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.

Web Hosting - Free or Paid

Over and over again we hear about ‘getting started for free’.  This is the big temptation!  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.

Things to Know about Free Websites

  • Most free websites are 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. Your data is locked and you will not be able to access the database or files associated with your website.
  • There is 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. Switching will be difficult and the cost can be heavy duty.
  • There is a cost. There always is.  Banner ads and popup advertisements will appear on your site 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.
  • In some cases, you aren’t actually receiving 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.

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
  • Will you have access to the media library
  • 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
  • Are there any limits to the number of pages you can have within your site
  • What is your bandwidth
  • What limits are placed on the amount of storage you will have
  • 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 files

There are strings attached

Be sure you know what you are signing up for ... ALWAYS ask questions!

Recommendation by Bouzane Consulting

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.  It is unreliable, unsafe, difficult and extremely restrictive.  Very quickly you will realize the hidden financial costs are quite real and extensive – much more than it would have been with a solid, reputable, service provider and a paid web hosting plan.

Bottom Line … a FREE website is a bad idea! Avoid it!

If you are struggling with what’s involved in starting a website and decisions about domain name registration or web host companies, contact us.

We can help you through the muddle and the maze!

Top ranked Web Hosting Companies

The top 2 web hosting companies recommended by Bouzane Consulting are Bluehost and Siteground.  These are reputable, reliable, companies who offer a range of products to meet your needs on the web.

Bouzane Consulting is an affiliate of Bluehost and Siteground.
Discounted prices apply when you link to either company through this website.

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