. Your host keeps your files safe and accessible, so your website can deliver the information you want viewers to see when someone opens your website.
Business success is often measured by profit margins and a company’s ability to maximize their profits. This being the case, many businesses avoid anything that can negatively impact their overall profit gain. Because most businesses today are competing for the most effective, most well-liked online presence, choosing the right hosting solution for your business is important. When you do not take the time to research the right fit for your web hosting needs, you run the risk of losing revenue, negatively affecting your SEO ranking, and facing potential security issues and malware attacks. So, how can you ensure you are making the right decision for your web hosting while still making a sound financial decision?
Top reasons free website hosting is a mistake
Free sure is tempting. With all the expenses businesses face today, it may seem like a breath of fresh air to see that you can get a web hosting service for your website for free. The problem with falling for the temptation of choosing a free website host is that it ends up costing you more money in the long run. You also risk the integrity of your website, can ruin your online reputation and can lose revenue and customers while facing these negative repercussions of choosing “free.”
One of the major problems with free web hosting is the amazing marketing tactics hosting companies use to draw you in. It’s almost as if you can’t say no! The great news is that you can turn down free offers and you don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of money to get what you need. There are many managed and shared hosting options available that offer affordable premium hosting. These companies can save you money long-term, but they can also save you a headache and mess of making the mistake of choosing a free website hosting service in the first place.
So, what is it exactly about free website hosting that has created such a fuss throughout the world of internet and online business? Here’s what you really get when you choose a free website hosting and the top reasons for making that decision is a mistake for your business.
1. Is anything REALLY free?
Think about it. Anytime you have signed up for something “free” in your lifetime, has it truly been free without a surprise gimmick or some way of paying down the road? When you ask if something is really free, you should also consider the other end of that question. What about limitations?
The problem with free website hosting is that there are often serious limitations that come with it. Once you discover these limitations and realize you need to reach beyond them, you are left with one of two scenarios to face. You either need to pay an excessive service fee to get what you need, or you are stuck with what you have and hinder your business’ success.
Most free web hosting services limit the amount of storage available to your website, the bandwidth of your service, and do not allow FTP access. Since you probably signed a contract that says you are locked into a long-term commitment, you will be forced to upgrade your services for a much higher fee than most premium hosting providers offer. And if you failed to read the tiny, tiny print in the terms of services, it’ll be near impossible for you to safely get out of your contract with your website in tow and intact.
2. You forfeit reliability
Many of the most highly marketing free web hosting providers are new companies themselves. The offer free web hosting to try to draw in customers to pay for their other services. Since premium hosting can easily be offered at an affordable rate, these new companies draw you in by giving it away and focusing on charging you for some of their most expensive services.
The major risk you face when you choose to host with a new company is that you forfeit reliability. So, what happens if that company is unsuccessful and ultimately folds? You will lose everything. If they shut down, so does your entire website. Everything you have worked so hard to create can be lost for good. You will likely have no backups of your website. If you purchased, or renewed, your domain through the company you will lose your domain as well. And this will hit your SEO ranking right where it hurts. All the time and money you put into your website services will be permanently lost.
3. You can’t transfer your website
Most free hosting solutions have a way of working some tricky wording into their terms of service. So, while you think you own your website and your domain, you don’t. In addition, your hosting provider will likely own all your content. That means you can’t sell your website, you can’t sell your content, and you can’t republish any of your works. Just think about being a photographer or artist who publishes their images on their website to show their customers their work. Once you put that up, your “free” web hosting services go to work and you no longer own rights to that content.
To make matters worse, once you realize you need better services, it’s nearly impossible to transfer providers. So, if you can’t afford the upgrades needed from your free hosting provider, forget looking for a more affordable, reliable company. Since you don’t actually own your website, your content, or even your domain, you can’t transfer to a better provider. It’s that simple.
4. You have no server control.
Free website hosting means you get what you pay for, and since you didn’t pay, you are limited to what you get. Chances are your website is not scalable. This means if your business grows, your website can’t grow with you. Most free hosting services cannot handle lots of traffic, so if business starts booming, your website can’t handle the influx of visitors. This translates to slow website speeds and lots of downtimes. When it comes to business, downtime means you’ll lose readers, visitors, and customers. Loss of customers obviously means you’re going to be losing money.
The great news is that premium hosting is not that expensive. When you invest in hosting, you invest in security for your website and you invest in your business’ future. If you exceed your limits with a premium hosting provider, you can easily upgrade your services at a fair and affordable price. And you don’t run the risk of slow website speeds that can turn away visitors or even downtime that can result in the loss of customers!
5. Your website won’t look professional.
I think by now we have established that nothing is free! Free hosting means you are only able to use basic themes for your design. You may be able to make small changes, but you won’t’ be able to customize your website or make improvements as your budget allows. You will also be dealing with unprofessional domain names because you will likely be using a subdomain.
WordPress hosting is a great example of a free hosting provider that limits your capabilities and prevents you from looking as professional as possible. Clients who use the free WordPress hosting services often have a domain like biz.wordpress.com. A professional hosting provider can get you a top-level domain at a low cost and you can implement professional .com emails that enhance your business.
Since many functions require plugins, and free hosting excludes plugins, your website won’t be capable of executing common, important website functions. Just think, no selling and no mailing list. In addition to limitations, you will likely have to deal with forced ads that are placed on your website and have no relevance to your business. After all, your free hosting provider needs to make their money somewhere.
6. Your SEO ranking will suffer.
Since we’ve now established that your webpage can face slow site speed, increased downtime, and look unprofessional, there’s a more serious impact this can have on your business. SEO is a science. If you have invested in SEO, you’ll understand that it takes time to build a solid online presence. You can not only lose all you’ve worked for if your free hosting provider takes down your website, you can face many negative impacts on your ability to rank in the first place.
Google has created high standards to allow websites to rank at the top. All the negative impacts listed above regarding free hosting make your website harder to rank because of its low quality when it comes to Google Standards. You won’t be able to get your business on the map when it comes to search engine results. This is a major preventative of growth for your business.
If you want to create an online presence that can bring your business growth and success, free hosting is not the way to go. While it may look like a way to save money as you start out, it will cost you customers and revenue in the end. Your business website should be professional.
Professional, premium hosting providers offer you full control over your website, better SEO, a real, professional domain, and a scalable website that will grow with your business. When you choose a reliable web hosting company, you contribute to your brand. And this means a greater chance of success as you continually exceed your limits and grow to your full potential through your professional online presence and your supportive, premium web hosting services.
Guest Author: Alka Parti, Digital Marketing Consultant