In recent years, web hosting has become a commodity in the same way that access to the internet has become a human right. In the earliest days of the internet, if you wanted to launch a website then you had to purchase or rent a server and have the technical expertise that’s required to actually manage it.
But the relentless march of technology has helped to democratise web hosting and related fields, which is why you can sign up for a Dropbox account and pick up free cloud storage space within a couple of minutes. The business model that Dropbox uses is similar to the business models of many free web hosting providers.
It’s also similar to how many smartphone games make money. They rely on a freemium model in which a certain amount of access is given for free but which also allows people to pay for more. In smartphone games, this typically means some form of in-game currency that allows paying players to get a boost on their competition. For free web hosting providers, it usually means offering up a decent amount of resources for free and then giving people the option to upgrade once their websites take off and they need more resources.
Still, not all free hosting providers are equal, with some offering more space than others and some bundling in extra features like website builders and free email addresses. That’s why we’ve pulled this list together. Let’s get into our list of the five best free web hosting providers.
Wix is probably most well-known for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop website building tool, which is why it’s one of the providers of choice for small businesses and simple portfolio sites for freelancers and creatives. The only problem with it is that it’s more restricted when it comes to installing a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or customising it with additional features such as eCommerce functionality.
Still, Wix is a decent enough choice if you can work within its constraints, and it also offers up to 500 MB of storage and bandwidth. They’ll even throw in a free Wix.com subdomain. And, like most free hosting providers, you can also upgrade to paid plans for more resources and functionality.
Weebly is pretty much just Wix but with better customer support and some stunning templates that can give your free website a professional look and feel. If you go for one of their free plans, you’ll have 500 MB of storage and a Weebly.com subdomain, but unlike Wix you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and so your site won’t go down if it suddenly becomes super popular.
On the downside, Weebly’s free hosting plans mean that they’ll add their branding to your website’s footer, but at least they don’t serve up intrusive ads which could scare your visitors away altogether. You can even go in and edit the code for their free templates if you’re a more advanced user who wants something a little more bespoke.
AwardSpace is one of the more established free hosting providers with over ten years of experience when it comes to powering free websites, and they follow a similar model to others by powering their free hosting using paid addons.
With AwardSpace, you’ll be given 1 GB of storage and 5 GB of bandwidth, as well as a free email account and the ability to set up three subdomains. On the downside, they don’t offer a free website builder like Wix and Weebly, but they do offer up Joomla and WordPress installers so that you can get a website up and running with as little fuss as possible.
The clue is in the name here. 5GBFree will give you 5 GB of free storage, as well as 20 GB of bandwidth and one-click installers for various ecommerce tools such as Joomla, PHPShop and ZenCart. It’s one of the few free hosting providers that offers this ecommerce support, which means you can get your store up and running for free and then upgrade to a more powerful host once the store is able to pay for it.
5GBFree also spends a lot of time and resources on securing their setup, and they even use a world-class quality data centre. On the downside, their customer service isn’t great, but they do have a product forum that can connect you with other customers who might be able to help.
000webhost.com is one of the most popular free web hosting providers on the market, and there’s a reason for that. They have literally millions of happy users and they’ve been in the business of offering free hosting since 2007. And unlike most other free hosting providers, they have virtually no limits when it comes to storage space and bandwidth.
This host is also different to others because they’ll provide not just one but five free email accounts, and they also give users access to heavy-duty analytics tools, auto-installers, website building tools and more. You can even scoop up a free SSL certificate. You’d be hard pressed to find another free host with as powerful an offering as this.
By now, you should have a good idea of what the landscape is like for free web hosting providers and you might even have an idea of which one you want to go for. Before you go ahead and sign up for one, though, be sure to check some user reviews to get a feel for what people think of them.
You’ll also want to put some thought into the types of features that you’ll need and what resource levels you’re looking for. The last thing you want to do is to find a free host, sign up to it and find yourself migrating to another one a couple of weeks afterwards because you made the wrong call.
The good news is that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to free web hosting providers and this list only covers the tip of the iceberg. If you have specialist needs (if you want a host in a particular geographical area, for example) then you’re sure to find a free host to suit your needs if you spend enough time searching.
Web hosting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. So why not save your money for something else?
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Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog
Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.
There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.
Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.
Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly
With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.
Use an Effective Caching Plugin
If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.
Use CDN (content delivery network)
We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.
Improve Your Hosting Plan
If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.
Use Optimized Images
Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.
Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests
How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.
Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging
When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.
Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.
7 Examples of How to Rank Higher in Google for Your Name
Your name is important and when someone searches for it online, you want to make sure they find your correct information. This isn’t just about reputation management, it’s also about looking your best and delivering a great first impression.
The key thing to remember here is no matter what someone is searching for online, they are likely going to start with a simple Google search. Since most people share their name with hundreds or even thousands of people in the world, having your content rank for your name might be quite a challenge. This is especially the case if you share a name with a popular celebrity, politician or well-known personality.
The good news is that when it comes to ranking for your name in Google, anything is possible. Implement each of the seven methods below into your content creation and marketing efforts to see your own site and content start ranking higher for your personal name.
Create a Website or Blog with YourName.com
It’s not just about creating a site and putting it out there, it’s also about making sure the site acts as your main hub for everything you do online. This means you should be creating original content for the site, linking to your social media profiles and also referencing back to your site when contributing to other sites or getting quoted/referenced.
Once you have a platform in place, it’s something that will continue grow and develop with your personal brand over time — while also gaining in authority and SEO power as well.
Promote Your Social Profiles
Speaking of social profiles, Google loves to rank sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right at the top of their search results. Depending on the competition around your name, your social profiles might already be ranking at the top of Google, even above your own websites.
You can see an example of what currently ranks in Google should you search for “Taylor Swift” below.
With millions of sites and new content pieces covering Taylor Swift every single day, it’s her social profiles (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) that continue to dominate the search rankings.
This same method works for all names and not just celebrities. If you want your social profiles to rank higher, just keep sending more links to them using a variation of your name as the anchor text.
Boost Profiles and Authority Sites
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, ranking at the top of Google for your name is important if you want to deliver the best and most accurate information. If you are having trouble ranking your own site or want to focus on ranking other high authority content in addition to your own, this is a perfect option to explore.
For example, let’s take a look at Warren Stephens, who is an entrepreneur and has multiple bios and articles written about him online. His Wikipedia profile ranks first, then a bio on Forbes and another based around “Warren Stephens net-worth” on TheRichest. While Wikipedia and Forbes are both mega-huge outlets, TheRichest is still quite powerful to be ranking number three for his name.
Celebrity networth sites have quickly been gaining more and more attention lately as they continue to ramp up the number of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and well-known personalities they continue to cover. Even if you don’t think your one of the most famous people in the world, your profile could soon quickly be picked up by their platforms and covered in the media.
How long before we see these “networth” sites ranking on the first page for many average individuals, YouTube stars and entrepreneurs?
Guest Blogging and Author Profiles on Other Sites
While you might already have a site of your own that is ranking well for your name, it’s always a good idea to try and rank for multiple positions with other relevant content. If you are an expert in your industry, a great way to secure even more page one rankings for your name is to contribute content to other high-authority sites.
Not only does Neil have his own sites, he is also a contributor to many big media outlets like Entrepreneur.com and HubSpot.com. Doing a quick search for his name in Google will result in not only his main sites and social profiles ranking for his name, but also each of these contributing bios on other sites as well.
Once again, a perfect example of how you can deliver a great first impression (and your best content) when someone searches for your name on Google.
Rank with Other Content Sharing Sites
As covered in a few of the examples above, a great way to quickly rank at the top of Google for your name is to do so with other well-established sites. In this example, we are going to look at Jeff Bullas, who is one of the most well-known bloggers and social media influencers in the world today.
His site at JeffBullas.com already ranks number one for his name, then his social profiles follow afterward. However, when you move further down the list you will see his profiles with SlideShare.net and WordPress.com also make it on the first page of Google.
Even though Slideshare and WordPress.com are two extremely popular sites, not many people consider them when trying to rank for multiple positions for their name. These are definitely two free options everyone should consider when trying to dominate the whole first page of Google for their name.
Do Interviews and Media Outreach
A common theme in this article has been the power of using authority sites and media outlets to quickly rank at the top of Google. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through interviews and getting mentioned or covered by relevant industry sites that rank well.
A quick example of this can be seen if you search for my name in Google. A few years ago I was interviewed for IncomeDiary.com, and that post still ranks extremely well for my name today.
The same holds true for even big name celebrities or entrepreneurs who do interviews or get covered for stories based around their success and fame. If you do a search for “Lori Greiner” of Shark Tank, you will see interview-based stories from BusinessInsider.com, Inc. and Entrepreneur.com all ranking on the first page for her name.
Not sure how to get media coverage on sites like Entrepreneur or Inc? Simple… just look for the author bio section in each article. Share their content, build up a relationship and maybe your story is a perfect fit for their next article.
Don’t Forget About the Power of Video
Video is a fascinating beast in itself, yet one that is often overlooked by content creators that mainly focus on “text” based articles.
Here’s two quick things you need to know about video.
- People love to share and reference videos
- Google loves to rank video since they own YouTube
Now that you know that, you should definitely be using video in your content outreach and SEO practices.
Still not sure how effective video ranking can be? Richard Branson is one of the most well-known and successful entrepreneurs in the world, with billions of searches for his name annually. With all of that competition in play, do you think a video would rank for his name on Google? — The answer is yes, and even more surprising… it’s not even a YouTube video!
Don’t Just Rank #1 — Rank for All Ten!
The ultimate goal for everyone trying to rank in Google for their name shouldn’t be to just grab that elusive number one position, but instead to rank for multiple (if not all) page one locations.
Run through the above seven working methods again and see what type of content you may already have ranking in Google. It’s much easier to improve your rankings with any existing content that you already have ranking on page 2 or 3 pushed to page 1, versus trying to come up with new and original content of your own.
In the world of SEO and ranking at the top of Google, it’s all about getting your content in the right places and building authority links and references around them
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