Business owners are not the only ones in need of a website. In fact, more and more professions nowadays require a strong presence on the Web. No matter your industry (healthcare, education, commerce, science, etc.), building your reputation and showcasing your work online is now a MUST.
A good example of this shift is in job market. Although resumes are still a requirement, employers are checking social media and ‘googling’ potential candidates. People with blogs, outstanding online presence, and a good following usually increase their chances of getting hired by their dream companies.
Are you currently in the midst of a career shift? Want to explore the realm of freelancing? Looking to promote your new ebook? Whatever your purpose, your very own website may just be the ticket you need for success. But barriers – especially financial ones – can make it tough for regular folks to go digital.
Here’s where free web hosting can come in.
If you’ve always wondered how to get started on your own site without all the expense, this service is for you. Companies offering free web hosting makes it easy for people to make their own blogs, online portfolios, and mini online stores in a few clicks. Once they’re ready to scale, all you need to do is upgrade to a premium account. Easy-peasy.
But if getting your own site is this cost-effective, why aren’t a lot of people diving in?
Free Web Hosting: The Good and Bad
If you’re ready to own your domain, then odds are, you’ve come across free web hosting at some point in your research. You’ve probably also seen articles warning about such services.
Some of the arguments associated with free web hosting include:
- Limited storage
- No adoption to ecommerce platforms
- Low security
- Not really ‘free’
However, take note that there are now dozens of online businesses offering free web hosting services!
Now this is both good news and bad. The bad news is that, with the explosion of companies providing these services, chances are high that you might encounter a bad egg. This means you’ll need to double your effort of scouring the Web for the great ones.
This brings us to the good news: as there are plenty of free web hosting services today, you have MORE choices on your hands. Not happy with your current provider? Backup your files and transfer. You don’t have to suffer poor performance or compromised security if there are dozens of better options available.
Want To Try Free Web Hosting? 5 Points To Keep In Mind
Here’s the deal: people always say that paid is better. You get more features, more security, and amazing support.
But that’s NOT always the case.
Online services, like web hosting, have their limitations. No matter how big a company is, or how good its reputation seems to be, there will be hang-ups. The REAL argument is whether the services offered are in line with what YOU need.
For example: if you’re a budding photographer who wants to try your hands at getting clients online, is it reasonable to spend thousands on paid web hosting? Probably not. After all, if you’re still playing around with ideas, why buy expensive online services?
This is true for beginners and hobbyists in other industries as well (e.g. writing, consulting, ecommerce). If you’re new, the features offered by free web hosting sites should be enough. Once you build up your traffic (or decide to expand), that’s the time when you may want to transfer to paid services.
If you want to get one foot in the door, consider these top questions about free web hosting:
1) WHY do I need my own website?
This is where it begins. Why do you need a website? Do you intend to use it to promote yourself online? To sell something? To get clients? By being specific about the WHY of your website, the clearer – and more effective – it’s going to be once it goes live.
2) WHAT features do I really need?
This question will come naturally once you’ve established WHY you wanted your own website in the first place. Most free web hosting offer basic features fit for beginners: 1 GB or unlimited storage for files, 2-3 free domains, up to 5 email accounts, and quick installs on add-ons.
In general, these are enough, especially if you don’t mean to expand for months of years. Some people are happy with free services because they only use it for personal purposes. Again, the answer to this question would depend on point #1.
3) HOW secure is the service?
Some web hosts already have a secured server for their users. But if you’re worried about online security with free web hosting, talk to technical support on how you can get yours. This usually comes with a charge (because it’s an add-on), but it shouldn’t break the bank.
4) Will the service allow me to SCALE effortlessly once I’m ready?
As a general rule, it should. Many web hosting services have one-click management features that allow users to transfer from a free to a paid version with little to no problems. This convenience must be research as not a lot of companies offer it. More often than not, you’ll need to transfer everything yourself.
So do your homework! Ask about one-click management features and read reviews from fellow users before jumping onboard.
5) WHO can help me get started?
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects to research about when looking for free web hosting services. A company’s tech support can mean the difference between ease of use and being confused. Are they available 24/7? How fast is their response time? Can you signup and cancel quickly? How can you reach their technical support team?
The beauty of today’s technology is that you can bypass traditional gatekeepers so you can immediately share a wealth of information to the public. Simply sign-up to free web hosting services, get your site up and running, then use it to promote yourself or your products. The only argument is: which service should you use?
You want a web hosting service that’s transparent and ready to scale once you are. Check that they have the resources that fit your needs. When in doubt, get in touch with their customer support. This is also a good way of knowing how quick and knowledgeable they are. Lastly, don’t forget to backup your data.
A website opens up a lot of doors. No matter your profession, having one can make all the difference in today’s digitally connected world.