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Paid Versus Free Hosting

by Vanessa Brown

For those just starting out in the world of online marketing it's often a time where things need to be done as cheaply as possible. One of the areas where we try to cut expenses is through web hosting. With so many free web host providers available to us many often wonder why people would bother paying for web hosting.

There are no doubt pros and cons to both sides and as someone who has (and to a certain extent still does) used both free and paid hosting I thought I'd share some of what I have learnt in the hopes that it will help others out there make their decision.

Naturally the biggest advantage of free hosting is that the money you save can be used toward another part of your online business. And with the large amount of free providers available you are bound to find one the suits your needs, whether it's the amount of bandwidth you need, the add-ons they may have: the ability to add forums or blogs, or the amount of sub domains you can have.

Though with all the pros of using a free host come several rather large cons. First and foremost to me is the lack of total control you have. Having recently experienced a major problem with one of the free hosts I used I quickly came to realise that if anything goes wrong you can be very limited in your options to fixing those problems. Another downfall may arise when your site starts building a lot of traffic - which will be what you're aiming for - you and your visitors may lose access to your site for a certain period if you exceed the limit available to you. Then of course you may also find yourself limited in what type of advertising you can do: while not all free providers have advertising many may place certain ads, banners or even pop-ups on your site as a way of paying for the service they are supplying. This may not be a problem for personal web-pages but if it's a business site you may quickly lose any credibility as it often lacks professionalism.

If you decide you want to start out with a free host make sure you read and understand all that is involved and any requirements/limits they may have before signing up. There is nothing worse than setting up a great page and building traffic to it only to find that in the long run you need to change providers.

When it comes to paid hosting the biggest con naturally is the expense, for many just starting out they can't justify the expense as they are yet to see any return. As someone who has been in this position I well understand that reasoning, yet will honestly admit that once I took the plunge and decided to pay for my hosting it was the best decision I ever made.

With the competition being what it is, a little time spent researching will quickly reveal that you can get good hosting at incredibly reasonable prices. Paying for your hosting not only gives you total control over all aspects of your website, with a good provider you'll not only find a lot of additional extras, things like cron jobs, unlimited mysql databases plus things like fantastico (one click installation of blogs and forums etc) and email management systems you will also discover that you can get often get unlimited domains and aren't restricted by bandwidth limits etc.

If you're just starting out with your online business I would urge you to at least look at finding a paid hosting provider so you can start off on the right foot straight away, but if you decide you can't justify the expense, perhaps plan on a small site on a free host so you don't have too much difficulty when you decide to upgrade to paid hosting.

About the Author

For other advice on building your home business please visit Working From Home

V Brown is a member of the Million Dollar Blue Print A program that guides you step by step in building your own income earning websites and blogs.

Monday, Mar 19th, 2007