Types of Hosting - Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting service


Free web hosting service is usually advertisement-supported and of limited functionality. Free web hosts will either provide a subdomain ( or a directory ( In contrast, paid web hosts will usually provide a Second-level domain along with the hosting ( Some free hosts do allow use of separately-purchased domains. Rarely, a free host may also operate as a domain name registrar, but their registry services are usually more expensive than others.




Features and limitations

A few free web hosts have a basic package for free and enhanced packages (with more features) for a cost. This allows users to try the service for an initial trial (see how it performs compared to other hosts), and then upgrade when (and if) needed.

Free hosting may have the following limitations:

  • Limitation on the size of each hosted file
  • Very small bandwidth per month compared to paid hosting
  • Prevents hotlinking of files
  • Do not allow certain file types (for example MP3, MPEG, ZIP etc.)
  • Compulsory placement of the Webhosts' Banner or Popup ads into all web pages
  • Do not provide any uptime guarantee


Monetizing Free Webhosting

The majority of the the hosting companies use free hosting to introduce their services, and as an entry point to their more expensive offerings. Generally they recoup their costs in one of two ways:

  • Advertising - Selling online advertising on the customer sites is generally considered a fair trade - the reasoning is that high traffic sites are more expensive to host, but the additional traffic allows for additional ad impressions therefore covering the cost. For the webmaster, it can be a good trade if the advertising is of good quality and non-competitive. This is one of the main reasons that businesses do not use free hosting for their website. The majority of free hosting companies use this method.
  • Referrals - Using a simple form of viral marketing, these providers rely on the users to spread the offer. The ratio of free to paid accounts is known, and by having each free user refer a number of friends, the hosting provider is able to get enough paid accounts to cover the cost.

Some hosting companies are using a hybrid approaches that mix both tactics.


Methods of giving out Webhosting

A few methods of giving out Free Webhosting to people by Webhosts


Instant Activation

Hosts with Instant Activation usually give very little storage space and bandwidth allowance, and have lots of limitations. The webhosts usually either require the users' web pages to display their banner ads, textlink ads, or popups; or else the users' files to be uploaded through a web-based file manager that display ads to the user uploading files.


Hosts with Instant Activation are often abused by spammers, which upload pages to these hosts to use for Link spamming.


Approved Activation

Hosts with approved activation offer good space and Bandwidth but low on features. Approved applications are processed by administrators hired by the free hosting company who validate the applications depending on the details provided by the users. The main objective behind manual approval is to prevent spam and phishing websites.


Activation time can be as low as few minutes or as long as a week. Different hosts have different policies for Approval and Activation.


Post for Hosting

Some free hosts require posting in a forum. Forum-based free hosting requires users to either reach a certain amount of posts before getting a free hosting account, or be an active contributor in the forum. Forum-based free hosting often work on a system of points where posts give points to a user and can be used as credits toward getting a hosting account or more resources. Typically, the forum where users have to post contain advertising as the hosts way of making a profit.


A typical example of this system would be to post to gain "credits" (points). Perhaps every credit is equivalent to 24 hours or a day. So, if you make a post and get 7 credits, Your hosting account would be active for 7 days. While some hosts allow these credits to be distributed, others do not. However, when they are allowed to be distributed, they might be used as a currency in exchange for services.


Forum Applications

This method is popular, as the hosts can decide which applications to deny and allow. This is common when a popular forum has free hosting as an add-on service, rather than the other way around.


File hosting on Webhosts

Most free web hosts discourage using their services for file or image hosting only with no web page, since advertising is displayed on the web page. Because of this, hotlinking is usually disallowed on free hosts. Some free webhosts will also disallow files over a certain size (for example, 5 MB).


Co-Branding and Resellers

Some services offer co-branding services. These let you brand fixed plans with your own company. Other services offer WHM or other panel reselling. This allows the client to develop his or her own Web Hosting plans and business.