Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

To Pay or Not Pay for Web Hosting

Whether or not to pay for web hosting depends upon your online goals, resources, skills and abilities and required functionality.

It is not hard to find low or no cost options for hosting a web presence on the Internet today. Simply perform a query at your favorite search engine for “free web hosting” and watch the results pour in. In fact, a recent search garnered 134,000,000. Yes, that’s 134 MILLION search results for the keyword phrase free web hosting!

With all that attention and energy out there, using a no cost website hosting company must be an alright option, yes? Well, perhaps. But not always. It simply depends upon some factors that should be considered prior to committing ones online presence to a company that finds revenue streams from options other than charging the website owner.

Some important questions to ask when considering a web hosting company might include (but certainly not be limited to) the following:

  • Price: Clearly, free means at no cost. For some with extremely limited budgets to spend for online promotion, low or no cost may well be the best option, at least for a limited amount of time.
  • Speed: How fast will those free web servers be able to load up your website for all the visitors who find their way to your home page? What happens if sudden awareness and popularity blesses (or curses, depending upon how you look at it) your website. Will those shared, free servers be able to handle the loads?
  • Space: For many, the limited amount of disk storage space associated with the average free web host is fine. But what happens should your site need to store and serve massive amounts of images, video files, documents, etc.?
  • Functionality: Unless your website is offering advanced interactive functions, this may not be much of an issue when considering whether to pay for your website hosting. Down the road, however, when you need that advanced functionality how will your free web hosting provider react? Will you be able to upgrade to get what you need?

In Support of Paid Web Hosting

Starting a business costs money. Perhaps not a massive amount, but companies today understand they must have some budget to move their ideas forward. When it comes to pinching pennies, probably the last place you want to scrimp is with your online presence. You need powerful and secure hosting. To ensure that your website is safe, and protected, the company providing you with services needs to have a sound business model. Giving away free hosting on the strength of placing obtrusive advertisements on your company website is not likely to provide them with the financial strength required.

By the sheer nature of free web hosting, transfer speeds must be limited and doled out to a large number of websites residing on their servers. This means that in order for your website to perform well, i.e., have fast page loads, limited to no waiting for images, videos, downloads, etc., your site must be a near perfectly optimized operation. If you are an expert at the sort of optimizations necessary, you may have a chance at success. Even then, regardless of how well coded a site may be, your site speed is still at the control of the free host.

Many free services do provide for the eventuality that some of their users may need to upgrade storage requirements. The challenge with these offerings tends to be the price points they are offered at. With a quality paid hosting provider, if you actually need to go beyond the massive amounts of disc space offered, the prices per MB are usually very reasonable and easy to acquire.

As your website increases its need for functionality, you’ll find that having a paid hosting provider makes it very easy to add web applications. When popularity and massive spikes in traffic find their way to your site, having the bandwidth, speeds, and functionality you need to convert those visitors to paying customers will more than provide a great return on your choice to invest in a paid website hosting service.

Author Bio: Vern Marker is a writer for a business web hosting company and is always looking for cost-effective solutions for business owners. When Vern is not blogging or writing, he loves to travel the world. Follow him on Twitter@VernMarker.

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