You’ve just completed your first website. Now it’s time to start researching hosting options and making a decision. Your first question will likely be whether to go free or pay for hosting. Let’s explore the pros and cons of these options.
Free web hosting:
- it’s free! You don’t have to pay for the domain name. Your site URL will be like: username.freehost.com or freehost.com/username. As I mentioned above, the advantage is that you don’t have to pay for the domain. However, keep in mind that if you decide to move your website to a different provider in the future, you could lose some or all of your traffic. (There are solutions to this problem, but that’s not what this article is about.)
- Your provider will likely include advertisements on your pages - typically 1 or 2 banner ads, sometimes pop-up ads. Be sure to read your provider’s Terms and Conditions carefully if you’re planning to use banner exchanges on your site. Some free hosting providers do not allow banner exchanges.
- Free hosts tend to have lower bandwidth limits than paid hosts, and many of them don’t offer PHP and MySQL futures.
- Most free hosts update their Terms and Conditions over a period of time. So, if your free host provides hosting with no ads now, you won’t be surprised when you see a banner or pop-up on your website in the future.
- Sometimes free hosts stop offering free hosting and offer paid hosting instead. In this case, you have two options: pay or lose your website.
Paid web hosting:
- You can set up your own domain. This way, if you ever want to switch web hosting providers, you can simply move your domain to the new one and not lose your traffic.
- Most paid hosts provide support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via email and live chat, and some even offer free phone support.
- You can expect better performance than on a free host. Some premium hosts provide an uptime guarantee.
- Most pay-as-you-go hosts provide enough disk space and bandwidth. PHP and MySQL are built-in. Even if you’re not a programmer, you can get a lot of PHP scripts for free on the web.
- Paid hosting cost money
Before deciding between free and paid host, you need to answer the following question: What are my big plans for my website? If you want to start a small personal site for your friends with just a couple of *.html files, then a free host will do. If you want to run a serious business website with PHP, database, and don’t want ads on your site, then I suggest you to look for a quality paid host.