Free web hosting service

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A free web hosting service is a web hosting service that is free, usually advertisement-supported. Free web hosts will usually provide a subdomain ( or a directory ( In contrast, paid web hosts will usually provide a second-level domain along with the hosting ( Many free hosts do allow use of separately-purchased domains. Rarely, a free host may also operate as a domain name registrar.


Profiting from free webhosting

The majority of the hosting companies use free hosting to introduce their services, and as an entry point to their more expensive offerings. Generally they recoup their costs in one of a few ways:

  • Advertising - Selling online advertising on the customer sites is generally considered a fair trade - the reasoning is that high traffic sites are more expensive to host, but the additional traffic allows for additional ad impressions therefore covering the cost. For the web master, it can be a good trade if the advertising is of good quality and non-competitive. This is one of the main reasons that businesses do not use free hosting for their website. The majority of free hosting companies use this method.
  • Referrals - Using a simple form of viral marketing, these providers rely on the users to spread the offer. The ratio of free to paid accounts is known, and by having each free user refer a number of friends, the hosting provider is able to get enough paid accounts to cover the cost.
  • Resell Hosting - This is where someone starts up a hosting company, attracts lots of visitors, then sells the hosting company to someone else once it can no longer support itself. Once sold, this individual uses the money to start up multiple hosting ventures and sells each in turn.

Some hosting companies are using hybrid approaches that mix these tactics.

Methods of giving out web hosting

A few methods of giving out Free Webhosting to people by Webhosts

Instant Activation

Due to the risks of illegal, inappropriate and abusive websites, many free web host services have switched from instant activation to mail confirmation or other means of verifying the account details prior to actually providing service to the user. Some services which have opted to stay with instant activation usually provide lower storage limits and bandwidth allowance among other limitations such as features available due to the risks associated with instant activation.

Free web hosts which provide instant activation are usually the primary targets of link spamming sites, phishing sites and other malicious activity due in part to the ease of account creation.

Post for Hosting

Some free hosts require posting in a forum. Forum-based free hosting requires users to either reach a certain amount of posts before getting a free hosting account, or be an active contributor in the forum. Forum-based free hosting often work on a system of points where posts give points to a user and can be used as credits toward getting a hosting account or more resources. Typically, the forum where users have to post contains advertising as the hosts way of making a profit.

Forum applications

This method is popular, as the hosts can decide which applications to deny and allow. This is common when a popular forum has free hosting as an add-on service, rather than the other way around.

File hosting on free webhosts

Many free web hosting services discourage the use of their free web hosting services for file or image hosting only in which no web page is established or setup resulting in the use of bandwidth due to hot linking of files with no revenue gain to the service provider in the case of advertising supported services. As a result, hot linking or remote linking or inclusion of many image, media and download file formats is disabled or not permitted on many free web hosting services.

Other common limitations on file hosting limits on free hosts are limits on file size, for example no files over 5 MB or file types such as programs or large media files such as MP3.

This has resulted in the growth of free hosting services dedicated to image hosting, video hosting and general file hosting which permit remote hotlinking of files and larger file formats.

Co-branding and resellers

These let you brand fixed plans with your own company. Other services, offer WHM or panel reselling. This allows the client to develop his or her own web hosting plans and business.

Some customization commonly afforded to the co-branding or reseller owner would be the ability to set service quotas, to add, enable, disable or remove features of resold accounts, custom reseller or co-branded website, private label DNS and backend services among other items to differentiate the individual's service from the parent company of which they are a reseller or co-branded provider.

The key difference between co-branded and reseller services is the level of customization afforded to the individual setting up their own free hosting service and the level of autonomy afforded to the individual service owner.

See also

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