I'm thinking of starting a free webhost package to bring in costumers.
What are your experiences with the offering of free hosting? do they attract paying costumers? what kind of limits would be resonable to put on the package?
now this is just me, and im sure others would disagree, but if someone is looking for free hosting then that means they dont want to pay for it...a few might upgrade but it would probably be more trouble than its worth IMHO. I would look more toward offering a [small] Budget plan (not $2 unlimited everything)
this way, you will be reaching to a customer base which has lower needs. And with a high percentage, the people they recommend you will be from the same audience.
you might make a free web hosting business out of that, but turning to a standard, paid hosting will not be easy.
there was a company once that offered free web hosting without any banners, any popups etc and so on, and with high space/bw. back in 2001 i guess, it was dreamwater or such named. after a year or so they turned to paid hosting. im not sure they have been successfull or not.
Originally posted by LP-Trel If you're going to do this the way to make sure customers might upgrade later are:
1) Treat the free accounts just like paid. Confirm credit card information, address, phone numbers, and whatnot else. Make them pass all fraud verification.
2) Limit the size of the account to something like 50MB/1GB with 1 database and 1 email address.
3) Support them like you would any other client.
This will give you the kind of clients you are looking for. Anyone that isn't willing to confirm credit card information and whatnot else isn't likely to upgrade IMHO.
I agree with Zach. I am not the greatest fan of offering FREE hosting though.
Better you try some specials in the beginning like $3 for first 3 months and then they can upgrade. This way you will get to know if they can pay using the available payment methods or not.
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My problem with free accounts is they bug and bug for them, ask for upgrades, which are given as it's unused space on the old server...they just have to link us/banner ad. They install something from fantastico and leave. They've tried soo hard to get free hosting, just not to use it.
Though saying this I have some very happy free hosting account
I'd not go into it, but if people ask for it maybe give them it + they link you (word of mouth advertisments)