Are there any free web hosting sites?
The main criteria when choosing a free web host is what level of skill do you have for designing web sites? Free web hosts vary quite considerably in what they offer. From simple web page wizards to fully hosted PHP and MySQL.
Many free hosts force advertising onto your page which often annoys the user as they spend more time closing pop-ups than reading what you have to say. That's how they can offer free space, they monetize your pages with advertisements and they get the revenue.
Most free hosts offer a limited amount of space and bandwidth (usage allowance) so if your site did get really big they would soon be chasing you for cash for paid for hosting.
However, the upside of free hosting means you can test out a new idea for a web site at no cost to yourself.
My Favourite Free Hosts
A very popular free host is Freewebs, they offer easy WYSIWYG editing from templates and have an emphasis on photo hosting. You can add Google or Yahoo! Maps, YouTube and other videos and content widgets. Your finished site can be designed to either look like a static web site or web 2.0 style blog. Freewebs have over 20 million users.
I have had a site hosted on Lycos since 2000 using their Tripod free hosting scheme. The service is very reliable and they are now offering 1 GB of disk space, unlimited usage (subject to a fair use policy), PHP and MySQL
Another old favourite is Yahoo! Geocities who offer easy design tools, unlimited disk space and unlimited email.
A quick search on Google turns up many more free hosts. They all vary slightly in what they offer. Also it is worth bearing in mind that the web site address you will get with a free host is a sub-domain of their site. The address will look something like this - mysite.freehost.com. All the major search engines and Alexa's Traffic Ranking tool will only look at the top domain i.e. freehost.com and will always rank these first. Sub-domains are generally ignored which means traffic-wise you will have to rely on social networking, web rings and directories.
As the old saying goes - you get what you pay for and web hosting is no exception to that rule. Free site hosts will make money from your site unless you upgrade your site to paid for hosting. They also have your email address and may use that to send advertising to your inbox. I suggest before you sign up with any free host you get a Yahoo! or Hotmail email address that you only use for registering with your chosen free host. Then if they do send out a lot of email your main inbox isn't being filled with advertising emails.
Once you have found a free host you like then you can have fun designing your site and promoting it on the World Wide Web.