We have already read and heard a lot about free WordPress hosting and any serious blogger should avoid free web hosting. There are many web-hosting companies, which offer free Web hosting and some of them limit it to only free WordPress Hosting. I had one hell of experience with my WordPress blog running on a free Web-host, and in this article I’m going to share my free Web hosting experience.
What is Free WordPress Hosting:
As I mentioned above, many web-companies offer free hosting to promote their Web hosting business. Usually they offer a limited amount of space, bandwidth and support for free. Now, if you are wondering how free WordPress hosting model works, read on. Usually web-hosting companies target more on number of clients initially and later on money. Usually they offer free hosting or super cheap hosting and from next year they charge usually, which actually cost nothing to hosting owners. Also, with time when you website grows, you usually need more resources and storage and then you look forward to upgrade to premium service by paying for it. Usually, free Web-hosting is not a bad idea for anyone but if you are looking to get into professional front, avoiding free web-hosting will be your best bet.
There are many free WordPress hosting companies are available in the market and a quick search on “Free WordPress Webhosting companies” will give you a great list of Web hosting companies which are offering free hosting for WordPress or any other platform. Starting with my horror story with free WP hosting, I’m a newbie blogger and affording a premium Web-host is not a workable option for me. Also, buying a Web hosting account requires, Credit-card or verified PayPal account and sadly I have none. So, I ended up picking up a free hosting from my local community. Despite of knowing that about numerous advantages of using premium WordPress hosting. You can find a list of recommended premium WordPress host here: Premium Web Hosting partners.
Common problem with Free WordPress hosting sites:
Hidden costs, Offensive ads, lack of support and limited use of control panel, These are some of the many common problem which you are going to face with WordPress blog host or any common free hosting account. Usually, when they pitch about their free hosting account, companies make us feel like there can’t be anyone better than them, but the reality changes when you become a part of the system.
Now I am going to explain my horrible free hosting experience with my WordPress blog: My first WordPress blog skyafar.com was earlier hosted on Free web-hosting before I moved it to Hostgator.
My previous host was offering me limited hosting space and limited bandwidth & as a newbie blogger it was fine for me that time. Some of the advantages for choosing that particular free web-host was free script installer and free hosting for one year. Once I hosted my site on free hosting, I faced many problems and here I’m sharing some of the problems and solution which I found, from my experience:
Delayed Email confirmation:
Sometime when you sign up for free hosts, your account and hosting detail or confirmation E-mail takes ages to reach your inbox. I signed up with free hosting & I had to wait for 3 days to get a confirmation e-mail from them.
Re-installing WordPress several times because of Server Error.
Once I installed WordPress it was working fine for 2 days and after 2 days I couldn’t get into my WordPress admin area. I tried re-installing WordPress but it failed every-time. I deleted everything from my account and started from scratch and finally it worked. But again, after 2-3 days I experienced lots of up-time and down-time. Do remember, it’s a new blog with only WordPress essential settings and plugins.
Problems with Some WordPress Plugins.
After installing WordPress I cleaned up all unnecessary contents like sample post sample page, uncategorized category and comments. After all that works I started installing plug-ins. I installed Akismet and WordPress.com stats plugin. While configuring Akismet key, It started giving me following error:
“Error from last API Key attempt:Your blog was unable to connect to WordPress.com. Please ask your host for help. (Transport error – could not open socket)”
I neglected that error and start installing other necessary plug-ins. With my luck all other plugins worked well with my new blog. After installing plug-ins I resumed my blogging. After few days I inquired my hosting company about the problem with Akismet plugin & this is the reply I got from them:
Please keep in mind that all the outgoing connections from my hosting account is disabled for security reasons, so that is why Akismet is showing unable to connect error. This is one of the limitations of free hosting service. If you would like to have the outgoing connections enabled for your account, you should upgrade to a paid hosting plan.
Finally, all these tech hassles, I decided to give away the idea of having a blog for free and planned to upgrade my account to paid hosting from free one. Sadly, I couldn’t make Payment because of unavailability of credit card. So I decided to search for another hosting account & I landed on this post here: Hostgator review & I planned to buy it. but again they accept CC or PayPal only. So, I decided to continue with my existing hosting account.
Problems with WordPress menu and all posts tabs:
After two weeks of smooth experience, another issue started knocking on my WordPress blog. Some of tabs in WordPress admin start to fail loading. All posts, Menu’s and create new post are those tabs which stopped working. After many tries I managed to create a new post. But problem remains the same and I don’t like blogging in that phase of tech challenge.
Couple of days, back I read another post about IndiaGetonline here at ShoutMeLoud and then I got to know about Hostgator India which also accepts Indian bank transfer and other Indian local payment system. I bought baby shared hosting plan from Hostgator India and by using their free Web hosting migration offer, I was on premium hosting within 48 hours.
Hostgator tech team gave me a temp link to access my blog and see if everything is alright, once I verified everything is right, I changed my name server and pointed it to my Hostgator server. It took almost 2 to 48 hours for DNS changes propagation. After that I accessed my admin area and enabled Akismet, stats and other services from WordPress.com. Only problem that I come across with my new host account was with my cache plugin. Reactivation did the trick and even cache problem after migration was solved.
Problem with Notifications and Searching from Admin Area
There were some other problems with my free hosting account. I was not receiving any notifications for plugin or WordPress updates.I realized it when I moved to my new server.Reason for the same was the restricted out going connections. So, if you are used to searching plugin or theme from Wp dashboard, you might miss all this in a free host.
Initially I thought this was a problem with my free server only, but after talking to other people who used Free WordPress hosting in the past, they shared about similar experience.
When you planning to start a blog seriously, avoid free webhost at any cost. Use it for testing and non-serious work. But, I feel any work which requires time can’t be non-serious work. If you are from a country or don’t have Credit card, PayPal or other payment accessibility, ask your parents or family members to buy a hosting account for you. You can also search for your city or country based hosting account as many of them accepts direct bank deposit payment system. If you are in India, you should check out Hostgator India, as they offer many payment options for Indians and they are considered as quality web host for WordPress.
Do let us know if you would ever recommend a free hosting to anyone? Did you ever had any such experience with free WordPress hosting accounts? Which all premium Web hosting do you recommend to other newbies?
This is a guest post by Ramnadh from Skyafar. If you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our guest posting guidelines.