Choosing a web host is important. There are hundreds of web hosts out there including free hosts and commercial hosts. Each offers their own services. Initially you may not use all of these but you should be thinking into the future when you may need some of these resources. Let’s look at the differences between free web hosting and commercial web hosting.
Free Web Hosting
1. Advertising – Most of the free web host impose their ads on your site. This is how they cover the cost of providing you with the free service. These ads might be in the form of banners, pop up ads, etc.
2. The Amount of Space Allocated – Most free web hosts limit the amount of space and traffic you are allowed. If your traffic grows, you will have to switch to a paid service. If your site has lots of pictures, videos, sound files, etc., you will use up your free space quickly.
3. FTP Access – FTP is the most common method that gets used to transfer the web pages you’ve created from your computer to the internet, more specifically your web host. Some of the free hosts will require you to use their online design. This can be helpful for anyone new to having a website, but over time, you will find this very restricted.
4. Reliability – This is so important to your website, your visitors, and your placement in the search engines. A number of the free hosts are down a fair bit, and this isn’t good for business. Many also have slow access, which will frustrate visitors.
Commercial Web Hosting
* Reliability – There’s the old setting you pay for what you get, and that’s certainly true in web hosting. Commercial web hosting are fast and reliable, with the majority maintaining a 99.5% or higher uptime rate. That’s the minimum you should accept. They are also faster so your visitors won’t get frustrated.
* Bandwidth – This is actually data transfer and it is the amount of bytes transferred between your site and the visitor’s browser. Don’t believe the “unlimited bandwidth” selling feature. Web hosts must pay for the bandwidth that is used and you will too. So read the details of your agreement to ensure you know when it will start to cost you more.
* Technical Support – Look for 24/7 support. Things go wrong, and they go wrong and the most inconvenient time, so make sure you will have the support you need.
* Shopping Cart – If you are going to be selling things you need to make sure that you have shopping cart technology available to you.
* Email – If you have your own site, you will likely want to have the ability to have your email associated with your host site. Make sure they offer it. Pop3 and mail forwarding are also important.
The Perfect Commercial Host
There likely is no such thing as a perfect commercial host. However, some are certainly much better than others are, and since this is a highly competitive industry be sure to check around.