The user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.
This way, you really never have “your own” domain. The name of your free website builder provider is going to be permanently put in the website’s URL. Surely, some personalization is still possible – as you get to choose the name of the project but that’s really where it ends. This little issue actually makes perfect sense. After all, it would cost additional money for your provider to register a full custom domain name just for you. So if you want your page to spell “yourwebsite.com”, a free builder won’t suffice.
If you register a domain with Bluehost when signing up for a hosting account, there is a domain fee that is non-refundable. This not only covers our costs, but ensures that you won't lose your domain name. Regardless of the status of your hosting service, you'll be free to manage it, transfer it after any required lock periods, or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you elect to extend it.
An SSL certificate ensures all information transmitted to and from your website is protected from third parties attempting to access it. It is important because browsers, like Google Chrome, mark pages without https and the green padlock in the address bar as not secure. This can have a negative effect on the trustworthiness of your website. Pages that are protected with SSL receive better search engine rankings, and are more likely to be trusted by visitors.
Many services offer a low "starting price," but require you to prepay for two or three years of service to get that price. After the promotional period, the renewal price for some services can be two, three, or even four times the initial promotional pricing. While the initial deal might be incredible, the cost of transferring your site (or paying the added fee) in a couple of years may be something to consider.