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Why should I pay for hosting when I could get it for free? If you asked yourself that question at some point of time – you’re not alone. I’ve asked myself the same thing more than once but eventually I figured out the answer.
Back in 2007 I was just starting my online business and as many beginner marketers I didn’t want to invest any money into that “online thing”. I probably would have paid for a few services if I knew that making money online was a sure thing. Of course I wasn’t convinced I’d ever make a penny on the internet so I wasn’t wiling to sign a year-long contract with a hosting company (or any other service provider).
I did however sign up to an online marketing education program because I had to learn how everything connects but that was my only expense at the time.
The “Free” Hosting
The first obvious thing that I learned about online business – I needed a website. I heard of people using web hosting so I started looking into that. When I saw that I had to spend $10-$20-$30 per month or even more I’ve decided to look elsewhere. This is when I found out about “free blogging platforms” such as WordPress. This was the cheap way (free) to get my own website so I jumped on that opportunity without thinking twice.
Shortly after I started building my first affiliate website on a free WordPress account. It was an affiliate website and if I remember correctly it was in the “weight loss” niche. So I spend a lot of time researching the subject, creating and posting unique content, getting backlinks and doing everything I knew I should be doing. Eventually sales started rolling in. It feels amazing to see your hard work finally paying off. At this point, I started planning my retirement on some Caribbean islands where I’d be sipping mojitos on the beach while making million of dollars. Well those thoughts didn’t last too long as WordPress shut down my site.
Apparently they didn’t like the fact that I was using too many affiliate links and they closed the website without a single warning. This is when the red flags went of for the first time: free blogging platforms are not the solution for an online business. Since they provide the platform and the “free” hosting – they actually own that site and can do whatever they want with it.
This little defeat didn’t stop me and I went on looking for other services offering free hosting. The problems always remained the same: I never really had the full power over my site and it could be shut down at any moment for any reason.
There were also other free hosting solutions that didn’t care much for content or affiliate links, however they blasted the site with their own ads. Whenever a visitor would end up on my article he’d see advertizing for the platform I was using and sometimes some other ads. This is bad for 2 reasons.You will lose visitors who click on those ads and a site like this doesn’t look professional. If you’re a “real” business and at the bottom of your site it says “This Site Is Hosted For FREE. Courtesy Of XYZ Hosting” then you aren’t a real business. Your visitors won’t take you seriously.
SiteRubix (SR) is a free website builder that comes with a WA membership. You can build two sites with a free account and an unlimited number of sites with a premium account. This is so far the only free hosting that I found. They don’t put their ads all over the site and they will not shut you down because you’re using affiliate links. I do have some websites on this platform, however this also isn’t ideal.
If you’re on a budget then SiteRubix is a great solution for you. Besides you can always transfer the sites you build with them into your own hosting if you ever decide to do that.
Besides running my own sites I also made a few sites for clients. And when it comes to clients’ sites I’d like to have full control to everything, at all times. Unfortunately SiteRubix doesn’t give access to the back office with cPanel and I really love cPanel.
The second reason why I don’t use SiteRubix exclusively is that I feel more secure when I deal with a company that specializes in what they sell. SR is owned by Wealthy Affiliate which is an online business training community. That’s their expertise: teaching you how to build and run a successful business online. Sure, SR is great (since it’s based on WordPress) and I can’t complain about their hosting but it is not their main product. Yes, I do have sites hosted and built on SR but most of my sites aren’t there.
One Can’t Be Best At Everything
I get my training and internet marketing help from WA. I buy domain names from a domain name provider. I buy hosting from a web hosting provider. I am building my list through an e-mail marketing company. Every service that I use is separate from the other services because I am seeking the best I could get. There are some “all-in-one” solutions but they aren’t ideal simply because one cannot be best at everything. It’s very similar to restaurants. You can’t have one single restaurants that sells the best burgers, best tacos, best sushi and best pierogies at the same time.
Paid Hosting Solution
Finally, I went with paid hosting. Something I should have done from the beginning. Paid hosting offered exactly what I was looking for. Full control over all of my websites. No ads in my content unless I placed them. Better loading speed. Better support. Access to cPanel, access through FTP and most importantly: peace of mind (most of the time).
I spent almost 7 years with Hostgator until I finally ditched them earlier this year because the company went down the drain. That wasn’t complicated because my new web hosting provider took care of sites transfer. If I am not mistaken they transferred over 20 sites that I owned completely free of charge. Besides offering great support they also offered great pricing and now I pay even less what I paid with Hostgator (and I thought Hostgator was cheap). Their deals were so great that I actually switched from a Shared plan to a Reseller plan.
Every single site that I own or run for clients now has its own cPanel. This is great because it reduces the risk of all the sites getting hacked and I can monitor the resources better. I can also give access to a client (if needed) to their site without letting them go into my account and have access to all of my sites.
In conclusion, if you are serious with your online business you will end up paying for hosting sooner or later. If you want to save a few bucks then I recommend starting with SB for free and moving up from there. One thing I can assure you of, I am never going back to free hosting.
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