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Vital Reasons to Choose a Professional Web Host over Free Hosting

Date Added: August 07, 2009 04:50:44 PM
Author: Emlv PR3 Directory
Category: Computers & Internet: Web Hosting
 



Vital Reasons to Choose a Professional Web Host over Free Hosting



Author: Amy Armitage


Many now-web-savvy folks will be forgiven for not recognizing the “personal” potential of the Internet right at first. In the mid-1990s, as the AOL diskettes and CDs starting clogging grocery aisles and mailboxes everywhere, it seemed that regular folks were supposed to be on “this side” of the digital divide, consuming goods and visiting portals run by the “real companies” on “the other side” of it.

AOL did as much as anyone to (Warning: Cliché Alert) democratize the World Wide Web by allotting its customers a little bit of then-precious server space for “personal pages.” It wasn’t much space, you had to use their built-in tools and the URL could be a mite unwieldy. On the other hand, it was free, right? (Actually, wrong. You had to have a paid AOL account to get it, so it wasn’t really free, was it?) In any event, it was a way to get your own stories and photos (or, perhaps, lies and retouched self-portraits) online for at least a few million people to see. It was a start.

That was then, this is now

What a start it was. Along with everything else that pushed the Internet forward, including the modern equivalent of dirty French postcards, it wasn’t long before people were seeing the sort of supersonic progress they were used to seeing in computers, telecommunications, movie special effects and recorded music. Then the few paid hosting firms became an entire market segment, and with every rung up the ladder of progress and commerce the tech got faster, the results got better and the price got cheaper. Also, the millions of users turned into billions.

That’s progress. The freebie hosting plans really didn’t have to make as much progress as the paid ones, though, because the market for freebie sites no longer attracts people who want real functionality (now that they have a choice). That is to say, free hosting was for a long time a decent way to get a travelogue or personal photo site up for the world to see. Now there’s Flickr and YouTube and a zillion ways to get pics and vids online without having a website or a host of any kind, and without paying much (or anything), either.

The reasons

So, just what are the reasons to choose a professional web host vs. the free hosting that's available? There are plenty, actually, but we’ll stick with the major ones, in no particular order:

- Professional web hosting is dirt cheap, with many so-called “introductory” plans giving you unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth for transfers, unlimited e-mail accounts, etc. No free hosting gets anywhere close to that, and those aforementioned intro plans start at about five bucks a month.

- You are normally limited to using a certain kind of “cookie cutter” or “template” approach to build your free site. You will face restrictions on the number of pages, their layout, the kinds of media you can use and even the content of the copy writing. You might find your site deleted permanently for some sort of impolitic or controversial subject matter, or for no reason at all.

- Ever read any “terms of use” at a free web host? Your account can be cancelled for pretty much anything that irks, irritates, scares, confuses or otherwise upsets the freebie host. There are no rules of evidence or due process here, folks. If they want you gone, you’re gone.

- Professional web hosting firms have an incentive to keep your site’s server running right, and most guarantee uptime in “triple nine” territory (99.9%). Free hosting plans do not have to guarantee anything and, in fact, expressly do not in many cases.

- With a professional host, you get to name, register and manage your own domain name (URL). This is a very, very big deal if you are doing anything more than posting an online diary that no one reads. Your URL becomes your alter ego, your online ID, your virtual persona. Having a site named something like homepage.googoo.com/users/puffmommy is no way to build your online credibility.

- No matter how you get your free plan—with your Internet Service Provider or through another free offer—you will never have the flexibility you want. You can’t build what you want, stream what you want or even say what you want.

There are very few people who would be better off with a free site than a paid one, including grandparents who just want to post kiddie pics. A free plan can only be justified if the site and its contents are of nearly zero value. If there is even the slightest reason for you to ensure that your site is up all the time and working right, you need to skip a couple of lattes each month and get with the program.

With the incredible amount of disk space, bandwidth and social/economic/cultural cachet that comes with paying for your own domain to be hosted, there just aren’t many reasons not to do it. For anyone in business, at any level with any product or service, a free hosting plan is absolutely out of the question when $10 a month gets you what $100 a month did in the 1990s. The fact is, paid hosting just may be the best bargain in the (real and virtual) world today.



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About the Author:

Amy Armitage is the head of Business Development for Lunarpages. Lunarpages provides quality web hosting from their US-based hosting facility. They offer a wide-range of services from linux virtual private servers and managed solutions to shared and reseller hosting plans.


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