Free Web Hosting - What's The Catch?

by: Ed Zivkovic

The Two Different Free Web Hosting Deals

It is important to know the different free web hosting deals before you go and waste lots of time building a web site and sending traffic to that site. It may turn out that these deals are often not suitable for all users.

Totally Free Web Hosting

Totally free web hosting does not involve paying any setup fees, but the features you get are often very limited.

For example, you usually will not be able to point your own domain name to the site. You will be stuck with a directory under the web hosts domain which can be displayed in one of two ways:

    Sub-Domain - http://your-user-name.freewebhost.com - Where your-user-name is the name of the account you set up and freewebhost is the domain name of the company giving away free web hosting.

    Absolute Path - http://www.freewebhost.com/your-user-name/

What this means is that any promotion work you do for your site (like link exchanges), will actually be promoting the web hosting company (freewebhost) at the same time.

Also, do not expect other features like an email account, cgi-bin for running scripts, FrontPage support, or mySQL databases etc.

Do expect freewebhost to plaster your web site with banner ads, side-bar ads, and annoying pop-up window ads.

This kind of free web hosting is not suitable if your intention is to create a professional looking web site or for making money online.

Free Web Hosting with Domain Name Registration

Some companies offer free web hosting if you register or transfer a domain name with them. These kind of deals can be offered in a number of ways. For example:
    Free web hosting with free domain name - These kind of deals involve paying a one time set-up fee. You must keep the domain name registered (yearly fee) with the company offering the deal in order to keep the site active.

    Free web hosting with domain name registration - This deal is the same as the previous one but it is worded differently. You register a domain name with the company and get free web hosting. As long as you keep the domain name registered with that company, your web site stays active.

The bad news is that you must pay the yearly domain registration fee, but this is a small price to pay to look professional.
    The very good news is that these companies will not plaster your site with their ads.
These kinds of hosting deals usually supply many popular features like email, mySQL databases, Frontpage support, statistics program etc. You will have to look around if want one of these deals with full access to a cgi-bin.

One of the advantages with free web hosting with your own domain name over totally free web hosting is that your site will look more professional simply because you have your own domain name (http://www.your-own-domain-name.com)

These types of deals are okay for one or two sites, but any more than that will not work out as cost effective as getting a basic web hosting plan which supports multiple domains for the same price.