Do you have a fabulous idea for a website or a blog? Maybe you have a business, or a project and you think it’s time to create a website for it. You have a great vision for how your website will look like and what type of content you’ll add. Building the website sounds very exciting, until you start calculating the cost of purchasing a domain name, web hosting plan, SSL certificate and other add-ons. Then you start thinking: I can save and choose a free hosting plan for my website.
In this article we’ll explain what web hosting is and why does your website need it. Then we’ll discuss if free hosting is reliable or not and finally which web hosting plan is right for your business.
What is web hosting?
Registering a domain name on its own, without a web hosting isn’t enough to build a website. Websites are hosted, on special computers called servers. When people type your domain name in their browser, their computer will then connect to your server and your website will be shown to them.
Your website consists of HTML and CSS files, documents, videos, and images, where will you store these files? A web hosting server. Web hosting companies, like GoDaddy sell or rent space on their servers where you can store your website files. Web hosting companies offer different hosting plans. These plans differ in terms of storage, control, bandwidth, reliability and the level of technical knowledge they require to set them up.
Is free hosting reliable?
If you are on a budget, you may find it tempting to try free hosting. To understand the nature of free hosting, you need to understand why companies offer free hosting? Well, the typical business model for free hosting providers is that they offer free server space and in return they show their advertisement banners on the websites. This kind of free hosting in exchange for advertising banners might work well if you need a non-commercial website, which has only a few pages.
Yes, they are free!
However, using free hosting for your website might not be a very good idea. Why? Let’s explore the limitations of choosing a free hosting for your website.
Limitations of using a free hosting plan
- Data loss: You need to be extra careful because that web hosts may not stay free forever. Also, you need to read their terms and conditions carefully because if you do not maintain a website backup and they decide to shut down their free hosting service – which is possible – you may lose your data.
- Advertising: As we previously mentioned you have to expect that the hosting company will put ads on your website. It can either be a banner ad or a big ad that covers your entire website for a few seconds.
- Unreliable server: Free hosting companies give clients unreliable servers which will ruin your website’s chance of succeeding in today’s highly competitive online space.
- No custom domain: Most free hosting plans won’t let you use your own domain. These plans only allow you to come up with a subdomain on the company’s domain, for example: yourdomain.freehostingcompany.com.
- Limited bandwidth: The free hosting company may limit the amount of bandwidth that your website can use within a month. If you go over your allotment, your website will probably go down.
- Limited disk space: Major free hosting providers have also quite limited disk space. Expect this storage space to be as small as perhaps just a few gigabytes.
- File size limit: The maximum sizes of files you upload for your website may be restricted, to perhaps less than 1 MB per file. This can put a severe limit if the website you want to put up features, images, videos or graphic elements.
- Shared hosting: With most free hosting plans, your website shares bandwidth, webspace, and other server resources with other websites. If website traffic becomes heavy, this could slow your website’s performance.
- Security issues: In 2015, The world’s most popular Free Web Hosting company 000Webhost has suffered a major data breach, exposing more than 13.5 million of its customers’ personal records. Free web hosts are likely to experience massive security breaches. So instead of opting for free hosting, do your business and website a favor and keep it secure.
- No SSL certificate: An SSL certificate assures your website visitors that the connection between their browser and the server is secure with encryption. So, if your website isn’t secure, visitors will see “Not secure” by your website’s URL. You can check GoDaddy’s SSL certificates here.
Minimal or no customer support: Most free hosting plans won’t give you customer support that you need in case you face any technical difficulties. You might need to consult forums or a tech pro to assist you.
So, if you need a simple website to present to a few people, and you don’t expect it to be visited much, putting it on a free hosting can work. But if you’re planning on creating a website for your business, free hosting isn’t recommended because of its limited features and resources.
After all you want your business’s website, to reflect your professionalism and expertise.
So, you might be asking yourself which paid hosting plan best suits my needs? We’ll explore this now.
Which web hosting plan is right for your website?
We know that the online space is filled with different web hosting companies and plans. So choosing the right one can be an intimidating task. Let’s help you with this.
A reliable web host should be able to tick all of these boxes:
- Amount of storage provided
- Bandwidth/data transfer
- Customer support
- Control panel features
- Building tools
- Transparent pricing
- SQL database
- Statistics and monitoring tools
- Privacy and security
But which hosting plan is right for your business?
- Shared hosting: This is the perfect solution for entry level websites. Shared hosting comes at a low cost because your website will be stored on the same server as many other websites.
All websites share the same server resources, including RAM (random access memory) and CPU (central processing unit).
- Business hosting: Let’s say your business is growing and so is your website. You’ll need more power than shared hosting can provide. Business Hosting delivers the same power and performance as a Virtual Private Server (VPS) without the pain of server administration. You get all the RAM, CPU and bandwidth you need without having to hire an IT pro to manage your server. So, what kind of websites need Business hosting? eCommerce and websites with high traffic.
- Managed WordPress Hosting: Managed WordPress Hosting is the perfect solution for anyone who wants the power and simplicity of WordPress without the hassle of constant updates and technical adjustments.
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting: A VPS hosting solution is perfect for advanced users who need dedicated resources, specific software, and package installations. A VPS hosting plan puts multiple websites on the same server, but each website has its own space on the server. VPS hosting are popular for eCommerce, email servers, web or database servers and hosting multiple websites.
- Dedicated server hosting: Dedicated hosting means that your website will be the only one hosted on the server. A dedicated server provides you with the best level of performance and optimal performance for all your applications because it allows the owner to have exclusive access to it and its resources. This is the most expensive website hosting solution and is suitable for complex websites that receive a lot of traffic.
The choice is yours
If you’re looking to build a professional website for your business, we recommend to purchase your own domain name and host it somewhere reliable. It is really not as expensive as you think. You can also check the following guide that explains how to build your website on a budget.