Now, I usually don’t recommend free website hosting, at least not as a primary project location. At the very least, I think webmasters should purchase some shared hosting and own a few domain names. There are a lot of benefits to shared hosting with a reputable hosting provider, but it can be pretty much summed up as “increased control.” As long as you abide by the terms of the contract, you’re free to do what you like – and shared hosts give webmasters a lot more freedom in those terms.
Anyway, sometimes the project calls for a free web host. You don’t have to convince me of your reasons because I still use some free website services, too. Here are the best ones (and even if I don’t like them, the popular ones too):
Google’s Blogspot is no doubt one of the best free webhosts you can find. Its functional: you can easily add components to a template, allow or disable visitor commenting, and even get your own ads and monetize your blog posts. In fact – Blogspot is pretty awesome for a free host. I’ve made many many blogs myself, I just haven’t found enough time to see how far they can go.
Squidoo lets you build single page lenses that can incorporate a lot of text, images, other embedded media, or even cool blogging technology like comments, polls, and RSS syndication. There’s a great community At the Squidu.com forums and a lot of Squidoo-specific resources to help out newbies and veterans alike. Some of these resources can help analyze your lenses, some of them are good sources of backlinks for your Squidoo lenses. As far as monetization, Squidoo is pretty good. Squidoo runs on advertisements like Adsense, and everyone gets a cut of that based on the number of lenses one has and how the lenses rank. In addition to that, users can add affiliate links and even modules for online stores like Amazon that include easily-configured media links.
WordPress is the best free blogging software I’ve ever seen, but WordPress blog hosting is a little bit of a disappointment – at least in comparison to other free hosts or even the benefits of hosting WordPress on your own shared server.
See, the problem with the free hosted version of WordPress is that you can’t monetize your blog in any way. Even linking to other blogs you own might get your account banned and data sacked if the second website you’re linking to is in any way commercialized.
So what’s the point of free WordPress hosting? I guess if you didn’t want to monetize your site at all it would be a good service. WordPress software is a great way to build websites, and the community seems very active and supportive. Heck, the domain even has a tagging and inter-linking system that helps pass pagerank along to related blog posts.
But this lack of monetization seems like such a huge opportunity cost compared to the amount you can potentially earn from publishing online. Even without the income, you’ll still be writing, producing content, and marketing your blog project, so why not earn some money for that time by at least offering related products that a few visitors may be legitimately interested in?
I don’t get it, but I’m an economist at heart – this is why I have to put WordPress at the bottom of the list for free hosting. Definitely check out Blogspot and Squidoo. These are useful resources for webmasters whether or not they have their own domains, too.