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Why you should pay for web hosting

Why bother paying for hosting when there are plenty of companies offering free hosting? Well, in web hosting, when you pay nothing, you often end up with nothing.

Most free web hosts offer limited services. Even though they are not charging you to host your website, they still need to make money. The most common way to do this is to place advertising on your site. You probably will have no control over what kind of ads show up. You won't be consulted when those decisions are made.

Sometimes free hosts will place restrictions on the content you place on your site. For example, you may not be allowed to sell things or have certain types of content, such as videos or music. Worst of all, your web site could disappear overnight. New companies offering free hosting pop up almost everyday, but they also vanish with astonishing regularity. When your hosting company vanishes, your web site goes with it.

Do You Need A High-Priced Web Host?

You'll need to use a reliable web host if you are serious about having a web site. Prices range considerably -- some companies offer rates as low as $2 a month, while others charge over $100. The highest rates don't always translate into the best service. Some of the lower-priced hosts offer a reliable, stable environment that allows your website to be accessed around the clock for years.

Generally speaking, though, the more you pay the more you get. Higher rates should bring you services such as more storage space, more bandwidth to handle Internet traffic, and extras such as databases, email accounts, mass mailers, and the ability to add custom scripts. Higher rates can also mean better technical support, in the unlikely event you have problems with your website.

What is a Web Server?

When you're ready to make your move, it helps to understand some of the technical details about the service you're buying. Every host has dedicated computers known as servers, which connect to the internet and "serve" pages any time they are requested. So, whenever anyone wants to see a certain web page by clicking on a link, the request is sent to the particular server where that web page is stored. The server responds by sending HTML data across the internet, and eventually back to the person who requested it.

A web server must have fast connections to be able to serve pages quickly. For the greatest speed and reliability, try to find a host that has multiple high-speed connections, as well as reliable back-up power supplies in case of power outages.

Remember, you are trying to build a business, so you'd better be prepared to pay to keep the other business in business. Otherwise you may both soon be out of business.

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