Starting a website requires a domain name and a hosting space. There are many free platforms like BlogSpot, WordPress.com, etc., but they come with limitations.
A professional approach is to get a self-hosted site.
And the easiest way?
Well, it’s simple! Get a WordPress blog. Now, for a WordPress blog, we need a domain and a WordPress compatible hosting company.
Everyone knows that the reason behind the incredible growth of the blogosphere is the availability of free hosting services like Blogspot, Geocities, WordPress.com, Typepad, etc.
However, in recent years, developments around free web hosts do not feel as good as they sound.
Problems With Free Web Hosting
I know free hostings are cheap, and you don’t have to spend a penny, but all such free web hosting companies use the freemium model to promote their premium service.
I want you to answer this: Do you think there is anything available out there for free without a catch?
The answer, for me at least, is a big NO.
Ten years ago, I started my blog on a free web host, and it was the worst decision of my life. If I could go back in time and change it, I would.
Let me highlight some of the common issues with your hosting account when you grab it for free.
1. Free Hosted Blog can die at any time
The hosting providers can end their free service at any time. They will inform you before ending their service as per the terms & policies, but what is the use of it?
You should move all content to a new server. Also, remember if they close only new registrations and keep their already hosted domains, you can redirect your links to your new domain. If they completely stop their service, you will not be able to redirect your old links. As a result, all your old links will be dead.
A great example of this:
Yahoo Geocities shut their services in April 2009. They said new registrations would not be accepted, but old domains would remain functional. Upgrading to Yahoo’s paid hosting was recommended. Unfortunately, Yahoo later asked to transfer all data before the deadline (October 26, 2009) and said GeoCities was being deleted and not decommissioned!
You may ask what this means.
Let me tell you.
This means any data, whether or not personally backed up by its owners or readers, will not be recoverable. Ever.
2. You can’t sell your free hosted blog
It’s hard to digest the truth. And the truth here, my friends, is that your free hosted blog is NOT YOUR property. For example, read the terms and conditions of Blogspot. It states that you can’t sell, share, and transfer your Blogspot blog to any other person.
“No Resale of the Service. Unless expressly authorized in writing by Google, you agree not to reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, trade, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes (a) any portion of the Service, (b) use of the Service, or (c) access to the Service.”
You may sell your blog secretly to someone. But if Blogspot identifies it, your blog will be shut and will also be removed from the search engine index.
3. There is no safety
I don’t say this to threaten you over and over again. I say this from experience and knowledge. Free hosting service providers can’t spend much on security issues.
I remember a company (2ip) which offered free hosting services. Hundreds and thousands of users started their blog on it. But their servers were soon hacked by hacking experts. I have their email which they sent me a few days after the hack. In the mail, they stated that they couldn’t get back the data, and asked me to contact Hostgator if I had a backup.
4. There is no control over server resources for you
You don’t have control on your blog server resources. If your blog gets popular and features on Digg, Delicious or someplace else, your blog is certain to go down due to the load.
Do you know Leo Babauta of Zenhabits? He shared his experience in his free guide with Blogspot when his Blogspot blog came popular on Digg. He also mentioned in his book about how he felt when his blog crashed when a post was listed on Digg’s homepage.
When a more popular Digg user submitted one of my posts, however, I hit the front page of Digg. “It was a rush, until my server crashed from all the traffic. That was disappointing,” he said.
5. Don’t fall for non-guaranteed promises of free domain
Don’t fall for a catchy advertisement. No one will give you anything for free without expecting some returns, immediately or later.
Let me come to the point straight.
You may have heard of or tried the free co.cc domains. Let me explain something about this.
What they do is, they give their subdomains for free.
Getting a domain example.co.in & example.co.cc is not same. When you buy example.co.in, it means you buy your own domain but when you buy example.co.cc, it means you use their subdomains.
They can close their service at any time or change it to a paid model. If they shut down their website, your blog will go down even if you host it on your own server. Therefore, be extra cautious of registering the right domain at the right registrar.
I know you wish to keep your budget minimal. Therefore, instead of going for the free one, you should pick the cheaper hosting which offers quality service at reasonable prices.
Harsh has compiled a useful list of cheap WordPress hosting, which you can opt for. Always try to build your home on your own land. If you are serious about starting a blog, DON’T opt for a free hosting or free domain model.
Do you have a blog on free hosting? This is the right time to move to a better host.
Have you ever heard any stories like these in your experience? If yes, share with us.