Web Hosting – a foggy concept if you are not a techy or if you find it hard to deal with the abstract. But think of it this way. You are planning to build a house. So what’s needed …
- plot of land
- an address
The plot of land is the web hosting. The address is your domain name. The foundation is the platform on which you’ll build your website, like WordPress. The house is your website, its shape and design. The content gives you the functionality you need to do the things you want your site to do for you. The mailbox is your email.
So you have a whoop-de-do website idea! Whether you are a blogger, budding entrepreneur, non-profit organization or small business, if you are creating a website, you will need a web hosting service. Web hosting allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page on the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website to be visible and accessible on the Internet.
How It Works
Websites are hosted (stored) on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your domain name (website address) in their browser. Their computer will connect to your server and your website will be visible to them.
Web Hosting Company ... Your Partner
You don’t need to know code. You don’t need to be a techy. BUT to do it properly you do need to know the best resources to get you off on the right foot. The first item on your agenda is to determine which web hosting company you will use to get your website live on the Internet. This is a HUGE decision. Your hosting company needs to be your PARTNER in this new venture of yours. You will need them to have your back as you develop and grow.
Bluehost powers more than 2 million websites worldwide
- Offers free domain (for first year)
- support 24/7
- chat line connects to experts who provide top notch service
- Excellent rates with up to 60% savings in first 3 years
- 30 day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied
Why You Should NOT Use Free Web Hosting
Over and over again we hear about ‘getting started for free’. This is the big temptation for many who are new to the whole website scene!
Recently, one of our clients called to have a chat about her future on the web. Based on our recommendation, she had originally purchased a 3 year hosting plan with Bluehost, the end of which was fast approaching. COVID had negatively impacted her sales and money was tight. One of her colleagues had opted to go with a free website package he had seen promoted on YouTube ads. Now my client was questioning whether or not this would be a good approach for her business. We explored that topic in detail in order for her to make an informed decision. What follows is the condensed version of that exploration.
Questions to Ask
Before you rush into a decision, take the time to ask the questions. It will help you understand what is involved and what you will actually be signing on for if you opt for a free website.
- Can you register a domain name or is it in control of the web host
- Is online accessibility guaranteed
- Is there a time limit to the free hosting
- Will you be able to install WordPress
- What are the limits on your design choices
- Can you use your own images and, if so, what are the limitations
- Can you set up an online store
- Will there be unassociated paid advertising on your website, and, if so, by whom
- Will you have an email account with the extension as your domain name? If so at what cost and what is the level of security
- Will your audience be able to connect with you through the website
- What are the limits to the size and bandwidth
- Does the web host have a comprehensive security concept
- Are there backup systems in place
- Is there a database connection and is your data locked
- Can you run your own ads or make money from your website
- If you need to grow your website, can you transfer your database and file
A Few Things to Know
- some free websites can be extremely slow, have limited bandwidth and low storage capacity.
- There may be some flexibility to your design but you are limited to the pre-programmed software that is provided.
- You will not be permitted to add plugins for enhanced functionality.
- Generally the designs are not responsive and will not work on mobile phones.
- You will not be able to generate custom forms and there will be no way to forward emails.
- Will your data be locked? Will you be able to access the database or files associated with your website.
- There may be limited or no support unless you opt to purchase services from the host provider.
- If you are dissatisfied with your site, you may be able to upgrade to a paid service. BUT that upgrade will be difficult and the cost can be heavy duty.
- Will you be stuck with unwanted advertising on your site. Banner ads and popup advertisements may appear either above, under or sometimes in the middle of the pages. This is one of the ways the web host company makes money. They offer paid advertising on all free websites hosted by them. You will have no say or control over these ads.
- The domain name is likely to be free for the first year only.
- In some cases with less reputable companies, you you may not actually receive a domain name but a sub-level domain which appears with a main domain related to the host company. For example instead of a registered domain such as www.yourdomain.com, your page may show as: www.yourdomain.freehosting.com. This is an unprofessional web address and will damage your reputation.
- There may be times when your site is not accessible. In worst case scenarios, the hosting company may simply terminate the free hosting service leaving you with nothing.
You certainly can opt for a ‘free’ website but rest assured, there are strings attached to ‘free’. Be careful as it will not be the best use of your time and efforts if you are serious about your business.
Very quickly you will realize the hidden financial costs can be quite real and extensive – more than with a solid product and a quality service provider
Bottom Line … A FREE Website Is A Bad Idea! Avoid It!
Look For ALMOST Free
All that being said, there are companies that offer really, really, good deals for web hosting (ex: +/- $3.80 per month with free features like domain name for year 1, free SSL certificate, etc.) Now in our opinion, that amounts to ALMOST free. These are the hosting companies you and packages you should be looking into.
Best Web Hosts That Offer ALMOST Free ...
Bluehost is one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. They are the officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. They are ideal for small business, non-profits and bloggers alike.
They have agreed to offer Bouzane Consulting clients a free domain name, free SSL Certificate, 1-Click WordPress install, expert 24/7 support and more at a 70% discount. You can start for approximately $3.88/month (CD).
SiteGround is another great web host. They, too, are officially recommended WordPress hosting providers. They are well known for their exceptional support and fast performance.
They have agreed to offer Bouzane Consulting clients a discount on all featured hosting packages.