It can be a bit confusing when you begin looking for a web host. This is because there is a lot web hosting companies nowadays, many offering different prices and services. You also need to choose between paid and free hosting, both of which require different considerations. So what are some of the things that you should be looking out for when choosing a free web host? Below are some helpful tips on what criteria to consider.
• Advertising – Instead of paying a web hosting company a monthly fee, they will insert advertising such as banner ads or pop-up windows on your website. This will pay for the costs of your service and how many of these companies make their money. Be sure to inquire about the sort of advertising that will be used on your website. Also consider if this is something that may affect the overall appeal of your site.
• FTP Access – Some free web hosting companies will not allow you FTP access and will restrict you to working within their web page designs and templates. I would recommend only using a company that allows you FTP access, this will allow you more flexibility for changing or adding web pages or content on your site.
• Allocated Space – How much web space is included in your free package and is it enough for website? The types and numbers of pictures and videos etc. that you need on each page will determine how much space you will need. Some hosts will have a file size limit which will restrict the file type and size that you can upload to your website. Also take into consideration any plans to expand your website ie cloud web services.
• Reliability – How reliable and fast is the service? This can be difficult to determine until you have your site up and running. Try it out and different times of the day and see how it is working. Poor speed and reliability can lose you a lot of visitors.
• Bandwidth – Many free web hosting companies will put a free limit on the number of visitors to a website. This may be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Depending on the host, if you reach your free traffic limit your website may be temporarily disabled or you may incur extra charges for additional visitors. If you have a new website your traffic requirements will probably be very low but you will need to determine how much bandwidth you will require in the future.
You should always research the needs of your website and the services of any potential web hosting company. Remember that with free services you have a bit of flexibility and you can experiment with a particular host to see if their services suit your needs without losing out financially.