Is A Free Website Really Free?

Free Website

There’s an Internet company running radio ads for a “Free Website.”  They go on to say that after the first month,  if you like it, they will provide hosting and additional support, for a low monthly fee.

So, is that a good deal?

Well, nothing is actually free.  Over a period of time, the website creation is probably built into the monthly service fee.  If you keep it for a number of years, you’ll probably pay far more than if you went another route. And just how low is the monthly fee?

A Free Website?

There does appear to be a big red flag here. And that is the registration for the domain name — your web address.   One thing you should always do, is to be assured you OWN your domain name.  Don’t allow any web developer, web provider, advertising agency or any Internet provider to register a domain name on your behalf.  You should always make sure the domain name registration is in your name or under your company control.

If you have a “Free” website and want to later move it to another provider, you may find that you can’t because you don’t own the domain.  Once you have business cards printed with your Web address and the search engines have identified your Web site it can be very difficult to direct people to another site.

You should register it yourself or have your provider put your name and e-mail on the registration.

You can register a domain name at a number of places.   You should expect to pay around $19 a year – but you can certainly shop and find services for less.

To check to see if you own your domain name visit any of the “who is” services.  Or, search “whois” in a search engine. You want to be sure your physical address is correct and that the administrative contact has  a valid e mail that goes to an e mail you control .  If you discover you don’t own your domain, you should have your Web provider put it in your name immediately.

The Domain Name is only one aspect of building a website. I’ll address other issues in my next blog post.