UK businesses using free web space are 'driving customers to their competitors'

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A new survey by the ISP Fasthosts gives us the shock revelation: companies that use free web hosting lose customers.

Particularly for web-savvy customers, any company that does not have its own domain name, at least, is considered untrustworthy or illegitimate.

Though it might seem like the easy option to set up a web site on a free service, problems can surface later on that potentially cost the company more money:

  • Having a daft, unmemorable web address like www.freehostingcompany.co.uk/webspace/~companyname/
  • Running out of storage space or bandwidth if the site becomes popular.
  • Potentially lower website reliability due to high ratio of shared accounts on the web server.
  • Difficulty transferring to a dedicated domain and hosting later on.
  • Having to buy in external tools and services to handle such
    things as security and ecommerce, which would likely be included on
    paid web plans.
  • Backups solely the responsibility of the business, not the free webspace provider.
  • No control over advertising and other rubbish displayed on free pages.
  • Poor search engine optimisation

Need we go on?

Of course, if you’re a small or medium sized company, Fasthosts would
love for you to run to them with fistfuls of cash and beg them to host
and maintain your web presence for you – but of course you could go and
find any decent UK provider to do this for you.

Another example of when free really isn’t free – and could cost businesses not just cash, but reputation as well.

Andy Merrett