The following terms from our free web pages guide are defined on this page:
This column contains the names of companies that offer free web page hosting. These are hyperlinks so you can click on the company name to get more info and details on their services or to sign up for free web hosting.
This is the amount of free web space in megabytes that you get on the server for your free web site. Most general web sites do not need much space, so this parameter may not be important to you. However, if you plan to have tons or pictures, music (i.e. MP3s), or program (i.e. shareware) files, you may want to select a free web page provider that offers ample free web space.
This is the format of the address of your web page. There are a few different address formats used by the free web page providers. In the comparison table, /you means that your address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) will be of the form http://www.company.com/you, where company is the company's name and you is the user name you selected at the free web host. For example, if the free web host was Geocities and your user name was JohnsPage, your address would be http://www.geocities.com/JohnsPage. Similarly, in the table /dir/you means that your URL would be of the form http://www.company.com/some_directory/you, resulting in a long address. Lastly if it says subdomain in the comparison table, it means that your address will be of the form http://you.company.com.
Because you will be telling people your address and they will have to type it in to go to your site, you generally will want a short URL. Also, long addresses and those that continue after the .com do not look very professional. Because of this you will generally want to go with a free web page provider that offers subdomain addresses.
In the table, login means that there is no direct address for your web site. Instead your site can only be accessed once someone logs into it from a form on the main hosting site.
Generally free web page companies force your web site to carry their advertisements, in order to cover the cost of the service. Some have popup ad windows, that cause a new ad window to pop up whenever someone visits one of your pages. Others use an adframe, where their ads are contained within the same browser window as your site but on a separate frame. Others use an adsquare, where their ads are contained on a small square in the corner of your page. However, most use normal banner ads, typically at the top of your page.
The type of advertisement the free web page provider adds to your web pages is very important. You generally do not want your visitors distracted or annoyed by the advertisement because you want them to stay on your page instead of clicking on the ad and you want them to return. Therefore, you generally do not want to use popup ads. However, if your page contains frames the other ad types can cause your page to become distorted. In that case you would be best off with the annoying popup ads.
This field indicates whether the free web space service provides you with a free web page design program. Sometimes this program is something that you just run interactively on their web site. While this is easiest, it can be slow depending on your internet connection. Other times it is a program that you download and install on your computer. That way you can work on creating your web page when you are off line, and then upload it to the server when you are done. Some free web hosting companies provide you with both. On the other hand, some do not provide you with either, but if you write your HTML by hand or have your own HTML design program it isn't needed.
This field indicates whether the free web space provider gives you access to the cgi-bin, allowing you to use your own Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts. If you don't know what CGI is then you do not have to worry about this.
This field indicates whether Microsoft FrontPage extensions are running on the free web page servers. If you use FrontPage to design your web sites, you will want this. If you do not use FrontPage, then this is of no use to you.
This field indicates whether the free web hosting company allows you to use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer your files to the server. Generally it is much easier to use FTP to transfer your files, especially when you have a lot of them. If you do not know what FTP is, then you are best off using your browser to upload the files.
This field indicates whether you are able to upload your files to the free web site using your browser. This is the simplest way to manage the files on on your free web space, but FTP is much faster when you have many files.
In this section all the special features and limitations of each free web space provider is explained. Many of the free web hosting companies offer free components to include in your web pages such as message boards, web polls, guestbooks, and counter and a listing of these is included in this section of the table.
Virtual Domain Hosting
Some of the free web page providers offer free virtual domain hosting. This means that you can use your own domain name (i.e. http://www.you.com) for your free web site. You still have to pay for registering your domain name, but this fee goes to your registrar (i.e. register.com) and not to the free web space provider.