When you’re starting out as a web site owner, it is difficult to choose between the different sites out there. Does the 99.9% guaranteed uptime justify an extra couple of bucks per year, or is the 99.7% uptime with a larger disc space the better deal? I have tested and designed more than 30 active websites that are out there on the internet today, and have used some of the most popular free and paid web hosting options on the internet. The answer to who is best might surprise you.
First of all, lets get one thing settled right away: free web hosting is a gigantic waste of time. If you want your site to get visitors, you need to stay away from these companies and get yourself a real domain name and hosting package. The fact is, most of these sites have massive amounts of downtime, and the fact that they are going to place advertisements on your website is definitely not a good deal. Additionally, most search engines will place a higher weight on websites that have a real domain name, and will rank any sites listed on these free directories automatically lower. This means that you’re losing out on visitors and angering the visitors that you do get with blantant advertising that doesn’t benefit you in any way. If you’re interested in doing nothing more than the free hosting services, however, you should use 007 Web Hosting, as it is the easiest to use and offers relatively insignificant disadvantages and no pop-up advertising.
Aside from free solutions, most people don’t know that they can create their own website, with a proper domain name URL for only $30 per year, and most of the time, much less. There are a lot of web hosting companies that are giving away their webhosting packages for only $18 per year. You will need to purchase a domain name for yourself from Namecheap or GoDaddy, but these can be as low as $3 for a .info suffix.
The best of these inexpensive web hosts is Cyberland USA. Their service is quick and easy to use, and they offer excellent support for first timers. The service is $18 per year, with discounts for purchasing for multiple years. This company trumps the other available cheap web hosts because unlike most, the navigation on the web host page is incredibly simple to use.
If you want to do more than one website, consider getting a package deal. One of the best package deals is Website Wizard. With their package, you get relatively best web hosting for multiple pages for between $10 and $50 per month. This is a lot more than the cheapest web hosts out there, but the fact is, it’s cheaper to do this for multiple pages than it is to get the cheap package for multiple years. Included in these packages, you get the web hosting service, an HTML editor that is second only to Macromedia Dreamweaver software (and much more user friendly at that), and includes domain name registration. They limit you on the number of pages you can have at each site on the cheapest package, but most users will rarely exceed this limit. This is one of the best packages to get if you are an aspiring artist and you want to show off your pieces or have videos hosted on your website. They offer very large hosting packages which will allow visitors to check out any number of your videos without disrupting your bandwidth limitations that you will see with other packages. I personally host many of my websites with the $49.95 level package, and while it is expensive, I have found that it is worth every penny for the flexibility and the options that this package allows you as a designer.
If you are worried about what kinds of things you will need as a web host and are unsure which package to use, I would highly suggest just picking Cyberland USA or Website Wizard. If you want to compare the services for yourself, I suggest that you pay the most attention to uptime and to the bandwidth limitations of your website. Uptime refers to the percentage of time that your website will appear when a user attempts to visit it. When comparing packages, a guaranteed 99.7% uptime is the lowest I would consider paying for. Most free hosts will offer you the same amount of uptime for no charge, so why bother paying if you aren’t getting anything better? Bandwidth refers to the number of visitors, and how much information they attempt to access from your website. A website that has no downloadable videos or music will require relatively little bandwidth until you get a lot of advertising in place, but once you take off, you don’t want to be hindered by a lack of bandwidth. I recommend getting at least 100 MB of bandwidth because it is relatively inexpensive to upgrade to this level. Once you go over for the first time, you can expect to have to pay a premium for the excess you’ll need when you run out of space.
The items to pay the least amount of attention to are the number of email accounts you get (you can get an unlimited number of Yahoo! Email accounts anyways) and the amount of disc space you get. Again, unless visitors are downloading music or videos through your site, you’ll never use the 100 MB of disc space you get with the cheap web hosting packages.