Low Cost Web Hosting Services

Finding low cost web hosting services for your website is an important step in your website development. A website host provides you with the space, tools, and support to create your website, along with the email accounts and any other services that you need. When you begin your search for a web hosting company, you will find a wide range of monthly fees starting from $3.95 on up. You need to compare potential website hosts not only on price, but also on the features that they offer.

What to consider when choosing low cost web hosting services:

  • How long have they have been in business? You want a reputable company that has a good service record to insure that your website won't disappear should your hosting service go out of business.
  • Are beginner friendly web design tools provided? When you are just starting out, easy design tools will make your job so much easier. This way you won't have to learn new website design software just to get your website up and running.
  • Are templates provided so that you can fill in the blanks with your own information? Pre-designed templates usually have an easy navigation system built into them, which can make your website more user-friendly.
  • Can you get enough space for your website at a price you can afford? Even though your website will probably start out small, you want enough space for it to grow. At a minimum, you want at least 50 MB of storage and 3 GB bandwidth.
  • How many email accounts will you get? Even though you may think that you only need one, having multiple email accounts will help you sort your email as your business grows.
  • What is their history of downtime? This is important, because when your website host is down, people can't access your website. Quality low cost web hosting services should have a downtime of less than 1%.
  • Do they have tools to administer your website? You want as many tools as possible for the future growth of your website. Even though you may not need it at the beginning, such things as Front Page extensions and FTP capabilities can be important in the future.
  • Do they provide custom error pages? If there is a misspelled link to your site or if someone types in the wrong URL for an individual website page, it is beneficial to have a custom error page that will direct people to your main index page. When people receive a generic 404 error (page cannot be found), they usually give up on the site and search elsewhere for the information that they are looking for. This is why custom error pages are important.
  • Do they provide website traffic reports and statistics? It is important to know how much your website is being visited and which pages are the most popular and least popular on your site. Knowing this information can help you tweak your website to better benefit your customer.

What about using a free website host?

When you are just starting out, free website hosting may seem like the way to go. After all, you can test the waters without having to pay a monthly fee. If you are building a website just for fun, then free hosting is okay.

If you are building a business, then you need to use paid hosting. If not, it will make your website seem more like a hobby than a legitimate business. This will hurt your credibility with future customers.

The downside of using a free website host

Companies that offer free hosting usually get their income from advertisers. Many free website hosts run popup ads or banners on their hosted sites. This means that your website will likely be required to display an advertisement on it. This will undermine your professionalism and profitability. Other disadvantages of using free website hosting include:

  • Your domain name may be displayed as a sub-domain of the main hosting company. For example, your default web address on a free host might end up being http://freehosting.com/yourdomaininstead of http://www.yourdomain.com.
  • If you eventually go to low cost web hosting services, you will lose all of your inbound links and your search engine rankings because they will point to the old website address instead of your real domain name. Unless you keep the free hosting service and use it to redirect to your paid hosting, you'll lose all of your hard work. Basically, your site will disappear.
  • Free website hosts usually do not offer the features that a high traffic website needs. There are also limitations on how much web space that you are allowed, which can limit future expansion of your website.

Your website depends on your hosting service

While you may not be paying any money out of your pocket with a free hosting company, your business will suffer in the long run. Using a paid website hosting service is essential to the long-term success of your business, and is a cost that you must deal with.

Low cost web hosting services usually charge between $5 and $75 per month for hosting. Even starting out, you can probably find a way to pay for your hosting costs. When I began my first website, I was barely surviving on the wages that I made at my job, but was able to find ways to budget for my website hosting. Try to find extra money in your budget, take out a small loan, or ask family or friends to back you for the cost of hosting services. It is essential to the success of your business.

Comparing low cost web hosting services

It is a good idea to compare low cost web hosting services before you make any decisions. The most important thing to consider when choosing a website host is whether or not the host will be sufficient as your business grows. Look at the entire picture before making your decision and take your time to select the best website host for your needs. It will be worth your time in the long run.

Once you choose a web hosting service, record your hosting agreement, the services you will receive, payment methods, and contact information.

If you are looking for low cost web hosting services, I suggest that you check out Site Build It. Don Coggan describes it best as a "subscription to a suite of all the services needed to build a successful online business." SBI offers domain name registration, hosting, website templates, newsletter publishing, traffic stats, search engine optimization tools, and so much more. More importantly, the hosting comes with a money-back guarantee, and you get to keep the domain name.

In our next lesson, we will discuss how to begin setting up and designing your website.

Next: How to Make a Website - The Design Process
Previous: How to register a domain name

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