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Virtual Hospitality - The Quest For Free, High-Quality, Webhosting

By Philip Naudus
Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Launching a website is the crucial step that will transfer your site from residing on one computer to

being spread across the web to appear upon thousands of monitors throughout the globe. However,

many shrink from the very thought of web hosting, looking upon it as an expensive, time-consuming

process. Although this is true with many web hosting providers, you can obtain ad-free, high-quality

web hosting... at absolutely no cost to you.

In the process of writing article, I launched over twenty websites with various free web hosting

providers. I discovered that there are literally hundreds of companies that provide free web hosting. To

my disappointment, most have poor service.

Nearly every provider placed annoying advertisements on each of my pages, promoting cigarettes and

other products that my visitors would think that I endorse. Even when the advertisements were for decent

products, their flashy animations detracted greatly from the content of my site. (Hint: With Internet

Explorer, if you visit a site with distracting animations, press the "escape" key. This will usually stop


Another disadvantage of most free web hosting services is that the providers often sell their clients'

email addresses to SPAM companies. Ever since I began registering for free web hosting, the amount of

SPAM I receive has tremendously increased. One hosting company offered to sell me a Master's Degree

- for a "low fee" I could get a M.A. in only five days - no studying, classes, or even a highschool

diploma is required. Another email "invited" me to a birthday party for the CEO's son, with party favors

including a free 30-day trial for their web hosting service.

Utilize Your Resources

If you use either AOL or AT&T for your Internet service, you have free access to high-quality, ad-free

web space. You don't have to pay an extra fee or go through the hassle of registering for free web

space because it's already included in your service plan.

For AOL users, enter AOL keyword: FTP. AOL provides five megabytes per username, totaling 25


Your web address will be (

For AT&T users, visit ( AT&T gives you two addresses

at which your site can be reached: ( and

( ).

The Competition...

I ranked 20+ free web hosting companies from tremendous to terrible. Using a point-based system, I

added a point to their score for every positive service they provided, and each negative service they

provided (such as displaying ads on your site) deducted a point from their score. (Maximum possible

points a company could earn was 20 points) After all this was done, two companies stood at the top

of this list - whose peerless scores far surpassed the scores of any other company! Earning 18 and 14

points respectively, these two companies far surpassed even major companies like YAHOO! (earning 4

pts), Lycos (6 pts), and even Microsoft (5 pts)!

#1: FreeWebs

FreeWebs resulted with the highest score, claiming the prize for the ultimate web host. With 100

megabytes of ad-free space, FreeWebs surpasses many paid services! FreeWebs also provides the

following free services:

- Website builder (If you haven't already created your own website)
- Hit counter
- Chat rooms
- Forums
- Guest books
- And much, much more!

Please note that FreeWebs gives you code to cut-and-paste into your website. If you don't know

HTML, simply copy the code to your Clipboard, then open up your webpage with Selida (We discussed

this in the April newsletter. Refer to the end of this article) in "Design Mode." After that, click where

you want the feature to go, and select "Pase in HTML" from the "Edit" menu. And Selida does the rest

for you. It's that easy!

Your URL will be ( They do require that you place "This website is

being hosted for free by" somewhere on your site, but this doesn't detract much from

your site.Sign up for FreeWebs' service at ( You won't

regret it!

#2: Portland

If you desire an easy to use hosting service, Portland Communications is the best provider for you.

While FreeWebs provides many attractive services, it seems to forget the "basic necessities." (like

being able to upload more that one file at a time)

Placing second with a hit counter and 15 megabytes of ad-free space, Portland Communications has a

few distinct advantages over FreeWebs.

First, Portland provides a much more favorable URL: ( It is much easier to

remember, and it even appears that you have your own domain name!

Second, you can upload multiple files at once. FreeWebs only allows you to upload one file at a time,

which I found to be a very tedious process. Portland allows FTP access, which means that you can

simply select the files you wish to upload and return when the process is completed.

Note: FTP may be somewhat tricky for the beginner, so you may want to use FreeWebs or Portland,

depending on if you are comfortable with using FTP. I'd suggest trying both of them, and see which

one you like better. If you decide to use Portland, you can purchase a great FTP client (or download a

free trial) at ( If you'd like to use a free FTP client, you will find one at


If you want to be able to upload your website without a hassle, Portland is the hosting provider for


Visit ( and sign up for their free

service. Note: although the server is in the UK, your site will have a ".com" address.

Fast Url

Some of the hosting services mentioned above provide URLs that are hard to remember. Instead of

trying to make your visitors remember such a cumbersome URL, you can get a Fast URL like

"" You can even chose from multiple ".to" addresses. To sign up for this free service,

visit (, then click "Web Tools and Services," then click "Fast URL Redirect." You

must have a website before you can sign up for Fast URL.

General Note: When uploading your website, make sure to name your homepage "index.htm" or

"index.html." This is because the only way the server knows which page is the homepage is by looking

for a file named "index."

Launching a website is the goal, the dream, and the joy at the heart of every web developer. It is a

symbol of achievement - a sign of accomplishment. Launching your site enables you to reach the

world. Few things can compare with the satisfaction received from launching a website. Once you

launch your site, it seems to pay for all the time you spent creating it... and makes it all worthwhile.

Not only is launching your site free and rewarding, but the feedback received from visitors brings

instant gratification. Sign up for a free web hosting service. I'm sure you won't regret it.

About the Author
This article is a sequel to "Creating Your Own Website," which can be found at href="(">

Philip Naudus is currently webmaster of three sites. His newest site is
href="(">, which is made to help webmasters find the best web

design software.


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