Another week has passed and I would like to share my views of free vs paid web hosting for your website. I have tried to remove associated risks that are present in both free and paid hosting models.
It is nearly a no brainer, the price says it all. As most providers offer a freemium model, pay to upgrade your account, you can use this to trial their hosting. Besides that, you can always test other things such as their control panel (eg. cPanel) and server versions.
It is also reasonably a risk free option if you want to test out a new product and see how it fares out without any upfont costs.
However, there is a true cost of free. In my online adventures, I have gained a lot from free hosting providers in learning coding, server versions and web development but have also grown to be extra cautious. I have seen countless of providers that could not sustain their offering as they were not able to generate enough revenue to cover the on going running costs. Sites with free hosting providers usually don't rank highly as they will be sharing similar IP addresses with multiple sites on the same free hosting providers.
If budget is not an issue, there are extremes of paid hosting you can grab. It starts from a shared hosting account (multiple accounts on one server) to a dedicated server of your own or get the benefit of the cloud such as Amazon S3.
I would always advocating using paid hosting for you business site and make sure you select a reputable provider. This will allow you as a customer to
Paid hosting also offers more options to customize your settings and are often more generous in their allocation of bandwidth or diskspace. This means less likely of a customer unable to reach your website due to the additional resources. It is also more straight forward to hold a provider accountable for a disrupted service as a paying customer. I have both been successful and unsuccessful in claiming service credits from hosting providers that failed to meet their SLA. You can sign up to free monitoring tools that track your website availability.
Do note that paying for hosting does necessarily guarantee you a good service or provide you the vest value for money. Do shop around and if you are already with an existing hosting company, don't worry about switching to cut back on costs. Taking an opportunity to plug one of my sites, if you are considering paid hosting, do try the site Hostonfire.com that have been running since 2003.
In summary, this is a 20 minute brain dump. I would suggest you perform a hybrid by using both providers for different purposes! As frugality is something I always preached. You can used a paid service for your primary site and a free hosting or provider for the purpose of your development. This will reduce any harm that can be done to your live website in the midst of developing a new one.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and till next week!