The Myth of Free Web Hosting

Dec 3 09:32 2008 Mark Chidester Print This Article

You may have been told to avoid free web hosts, but are they really all that bad? We take a look at the differences between free and paid web hosting deals.

If you've been seeking a web host for any length of time,Guest Posting you have no doubt come across the concept of the "free" web hosting plan. If you've have also been reading articles, you will likely have been warned to not touch these free deals, not even with a six foot pole! But are they really as bad as experts claim?

Whether to snub free web hosting depends on the sort of website you're creating - a very general statement sure, so let's explore what it means.

Free sites can be fine for getting started, or if you don't expect your website to grow beyond a certain size. But free web hosts carry a number of restrictions and limitations that you should be aware of, so let's take a look at these, then we'll compare them with an equivalent paid service.

Features of a Free Web Hosting Service

Allocated Domain Name -a free host often forces you to use a domain they allocate you, usually a sub-domain of their primary domain. In the rare case where you do have a choice, you are usually restricted to one domain

Reduced Bandwith - While this is not a major problem until you get serious web traffic, if you are anticipating growth, be aware that your free web hosting plan will be quite limited and you will have to switch to a plan that can handle increased traffic load in future.

Disk storage space - This will usually not exceed a few 100 MB. While not a major problem for a small hobby site, this may not accommodate a larger site with a lot of graphics and other resources.

Limited Technology - Expect the services of a free website to be extremely limited. Multimedia enabled functions like flash are rarely supported and the web server software may not be upgraded to the most current versions.

No uptime guarantee - For almost all websites, downtime is undesirable. For a business website, a lengthy period of downtime is simply unacceptable. You should definitely consider a paid service if website downtime is a serious problem for you.

Banner Ads - a hosting company may rely on sponsorship in the way of banner ads to stay in business. If this is the case, you may be required you to display advertising banners on your web pages. If you intend to run a business site, flashing banners will really cramp your style, reduce your credibility and scare away potential customers. It is definitely not the sort of image you want.

There is certainly no reason not to choose a free web hosting package, if you are fully aware of the free hosting limitations and are prepared to live with them.

But how much better can paid services be? Let's see:

Features of a Professional Web Hosting Service

Plenty of Bandwidth and Disk Space - Most paid web hosts offer "unlimited" storage space. While there is really no such thing as "unlimited", a paid hosting service does offer a lot more resources than a free one, which makes it a great option for an expanding business.

No Banner Advertising - A paid web hosting company will not require you to display flashy banner ads on your website. The only restrictions in terms of website content are illegal content or anything prohibited in their terms and conditions. It goes without saying you should fully understand these before signing up.

Perks - Many professional companies will offer discounts and bonuses for your business and even reward you for paying early.

Uptime Guarantee - Large amounts of uptime is be guaranteed and sometimes failure to keep this amount of uptime will sometimes result in compensation from the hosting company.

Outstanding Customer Service - You should expect nothing but exceptional customer service and support from a good paid web hosting company (in reality it varies from company to company). Staff should be available to deal with issues 24/7 and contactable on the phone or via an online chat option as well as email.

Happy Customers - Plenty of happy customers who are willing to add their testimonials.

Technology - A much greater selection of technology options that is regularly maintained by excellent support staff, with plenty of software services, upgraded to the latest versions.

If you just want to get on the internet for personal reasons by all means, don't sneeze at the many free web hosting options available. It can be quick and convenient and some of these companies will serve you just fine. On the other hand if you're running a serious online business then a free hosting service will look cheap and is downright risky to your business and credibility online.


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About Article Author

Mark Chidester
Mark Chidester

To learn much more about the ins and outs of web hosting and design, visit WebHostingInformant.com, where you'll learn about the different types of Web Hosts, get help with Finding a Web Host and learn what it really takes to get on the internet.

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