If you are looking to design your first website, it might be a good idea to start out with a free website to see if it is something you want to pursue. It will also give you a good idea about the various concepts involved.
You can set up a basic, free website and play around with it until you find your feet.
What to look for in Free Websites
A free website offers free hosting - in other words, you don't have to pay for anything. It costs you nothing, except for the time spent creating the site. However, there are free hosting sites that post ads on your website, that can tarnish your reputation, or at best, look tacky. That's why I always suggest paid hosting services.
However, a free site is just fine for a personal website, to get used to the concepts. Here are some of the things you should consider regarding free websites:
Free service: A free web hosting provider should charge nothing at all. Most free services allow you to append your domain name as a subdomain of their site, eg. yourdomain.freewebhost.com. However, some hosts offer a premium domain at a low monthly cost. In truth, the domain name is free and you're paying a small monthly fee for hosting. Depending on what you get for the small fee, it might be a good deal.
Bandwidth and disk space: These two factors are often limited on free web hosting packages, however, for a little tester site, it will often be more than enough.
Website builder: Most free sites don't offer FTP, but rather a drag and drop site-builder, which is easy to use.
Email: Most free web hosts don't give you customised domain emails.
Support and uptime: No company that promises 100% guaranteed uptime can truly guarantee that. Some factors are beyond their control. Most companies do however, offer 24/7 support. Make sure the support is also free.
Free Blogging Sites
If you'd like to start a blog, these are some of the best options:
Wordpress offers a comprehensive service with excellent support and thousands of free templates to choose from, yet it is ad-free. You can host a .wordpress.com appended domain, or buy a custom domain that can be hosted on the free Wordpress platform. You can import your posts from some of the other free blogging sites into a Wordpress site, should you choose to. A Wordpress site can be used as a website, or as a blog, or a combination of the two.
Blogger is one of Google's tools, which allows you to host a custom domain, or a .blogger.com-appended domain with no ads. You can host several blogs on Blogger - all linked to your Google profile, which makes it simple and easy. Apparently, it is nearly 100% un-hackable, which is always a good thing. The site-builder is super-easy and very customizable. Blogger also offers you the ability to add a limited amount of pages, allowing you to run a website, a blog or a combination.
Posterous is a relatively new platform, with simple templates to choose from. It also supports no ads, but the company is planning on charging for premium services eventually. It's simple to post via email to your posterous blog, which has a .posterous.com extension.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that combines the features of Wordpress, Facebook and Twitter into one of the easiest ways to blog. It offers limited customization and personalisation, but it is a great free platform to use as your primary, or secondary blog.
Free websites are stand-alone websites with pages, but with no blogging features.
WozaOnline offers a free website subdomain with free hosting and easy-to-use site builder. For R100 a year you can get a custom domain.
Wix is a very popular tool that allows you to create professional looking websites in minutes. It has a range of templates to choose from, and uses a simple site builder to help you design your site. There is a premium option, with additional tools and premium domains.
Yola offers free Yola-subdomain websites with 1GB storage, 1GB bandwidth and 3 pages each. It has modern, beautiful templates for you to choose from.
DevHub offers free hosting on subdomains, as well as beautiful, clean-cut professional templates to choose from. What sets DevHub apart is that they offer excellent tools to help you run a money-making site without actually investing any money, or even signing up with affiliate sites.
[ TABLE OF CONTENTS ]
[ BACK TO TOP ]