Free vs Paid Web Hosting – What is better to choose?
Earlier we have given you an idea on what it takes to start a website. So let looks now at one of the essential points – web hosting. Most likely, you have a website already or you are planning to in a very short time. When you make a decision, it is important to consider all pros and cons of web hosting possibilities you have. Let’s take a closer look and compare free vs paid web hosting.
So, what’s in it for you? Let’s start with free web hosting.
Free web hosting
A free hosting service will fit your needs if you are just starting out with websites in general. You can learn a lot on how it is working, basics of web development. Free web hosting is good for beginners and simple personal home pages (or your university project).
The biggest (and the only advantage) of a free webhosting is that you don’t have to pay for it. So you can start playing with you website with zero upfront costs. Since you haven’t signed a contract with a hosting party, you don’t have any commitment to use the services of this web host. If you don’t like it – just stop using it. I have had it a couple of times.
Generally speaking, a condition of providing you with a free web space is placing banner ads on this site at the top or bottom part of it. Even if somebody clicks on that advertising, money will go to the web host’s and not your pocket. The nature, size and content of the banner ads is also controlled by a hosting provider.
Other limitation you will experience with a free web hosting provider is a limited disk space. Usually you will have about 250-300MB of disk space only. It might be OK to start a simple website, but if you are planning to develop it further, very soon you will experience a shortage of space. This website alone (without content) has been 30 MB. Apart from limiting you data storage, some webhosts will limit the number of files you can have uploaded or even their max. size.
In case you have been wondering, here are some free webhosting companies:
FreeWebHostingArea.com – a quite promising free web host, supporting PHP, MySQL, CGI and FTP access to your files. Another good point for this web hosting is a 24/7 support for free domains.
000WebHost – this one is pretty OK if you want to know how a proper web hosting will look like. It offers a very popular cPanel with a lot of features enabled there. PHP, MySQL, CGI, one click install for Joomla, WordPress, Magento, domain manager built-in file manager. However, you will not be able to run a full CMS there (I have tried with Joomla but my account has been blocked, consuming too much of their resources).
Zymic – good for beginners. They offer their own Zymic Hosting Control Panel for complete domain management. You will need to seek for some specific options there for quite some time but in general it does the job of free web hosting.
On the other hand, paid hosting give a lot of advantages.
Since you are becoming a paying customer, you are expecting to get reliable and high-quality technical support and web hosting provider’s responsibility for the performance and fault tolerance of your website.
Other advantage is that you are fully exempt you from imposing unnecessary ads, which is inevitable when you select a free hosting. You become the master of your web and decide that they will find it by your users.
If you set out to place on the Internet any serious project, a corporate resource or you just plan to develop your project in the future, it is advisable to use the services of a paid hosting. As a rule, all companies offering free web hosting are well known, so I would think twice before using them. It can be risky, because if you are registered your website with a free hosting plan, means that you do not have money, and your company is not reliable, consequently most of the potential users clients lost. So if you want to have any more or less bright prospects and development should pay attention to paid hosting. Personally me, if I see a website is hosted with a free hosting, I am leaving immediately, without even reading the content of the website.
Paid hosting has only one drawback – you have to pay for it. But here, as in any other business, a rule: if you plan to make profit, then it should invest. The income from the site can be both direct, like placing ads or creating an online store, and indirect.
To list a few paid hosting:
JustHost – Our website is hosted by JustHost. When choosing hosting, we have gone through many and many hosting companies, located all over the world. It offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited MySQL databases, free domain (if you are paying for hosting of at least 1 year) and sleek cPanel 11 Pro. It goes without saying it is supporting of PHP, CGI scripts, Perl and Simple Scripts installer, which will let you install WordPress or Joomla just with one click. Moreover, there are some goodies like $100 Google AdWords and $25 Bing Advertising credit (side note – it is available only for US and Canada residents!). Their support is very good and responsive, available 24/7/365 through live chat (my favorite one), email and telephone. And the price is one of the cheapest ones on the market – less than $4.00! My experience is very good with JustHost – I have had some other websites hosted there and it didn’t fail me once. Don’t take it as a big promotion; I just would like to share my experience with you.
HostGator – This web hosting provider is one of the biggest. While JustHost offers only shared and reseller web hosting, with HostGator you can choose from shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, reseller and dedicated hosting. As we know, one size doesn’t fit all. So here you have more options to choose from. With the cheapest option of shared web hosting, starting from $4.95, you have a possibility to choose from 3 plans – Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan and Business Plan. Check for yourself which one you would prefer.
BlueHost – While the set of features this web hosting company offers is very similar to previous two, it tries to achieve a competitive edge in its customer support. They claim to have only 30 seconds waiting time. Having gone through various forums and websites, this claim turned to be true. Its control panel features are good for a non technical persons. Price charged for hosting is $4.95 but it includes free domain name. Personally, I enjoy this extra benefit. You can check the website of BlueHost here.
Conclusion: Free vs Paid Web Hosting
To sum up, paid hosting is better in all aspects if compared to free hosting. If you take your project seriously, go with paid hosting. In case, you don’t feel strongly about the website you would like to run, then go with free hosting for a start but be prepared to the limitations, listed above. I hope you have got the idea on what are the differences between free and paid web hosting.
What hosting provider do you have? Let us know in the comments below!