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Free Web Page Hosts with No Banner Ads?

Looking for free web site hosting with no annoying pop-ups, pop-unders, buttons, banners, headers or footers? And as well as this, you'd like 99.8 percent up-time, fast servers, access to the cgi-bin for scripts, FP extensions, PHP and MySQL databases and FTP access?

We went out searching for the best "no ads" totally free site hosting space deals around. The results: disappointing, they are very few and far between. Many have come and gone, or as in the case of Bizland, quite suddenly withdrawn their free service and demanded that all their customers begin paying. We took a look at the promotional information for over 300 free web hosting companies, but then also looked at customer reviews. There was usually a major difference in opinions.

There is still a plethora of free web hosts around, but most require that you carry their advertising or offer you a limited time for the free service, usually a year. On the up side of this, many of these companies do supply quality hosting with many services in exchange for having their banners served up on your pages. We did find that many of the non-banner supported free options were hosted on very slow servers. In a number of cases, the server failed to respond at all!

How do non-banner free hosting companies make their money?

These companies try to survive by enticing the freebie customers to take out their paid hosting space options, which is fair enough. Quite often, their paid hosting options are quite cheap. You'll find that if you utilise this kind of free site hosting, the services available are rather limited and you'll need to pay for things like Front Page extensions and access to the cgi-bin for scripts. The other way that they survive is through regular newsletters containing offers from companies that pay them for the ad space.

Strategies in using non-banner supported free hosting options

One of the common patterns for these companies is that when they first set up shop, customer support is fantastic, server response times are great, shared scripts function well and file transfer interfaces are reliable. But as time goes on, "gold fever" hits, and people begin flocking to these companies with inevitable results - things start slowing down and falling over.

If you do find yourself in the position of needing to use free space due to financial restrictions; here's a couple of things you can do:

Buy a domain name first
Register a domain name first - Many domain name registrars give you a stack of free services with each name registered. Costs for domain name registrations can be as little as US$10-$12 per year. One of the services that you want to look for is a domain name control panel and free http/URL forwarding or framing. This allows you to redirect the name as you wish, changing it's destination every day if you want to! If your free web hosting provider goes belly up or isn't functioning correctly, you can move your site to another provider and redirect the domain name to point towards it.

A word of warning - be very careful who you register your domain name with. We recently assisted a client who registered a domain name for a couple of dollars, but had very little control over the name without having paying huge fees to the registrar. It took approximately 2 months to wrest control away from the rabid registrar and transfer the name to a more ethical company. Always read the fine print.

What if I can't afford a domain name?

You could always use a free, no-banner, no-popup URL/HTTP redirection service from providers such as:

http://www.shorturl.com/

http://www.has.it/home.php

http://www.ipfox.com/home.html

The only issue with using these free URL redirection providers is the question of continuity of service. Also bear in mind that when it comes to being listed on the search engines, nothing beats having your own domain commercially hosted, rather than a redirection to one.

Free web space may be right under your nose!

When you sign up for Internet access, it is not uncommon for you also to get some free web space thrown in with the deal. We receive 10 megs of space, including Front Page extensions from our Internet Service Provider which has been invaluable for creating a mirror / backup version of Taming the Beast.net. Email your ISP to check out what is available to you.

Ok, back to non advertising supported, free web hosting options. While we won't personally recommend any as we haven't used them and there were too many conflicting views, the following free hosting directories may assist you in finding some no frills, no banner web space. Remember to read the fine print before signing up for any service:

Recommended free web space directory:

http://www.free-webhosts.com/

This is a searchable database directory of over 1,200 free webspace hosts with reviews and ratings, updated daily. It is by far the largest and best directory of free webspace.

The advanced search is at:
http://www.free-webhosts.com/power-search.php

For listing all free hosts with no ads (currently about 60), go to:
http://www.free-webhosts.com/no-forced-ads.php

Looking for free file storage space?
http://www.freewebspace.net/guide /diskstorage.shtml

If you know of a good free web host that doesn't require their banners to be shown, we'd love to hear from you!


About the Author

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
http://www.tamingthebeast.net
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