A number of web hosting services offer good quality low cost web hosting while others offer these services free, so there is no reason why any congregation could not have a website to publicize its activities, no matter how small or however constrained its budget may be.
Even so, some small churhes may still be tempted by the possibility of using free web hosting services.
When you set up a website with a free web hosting company you you are usually allocated a free sub-domainaddress of your choice, a certain amount of free website space and a range of tools and services that you can use for free, or for a small fee.
Most of these sites come with a range of website designs so that you don't have to create a new site from scratch. The creation of these free websites is usually made as simple as possible, a matter of simply choosing and clicking the options you prefer. Websites can be further customized by adding widgets, pages and other application as per their needs. You can also add features such as picture galleries, video and so on.
Free business websites therefore offer an opportunity for small businesses to experience firsthand the benefits that come with an online presence.
Disadvantages of Free Webhosting
However, there are also some quite big disadvantages to running your business on a free web hosting package. These are:
1. Your website address is a sub-domain of your free webhost so people will doubt that you are a serious business.
2. You will not get much web space and may have to "upgrade" if and when you want to expand your site. You may find that the "upgrade" prices turns out to be more expensive than standard paid webhosting rates.
3. You do not "own" your website. At any moment the web host could decide to pull the plug on your website or on the "free" part of its business, leaving you high and dry with no website at all, or forced to pay to "upgrade".
4. Search engines often give free websites low priority.
5. Although you may be able to use add on features, the amount of space for them is limited. Again, to get full use you may have to upgrade.
6. Some free websites have to carry the web hosting company's advertising.
Finding A Better Solution To Free Webhosting...
A better solution is to start with a reputable web host that offers low cost web hosting packages complete with unlimited web space and the option to upgrade to a bigger package later on as your web presence expands. Paying for web hosting has the following advantages for church websites:
1. You can use your own business name as the domain name. (A vital first step to showing visitors that you are a serious online business.)
2. You will have all the web space you need to grow your site.
3. You will be able to keep control of your own website and domain name. (With free web hosting, you do not actually own your website and so are not in complete control of it.
4. You get to choose whether or not to run an advertising service, and if you do, you get to keep the advertising revenue. (Free websites sometimes feature ads placed by the web host.
7. You can add to your professionalism by using your domain name as your branded email address.