culture of the Internet has grown out of the idea of a free
exchange of information. In keeping with that tradition there
are a number of companies offering free Internet services for
access and web site hosting. But as you know no business can
afford to simply give products away. Or to put it another way,
if you think you are getting a free lunch you just haven't gotten
the bill yet.
what's the catch with these free Internet services? Usually
it involves advertising of some sort. Free access may mean you
have to live with a permanent ad banner floating somewhere on
your display any time you are connected. Free web sites may
not only have forced advertising but may also impose limitations
on content and have other restrictions.
personal, home use these free services may be adequate, but
they almost never are for business uses. You can be sure that
companies offering free services are not going to want you using
their free services to promote any type of competing product
your business needs are minimal and consist primarily of exchanging
limited amounts of information with other people within your
company and the kinds of information you want to post will not
violate their hosting rules, then one of these free sites may
suffice. Even so you should think about whether it will negatively
impact your business image to use one of these free sites, and
whether you can afford to be without the service.
services tend to come and go pretty quickly. So consider carefully
whether the loss of your web hosting service and/or URL address
could negatively impact your business.
may be able to use free sites for promoting your business by
using free sites as portals or doorways to your main web site,
but there are probably better ways to use your time to promote
your company's web site.
summary, if you are thinking about using one of these free hosting
services as your primary Internet presence, you should make
your selection carefully. For most business needs free sites
are not suitable because:
may require you to display advertising banners that only they
may require that you give up your copyrights to the content
for anything that you put on your web site.
may not be given the level of access you need or desire to
may have to accept unwanted e-mail or pop-up advertisements
in exchange for the free site.
have no assurance that the location or terms associated with
your free site will remain the same.
server space is usually small and limited.
of access for users of your site may be slow and inconsistent.
often do not have any or limited say as to the URL address
assigned to you.
hosting services are less likely to backup your data and you
may loose part or all your site without any warning.
of the search engines will not list free web sites in their
web hosting will almost always prove to be a superior source
of service to free Internet hosting, and inexpensive
dial-up Internet access will prove to be superior to free
you decide to try a free Internet service consider it just an
experiment to avoid disappointment.