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Free Hosting or Paid Hosting: The Lowdown

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Old 09-27-2008, 08:29 AM   #1
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I see many questions on this forum about which is the best type of hosting that I can get to host my website.

While there is a variety of webhosts out there that offer plans for free, one that that should always be considered is the option of paid hosting.

One of the main advantages of paid hosting over free hosting is that very often, free hosting plans have hundreds, if not thousands, of people all using that one server. So imagine, 1000 people using the same resources, CPU, RAM usage, Internet speed, then imagine the effect that will have on your site.

One of these main effects, while will show to each of your visitors that visit your site will be how fast the page loads. The more people using the server, the slower your page will load. This is where the joy of a paid host comes into its own league. There are far fewer people that are hosted on the server, so your site will be able to use the servers resources more efficiently and the pages will load much quicker for your customers.

I'll list some advantages and disadvantages for the types of hosting you can get.

Free Hosting

Advantages
  • Its free!
  • A perfect solution for a personal website with low traffic.

Disadvantages
  • Many hosts require you to place ads or banners on your site
  • Its not effective for business websites
  • Some hosts don't allow you to place your own ads on your site
  • The more people hosted, the slower your service will be
  • If you don't have you own domain, you will have a sub-domain from your host. For example: www.mypage.abchost.com
  • Limited amount of disk space and bandwidth
  • Little/no support
  • Limited Web features. Such as MySQL databases, email accounts etc.

Paid Hosting

There are different forms of paid hosting. This can range from a paid account on a companies server, to your own Virtual Private Server, which is a virtual server installed on a physical server for completely your own use. Commonly, paid hosting has a guaranteed 100% uptime rate and 24/7 support.


Paid Hosting Account

Advantages
  • Quick and easy!
  • Packed full of features
  • Larger amounts of space and bandwidth compared to free hosting
  • Higher server uptime guarantee
  • Less people per server, so its faster for you.


Disadvantages
  • There's a cost. But nothing in this world is free without a catch is it?
  • Prices get higher for a better specification account

Reseller Hosting Account


Advantages
  • Ideal if you want to create a business that will let other people host their sites on your account. So you can make money.
  • Large amounts of bandwidth and space available.
  • Lots of features available. Unlimited MySQL databases, email accounts etc.

Disadvantages
  • There's a cost. But noting in this world is free is it, without a catch.
  • Prices get higher for a better specification account

Virtual Private Server
This option allows you to install your own operating system and also Control Panel to your Virtual server. This option is a good option for large companies who can't afford a physical server on their premises to host their own webpage/internet services.


Advantages
  • Able to install own Operating System and Control Panel.
  • Huge amounts of space available.
  • Very quick for people visiting your site.

Disadvantages
  • There's a cost. But noting in this world is free is it, without a catch.
  • Prices get higher for a better specification account

Shared Web Hosting
This option is very similar to the Virtual Private Server (VPS) but websites are hosted on their own partition on a physical server as well as many other sites. This is generally the most economical option for hosting as many people share the overall cost of server maintenance.

Dedicated Web Hosting
A server which is dedicated solely to your own website. More suitable for large companies as it allows them to have full access to the server, including the choice of operating system and server hardware specifications. This is the most expensive option of hosting your own website.
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