Paid or Free Web Hosting – Which is the Right Option for You?
They say that nothing in life is free, but when it comes to web hosting, that’s not exactly true.
Hit the search engines and look for free web hosting, and you’ll soon be inundated with companies offering to host a website for you without charging you a penny.
Simply sign up, start uploading files, and in just a few minutes, you’ll have your very own free website live on the Internet.
So with that being an option, you may be wondering why on earth anybody would bother paying money to launch their website, even if its only the few pounds per year charged by some of the best hosting providers on the web.
The answer – so it seems at first anyway – is pretty simple: The more you pay for your hosting account, the more features, tools, and resource allocations you have available to power your website and ensure it does everything your visitors need it to do, whenever they need it to it.
If you’re in the process of debating your hosting options for a new site then, it isn’t merely a case of one being better than the other. More appropriately, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons of both, looking at what you need from your account, and how much of that you’re likely to get from a free or paid hosting plan.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we? If you’re planning to launch your own online store, or any kind of website that accepts payments, you’ll be lucky -and we mean really lucky- to find a free hosting company that provide everything you need to do that.
eCommerce websites differ from your usual text-and-images sites in that they need certain features to enable them to process orders and accept payments safely and securely. We’re talking about things like SSL certificates, dedicated IP addresses and enough resources to cope with the demands on a server that come with these kind of sites.
Unfortunately, to get all that, you’re going to be looking at paying for some of the more top end hosting plans on the market.
Hobby sites vs. Business sites
On the contrary, a free hosting plan may be ideal if all you’re doing is creating a simple hobby site, or perhaps an online base for a community that lacks the kind of budget required for a paid for option.
Most companies that let you host a website for free aren’t really doing it to be generous. Rather,they make their money back by pasting an ad or two -usually for their own services- on your website.
If the aim of your website is to promote your business or otherwise generate an income, it hardly looks too professional to have ads cluttering up that design you spent a long time working on. Most visitors will be able to tell fairly quickly that you’re using a free hosting account, and let’s be honest, that doesn’t really send out the right message about your business: If you can’t even invest a small amount in web hosting, how much are you going to invest in making sure your products or services are top quality?
On the other hand, if your only aim is to have some fun, share your thoughts on a subject you’re passionate about, or keep members of your community or interest group updated on the latest goings on, nobody’s really going to mind too much about the occasional ad. In that instance, you might well do to save yourself a bit of cash and opt for a free plan.