The thought of getting the free website is tempting. The internet is full of companies offering free website hosting even for self-hosted WordPress. You’re probably wondering what’s the catch? Why isn’t everyone else using a free WordPress website? In this article, we will share reasons why having a free website is a bad idea and something that you should AVOID at all costs.
What Do We Mean by Free Website?
Most beginners who want to start their own website want to keep the cost low which is understandable. So you typically Google the term free website and find many companies offering free website hosting services for free. The thought of having free web hosting and building your site without paying anything is tempting.
Until you get a reality check. Once you sign up to these so-called “free website services”, you slowly start discovering the limitations and many of them turn out to be not free at all.
If you or your friend is thinking about getting a free website, then stop now and read these reasons why free websites are almost always a bad idea.
1. Extremely slow websites
Most free website hosting providers put hundreds of websites sharing the same server. This makes all their websites load at very low speeds. Slow websites create bad user experience and are bad for SEO.
2. Unprofessional web address
Having a website address like
mysmallbusiness.Freewebsite.com does not look professional at all. Visitors to your website and potential customers would find it quite difficult to take your website seriously when you don’t even have a proper domain name.
And when you ask these companies for a custom domain, you usually have to pay a premium – something like Rs. 1200 – 1400 for a domain which normally costs Rs.599.
3. Hidden charges for free website
Like any other business, these free website companies need to make money too. Some of them charge their users for additional services like image hosting, email accounts, FTP access, website transfer, etc. These charges are often outrageously high.
4. They can lock down your data
Many users who start with a free website and then want to move to a paid service, find it impossible to move their website data. These service providers do not offer any tools to easily migrate your site. Users end up paying freelancers to manually export their content which can quickly increase your bill.
5. Irrelevant advertisements on your website
Most of these free website services are supported by advertisements. You create content and build your website, but they get paid for the ads. Often these ads are distracting, intrusive, and look ugly.
The worst part is, sometimes your savvy competitors can then pay these free website hosting companies to advertise on your website. Talk about sabotaging your business.
6. They can shut down your website
The terms and conditions of these services clearly state that they can shutdown your website at anytime without providing you a reason. If they shutdown a website, they usually don’t give your data or provide you a way to save your content.
7. You will lose your site address
If they decide to close the service or shutdown your website, then you will loose your web address. Most of the time it is a sub domain associated with the service. You cannot replicate that address or redirect users to your new site elsewhere.
8. They can sell your information
Remember that these services need to make money somehow to remain in the business. A good rule of thumb is if you are not paying for it, then you are the product.
These companies find other ways to make money such as selling your email address, personal information, and your website address to other companies. Their terms and conditions which no one really reads provide them total legal immunity.
9. Malware distribution
Free website services are notorious for distributing malware. This could be due to their poor security, or they could be doing it for monetary benefits. In either case, it hurts your website’s reputation and SEO.
10. You may become part of a link farm
The reason why these services keep disappearing and then reappearing is because they try to generate money using unethical methods. Building link farms is one such practice where they sell thousands of pages created by their users to spammers, fake drugs and gambling sites, online scams, etc.
11. Vulnerable to hacking attempts
Due to poor security, free websites are often more vulnerable to hacking attempts. If your site is hacked, it will be a lot more difficult to get it recovered because these companies give you very limited access to your own files and data.
12. HTML only sites with limited number of pages
Some of these free website companies offer only a limited number of pages on your website. If you want to add more pages, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan.
13. No help or customer service
These free websites offer no help to users. You will have to setup your site on your own with the help of very limited and poorly presented documentation. You are pretty much on your own if you can’t figure it out.
14. There are no backups
There is no concept of regular backups on these free websites. They do not backup your data and if something bad happens to your site, there is no way for you to restore your data.
15. You will be targeted with email offers
Remember that these companies need to cover their costs by making money using alternative methods. They will continuously email you with special offers. Not to mention that they could sell your email address to other marketing companies as well.
Good Alternatives to a Free Website
The best alternative to a free website is of course a paid website. There are plenty of hosting services offering WordPress hosting at very low costs.
You can start with me, I offer shared website hosting service and are one of the official WordPress hosting services.
I hope this article helped you learn why having a free website is a bad idea.
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