If you have done any research into choosing a web hosting company you should know by now that there are literally hundreds of companies to choose from. As you narrow down your choices one of the first things to decide on is whether to go for paid or free hosting. There are pros and cons to each of these so let’s look at the differences.
With paid hosting you should be able to use a unique domain name which is desirable if you plan to build a brand around your business. Some paid hosting plans even give you a free domain name of your choice. With free hosting, it is likely that you will only be able to choose a sub-domain so instead of having a domain name like mycompany.com it will be like this: hosting.com/mycompany.
Unless you plan to have lots of multimedia on your site, bandwidth won’t really be a concern and a free hosting account will give you enough storage to host your website files. If on the other hand, your site will have videos and audios then you are going to need a decent amount of space to store them all, which will only be available via a paid hosting plan.
Bandwidth plays a significant role in how quickly your website loads so if you are planning a large site, with lots of pages, graphics and media, then you will need the additional bandwidth which a paid hosting service offers. For simple one or two-page sites, they will load quickly enough on free accounts as they do not need much bandwidth anyway.
A paid hosting service is likely to offer a guarantee that your website will be live a minimum amount of time. This is measured by a percentage and generally, the figure quoted is between 99.8% and 99.9%. A free service might have a guarantee but it will not be a robust as a paid account.
A free hosting service means you do not have to pay anything, and if you are on a very tight budget this can be a useful way to get your website up and running quicker, rather than waiting until you have the funds. Free hosting accounts are also useful if you want to test several website designs or sales page copy without having to pay to host them all.
You won’t be surprised to learn that with free hosting the technical support on offer is not going to be comprehensive. Most queries will be dealt with via email and can take a couple of days to resolve. With paid hosting, you will often find a live chat service where you can get help instantly, and have a technical query resolved within minutes.
Of all the factors that differentiate paid and free hosting, this is the most important, especially if your website is at the heart of your business or you rely on it for revenue. Every minute your site is down, is a minute it is not working for you. Free hosting has its uses, but if you plan to build a solid brand, and a professional business, paid hosting should be your choice.