All designers like to experiment with fonts, and it can be fun as you can now use fonts you couldn’t before. With the current availability of font services, you have a wider choice than you had before, and you don’t have to worry about how they will render on the web. The font services take care of that. However, they can come expensive.
There are three different plans available. The free plan gives you a limit of 3000 fonts, and you are able to use them on unlimited sites with combinations of as many of those fonts as you like. You cannot download them, and they get inserted into your page from their servers. The other two plans are a monthly payment service and range from $10 to 100 Per Month. The free plan does put a badge on your sites, but it is a good way to go: Especially if you are just starting out as a designer.
Another I looked at is the fairly new addition to Google, Google fonts. This service is free of charge like many of Google’s services and looks like it could be the way of the future. The selection isn’t that great as yet, but they are expanding fairly fast. The loading is extremely fast, and it does have support for the iPhone and the iPad. This means you are up to date with what you can provide. Because it is free and Google it’s probably going to take off at the rate of knots. It is extremely easy to use and there is no signing up to use the service.
Another I took a look at is Kernest. Here we have @font-face, which needs to be embedded just like the other hosted sites. Again it’s got a free option but also a cost of $15 for hosting. This is a one-time fee only. By using the open source server you can do your own hosting, but you do need to know how to set things up. As with a lot of open source items technical skills are required. There is some documentation and it works well once you have it in place. Open source isn’t as friendly to a new comer as items that have been set up to get you to purchase. A lot of the work will fall on you, but it is also a learning process. Some of the fonts aren’t useable on commercial sites so you need to be aware of this and make sure before you choose one that has restrictions.
Last but not least we have Typotheque. This has several articles and a tutorial to help you start on line. You can choose to purchase a web license only and this is cheaper than a web and print license. However, remember if you are branding a new company you will need both. In addition with a web and print, you get the downloads to have installable fonts. This means you can self host. The different types have different prices. This is a European service so the pricing is in Euros, and the fee is a one-time fee.