Anitra's Favorite Free Webspace Providers
Recommendations from an activist who has built almost forty sites for very-low-income groups and individuals.
General All-Purpose Warnings
Always have your own backup of your own pages and all related files. This protects you from server crashes, and from misunderstandings with server administrators. Almost every free server is fast on the trigger to delete sites that are accused of copyright infringement or other terms-of-service violations -- they usually ask questions later, if at all.
Read the Terms of Service before you start uploading your files -- and check them now and then afterward. Almost every server reserves the right to change its terms without notice.
Caveat Emptor -- Let the buyer beware. If you are getting something for free, divide your wariness by zero. (Check with Dr. Wes Browning: this yields infinity.)
Do everything you can to protect intellectual property rights -- but don't put anything up on a webpage that you aren't willing to see on the back of cereal boxes across America the next morning.
- Netscape: http://home.netscape.com/sitecentral/
Fast and flexible site-builder. FTP capability, or browser upload. Narrow, tasteful server-banner, no ads at all at all. Dependable as all heck.
My Netscape site
- Hypermart: http://www.hypermart.net/
For experienced site-builders: no site-builder tools yet, although they may have them someday. You will get a big huge popup, by default, so you might as well not opt for the banner too. Dependable and professional. I like the subdomain URL style.
My own sites here:
- Dencity: http://www.dencity.com/ Use online page creation and file management, or use FTP. One small footer icon at the foot of each page, linking back to the host. No ads. Seem dependable. I've only had one problem with them: occasionally I get garbage characters in a file when I upload it. Retries eventually beat it out.
My Dencity site
- Freespeech.org: http://www.freespeech.org/
No ads whatsoever. You can't sell anything at all either. Geared mainly for video/audio sites. You are pretty much on your own as far as tech support goes. The ONLY access is by FTP and the FTP server is down a lot, so if you do frequent updates you'll be frequently annoyed. But the site stays up and accessible, in my experience.
My Freespeech.org site
- Tripod: http://www.tripod.com/
Yes, the popups are annoying. But the popups can be replaced by a banner, and your own banner can be entered in the rotation; the server is dependable (if a little slow at times and cosmically slow in answering tech-support questions); they've got great resources and community.
My sites here:
- Angelfire: http://www.angelfire.com/
Now that Angelfire has true FTP capability, three-level subdirectory capability, and a more flexible addressing system, it has become one of the easiest places to build a webpage. They have one of the largest libraries of tools and graphics on the web. Your choice of popup or banner. Dependable service.
They did crash and lose my site once (along with many others) which is why I don't have them in the top category. Or any site currently hosted by them. That's the only problem I've had with them, though.
BUT -- so much has changed. They no longer have the stupid crawly-logo thing. In fact, it looks like they have a nice little fold-out banner -- my favorite kind of banner in the world.
I have no fre sites at Geocities. I so have a paid site.
<Specifically Not Advised
- Webjump: http://www.webjump.com/
They lost my site twice (and others I've heard of), but never apologize. Performance is unreliable, images and pages and even whole sites being unavailable at random times.
- Crosswinds: http://www.crosswinds.net/
At least from the West Coast, access is s - l - o - wwwww. And lately, to cut down on their server overload, they have made it impossible for anybody to link to your site. They can get to it only by entering the address in the address bar. NO LINKS. NO SEARCH ENGINE LINKS. Minimal traffic. Why bother?
- Be wary of any service offering over 30MB of space. The more space they offer to each user, the more overloaded they are going to get and the more erratic their performance will be. It will take you a year or more to fill up 10MB with original material. You don't need 100MB for your first webpage.
The larger, more established servers -- Tripod, Angelfire -- can now offer huge amounts of space, but they've been building up their servers for years to handl it. And they still get rocky sometimes.
- If you are an expert or an enthusiast on a particular topic, and your main interest is in sharing your content instead of in designing the first fully interactive flash version of an online shopping account set to music that can be personally programmed with the Pokemon characters of your choice, check into one of the guide meta-sites like About.com, Suite101.comAbsolute Authority. You have little control over the colors, graphics, page layout and site layout -- but you have an easy-to-use set of tools for posting links and content, and fast and thorough technical help.
- If your main interest is in trading pictures and news with family and friends, or coordinating events with your club or company, check into one of the community sites:
Lycos lets you create a public club, which means that all visitors have to do is sign in at Lycos to se it! (which is only mildly better than Yahoo, definitely not as convenient as Visto.) They have, however, the most goldanged longest and unwielding address system I have seen yet. Our "public" StreetSpeech Club: http://clubs.lycos.com/live/Directory/CommunityHome.asp?CG=ire72bdjpj9h31oi0188mmh8ec
StreetWrites Yahoo! Club
- Anexa -- no search, badly organized directory, and yikes if you lose your address. Really nice photo album and mutimedia displays though.
- If your main interest is selling your products or being an affiliate for other merchants for commission, check into the virtual-store builders at
- Webpage development resources
- - Including free graphics software.
- Anitra's own webpage evaluation guidelines
- - What I consider a good webpage; what I will award or recommend.