There are a number of webhosting options available to people, organizations, and companies seeking a home for their website.
Webhosting options are available for every budget, from the most inexpensive -- free! -- to top of the line, with a full complement of services and attentive customer service.
The basic questions come down to free versus paid webhosting services.
Free webhosting services
Free webhosting services are ubiquitous on the Internet. These usually offer limited storage space for your online files, including those needed for your website display. These free plans also don't usually offer domain names or email mailboxes. The lack of domain name availability is not usually a big deal.
It is easy enough to buy your domain name from another site and redirect it to the URL of your free hosted website. And you can always get a free email address to use, or purchase email services separately with your domain name. These free plans are usually very "no frills."
The webhosting company makes its money by including banner advertisements on all of your webpages. For some personal website users, this is not a big deal. For a business or organization, these banner advertisements can be a huge problem. The ad content may conflict with your site's message.
For some of your customers, they may think the ads look unprofessional. The free webhosting services also usually include a link to the webhost on your pages, making it clear that your site is hosted by a free hosting company; there are people who will judge your site based on this fact.
Paid webhosting services almost always offer more services as part of their packages In addition to web storage space for your files, there is also customer support, usually by email or chat.
There is almost always more space available to paying customers. Paying customers may also enjoy tech help by email, phone, and chat. You may also be able to buy your domain name and email support at the same time.
The webhosting company does not have to add banner advertising to your website in order to make money because you pay a fee to use their services. There is usually no requirement to have a link back to the hosting company on your website.
In general, this makes your site look more professional. There are people who will judge your site to be more reputable and more professional because of this. Paid packages may also offer a higher level of customer service; after all, you are a paying customer.
If you are not happy, you are liable to take your business elsewhere. The company has a vested interest in keeping you happy if you're a paying customer. You may find customer service more likely to work with you to resolve your issue if you're not on the free plan but on a paying web service plan.
As a webhosting customer, your first decision is whether or not to go with a free or paid webhosting package. There's more than just cost involved though. There's also the level of service provided, both in material things like file storage and traffic allocations, and non-material things, like tech support and email support.
Depending on your needs, the inclusion of advertising may or may not be a big deal to you, although you should be mindful of the fact that it may be important to your online visitors.