Free Hosting
  • The majority of hosting options have two types of tiers: free and paid. Free hosting is ideal for individuals who currently constructing a website or just want to test a hosting service before making a full commitment.
  • Typically, many features are available but a limited capacity. For example, features such as server speed, disk space, and monthly traffic and file size could be capped to a certain amount. 
  • Also, some features, such as password and virus protection are not available with a free hosting service. Therefore, upgrading one's hosting service is an option.
  • Normally, individuals using a free hosting service can upgrade to a paid plan without losing any of their information if they stay with the same company.
Paid Hosting
  • In contrast with a free hosting service, a paid hosting service offers all the features that are at a limited capacity or not available with the latter. A paid plan is ideal for individuals who are constructing a website for professional purposes.
  • Therefore, they need as much freedom to construct their website as possible. Features that are limited in capacity such as server speed, disk space and monthly traffic are unlimited. 
  • Also, opting for a paid hosting service provides other services such as backup capabilities, email forwarding, and SITE builder.
  • In addition, many companies that provide this service tend to have a money back guarantee. Therefore, consumers can test out what paid hosting plan is ideal for their websites without the full commitment.
  • With the economy the way it is right now, new entrepreneurs are looking for ways to save money in their startup costs. Everyone seems to be looking for free web hosting but they really don’t understand the cost to their business by doing this. 
  • If you are reading this after the recession of 2014, the following information is still relevant as it relates to building a reputable online presence for your business. Let’s look at the cost to your business if you go with free web hosting.
Professional Appearance of Business
  • When you use free web hosting, your URL (the web link for you website) will look something like this:
  • In the example above is the company providing the free hosting.
  • If this is a business blog or website, it doesn’t give the appearance that you are serious about your business.
  • For a more professional image of your business, it would be prudent of you to invest in a domain name and some professional hosting.
Outgrowing Your Free Web Hosting
  • At some point your website/blog will outgrow the features offered by free web hosting providers.
  • If you move from free web hosting to your own domain with paid web hosting you don’t have the capability to upload a .htaccess file to redirect the search engines and visitors to your new web hosting space. 
  • To let the search engines know you have moved you use instructions in the .htaccess file to 301 permanently redirect them to your new location.
  • Also, you cannot use a .htaccess instruction to permanently redirect your visitors and search engines when you delete a page within your site.
  • After years of building your website/blog on free web hosting, your efforts will be lost and you will have to start over, from scratch.
  • Some will say you can include coding in the existing pages to redirect the visitors and search engines to the new location. But these methods do not provide a 301 permanent redirect instruction, which the search engines need.
  • Use a 301 Redirect to permanently redirect all pages on your old site to your new site. This tells search engines and users that your site has permanently moved. ….
  • Don’t do a single redirect directing all traffic from your old site to your new home page….
  • To prevent confusion, it’s best to retain control of your old site domain for at least 180 days…
  • Moving your site – Webmasters/Site Owners Help at Google
Custom Error Pages
  • Another problem with free web hosting is that you will not be able to use custom error pages. Error pages are used by the web server to show the visitor there has been an error. For example, a 404 error is shown when a page is not found within the webspace. 
  • On a free web hosting space, the visitor will be shown the web hosting company’s stock error page and give no direction as to how to find what it was, they were looking for. A confused visitor will just leave.
  • With the right paid web hosting account, you can provide a custom error page for each type of error. 
  • This gives the visitor comfort that they are not lost (especially if they are a novice web surfer) when the error page is formatted to match your site and provides help on how what happened and how to find what it is they are looking for.
ISP Web Hosting
  • Usually when you signup for internet access with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) your package includes a small, free web hosting space. When using this type of web hosting your URL will be similar to those provided with free web hosting accounts.
  • Web hosting at your ISP has the same problems as described above for free web hosting.
  • Something else people don’t realize is that when you cancel your internet service with your ISP you lose the web hosting space (and your email address, which is a whole other problem if you have used as your business email address).
Limited Features with Free Web Hosting
  • Free web hosting accounts have limits on what you can and cannot do. You are limited to the features provided by the service.
  • Some paid web hosting accounts have limits too. If you create a checklist before signing up for the account, then you will be aware of the limits of the plan. These limitations are generally less confining that those at free web hosting service providers.
  • Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Recommendations for webmaster friendly freehosts has some points you should ask your free hosting company before signing up.
  • From the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog March 6, 2012

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