Free Hosting versus Paid Domains and Web Hosting
While free hosting services like Myspace, Geocities, and Tripod provide a valuable service, they are no substitute for a real domain name and shared web hosting service. Free web hosting is not really “free”; the service is paid for by advertising that will run on your website. You will have little control over which advertisers run and the ads will distract visitors from the core information on your site.
As your website grows, you will also find that free hosting services will not provide the needed levels of flexibility and functionality to suit your needs for the following reasons:
- There are limits on customization, disk space and file transfer access. Free hosting services often limit you to a 1-2 page template.
- The URL (domain name) is assigned to you and often cumbersome. You cannot choose your own domain name.
- No ability for custom email addresses such as email@example.com. You will be forced to use a free email service such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or Hotmail.
A website is an effective communication tool. While free web hosting services are good for teenagers and web neophytes, you will soon outgrow what they have to offer. Many companies such as Yahoo! Web Hosting, Go Daddy, or Dotster offer reasonably priced web hosting packages ($5-$10 per month with a free domain name) with a generous amounts of services. Set up is quick and easy and they will provide the long term flexibility and functionality to grow as your website grows.