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Should You Use a Free Template from Your Web Hosting Company?

Published on 6/20/2011 by

Web hosting companies give out a wide variety of freebies to both increase sales and reward customers. Some hosts will pay to register your domain name and others will tack extra space or bandwidth on to your account. Recently, hosting companies have begun to give away web hosting templates. After you’ve purchased a domain name and a web hosting package, it makes sense to try and corners and save a few extra dollars by accepting a free template. Should you take advantage of this seemingly great deal? Let’s find out.

Is it really free?

Web hosting companies sometimes purchase full or partial rights to a website design or template from professional designers. Even though the template may be listed as free, it might come with limitations such as:

  • Advertising. If the hosting company owns full rights to the design they may place a footer ad in the template that links back to their website. If the hosting company only has partial rights, they may have made an agreement to display ads or footer advertising for the designer. In both cases, the template is not technically free since you have no choice in whether you want to display advertising or not.
  • Customization. Some hosting companies allow you to alter free hosting templates to your liking and others only permit you to replace the logo, but demand you keep everything else the same.

Can you take it with you?

With many hosting companies you’re allowed to use your free website templates as long as you remain with that host. Should you decide to switch hosting companies during your domain’s lifetime, you will not be able to take your website design with you. (This is not true with all companies. Read the fine print of the free template offer to discern ownership rights.)

What’s the selection like?

Free website templates are not hard to find. Whether you’re looking for a free Wordpress template, Joomla template or full website design, they’re out there everywhere. How big is the selection of free hosting templates you’re being offered? You’ll find that some hosts offer unique, premium templates to customers and others have simply downloaded free templates off the web. Always view the selection of templates being offered before making your decision.

Is the hosting plan more expensive?

A small number of hosts do offer free templates when you sign up for a new account, but it comes with a price: you’ll pay an increased fee for a hosting plan. If you’re looking to cut corners, this isn’t such a great deal.

Should you accept a free web hosting template? There’s really no right or wrong answer to the question, but it’s clear that you should know what you’re getting into. Deal only with quality web hosting companies and always read the fine print. Some things that appear free are far from it.