You have decided you need a website for your company, and you find out you need to choose a hosting company. Now you want to know, what is a hosting company and what do they do? While searching for hosting companies, you find two options; free and paid. Which one will work best for your website? Let’s break the decision now to make it a little easier to decide.
Web hosting is a server that houses your website and makes it possible for you to put your site on the internet and get it out to all of your viewers. Hosting provides you with a database to connect your website and store your site’s information. From this database your website is distributed across the hosting site's servers, so your readers can find it. Simply put, web hosting allows your website to go live on the internet instead of being an adornment for your computer. Now that you understand the concept a bit, you have the choice of free or paid web hosting. Many of the pros and cons of each are below to make your decision easier.
There are some great pros for free web hosting, other than the obvious fact that they are free. Most free host sites give you an adequate amount of storage space and bandwidth and email account access. Many that include website building features like WordPress offer you the choice of buying a domain name through them or transferring your current domain name to their servers. Free hosting sites also include security measures to keep your website safer from hackers and spammers. Another great benefit of a free hosting service is saving money when you are starting your company. If you should find that the free hosting no longer works for your growing business, it is simple to upgrade to a paid hosting plan with very little change to what you already have.
While most free hosting companies provide useful features and add ons, there is a limit to what you can do. Your theme options and plugin availability will be limited. They also have limitations on the amount of information you can store. Another disadvantage of free web hosting is that many of them include ads that appear on your website, often have slower speeds than their paid counterpart, and may rank lower on search engine logs. Slower speeds and limited visibility affects both your customer experience and rating levels. Also, you may not be able to add eCommerce plugins without upgrading to a paid plan. Another drawback to free web hosting is the possibility of losing your connection. Because you do not own the space that you are using for your site, your host can remove or block it if they so choose. This does not often happen, but it is important to know that it can. One last thing to consider is that most free hosting sites do not offer an option of customizable coding.
Moving on to paid hosting sites; many of the best paid hosting companies are not extremely expensive. Most have plans that start at a few dollars and go up from there depending on the services and add ons you want or need. Paid hosting also offers many more theme options, better plugin availability, and higher storage and bandwidth limits. You may also have unlimited access to email accounts or at last more than with the free version. Paid sites also frequently have higher speeds and a better ranking with search engine visibility. Though free and paid both have secure hosting the paid version is more advanced and often comes with more significant guarantees. Paid hosting also has no intrusive ads, unless you add them to make a bit of profit of your viewers’ clicks. Paid hosting gives you more control of things like coding, content, design, and eCommerce.
Besides the cost variable (which depending on your plan can be quite high at times), some cons of paid hosting are the need for adequate knowledge of the process or a web designer on your payroll, and you may have to purchase your domain name separate from your pan cost, but not always.
Deciding whether paid or free web hosting is right for your website will be an individualized decision if you are starting your site and have limited needs as far as theme and functionality a free web host will work great. If on the other hand you need extensive coding or want to come out of the gates selling your product, a paid hosting company would be best. Take a look at your website from the homepage to the comments and decide what works best for you. If you are unsure, you could always start free and change to paid hosting if the need arises.