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What is Free Hosting?
An interesting question from a philosophical perspective... Free hosting is a service provided by companies for either financial gain or as something they are doing out of the goodness of their hearts. Most are obviously for financial gain. The typical arrangement for free hosting is that you are given space for storing your content, and in return you agree to allow advertisements sold by the service company to be displayed on your pages. So, is this in fact free? No, it is really a barter arrangement, but for many of you, it is better than actually laying out cold cash.

Is Free Hosting For Me?
Before setting up your digs at one of these sites and telling the world, consider the following:

  • Read the Service Terms & Agreement carefully to make certain there is nothing in there you don't care for.

  • Visit some sites located on their servers, and get an idea of who their advertisers are. In otherwords, look for obvious conflicts of interest.

  • As your are bouncing around their server(s), how is the response time?

  • Be certain that your content is acceptable to them, after all this has to be a mutually workable arrangement.

  • Have a look at their support pages to get an idea of what it will be like to set your site up. Well written FAQs and support documentation will make your life easier- (and mine if you write me for help!)
For a good many people out there, especially those of you new to the web, these services can provide you exactly what you are looking for: a presence on the Internet without you having to make a cash investment on server space.

How Were Services Selected for This List?
Well, nobody has dropped a large bag of unmarked, small denomination cash at my door as of yet. You, my readers are my homesteading pioneers. Hosting services are welcome to write me to be considered. Here is what I do before recommending a service:

  • I read the service agreement, rules, etc. to make sure I do not have to donate my first born, male child at some point. Another way to look at it is I want to make sure I am not sacraficing ownership of my content!

  • After reading whatever support material is around, I then establish a test site.

  • Once the account is activated, I put the server through its paces.

  • I check for a robust work environment.

  • I compare my experience against what I am accustomed to working with at full service sites.
To make the list, I have to be satisfied that the way the server is implemented is pretty close to what you get at a hosting company that would charge you. After all, you most likely will be donating part of your page for display of their sponser's advertisements.
The List

NetFirms.Com: Fast sign-up and fast servers. Read the review.
VirtualAve.Net: Good service and worth checking out. Read the review.
HyperMart.Net: Established and well known, Get the info you need here.

*** For more information on finding an ISP, check out HostIndex.Com. You can search their database on a variety of criteria to save yourself a lot of time.


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