Although it is certainly cheaper than starting up a brick and mortar store, there are still several costs involved with running a successful website or blog. Two things that you will definitely need before you get started are domain registration and web hosting. The problem (or the blessing, depending on your perspective) is that there are so many different hosts with so many different plans out there. How are you supposed to choose?
Free Rider Web Hosting ordered up this review to promote their web hosting packages, hoping that they can provide the best value for an up-and-coming blogger. They’ve also got dedicated servers for any John Chows in the audience.
No Such Thing as a Free Ride
Despite what their name may lead you to believe, Free Rider Web Hosting is not about to give you a free ride on their servers. Instead, they appear to be a pretty conventional web host with pricing that’s in line with most of the competition. On the downside, I found that the aesthetics of their site weren’t so pleasing.
Am I the only one who thinks this looks a little amateur-ish? The least they could have done is create some sort of custom header image (maybe exploiting the concept of a free rider), but instead all they created with some simple text. That’s not to say that the site is hard to navigate, but I automatically feel that Free Rider is on the cheaper and/or sketchier side of things. Getting a professional design can go a long way in improving a company’s legitimacy.
GoDaddy, Is That You?
Speaking of legitimacy, you’ll find that when you navigate anywhere other than the homepage, you will be directed toward a domain other than that of Free Rider Web Hosting (frwh.net). For example, hitting up the Domain Names section sends you to securepaynet.net. As far as I can tell, Free Rider is a reseller and does not have any hosting of their own.
No, that’s not a screenshot from GoDaddy. That’s actually how the domain name search page looks on Free Rider. I don’t have an account with GoDaddy, so I wasn’t able to see if my username and password would work. At least you have access too all sorts of TLDs, ranging from the usual dot com and dot net, right up to more obscure offerings like dot jobs and dot name.
Web Hosting Options
Naturally, the key product in Free Rider’s lineup is their web hosting. Because this review is supposed to be catered to bloggers and non-mogul webmasters, they wanted us to pay particular attention to the shared hosting options.
As you can see, perhaps the best thing about Free Rider is that you don’t have to commit yourself long term to their hosting. If you look at their Deluxe or Premium plan, you can sign on for just a month. Even with the Economy plan, the minimum commitment is just two months. That said, you’re certainly motivated to stay with them longer, because it can result in a savings of up to 35%.
The pricing is more or less in line with other web hosts. The Economy plan, for example, comes with 5GB of space, 250GB of bandwidth, 500 email accounts, and 10 MySQL databases. The biggest downside, for me at least, is that these plans do not appear to allow for multiple domains on a single account. If you run more than one site/blog, Free Rider might not be for you.
Alternatively, you can look into Virtual Dedicated Servers (starting at $45 a month) and Dedicated Servers (starting at $90 a month). And yes, the entire interface for web hosting also bears a striking resemblance to GoDaddy.
Not the Cheapest, Not the Priciest
Although Free Rider Web Hosting says that they provide affordable, full service web hosting and server packages, they certainly aren’t the cheapest game in town. On the plus side, they guarantee a 99.9% uptime and they toss in free bonuses like a $20 Google AdWords credit and daily backups. On the downside, it seems that you’re limited to one domain per shared hosting plan and I feel a little uneasy about their legitimacy. Even so, how bad can it be if the minimum commitment is one month?