I’m often asked to recommend a free site builder with free hosting, and whether I use any free web services to build websites for my clients, so I decided to write this post to provide all the answers in one place.
My quick answers are: I don’t use free services, but I do utilize freemium site builders. I can recommend some truly viable free options, yet I highly recommend that you upgrade one day, as any free version comes with restrictions.
These days, creating a website is easy, fast and can be done free with one of the free softwares and hosting providers available. While this may sound like a great option for those who are blogging for fun, the whole idea of using a free hosting provider for a business website is ridiculous. And here are the five major reasons:
- Limited space. You may not be worried about this right now, when your website is small, but if you’re planning to publish regular posts, upload images, videos and other media, space is an important consideration. Free hosting providers only offer limited amounts of space. While 2GB of storage may sound like a lot, you’ll use up that space fairly quickly if you want to upload high quality supporting images for all your blog posts. So when you sign up to a web service make sure you’ll be able to surpass that limitation through upgrading your account. Otherwise, you’ll have to start everything from blank.
- Limited design options. Usually, free versions of anything come with a limited design choice. If you want to be impactful, your website needs a great cover. Besides, you may not have access to the HTML/CSS of your website, as most site builders offer advanced editors only as part of their paid plans.
- Limited features and monetization options. Many start websites with the idea of attracting money. However, free website builders can prohibit your ability to monetize your website. So make sure you read your provider’s advertising policy.
- Adverts and subdomains. In most cases, you can’t attach a custom domain name with a free version. Besides, in return for using the free services you’ll have to display banner ads on your website. Can you imagine a business website with a third-party ad on the homepage?
- Security risks. You get what you pay for.
So what’s the main reason so many people are looking for a free web publishing solution? I’ve heard many say because they don’t have the money. So let’s break the costs down.
Domain name: you can typically purchase a domain for about $12/year what makes about 3 cents per day. Tip: many site builders, including uCoz and Squarespace offer free domain names if you subscribe for one year.
Hosting/site builder: my favorite site builder, uCoz offers an advert-free package at $5.99/mo. When paying for two years, you get 30% off which makes about 1,5 cents/pay. This sum includes hosting.
Website design: when you upgrade your account, you unlock premium templates and advanced design tools. No extra costs, unless you decide to hire a professional.
Total cost for the year: about $80 or 20 cents per day. Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?
Have you had success using a free hosting provider? Share your experience in the comments!