When you’re starting on digital marketing, blogging, e-commerce, or any online business, you need a platform where you can try things out. However, in the early stage of your venture, you will probably be on a limited budget. The best option for you to try your hand in the digital game is to go for a free web hosting service. The good news is that you have a ton of options available for you when it comes to free website hosting sites. Here is a guide on how you can make an informed decision regarding which web host to go for.
What is web hosting?
Before getting into the various aspects of selecting a free web hosting service, let us first understand what ‘web hosting’ means. Whenever a website is created, its contents are stored in a system called ‘web server’. This web server is responsible for storing, processing, and delivering the content whenever a user wants to visit the website. A server may be dedicated to a single website or it can accommodate multiple websites. Web hosting is the process of allocating space in the server for a particular website. Once you have hosted your website on a server, your website will be available on the worldwide web.
What to look for in a free web hosting server?
Customizable for your needs
Everyone has their reasons for putting up a website. Before you shop around for free server hosting, you need to identify your website’s purpose. Identifying your goals for creating a website will help you streamline options and make more informed decisions. While picking your free web hosting provider, check whether they offer all the components that you need for your website. For example, Strikingly provides all the essential features of website hosting, totally free of cost. There are several templates tailor-made for different website categories such as blog, store, portfolio, etc. These templates are customizable and you can add any sections that you want.
Hosting more than one site
Many businesses need more than one site to manage their operations or to serve their customers better. For example, you may be catering to customers speaking different languages, and so you want to have multilingual websites. Another use case is having separate websites for different product lines. To accommodate such requirements, choose a hosting provider that offers multiple free sites. At Strikingly, we offer an unlimited number of free websites at your disposal.
When you want to get your website up and running within a tight deadline, the last thing you want is to go through a steep learning curve. Go for a user-friendly website builder that would enable you to build your website without worrying about the overhead of technical details. Strikingly offers a simple and intuitive editor that you can start using without having to go through any manual or documentation. The toolbar at the left side of the editor provides all the necessary options for designing your website. You can add any new section with not more than a few clicks.
To stay ahead in the online business race, you should not leave any stone unturned in digital marketing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and website traffic analytics are essential when you want to get more traction for your website. Most web hosting providers don’t offer these services on a free plan. But, Strikingly lets you harness the power of SEO free of cost. In addition to the in-built analytics dashboard, you can also integrate Google Analytics with Strikingly.
Ease of website building
For many first-time website builders, the process of putting together different sections of the website in a proper layout can be overwhelming. Strikingly saves you from this challenge by providing you with a variety of ready-made site templates that you can make use of. These templates come with appropriate sections for different use cases. However, you can edit it to add or remove any section as per your specific needs.
You should also factor in up times and site speed when choosing a free web hosting site. You want your website to be accessible all the time. Site speed can influence user experience and even a few minutes of downtime can affect your site traffic. You may not be worried about the speed at first but if you’re creating a website with the view of scaling up and making it big in the future, you will want to make sure that you have this sorted out early on. So, make sure that you go for a consistent web host like Strikingly that provides almost zero downtime.
Domain name is the unique address of your website. It is what people use to refer to your website and access it. SEO rankings are also boosted by your domain name drastically. To enjoy these benefits, you need to get the right domain name for your site. Most of the time, it comes with a cost. However, at Strikingly, you will get free hosting and domain name when you choose any yearly plan or up. You don’t have to go to a separate vendor to purchase your domain name. You can select it from within the Strikingly website editor. In case, you are not ready for a yearly plan yet, Strikingly offers you a subdomain name without any charges.
Any content that you add to your website gets stored in the server of your hosting provider. The quantity of data differs from website to website. For example, a blogger may have content of size 500 MB, whereas an e-commerce store may have details and pictures of hundreds of products amounting to several GBs. While choosing your hosting provider, go for the one that offers enough free web space for your needs. Strikingly is one of the most generous providers of storage in the market. We offer free storage starting from a minimum of 500 MB per site, going up to 10GB per site, depending upon your chosen plan.
A slow website is a big turn-off and it can do more harm than good to your business. When you digitize your business, make sure you get good bandwidth from your web hosting provider. This will give you fast loading of your website, and ensure a positive customer experience. At Strikingly, you get 50GB per month of bandwidth for free, and you can make it unlimited with an upgrade.
The way people access the internet is changing rapidly. With the advent of smartphones, more and more people prefer to visit websites from their mobile phones rather than desktops. Therefore, it is crucial to give your users a responsive website that will work excellently on mobile. Strikingly has been built with the mantra of mobile-first from the very beginning, and is the best in the industry when it comes to responsiveness.
While you’re starting, you want to get enough customer support from the free server hosting site. You’re going to have a lot of questions about the platform, or any customization options that you want to try out. Make sure that you go for a web host that offers reliable support options. At Strikingly, you’ll always find somebody to chat with about any of your website building questions 24/7. It also features a constantly updated knowledge base if you’re the type who wants to search for answers on your own before hollering for help.
Cybersecurity is a major concern for many budding online entrepreneurs. To stay safe from hackers, it is extremely important to choose a web host that provides all the latest security features. At Strikingly, we are highly committed to providing a secure online experience for our customers and we have zero tolerance for security lapses. We provide SSL certificates for all our websites, irrespective of whether the customer is on a paid plan or a free one. This means, your visitors access your site over HTTPS, which is an encryption technology that makes sure no third party can see what a user is entering into your website. Such encryption is a must-have if you are planning to take online payments through your website. An HTTPS status will build credibility for your site and your business.
One of the main sources of income from an online platform is through advertisements, and Google AdSense is a prominent way of getting relevant advertisements for your website. While choosing your web hosting, you should check whether there is an option of showing google advertisements. At Strikingly, you can display advertisements by simply copying the required HTML code from your Google Adsense account and pasting it in the Strikingly website’s settings. You can also design your own free advertisements using buttons with links to other websites.
While you might want to get website hosting free as a practice platform, it would be good to think of upgrade options at this point. You will not remain a beginner for long and you will want to work on your website so it grows beyond being a mere training ground. With that said, a good web hosting service should be able to provide you with cost-efficient upgrade options that will keep up with your site’s growth. Go for a platform that gives you ample room to grow. At Strikingly, you can get started with a free account and then upgrade as required, to any of our three paid plans - Limited, PRO and VIP. Each plan comes with a whole suite of added benefits that will boost your online business manifold.
Try out Strikingly for free today, and get your website live within 30 minutes. After all, you have nothing to lose, and a whole lot of freebies to enjoy!