Free e-mail and web hosting services

Free and cheap web hosting services

Note (May 2003):  This set of web pages has not been updated in quite a while, and much of the content is likely to be outdated. The pages remain posted here solely for archival purposes. (Exercise caution in clicking on links that appear on these pages. Some of the linked sites have changed ownership, and you could end up in a mousetrapping porn site if you are not careful.)

Free web hosting:  These services let you post your own web pages to their web server; some of them are "web community" sites that also offer many other features:  Angelfire, Animal House, B-City, DJ Cafe,,, FreeYellow, GeoCities, The Globe, Homestead, IntelCities, ROTFL, Switchboard, Tripod, and Xoom.

Web hosting with your own domain name:  If you want to have a web site with your own domain name (sometimes known as "virtual domain web hosting"), you'll normally need to pay a domain registration fee.  And if you don't want someone else's advertisements placed on your site, then you'll also need to pay a web hosting fee.

Domain name registration:  The typical registration fee for a domain like used to be about $35 per year, but you can now shop around for a more reasonable price. Some of the registrars that offer lower prices ($8 to $13 per year) include,, EasySpace, GANDI, GKG, GoDaddy, InfoAvenue Registry,,, OnlineNIC, and

TIPS:  You can register a domain name directly with a registrar, or else you can go through a web hosting service, which will handle some of the technical details for you. Most registrars offer free "parking," which means you don't have to make arrangements with a hosting service before you register the domain name. Some registrars also offer their own web hosting services, and some hosting services offer domain registration services. You can compare registrars at Domain Name Buyers Guide and RegSelect. A good deal is available through DotEasy -- they charge as little as $18 per year to register a domain name, but you get free hosting with 20MB of web space and an unlimited number of e-mail accounts.

Free virtual domain hosting, usually with banner or pop-up ads placed on your site, is offered by Free Sites Network, HyperMart, Virtual Avenue, WebJump (no e-mail), and Web ProviderPortland Communications offers free virtual domain web hosting without ads.  DotEasy also offers free hosting without ads, but a $35 transfer fee applies unless you register the domain name with them (from $18/year).  Maxipoint also offers free ad-free hosting if you register the domain name with them ($25/year), as does ($35/year). DirectNIC offers free ad-supported hosting or $15/year ad-free hosting with domain name registration ($15/year).  (Note that you may not get a dedicated IP address or e-mail forwarding with some of these free hosting services.)

Cheap virtual domain hosting (without banner ads) is available from many providers, including Portland Communications (15MB, free), DotEasy (20MB, free with $25/year domain registration or $35 one-time transfer fee), Maxipoint (20MB, free with $25/year domain registration), (20MB, free with $35/year domain registration), Microworld Dotcom (50MB, free with $30 setup fee), (20MB, $12/year + $49 setup fee), Win2000Hoster (25MB, $21/year; or 50MB, $33/year), (50 MB, $30/year; or 150 MB, $60/year), Digital Space (10MB, $36/year; or 50MB, $83/year), DollarHost (20MB, $42/year), and Affordable Host (10MB, $45/year).  (This information changes frequently and may already be out of date.  Prices do not necessarily include unlimited e-mail forwarding, POP3 mail accounts, high bandwidth usage, access statistics, shopping cart/e-commerce services, CGI privileges, etc., and at the lower end usually will not include a dedicated IP address.  Of the services listed here, I've used and been satisfied with DotEasy and Digital Space; I don't have much if any experience with the others.)

Guides to web hosting services:  These guides can help you select a web hosting service:,, (includes reviews),,, HostInvestigator (includes reviews),, HostSearch (includes reviews),, Web Host Directory, Web Hosting List, and Web Hosting Ratings.