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Free Web Hosting

What is free web hosting? Is free web hosting really free? What can you expect to get with free web hosting? This article has information on how free web hosting works, where to start in seeking free web hosting, and what to look for in a free web hosting company.

The free web hosting that will suit you best is the one that will provide the features you need for your purposes. While some people want free hosting for a blog, others want to post pictures, create a business website, or plan an event. This article discusses the choices involved in finding the free web hosting that you need.

How to Get Started in Seeking Free Web Hosting

Whatever your considerations in choosing free web hosting over paid services, you will likely face certain limitations with a free web hosting service that you would not face with a paid service. The limitations often fall into these areas: limitations in storage space and bandwidth, less favorable terms of service, limited support options and reliability, limited extensibility, limited control, and limited functionality. Sometimes some of these limitations can be addressed by paid upgrades, sometimes WYSIWYG. Let's look at each of these areas to clarify what you should look for in making your decision.

Capacity

The two areas you want to be sure to check here are storage space, usually measured in MB (megabytes) or GB (gigabytes) and bandwidth allowance, which is usually measured in GB/month. Free sites vary widely in the amount of space they offer to customers. Some ask you to be content with 100 MB, while others offer unlimited space. The use to which you'll put the site is important to think about in considering bandwidth. If the site will require frequent uploads or provide material for others to download, be sure to include this in your bandwidth estimates.

Terms of Service

The most important elements of the terms of service to check are the termination rules, the availability of a backup, and the license to your work. The fact that a free web hosting site can close down your site and terminate your account at will doesn't mean this will happen: but consider whether - given the nature of your site - this is a restriction you can live with.

Knowing your site is backed up is a great stress-saver, so do check to see whether this service is provided. And as for the license, it may explicitly recognize your sole right to the material you create and post - or not. Web hosts not only wish to license your material to use it to promote your site or their service, but they may also establish their right to modify or adapt it in any way they wish. My advice is to think long and hard before you accept any such terms.

Support Options and Reliability

In a day and age when some free web hosts are claiming "99.9% uptime" and 24/7/365 support, you might want to be a bit wary of sites that are shying away from such claims. Free sites often have less support available, but check to see if the support they have is limited by hours, by being only through email rather than by phone, or only through a user forum. Also, check both on the site and through a search for signs of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These can help you know what kind of experience you'll get in a way that the numbers can't define. The adjective fly-by-night has modified the noun phrase free web hosting on more than one occasion. You don't want to find out about this through personal experience.

Limited Extensibility

Another consideration is whether you can upgrade your service if or when you need to: if there's a paid expansion available, it might quell your concerns about having to switch hosts if your site grows beyond its initial size. If you're going to have to be forced into a choice of paying for a bunch of services you don't need or migrating your site to a different web host, you might want to rethink your options.

Limited Control

This refers to such things as having banner ads, pop-up ads, and/or AdSense or other ads all over your site. Not only can they be an annoyance to you, they can affect the look and feel your site presents to your friends, clients, or customers. Depending on your purposes, this could be immaterial or crucial. You may also be limited in the templates available, and other features associated with the type of web presence you're trying to build - make sure to check the features that will be most use to you before signing on the dotted line.

Limited Functionality

Functions such as a web-builder, CGI support, email accounts, MySQL database support? Are their filetype limitations on what you can post? Is the file size that can be transferred? All of these restrictions may or may not affect you now, but they're worth considering for your possible future use, as well as your immediate needs.

Related Article: Ecommerce Web Hosting >>

 
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