Here are some tips to keep in mind as you look for a free web hosting account online.
1. Content Ownership – You might not own the space, but it is your content. That means that you should expect some sort of notice if the service is going offline so that you can make alternative arrangements or save your information to your computer.
2. Tools – Surprisingly many free web hosting accounts come with lots of tools that you can use to enhance your site. The larger the hosting provider or hosting community, the more tools you will have in your control panel.
3. Free domain names – Usually you are getting a subdomain or even a subfolder for your files. Typically free domain names only come with a paid hosting account. The reasons is that bandwidth is very expensive and no one wants to build up a free web hosting service unless they have access to cheap resources.
It is not surprising then that the free web hosting market is dominated by companies like Yahoo, Google, and Bravenet. They are large organizations who have figured out ways to balance paid services and free services without going broke.
4. Search engine optimization – Some free hosting communities are so large and so fluid that it takes some time get new pages into the major search engines. People abandon their pages at such a high rate that is hard to keep up with the live sites versus abandoned real estate.
Also, any page rank you get goes to the hosting provider and not to you that is one of the perks of having your own domain name.
5. Tracking – It always helps to know who is coming to your website and how they got there. You might have to search around for some type of free tracking service. This is very important if you plan to make money off your free web hosting account.
Bravenet, Yahoo Geocities and Blogger. I have used all three and I haven’t had the time lately to investigate other services. I will add to the list in the near future.