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Matrix Hosting: Free Web Hosting: What's the catch?

Finding a free web hosting provider is easy. Finding one which doesn't have some sort of a 'catch' is not. This article provide an insight how free web hosting isn't always free, and how to spot some of the most common 'catches' versus real value.

Someone once said, “Nothing in life is free,” and when it comes to web hosting, this statement is the dead honest truth. What you have to keep in mind when you are shopping for free web hosting is that these are businesses, and like any business, their goal is to make money. Let’s face it, when someone gives something away for free, there is usually a ‘catch’. With that in mind here are a couple of popular things to look out for when looking for free web hosting.

Banners and Pop-ups
What is a banner? What is a pop-up? By now, if you haven’t seen these annoying advertisements scattered across web pages, odds are you have never surfed the internet.

With some free web hosting providers such as NetFirms or Tripod.com, this is their way of protecting their bottom line. By agreeing to their terms when you sign up, you essentially giving them permission to put advertisements on all of your pages, and you cannot get rid of them. These advertisements are what actually pay for your ‘free web hosting’. Therefore, if you do not mind your visitors having to see unsolicited advertisements, there is nothing wrong with this type of host.

Mandatory Domain Registration
Some free web hosts such as DotEasy will give you a year free web hosting, just as long as you register a domain name with them ($20), or transfer a domain name to them ($35). The money they make from you registering a domain name helps pay for the ‘free web hosting’, and you get a free year of hosting.

Limited Functionality and Bandwidth
Some free web hosting providers will give you a free web page, but only offer you limited functionality or bandwidth. For example, some will only give you 1000 MB of data transfer a month, or perhaps they will limit the functionality of your web page to straight html pages only. They are hoping and betting that you will need to purchase additional functionality or bandwidth at some point, and that is where they make their money. Yes it is free, but be prepared for a little hassle here and there.

Summary
Eventually, one way or another, if you are seeking a free web hosting provider, you will probably end up paying some amount of money. Whether it be to register a domain name, to purchase additional bandwidth, or just to get that extra feature, you can almost count on paying some amount of money. Remember, nothing in life is free, and when it comes to expensive web servers, you can almost bet there is a catch.