Web presence is essential to all businesses. To establish a web presence, you'll need a website, and for it to go and stay online it needs a reliable web hosting service.

So what is reliable? Does "paid hosting" means better, more reliable service?

Not necessarily true.

A lot of times, free web hosting and paid hosting offers the same security, network bandwidth and port speed. The only difference is the hosting features included. These features include additional disk storage, data transfer, more scripting support, more email accounts, etc.

For a business opening a new website, or for any regular website, the disk storage and data transfer offered by a free web hosting service would be sufficient. It takes time to grow a website and accumulate enough visitors to max out the storage and/or data transfer limits of a free web hosting package. You can always upgrade your service from the free web hosting to paid hosting when the time comes.

Most small businesses do not need more than 5 email accounts. The more accounts you have just means the more time you have to spend managing them. Many free web hosting providers offer email aliases (or email forwarders) that allows you to create the illusion of having many different email addresses but in fact all emails to these aliases are redirected and managed by one account.

Unless you are planning on using applications that require advanced scripting support (ie. a content management system, an e-commerce shopping cart, etc.), your web files will simply be of HTML and image files. HTML and image files do not require advanced scripting support - any free web hosting services will do.

In conclusion, unless your website require the specific features offered by the paid hosting plans, free web hosting services might be all you need and especially if you are aiming to save on money without compromising on the performance.