Where did all the free web hosts go?
A long, long time ago free web hosts were the coolest thing on the internet and most, if not all, non-commercial websites were hosted by one. You don't hear that much about free hosting anymore so I though it would be interesting to check out what has happened to the free web hosts that I have used.
After digging around in the back of my head I remembered 6 free web hosts I have used. It must have been around the year 2000. The list is:
I have visited the website of each of these web hosts and tried to find out how they are doing today.
- + Reasonably priced plans
- - One of the three plans highlighted on the front page leads you to another web host through an affiliate link
- - Some presented plans are "outdated"
- - Google ads
- - Website is designed as spiderbait (many similar pages, little content)
- - Many links to other websites.
Based on the appearance of the website I wouldn't recommend to sign up for a 20m hosting plan. Outdated plans, 3rd party ads and the links to other websites gives the impression that the website is there to make money on ads and increase pagerank for other sites, not to sell web hosting.
Crosswinds looks like a regular hosting provider now, targeting normal webmasters. Their website isn't very well polished but besides that, they fit right into the overselling budget hosting market. Not free hosting anymore.
- + Quite reasonable hosting plans, maybe a little too cheap.
- - Google ads on their website.
- + A page trying to explain why they are displaying ads (still strange though).
- - Virtual private and dedicated server appears to be available if you go to the sign up form, but only then
- - FreeBSD 4.10? That's ancient.
- + Email-only hosting
- + Ruby On Rails, shows they are trying to follow the technology
Still free hosting, paid hosting from www.prohosting.com as before Reasonable plan, uses free hosting to attract paid customers. Not unlike what they used to have, except the free hosting plan is very limited and probably meant to attract customers to their paid services.
- + Seems to have a devent business plan behind their free offer.
- + Nice website compared to the other web hosts.
Paid and free web hosting. Mostly for the free market and those who want just a little more.
- - Amateurish website
- - $1.99/month, too cheap
- + Reasonable size for the money, 100mb
- + only 2mb on free accounts (so it's not too expensive for them to provide free hosting)
- - 2mb is enough only for very small websites.
- - Blank help page
- - Advertise with us-page.
- - help page is empty and forum page is broken
The website has too many weak points to make a decent impression, and does not give the impression of a reliable web host.
- - Gone
Check out http://vr9.com if you want to see for yourself. I do not put up links to "domain parking/advertisement" pages.
- - Gone
Instead of regular free hosting they tried to pay the webmasters by sharing income from ads on their sites but as time has shown, that didn't go so well. The url is http://www.terrashare.com (currently a domain parking/advertising page)
So, of those 6 web hosts, 4 are still alive, of which 2 appears to be alive and well. The result of this step back to the past can be summarized like this:
- Winner: Prohosting
- Runner-up: Crosswinds
- Uncertain: RedRival and 20m
- Losers: Terrashare and VR9