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''Free'' Is Not Free

by John V. W. Howe

"FREE" -- You see it everywhere on the Net. When you dig deeper, you always find that whatever the offer, it is not really free. It will usually cost you your name and email address on a sign up form for a newsletter or some such offer. At the very least, it takes your time to even check it out.

A classic use of "free" on the Net is in web hosting. There are many sites that advertise free web hosting. Now who can turn down a bargain like that? Being a frugal person of Scots heritage, I for one considered it until I really dug down past the top layer.

Historically, many of these hosts have started up and disappeared quickly. Poof, there goes the hard work you invested in setting up your website. Now you have to find another host and go through the process again.

Another group of the free web hosts began as free hosts, and then started charging for services with the hope that the users would pay rather than go through the hassle of moving their website.

Still others require the right to put some form of advertising on your web pages. This does not project a professional image to your viewers.

This is still not the major hidden cost of a free web host.

The real hidden cost of a free web host (or a budget web host) is the lack of services that the host provides.

Put yourself in the position of the CEO of the free web host. How much can you pay for support personnel if you are not charging the user for your services? How solid a hardware system can you afford to host the websites? How much can you invest to guarantee no downtime on the servers?

If the web host does not provide the services as part of your hosting agreement, then you have to provide the services yourself. This causes you to pay for the services or work long, hard hours to compensate for the free web host. Your time is worth money. You should be realistic in your accounting for your time as part of the costs of your business.

If you are not familiar with SEO (if you do not know what SEO means, then you definitely need support); if you do not know how to program in HTML; if you do not know about Google site maps; if you do not know what the new XML sitemaps file at Yahoo looks like; if you do not know about blogging; (the list goes on and on); then you should not be on a free web host.

Unfortunately, if you remain on the free host, odds are you will find that you are included in the over ninety percent of individuals who start out to make a living on the Internet and fail.

The ideal web host should provide you with a multitude of services that all but guarantee that you will be successful. Do you think that a free web host will do that?

The old adage, "You get what you pay for" applies on the Net just like anywhere else.

If you have a small website that is a personal toy or you need a one page site for a landing page, then perhaps a free web host is your answer.

When your website is a serious site that you intend for your income for years to come, be realistic, bite the bullet, and pay for the services that will give you every chance for success.

The decision on which web host to use is the most important decision that you will make as you launch your Internet business. It will spell the difference between success and failure.

Make this decision wisely.

For a review of the best web hosts go to http://tinyurl.com/3ahjkj

Copyright 2007 John Howe, Inc.

John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years. He supports Baby Boomers who are looking for online retirement jobs.

Visit his web host review site at http://www.boomer-ezine.com/Only_the_Best/Web_Site_Hosts.htm

Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2007