With the huge array of web hosting options currently available to webmasters, it is quite easy to assume that they all offer generally the same service and that it is best to simply go for the one that can give you what you need at the cheapest rate. Of course with this line of thinking those companies that offer free web hosting become a much more viable option, however it is important to consider the long term consequences of going for the cheaper option and if doing so will have any effect on the marketing and SEO of your website.
The first thing to question is how truly reliable the free hosting service actually is. While reducing immediate costs for hosting a website may appear to be beneficial to your business, it is a potentially short-sighted strategy if the company you choose for your web hosting turns out to be unreliable. If their servers go down on a regular basis then so does your website and if search engine crawlers notice that you site is repeatedly going down this information is going to be recorded for use when determining your ranking. After all why would a user want to be directed to a website if it isn’t reliably operational?
The potential for spam
One of the main hazards of choosing a free hosting service is that they are literally open to anybody who can create even the most basic of websites. With paid services there is a barrier to entry in that anybody who wants to use them has to offer a financial commitment before doing so. In addition to the extra services this usually guarantees, it helps to keep some of the flotsam and jetsam of the website crowd away from that company’s servers.
This is not the case with free hosting companies, which can lead to less scrupulous webmasters taking advantage of the service to host a ton of poor quality websites that only exist for spam or malicious purposes. That is even one of the main reasons why experts advice to avoid them entirely.
Google has confirmed that if this problem becomes wide-ranging enough on that particular server then there is the potential that websites hosted on that server will be blanket blackballed from their search engine if attempts to single out the spam sites prove to take too much time. If this happens with your host it would essentially mean that your decision to go with a free hosting site has all but ensured your removal from the search engine, which is obviously poor for your SEO efforts and would necessitate a move to another web hosting option.
According to a research done by the experts from Hosting 90, Google and other search engines take the loading speed of your website seriously when it comes to dictating their search results. A page that takes a long time to load is less likely to achieve rank and the poorer servers generally used by free hosting companies could lead to your site falling into that category.
So the benefits of free web hosting solutions do come attached with a lot of strings. You should always consider the long term purpose of your website and potential issues these hosting packages can cause before going for the cheaper option. After all, it may cost you much more money in the long run.