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The Cost of Free Web Hosting

By Tony Murtagh
Posted Friday, August 6, 2004

You probably know that you have a choice of either paying to have your web site hosted, or of choosing a free web hosting service.

Whilst free web hosting looks an attractive proposition to begin with, it is not generally something I could recommend, if you are looking to establish a serious business presence on the web. Having said that, I do run a couple of sites with free Web hosts!

The first thing to do, is to establish what you are giving the web host in return for them offering you a free site (even on the Internet, despite what some people claim, there is no such thing as a free lunch!).

The two sites I get hosted for free are in the UK with Service Providers who make a charge for the phone calls whenever I am connected to the net via them - and I can only upload to the sites through their connection. So that is what they are getting in return - the income from the cost of the phone call.

In their cases, there are no annoying pop-up windows, and no obtrusive advertising, so visitors to the sites do not know that they are hosted for free. The downside from my point of view, is that there are none of the features that I have available from my main site - e.g. email redirect, autoresponders, visitor information etc.

Most free web hosts rely on attracting advertising revenue and therefore they will either place a banner at the top of your page, use a small frame for their advertising on your site or your visitors will encounter an irritating pop-up widow every time they access your site. Also, you may find yourself with a long, unwieldy url - is this how you want your business to be seen?

What I would say, is ask yourself if you would deal with someone offering a similar service/ product as you are promoting, who was obviously using a free site. If you would, then fine, but if not, don't expect anyone else to deal with you!

The other important question to ask yourself is how successful are these companies going to be in attracting advertising revenue - at the moment even Yahoo and Alta Vista are reporting large falls in their advertising revenues. If your free hosts are not making any money, they will soon be out of business, as many people hosting with HotYellow have recently discovered.

If a company is taking its revenue from people who are hosting their sites with them, they are going to make every effort to provide a top class service at competitive, but profitable, prices.

If having read the above, you still have a good reason for deciding to use a free web host (and at the end of the day it can only be your decision based on the information you have) try, the following two, both of whom seem to have viable, but different, business plans.

Coolebiz
(http://www.coolebiz.net/default.asp?page=/free/refer&id=22826)
or Terrashare
(http://www.terrashare.com/join/homewebbusiness)

For "paid for" web hosting, especially if you are a beginner, I do not think that Ken Evoy's Site Build It can be beaten. For one payment you get Domain Registration, Web Hosting for one year under your own domain name and more features than you could shake a stick at! You require no knowledge of HTML, Java, Perl or FTP.

Yet you can build and get hosted a fully functional, search engine and visitor friendly web site with a whole host of features from Search Engine optimisation and submission, link counter analysis, keyword analysis, and so much more. I know I have said so before, but you really must get the free email course and visit the site. Even if you do not use the service, you will just learn so much - please believe me! For the email course
mailto:tamsaardvark1@sitesell.net

and to visit the site,
(http://buildit.sitesell.com/aardvark1.html)

I host my main site, with Global Space Solutions and have always found their customer support very good and for $19.95 US per month, I get a full back up service and lots, of features that you do not get on free sites.
(http://www.globalspacesolutions.com)

For more information on web site hosting, visit my site at
(http://DevelopYourWebSiteAndYouself.com/webhost.htm)

and check out the article by Dan Grossman

About the Author
Tony Murtagh has spent all his career involved in sales, sales
management, marketing and PR. He was a UK National Sales Manager (Major Accounts) for a mobile communications company, had his own publishing company producing a monthly Business to Business magazine and has acted as a PR consultant for a number of small businesses. He is now sharing his wide experience of sales, marketing and promotion in his new web site: -
(http://DevelopYourWebSiteAndYourself.com)
(mailto://murtagh@DevelopYourWebSiteAndYourself.com)
and in a weekly e-ezine Aardvark Marketing, which you can subscribe to from the site, or
mailto:murtagh@bigfoot.com?subject=subscribe_FWH