The categories of free web hosting – revised edition

Inspired by a post of mine on forum and the various posts that followed it. This blog post can be seen as an improvement over the previous post, and I hope it is less controversial than the first one! (more details on this soon)

Seriously, all the free shared and reseller hosting sucks. After careful thought about this subject of free web hosting, and after careful evaluation of my uncountable experiences with free web hosts in the past, I think we (yes, “we”, because this revised edition can be seen as a collaborative work) have got to the best free web hosting definition categories list ever made by us.

Almost all, if not all, free web hosts that are either more than three months old, or have already closed, can be classified into one of the following categories.

A – The host is good, gives you lots of things you wouldn’t get on many paid hosts: good CPanel, good support, fast speeds, support for lots of technologies (PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, etc. etc.), automated installers and all the state-of-the-art things. Now you’re thinking, it seems th best free hosting in the world? The answer is no, and here’s why: you start creating a website on that host and you’re successful with it, you get lots of visits, and you’re happy. But… some day, the host reduces the free plans, goes slow like hell, or worse, all the plans become paid and you must pay, or even worse, the host goes offline forever along with your site – and nobody explains you why!

B – The webhosting sucks completely from the first look: often their website makes it look like it’s a scam, and in fact it is. Slow speeds, overloaded servers, stupid FTP that doesn’t let you upload more than 1 file at once nor files bigger than few MBs, old PHP version with safe_mode on (that is, if you’re lucky enough to have PHP)… do I need to say anything else about this type of web hosts? The incredible is, that these hosts get lots and lots of new users every day, and most of them don’t seem to complain – either because they have never tried a real web hosting before, or because they think that they can’t get best for free.

C – The host offers you a limited plan (like 500MB HD space, 10GB bandwidth) usually as a complement to paid hosting plans and sometimes requires a linkback or some kind of advert on the site that must be put manually by you (under threat of loosing the hosting). These hosts tend to last a while because there are very few user sign ups and the amount of resources used is very little. There is still the chance that they stop free hosting or that they close their doors forever though. Thanks to user f8ll on FreeVPS forums for the idea of this category.

D – The DIY home-made free hosting: slow servers, usually hosted on a free domain like .tk or, or even, the domains. Usually all they have as home page is a poorly managed THT (for those that don’t know, THT is an open source software to manage hosting clients), with few and poor plans available, that can range from things with 50MB space to 5GB (where these 5GB are often oversold). Usually, but not necessarily, these hosts are run by kids in the age of 12~16 years that don’t know what they are doing (but they think they made everything appear like so). I’m talking a bit against myself, as I’m 14 but at least I don’t run a free host (although I know who does).

E – The free web hosting that is run by the typical liar, often a teenager that lives in Philippines. More details follow: The free host looks nice, the staff (or at least a big part of it) know what they are doing, the plans look great and, although most of the times space and bandwidth are oversold, the promises are accomplished. Even the website of the host is on a .info domain. Also, the owner of the host tend to start a relationship with you through instant messaging services like MSN or Skype, if and when he discovers that you’re a teenager like him. There’s however a big problem in all this “hosting paradise”: money, money, money… where? Usually the servers for these hosts are obtained by the host owner through affiliate campaigns, where you get a free VPS in exchange for a linkback, or for a limited time (6 months, for example). I think there’s no problem in using these free VPSs to host personal things that you and only you depend of, such as this personal blog. But, installing a web hosting “company” in these servers is not a good idea, because if the VPS is shutdown (something very common as it is given for free), the hosting “company” disappears along with the users’ sites. Worse, usually the owners of these hosts go opening another host on another server, on a forum with new staff, scam another lots of users and make a bit of money out of advertising, then after a period of time their close again without giving explanations to the users. Over, and over, and over, again.

I have the MSN contact of one of those liars that own a type E host. If you’re really, but really interested in getting it, contact me personally and I’ll give it to you.

In my opinion, the types A and E are the worse: they make you create a good website, then after some months disappear leaving you without website and your visitors (or users) disappointed (or really mad). Also, in case of type E hosts, you may get nervous because you talked for months with a liar, through MSN, where he promised you that your sites would be secured forever and hosted for free with him. Then one day you realize at once that all was a lie.

About the type of hosts that annoys me the most, is also the type E, specially when the owner of the host promises you so many times that your sites are “safe” hosted with their “company” that you believe, then you get in a small depression mood when your sites go offline.

I have tried for sure more than 100 free web hosts, and on more than 15 of them I established successful sites and, in some of the cases, even a “relationship” with the owner of the host (which, I discovered later when I lost the hosting, was another liar). I can classify them all into one of these categories. The B type of free hosts is the most common, and they are also the ones which are online for more time (but that doesn’t mean good server uptime).

I’m looking forward to your suggestions of more types of web hosts.

It were the problems with hosts of type A, D and E that made me loose the interest in web development, web hosting world and free VPS world, at least for now. I prefer to work with more conscious (and mature) communities of other things that interest me more. By other words, I’m tired of hosting freebies and its “world”, and I think it all sucks and could all go to hell, except FreeVPS and maybe (I’m still yet to know) HostingMotive (I do have my bets about this one, but I don’t want to share them now).

And this is the end of a post with 1273 words, which certainly won’t tell nice things for certain people, but I hope that provides a useful lecture to others on how to not trust certain people.

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