I guess this kind of follows from my last post, but it’s one worthy of discussion and a subject I should have addressed in my post on shared hosting services. I’m sure everyone’s heard of the free shared hosting services floating around the web, and there are a myriad of opinions regarding their advantages and disadvantages. I’m not going to completely knock free web hosting- after all, it is free. I just kind of question their relevance in today’s world of cheap web hosting. Most plans out there start at around 10 or 15 dollars a month, and there are some that are as cheap as 4 or 5 dollars a month; that’s less than the price of two cups of coffee at Starbucks. Most free web hosting sites out there provide very little space and bandwidth combined with ads and/or limited functionality; most don’t have very basic things like SQL access, for example. For me, at least, that’s not worth the 4 dollars a month.
That’s not to knock all free hosting- certain specialized, free services are perfectly serviceable. The free blogs on WordPress spring to mind, as does Wikia; these are services that seem to be reliable and well-suited for what they are meant to do (Seem is the operative word- I’ve only had very cursory experience with them). Beyond that, however, I don’t think free web hosting (at least for me) is all that important anymore; might as well run over to somewhere cheap, pick up some bandwidth and space, and deliver your content to the world, ad-free, for a nominal cost.