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Some of my blogs are self-hosted and others are hosted for free through Blogger. Free hosting certainly has its benefits, but it also has its dangers.
One blogger who had his site on Google’s Blogger.com suddenly found his blog removed. It’s not the first case I’ve heard of such things happen. Every day we run the risk of losing our blogs if we have them on a free host. This includes Blogger, WordPress, Weebly, and my others.
It’s one of the reasons my free blogs are only used for one thing: testing out niches.
You’ll know if you have a free blog because your domain name will look like this: [yoursite].[hostname].com. For example, I have many that have [mysite].blogspot.com.
Should you switch to paid hosting right now?
It’s the big question when you hear about problems others have had with their free hosting accounts. Should you make a switch to a paid hosting? Are you better off with having full control? What else can you do to protect yourself?
There is still room for free hosting, in my opinion. There are sites that I won’t move to a paid host. If I lose them…well, I lose them. I’ve made peace with that.
What I do know is that I have backups. And I try my best to stick to the rules of the hosting site.
What are the dangers of free hosting?
The difference between one that you’re hosting yourself and one that another site is hosting for you is whose bandwidth you’re taking up. When you have a free site, the company is giving you bandwidth.
You do have limitations because of this. With the likes of WordPress you can’t advertise with AdSense when you have a free account. I’m not sure what the rules are on affiliate linking anymore, but at one point you couldn’t do that.
You’ll also need to follow the site’s rules. Most of these are standard: no R rated content, no illegal content, etc. Stick with them and you should be fine.
Of course, companies like Google can swipe out your account when they see fit. They can decide that your blog is no longer what they want and just delete it completely.
But you had a backup, right?
You don’t have a backup?
This is why I’m ready for my blogs to be taken offline if Google decides to pull the rug from under me. All my blogs and posts are completely backed up. I know I can build the blogs up again if I need to.
It will take time, yes, but all is not lost.
I highly recommend making sure your blogs are completely backed up, whether you’re on free or paid hosting.
Anything could go wrong! Your hosting company could wipe all your data accidentally. An update could destroy your whole blog. The internet may completely disappear…
Ok, I’m exaggerating on that last one!
But anything could happen. Backup your work and you won’t be too disappointed when something bad happens.
But what’s your free hosted blog for?
This is the question I ask before I make a decision over a free blog or a self-hosted one. The truth is, I don’t put the websites that I want to grow into a business on free hosting.
Why not? Well, as we’ve covered: anything could happen. If Google was to take away a major business site, then I’d be lost. It would take so much time to build that site up.
Plus, free hosting doesn’t look as professional. Do I really want clients to know that I don’t put my business first? Do I want them to think that I’m not really that professional?
Of course not! First thoughts count.
My free-hosted blogs are more for personal use. Yes, I make some money off them but they’re not as important to me as my self-hosted blogs. If I lost them, it wouldn’t be the complete end of the world.
Some of them I put there to see if a blog is viable and worth moving onto self-hosting in the future. I’ll also move some self-hosted ones that haven’t been viable across to free hosting so I can keep blogging but don’t have to lose money.
There certainly are dangers of free blogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re a complete waste of time.
What is your blog for and what do you want to get out of it? Are you willing to backup your work just in case? The free hosting may be for you.