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 If  you have just started learning web design and want to create your first website, it is advisable to use a free web hosting service. You can learn without investing any money and if you build a  successful website, you can also earn enough to purchase paid hosting. A free web hosting service is  usually  supported by advertising  and has limited features. Free web hosting companies will either provide a subdomain (yourname.example.com) or a directory (www.example.com/yourname) where you can upload your files. They allow limited web space, bandwidth and do not provide any customer support or uptime guarantee. Many hosts insert their own advertisements. Paid web hosts will provide space for hosting without any advertisements.

Some free web hosts like Freewebs and Geocities have a basic package for free , and  more hosting space is provided on payment of  a fee.  Some of the large free webhosting companies are Bravenet, Netfirms, Freeservers, FortuneCity, AOL Hometown, Geocities, 50megs, Freewebs, Angelfire, Tripod, ProHosting, GooglePages . Blogger is used to host free blogs but because it is easy to use, many people upload any type of information

Geocities is one of the most popular free hosting companies and is part of Yahoo. If you are not planning to earn through advertising, the free plan is more attractive than the package offered by many Indian web hosting companies. They offer 15MB free disk space for storing files and data transfer of  3GB metered monthly. Most Indian companies charge Rs 1500 for 15MB disk space and 250MB data transfer. They also offer tools for website design like free PageBuilder and PageWizard. The only disadvantage is that advertisements from Yahoos advertising network are displayed on your website

Freewebs is another popular free hosting company.  It offers 40MB disk space for storing a maximum of  50 files. Banner advertisements are automatically inserted on top of the page for all free accounts after 7 days. They provide templates for website creation and there are restrictions on the type of  files which can be uploaded.

Blogger was originally created so that users could host their web log (blogger) for free. Since it is one of the few free web hosting services, where advertisements are not automatically inserted, all kinds of information is uploaded. No detailed statistics are available but you can insert free counters like site meter or stat counter to track visitors. You can also earn money from your blog by opening a Google Adsense account. More blog hosting companies

Google Pages has tools for quickly creating a website. You can sign in with your Gmail id. The maximum disk space that can be used is 100 MB . At present (mid- May 2006) it is not  fully compatible with Javascript

Addyour allows 500 MB of  web space,  5GB monthly data transfer, 5 mySQL databases and FTP access. You can host upto 5 domains or subdomains on one account. The main account is linked to a subdomain and you can add subdomains

Microsoft office live provides free domain name registration and hosting during the beta period for US companies. For the LiveBasics package domain name and registration is free for life , but you can only use the specified  design tools and they may insert advertisements. 30 MB Web site storage and 10 GB bandwidth is  provide. LiveCollaboration and  LiveEssential are free during beta period. A credit card is required for verification of  identity, though it will not be charged.

Athost - 50 MB free web space with PHP, Perl, mySQL, FTP access for uploading files, email account, Monthly bandwidth for data transfer - 500 MB. Free sites which are inactive for 7 days are removed from the server. The maximum size of  a file on the server is 1 MB and larger files will be deleted

741 - 100MB free web space, 1200 MB bandwidth,  40MB daily limit, with FTP access for uploading files. Allow free domain and sub domain hosting. Is supported by advertising.

Web server from home - if you have a DSL/Cable connection you can host your website on your home computer with no restrictions.

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