Free Vs. Paid Web Hosting

With the growing number of free Web Hosting servives available on the Internet today, you may be asking yourself “Why should I pay for Web Hosting when I can get it for free?”. This is actually a very good question and in the this article, I plan on evaluating the benefits of each type of Web Hosting.

Several free Web Hosting services include Xoom, Hypermart, and GeoCities. Most offer varying degrees of flexability when it comes to setting up an account. For instance some give you the ability to have an actual domain name while most require that you have a sub domain under their primary domain, i.e. http://geocities/yourname/… Some also allow you to run your own CGI scripts while others do not. One thing almost all free Web Hosts have in common is that they provide only a limited amount of disk space (usually 5-10 MB), they are very strict when it comes to data transfer and they usually require that you have their ads on your Web Site.

One of the biggest compaints that users of free Web Hosting have is that they must often allow the Web Host to include banners or advertisements on their Web Sites. You’ve probably come accross a Hypermart or GeoCities Web Site and seen how an advertisement window pops up when you access the site. Many people find this annoying and want the freedom that paid Web Hosting allows.

Another big factor that often causes people to go in search of paid Web Hosting is the desire to have a domain name. Most free Web Hosting companies do not give you this opportunity. If you do have access to your own domain with a free Web Host, chances are that you will have to put up with advertisements on your Web Site.

Most companies that offer free Web Hosting also have strict limitations with regards to running and installing your own CGI scripts. Some will provide pre-installed scripts that you will have access to such as guestbooks, counters, or email form processors. However, if you want to test, install and run your own scripts, you will probably need to find a reliable paid Web Host. If this is a feature that you are interested in, be sure to ask any potential Web Host about their CGI script policies since they vary widely from company to company.

If you have a fairly large Web site or offer lots of graphics, free Web Hosting may present some problems for you. Most free Web Hosting companies have strict disk space limits, usually 5-10 MB or less. While this is plenty for most Web Sites, some may find this is not enough. Before signing up with any Hosting service, be sure to ask ask disk space limits and the policies invloved in increasing the alloted space.

Ultimately, the type of Web Hosting you choose depends on the specific needs of your Web Site. If you have a small personal Web Site and don’t mind the ads and limititations that come with most free Web Hosting, then that may be the best choice for you. However, if you have a company or business, then you probably want your own domain name and that usually requires that you find paid Web Hosting.