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Free Web Hosting Defined

What is free web hosting? How does it compare to cheap hosting? Is it possible to find a free web host with no ads? This article discusses the pros and cons of free disk space versus cheap web space.

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Web hosts provide a service that allows you to have a website on the internet. I like to think of it as online storage units. The data can be hosted on fast servers for a monthly fee, or for free on overcrowded - slow servers. Free hosting is very popular because of the easy access it provides beginners to build their first website.

Why is it Free?
Most free hosts make money by selling ads on your website. Everything from banner ads to pop-ups can generate revenue on user websites. Some free hosts get a little carried away, like one I have used that has 2-3 pop-up ads and several annoying banners. This may seem annoying but hey, it's free.

Another reason they can give it away free is that you are sharing a server with sometimes up to 100,000 other people. This overcrowding limits the amount of storage space and bandwidth transfer that a free host can provide. Most of the popular free hosting companies offer only enough space to have a small personal website. The good ones have paid upgrades available so you can graduate to paid hosting when you are ready.

Pros and Cons of Free Hosts
Besides the obvious benefit of building a website for free there are other reasons that free hosting is a good option. What about a website for a school play or a birthday party? After the event is over, the website is useless. This is a good place for a free hosted website. Since most paid hosting plans have a one year term, free hosting is a good choice for short-term sites.

Some find the anonymity of free hosting useful when building sites that require secrecy. This can be a downside as well since you are sharing a server with thousands of other webmasters. If one spammer or scammer gets blacklisted or banned for questionable actions - it can effect everyone on the server.

What about Domain Names?
Free hosts most often do not include a domain name. Your website address with a free host usually looks something like yoursite.20m.com or like http://bob.20m.com. These are called sub-domains and are not easy for your users to remember the address. Some will let you upgrade to your own .com domain name, but most of them require upgrading to a paid hosting package first.


Related Article: What's Shared Hosting? >>

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