Ta-da! Just finished creating your first website and (hopefully) are pleased with what you see in front you. But it is not time yet to pat you on your back. The most crucial decision – what kind of hosting to go for – lies still ahead. Should you choose paid web hosting or go with one of the free services? Here is a list comparing some features and their advantages and disadvantages.
Free web hosting
- It’s for free. You don’t need to pay for the domain name.
- You are not entirely free when choosing an URL; it will be something like freehost.com/username or username.freehost.com. As you can see, a free domain is closely linked to the provider. If you want to move your website to another provider in the future, you can lose some or all your traffic.
- Your provider is likely to include ads to your pages, especially if you get a lot of traffic – usually 1 or 2 banners, sometimes even popup windows. Should you wish to use banner exchange on your site, make sure to familiarise yourself their Terms and Conditions of the free hosting service. With some free hosts, this is a no-go.
- Free hosts usually allocate a lower bandwidth than their paid counterparts, and many of them do not include features such as PHP or MySQL.
- A lot of free hosts can change their Terms and Conditions with regards to advertising at a later stage to optimise their profitability. Don’t be surprised if your add-free host changes its strategy, and banners or popups suddenly appear on your site.
- It has been reported that some free hosting companies have cancelled their free service altogether and continued to host websites only if users paid. In this case, you have only two choices – pay or say goodbye to your site.
PAID WEB HOSTING
- You are in charge of your domain name (yes, the entire one) and the hosting features.
- You are free. If you decide to switch web hosting provider, you can easily transfer the domain to a new provider without losing your web traffic.
- You can get help if you’re stuck. Most commercial hosters offer support around the clock, be it via email, live chat or phone, sometimes through a toll-free number.
- You are likely to bet better uptime than with a free host. Often paid hosters offer an uptime guarantee.
- Paid hosts will give you enough disk space and bandwidth. Hosting features like PHP and MySQL are included in most packages offered by commercial hosting companies. Even if you are not familiar with the code, you can easily download free PHP scripts from the internet and use it.
- Unsurprisingly – Paid hosting costs money.
Before you decide whether to choose a free or a paid host, answer this question: How big are your website ambitions? Are you starting a small personal page consisting of a few *.html files, then hosting with a free provider should be sufficient. If you dislike adds or if you plan to run a top-notch business website that requires PHP and a database, go with a commercial host.
If you like the features of a commercial hoster but don’t want to dig too deep in your pocket, have a look at Hostko. This top host from Slovenia offers a wide range of hosting packages at a very affordable price – for the beginner and the professional web designer.