There are several basic types of adult web hosting: free, virtual, dedicated and co-location. Newbies will often begin with free hosting for a number of reasons beyond the merely financial. I will leave the option of free "do it yourself" web hosting using your home DSL line out of this discussion, as it is unpractical for our needs. Instead, let's take a look at regular free hosting:
Love them or hate them, almost everyone in this business started out by using free hosting. Why? They're free, and free is good — especially if like me, you wanted to see if there really was any money to be made in this growing business, without incurring any real expense (and hence little risk). Well, little risk also equals little reward.
You Usually Get What You Pay For
Free hosts are "free" because they place banners at the top and bottom of all your web pages. That may seem like a reasonable exchange for a newbie, but these free-hosts maintain a staff of people whose job it is to figure out ways of squeezing every last click from their allotted "banner space." Add to this the fact that their "banner space" can be as much as your first full screen at 800x600, and you may rightly conclude that surfers might never even see your content (or your advertisements)!
Free hosts can also be often amazingly slow and unreliable — understandable when you think about the amount of traffic and abuse some webmasters subject them to! You will also face an uphill battle getting decent Search Engine listings, or even any listings with quality link lists, etc. While some free hosts are better than others, you will definitely get what you pay for:
And Sometimes You Get Even More
There is one exception that I can recommend however, and that is the free hosting offered by the CyberSex Network (formerly AgeCheck). Users of their AVS can obtain fast, reliable, banner-free free hosting. I have used them for a number of sites, and been quite pleased. They can also free host your own domain name for you as well — an added plus.
While I prefer the added control of hosting my own domains, I have used this free host to host my "galleries" — all of which are CyberAge "standard" sites, with great results. They will also provide an initial search engine submission, a further bonus for using their service.
Should YOU Use Free Hosting?
In the final analysis, free hosting — while definitely not the road to riches on the Adult Web (except for perhaps the free host operators themselves), does serve a valuable function. It allows newbies a chance to experiment without worrying about any sudden, massive hosting bills, and provides more experienced Webmasters with an easy solution for gallery hosting and bulk traffic manipulation, including "washing" TGP traffic through TopLists. You can also learn from them:
Here's a little tip to increase sales when working the TGPs and other low quality traffic sources: Emulate the free host headers and footers on your banner-free free and paid hosting. Remember that I said that many free hosts employ experts in converting this type of traffic? Well, there's no reason that YOU can't benefit from their knowledge and experience by watching what, how, and where they advertise on a Web page, and then incorporating these techniques into your own site. Emulate the free host headers and footers on your banner-free free and paid hosting.
If you are interested in trying out free hosting for yourself, then click here for a listing of some of the better ones currently available, or check out the hosting resources available at Hosts4Porn. And one last word of advice: do not use mainstream free hosts like GeoCities, their Terms of Service forbid adult sites and you will quickly be banned.