Everything New Site Owners Should Know About Web Hosting Services

Chances are, if you’re new to working on your website while using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), you will probably wonder whether you should seek out hosting options from popular hosts like HostGator, BlueHost, Namecheap, and so forth.

In this article, we’ll take a look at three questions and their answers related to web hosting.

What’s Wrong with Free Web Hosting Services?

To be honest, there is nothing wrong with free web hosting services, like WordPress.com, Wix, Blogspot, and Weebly (just to name a few). For novices and those unfamiliar with creating websites, these services allow someone to throw their hat into the arena and create a digital presence in a matter of minutes—and for free. This can be a huge step along the journey of creating a legitimate web presence for small businesses that want to advertise their products and services. Additionally, some amateur hobbyists may just want a simple page that allows them to showcase their interests and connect with other like-minded individuals.

However, there are a number of drawbacks with these free web hosting services:

  • The catch is that these websites work on a “freemium” model. Those who get accustomed to the free service may eventually want to upgrade the functionality of their website or expand the storage space. This is part of their business model, of course; otherwise these companies wouldn’t be in business for long! Once you decide to switch to their paid services, don’t be surprised if they cost more than just switching to a dedicated web host in the first place. Again, with anything free, there always a catch and this can be a decisive factor when you finally choose to pick a dedicated web host.
  • Sometimes, free hosted blogs can go bankrupt, remain offline for long periods of time, or simply close their free hosted service at their own discretion. While most companies consider it their duty to inform you of these measures, don’t be surprised when you are forced to switch hosting companies or back up your website’s data at the drop of a hat—which can put a damper on your already-busy schedule.
  • One of the best ways to make income as an entrepreneur is to develop a website and gain a dedicated following, then selling it. The problem with free hosted blogs is that they are not yours to sell—it’s the hosting company’s property. For example, the Blogger “Terms and Conditions” clearly state that you can’t share, sell, or transfer your Blogger-based blog to any other person. This can put a cap on your income, especially if you have a talent for giving the public what they want. Furthermore, if you choose to secretly sell your free-hosted website, Blogspot has the ability to close your blog and remove it from the search engine index.
  • Does your free web host have a login that requires your password and email address? Well, these free hosting service providers tend to skimp on the security measures, which may make it open season for hackers and identity thieves to prey on your information. One example was the company 2ip, which was exploited by hackers so ruthlessly that not only were the login credentials compromised, but most of the data tied with the site was lost… forever!
  • There’s a type of paradox of free hosting services. On one hand, everyone wants their free blog to become popular and find an audience; on the other hand, if a particular site or post becomes too popular, the server may shut down your website until the web traffic spike returns to “normal” levels. This limits your reach and ability to connect with a mass audience, especially if you post relevant material on websites like Reddit or Digg. Reddit even coined a term for this phenomenon, known as “the Reddit hug of death”.

HostingWhy Do I Need Web Hosting?

This question should be rewritten as “Why do I have a website in the first place?”

In truth, not every website needs a dedicated web hosting service. For some hobbyist and bloggers, just having an online repository for their thoughts and opinions is enough for their ambitions. But once you’ve realized the limitations (see above) of free web hosting, you may begin to see why web hosting is so important. It all comes down to what you want your web presence to look like and function.

Startups and small businesses need a website that doesn’t come with additional words in the web address, as well as the ability to scale as the website grows. This subconsciously communicates to potential customers and clients that you’re not fully invested in your business. After all, what professionally-run business do you know of, like Fortune 500 companies, have .wordpress.com after their company’s name? The answer is none—and for good reason.

Additionally, not all free web hosts offer intuitive mobile-ready templates, which can be a sticking point for those that are trying to encompass the largest audience as possible. With updates being released on a near-constant basis, your mobile-ready website might look unorganized unless your free web server is up-to-date.

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How Much Will Having My Website Hosted Actually Cost?

If you’re looking a definitive answer, you’ll have to contact these companies directly to see what they offer. However, a reasonable estimate for a new website is anywhere between $2 – $10/month, with some web hosting services charging less for a bundled year-long package.

Some companies offer trial packages to get a feel for their services or offer discounted services when you choose to upgrade your needs as your website progresses. Again, it’s best to shop around and educate yourself on your needs. You may be surprised to find that many web hosts are cheaper than you expected and offer such perks as unlimited 24/7 tech support, advanced security measures, and a wealth of storage space.

Being able to choose between a variety of web hosts and migrating your website is invaluable for a large-scale business. Doing the necessary research beforehand, such as this blog on quality web hosting services can illuminate the process and find a solution that meets your needs.

Conclusion

There is no right or wrong solution for web hosting. At the end of the day, it all comes down to choosing a solution that best fits your individual or company needs. Using this article as a starting point, you can begin the process of finding a web hosting service that is right for you.

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