This article may sound harsh, but it’s the honest truth. I get tired of people giving wrong information on how to make a website for the sake of steering them towards costly products they don’t need.
Depending on which website you visit each will have a different opinion on why making a free website is something you should avoid. But I’m here to open your eyes to way new way of thinking. Don’t be fooled into believing you can’t get started making money online or start an online business with a free web host. You can ABSOLUTELY get a free website, with a quality hosting company for NO MONEY and I’m going to show you how.
Let Me Introduce You to AwardSpace
AwardSpace is a leading web hosting company, that offers a variety of services including: Shared Web Hosting (Free and Paid), Virtual Private Servers(VPS) Hosting, Domain Name Registrations, Domain Name Transfers and SSL Certificates. They have earned a variety of awards for the best hosting service provider by one of the top web hosting critics’ sites.
Their main advantage is based on their risk-free service – BANNER FREE web hosting with limited features for those of you who are newbies and are not convinced you will need hosting for a long time or for those of you who want to test the service before purchasing.
Don’t believe me about how great they are? Just Google “AwardSpace Reviews”. I did and almost all the reviews were positive. How often can you say that about anything free? Now before we get started with the tutorial I’ll lay out some pros and cons of free web hosting and highlight the features of the AwardSpace free hosting plan.
Pros and Cons of Free Web Hosting
All free hosting plans aren’t created equal and I’ll explain why. Typically free web hosting plans have substandard services, which is why most experts will steer you away from them. But AwardSpace isn’t your typical free web hosting company. Review the chart below to see how AwardSpace compares to other free web hosts.
AwardSpace vs. Other Free Web Hosts
|Features||AwardSpace||Free Web Hosts|
|Initial Setup Fee||FREE||FREE|
|Custom Domain (yourname.com)|
|Domain Privacy Protection||$10.00 (opt.)|
|Web Space||200 MB||50 MB|
|Bandwidth (Data transfer)||5 GB||1 GB|
|Fast, reliable hosting|
|MySQL Dtatbases Storage||10 MB|
|Upgrade to Paid Account|
|Email Accounts and Aliases||5||0|
|Upload custom HTML|
|Web Based File Manager|
|Easy to Use Control Panel|
|99.99% Network Uptime|
|24/7 Technical Support|
AwardSpace gives you almost as many options as a paid host, right? In addition to having great features, if at any time you want to upgrade to a paid account YOU CAN! So as a beginner, my suggestion is start off free. When you get to a point where the free option is too small. Just upgrade it!
Don’t allow so-called experts to convince you to stay away from free web hosts. They will tell you that free web hosting plans come with:
- Banners and/or pop ads on your homepage and/or all of your pages
- Long and hard-to-remember web address (instead of www.yourdomain.com)
- No branded emails addresses (email@example.com)
- Poor help and support options (if any)
- Search engines often ignore them
- May not be free forever
- No control over look and feel of website
- Less professionalism
- Your visitors may doubt your credibility
- No branded email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Tons of pop-ups and unwanted advertisements
- Limited web space
- Can’t add interactive features (chat rooms, message boards, games, online ordering etc.)
- No guarantees of site availability and longevity
Seriously folks. This isn’t the early 90′s. If you ever see another web expert comparing free web hosting to AOL, Geocities (which isn’t even online anymore), AngelFire or Tripod, then you need to close your browser window immediately, because that information is OUTDATED!
Advantages of Free Websites
Since we are starting this website on the right foot, it’s best to take a look at the advantages of free websites – that are made using a free hosting service.
- They’re FREE!
Disadvantages of Free Websites
There are also some disadvantages of of using a free blogging services as well.
- You won’t get your own domain name (www.yourdomainname.com). This can cause HUGE problems – especially if the hosting company goes out of business or decide to change the format of their URLs. The future of your website is the hands of someone you DON’T EVEN KNOW!
- Your website’s domain name holds all the authority, statistics and Pagerank and they are NOT TRANSFERABLE! So if you create a website using “yourblogname.awardspace.com” and you become so popular that you are now earning an income with your website, have thousands of followers and hundreds of posts. If you decide you want to make this website your own, you CANNOT add a domain name later. You will lose bookmarks, visitors, Pagerank, search engine ranking and MONEY!
- Other features that you may not have even thought of. After using a free hosting service you will find that are many more things you won’t be able to do with a free hosting service. Things that even most professional website oweners take for granted and you won’t even know that it COULD have been a possibility.
More on the Domain Name Problem
In the long term, the disadvantages of free hosting can far outweigh the advantages, ESPECIALLY if you are considering making money or branding a future business from this website. Particularly when it comes to the domain name (www.yourname.com), your website would be in danger of disappearing completely.
Consider this scenario for just a moment.
Let’s say you start a travel website about visiting Hawaii, highlighting the many trips you have taken there with your family. You have spent the past 6 months blogging your little heart out and out of the blue you get an email from your FREE hosting service:
Thank you for your support, but due to financial reasons we have decided discontinue this service. God luck in the future!
How would you feel if this happened?
Well I don’t know about you, but I would be pissed off! I would feel cheated, upset and demand a a refund! But wait?!?! … What money?
Did you forget? You didn’t pay for this service in the first place.
And even if the service wasn’t completely shut down, times are tough and they could just as easily decide to charge some astronomical prices for a previously free service.
The hosting service is in charge (if you AND your blog) and they can do whatever they want to do. They could decide to change the way urls are displayed. This would completely break all your existing and render and links pointing to your blog as non-existent. Yes! That’s right they would no longer work.
For example, http://yourblog.awardspace.com/my-1000th-post/ could turn and say, http://yourblog.awardspace.com/my-1000th-post
Just imagine getting to your thousandth post, just to see that your free blogging service has changed the URL format.
How to Resolve the Domain Name Problem
There are two ways to prevent these kinds of problems from happening. All you need to do is register your domain name. Even better, you need to register a domain name with a web host that offers hosting option.
Now tell me. How much is your sanity worth? Is your piece of mind worth a large soda from Mc Donalds?
By registering your own domain name, no one has the ability to change the web address of your blog. You have full control over your blog’s URL.
Having your own domain name means that your website’s “web address” will will remain in tact as long as your website does. If in the future you need to move servers or hosting providers, it won’t matter. All you need to do is configure your domain to point to the new server and your blog will continue to run as if nothing ever happened!
Is Free Web Hosting a Good Option For You?
Many people that want to learn how to make a website will tend to gravitate toward a free option for several reasons:
- You just don’t have any extra money right now to start anything new.
- You want to learn how to make a website, but are unsure if you are capable of doing it, and don’t want to invest any money.
- You need a temporary website.
- You are cheap.
As a professional web designer, I realize how difficult it can be learning a new skill. Especially something like making websites. It can be extremely intimidating if you have never created a website before. I was there, granted it has been more than 13 years ago when I started, but I was there too. I did lots of things wrong. Setup my the files on my server incorrectly. Saved my images at the wrong size and totally destroyed websites.
But you know what? My first web portfolio was an old Tripod site. It was a learning experience, but I had to start somewhere and so do you.
So to answer the question is the AwardSpace Free Web Hosting option a good choice for you? The answer is simple.
YES! If you are interested in learning how to make a website and you aren’t afraid of diving into the deep end. If you are intimidated by the web, but are willing to take the time and effort to learn how to use FTP, edit HTML/CSS, configure a MySQL Database, install WordPress, edit images manually and have time to do it correctly.
NO! If you could careless about learning anything new. You needed a website up yesterday and would prefer not to touch any kind of code. You just want the site running and the details (in your eyes) are a waste of time.
Search Engines and Free Web Hosting
Contrary to what you may believe it is a total ADVANTAGE to use a free host – especially if you are trying to make money and attract free traffic to your website. The cards are not stacked against you. Search engines are an excellent source of free traffic and hosting a website with a free web host will not prevent you from missing out on the great targeted traffic you can receive.
Regardless of what anyone will tell you. Here’s an example. Google the word “Make Money Online” and look at the URL for the first search result? Where is it pointing to? At the time of this posting (Feb 27, 2010) it says moneymakerinfo.blogspot.com.
That CAN’T be correct. According to what other website owners will tell you this is IMPOSSIBLE right? The make money online niche is one of the most coveted and hardest keywords to be ranked for in Google search. Currently (at the time of this posting) there are 163,000,000 websites that are about making money online, but the one website Google found to be the most relevant is a free Blogger blog? How can that be?
Check out the stats below the green URL, I’ll explain them, but they are the reasons why this site is on top.
Free hosted blogs and websites already have domain authority, meaning there are already millions of backlinks pointing to the main domain (see more on Link Building and Backlinks). According to Yahoo Site Explorer the domain already has:
- 224,000,000 websites linking directly to the .blogspot.com domain
- 1,270,000 educational websites (.edu) linking directly to the .blogspot.com domain
- 98,800 government websites (.gov) linking directly to the .blogspot.com domain
- 23,600 websites linking directly to moneymakerinfo.blogspot.com domain
- 8 educational websites (.edu) linking directly to moneymakerinfo.blogspot.com domain
So if you know anything about link building and backlinks this is very very important. So how is this free hosted blog able to get so many backlinks when free hosted websites and blogs are the bottom feeders of the internet? It’s because the information posted is GOOD! Which leads back to creating quality content. Not only that, but Blogspot blogs are owned by Google. So why would’nt they allow their own search engines to rank them in their search results?
Well they DO!
Search engines rank websites and webpages based on the amount of quality websites linking to it, the authority of the domain and the relevancy of the content. NOT WHETHER YOU PAID FOR THE HOSTING OR NOT!
Other Issues That Might Concern You
- Size Limitations – there are no size limit on a free hosted website. There is no maximum amount of pages you can create on a free web host. The only limitation is web space (which includes and files or images you upload)
- Social Stigma – in the olden days free web hosting and free blog sites may have been seen as the bottom of the food chain, but not anymore. Many credible government and educational websites have free blogs hosted by Blogger
- Link Building and Backlinks – you will be able to obtain plenty of quality backlinks to your content if you content is well written. Just like any other website, create quality content and other websites will link to it FREELY and it doesn’t matter who hosts your site.
- Upgrading to a Paid Option – with a free web hosting company like AwardSpace you can upgrade your account at ANYTIME, which allows you to take advantage of their premium features for only $4 a month.
- Guarantee – AwardSpace offers a 30 day money back guarantee on any PAID hosting plans. So even if you decide to upgrade, and figure out that you don’t like it you can get your money back – risk free!
The Bottom Line
It doesn’t matter who hosts your website or blog. What’s important is the short term and long term goals for your website, the amount of time you have to spend getting your site online and your comfort level in learning new things. Don’t allow anyone to tell you this can’t be done, because it can! Don’t be discouraged from creating a website because of your lack of funds.
Before We Begin Making a Free Website
There are a few things you will need before we start making your free website. Start by signing up for a free web hosting account.
1. Go to the AwardSpace website. Look for the Free Web Hosting Plan section at the lower left side if the website and click the big yellow button that says “Click Here to Get It”.
2. Choose the Free SubDomain option and continue. If you want to use a custom domain name (www.yourdomain.com) I will show you how to do this in the How to Add A custom Domain Video Tutorial. But lets finish this part first.
3. Sign up for your free web hosting. Then wait for the welcome email in your inbox.
4. After you get your welcome email return to this page and take a look at the following videos.
How to Make a Static Website with AwardSpace (Video Tutorial)
- Tutorial Coming Next Week
How to Install WordPress on AwardSpace Free Web Hosting
- Tutorial Coming Next Week
How to Add a Custom Domain at AwardSpace
- Tutorial Coming Next Week
A Few More Free or Cheap Web Hosting Options
Still unsure if AwardSpace is the right option for you? Yeah, I know it can be confusing, which is why I compiled a few additional cheap or free web hosting options for you to review.
- Coming Soon
Additional Resources to Help You Decide
- Blog vs. Website. Which is the best option for you? There is alot of confusion on this subject. Get the truth before you begin.
- Take a look at a few Frequently Asked Questions about making your first website. Many of you initial questions may be answered here.
- Read more about how to register a domain and the freebies that come with them (like blog templates, e-books, website checklists, free video tutorials, free graphics and icons, plus much more)!
- What type of website should you build? From directories, photos galleries, social networking sites, your options are limitless.
- Learn how to make money with your new blog.