Why should you pay for a web site when you can get one for free? There are several advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between free and fee hosting companies for your web site: 1. Will you have your own domain name? With free web sites, domain names are nearly always structured in a way that it makes your URL difficult to remember, and you may lose sales as a result. 2. Will your web site allow high traffic volume? Free sites have bandwidth restrictions. This means that after a certain amount of people in a given day visit your site, the page will no longer load and potential customers will receive a message such as "This web site has exceeded its bandwidth limit. Please try again tomorrow". Some free sites provide sufficient bandwidth, especially if your site is light on graphics, but many do not. 3. Will your web site be online at all times? Some servers are better than others. With a free site, you run the risk of downed servers showing visitors the dreaded "Error 404: Page Not Found" message when they click over to your site. Most paid sites have precautions to deal with server failure. 4. Will you have to become a computer programmer? Before signing up for any web site service, find out whether they have templates and easy-to-use site building tools or whether you have to create your pages in HTML code. If you plan to use a program like Dreamweaver or FrontPage to create your site, this will not matter. But if you are not, and you do not know HTML, you need to make sure you will be able to put things on your web pages with relative ease. 5. Will your visitors mind outside advertising and/or popup ads? Probably. Most free sites use outside advertising on all their pages. This is how they make money. Banner ads are usually acceptable, but if you have a page with three or four popups that spring out at unsuspecting visitors, they will be quick to leave and never come back. Find out what type of advertising the hosting company uses before signing up for a free program.This is not to say you absolutely should not go with a free site. Particularly when you are first starting out, a free site may be just what you need, and you can always upgrade to a paid site. For that reason, you should look into a web hosting company that offers both free and paid sites (or just start out with a paid site).