When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
Why? Because word of mouth only gets you so far in the internet era. People discover new businesses—even local business—via Bing, Google, and Yahoo. The days when they'd just look you up in the yellow pages are long gone. If you don't have a sharable website address, your chances of building online word of mouth via social networking plummet, too. In other words, no website, no discoverability, no money. Of course, web hosting isn't just for businesses. You may want to host a personal website or blog, too. Either way, the services here have you covered.
The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options.
However, there are limitations. You cannot upload files of more than 15MB or transfer your free domain name to another host like you can with Bluehost or .tk, although this is likely to be available in the future for a surcharge. Also unlike dot.tk, .co.nf is technically a subdomain owned by biz.nf. While this makes little difference to visitors besides the slightly longer URL, it does mean you will lose the URL should biz.nf ever discontinue service.
If you need a domain for the long term―two or more years―it’s wiser to pay a small fee for a .com domain instead. This looks more professional and is generally more trusted by visitors. However, if you only need a temporary free domain name―for a test site, for example―and aren’t too concerned about appearances, dot.tk provides a simple, free alternative. Click here to get started with dot.tk.
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.