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Just when I thought that everyone online had given up on free web-based hosting, I bump into someone who swears by it. Really. I was shocked.

The reason this person liked the free hosting was because it was, well, free. But that was about the only benefit. He did go on to say that he was happy with the search engine optimization benefits he was getting (I checked and his website was ranked No. 2 for a great keyword and a geotargeting add-on). He was also impressed with the design features, the fact that his host could add a blog to his site, and the analytics available for his website. All of that was good news.

But there is one big overriding risk to using a free web-based host, and that risk is too great to accept any of the benefits. What if that host disappears overnight or decides to shut down?

This happened to long-time free host Geocities. Remember it? It was owned by Yahoo!, then Yahoo! decided to shut the doors. All those website owners had to transfer their websites to other hosts. NOTE: Free web-based hosts are not compatible; you have to download the content, then copy it back to the new free host. It’s not easy.

If you have a traditional hosting company, any time you build a website and you want to transfer it to another host, it’s just a matter of transferring files to your hard drive and then uploading them to the new host. Easy.

Word of advice: Stay away from the free web-based hosts.

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