When Starting an Ecommerce Business - Free Hosting is Tempting, but is It Smart?
In general, it is best to use free ecommerce hosting services for what they were intended for, to allow the personal Internet user to have free space on the world wide web where they can make a home page, host family pictures, or create a fun site for the kids to play with!
To try to build a successful and profitable ecommerce business using free hosting can often turn out to be troublesome and may cost you more in the long run in lost sales and slower ecommerce business growth.
Free Hosting sites typically are start up businesses or other lower budget operations and as such, they tend to have more "down time" which would lead to lost business and frustrated customers for your ecommerce business. And when the hosting site does have problems and isn't available, you can't really complain. What is your complaint about a free service, that you aren't getting your money's worth???? Paid hosting sites are typically more reliable with less down time. They strive for this because for them a lost customer is lost business revenue.
Another common fact of all free hosting sites are banner ads. After all, every business is in business with the purpose of making money. Free services that do not charge their customers for their use make their money through the advertisers and sponsors. An ecommerce site that has free web hosting MUST agree to allow banner advertising on their ecommerce web sites. All banners can be distracting to your customers and ecommerce sites with an excessive amount of banner advertising (especially unrelated advertising) have much lower sell rates.
Both of these things can cost your business more in lost sales and slower growth than it would have paid for hosting service from another, paid hosting company.
I suppose if you are running a very small, part time, ecommerce business and are ok with "site down time" then a free ecommerce hosting option might work for your business. Or if your business is not ecommerce, but is based in the brick and mortar world and you are looking for web site hosting just as a means of providing more information for your customers. In this case, a free hosting site might meet your needs.
If, however, you are hoping to grow your ecommerce business to a fairly good size, it really is imperative that your potential customers can get to your ecommerce site reliably and easily. If your ecommerce business is based on online sales, you need customers to be able to shop on their schedule and if they can't do so on your site because the host is down, they will find another site on which to shop. In this case, the revenue lost on lost sales will end up costing your ecommerce business more in the long run, and you would be much better off with reliable paid hosting.