Free hosting and domain registration

Often our clients ask us whether we provide free hosting and domain in addition to the website development. The answer is no, we do not. In this article I would like to bust some myths about free hosting and free domain registration. I will also explain why some web-studios use this kind of trick.

Clients who ask about free hosting and domain usually come to us after talking to other web-studios, that offer free services but only if you order website development first. The first thing that comes in mind is “Free cheese is only in the mouse trap” And I will explain why: web studios are trying to “sweeten the pill” this way, i.e offer you product at extremely high prices, and pressure you to chose them in order to receive free stuff.

A cunning marketing move

Clearly, there are people who are tempted with this offers and pleasant bonuses as free domain and hosting. But the question is: how ethical is it, to attract customers this way? Is this really the best way to find and keep a customer?

Simple math shows, that this kind of generosity is just a good marketing move. A free domain and hosting costs 10-15 $, with website development cost 1000-3000 $ means you are about to save 0,1-0,3%! Would you be impressed with a 15$ discount? I don`t think so. But if you hear free domain and hosting - sounds like a very appealing offer.

You pay around 1000-3000$ for the website development. If think, it might be a good investment, if you also support and invest in your website a certain amount every month. Written blog posts and context advertising may cost you around 2000$ per month. Domain price per month is about 1$, and the most expensive shared hosting will cost about 10$ per month. So think: Do you really need to search for a company who will give you free domain and hosting, or you should better work with the professionals, who are good at building websites, not promises.

How can you get a free hosting?

We think that a free hosting is another way to lure a client with a free stuff, without having to offer something good qualitywise. But people are different, and some of them especially like free services.

There are a few ways for the client to get a free hosting and for the webstudio to keep a promise::

  • Web studio can give you free hosting for a certain period of time - a month, six months, or even a year.
  • Web studio rents a server for the clients websites.
  • A company has it`s own servers for the clients websites
  • We studio offers hosting services itself. And if a clients orders a website, then receivs a free hosting.

Option number 1 immediately raises questions. Let`s say you have a month of free hosting. Be ready to transfer your website to another server or pay for the hosting. Ofcourse a 5$ diskount is not a reason to chose a web studio. And in case you move your website - it will cost you time and money, again.

Second and third options are interesting, but with nuances. How many websites can a webstudio really support? And why would they bother? Whenever a problem will occur, clients will contact webstudio managers, because websites need regular support (backup, updates). Also, there is no 100% protection from hackers, so problems will most likely occur. And to solve them you need hired specialist. Companys that specialise on hosting services have all the equipment and staff of IT specialists, that handle only hosting related issues, like ours, for example: hosting is one company, web development is another. These are two completely separate projects. It`s rarely like this in web studios. If it doesn`t work as separate projects, sooner or later, an increasing working load of websites will become a problem, and very soon it will become a client`s problem.

The forth option looks like the best one. But immediately a question appears: what web studio, that offers a good and reliable hosting, will be good at web development? For those things you need a two different kind of specialists, server park and good support team. That`s why we do not mix two companies together and tell our clients — website development separately from the hosting. Yes, this is our project, but completele separate. Even if web developers need access to the clients hosting account - we ask a client for this, we do not go to the hosting support, because no one has a right to give access to your account to a third party.  

Free domain and when the domain is really for free

We have explained how the web studios can give you free hosting, let`s see about the free domains now. It is rather hard to become a domains registrar, because of the obligatory condition to have 3 and more servers online. And if a webstudio offers you a domain for free, do know that they are buying it for their own money, i.e renting for a certain period of time. A question here is: why would webstudio pay for a clients` domain? And for how long are they planning to do it? What if they don`t want to do it anymore ? What it they go out of business? In this case you are risking to lose your domain and your website can be blocked, and domain might be sold to someone else.

A free domain worth 10$ when a website development price is 3000$ means a 0,03% discount!!!

Therefore, you should  take this proposal, which is attractive at first sight, with caution. First of all, a webstudio often registers a domain name not on clients name, but on name of a studio employee. If a website (domain) is actively promoted and gains trust, in a few years this domain may be worth a few thousands. Because it is very effective to place a new website on an already popular domain. In this case, you and only you must the owner of your domain -  investing money and time in your website, you can easily lose it.

Hosting and domain for free

A different case is when buying hosting, you get an opportunity to receive a service “domain registration” for free - this is a very popular service among hosting providers, and you can freely use it. You should also understand that free domain means first year of registration for free, all the next years you will have to pay the standard renewal cost - around 10-15 USD a year.

We strongly advise: always register a domain using your name! Who pays for it, is not important. The important thing is to make sure it is renewed every year, so you wouldn`t lose it over a simple mistake.