It’s been more than two decades since the internet became a regular part of everyday life. We’ve come a long way in that short amount of time. Today, it’s easier than ever to take a do-it-yourself approach to put your business or hobby on the internet. Webpages are easy to build even if you don’t know the basics of coding in HTML. But not all of the options that are out there are worth your time and effort.
Why are free domains a bad idea? You’ve probably heard the old saying: “You get what you pay for.” That’s definitely the case when it comes to free domains. In fact, when you consider the wasted time and effort that goes into building a site on a free domain and the numerous downsides that come as part of the bargain, it’s more than likely that you’ll end up on the losing end of the deal.
There are plenty of affordable options that will allow you to build a quality website that makes your business page or personal blog look professional. In addition to looking credible, you’ll enjoy the ability to scale the site if your needs change or your business grows. On the other hand, there are limited options and hidden costs of free domains. Has anybody ever told you that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is?
5 Things That Make Free Domains a Bad Idea
There are lots of reasons to want to build a webpage. Whether you’re doing it to help your business, promote a personal project, or share your opinions—if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. When it comes to web domains, it’s definitely true that you’ll get what you pay for.
It’s objectively true that the results you’ll get from a free domain will look cheap and unprofessional. But when you consider how many good options there are for affordable hosting of your DIY webpage, you realize how much worse the free options will look in comparison.
Image is one of the major issues that a free domain will present to your page. There is also a lack of value in what these services provide to you – even when they’re free you aren’t getting your money’s worth. In addition to these concerns, there is the risk that you run, letting a free service host your page. Add to that the hidden costs that are related to how free hosting services make their money.
When you consider all of these downsides, it’s easy to see that your web presence deserves more than what you’ll be giving it if you decide to sign up for a free domain.
Cheap or Unprofessional Image
The whole point of putting something up on the internet is to have as many people see it as possible. When you go with a free domain, that is a double-edged sword. Not only are you hurting your chances of getting seen, but you’re also settling for a page that you probably shouldn’t want people to see.
Free domains are notoriously slow to load. If your site is related to your business, then you should know that your customers will just move on and click a link for a competitor’s site if they get sick of waiting for yours to load.
When you go with a free domain, you’ll be stuck with an unprofessional free-domain web address that your customers will spot immediately. Beyond that, there is the fact that you’ll have no control over the ads that pop-up over your page and the potential that has to either drive your customers away or give your competitors a free shot at your customers.
Free domains have very limited design capabilities, so your page is going to look cheap in comparison with the sites you’re competing against. And what’s worse—when you realize how bad the site looks and decide to move on, you might have trouble deleting the site or moving any of the content to a professional hosting service.
No Value Added
When you’re not paying for your domain, it’s hard to complain that the hosting service doesn’t give you any of the tools that you need to make your site work for you. Free domains won’t provide you with the site-building tools that you need to build a professional-looking site. They probably won’t allow you to use WordPress and even if they do, the capabilities will be limited.
With a free domain, you’ll get limited bandwidth, low-capped storage, and infrequent backups.
To make your site work for you, you will need to be able to take advantage of all of the latest advances in advertising and eCommerce capabilities. With a free domain, you won’t be able to generate ads or monetize your site. You probably won’t get anything useful in the way of traffic stats or web analytics.
In addition to those limitations, you’ll soon find yourself regretting the choice of a free domain whenever you have to update your page while you’re on the go. A free domain isn’t going to give you the mobile support that you need to manage a busy page.
Finally, with a free domain, you’re going to be missing out on branded emails. Do you really want to conduct all of your business out of your Gmail account?
Now that we’ve covered all of the things that you should want for your site that you won’t be getting when you go with a free domain, we can move on to a discussion of all the hidden costs that you’ll have to pay when you choose to go this route.
Some of the hidden costs will become apparent to you when you see the charges hit your card. For example, many free domains give you a trial period and then automatically start charging you as soon as the trial expires without notifying you first.
You’re also likely to find yourself paying more than you should for extras and add-ons once you exceed the capabilities of your free site. They know that once you’ve built the site, they’ve got you over a barrel. You’ll pay more for functions you need just, so you don’t have to start over somewhere else.
In addition to the costs that you’ll definitely notice, there are some that you might not. Free domain services will probably sell your information to add to their bottom line. You’ll deal with the consequences, and that will cost you time and headaches. Finally, consider the total lack of support that you’ll get from these services.
At this point, you might still be wondering if it is really worth it to pay for quality hosting from a reputable service. Maybe you can deal with the limited functionality. Maybe you know that your online plans can survive without you having to pay the hidden costs that come with a free site. But you still have to consider the risks to your investment of time and effort as well as the risks to your reputation.
A free site can lock down your data or shut down your site without notice. Sometimes the company will just disappear without warning. When this happens, you’ll lose your site address, the site content, and all of the work that went into building it.
Since free domains are notorious for their participation in link farms, their vulnerability to hackers, and their associations with malware distributors and spammers—you’ll be risking your reputation with your site’s visitors. It won’t matter to them that you had nothing to do with the nasty things that happened to them after they visited your site. It will be guilt by association.
In a lot of ways, going with a free domain is like stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Like we said before, if your site is worth putting up on the internet, then it’s worth supporting with quality hosting. When you go with a free domain, you’ll make it harder to achieve success. You’ll also be setting yourself up to lose all of that progress when you inevitably move the site to a better host. Don’t waste your time or effort. Don’t expose yourself to the risks and the headaches. Invest in your project, and you’ll be glad that you did.