Is Free Hosting Actually Expensive?

When you are setting up a small site for yourself or your business, the promise of free web hosting can be very alluring. Everyone enjoys getting something for free, and free hosting can be a great way to save money. Or is it?

First, if you are running a company web site, it does not give a very good impression to have a domain name that is associated with a free site. Many Internet users know the popular free web page providers. If you won’t spend the money for a regular hosting package, how can they be assured that you mean business? In this case, you will need to purchase your own domain name, as well as a service that will forward visitors that type in this domain name to your existing free site.

Next, most free hosting packages do not come with many features. If you need a shopping cart, or other applications for your site, you may have to purchase them. Since most paid hosting plans offer this with their hosting packages, you can be spending a lot more by purchasing these applications individually. For example, Miva Merchant, a popular shopping cart that many hosting companies offer for free, actually costs over $800 to purchase it as a standalone.

Free hosting generally does not allow you to use popular CGI, PHP or ASP applications. If you need to use these applications on your website, you may end up having to purchase a mirror site just to use these applications.

After these issues, you will need to worry about disk space and data transfer. Many free hosts offer a great deal of disk space, but a negligible amount of data transfer or bandwidth.

If too many people click onto your site over a brief period of time, you may have your site disable for an entire day. This downtime results in lost revenue and a bad impression for your company.

Free hosting usually means that your visitors will be forced to view advertising, either in the form of annoying pop-ups, or banners included on your site. Pop-up ads are a terrific way to drive visitors away from your site, instead of into your site. Once again, this results in a loss of revenue and/or visitor interest.

Before you set up your website with a free hosting company, you will need to weigh the above problems carefully. If you plan on running a business website, you would be much better served by going with a hosting company that provides what you need instead of skimping and hoping to get by.

Even if you plan on running a very small informational site, budget hosting has made it possible to spend as little as $3.00 a month and take advantage of more applications, better data transfer limits and a more reliable server for your site.

Related Posts:
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Are You Paying Too Much For Your Hosting?
How to Get a Merchant Account
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Posted on 12/14/05 10:35 PM

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