Turning Everyday Writing Into Headline Content
Free Hosting for Freelancers
The first step in establishing yourself as a serious freelancer is setting up a website. But that can be expensive: $10 for a domain name isn’t too bad, but the $50 annual cost of (crappy, slow, shared) hosting can be restrictive.
Since 2012, I’ve offered free hosting on my GoDaddy VPS, based in their Netherlands data centre.
A VPS is the half-way stage between shared hosting (which is horribly slow and sucks) and dedicated hosting (which is phenomenally cool but horribly expensive) – it’s a shared server, but with fewer people on it. It’s fast, easy and reliable, has no limits on domain names, costs about $50 a month and runs its own mail server and databases and all that stuff.
I have gigs of space on the server, of which I only use a tiny part for my projects. So here’s the offer: if you want your own site, you can host it in the space I’m not using, at no charge.
Please note that the server is filling up (currently around 80% full). As long as there’s space, I’ll continue offering free hosting. Once it fills up, you’ll have to wait until someone leaves.
Hosting? Domains? What?
If you’re new to all this online terminology and have no idea what I’m talking about with domain names, hosts, servers and all that stuff, read this: What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name and Web Hosting?
Note that you cannot use my hosting with freebie websites from WordPress, Wix and similar suppliers. Those are subdomains and rely on their servers. You need your own domain name.
How My Free Hosting Works
You buy your own domain name and pay for it each year at renewal. You can usually find an offer to get the first year’s registration for $1 on Namecheap or GoDaddy. I don’t care where you register: it makes no difference to the site setup on my end.
You won’t have cPanel access. I can set up WordPress or one of a whole TON of other freebie apps like Coppermine, BuddyPress, phpBB or whatever and give you the admin password (which you can then change). If you need cPanel access, you can have it but you lose the ability to blame me when you break your site. And you break it, you fix it.
You get domain emails, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or whatever you need. Inboxes are limited to 25Mb by default (negotiable).
You get 500Mb of space for your site by default (negotiable). Please don’t host huge images or video (though you can embed the latter).
I will check in occasionally (as a visitor) to make sure you’re not running a child slavery ring, promoting the sale of automatic weapons to lemmings or doing anything else illegal.
YOU are responsible for your content and site maintenance (though I handle the back end and can often help with tech stuff).
Any root access or FTP stuff has to go through me, though you shouldn’t need it with WP and most apps.
You’re responsible for your own backups. On WordPress, that means installing a plugin and telling it to do cloud backups. It’s not difficult.
If you get me banned from my provider I’ll be very upset and will name and berate you publicly, loudly and for a long time, and maybe even pursue you legally.
You are NOT tied in to me in any way by using this offer (apart from the obvious practicalities). You can switch to another host at any time if you want to, drop your blog, sell your domain or whatever you want.
You must supply an active contact email address. I will add you to (and you must remain subscribed to) my MailChimp “hosted people” list, which I use to send out occasional news (when there’s a security update to WP, for example). I don’t spam. If you become uncontactable at any time, I will shut your site down without a second thought.