In recent years, web hosting has become a commodity in the same way that access to the internet has become a human right. In the earliest days of the internet, if you wanted to launch a website then you had to purchase or rent a server and have the technical expertise that’s required to actually manage it.
But the relentless march of technology has helped to democratise web hosting and related fields, which is why you can sign up for a Dropbox account and pick up free cloud storage space within a couple of minutes. The business model that Dropbox uses is similar to the business models of many free web hosting providers.
It’s also similar to how many smartphone games make money. They rely on a freemium model in which a certain amount of access is given for free but which also allows people to pay for more. In smartphone games, this typically means some form of in-game currency that allows paying players to get a boost on their competition. For free web hosting providers, it usually means offering up a decent amount of resources for free and then giving people the option to upgrade once their websites take off and they need more resources.
Still, not all free hosting providers are equal, with some offering more space than others and some bundling in extra features like website builders and free email addresses. That’s why we’ve pulled this list together. Let’s get into our list of the five best free web hosting providers.
Wix is probably most well-known for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop website building tool, which is why it’s one of the providers of choice for small businesses and simple portfolio sites for freelancers and creatives. The only problem with it is that it’s more restricted when it comes to installing a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or customising it with additional features such as eCommerce functionality.
Still, Wix is a decent enough choice if you can work within its constraints, and it also offers up to 500 MB of storage and bandwidth. They’ll even throw in a free Wix.com subdomain. And, like most free hosting providers, you can also upgrade to paid plans for more resources and functionality.
Weebly is pretty much just Wix but with better customer support and some stunning templates that can give your free website a professional look and feel. If you go for one of their free plans, you’ll have 500 MB of storage and a Weebly.com subdomain, but unlike Wix you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and so your site won’t go down if it suddenly becomes super popular.
On the downside, Weebly’s free hosting plans mean that they’ll add their branding to your website’s footer, but at least they don’t serve up intrusive ads which could scare your visitors away altogether. You can even go in and edit the code for their free templates if you’re a more advanced user who wants something a little more bespoke.
AwardSpace is one of the more established free hosting providers with over ten years of experience when it comes to powering free websites, and they follow a similar model to others by powering their free hosting using paid addons.
With AwardSpace, you’ll be given 1 GB of storage and 5 GB of bandwidth, as well as a free email account and the ability to set up three subdomains. On the downside, they don’t offer a free website builder like Wix and Weebly, but they do offer up Joomla and WordPress installers so that you can get a website up and running with as little fuss as possible.
The clue is in the name here. 5GBFree will give you 5 GB of free storage, as well as 20 GB of bandwidth and one-click installers for various ecommerce tools such as Joomla, PHPShop and ZenCart. It’s one of the few free hosting providers that offers this ecommerce support, which means you can get your store up and running for free and then upgrade to a more powerful host once the store is able to pay for it.
5GBFree also spends a lot of time and resources on securing their setup, and they even use a world-class quality data centre. On the downside, their customer service isn’t great, but they do have a product forum that can connect you with other customers who might be able to help.
000webhost.com is one of the most popular free web hosting providers on the market, and there’s a reason for that. They have literally millions of happy users and they’ve been in the business of offering free hosting since 2007. And unlike most other free hosting providers, they have virtually no limits when it comes to storage space and bandwidth.
This host is also different to others because they’ll provide not just one but five free email accounts, and they also give users access to heavy-duty analytics tools, auto-installers, website building tools and more. You can even scoop up a free SSL certificate. You’d be hard pressed to find another free host with as powerful an offering as this.
By now, you should have a good idea of what the landscape is like for free web hosting providers and you might even have an idea of which one you want to go for. Before you go ahead and sign up for one, though, be sure to check some user reviews to get a feel for what people think of them.
You’ll also want to put some thought into the types of features that you’ll need and what resource levels you’re looking for. The last thing you want to do is to find a free host, sign up to it and find yourself migrating to another one a couple of weeks afterwards because you made the wrong call.
The good news is that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to free web hosting providers and this list only covers the tip of the iceberg. If you have specialist needs (if you want a host in a particular geographical area, for example) then you’re sure to find a free host to suit your needs if you spend enough time searching.
Web hosting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. So why not save your money for something else?
5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Writing Blogs Right Now
Blogging is a great way to get your website noticed and generate more traffic and sales. 86% of companies use a blog on their websites, so you can’t afford to miss out.
You may think that blogs aren’t that important, or that they don’t make a lot of difference to your business. But they are a lot more effective than you may think.
Blogging can increase your lead generation by 67%. Whether you’re a new or established business, this can prove invaluable. Here are 5 reasons your business needs to start writing blogs now.
1. Generate Traffic
Blog posts add more content to your website and thus attract more people to visit your site. Creating web content means that you can direct your readers to other parts of your website.
This means you can write a post about one of your products or services and use yours as an example. When readers discover this, you have a greater chance of boosting sales.
2. Boost SEO
When it comes to marketing your business, SEO is king. SEO determines where your website ranks on search engine results. In turn, it impacts how many people find you.
There are a lot of things that affect your SEO. Things like a fully optimized website and using the right links can make a real difference. Hook Agency says that having the right SEO can double or even triple your traffic from search engines.
Once you have your website sorted, blog content is next. The more blogs you write, the better the SEO. Use popular keywords and terms that your audience would search for. This will make your posts rank higher on search engines and get customers your way.
3. Create a Brand Voice
There are a lot of company blogs out there which may be interesting, but they have no distinctive voice. When they have no voice, they all blend into one.
But if you write blogs with a specific voice, you make an impression. When people can recognise your writing style, they recognise your company.
Set featured imageTry to give your posts a personality. They are more fun to read and will keep people coming back to read for more. They make your brand more trustworthy and encourage people to choose your brand.
4. Showcase Your Services
When it comes to your business, you’re the expert. You know all about your own products and services, so use your blog to show off this knowledge!
Explain what you offer and what you can do for your customers. People want brands to know exactly what they’re selling and it makes you more reliable.
It also serves as a free way to advertise your business. You can write as much or as little as you want on the services you’re offering.
5. You Stay Ahead of the Curve
When you give your website a blog, you’re also future proofing your business. Those who don’t have blogs are lagging behind and missing out on a lot of great opportunities.
It gives you the chance to be creative and boost your business in a whole new way. You can also add other media like videos and photos to your posts to boost your SEO even further.
Chances are, you’ll find blogging very fun. Regular content on your site gives your business a firm presence and will keep you on the SEO map for longer.
Your Business Needs to Start Writing Blogs Now
Now that you know how important it is to start writing blogs for your business, it’s time to get started. It’s a fun creative challenge which can lead to more traffic and more sales.
Want to start a blog on your website? Check out our services and see how we can help you set it up.
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Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog
Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.
There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.
Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.
Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly
With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.
Use an Effective Caching Plugin
If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.
Use CDN (content delivery network)
We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.
Improve Your Hosting Plan
If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.
Use Optimized Images
Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.
Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests
How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.
Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging
When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.
Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.
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