Websites are so vital and easy to set up these days that a great proportion of web users would have a website, whether to blog, provide information, set up an online business, e-commerce site or to market a product or service. One factor that you need to consider when having your own website is web hosting, which is how are you going to make your website accessible to the whole world. There are basically three hosting options:
- Make use of free web hosting using a blog platform like WordPress.com and Blogger.com
- Free web hosting
- Paid web hosting
WordPress.com VS Paid Hosting
First, let’s take a look at WordPress.com vs paid hosting. Creating a blog or website on WordPress.com is undoubtedly one of the most popular and easiest methods to start, well… a blog or website. This is because WordPress.com provides all the necessary tools and features, so you should be able to start even if you do not have any technical knowledge. Starting up is easy, quick and free. But is it the best hosting option for your website?
WordPress.com will suit you if all you want to do is perhaps just blog without a care to how your blog looks like. But if you want to do more than that, then go for a paid hosting account because with that, you will get to enjoy the following advantages.
You can customize your website theme
If you have your own hosting, you are free to use any theme that you wish. You can find thousands of great themes on WordPress’ themes repository and you can also Google for the ultimate theme, download and install it on your blog. You can also use the theme that you have engaged a web designer for. However, if your blog is on WordPress.com, you will have to select your website theme from the given templates, and you cannot customize them!
You can install plugins
Plugins are software components that add additional functions to an existing software application. Plugins enable you to perform various functions such as reducing spam, displaying the most recent comments, creating a contact form and many others. You are free to do so if you self-host your website but there are are limitations on WordPress.com that prevent you from installing plugins as you wish.
You can place ads on your website
If you are hoping to be able to generate revenue through advertising, you won’t be able to do so on WordPress.com. Banner advertisements and affiliate programs are restricted from free blogs and worse still, the blog network can actually earn from your contents if they place ads on your site or republish your content on another website. You need to know that by publishing on a free blog, you are actually surrendering your rights as a writer to them.
You can have your own domain
If your website is hosted on WordPress.com, expect your website to have a URL that reads something like mygreatwebsite.wordpress.com. Your site visitors will have to remember and type such a long URL and it doesn’t help that the word “WordPress” itself is such a long one. Furthermore, having your own domain, ie mygreatwebsite.com, is great for your reputation and helps build faith and trust in your customers especially if you run an e-business.
Free Web Hosting VS Paid Web Hosting
Now that we know self-hosting reigns over WordPress.com for various reasons, it is time to evaluate if free hosting is good enough in doing its hosting job or should we pay for web hosting. Before I even proceed, I’m sure you know that things that cost nothing surely have limitations, else why would anyone pay if they are good enough?
Here are the reasons why you should go for PAID WEB HOSTING over free web hosting:
You’re saved from having a forgettable long web address
If you host for free, there is a possibility that you might be given a web address that reads something like http://sites.google.com/site/mygreatwebsite. Now, this is even worse than having a .wordpress.com address! How would your customers remember this URL to return to your site each time? It also doesn’t do wonders to your business reputation when you are running from such a web address.
Your data will be backed up
Data is backed up daily, if not weekly, by paid hosts. On the other hand, free hosting doesn’t guarantee that any data backups will be done. You also wouldn’t know if the data centers of these free hosts are backed up by power generators and such, therefore you are at risk of losing important data for your website if disasters happen.
Unlike free web hosting that gives you very limited features, paid web hosting offers you unlimited disk space, data transfer, domains and sub-domains and email accounts. On the contrary, bandwidth and disk space will be very minimal if you’re on free hosting. This might result in a slow performance of your website especially when it tries to cope with huge traffic and a high number of pages. Also, you can almost forget about having features like cPanel control panels, website builders and professional shopping carts.
You have control over your website
You are subjecting your website to the free host’s whims and fancies if you host with them. This differs if you pay for hosting; you have more control over your website where you can install forums, scripts and software to enhance your website. You will also be able to know where your site visitors came from through web statistics that are provided by your paid host.
You will not have to put ads on your site
In return for the free hosting, you would usually have to carry advertisements of the free host on your website. You have no control of what these ads would be and not only can they clutter your website, the messages carried could even conflict with the items that you are promoting on your website. On the other hand, if you are paying for web hosting, you do not have to put any ads on your site, if you do not want to.
Paid web hosting should be the web hosting method of choice for various reasons, namely control over your website and the reputation of your business if you go with paid hosting. the word “paid” shouldn’t be a deterrent as the monthly charges are very minimal, as low as $4.95 per month * in exchange for all the benefits that it brings!
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