Free Web Hosting is something a lot bloggers and people looking to start a new website look at. They have their reasons, as they are maybe unsure on how to proceed or as a lot of us have a typical tendency to experiment with setting up a website on a free hosting and if it works; we may think of buying a web hosting package. I have been answering these queries on FREE web hosting for quite sometime now, to all my those who ask me about starting a website and what hosting should they go for. I will share that and more on Free Web Hosting in this post.
FREE Web Hosting in 2016 for your Blog or Website in India:
Choosing the right kind of web hosting will depend upon on the kind blog or website you plan to build and the purpose behind it. There is a difference between a blog and a website and we need to be clear on that. So firstly, let’s understand that part.
A website is a collection of pages, content and media which can be accessed over the internet by anyone across the world. It is a place on the internet to get information, create and consume content online and is generally accessible to all who have the link or web address called the URL or link. It is a formal or informal setup and can be run by Governments, Companies, Groups or Individuals.
For instance eCommerce stores, Google Search, Official Government sites, Facebook.com, Twitter.com etc are all examples of websites but they all have different kind of content or use for the people accessing them.
A Blog is essentially a website which is updated and maintained by an individual or a small group and will mainly have a conversational and more personal approach. A blog can be a small part of a website at times like a lot of eCommerce stores have a dedicated ‘Blog’ section. A Blog generally talks about specific topics or niche. BlogMeHow.com for instance is a blog.
So that now we know the basic difference between a blog and a website, it makes sense to now go ahead with exploring the free web hosting options for each of the two scenarios.
FREE Web Hosting options for a Blog:
If you are looking for hosting for your blog in India then I recommend 2 options that are ideal for any blogger. A large majority of free blogs around the world use either of these two platforms:
The ease of creating a blog using WordPress is just unparalleled. It was designed keeping in mind a new comer or a novice blogger who wants to start a blog of their own.
There is a catch though:
With free web hosting on WordPress.com you will not have your own domain. Instead it will be your domain name followed by wordpress.com
For for example you decide to name your site bestblog.com with free hosting on WordPress, you will have to keep it as bestblog.wordpress.com. This will make it almost impossible to have a unique branding for your own blog.
If you want to have your own domain name – bestblog.com or whatever, you will have to buy a domain and go for self hosting. Read a post Aniket wrote on this topic over here. So, Free is not so free then, is it?
Apart from that there are other issues to for which you will have to be prepared, but I will get to that in sometime.
Similar to WordPress.com, Blogger by internet giant Google is again a platform to enable people start their own websites with ease and quickly get it up and running. However, similar to WordPress.com you cannot have your own domain and in this case your free website will look like this – bestblog.blogspot.com or bestblog.blogspot.in (depending on your preference and location etc.)
The same thing applies here also…. if you want your name, you pay for it! Buy a domain, pay for it and then you can think of other aspects on branding. Again the issue I mentioned for free website on WordPress will apply to this one too, which I will come after my next point.
Free Web Hosting for Website:
If you are looking to start something like an eCommerce store or a site for your existing business or something that is commercial or would be from making money online point of view; then FORGET ABOUT THE FREE OPTION. It will not work out and you are better off getting a paid Web Hosting.
But for all other purposes if FREE is what you want then WordPress and Blogger are of course an option along with Weebly or Wix. But again, the same thing applies – You do not get your branding and they will have their subdomain after your blog’s name plus, the other problems that I am about to address now.
Free Website is NOT FREE Afterall:
Yes, there is nothing called a free lunch in this world and hence free web hosting is not free, and I never ever recommend any a free web hosting.
Here’s the thing. These platforms will serve ads on your sites. Yes, they will display ads for their sponsors of products on your site and the revenue for it will be earned by them and not you. Moreover they will not allow for any monetization option for your site.
Why FREE Hosting is Something I NEVER Recommend to anyone in 2016 or anytime in the future:
1. No way to Make Money from a free site:
You will never be able to monetize a free blog or website as you are not allowed to serve ads or sell ad space on your website. Moreover any other monetizing option is not permitted by these free web hosts. So essentially all your efforts in writing content and trying to grow you website will result in more earnings for your platform as they will be serving their ads and getting the rewards from your visitors.
2. No Branding or Recognition for your Site, No authority for your content:
As mentioned above, a free website will not have your own domain name. It will always the branding or the domain name of your host alongside. This results in you not being able to build your own brand from it.
While you have “complete” access to all the content and data that is uploaded onto your free website, due to the lack of branding and monetizing options, people will not think of it as your content.
Imagine Flipkart.com as Flipkart.blogspot.in or Flipkart.WordPress.com. Not good right?
3. You will eventually move out and then Migrating to another web host is a pain in the ….. :
As your blog or website grows, you will start to utilize more resources on these free web hosting platforms due to increased traffic and activity on your site.
This is when you will realize that you are not able to grow or scale up your efforts and will either have to pay for more resources or will simply have to move out.
As you pay, you end your “freedom”. Plus you are paying for what? You will only get additional storage space on their servers, but what about monetizing and branding? So you will eventually look for other web hosts and move to paid web hosting options.
Migrating a website which is growing is a big pain in the… well, everywhere! Don’t be fooled by articles around the web which claim that migrating is easy. It is not. While your articles and content will move, redirection and checking for broken URL, lost data, uptime and downtime of your website will all be a big issue which will eat away a good amount of time, which you could easily utilize in writing and promoting your content, thus growing your blog.
4. Been there, Done that – Trust me FREE Web Hosting is NOT a GOOD IDEA:
I have built websites and blogs over the years which have made over $1000 a month just as side income. I am not even talking about other mainstream projects of mine. [You can check out my journey so far, over here] But I too had made mistake of going for a free website first and then trying to migrate it once it ‘grew”. This was my first website and I know it was the worst idea I got.
5. It is NOT at all Expensive to Start your Website with a Paid Web Hosting service:
You can get fast, secure, reliable website up and running in 5 minutes, yes 5 minutes, with an investment as low as Rs. 280 to Rs. 300 a month. Yeah. It is that easy to start your blog or website in India. Plus, since this will be a paid web hosting service, you have have all the freedom to make money from it.
There are lot of web hosts and if you were to do a Google search you will come across a lot which will look very attractive and affordable at first, but will have some catch or compromise on the service. However I always recommend SiteGround to anyone wanting to start their website or blog and looking to buy a web hosting plan.
Their plans are very-very affordable and they have awesome customer support. Moreover their website setup is so cool that once you site is setup for the very first time, all you need to do is only worry about your content and website promotion as they will take care of essential tools, required updates and security and performance issues of your site, even without you having to tell them.
I have this step-by-step post on Blog Me How with video tutorials which will help you setup your website or blog in less than 5 minutes with SiteGround. I recommend this to all those looking for a new Website. You can check this out over here
So to sum it up, free web hosting is good only if you are OK with someone else getting the rewards from your efforts and don’t want your website to grow. Or you are not serious about your website of blog and are doing it just as an experiment.
Blogging, WordPress, Building High Traffic Websites, Web Apps and Digital Marketing .... and yes, did I say I'm a big-time food junkie.
I'm currently reading:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Latest posts by Shalin TJ (see all)
- SiteGround Review – What makes it Worth and What Doesn’t? - March 4, 2016
- WP Engine Review – Should you Buy a Managed WordPress Hosting from WPEngine? - February 29, 2016
- InMotion Hosting Review – The Good, The Bad and The Reason to Pick it! - February 22, 2016