What to look for in a free website hosting provider?
Free website hosting is a mixed bag; it usually insinuates poor load times, uptime and feature set. Therefore, one way to decide which free website hosting package is the best, you should look at their load times, uptime and how many / how useful the features of each are. You can gauge how good these aspects of each company are by reading reviews, customer comments and simply seeing for yourself!
In terms of features, your best bet is going to be hosting via a free website building service, because they tend to offer more of a wholesome website managing service. This means you generally can practice more aspects of website management in the one place, for example tracking the site’s traffic / flow and adding ecommerce stores. Uptime and load times will more than often be better with free hosting packages from hosting companies, mainly because it’s what they specialize in, so the quality is likely to be higher.
There are some other points on which you can base decisions, one is the size and amount of adverts published on your website. This is extremely important if you are going to be sharing / promoting your finished product, adverts can massively hinder the appearance and integrity of the site, which isn’t great if you’ve spent days if not weeks building and perfecting it!
Also, you should consider how professional the subdomain would look. For example, an address ‘sitename.web.com’ looks and sounds much better than ‘sitename.freesquarespacewebsite.com’ (these are not the subdomains used by the companies mentioned). Once again, this is important if you want visitors to the website, a more simple and clean domain is very important in terms of Google search position and memorability. Visitors are much less likely to (sometimes simply can’t) revisit a website if they can’t remember the domain name!
You should consider what purpose you are hosting the website for: If it is to save on business costs, what you should look for will be greatly different to what someone looks for when trying to familiarize themselves with how websites and the internet work. Priorities in terms of features will be different, so it is a great time saving activity to take a moment and think about what you want from the experience and pick an option accordingly.
A free web hosting package is never going to be exactly what you want it to be; after all, it is free! You can’t expect everything for nothing, but as always, you can maximize what you get by comparing what options you have. Some companies have more features, better load and up times, smaller, less intrusive ads, snappier subdomains… and some have the opposite!
Consider your priorities, read some reviews, test them yourselves, then make a decision and get stuck in!