The pros and cons of free web hosting for your business

For a business to be found online, it needs to have a website. That website needs web server hosting; just like an offline business needs a physical location to be able to sell products. There are certain reasons why paying for hosting is recommended. Although it might seem feasible to choose free services to save money, the perks of paid hosting are vast.

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An overview of free web hosting

Since web pages are hosted on servers, it can be expensive and challenging to maintain them. This is one of the main reasons individuals and business owners choose paid web hosting services to handle their website. There are many providers out there offering different hosting packages. The price usually depends on the features included in each package.

Every company’s goal is to make money, meaning that those that offer free services – such as web hosting – must find a way to get back the money spent by the servers. One attempt is to try and sell domain names, premium hosting, and additional services to users that opted for free hosting.

In other circumstances, hosting providers may only offer free services for a limited period of time. At first, customers may think they save money; but in the long-term, they might end up paying more after the free trial period has ended.

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The perks of paid web hosting

One of the core differences between free and paid hosting is the domain address. If you decide to go with the free perks, your domain address will also include the hosting’s company name in the URL (e.g. yourwebsitename.wordpress.com). Most customers don’t take websites hosted on free servers seriously; in the long term, this affects your reputation online, as well as ranking.

Paid web hosting, on the other hand, allow you to have a personalized domain name that doesn’t include the web hosting company’s name embedded in the URL. A disadvantage of free web hosting is less uptime. Paid services provide speed and quick website loading, which conveys a sense of professionalism when someone accesses your website.

Better search engine rankings with paid hosting

In today’s digital age, every online business craves high search engine ranking. Whereas there are benefits to free hosting, the mere fact that irrelevant ads are displayed on your website may hinder ranking. A lot of people blame free hosting services for being spammy, and some users won’t even click on these websites due to their unprofessional appeal.

Building your website with an experienced web hosting company, the end result will be more satisfying from a financial and online presence point of view. You will have the freedom to select from a wealth of packages, based on the storage space and bandwidth your online business needs.

With free web hosting, your options are limited. At some point, you will run out of space and may be compelled to upgrade a lot more, than if you had chosen paid web hosting in the first place.

24/7 support & assistance

In case you didn’t know, most hosting platforms that offer free services don’t include immediate support when something unexpected happens; such as a technical glitch. If you have a complex type of website that relies upon Perl scripts, MySQL or PHP databases, this might be a challenge. By going for paid hosting services, your online business benefits from 24/7 support and assistance, via different channels like chat, email, or phone.

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Data safety concerns

The web hosting service you decide upon – whether it’s free or paid – should be able to backup all your data. Don’t assume that this is a standard feature, and that all companies are obliged to do it. Before signing up with a provider, check their terms and conditions; as well as FAQs page.

Another thing to keep in mind when hunting for a hosting service is scalability. It is important to settle on a provider that is scalable, and can adapt as your online business grows. At some you might have to upgrade, meaning your hosting company should be able to cope with your demands.

Use cPanel shared hosting that doesn’t charge you for further changes; or at the very least, clearly explain that extra fees are involved if you need to upgrade.

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