There are many advantages to having a website. Just a few of them include being able to market your business globally, being able to accept orders while you sleep, and allowing people to receive information about your business in real time.

When you put your site online, you have a couple of choices. You can use a free web host or you can pay for web hosting. Your web host is the company that transmits your site onto the World Wide Web.

Web hosting is very affordable, and even those on the tightest budgets should make this a priority. Here are a few reasons why hosting your own site is the better alternative.

First and foremost, using a paid web host will keep your business image professional. When you use a free web host, you may look cheap or inexperienced. That isn’t the image you want to project to potential customers.

Many providers of free web hosting will display banner ads across their users’ sites. Since they are not receiving revenue through payment for their web hosting services, they need to earn revenue somehow. And so, these companies either display their own ads or the ads of others’.

As a user, you have no control of which ads are displayed. These ads could potentially offend your target market. If, by chance, the ad has something to do with the content on your page, your website visitor may click the ad, leave your site, and purchase an item from the other company instead of purchasing your product.

Many web hosts offer great customer support – to their paying customers. If you choose to use a free web host, they may only offer limited support or no support at all. If you have trouble transferring files or something of that nature, you may be left to figure it out by yourself. This can cause a lot of frustration.

Depending on the company you purchase your web hosting from, various features and benefits will be included. Some common features and benefits include message boards, online photo albums, blogs, shopping carts, and more. These items may not be included in the free web host plans.

When you pay for your web hosting, your web host company will guarantee the amount of time your website will be up and running. Usually, the guarantee rate falls between 95 and 99 percent. Free web hosts do not guarantee how much “up time” you will have. If your website is only up 50% of the time, you are potentially losing 50% of any traffic you send to your site.

As you can see, paying a small monthly fee to a web host is well worth the money. You can find web hosting for under $4 per month. Some companies will allow you to host unlimited sites for under $10 per month.