While many web hosts provide WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) site building software, it is important to consider the matter of whether this software is what you want to use. Make no mistake, for the most part these are perfectly useful and often even very good. But your best bet may be to ignore these editors and choose a Content Management System instead. The CMS (as it is known for short) can be installed on the cPanel of your hosting software and you can then use it for all your web building needs.
The advantages of using a CMS over the WYSIWYG editor on your site are substantial. Primarily, it comes down to the fact that these systems (Joomla and WordPress are the two most popular) offer you a lot more latitude with what you want to do with the site. Both are highly customisable and also offer a real “plug and play” element, which makes it a whole lot easier to install extra content on your site – content like road maps, YouTube videos and Paypal clients which make it a lot easier to create a business site.
Additionally, these systems make it a lot easier to make your site look good. It is very easy to download a “theme” or template for your site which will give it a distinct and professional look. Although the WYSIWYG editor is a nice touch and may be useful for basic sites, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth – install a free CMS today.
Is There Such A Thing As “Free” Web Hosting?
In this world, getting something for nothing is rare – and, perhaps naturally, people distrust things that are free to acquire and give benefits back for what is seemingly no financial reward. This applies across all walks of life, from business to finance to the internet – and applies particularly to the concept of free web hosting.
Web hosting is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why offers for free web hosting seem too good to be true, and many users will just avoid on sight. In reality, there are some benefits that can be gotten from free web hosting. For some users, it might be worth looking deeper in to the idea.
Free web hosting is not without its drawbacks – usually you cannot use your own domain name, and you will be limited in terms of how much space and bandwidth you have. So far, it’s not such an attractive package if you are looking to host a professional, large site – and in truth, it probably isn’t a good idea if you fall in to that category.
It is with the small, often first-website user that free web hosting comes in to its own. If you only want to put a minute website, with a couple of pages and perhaps contact deals on the web, then it may be something worth considering. It’s certainly cheaper, and if you are not relying on the website solely to generate business or income, then a free offer may be exactly what you need.
Free web hosting is one of the many, many options available to the business-minded website owner looking to make their way in the online world. Like anything, free web hosting has its pros and cons, so before you spend time building a website on a free service only to realise it isn’t for you, here’s the downside to free web hosting so you can be fully informed:
- You will be restricted.
The amount of web space, bandwidth and even visitors you can receive will be massively restricted if you use a free web hosting provider. However, the space offered is usually perfectly adequate for a small business or a fun fan site.
- You will most likely have to have a add-on domain name.
Instead of www.yoursite.com, your domain name with a free web hosting provider is likely to be something like: www.yourfreewebhostingprovider.com/yoursite or http://yoursite.freewebhostingprovider.com – meaning your site is immediately associated with another company. It isn’t a specific problem, just something to be aware of.
- The meaning of ‘free’.
While you may be getting the web space for free, with most free web hosting companies you will be expected to run adverts on the site. Usually these are generated and placed on your site without you needing to do anything – and you have no way of removing them. Running the ads is essentially how you ‘pay’ for your ‘free’ service. There’s no workaround for this; the web host has to make money somehow.
If you are looking to host a small, easy website with only a few pages, it may be worth considering free web hosting. For another more, you’re going to need to self-host.
The Good Side of Free Web Hosting
In a world that is dismiss anything that is labelled ‘free’ as suspicious, when users are looking to build a website they will likely give the concept of free web hosting short shrift. However, there are some significant upsides to using a free web hosting provider – so before you dismiss the concept, take a read of the list below.
- It’s free!
It may seem like an odd point to include in this list – isn’t it obvious that ‘free’ web hosting is, er, free?! – but it’s the aspect you should focus your attention on. No, free web hosting is not going to work if you are looking to make a lot of money from that website – but if you just want a small corner on the web, somewhere personal or as a small business listing, then the free aspect is important.
Essentially, there’s no point investing a lot of money in a website if you are not intending for that website to make you money – so it may be worth putting up with the minor inconveniences a free web host provides, and using your money elsewhere.
- Support for beginners.
Most free web hosting providers have their own support forums, which are moderated by their own staff as well as including posts from users of the service. This means you’ll have an immediate support base should you run in to any trouble.
- You don’t need to be technically experienced to build a website.
A lot of free web hosts offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website building, meaning you don’t need to learn HTML or anything else complicated. You can just plug and play.
Although free web hosting exists, there is no getting around the fact that a company has to pay for it somehow. This tends to result in you having to make do somewhere along the line. Yes, you’d like to have a website without ads on it, or at least have some control over what is being advertised. But if the hosting is free, then you may have to make do with distracting and potentially off-putting ads on your site. You’d hope for good tech support, but they have to pay for that “free hosting” and good tech support doesn’t come cheap.
However, not everyone has the budget to go with the more established, well-reviewed companies, so there has to be a third way, and that comes in the form of cheap web hosting. Yes, “cheap” is a relative term, but if you’re paying something to them, and a lot of other people are too, then it at least gives them a budget to spend on important little things like tech support people who know what a computer is and servers that don’t explode when someone actually visits your site.
Cheap web hosting has this in common with the more expensive type – there are good providers and bad providers. The more established big names in the sector are, generally, well-liked by those who use them and while you might not expect as much from them as you would from a blue-chip company there is a lot to be said for a fresh, inexpensive option – especially when you’re starting out.