It’s not just a choice of free versus paid-for, it’s a matter of finding the best deal.
If you’re serious about making money online, then you really should consider keeping down your overheads. And while it will probably make sense to go down the paid-for route – hence avoiding ads and allowing you complete freedom of url – you don’t need to pay “the going rate”.
What savvy internet surfers know is that, if you are prepared to put in some time on sites like Google, you can get the best deal.
Many webhosting companies offer coupons giving discounts on hosting. Some are permanently discounted, but most just run promotions for a limited time.
If you do an internet search for a term like “webhosting coupons” or “webhosting discounts”, you will be able to see which companies have the best offers at any given time.
Many companies have partnered with Google or Yahoo are able to offer free $50 or $25 AdWords coupons and YPN coupons, which you can either redeem yourself or sell for a significant amount.
If you are a developer, you may also want to look at shopping carts, mailing lists and a free domain to start with.
One thrifty form of web hosting is the shared domain, where the provider partitions a server into sections and companies have their own little piece of the server with a unique name, but really part of one domain. These tend to be the least expensive, and cost is one of the primary advantages of web hosting, and as such a boon to small, cash-poor companies and new start ups.
The disadvantage is that you have no control over who is sharing that space with you. If one of the other users is a crook running a scam, or an unethical marketer spewing e-mail spam to unhappy victims, the whole domain may be blacklisted or blocked by others.