During the 1990′s GeoCities provided a free web hosting platform for as many as 1.8 million users. Because of this low bar for entry onto the World Wide Web, GeoCities acted as a sandbox where fledgling web designers could cut their teeth, creating personal interest web pages for no cost. Since Yahoo purchased GeoCities in 1999 for $3.57 billion it continually struggled as a profit generating enterprise, relying upon advertising revenue that was dependant upon visitor traffic on the user generated websites. Facing continually declining numbers of visitors to user sites Yahoo has finally decided to close GeoCities for good as of October 26, 2009 in favor of its own brand of low-cost web hosting services.
Other popular free web hosting services of the GeoCities vintage are still alive and kicking… For now. The Lycos owned Angelfire and Tripod hosts are still available, and German owned Jimodo has made a business out of marketing themselves as a new home for displaced GeoCities users, as well as those from the now defunct Google Page Creator. But, with literally hundreds of free web hosting providers to choose from there is little reason to limit your search to advertising supported hosts. HelioHost stands the model of advertiser supported free web hosting on its head by providing fully featured hosting, albeit with limited space and bandwidth. For qualifying high-profile sites HelioHost will provide the option of placing advertising on your site in exchange for expanded space and bandwidth.
Several companies which have web hosting as their core business provide more full-featured free web hosting packages, which are also free of advertising, to their entry level customers as a way of getting them in the door. Then as customers see the need to go to the next incremental level of service this can be provided for a reasonable fee without the disruptions that changing hosts can create. Such is the case with X10Hosting, free web hosting customers get most of the features available to paid customers, but for as little as $4.95 per month un-metered storage and data transfer can be available along with shell access, 99.9 percent up-time guarantee, and other features.