There are quite a number of people out there on the internet who will host your pages free of charge. Most rely on advertising banners placed on your pages in order to raise the money to keep the service going, but this is generally a small price to pay to have somewhere to display your pages. Because the services are free, of course, you can't really complain if things go wrong. Before signing up with one of these services, check their conditions, because some of them restrict the type of material (particularly advertising) you can place of their sites.
For UK residents we also have a list of free ISPs (who will connect you to the internet free of charge). Most of them also offer free email and web space.
Over 200 free web space providers are listed on this site. Full details of each provider are given including the method of uploading your pages, the amount of space offered, extra services provided and even the language of the site. Additionally, other free stuff is listed - including a list of "Top 100 Free Stuff Sites".
Lists of free sites are all very well but they can't tell you how reliable a service is. Listed below are the services I have personally tried, together with my comments about the service given (as at 2 June 2003). They are listed in no particular order.
This is a rather unusual site in that it provides free web page hosting for business sites - something which is actively discouraged by other companies. 10MB of server space are allocated to you together with an e-mail forwarding address (i.e. any e-mail addressed to your Hypermart address is forwarded to another address). You can set up an autoresponder for your Hypermart e-mail address which will automatically send an acknowledgment for you. In addition to all this you can set up your own cgi-bin and use your own CGI scripts. Other services are planned for the future. Pages are uploaded to your site by FTP. Your URL will be something like http://tafweb.hypermart.net/. The regular newsletter is useful if you are trying to run an internet-based business. You are required to have a pop-up advertising window (which refreshes every two minutes) or an advertising banner at the top of each page.
This company is offering 20MB of disk space (increased from the recent 10MB) in return for putting an advertisement banner at the top of your web pages. The URL you will be given is rather long and difficult to remember (mine's http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/babbage/47/) but this is par for the course with most of these services, and the amount of space offered is more than you get with most other companies. FTP upload is available but there is a file manager if you aren't able to FTP your pages. Other member services include a newspaper and a message board as well as on-line shopping.
This American company seems to have been the model for Fortune City. The amount of space on offer is 11MB (recently increased from 6). Your URL will once again be quite lengthy (my site is http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/4091/). There are a number of member services offered including a file manager so that you can upload, delete and rename your files without using FTP. Other member services include the creation of guestbooks, counters and forms. You also get an e-mail address. On-line shopping is available. Certain types of files, such as executables, are not accepted on your site. No adverts appear on your page, but you must acknowledge, and put a link to, Geocities and every so often a small browser window opens telling users about Geocities.
Tripod will give you 11MB of web space (equivalent, they say, to more than 350 standard web pages - whatever a standard web page is!) and you can upload your files via FTP. Advertising appears in a separate browser window when the user enters your site. There are a lots of user services at Tripod including a Home Page builder, areas devoted to news, healthy living and women's topics, and an email newsletter. Your URL with Tripod will be something like mine which is http://members.tripod.com/~terry_franks/. Tripod puts a pop-up window on top of each page.
This is a commercial site which is offering free space in the hope of attracting paying customers. Their home page says that you get 10MB of disk space. From my point of view, the main recommendation for this site is that you also get access to the cgi-bin so you can use CGI scripts on your site, something which few companies will allow, but of course you need to be able to program in Perl (or adapt other people's programs). If CGI access is your main requirement then I can thoroughly recommend this site. Also included in the deal is an e-mail address (you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, although I am not using this as my primary e-mail address). If you sign up with this company, your URL will be something like http://thor.prohosting.com/~tafweb/, which is my site.
This company offers unlimited space for your web pages. It must be a very popular site as FTP connection is extremely difficult, usually resulting in a message asking you to try between midnight and noon Eastern Standard Time (5 am to 5 pm for us here in the UK which is the expensive time for phone calls unless you want to get up at 5 in the morning!). Even between those times you cannot guarantee a connection. If you decide to use this site, your URL will be http://www.crosswinds.net/london/~username/.
If you still can't find someone to host your pages, there is a good list of other sites at Yahoo, but you will have to check them carefully as some of the listed sites are no longer there or are not accepting new members. In addition, some of the sites are only available for special types of pages.
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