How to find a reliable free hosting provider? 4 questions you need ask yourself

green-babyWhen you hunt around for a free hosting provider, You will find that finding a reliable free hosting provider is not an easy task.

But before checking free hosting providers, you need ask yourself a few questions to avoid future disappointment.

#1 What resources do I need?
The common error most free hosting users make is looking for wrong resources. For example, if you just want to start a simple blog, you do not any fancy things. You can immediately get free one from reliable providers like Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs, LiveJournal. But if you need some special plugins for your blog, then you probably need ftp access or at least you can install your own copy of your blog. Most blog providers provides standard packages for all users and seldom cater for individual requests.

If you want put your own personal sites without using standard software packages, you need narrow down whether you need SQL database, whether you need PHP, whether you need Perl.

Another resource you need consider is whether the data transfer has any limitations. Some may give you 100GB data transfer, but cap your transfer at 1Mbps. Some may give you unlimited (actually does not exist) disk space, but limit the file size of individual files. Usually ad-supported providers will not limit your data transfer, but most no-ads providers may impose the limitation so that they can bet on your upgrading.

#2 What support do I need?
You need understand what support you need to setup and run your website. For example, whether you can use ftp, or you have to use web-based uploader; whether you can wrote HTML files, or you need some pre-defined templates.

Also, you need know whether you are comfortable with the support through public forum. Most free hosting providers do not have phone support or ticket support systems. You need ask question in a forum, and the reply from the provider is generally slow. So, you need know how to check forums to find answers.

If you prefer talking over the phoe or online chat, then you need make sure whether the free hosting provider provides this. Sometimes, if you can fins a local provider, you may get such service.

#3 Am I comfortable with advertisement on my site?
As I explained in how free hosting works, free hosting providers need find ways to support their service. At the end of the day, they have to pay the bills on servers at least. Advertisement is one of the major revenue sources for most free hosting providers. So, most of the time you sites may be placed some advertisements by your free hosting provider.

Some post-to-host providers may not place advertisements. But you need commit some posts each week to qualify for the free hosting service. Or if you just need host some static HTML pages, some providers may not place ads as well. The simple one is Google Sites.
#4 Will I consider upgrade if my site booms?
If you are building a community for a clan, you may consider upgrade later when your community gets larger. Usually, for large community sites, it is easy to get enough revenue from the site to support the site itself. If you community is large, members may demand more features that free hosting provider may not provide.

So, if you may upgrade your account later, you need find a hosting provider with easy upgrade options. Some providers provide free and paid hosting on different servers, and you need know whether they help you move the site if you are not sure about such jobs.

After you get answers for these 4 questions, next step is to compare different free hosting providers. I will explain to you later on how to check whether a free hosting provider is reliable or not.


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