If you have a charity website, you are often tempted to look for volunteer help and deep discounts to maintain fiscal responsibility. There are some things, however you have to pay for to make sure that there are no breaks in service. Web hosting is one of those things. It is great to get a website that is hosted free, or a local business provides you, but then no one is accountable should your site go down, or the person granting the service leave the company. You may have to start all over.
It is difficult sometimes to determine which is the best website hosting for you. There is an article resource at WebHostingRating.com that helps you sort it all out. Look in particular at the articles concerning the benefits and pitfalls of cheap webhosting services. I, for one, dissuade people from using free hosting services. The primary reason is because there is no guarantee that your site will always be up, as stated prior, or it will have the bandwidth to support your traffic. The other reason is something I have not thought about but is highlighted in an article. Sometimes “free” sites are breeding grounds for malware. Free hosts are trying to combat it by limited the number of accounts an individual can have, but it is difficult to police.
Also watch for hidden fees. There are many charges, such as setup fees and upgrade fees, that you may have not factored in. They may or may not be in the fine print. You may think that you need no more than basic hosting, but the minimal package may not have enough bandwidth to host a basic website. Email addresses are another way to incur additional charges. You may only have one mailbox unless you pay extra. There may be no toll free number for support. This may be okay if the host is local, but not if it is in a foreign country.
It might save you some headache researching a little bit first before venturing out with your own spot on the web. Don’t always be seduced by the lowest initial price. Your time, or the time of your volunteers, is also money. There are bargains to be had, but look for value over the most rock bottom, especially if you cannot provide your own tech support.