A free web hosting service is a web hosting service that is free, usually advertisement-supported and of limited functionality. Free web hosts will either provide a subdomain (yourname.example.com) (e.g. 50megs, Byethost, Netfirms) or a directory (www.example.com/~yourname) (e.g. GeoCities). In contrast, paid web hosts will usually provide a Second-level domain along with the hosting (www.yourname.com). Some free hosts do allow use of separately-purchased domains. Rarely, a free host may also operate as a domain name registrar, but their registry services are usually more expensive than others.
A few free web hosts have a basic package for free (e.g. Freewebs), and enhanced packages (with more features) for a cost. This allows users to try the service for an initial trial (see how it performs compared to other hosts), and then upgrade when (and if) needed.
Free hosting may have the following limitations:
--Limitation on the size of each hosted file
--Very small bandwidth per month compared to paid hosting
--Prevents hotlinking of files
--Do not allow certain file types (for example MP3, MPEG, ZIP etc.)
--Compulsory placement of the Webhosts' Banner or Popup ads into all web pages
--Do not provide any uptime guarantee
Some free host may provide these extra features:
--A web based control panel
--File transfer via FTP
--Scripting languages: PHP, ASP, Perl etc.
--Relational databases such as MySQL
--Scheduled processes, known as cronjobs
--Free email accounts for the domain or subdomain hosted
--Other features such as guestbooks (e.g. Bravenet)