Free Hosting is a great way to start your first website. Later when you are used to creating and updating websites you can consider whether paid hosting might be more suitable for a long term professional internet presence.
Historically there were a large number of free webhosts in the mid to late 1990s but most of those have ceased doing business. At that time they offered up to 15MB of space (a wholly inadequate amount of space by today's standards) The companies made their money by placing adverts on the free websites which somewhat spoiled the websites themselves, mind you the websites were often gaudy affairs with flashing text, animated images as amateur webmasters tried out the new media.
These are some of the most well known of the free webspace providers from this era:
- Geocities (1994 - 2009) - 15MB
In 1997 it had one million member websites and was the fifth most popular website that year. Yahoo Geocities
- Angelfire (1996 - still in business)
Part of Lycos offering 20MB of free space. Angelfire
- Tripod (1992 - 2009 in Europe) - 20MB
Part of Lycos, still in business. Tripod
More information: Comparison of free hosting services
Today there are many free webspace providers with varying service levels (up time) however the following services are popular and worthy of consideration:
Wix Free, Paid versions (Freemium model)
Weebly Free, Paid versions (Freemium model)
Jimdo Free, Paid versions (Freemium model)
Byet.host Free, paid versions (Freemium model) - 1GB
Byet gives you the choice of your sub domain yoursite.byethost.com, or you can use your own domain registered at any domain registrar.
- More information: Free Web Hosting with cPanel+ no ads (Byet.Host)
Neocities Free - 10MB (that's right!)
- More information: NeoCities — The Free Place to Code Your Own Site from Scratch
Biz.nf Free, paid versions (Freemium model) - 1GB
The free service does not provide a webpage builder, but you can host a wordpress or joomla blog. Webpages can be created offline using your preferred html or text editor and uploaded by ftp. Biz.nf includes a free .co.nf domain name (see article on free domain names)
FreehostingEU Free, paid versions (Freemium model) - 1GB
The free service allows you to host a wordpress or joomla blog. Webpages can be created offline using your preferred html or text editor and uploaded by ftp. FreehostingEU includes a free .eu.pn or .me.pn domain names (see article on free domain names)
Geocities.ws Free, paid versions (Freemium model) - Unlimited space
A successor to use the Geocites name and it also maintains an archive of old geocities.com webpages as they were at the time yahoo geocities ceased business.
The free service does not offer a website builder, but only a basic html editor. It does however offer ftp so if you are able to create your pages off-line you can quickly upload and make the pages live on the internet.
Pros and Cons of Free Hosting
- No need to have a domain name
- Protect your privacy, since not included on whois registration records
- Use of basic free hosting without own domain name can be considered unprofessional
- Reliability issues of free hosting (you cannot demand a certain service level if you are not paying anything!)
If you are not conversant with HTML, css and the mechanisms of webpage construction then consider Wix, Weebly and Jimdo.
Wordpress and Joomla Content Management Systems (CMS) do have learning curves, so be prepared to spend some time getting to know how to use the Website creation tools.
Byet.host, Neocities, Biz.nf and Geocities.ws are essentially offering you just the webspace... you need to know how to create the webpages to occupy the space, they can be as simple or as complicated as you wish.