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Choosing Between Free or Paid Web Hosting

There are a number of things to consider when choosing between a free or paid web hosting service. Setting aside cost for a moment, lets look at some factors that will help you make an informative decision.

The very first thing you must consider is the intent or purpose of your website. Are you looking for a convenient way to share photos of family and friends? Or, are you considering something a little more complex such as adding multiple pages with different content on each? How about a website to promote a product or business?

The purpose of your website will act as a key component in determining which type of web hosting service is best suited for you. For example, if your website will be used primarily for personal postings, your file sizes aren't very large and you don't expect a lot of traffic, you won't require a lot of disk space or bandwidth for your hosting.

If this is the case, a free web hosting service may meet your needs. Free web hosting services are also useful if you're inexperienced in creating web pages. This type of service can provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn and practice your html skills. You could even use a free service as a test site before uploading your web pages to your live website.

Keep in mind that most free web hosting services provide limited features compared to paid web hosting services, but normally offer enough disk space and bandwidth to host a small website. To help offset costs, though, most free providers will place advertisements on your web pages.

With paid hosting, you'll find a variety of available plans to choose from. These plans allow more disk space and bandwidth, and usually include a number of other features such as free domain names, free sub-domains and unlimited email accounts. Some of the more advanced common features are a CGI-Bin, MySQL databases and Microsoft FrontPage extensions.

Compared to free web hosting, you'll also find that the services provided by paid web hosting companies are much more reliable, not to mention offering a higher level of customer support.

Cost wise, there is no charge to register for a free web hosting service, although you may be required to purchase your own domain name. For a basic paid service, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $10 per month – a very small price for the improved service, support and features you receive.

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