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Information about the
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When I do a search there are a LOT of free hosting services why do you list only a few?

That is very true, there are a lot of free hosting services. We actually attempted to test a little over 100 services.

The ones we have listed are the only ones that we were able to create an account and upload our evaluation page. We started out listing about 20 groups out of the 100+ sites reviewed. That list has continued to shrink as groups block or remove our account for various reasons.

Sadly some of the groups looked like potentially good locations to host a site. However, if they would block our Evaluation Page (usually in less than a week) for whatever reason. We have to wonder how likely it is that they would block someone building a more complex / detailed site? Thus we have removed those groups from our list as well.

The others were eliminated for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Collecting billing information to create a free account. If the service is free there is no need to collect that information (this includes asking for physical address and/or phone number).
  2. No free sub-domain. If the service is free the group needs to provide a way to access the page without the need to purchase a domain name.
  3. Forced purchase of a domain name through the group. A few groups even required that THEY become the Registrar of your domain. Not simply change where the domain points (modifying the name servers) but you had to transfer your domain to them.
  4. Forced purchase of other services.
  5. Groups that do not want to be listed. Either by telling us not to list them or by blocking our page after it was active.
  6. Those that wanted us to sign over "our soul" in their TOS agreement. (not really our soul. However there was one located in Japan that really did want to know our *Blood Type* in addition to billing information.) There really were some that had very unreasonable TOS clauses. Including clauses indicating that the group could automatically, without notice, move the site to paid services or blocking the site until one pays.

Then there was one free hosting type we eliminated that, even we think is somewhat unfair to the groups. The "Template Driven" free hosting sites where you simply fill in the blanks of the template (or similar process) to create web pages; No coding required. Some of these sites looked interesting. For some people that type of hosting probably would be a good choice. HOWEVER, that type of hosting is not what we are evaluating, so they were eliminated from the list.



May I recommend a free hosting service to be included in your list?

Absolutely!

Just send us an email FreeHosts@TRoach.Net with the web address of the free hosting group(s). If we have not previously removed them from our list and if they pass our basic evaluation (see previous question for reasons groups were removed from our list) we will probably add the free hosting service to our list.



Do I need to buy a domain name and what is it?

To start developing your pages, no you do not need to BUY your own domain name. The domain name simply makes it easier for people to find your site on the web and has nothing to do with the content or development of your pages. The better free hosting services offer a free subdomain under their domain name for client's use. For instance, with FreeHosts.TRoach.Net, Freehosts is a subdomain under the TRoach.Net Domain.

One might think of a domain name as a master address index card. For instance if one wanted to get to John Smith's house, we look at the index card find the address of John Smith, then go to his physical address.

The Domain name simply makes it easier for people to find your site. However, there are a lot of people that have hosted fairly popular blogs and other sites as a free, or low priced, sub-domain of another group for years. Thanks to the modern search engines it is much easier to find most any site regardless if you own a domain name or simply use a subdomain.

However, if you are going to be setting up a business or a professional endeavour of some type, having your own domain name does give a bit of professionalism to your on line appearance.

Consider a simple hypothetical example using a non-existent company Joe's Raisin Bread and a non-existent hosting service Roaches.com. Just by looking at the company's subdomain and domain names from which web site would you be more likely to purchase Joe's raisin bread?
JoesRaisinBread which uses a free hosting service called roaches.com with the free subdomain name:
JoesRaisinBread.Roaches.Com
or
JoesRaisinBread which uses a the hosting service roaches.com but owns and uses the domain name:
JoesRaisinBread.Com

The need or desire to get a domain name, or not, really depends on what you are doing. Or if you just simply want your site to have its own domain name.

Regardless of what you choose to do, I would still suggest getting the development of the site under way before worrying about a personal domain name. No point paying for something to "collect dust".



I want to have my own domain name should I get it from through the web hosting service I am using?

I can see advantages and disadvantages with getting the domain name through your hosting service.

The obvious advantage with getting it through the hosting service is that everything will probably be automatically set up for you. Plus many groups do offer some very nice discount package deals.

The obvious disadvantage is if you want to move away from the hosting service to another group or even start hosting your own web site. Some groups are not overly cooperative about letting one drop services or allowing you to keep a domain name THEY registered for you to use. (read the fine print very carefully) There is BIG difference between a domain name registered by a group for you to use with your site and a group that registered a domain name to you for use with your site. (as in who owns the domain name the hosing company or you.)

Even though most groups seem to be honest about such things, I will say it again, because there are always a few low-lifes, read the fine print very carefully.

In my case, I have my Domain registered with one company and the site hosted at another. Over the years I have moved the physical location of the web site several times. From hosting it myself on my own computers to using hosting services (both free and paid). By having the domain name registered with an independent company all I had to do each time it became necessary to move the hosing location of the site (for instance because of the web hosting company going out of business) was sign up with the new web host, load my web pages, the modify my domain name settings to point to the new web site location and the site is online in the new location for the world to view without any hassles.

No matter where you choose to have your domain name registered the big thing is to make sure You are the domain name's owner and have control over it.



I registered my domain name, but I am not sure it is really registered to me how can I find out?

The simplest thing to do is look up the information about your domain name on http://www.whois.net or similar service.

There will be a lot of information listed. The important areas that show who is the owner of the domain name are the Registrant and Admin sections. If your domain name is registered with you (or your company) as the owner, the Registrant and Admin sections should show your name, or company name, and contact information. If it has another name or the name of some other company as the Registrant and/or Admin there could be an issue with who actually owns and can control the use of the domain name.

For instance if we look up yahoo.com on whois.net we will find that the ownership of the domain shown in the Registrant and Admin sections is Yahoo! Inc.



Most groups seem to offer Windows or Linux hosting what is the difference?

I hate to state the obvious. But, one is running a Windows server the other is running a Linux server.

There are a lot of individual personal opinions as to which system is better. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. At one time there was an issue that some apps would only run on one operating system or the other. These days most web page development languages and packages are cross platform compatible so which Operating System one uses, for the most part, should not make a major difference to the web developer (there are a few things that only run on one type of OS. My personal opinion for web site development is to try to avoid those software and database packages).

However, if one is planning to host their own web site, being the administrator of the system, then there are differences that one will need to consider. But most website designers will probably never need to worry about those differences.

So as for my lowly personal opinion, as long as the FREE hosting group is offering the services you want, it really does not matter which system one uses.

However, I have noticed that when one moves to PAID services, the Linux hosts tend to be less expensive and often offer more options.



There is a lot of difference with the amount of disk/storage space being offered by different groups, how much space will I probably need?

I hate to avoid the question but it really depends on what kind of site you are building. If you have a lot of pictures / graphics it will use more space than a site that has mostly text information.

However, to get a general idea, consider this bible study section of my site:

http://troach.org/faith/trvbible/webster/biblestudy/index.html

This section contains 2,429 files of which 1,189 are mp3 files (voice reading of each chapter and some commentaries).

The total space required to store all those files is about 530MB.
The 1,240 text / html files (and a few image.jpg files) take up a little over 10MB of disk space.
The other 520MB is taken up by the mp3 chapter voice reading files.

So basically it really depends on what you are putting on your site. If you are doing a lot of text and only a few pictures you can put a LOT of information on your site and not take up much space.

With free services (and paid shared services), even if allowed a lot of space, cpu time, etc., DO NOT be a resource hog. Remember you are sharing the system with others, just as they are sharing with you. Always "play nice" with the system resources so everyone can come out ahead.



There is a lot of difference with the amount of bandwidth offered by the companies, how much bandwidth will I probably need?

It depends on what your visitors are looking at on your site and how many visitors you have a month. Just as with the example with the bible study section of my site:

http://troach.org/faith/trvbible/webster/biblestudy/index.html

If people only view the main text pages and are not listening to the mp3 files then we will not be using much bandwidth.

A lot of the free hosting sites offer between 5-10Gb of bandwidth per month. For most people starting out, and even with some reasonably quick growth, this should be more than enough.



I am building a diverse web site; can I put different sections of my site on different free hosting sites?

I see no reason why you could not. Especially if no one site has everything you need for your various site sections. However, administering a project like that and making sure all the links branch across the web hosting sites properly could become an administration/programming issue.

The big thing I would suggest for such a project is a careful design implementation, for some day you may want to move one of the sections to a different host or consolidate all of the sections to one host. Without a little careful planning, modifying all the cross-site links could become a nightmare.

However back to your original question, as far as having web pages or projects on different hosting sites referencing each other, that can absolutely be done. (as long as the site contents do not violate any of the hosting service's ToS rules)



I noticed several of the hosting sites are in different countries, does it make a difference which country the hosting service is located?

For free hosting the big issue could be site availably. In the political world some countries block other countries internet access to their country. Often that block is a one way street. For instance country A can look at web sites in county B but country B is not allowed to look at Country A's web sites.

The other major issue is site content, different countries have different rules regarding acceptable content. (usually not a problem, but some are, in our opinion, overly picky. Not to mention being very 'thin skinned' when dealing with criticism about issues within their boarder)

As we have stated in other sections a FREE service should NOT need credit/debit card information nor should they need your billing address. The company would only need that information when a person is ready to use paid services.

With paid services however, I would suggest being a little more careful regarding which country the hosting service is located. Not only because of exchange rates sometimes making the service much more expensive; but also because if there should be a problem with the hosting service (especially billing issues for example excessive charges), depending on country, being a foreigner you may have no rights or recourse.



I am having trouble building my site, can you help?

I am going to say . . . Maybe - with some caveats.

First, if the problem is with one of the free hosting services, I have no affiliation with any of the groups. As such if your problem is related to an issue with a particular hosting group's operation, or activities, I will not be able to help. HOWEVER, do not be afraid to tell us about the problem. If the issue(s), in our opinion, seems to be something the hosting service is doing that appears unreasonable, we will add a warning on our freehosts list page. Hopefully, helping others to avoid the same headache(s).

You also have to understand that my regular work comes first. (Sorry, but bills have to be paid. And I have this silly idea about wanting to buy food and eat at least once every week or so.) So responses to questions may take a while. As in, at times, when we are busy a few days. Usually it will not be that long but if you do not get a response quickly please do not get mad or think that you are being ignored.

(Addendum: Sending MULTIPLE messages to ALL/MOST of my contact points IS the FASTEST way to get yourself moved to the BOTTOM of the response/to do list.)

The last caveat is that we do not know everything about everything. I do not know how true the statement is, however, I was once told that if one tried to read all the new information about new technology and new software that is published in one day (just the new things, not rewrites or modifications of old stuff, published in just one day) a person would be reading non-stop for about seven (7) years. With as much new tech and software that comes out all the time that statement really does not surprise me. As a result, there are a LOT of areas I openly admit that I know nothing about.

Please feed free to contact us.

I may not have all the answers. But I am willing to listen, maybe we know the solution. If not, at least, we will try to get you pointed in the correct direction.



I am ready to upgrade from the free hosting, can you recommend some reasonable priced reliable paid hosting groups?

For what it is worth, we currently host TRoach.Net,TRoach.Org as well as our subdomains on http://hostmetro.com web hosting.

We found hostmetro via B2evolution's http://b2evolution.net/web-hosting/budget-web-hosting-low-cost-lamp.php. B2 has several hosting sites listed with a rating beside each. When I first found the site, I happen to be familiar with two of the lower rated companies found on the list. Personal opinion, the companies both got the ratings they deserved. One very low, the other middle of the road. As a result, and of course now being familiar with a higher ranked company, I am going to assume that the rest of the ratings are fairly accurate also. For those looking for new hosting services, I think it would be worth your time to check out B2's list.

Also one important note: On B2evolution.net's budget web hosting page there are some good discount/coupon links for the various hosting companies. However, to get the discount you MUST use the link via the B2 Page.

(As always, we have no promotional affiliation with any of these groups.)



How reliable are the groups you have listed?

The free web hosting sites that are on our list have all hosted our evaluation page for many months. While we do not check the sites constantly, we have been able to access and update our site usually without issues every time we wanted to. (when we have issues with a group, we do update the notes regarding the site. Or if a serious issue we remove the group from the list.)

However, be it free or paid hosting, ALWAYS keep a complete copy/backup of your site on your local system. There are always unforeseen circumstances that could cause an unrecoverable issue on the hosting site. At which point you would have to rebuild your site.

The other issue that would require you to have your own backup of your site; is the simple fact that companies start up and go out of business all the time. If you are using free services the company may or may not inform you before they close their doors.




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Page design by: Tim Roach
Created: 8/20/2014