So you have decided to build your own website online.  Now you need to decide whether to go with a free web hosting company or pay a company to host the website for you.  Here are some of the options you may need to consider before you decide to put out the money.
 
First off, what is the purpose of your website?  Are you using it for business purposes, or just for fun? If you have or are planning to invest a sum of money into your business, a paid website hosting company may be included in your business start up costs.  First though let's look at some advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Free Web Hosting

There are a number of reputable companies, including perhaps local ISP companies, that will offer a variety of free web hosting services. Free web hosts usually promise to provide you with a certain amount of space and bandwidth for you to create your website. This may sound like a reasonably good deal. However with all things, there are pros and cons to jumping on the first free hosting company that you find.

Pros:    No cost out of pocket to you. Free web hosting is basically free of charge. Which means you will never have to pay for the bandwidth you use.    This can be a good way to learn without worrying about costs involved. If you are trying to learn to write HTML or want to try different designs, free web hosting can offer a way to become familiar with different formats without any risk to you.    Keep in touch with friends and family. Free hosting is a terrific way to display your personal pictures and ideas, and give your friends and family members a good place to keep in touch with you.

Cons:    You don't have your own domain name. When you have free web hosting, you have a really long web address for your homepage. If you sign up with Xyz Site, for example, your address may look something like this: http://sites.xyz.com/site/mywebsitenamegoeshere . That address can prove difficult to remember and not helpful if you’re trying to make a name for yourself online or get people to know and remember your  business.    You will be disappointed to find limited software options.  When you use free web hosting you get only the bare basics. You will get a small amount of space and bandwidth and you might even get a basic site builder program to build a few pages.   There are usually no backups. Free web hosting does not backup your data. So basically if something goes wrong with your web host company, your files may be lost permanently, and they do not have to replace or recover them.    You will find limited space available. The amount of space you get on your free web hosting server is very limited, and they do not offer you additional space without costs involved. When you use up your allowed space, you have to pay for any additional.    You may have to deal with annoying advertising. Many free web hosting companies can  offer you space at no cost because they use your site for pop up ads on your pages

Paid web hosting

Paid web hosting companies allow you a certain amount of space and bandwidth each month for a small monthly fee.

Pros:    Minimal cost. The price to host a website is usually fairly reasonable and many times less than the price of a soda.    Your own domain name. Having your choice of domain names means people can find you easier. www.mywebsite.co.za is much easier to remember than http://sites.xyz.com/site/mywebsite.com    You now retain complete control of your website. When you pay for hosting you control of everything. If you choose to put ads on your site, you can do that and control the content as well.

Most web hosting accounts include free software that enables you to install blogs and forums, shopping carts, and even manage email addresses.   Space to expand. Paid hosting allows you to change your website features any time.    Web hosting companies usually backup your data.

Cons: Monthly fee.Overall, paid web hosting gives you many more advantages for a reasonable cost.