Web hosting is a crucial part of creating a website. After all, it offers services and technologies a website needed to be viewed on the internet. Choices are endless when it comes to web hosting providers. There are plenty of web hosting plans and services that you can choose as per your budget and requirements. Prices vary from host to host and service to service. However, there are also many web hosting providers that offer free web hosting services. For example one is www.000webhost.com.
As the name indicates, free hosting means non-paid hosting service. Usually, it comes with the limited features, limited support, and limited resources. Nevertheless, it can be a good choice for people who want to start a personal blog, a small website or try their hands in web coding and designing. No matter what is your purpose to go for a free web hosting you should put the greatest amount of effort to find the reliable one.
So, if you are a startup or hobbyist blogger who wants to build a website without breaking the bank, look for an ideal free web hosting service. We have put together a few tips that will help you find a good one. So, before you start your search, read this post till the end.
Things you should know before choosing a free web host
#1 See Your Hosting Requirements
With any type of hosting service, the very first thing you should see is your hosting requirements. Things like what type of website you want to create; what are your technical needs should be considered in advance.
Look at your basic requirements and see if a free web host is capable of catering your needs. It’s worth checking out beforehand.
#2 Annoying Advertising
There is no dearth of free hosting providers that force website owners to run different types of irrelevant advertisements on their websites. Generally, it is done to offset the cost of server space and other services offered by a free web hosting services.
Some hosting providers may impose you to put banners on your website’s page. While others may require you to show up their promotional pop-ups. Advertisements on your website might not be problematic for you if you are just testing your codes or learning something, but if you want to run a personal blog you probably would not be able to withstand with it.
Therefore, it is advisable to go with the provider that does not enforce website owners to place annoying advertisements.
#3 FTP Access
For those who don’t know, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol that is used to transmit web pages or files from computer to the server. While setting up a website, you will need to have FTP access, but unfortunately, most of the free web hosting providers don’t come with it.
However, with a few, you can expect to get an online website builder tool, which is not sufficient for everyone.
As FTP lets you download, upload, rename, delete, copy and move files on a server quite easily, it is important to see if you have this access or not.
#4 Server Space
It is another important thing you should know before choosing a free web host. Ask yourself if web space provided by the hosting provider is sufficient to cater your needs. If you’re expecting that your website or blog will expand in the future, you must look for a provider that can be easily extended as per your growing needs.
#5 Customer Support
As a newbie probably you are not giving much through to customer support. Don’t forget, there is no use of blaming ‘Free’ service later on.
God forbid, if your website goes down at the time you need it most you must have some way to address your issue.
Although with most free web hosting services, you can’t expect to have a superior customer support yet you must have at least one medium to reach their support and get answers to your queries.
Look for a host that offers a toll-free phone support and chat support. If it is not possible, make sure you’re receiving at least email support in any case.
There are many free hosting providers that come with free tutorials having troubleshooting guides for different issues. It is always an advantage to go with such providers. Don’t forget to test the response time also.
#6 Take a look at Reviews
There are plenty of places where you can read the reviews about the services offered by your expected web hosting providers. See what people have to say about their customer support and services. Have a look at recent reviews.
There are a few hosting companies that operate review websites as well, so always be cautious. You may find genuine reviews on forums and independent review websites.
#7 .htaccess configuration
.htaccess helps you configure your website details without needed to change the server configuration files. Most of the free hosting providers put a limit on .htaccess moderation. Make sure your hosting provider is not in on the list.
#8 Access to Php mail function
Make a careful inspection of whether your chosen hosting provider offers PHP mail function or not. If you’re planning to host a website that requires some sort of registration, it is important for you. Without it, it will be difficult to do automated user registration.
#9 Check the Connection Speed
It is important to know how much time your hosting server takes to respond. Remember, the speed of the server goes hand-in-hand with bandwidth limits. Check in advance how much bandwidth limit will be needed to run your website or blog. You may use Bitcatcha tool to test the server speed.
Also confirm the email service has POP3 and SMTP included so that you can set up and your domain emails even through your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
#10 Uptime Claims
Uptime is the count of time your website is available for your audience.
Nowadays, every web hosting company claims to offer 99% or more uptime. You should pay attention to such claims and find out how true they are. Look for tools that can help you measure uptime. Don’t forget even the difference between 99% uptime and 99.9% uptime is 3 days out of the year. So, go with the provider offering better uptime.
#11 Control Panel
It is a user interface offered by a hosting provider to take control over a website. It makes managing and monitoring a website much easier. Almost all the control panel comes with the following essential functions
- File Manager
- DNS Management
- Mailbox Management
- Monitoring of statistics like memory use, visitor count use of bandwidth, etc.
Pick a provider that has easy to use control panel. Otherwise, you will need to seek assistance to make even a small change on your site, which is a huge trouble.
#12 Website Security
Over the past few years, the number of hacked websites has increased dramatically. Therefore, security is a big concern for every website owner. Therefore, don’t forget to check with security features when searching for a free web hosting service.
Most of the free hosting companies don’t bother much about website security. So, choose the one that comes with at least basic security features such as Malware protection, firewall, phishing attack protection, etc. It would be an advantage if you can get the backup feature as well.
On the whole, we can say if you are a small company or a startup that can’t make a huge investment in web hosting, choosing a free web hosting should be a no-brainer. If you choose a free web hosting wisely, you will not go wrong with it. Moreover, with a reliable free hosting provider you can upgrade to premium hosting services anytime you see your website needs are growing.