Many people are tempted to use free hosting for their personal or business sites. After a few short months, they usually discover that they need to upgrade to paid hosting. Here are the reasons why you should sign up for paid hosting if you are serious about your websites.
1) Reliability. - You need reliable servers that will stay online 24 by 7 if you want others to take you seriously. Free servers tend to go offline every now and then. These are short bursts of downtime but even then, customer confidence may be affected adversely. You want your customers to surf with confidence and ensure a positive buying experience. If they can't access your site once or twice, they may never visit your site again. Uptime reliability is of utmost importance, especially if you depend on the site for making sales. When a server goes offline, that means zero revenues for you.
2) Courtesy backups. - Paid hosting often offers courtesy backups and this feature is usually not provided by free hosts. If backups are not available, it means that you stand to lose the entire site should something happen to the server. Database crashes are not uncommon, especially for growing sites. So if you can't recover lost data due to the unavailability of backups, then you are out of luck. If you sign up for a paid hosting account, at least you have something to fall back on should there be a database crash. Courtesy backups occur automatically in the background without additional work from you.
3) Professional support. - Free hosts usually don't offer support because they can't afford to do so. If you encounter some glitches on your site, you are on your own. No one will come and help you. With a paid hosting account, you can easily fire up the Live Chat (available during office hours) or submit a support ticket. For urgent issues, live chats will get you the attention you need quickly. For other non-urgent matters like scripting support, you will need to open an email support ticket.
4) Premium features. - If you are using a free hosting account, don't expect any premium features from the host. Special features like Shell (SSH) access and Fantastico are usually available only for paying customers.
5) Unlimited hosting. - Shared hosting are getting really affordable these days. For a small fee of just $10 a month, you will be able to get a hosting plan that offers you unlimited hosting. Unlimited, of course, doesn't mean that you can abuse the server resources. In a shared environment, all hosts are very protective over server resources. But if you use the server in a responsible and reasonable manner, you can host as many sites as you wish on a single account. Unlimited means you get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts, unlimited FTP accounts, unlimited MYSQL databases and more.
6) Control panel availability. - Many free hosts don't offer popular control panels like Cpanel. Cpanel is a user-friendly control panel that you can use to perform all sorts of functions such as creating new email accounts or installing CMS or forum scripts.
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