Thursday, 20 October 2011

Cheap Web Hosting Vs. Free Hosting

Low cost web hosting services are many. Free hosting packages are even more, and look lucrative. After all you need to have your web site up and running on the internet with no financial burden. All you need is create your site, sit back and let your hosting provider set it up for you. There's no denying that this type of service can work for many people but will it work for you ongoing? Let's walk you through the merits and demerits and see whether you might be better off choosing a low cost web hosting package instead.
So, what is the main advantage of free hosting? Well, it's free for one thing! When you registered with your ISP (Internet Service Provider) you'll probably have been offered free web space.
You can also find a lot of web hosting companies that will offer free space. So, opt for this choice and you create your site (many ISPs will help you do this too via their software), upload it and they give it a home on the web. Sounds too good to be true? Well, for many people it is - and they move very quickly to a low cost web hosting package instead.
A free hosting package isn't a bad option for some people. It's an OK solution for personal web sites, can be used to test out your site and the response it gets and works for some small business owners. However, before you opt for free hosting, you should take a look at whether a low cost web hosting package might suit your needs better.
The problem with free hosting is that it has limits. You may well say that low cost web hosting has limits too - but they're generally not as restricting. The first issue you'll come across is space. Your free hosting provider will only offer small space for your site. You'll be limited on the number of pages you can have and the design, images and technical packages you can use. You also have none of the uptime guarantees and support services that you'll get if you pay for a hosting service. After all, you're getting this for free, so your provider doesn't have to make any commitment to sort out problems quickly. Find yourself with slow loading times because there are too many sites on their server and too much traffic? They don't have to do ANYTHING about it.
Low cost web hosting packages also have another big advantage over free ones - advertisements. Opt to put your site on a free service and you'll have to have any banners, adverts, pop-ups and pop-unders that they want appearing on your site. This is how the hosting provider makes the money that you aren't paying them for the service! There isn't a bigger advertisement out there to your site visitors that you're on a free package. Well, there is one bigger one...your URL. Instead of a nice and neat http://www.anything.com you'll have to have a URL that drills down from that of your hosting provider. Maybe you don't mind turning your neat web address into [http://www.domain.com/pages/anything] - but it might make a difference later if you choose to move to a paid service. You won't be able to take it with you and will have to start off all over again.
And, there is some evidence that search engines now treat websites with free hosting as low priority in the search stakes. So, your site may not be indexed on a search, which will make it invisible to the browser. This isn't a problem you'll have with low cost web hosting. The fact is that it doesn't have to cost a lot to put your site on a reputable and cost-effective paid hosting service. You really just need to weigh up the benefits of having your site hosted free or for a few dollars a month. If you are running a business web site, want more than a basic service or anticipate any kind of regular traffic, it will be better to pay. After all, if your web site looks better and works better with a low cost web hosting provider then you'll get more out of it in the long-run.

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