What Is Free Web Hosting?
What is free web hosting? Learn about what free web hosting is, what the pros and cons of free web hosting are, and who some of the best free web host providers are. Read on for more information about free web hosting.
Web hosting is an Internet service that makes it possible for people to have websites. Web hosting services make this possible by storing and making available on demand the files that make up your website, including both the site itself and any media you have added. In addition, web hosts may provide add-on features that you can connect to your website and tools that can help you create a site. A free web host is simply a web host that provides these services without charge. This article explores some of the features of free web hosting.
How Free Web Hosts Can Afford to Give Away Web Hosting
Like every business, a free web host can only stay in business if they are making money. There are four main factors that makes it possible for web hosts to offer free web hosting services. In the first scenario, the business makes money through advertising placed on the free websites that its customers build. The advertisements may be pop-up ads, banner ads, or a combination of those and/or other types of advertising. In other words, you get some webspace and bandwidth in exchange for allowing your site to function as a sort of virtual billboard.
Second, free web hosts make their practice of giving away webspace possible by packing their servers with many, many websites. This is both why the amount of webspace offered by such hosts is small and why service may sometimes be slow. Some, but not all, free web hosts will make provision for upgrades to allow users who have outgrown their free site to expand into more webspace, more bandwidth, and a variety of other extensions and extra services.
Third, free web hosting often offers you a subdomain, rather than a domain. A subdomain appears before the domain in a URL, so if your free web host's URL is this:
your personal webspace would be
That is, your site is on a subdomain of the web host's site, so that no new domain name registration is involved, and you end up with a long and possibly complicated-to-remember URL.
Fourth, some free web hosts are able to afford to offer you free web hosting by adding it on to another service for which you must make a purchase—sometimes a service that must be renewed yearly, like a domain name registration or an Apple .Mac account, or monthly, like a service contract with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Other web hosts turn the scenario around and offer free domain name registration with a yearly hosting plan.
It is also possible that some of a free web host's income comes from converting free web hosting customers to customers who are willing to pay the monthly or yearly fee for paid web hosting.
Some Free Web Hosting Perks
What do free websites offer? It varies with the site. The following are some possibilities:
- free website templates to help you build your website
- online website building to assist in website construction
- a file manager (allows you to manage your website assets)
- a calendar (various features, depending on the web host)
- blogging (allows you to easily build and manage a blog)
- a contact form (allows you to receive message without giving out your personal email address)
- ftp access (File Transfer Protocol: allows you to upload files easily)
- site statistics (allow you to keep track of numbers of visitors
- password-protection to keep your pages private
- scripting through CGI, PHP, SSI, Perl, Java or other scripting languages, which makes the site more customizable
- spam blockers
- custom error pages (allow you to understand what happened if visitors have a problem navigating your site)
- email forwarding
- free phone support and/or email support
- compatibility with Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Frontpage, or other website creation programs