jonathan lackman

MCSE, MCSA, Project Management, SEO, Web Design

I'm often asked about hosting. Friends, relatives, and work contacts ask; "Jonathan, what do you use for hosting?". Another popular question is "what can I use for hosting that is free/cheap and doesn't clog my site up with ads?".

Well, once again I'm here to help. This page is focused on FREE hosting that can provide many of the same functions as paid hosting.

Let's start with some poor solutions.

1) Godaddy (and similar) sites offer free hosting with ads. This is OK for playing around, but for any real site you don't want ads showing up there for your surfers.
2) Cheap paid hosting at Godaddy is proprietary in many ways. Numerous common plugins, features, and products on the market will not work on a Godaddy hosted site due to the proprietary nature of their hosting. I.E., they don't use PLESK or any other standard.
3) Put a server in your basement. This may break the agreement with your cable provider and subject you to being blacklisted. Then, you also have to manage DNS, and uptime expectations. This is all OK if you're trying to learn about running IIS/Apache, but if you're more interested in designing a website this is all a pain to manage.

Good solution.

Notice it's singular, not plural. There are some alternatives and I could do a list of the various options. However, I know you're busy and I'll just focus on the one I like after years of experimentation with most of the options out there.

It is FreeHostia. Some of the benefits include;

1) I like their plan names; Chocolate, Watercircle, Lovebeat, Wildhoney, and Supernatural. It must be run by a middle aged hippy woman.
2) Their free plan (Chocolate) allows hosting 5 sites (domains) and offers most of the plugins and add on products that are common.
3) This is a GREAT way to experiment with CMS like Joomla, Drupal, Concrete5, Wordpress, et. al. That's mainly what I use it for.

1) Bandwidth, processor, and size are all throttled.
2) I'm sure support isn't as good as if you were paying.
3) Publishing performance suffers quite a bit if your site gets large. A large site that takes 5 minutes to publish at Hostgator could take 20 minutes at FreeHostia, with numerous re-starts and errors.
4) I believe it only allows 1 connection from your FTP or publishing software. Most paid systems allow 4-10 or more simultaneous connects for much more robust publishing.

The rest of the picture;

I have hosting accounts at GoDaddy, HostGator, DirectNIC, and FreeHostia. They make sense for different things. FreeHostia is fine within the parameters mentioned above. If you get a site up to 100 pages, or have more robust support needs, you should look for a  paid account.

I don't like Godaddy for paid accounts unless you do one of two things;
1) keep it really simple
2) drink the kool-aid and use all their plugins
...but, many commercial products don't like Godaddy hosting.

For good, paid commodity hosting that follows industry standards I like two companies; Bluehost and Hostgator.

If you are serious about any of this, and are going to proceed, please contact me as I'm an affiliate for GoDaddy, Hostgator, and can provide specialized pricing. I'm also available for consulting, implementation, and setup on any of these products.

Email me here;
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