Pros and Cons of Free Hosts
Some people love 'em, while other people won't go near 'em. There are argument for and against free hosts, and we've gathered them here to help you consider the best choice for you.
Types of Free Hosts
There are a number of situations in which a free host may offer everything you need with—as the name says—no fee. For one thing, free hosts come in many shapes and sizes:
- FaceBook and MySpace, for example, offer the ability to connect with friends, colleagues, and customers to have fun, network, or do business.
- Photobucket and Flickr, for example, offer the ability to post and share photos and videos.
- GoDaddy and FreeWebSpace, Inc., for example, offer free web hosting—FreeWebSpace, Inc. using a subdomain and Go Daddy with the registration of a .com site.
Pros of Free Hosts for Networking and Posting Photos and Video
- Do you know people who are already on FaceBook, MySpace, or another social networking site? The shear weight of the numbers of people already there makes these sites desirable for many who want to connect online. Find your buddies easily and take advantage of many options to interact.
- Photographs gobble up email space, and video won't fit. One way around this is to post it on a free host site, particularly one that people are used to by now. Rather than having to come up with your own site design to post your photos, you can use the existing templates and tolls that sites like Flickr and Photobucket provide.
Cons of Free Hosts for Networking and Posting Photos and Video
- Social networking is a new way to waste time and be connected to a bunch of whom most of who you probably don't even know very well.
- You have to be really careful of the terms of service at sites where you post your material for "free." Did you know that they often say that the site owner is granted a license to use your material? Yeah, they do. They often write into their terms of agreement that you license them to distribute, modify, and publicly perform and display your material. Is that what you want? Check it out.
Pros for Free Hosts of Webspace
- Are you an experienced website builder? If yes, then you probably know exactly what benefits a free host would bring you. If not, then using a free host is a way to learn your way around the World Wide Web without having to pay to have your site built and rebuilt as you figure out what you really need.
- Websites that charge for use often have extras that you don't find at free hosts. The question is: Do you really need them? Are 10,000 free email addresses going to do you any good? Will you use the extra webspace or bandwidth? Is page ranking important to you for this particular project? If you answered no to these questions, then you may be happy with a free host.
- Is this a website that you need to have forever? If you're planning a one-time event for which you need a website—a family reunion, anniversary party, graduation, retirement celebration, etc.—you may find the easy-come-easy-go nature of the free host website is just the ticket.
- What's your deadline? If you need a site up by, well, yesterday, then a free host with templates and/or online web builder tool can make short work of creating an online presence.
Cons for Free Hosts of Webspace
- Do you want your site to be there in the morning? Free hosts are notorious for fly-by-night shenanigans.
- Do you want to see your site today? Overcrowding on free host servers often slows response time way down.
- Do you need support? It may not be there—often free hosts do not provide support for their services: that's one of the reasons they can afford to offer it for free.
- Do you want to be an advertiser for fill-in-the-blank? Many free website offers come with banner ads included and this may not give your site the look-and-feel that you want. Especially if you're engaged in business, the ads for other products and companies may be a problem for you.
- Do you want to stick to the straight-and-narrow? Spammers can be a real problem on free hosts.
- Do you want a memorable domain? Many free sites offer you, not a domain name, but a subdomain name under the site's domain name. Will your friends or customers find you? You can only hope . . .