Are you considering a certain shared hosting plan for the freebies the host offers? Think again. Most, if not all, web hosts advertise a lot of free extras. And almost all of these free extras are basically the same; though could be somewhat useful.
These freebies can range from free domain, free site transfer to free advertising credits for Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook. Let’s look deeper into these free offerings and decide if they make any difference to affect your purchase decision.
Free Domain with Hosting
A lot of hosts like DreamHost and Hostinger offer a free domain with their shared hosting packages. However, remember there’s no free meal and the costs are somehow baked into the package. Customers of various hosting companies have often complained about difficulties transferring the free domain from the host. You must read the ToS about the free domain and understand if it would be possible to move the domain away from the host without significant loss of money. In short, stay away to avoid unwanted headaches!
Free Advertising Credit
If you’re really into your website, you will likely want to use Pay Per Click (PPC) ads sooner than later. Some hosting accounts offer Ad credits, discount codes and vouchers for the largest PPC networks: Google AdWords vouchers worth $50 or $100 and/or free advertising credits in Yahoo!/Bing/Facebook networks as well. This is really something you should try to grab and use.
Fine Print: Most of these are applicable only if you have got a billing address in the US or Canada.
Dedicated IP Address
Some hosts provide a couple of free dedicated IP addresses (IXWebhosting provides 15!) included in their shared hosting plans. Shared IP is one of the reasons why many people get penalized for what someone else on the server does; and get banned from the search engines. IPv4 addresses are becoming scarcer by the day and hosts have started withdrawing the FREE IP offers. So, it may be worth grabbing one such offer while you can! (and save ~$30 per year for a dedicated IP)
Do your own research and verify if the host is infamous about often recycling black-listed IP addresses. That may do more bad for you that good.
Hosts often use some sort of One Click Installer for easy installation of various website software including CMSes (e.g. WordPress, Drupal), bulletin boards (e.g. PHPBB, MyBB), eCommerce site (Open Cart, Magento etc.), Wikis and what not! Though these are designed/advertised to make life easier for the webmaster, you may want to install packages yourself, manually to achieve greater control on what you’re doing. Verdict: Do not let the loads of one-click installable softwares influence your hosting purchase decision.
Website Builders, Themes and Templates
An easy website builder may help you get online easy and quick; especially if you’re not much technically oriented. However, take proper care to read the ToS if you’re getting unlimited access to the web-builder or are allowed to build just a few pages before you have to pay.
Similarly, some hosts offer a selection of free or inexpensive templated for CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal. You can find much better options by just doing a web search all by yourself.
Bottom-line: Some of these freebies do stand out in the crowd and are nice to have. Go ahead and do that feature comparison now. You will find a winner!