• Cost: This goes without saying, but we're going to say it anyway. Free is free, while the average paid web-hosting service can cost anything from a few dollars a month to several hundred dollars a year. For those struggling on limited budgets the lower-cost packages can often offer the best compromise, not costing the earth but allowing you to retain some control over your website. You'll also be able to upgrade your package once the money starts rolling in.
• Domain names: Most free web-hosting services force you to use their domain name, for example mydomain.freehosting.com rather than simply mydomain.com. JoshWho Free Hosting does not force this issue. You are allowed to use as many domains as you like. Other free host want you to pay for their service so you can purchase your own domain and get the service to host it for you. If you're looking to build a company website then this will make it appear far more professional, and some argue that it may also help its search engine visibility. After all, you probably wouldn't be taking our advice if we were coming to you from mydomain.freehosting.com.
• Customer service: You're not just paying for a professional website with paid web hosting, you're also paying for tech support whenever it is required. Some free services offer very good tech support, but it's not a given with them all. If you're not particularly tech-savvy then this will prove invaluable when something goes wrong. Every second your site is offline you could be losing money.
• Advertising: With free web hosting you have no (or at least very little) control over the ads that are displayed on your site. The web host is providing you with a free service and has to cover its costs. That's quite reasonable, but it doesn't mean you'll be happy with its choice- or the quantity of advertising. With paid web hosting you get control over the adverts, which means you won't ever find yourself in a position where the products of rival companies are plastered all over your site.
• Reliability: If you're using a free web-hosting package the service provider is under no obligation to ensure your site is up and running at maximum efficiency at all times. With paid hosting higher bandwidth and increased data transfer capacity will make your website less vulnerable to downtime, and it will give you more scope to add better content to the site and accept more visitors.
How do companies make money from free hosting?
They might be offering you a free platform for your website, but web hosts will still earn money from that site by using it to display advertising. JoshWho Free Hosting does not force ads onto your site but rather a single backlink to the Main Hosting website. It's in essence the same deal as you get on this very site: you get to enjoy our content free of charge, and we cover our editorial costs through advertising revenue made from the control panel instead keeping your site ad free.
Can businesses get away with free web hosting?
Just because you can do something it doesn't mean you should. And while you shouldn't be throwing around money if you are to make a profit, remember that web hosting is a business- rather than personal expense. By starting out with a paid hosting service you'll avoid any teething issues when you eventually outgrow your free hosting package, too.
If you're creating a business website, it's important that it looks professional and is reliable. If it has an amateur domain name, is plastered with inappropriate advertising and can at times suffer reliability issues, your customers will look elsewhere. If something goes wrong, the availability of tech support will be reassuring, too.