The Trials and Tribulations of Free PHP Hosting

php-gearsIs Free PHP Web Hosting Really Worth It?

Web hosting comes in free or in paid form. While you may be attracted to free PHP hosting, there are important considerations you should be aware of before you decide on the one for you.

The best choice for you will depend on the terms and conditions of the host, the purpose of your site, and the advantages and disadvantages of the free hosting that is offered.

Free Hosting and a Web Business
It may be a tempting way to start a business with the help of free hosting if you are suffering from low cash flow.  However, the reality is that you may be severely limited because you will not be given sufficient disc space for your business and your control of it will be limited. Also, expanding your business with such limitations will be very difficult.
With free hosting the host reserves the right to display ads and pop-ups on the site in exchange for the web space being given to you. This will be a severe distraction to you customers who will not tolerate the distractions and will be discouraged from returning. As a result your business may lose revenue.
A business installed on a free hosting site will have to fight for the limited resources on the server with other accounts that are taking advantage of the freeness. The business customers will experience difficulty accessing the site because of limited bandwidth, and retention of customers could become a problem.
Another restriction for a business is that free hosting site may not allow the use of scripts like MySQL, or be granted permission for FTP script. Without these your site may not be able to create forums for communication with clients.
Yet another disadvantage of free hosting is that the host may at any time, choose to close your site and there will not be anything you could do about it.

Personal Websites with Free Hosting
If you want to experiment with website creation, then a free site will easily satisfy your hosting needs especially if your funds are low.
If you want to create a website on a free hosting site to share photos and events with family and friends, then the use of free hosting will not be a hindrance to you. Your host will display ads and pop-ups on the site and although you have no control over the advertising, it probably would not deter you from using the free hosting.
For a business operation, the best choice is to select paid hosting, since you are then given an unlimited amount of tools for your business and not a restricted set as when you choose to go with free PHP hosting.

There are excellent sources online that will give information on good paid PHP hosting, and our webpages also provide valuable pertinent information to help you make an informed decision on the available choices.  Our top ten web hosting picks for 2011 are a great starting point for folks, we especially endorse, Fatcow and Hostmonster, however the others are very good as well.

Do You Understand PHP Website Hosting?

What to Look for with PHP Web Hosting
PHP stands for Hypertext Pre-processor and is a scripting programming language intended for the Internet. It is a free or Open Source language that is used to create dynamic web pages. Many hosting companies offer PHP hosting for their clients, in fact almost all of them will. If you are in the market for PHP website hosting, it is critical you ensure that the host can offer support for your PHP scripts, especially the right version of PHP for the scripts that you want to run.

With any form of hosting that you seek, there are basic requirements that must be met by the intended host.

24/7 technical support is critically important to ensure that technical problems are promptly, effectively and efficiently dealt with.
An adequate amount of disk space should be available now and in the future.
cPanel must be available and should allow the installation of shopping carts, MySQL databases, forums, and blogs like WordPress and Joomla.
Bandwidth should be adequate to handle your traffic needs.
Specific Requirements for PHP Hosting
Ensure that the host supports PHP hosting. Many hosts do and are quite knowledgeable on open source languages as a whole.  Look for flexibility and multiple versions of PHP.
Bandwidth available for your website should be known. Be aware of the traffic your site currently receives and anticipate how it will change with your future plans. Your site bandwidth requirements should be easily met by your host.
Inquire on the update frequency of the scripting and any security level applied.  Know in advance what scripts you’re going to want to run on your site or sites.
Make sure that the host applies security patches and fixes as they are released.
Installation of the script service is frequently provided by the hosts. Inquire if that is the case with the host you are considering.
The hosting fees charged should be reasonable and you should not look for the cheapest service (almost affordable is always a good thing). Doing so may put your site in jeopardy since the trade-off for a cheaper service may be reduced or inferior features and services. Deal only with trusted, reliable and reputable hosts (Fatcow, and Hostmonster are our top picks for 2011). Do not consider free PHP hosting since this will leave you with little control over the look and feel of your website and its content. PHP hosting is quite often available at very affordable rates with a shared hosting plan, this is generally where folks new to websites will begin.
If you are looking for PHP website hosting, you should take the time to properly research the web hosting marketplace. Read impartial reviews and consumer reports for information on prospective hosts. Also be certain to access our web pages (and look at our best PHP hosting picks) that have a concentration of reviews and resources that will be invaluable to you as you search for information to be able to make an informed decision on the PHP hosting your business needs.

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