This article may sound a little harsh you. It's not meant to be as I am just stating the facts from my own personal experiences.
Mark my words: If you use a free host for your business you are making a huge mistake. Period.
I don't think many people realize the number of disadvantages that go along with creating free websites. Hopefully this article will shed some light on the subject.
Don't make the same mistake I did. After this nightmare, I vowed to never go the "free route" again. Creating your site from scratch with its own domain name (yoursite.com) is affordable (less than $7/month on average) and definitely worth the small investment.
Parking your site at a free host is often like building a house on sand. It may be quick and and it may seem easy at first, but I can almost guarantee you it won't last long.
Disadvantages of Free Web Hosts
- Limited web page space
- Can't add interactive features (chat rooms, message boards, games, online ordering etc.)
- Search engines often ignore them (Your traffic will be limited)
- Your visitors may doubt your credibility
- May have banners and/or pop ads on your homepage and/or all of your pages
- Long and hard-to-remember web address (instead of yourdomain.com)
- No guarantees of site availability and longevity
- No branded emails addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Poor help and support options (if any)
- May not be free forever
Advantages of Owning Your Own Dot Com Name
- Easy to remember website address (yourdomain.com)
- No banners or popups
- Easier to get listed in search engines (Google, Yahoo etc.)
- You have more control over the look and feel of your website.
- Multiple branded email addresses (email@example.com)
- Plenty of web page space for site expansion
- No worries of site being removed unexpectedly
- Looks more professional
- More flexibility for design and functionality
- Help is readily available
You might be tempted to create a free website because you don't want to spend any money. Trust me. I'd rather you wait until you've saved some money than start your site on a free host and then switch later.
I know of so many people who went to Blogger.com to build a free blog only to have their blog shut down by Google or they didn't realize how difficult it would be to move their blog to a paid host.
It's better to do it right the first time or you could be in for a big headache when it comes to moving your site. Why create the extra hassle?
Free Websites & Making Money Online Don't Mix
It amazes me how many people tell me that they want to start a business website but don't want to spend any money.
I personally don't know of a single successful website owner that created their business website on a free host.
If you were starting an offline business, you'd plan on investing some money right? Well, doing business on the web is no different despite many beliefs. If you don't plan to invest anything to start a business then I'd have to question your drive.
I've been making money on the Internet for over a decade and I have YET to read a success story from someone hosting their site on Blogger.com or Yola. It's no coincidence that successful people own their own domains.
Plus, you can't expect people to take you or your site seriously if your website address starts with something like is http://myfreesite...
And if the address doesn't tip your visitor's off, the banners and pop-ups you'll be forced to display sure will. Also, the templates (if any!) they provide are generally very basic and lacking a professional appearance.
Think about it. Wouldn't you be a little suspicious if the web address of a business was something like http://members.aol.com/users/myhomepage.html with pop-ups and banners instead of www.companyABC.com?
Web surfers are becoming much more Internet savvy and they can smell a "cheap site" a mile away. You don't want to lose credibility and potential customers because of the unprofessional feel.
Any time someone sends me their "business" site on Blogger.com I immediately discredit the site. Sorry, but that's what most people do. Free web hosts just aren't taken seriously.
Not to mention, you can only do some much with them. So if you want to add shopping carts, order forms and additional interactive features you probably won't be able to do this because most free hosting companies don't offer that kind of functionality.
More Problems Free Website Hosters May Encounter
It is quite expensive for these companies to run a free hosting service because the company has to pay for the space and the bandwidth (traffic) to host thousands of web sites. And since they offering these sites for free, some companies find themselves loosing money very quickly.
They try to keep their service free by slapping banners on the member's pages, hoping that people will click and purchase products...but think about it...how many banners have you clicked on lately?
Then some may try to redeem themselves by charging a "small" fee for their service. And of course, if you aren't willing to pay for your site, you can say "bye bye" to all of your hard work.
Almost all free website providers let you know in their terms and conditions that there are NO GUARANTEES when it comes to keeping your available. Which means they reserve the right to remove your site at anytime, regardless of how much work you've put into it.
I really hope you'll decide to come back and learn how to register your domain name. Speaking as someone who has been burned by the free hosting companies, I am confident you won't regret the choice to pay for your site.
The Best Way to Build a Website
My recommendation is to register your own domain (dot com) name and build your site from scratch.
The registration process is very easy. You're able to search the Internet's domain name database until you find a name that hasn't been taken. Within seconds you can reserve it and it's yours for as long as you want.
Once you have the name you want, you'll need a place to create your web pages. Aweb hosting company will provide you with the help you need in this area. You'll be happy to know that the hosting options recommended here provide top notch support.
Just do yourself a favor and try it. You have no obligations to keep your site. Hosting fees are not expensive and you can terminate your plan anytime.
I hope you'll make the smart decision. :) Good luck!