Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Free web hosting: the pros and cons

The price of setting up a website can vary from being very cheap, to extremely expensive. If you set up your own website, rather than paying a web designer to do it for you, there are basically two costs that you will need to consider: the domain name and the web hosting. Domain names are fairly cheap, usually under £10 for one or two years. The price of web hosting can vary considerably, depending on ‘who you go with’ and ‘what you want included’.

Paid web hosting currently starts at around £2 per month. There are a number of companies that offer free web hosting, but before you rush to sign up, it is worth looking carefully at their restrictions and seeing whether their plan would meet your website’s requirements.

Understandably, most people do not want adverts to be placed on their websites, so this restricts the choice of which free web hosting companies to use.

With free web hosting you may need to download an ftp program in order to transfer your files to the Internet. If you are using Microsoft Windows, I recommend FTP Commander, which is available for free from the website

When deciding whether to use free web hosting, you should consider questions such as:

  • Does my website need to submit information (for example, using a ‘contact us’ or ‘registration’ form) or use forums – if so, you may need to choose paid web hosting to get the ability to host these features.
  • Does my website need to upload large picture or video files – some free web hosting providers have restrictions on file sizes.
  • Do I need an email account facility – not all free web hosting accounts include this option.
  • Do I require a custom error page to be displayed if the page required is not there - not all free web hosting accounts include this.

When deciding, look on the Internet for reviews that have been written about the web hosting provider that you plan to use before signing up – sometimes you can find that unacceptable ‘downtime’ can be a problem. Click here to see some reviews of free web hosting providers.

Here are a few free web hosting providers that are worth checking out:

Good luck. You can find more information at our website: