Can you really get FREE web hosting?
Yes, there are hundreds of free hosts, as far as not
having to pay any money. Generally they either cost you in time,
hosting restrictions, or modifying your web pages by adding popups
or other adverts. When looking for free web hosting (especially
on search engines), you should beware that there are also a large
number of commercial web hosts that claim to offer free hosting,
but those have a catch, such as paying an excessive amount for a
domain name or other service, and therefore aren't really free.
How do the free web hosts make money?
The free hosts often make money in other ways, such as putting
banners, popups, or popunders on your site. Some free hosting companies
do not put ads on your site, but require you as the webmaster to
click on banners in their control panel or signup process, or just
display banners in the file manager in hopes you will click them.
Some lure visitors with free hosting in hopes you will upgrade and
pay for advanced features. A few send you occasional emails with
ads, or may even sell your email address.
Are free web hosts reliable?
Generally no, although there may be a few exceptions. If the host
is making money from banner ads or other revenue sources directly
from the free hosting, then they likely will stay in business, provided
someone doesn't abuse their hosting with spam, hacking, etc., as
often happens to new free web hosting companies with liberal signup
policies. If the host accepts just anyone, especially with an automated
instant activation and it offers features such as PHP or CGI, then
some users invariably try to find ways to abuse it which can cause
the host to have a lot of downtime or the server to be slow. It
is best if you choose a very selective free host which only accepts
quality sites (assuming you have one).
Uses for free webspace
Free web hosting is not recommended for businesses unless you can
get domain hosting from an ad-free host that is very selective.
Other reasons for using free hosting would be to learn the basics
of website hosting, have a personal website with pictures of your
family or whatever, a doorway page to another website of yours,
or to try scripts you have written on different hosting environments.
Hints for finding the best free web hosting
Generally it is best not to choose a free hosting
package with more features than you need, and also check to see
if the company somehow receives revenue from the free hosting itself
to keep it in business. As already mentioned, it is best to try
to get accepted to a more selective free host if possible. Look
at other sites hosted there to see what kind of ads are on your
site, and the server speed (keep in mind newer hosts will be faster
at first). Read the Terms of Service (TOS) and host features to
make sure it has enough bandwidth for your site, large webspace
and file size limit, and any scripting options you might need. Read
free webspace reviews and ratings by other users on free hosting
directories. If you don't have your own domain name, you might want
to use a free URL forwarding service so you can change your site's
host if needed.
Recomended free web hosts
It would be awfully hard to recommend any host and
someone not like it, as different people need different hosting
features and have different priorities, and the hosting quality
may change over time. Also some people want free domain hosting
(you own the domain), and others might not be able to buy a domain.
Here are some of the most recommended free web hosts, and their
IllusionFxNet (http://www.illusionfxnet.com/) offers subdomain
or domain hosting, 500 MB webspace for domain or 250 MB for subdomain,
no forced ads on your site, FTP and/or browser upload, CGI and Perl,
PHP, MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, SSI, and FrontPage Extensions,
as well as a Mailing-List. It has "Unlimited bandwidth".
There is also CPanel control panel with most if not all the options
you would find on a paid host: POP3 email, statistics, custom error
pages, and much more.
HostRave (http://www.freehosting.hostrave.com/) gives you a URL
such as http://freehosting.hostrave.com/b/ , and offers 21 MB webspace,
POP3 and web-based Email, PHP and SSI, MySQL database, guestbook
and forum script, and unmetered bandwidth. You can upload via a
file manger or FTP import. Only English websites are accepted, and
there is a text link at the top of your pages. It has about the
best support of any free host, and in fact, maybe better than any
paid host. It's sister site offers slightly different features:
Hp-h (http://signup.hspages.com/cgi-bin/signup) - 50 MB.
Yahoo Geocities (http://geocities.yahoo.com/home/) is controversial.
Many people hate the ads they put on your site or its other limitations,
but it is one of the oldest and most reliable free web hosts. Your
URL looks like http://www.geocities.com/you . They give you 15 MB
webspace, file manager and editor, web-based Email, and statistics.
The bandwidth limit is 3 GB/month, and the file size limit is 5
MB. You can upload several
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