Free or Paid Hosting?

When you are first lookig to set up your own web site the very first decision you need to make is whether you are going to use free hosting or whether you are going to pay for it. In fact since there is really no such thing as free hosting the decision is actually one of how you are going to pay for the hosting.

Hosting that is offered "free" does have to be paid for somehow and since you are not paying for it, someone else is. That someone else who is payong for your "free" hosting expects to get something in return and so when you get free hosting there will be conditions attached that relate to how the person who is paying for the hosting for you intends to benefit by giving you the hosting.

The most common way that someone who pays for your hosting intends to benefit is that they reserve the right to control the advertising displayed on your site. Instead of you being able to choose how many ads to display (if any) and where they will be on your web pages the person paying for the hosting decides on where to place the ads. Instead of you receiving the income from the ads, they receive that income. On average the amount thwat they receive from the advertising will be more than the hosting costs them and so they make a profit from giving you the hosting.

There are other variants of this where instead of displaying ads on your web pages they use some other method to cover the cost of the hosting. You may be required to fill out surveys on a regular basis or may receive lots of emails advertising products. Whatever method they choose, they are the ones collecting the income from it. They will receive payment for the survey informatio or will receive a commission when you buy the products in the emails they send you. In each case the money they make from that will be sufficient to cover their costs in giving you the hosting and for them to make a profit.

The only alternative that they can offer for free hosting where they don't directly make a profit from whatever they do is where the hosting is paid for out of their advertising budget.Typically this type of free hosting is where the free hosting is offered for a limited period only. By giving you free hosting with no strings attached for a month they know that sufficient of those who take up the offer will find it more convenient to stay and pay for the hosting than it will be for them to move their site to an alternate free host when their free month is up. In some cases they offer site building tools that will only work with their hosting to further encourage you to stay since if you use their tools to build the page and the page will need to be rebuilt if you move it then you have even more reasons to stay with them and pay for the hosting.

If you think through all of the aspects of how the free hosting provider will get paid for giving you hosting you will soon realise that in many cases you will be able to save money by obtaining paid hosting instead. If you are paying for the hosting yourself then you have complete control over what appears on your web pages. Instead of someone else placing ads on your pages and collecting an income from it, you can be the one to place the ads on the pages and collect the income. As soon as your income from the ads exceeds the cost of the hosting you are showing a profit yourself and your paid hosting is now effectively cheaper than the free alternative.

So why would you choose paid hosting rather than free hosting if paid hosting is cheaper than free hosting? Well you may have one of those exception sites where the advertising never makes enough to cover the cost of the hosting. Another reason is that your site may not yet be well enough established to be able to pull in the advertising income. Initially setting up your site on free hosting and seeing how things go while you build the necessary web pages saves you having to pay for hosting until you are ready. Once your site is well enough established you then move to paid hosting and start earning from the site. If you work things right you may even be able to work out a way to make enough from the site while on free hosting to make the initial hosting payment from the site income so that you never need to spend on it.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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