Ever noticed how most of the advice you receive online about choosing a web hosting plan is all aimed at businesses?
There’s no end to the number of articles or blogs out there giving us tips on how to pick hosting that helps us to make money and serve our customers.
But what if we don’t have customers?
What if we’re not in the business of making money at all, but instead want to launch a new website dedicated to something we’re passionate about, like a hobby or special area of knowledge?
What if the only goal for our website is to keep members of our community, local sports team or church group informed about what’s going on?
If that’s the case, the good news is that we actually have more options available to us for picking the best web hosting plan than our fellow webmasters with money on their minds.
Free website hosting
It’s often the case that those of us starting our own websites for fun -or at least not for profit- have only a small amount of money to spend on hosting that site.
Sometimes, we may want to launch a site but simply can’t afford to host it.
That’s where free hosting comes in handy.
There’s a sizeable number of services out there offering to host your website without charging you a penny.
This is ideal if you just want to get something up there quickly and easily without opening your wallet, though be aware that there are drawbacks to free hosting.
For one thing, most services of this type will often take that website you spent ages designing and clutter it unsightly advertising, usually ones that have nothing to do with the topic of your site.
Even those that don’t will often impose limits on just how much storage space you can have, and normally this is only enough for a few basic words-and-text pages.
Starting a blog
Another option for those looking for a free way to start a website is to start their own blog. This is especially useful if you’re planning to add lots of new content on a regular basis.
Not only is it easier to create a new post from your blogging platform’s dashboard than it is to put a new page together by hand and link everything together, but you’ll rarely -if ever- run out of space on your blog, so you won’t have to worry about size limits like you would with free hosting.
Again, there is a downside here, mainly that you may be fairly restricted over the look and feel of your site.
Start a blog using WordPress’ free hosting option, and you’ll only be able to use one of their templates, none of which offer much room for customisation.
Go with their nearest rival, Google’s Blogger platform, and although the scope for designing your own site is much greater, it’s a lot more complicated, and often requires delving in to all that mind-numbing HTML code.
The easiest way to avoid ads, enjoy greater storage space and bandwidth limits and still have as much freedom as you like over the design and functionality of your website is with a shared hosting plan.
Though you’ll have to pay for this kind of hosting, it’s never usually more than the cost of say, one small cup of coffee on a monthly basis.
A shared plan gives you complete control over how you run your website, all with none of the drawbacks of free options.
Still have questions about how to make a quality website for your community group, non-profit or personal interest? Connect with our experts on Twitter @WebDesignDIY or join in the conversation on Facebook. We may feature your questions in an upcoming post here on Web Design DIY.