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Differences between Free and Paid Web Hosting

Website owners are often faced with a difficult decision right from the beginning of their online venture. This decision is to choose a web hosting service for their website. Not only are there hundreds of web hosting companies offer their services at affordable prices, but there are also some that offer free hosting to their customers. Here we look in detail at the major differences between having a free hosting service versus a paid hosting service and the impact it can have on your website.


The first difference is the price. Free web hosting allows website owners to host the website completely free of charge. There are no fees involved in uploading files to their server. There are no fees involved for keeping the website hosted on the server over time. Paid web hosting services on the other hand charge a small fee for website owners to have their website hosted. Payment to web hosting services is usually prescription based on a monthly interval. You may choose to sign up for 12 or 24 months and receive huge discounts or you can stick to a month by month plan to make sure you are happy with the service.


One important aspect of web hosting you need to look is bandwidth. This determines the speed that data is transferred from the hosting server to the Internet user visiting your site The greater the bandwidth, the faster your site will load and the faster users can see videos, pictures and download files from. Free web hosting services usually restrict the amount of bandwidth to your website and as a result this will affect your website's loading time as well as speed when visitors are trying to browse your site. If you have a relatively new site without many visitors yet or your site does not consist of many pictures and videos then the restriction on bandwidth have little or no effect on you. Conversely, if you are planning to grow your website or have a large website with lots of graphics then a paid web hosting option with unlimited bandwidth is your best solution


The amount of web space you need for your website is also important if you are planning to grow your website, or at least have the flexibility to be able to expand it at a later date. Free web hosting services usually limit the amount of web space allowed by you web site, the number of pages your website can have or both. It is therefore important that if you have a website that can grow to being quite large and significant you are going to need server space from a web hosting company that provides you with plenty. Many paid web hosting services also provide unlimited space for your website, which helps put your mind at ease.


Functionality and control of your website is probably one of the most important aspects when considering a web hosting solution. You want to be in control of your own website and have be able to do whatever you want with it. Most free web hosting accounts do not allow you to use your own domain name. As an alternative, you must use a subdomain or internal domain of their own website. This can be seen as a drawback since you will then have poor branding of your products and services. In addition, many free hosting options place their own ads on your website. You cannot remove these ads and they may be annoying and distracting to your potential online visitors.

In conclusion, pricing would be the only advantage a free web hosting service would have compared to a paid web hosting service. It is also a known fact that it may also be costing you more and causing you to sacrifice more if you do not have an adequate and reliable web hosting service for your website. If you have taken the initiative to start your own website then your next step is to find an affordable web hosting solution with no restrictions.


Find a Good Hosting Company

How Find a Good Hosting Company.

It’s a real dilemma these days as by spending some amount any hosting company can prevail at all possible location of customer search like google, yahoo, forums, market places etc. thus wherever you go you find few hosting companies haunting you.

The other aspect relates to huge, throw away costs some of the hosting companies offer, thus customer without knowing how much space and bandwidth really he needs gets engaged with these hosting companies.

To find a good hosting company, you can always search in Yahoo, google and msn for a while. May be you need to go to about 2 to3 pages depth.

While searching prefer key words like quality, performance, etc. Also you may like to prefer to mention your location with every key word, if you are keen to find a hosting company in your region (which is always a bonus).

Omit key words like “low cost”, “Cheaper” etc as firstly these are not indication of good web hosting services and secondly the hosting service providers have normally littered the net with these.

When you start analyzing the hosting companies, you can keep following points with you which not only explain what to look for but also how to ascertain its effectiveness:

*Feature Offered. These could be:

Space and Bandwidth. First determine how much you need, do not fall prey to big offers just for nothing. Most of these are very simple tricks. Based on years of experience hosting companies know that an average customer does not use more than 100 Mb space and 300 MB bandwidth thus whatever bigger than that is offered is just an offer to attract customers.
Email and Database.The number of emails per account should only effect you as per your needs, do not get over influenced by ‘unlimited” when you know you do not need more than 10 in any case. Use of mysql will be important if you need a data base driven site or contents.
Other Features These could be free scripts for guest boot, chat and web development etc. Most hosting companies do have these in their hosting panels. These make things easier for you if you are to use these. So give a plus to hosting company for that.

What kind of support they are offering ie email only, ticketing system, phone support and a toll free phone.  Give an additional point for each service offered. You may need only one of few of these, but eventually it may be important to have a hosting service provider with more kind of mechanisms to be reached to.

Note the response time to your sales requests. Better host respond within 4 hours. Note that the auto responder is not to be rated as response, though that does indicate a bit effort.

Do they have physical office location. It may be a indication of serious business, this also ensures that you do not run into part timer. You can always ascertain it from the contact us page, by calling them, seeing if only a mobile number is given and not a land number etc. Its not that a part timer or the one who cannot afford an office location cannot be good in provision of services, yet generally the one with physical offices may mean a bit more settled ones. This may not be totally true in all cases

Price / Cost. Not always the ones who are cheaper are good and not always ones who are expensive offer high quality services. Better is to stay away from two extremes in cost. Mostly one can think and expect that the ones asking a bit higher prices should be able to afford management of things better.

A web host might have the best feature offered, unbeatable customer support and reliability in place but without an effective marketing plan, it will go bust too. Let’s face it. If a web hosting provider does not have sufficient members and steady growth of new members, it’s very difficult to survive in this highly competitive industry.

Do not go for the more than 2 to 3 pages in search engines. The hosting company should be effective enough to appear in these pages.
Sponsored listing shows interest of company to promote themselves but not always an indication of good hosting company.
Read reviews and see top 10 list. Though in most cases these are the ones haunting the net with their money and not always quality.

Reliability Every web hosting service provider will have more than 99% listed on their site. But few have the courage to provide independent prove of their uptime.  A hosting company should always have a monitoring service and should be able to provide you a report of the same.

These were some very basic things I could think of, there could be many coming up in subsequent discussion.



How Much Space and Bandwidth do i Need for my Site

There is lots of space and bandwidth talks going on these days with hosting companies trying to surpass each other, customer running after space and bandwidth, seems more of a fashion than any one really knowing what he/she needs in this area, May be this needs to be discussed:-

How much Space you need:

Think of your web hosting account as a sub-directory (or folder) on your hard drive. To determine how much disk space you will need, In Microsoft windows simply open explorer or my computer and click on the folder that contains your web sites files. Create a new folder for your web site if you don't have one and then move all of files you plan to host on the web server into that folder. All you have to do now is right click on your folder to check the size of that folder and now, you know how much disk space you will use on the server. This entire site is around two megs.

How much monthly (bandwidth)Data Transfer do you need:

Try using the following formula to estimate your site's monthly data transfer.

[Average size of your web page(s) + any graphics included within] * [number of visitors you expect each day * number of pages each visitor will view] * [30 days in a month] = Total Monthly Data Transfer Usage.

For example: if we had a site with 30 pages averaging 8 KB each, 50 KB worth of images in each page, and 50 visitors each day who viewed an average of 4 pages, you would have the following formula:[8 KB + 50 KB] * [50 visitors * 4 pages] * [30] = 348,000 KB So we would be using 348,000 KB, or approximately 340 MB, of bandwidth each month. Well within the limitations of our hosting plans.

It's hard to generalize how much data transfer a site will use without looking at it specifically, but in most cases it is very rare for a personal or small business site to use more than one gigabyte (GB) of data transfer in a month. Starting with a data transfer limit of one gigabyte per month is probably appropriate for most new sites. If your average web page is 20Kb in size. 1 Gig of transfer allows for well over 50,000 hits per month at that size! If your average page size is smaller obviously more hits per month.


What is web hosting?

The Internet offers opportunities for anyone motivated enough to start a business of their own or "try" something different, and the opportunities are almost endless. Have you ever dreamed of running your own web site, your own piece of the "dot com" pie? It all starts with a great idea, but to get a successful website up and running it needs a little effort. Anyone can create a revenue-generating website with time, energy, and the few dollars a month it takes to host it. And, like creating a brick-and-mortar business, creating a website can be as much about expressing personal development and providing the world with a service as it is about earning a living.

So, to do business online you must have a website. Why? There are many answers to this question. Some of the most important reasons to establish an Internet presence are:

1. Increased credibility. It's a proven fact that a professional, well-designed site has a good impact on the customer's confidence in your company. It shows that you are up-to-date and you care about your customers by offering them a convenient way to contact you and to learn about your products and services. Using the Internet to search for services and products is much easier and faster than searching by hand through the Yellow Pages.

2. A 24/7 International presence. Your website is available for your potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With a website, you open yourself up to a world of opportunity in reaching people who might not otherwise find you. When your offices are closed you can be sure that your website is open to showcase your products and services and answer your customer's questions.

3. A powerful sales tool. Your customers will be able to reach your services and products in their own time. You can save money on printing costs for brochures, coupons, flyers, newsletters, and other mailings. Of course, a website doesn't exclude the traditional forms of marketing, but rather complements them.

But if you are here, chances are that you already have a website or considering having one, so let's proceed to the next step: hosting a website.

Hosting a website

A website is basically a set of files linked among them through a navigation system. More complex sites will have buttons, forms and extended functionality with a database to store emails, requests, products characteristics, etc. but in the end they come down to the same thing: a collection of files. So, hosting a website is the process of making those files available to the Internet users. To make the website available to the Internet users you need:

  • A computer connected to the Internet where the files will be stored;
  • A software called web server (for example Apache Web Server) that will "serve" the files to the visitors;
  • A way to make the visitors find your site.

Why can't you use your own computer to host your website? It has already an Internet connection and that Apache Server shouldn't be so hard to install. Well, it's not that simple. There are a few technical aspects to be considered. Hosting a website implies the following:

  1. Be Online. If you shut down your computer, your web server will also shut down, making the website inaccessible. If your computer's hardware or software fails and you need to change a component or restart it, the time until it's back up will count as downtime for your site.
  2. Have a dedicated IP address. If you are behind a router then you most likely don't have a "real" IP address so you have to forward the traffic. Also, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) might change the IP for your computer from time to time. More about this in the next article:  register a domain name.
  3. Resources. Hosting the website in a home server will use part of the hardware resources (disk space, memory, CPU power) and part of the total bandwidth that you pay for.
  4. The need for additional software. If a simple site needs only a web server running, more complex sites need additional software installed. For example, if you need a database you must install a SQL server (MySQL, Oracle, etc.), if you need functionality and forms processing, you need PHP, Perl, ASPx or other similar software installed.