The web is full of free web hosting options. So why should you go with a service that is going to cost you a monthly fee when you could go for the free alternative? While there surely are a few good free web hosts out there, by and large it's a situation of you get what you pay for. And since you don't pay for anything, your experience is likely to be horrible.
Sure, there are hundreds, if not thousands of free web hosting sites. But you won't have heard of any one of them. Free web hosts, it turns out, don't last long. They pop up and then disappear rapidly, taking whatever data was uploaded with them. This means that there isn't any level of reliability from free web hosts.
Uptime is the measure of how much time a site spends running and serving pages to viewers and how much it spends down, doing nothing. Even free web hosting sites that manage to stick around lack decent uptime. Their services crash on a regular basis, making it quite difficult for anyone interested in your content to actually view what you've made, especially once you start to see an increase in traffic.
People don't like it when their expectations go unmet. So being faced with a website that won't load is a bit like running into a brick wall: quite unpleasant, and you can be sure they will steer clear next time.
Because free web hosting sites are operating on a constrained budget, each site gets a tiny slice of an already constrained pie. With a free host, getting less than a Gigabyte of storage space is standard, and monthly transfers are usually limited to less than a Gigabyte of data. This means that if your site ever gets any real traffic, your site will stall. Traffic builds up fast, and you'll never know when your site is about to use up your monthly allotment of transfer.
Shady Business Practices
But the biggest reason to steer clear of free web hosting? Most tend to have shady business practices.
Where does the money come to run the free web hosting company come from? The only two real revenue sources are a freemium model and ads. A freemium model goes for the upsell, trying to convince people to pay money for the hosting. Usually this means that the free service is nearly useless so you have to pay eventually.
But ads are even more troublesome. Often free hosts support themselves by having popup ads or banners that get forcibly inserted into your site. Advertising on your site that you do not benefit from is ridiculous and unprofessional. Popups are particularly annoying, if for no other reason than that we remember the early 2000's when popups were the bane of the internet.
Free web hosting companies could also be using your site to collect personal information from your users, without your knowledge.
If you are going to run a site, there are cheap web hosting services out there. You are going to have to pay for something, one way or another. If you go with a free host, you still need a domain name to point to it, and those cost money. Often pay hosting plans include a domain name.