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

Written By: Philip Naudus

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

them.)

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 megabytes.

Your web address will be http://members.aol.com/AOLusername.

For AT&T users, visit http://home.att.net AT&T gives you two addresses

at which your site can be reached: http://home.att.net/~yoursite and http://yoursite.home.att.net.

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 http://www.freewebs.com/yoursite. They do require that you place “This website is being

hosted for free by FreeWebs.com” somewhere on your site, but this doesn’t detract much from your site.

Sign up for FreeWebs’ service at http://www.freewebs.com. 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: http://yoursite.port5.com. 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 on you like

better. If you decide to use Portland, you can purchase a great FTP client (or download a free trial) at

http://xenolth.biz/ftpclient. If you’d like to use a free FTP

client, you will find one at http://xenolth.biz/freeftp.

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

Visit http://www.portland.co.uk 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 “clix.to/yoursite.” You can

even chose from multiple “.to” addresses. To sign up for this free service, visit http://clix.to/fasturl,

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=”http://www.xenolth.biz/starterkit”> www.xenolth.biz/starterkit.

Philip Naudus is currently webmaster of three sites. His newest site is

href=”http://www.xenolth.biz”>www.xenolth.biz, which is made to help webmasters find the best web

design software.

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