If you’re thinking about starting a website, you’ll need to decide what type of hosting service you need. There are many different options to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantages. To narrow it down for the purposes of this article, however, the two main categories are free hosting and paid hosting. As the name implies, free hosting doesn’t charge you, the customer, for their services. Paid hosting, on the other hand, require you to pay a set amount each month.
At first glance you might be thinking that free hosting is the obvious choice, however, that is not necessary the case. As you might expect, there is a catch. After all, webhosting can’t be given away by a company if they want to stay in business.
Problems with Free Hosting Companies
There are many different types of hosting companies that offer their services free of charge. Rather than charging their customers directly, they make money through advertising or other methods. This type of hosting is sufficient for certain projects, but it also comes with a variety of different problems, including the following:
- Disruptive Advertising – Almost all free hosting companies make money by displaying advertisements on your site. Since they are not concerned with the actual users visiting your page, they often use disruptive ads that make the user experience almost unbearable. So, for example, if you use a free host, visitors to your website may see nothing but advertisements when your site loads, and your content will only be displayed if the visitors scroll down.
- Limited Advertising Options – Another concern is that since the hosting company is displaying ads on your site, they typically don’t allow you to run your own ads. If you’re hoping to make money off of your page, you will be severely limited in your monetization options if you choose to go with a free hosting company.
- Increased Downtime – Companies that don’t charge for web hosting often have to do all they can to keep their costs down, which typically translates into increased down time. Since their customers are not paying for the service, they have virtually no leverage when attempting to get better service.
- Slow Site Speeds – Similar to the increased down time, sites that are hosted on free hosting accounts typically respond far slower than with paid options.
- Long Domain Names – Most free webhosting services don’t allow you to use your own domain name. Instead, you’ll get something like YourSite.FreeWebHosting.com. This type of domain is extremely difficult to remember, and does not sound professional at all.
- Limited Storage & Bandwidth – In order to ensure they can make a profit through advertising, free hosting companies put a variety of limitations on each account. This typically comes in the form of restrictions on the amount of disk space you can use, and how much bandwidth per month you are allocated.
- File Type Limitations – Another way these hosting companies limit the resources that are being used is by blocking certain file types that take up a lot of system resources. Things like videos and flash files are often not permitted.
It is important to keep in mind that free hosting companies don’t typically have all of these shortcomings. They may even actively advertise the fact that, for example, they offer unlimited bandwidth (or any other feature) to their customers. When you look into it further, however, you’ll find that they never account for all of the above mentioned issues.
Benefits of Paid Hosting
Paid web hosting services typically don’t have any of the restrictions or problems associated with them. In addition to simply overcoming the short falls of free web hosting, however, a good hosting company, like InterServer, provides customers with a variety of additional benefits:
- Exceptional Customer Support – When people are paying for a service, they demand the best customer support possible. Paid web hosting company’s offer 24/7 technical support to respond to any site problems immediately.
- Advanced Monitoring – In order to make sure all their paying customers are happy, web hosting companies use advanced software to monitor the status of all their hardware and websites. This allows them to identify problems and fix them, often before there is any impact to the accessibility of the sites.
- Upgradeability – You can start out on a very inexpensive web hosting plan, and if the site gets too popular, you can upgrade to a faster, more powerful solution to ensure your site is always ready to meet the needs of your visitors.
- Professional Appearance – There are never any ads or other intrusive things added to your website when you use a paid host. The only thing your customers will see is what you put up on your website, which helps to ensure you have a professional appearance.
- Latest Hardware & Software – Paid hosting companies have to keep their hardware and software up to date with the latest advancements or their customers will move to another company.
- Advanced Security – Paid hosting companies are also committed to keeping all the sites on their system safe from hackers, DDOS attacks and other security problems. With this in mind, paid web hosting packages typically include a variety of advanced security features built right in.
Still Very Affordable
There is really no debate that paid hosting is far superior to free hosting, but is it really worth the money? The fact is, even paid hosting packages are extremely affordable. The vast majority of sites, especially when they are new, can operate flawlessly on a hosting plan that costs just a few dollars per month. For example, here at InterServer, you can get industry leading hosting for just $4.95 per month with no long term contract. If you choose to pay up front for a longer period of time, that price drops down as low as $3.96 per month.
With prices this low, there is really no reason to put up with all the problems associated with free hosting, or to turn down the many great benefits you’ll get from a paid host. So, when you’re ready to get your website up and running, be sure you go with paid hosting. You’ll be glad you did.