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Free Web Hosting vs Paid Web Hosting – The Final Debate

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New entrepreneurs are always looking to save a buck in the startup costs and free web hosting sounds appealing to them.

Here are some aspects to take into consideration when using free web hosting:

But is it Free?

How is a free web hosting making any money? Advertising is the short answer to that. Free web hosting companies are going to insert advertising into your page. You don’t get control over the advertising. Do you want that?

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You’re not going to encounter this sort of problem with the paid web hosting.

Professional appearance for your Business

If you have a website or a blog, this isn’t exactly the professional appearance that you aim for.

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Paying the extra buck for a domain name and professional hosting is going to give you the professional look that you want for your website.

You outgrow the Free Web hosting

It’s only a matter of time until your website is going to outgrow the features that the free web hosting offers.

When you go with a professional hosting, you’re not going to be able to upload a .htaccess file to redirect the search engine and possible visitors to your new web hosting space. You need to use the instructions in the .htaccess file to 301 permanently redirect the visitors to the new location.

Besides, you’re not able to use .htaccess instruction for redirecting the visitors permanently and search engines if you delete the page within your site.

Custom error pages

When using the free web hosting, you’re not going to be capable of using custom error pages. The web server uses the error pages for showing the visitors that an error occurred. For instance, when the page isn’t found within the web space, the 404 error is going to show that.

On the other hand, when using a free web hosting space, the visitor is going to see a stock error page. He’s not going to get any direction as to how to find what he wanted. Soon enough the confused visitor is going to go away.

When you get a paid web hosting account, you may offer the custom error page for every single type of error. This is going to help your visitor know that they’re not completely lost, as the error page is formatted so that it matches your website.

Free Web Hosting isn’t long lasting

You have no guarantees whatsoever that the free web hosting service is going to be reliable until the end of time. Even the large providers of free hosting are going to pack it in sooner or later.

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For instance, Yahoo! closed 360 services in 2009 and the GeoCities free web hosting service.

Even if a paid hosting company may not last forever either, you’re able to download your entire site for a backup plan. As you have the backup plan, you may upload to another hosting company and recover in no time. Nevertheless, it’s important that you back up your website every time you make a change.

Not so many features with Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting accounts do present their limits, and you may only use the features that they provide. It doesn’t mean that paid web hosting accounts don’t have their limitations either. You should put together a checklist before signing up for the account. The limitations aren’t major in the case of paid web hosting.

ISP Web Hosting

Signing up for internet access with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is going to offer you some small, free web hosting space. If you go with this type of web hosting, your URL is going to look a lot like the ones provided with free web hosting accounts.

However, when you web host at your ISP, you’re going to have to deal with the same problems as the ones from free web hosting.

Keep in mind that if you’re canceling the internet service with the ISP, you’re also going to lose the web hosting space. This also includes your email address, which may become quite the problem when you’ve used [email protected] as a business email address.

You cannot take the Website Template with you

Free web hosting accounts are tempting to any new business owners as they include free website templates and some various website related features.

You can get free website templates and features when using paid web hosting as well.

Needless to say, the free website templates, e-commerce software, graphics are exactly what you’re not going to be able to take with you. You need to read the terms of service from your hosting providers. Check the small lettering; it tells you cannot use their materials elsewhere, for sure.

It’s wiser to pay for the website template or to hire a professional web designer for designing your website. They should be able to create a search engine friendly design, better website navigation and a customized feel for your blog/business.

Free Web Hosting doesn’t spare you any Money on the long run

More often than not, using free web hosting isn’t going to be a wise decision for your business in the long run.

Yes, you may be able to save a buck or two in the beginning (which is so tempting at first), but here’s why you should put some money aside for the paid web hosting, domain registration, and web design:

  • No more problems when moving the site/blog when your business grows
  • You can give a professional appearance to your business
  • You don’t lose incoming links from those who’ve added your site to theirs
  • You don’t need to redesign the site if you’re going with another paid hosting

Make the extra effort and open your wallet big for getting a paid web hosting, domain name, and web design. It’s going to worth it in the long run.

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Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article Free Web Hosting vs Paid Web Hosting – The Final Debate was written by Zion. The article was last modified: March 7th, 2019

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