Website hosting is one of the main foundations required for running a business or blog. Online businesses have demolished the demand for physical shops, and online business space is booming with growth. Websites have unlocked a whole new scene of money making potential, but web hosting can be complicated, pricey and in some cases, a mistake.

The average age of owning a business is rapidly coming down, and more and more people are using their own business to help support them during the financial struggles we all face in 2022. In rare cases, businesses can take off extremely quickly and provide financial freedom to those who have succeeded.

It’s stories like the one above that spread across social media platforms and inspire people of all ages to start an online business. But with so many financial worries impacting people across the world, not everyone has the money to start something, and that something could be what makes them rich!

The best way to get a business online for free?

Free Web Hosting, with free website building tools and an option to have a free domain.

Hence, Cybrancee Hosting was born.

I wanted to provide a way for anyone with an idea to get their website online with 0 cost associated to it. But there were some hurdles that needed to be tackled first to make Cybrancee work.

  1. How do I provide free web hosting without making a loss?
  2. Can domains really be free?
  3. How do I prove that my free web hosting is safe and not a scam?
  4. How do I protect my free web hosting service against the onslaught of scam and fraud?

These hurdles took some time to plan and find a resolution to, and some of these hurdles still cause me headaches, even 3 years on. But from this problem,

Hurdle 1: How do I provide web hosting without making a loss?

Like any business, turning a profit is a good thing, and making a loss is a bad thing, and I certainly didn’t want Cybrancee to collapse as soon as I started.

For this to work, I needed paid products. I wouldn’t want to litter my customers’ websites with adverts, or ruin the user experience of Cybrancee by piling Google Ads within their control panels.

The answer to this was simple. An upgrade route for going to premium hosting when the free plan was no longer suitable for a fast growing website. The offering of domains was also crucial. Most online businesses need a relevant domain, otherwise reaching the top of Google would be a lot trickier than it already is. By enabling the ability to purchase a domain from Cybrancee, customers can now maintain their website functions through one account.

Yes, offering paid products doesn’t mean you’ll make a profit, but having the options there was the enabler for it.

Hurdle 2: Can domains really be free?

In some cases, yes, domains can be free. You can either register free domains using Freenom (such as .tk, .ml etc). These options are great for new starters but are heavily impacted by negative connotations. As these domains are free, they are regularly used by malicious actors and have a poor history of scams.

Alternative options are to make use of special offers, where you can get a domain for free if you pay for web hosting (although this doesn’t work if you are needing free hosting). For Cybrancee, the decision was to provide a free subdomain with any hosting package. For example, you would have

Hurdle 3: How do I prove that my free web hosting was safe, and not a scam

This is by far one of the hardest challenges that I face. And even though Cybrancee is 3 years old, proving that free web hosting is safe is an ongoing task with no end in sight. The thing is, many companies have damaged the reputation of genuine free web hosting providers by over doing the upselling part. On the other end, there are many pop up online businesses that claim to provide free hosting, but instead either steal the personal information or trick the user into demanding payments. In some cases, the free web hosting service requires a download, and this download usually contains malware.

Some of the ways I have managed to help beat this is by getting the approval of influencers online. Asking YouTubers to review the free hosting service was our first plan, and we had some success with this. We featured in a video comparing Cybrancee against market leaders such as Siteground and Hostinger. This was a great achievement for us, and it gained us a large number of new users.

The second plan we initiated was to host giveaways on community platforms such as Discord. Discord gave us the ability to reach thousands of users quickly. We gave away promo codes that could be used on paid packages to make them free. For those that won the giveaway, we had a chance of keeping a paid client, and those that didn’t win, well they still made use of the free hosting package that we offered. It was a bit of a win win. It didn’t last long until communities started demanding up front payment before they can run any more giveaways for us.

Another way of showing that we are trustworthy is by not demanding too much information from the user. Does a free hosting client really need to add their payment methods? Do you really need their phone number? I removed unnecessary fields and only asked for what was important.

And finally, case studies / reviews. TrustPilot has been critical to us for capturing feedback from our clients. And so far, as of writing, we have only had 5* reviews come through, nothing less. Having these reviews at hand helps when trying to promote the service to someone directly. It works wonders on the website and on social media (each review is an opportunity for a marketing post).

Hurdle 4: How do I protect my free web hosting service against the onslaught of scam and fraud

The online world is quite frankly brutal. It’s quick to be a target of malicious activities, and opening up a free web hosting service is like putting jam outside an ants nest. Almost immediately after opening those doors, we were fighting different types of activities:

  • Phishing sites
  • Spam bots
  • Illegal content

To help prevent this, all new customers are automatically and manually screened for fraud, and then their sites are scanned daily for malware.

An interesting type of fraud that we see is malicious actors registering for a free account, and then applying a stolen credit card to purchase lots of paid hosting packages. Still unsure why you would use a stolen card to buy a digital service. Thankfully, Stripe enables a quick way to revert the payment back to the rightful owner.

The Outcome

Cybrancee is now a growing web hosting company, gaining plenty of new clients each month. Every day I see individuals start their online business with Cybrancee, and I can’t wait to see it grow above and beyond its potential.