How Free Web Hosting Works

Free web hosting can work in a variety of ways depending on why the hosting is being offered for free and what the hosting provider hopes to get from giving you free hosting. This article explains some different ways that free hosting services work.


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Register Domain: Get Free Service for Hosting

A domain name registrar may offer free web hosting to customers who register a domain name. This has several advantages for the domain name registrar. First, it is likely that if you need to move beyond the free package because of whatever limitations it includes that you will at least consider upgrading to paid hosting with the domain name registrar, so that your hosting business will be added to your registration business. Also, since it is easier to have all your domain registrations in the same place, they may hope for your continued business in domain names.

Get Free Hosting: Accept Advertisements

No cost hosting is also offered to customers who will accept advertising on their web sites. Having the ability to place advertisements on customers' sites—whether banner ads, pop-up ads, or multiple types of advertisements—means that the free websites can be earning money for the hosting provider, even though the web site owner has not paid for them. See our article on Free Web Hosting No Ads to discover how this type of service works.

Get Hosting on a Sub-Domain for Free

Web hosts can draw attention to their existence with their URL, as well as with advertisements and other marketing efforts. Therefore, if they offer free services to customers on the condition that the customers use a sub-domain, every time a customer's web site is visited, the free host's name is seen—multiple times if multiple pages are viewed.

Contract for Internet Service: Get Hosting at No Charge

When customers contract with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), free hosting is often a perk of such association Besides getting a (perhaps guaranteed) upload and download time, and possibly bundled services, such as digital television and digital phone service, ISPs often offer disk space for web building. The space is usually small and limited to personal use (i.e., not commercial). For example, Comcast offers Personal Web Pages for each email account name. It includes features like a File Manager for storing files online and a website builder. It is possible to create photo galleries, stand-alone  free website pages, blogs, Widgets are available for a calendar and guest book, for example.

Specialized Free Hosting Services

Software developers may offer hosting at no cost for customers who use their products. WordPress is an example of a blogging software that provides free subdomain hosting to bloggers as one possible approach. Apple's Mobile Me program offers free Photo Gallery hosting. Somewhat similar is a service like Skitch provides—a software application to edit, mark-up, and glamorize images, and a website where one can host one's material. See our article on How to Choose a Free Web Hosting Service to find the right host for your site.

Related Article: Free Web Hosting Defined >>

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