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Free or paid hosting plan for your website?

When you are studying about web hosting and find out what they actually are, you'll find a lot of information regarding free or paid web hosting and you might ask yourself the question "why would I choose paid hosting if I can get it for free?". This is a very good question and in this article I will try to explain to you the pros and cons of the 2 types of hosting available to you in layman terms.

What are the pros and cons of free hosting?

Whenever you see the word "free", you are naturally drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It's human nature to want to get things without having to pay for it. But is it really free? Yes, usually they are free but your website will suffer as a result. How? Well, the free hosting company will have to earn one way or another or at least gain market share so when you choose to host your website with them, there will be a lot of limitations and things that you cannot control such as unwanted advertising banners on your site. These banners and links will be placed on your site and there is nothing you can do to remove them. Well, that's not entirely true. To remove them, you upgrade to paid hosting with them which essentially means they are not a free service anymore.

Also you can't use your own domain name. You are forced to build your site under their domain for example "". Is this a bad thing? Yes, if you're trying to build a business and no if you are building a blog website just for fun. Basically, if your website is going to be a personal website for you to muck around on, then by all means go for free hosting but if you're serious about building a website for a business or looking to build a site as a hobby at first and possibly later, monetizing it, then free web hosting is highly NOT recommended. Uptime and server performance is also handicapped as they are a free service, they're not obliged to provide you with a good service. They are in control and you have no grounds to complain on. As for me, I am 100% against free hosting and I have not recommended it to anyone regardless of what they want their website to do.

One further point is that since free hosting companies are free, a lot of them shut down their services after a few years as a result of lack of funds. Well if you think about it, they're free to use so they may have lots of people using it but they're not making any money, hence the need to close down. For any website owner affected, this is truly a nightmare.

So what's so good about paid hosting compared to free hosting companies?

The answer is "lots". Firstly, even though you need to pay for it, it almost costs next to nothing. Good hosting companies start from as low as £2.50 ($3-4) per month which I think anyone can afford. This will give you a solid base to start building your website on and will make life so much easier as your website grows and your demands grow as well. There are no unwanted banners splattered around your website. You control what to show 100% and have complete control. Recommended paid hosting companies also have great server and uptime performance and support as and when you need it. Even though I have been working on websites for many years, I still value hosting companies that provide good customer service. And since you are paying for the service, the good paid hosting companies are obliged to provide you with a good service. Trust me when I tell you, stay away from free hosting and fork out a little bit of money and opt for paid hosting. You will thank me later as it will for sure save you on a lot of time and frustration.

Here are some really low cost web hosting companies that I have tried, tested and currently still using to host a number of my clients and my own websites. I choose them because they have no noticeable server downtime, excellent customer service as and when I need it, good technical specifications and the fact that they cost so little is the best part. The thing is, most people who start building websites don't know how cheap it is to runs a website. As always, you can contact me if you need any help and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

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Last Updated April 26 2014 by Alex Tse

Disclosure: Through my web development experience, I built this personal review site which is completely personal and unbiased. In order to provide this information free for my readers, I use links to other companies on this site to receive compensation for referring them. As a reader, you will not pay any more than you already would. I have tested each product thoroughly and recommend only the best. My site is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are mine.