There are lots of options for web hosting out there: free, shared, dedicated, etc. All these options do essentially the same thing: host your website so it can be viewed by people on the world wide web. The differences are in costs, benefits, and how each is set up. Here are further explanations for each option:
Free Web Hosting
As the name suggest, this web hosting option is free. This option is ideal for someone who is just getting started in creating and running websites or for someone who wants to create a website just for friends or family. But if you are at all serious about the success of your website, avoid free web hosting. As you can probably guess, free web hosting lacks many features and most of the time, you will not be able to use your own domain. If you can find a web hosting provider that allows you to have your own domain and provides you with important features, it's very likely that there is a catch (low bandwidth or low disk space).
Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting and is probably the best option for you. As you can guess by the name, Shared hosting is when you share your web hosting space with other customers. Shared hosting providers typically offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space, so you never have to worry about your site going down all of a sudden or not being able to expand your website's content. Most shared hosting providers also have a 99.9% uptime guarantee so you don't have to worry about experiencing any length periods of downtime. The downside to having your own server is that even if someone else's site on the same server as yours starts getting a lot of traffic, it could slow down your site.
Dedicated hosting is when a single server is used to host only your website. This option is primarily intended for high traffic websites and typically costs over $100 per month. You would need to have an IT team to manage and maintain the server unless if you opt for the more expensive managed dedicated hosting, where the hosting provider manages and maintains the server for you.
Which is the Best Option For You?
That depends – what kind of site do you have? Chances are, if you're just starting out, you do not have a high-traffic website and don't need dedicated hosting so we can easily rule out that option. If you have a personal blog or website intended to be seen only by your friends or family, free web hosting is your best bet. If you are starting a website intended to be seen by everyone, shared hosting is your best option. Once your site starts receiving a lot of traffic and outgrows the shared hosting web space, you can think about switching to dedicated hosting.