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How did you Start?


New Member
I was wondering On how most of you guys got started with your free hosts.

So I am very interested so please reply with a good life-story of your free host.
Awww. You had me there until you wanted a "good" life story.

My first hosts were "anyone who didn't have horrible TOS".
More recently I've tried to use a little judgement, but it's too early for an epic story yet.
Hmm.... you start off little with a reseller, then move on to a VPS if you manage to get things going. I'm at the VPS stage now :)
384MB RAM Burstable to 768MB
Equal Share CPU
10GB Disk Space
200GB Bandwidth

I only upgrade when needed, right now, the users are no where near using even a tenth of the resources.
I started Crosswinds in 1997 because my brother used Geocities said "they suck - can you do it better" and we did. We were the first unlimited host back in the day and I was friends with many of the competition's techs - and made them up their game. That was when Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod, etc, started up up their b/w and disk quotas. We laughed. It was fun to watch the big guys squirm.

We started on 2 PPro Servers at 180Mhz, with 512MB memory and 16GB!!! (HUGE for 1997) of disk for web and email, and a smaller Pentium 166 for the main web site. All scripts then were hand coded in perl, C, C++ and php3 (way back in the day). We paid for it out of pocket for the first 2 years (on my engineering salary at first and ad revenue within the latter half of the second year).

We offered what no one did back then - no banner, no limit hosting. We monetized in other ways that is still valid today (actually it's better today). We did no advertising, we were purely word of mouth and within a year had 500,000 members.

We also had an IRC channel were any member could converse with the management team and owners. Our support was fast, thorough and personal. We had issues as any host does, but our community loved us.

The .Com crash of 2001 hurt us bad (try losing 95% of your revenue in a month - and during the summer seasons when that was normal) and we evolved to survive. We brought on a so-called "expert" who talked good but knew nothing in the end - leading us to make the wrong choices. We moved into the professional space and we learned the same rules applied. The "expert" was supposed to bring in replacement ad revenue to keep the free hosting going but claimed, in 2003, that nothing simply existed.

This "expert" (and I use the "" because he was nothing more than a very effective talker with NO useful experience and prefer to scam people) missed the launch of Google Adsense (um, HUGE revenue boost would have occurred), and other revenue streams. He convinced us that advertising was no viable, so after 2 years of hard times (and 1 year with no paycheque) we closed the original free hosting to offload the costs associated with it.

The professional hosting continues to this day.

I always regretted that choice and started to dig. I found out the truth of the matters and got rid of the "expert". I then educated myself in the areas that I never had interest in - marketting and sales - I'm a hardcore tech at heart, and I found that the truths of 1997 still held today.

So I relaunched Free, but this time with the financing available from the professional services backing it. So I've come full circle. Painful and very educational. Free is back in pretty much the same form, only with more, and we are community driven. We want the users to tell us what they want explicitly and we do it.

So, I hope this is the kind of tale you want - I could go into painful detail but I prefer to leave the past to rest and the future to look bright. However I still chuckle that the original 4GB disks (segate cheetahs) cost us $750 in 1997 and today I can buy a TB for $100.

edit: Oh and we never started using any other external hardware or services. We don't see VPS's or single colo boxes as a good start to a Free Hosting. Our latest edition has 16 load balanced front ends (so far) and many internal boxes to ensure the service is reliable, fast and can sustain growth without slowness.
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Hmm.... you start off little with a reseller, then move on to a VPS if you manage to get things going. I'm at the VPS stage now :)

I actually started off with a dedicated server.
However i was using it for a game server.
One day i installed apache and started hosting the site from there too.
Next thing, i started hosting a few other people sites there.

So i thought hmm, why not start a free service. So i looked around and installed script after script after script trying to find somthing that worked ok with the setup as it was.
Pretty much unsucessfully, but i did learn a fair bit about windows 2003.
Eventually i found a nice script, and used it for a while just for friends.
It was a subdirectory hosting script, so everyone pretty much used .co.nr and .tk domains.

One day when looking for another way, i came across this forum, and started reading up and joining the chats. I bought a reseller and played with that for a while, then i got a second one (mainly because it had more features, i never filled the first). I also got a master reseller from doing some work for some1 here.

So since i had so much BS around the place, and one of the resellers failed me and crashed loosing all data including their backups, i got pissed off and looked for other options. Eventually getting another dedicated server.
I started with a lot of things =/

geocities, lycos.co.uk, tripod


Hostultra, T35.com, ACNOVA, EXOCrew

then I started requesting special hosting from individuals like zero-outpost and hopeforanotherday. Now I'm at iyeru42.info for free.
Although I have been in the hosting world since August 2004, I got started in free hosting in early 2006 (January or February? I can't even remember now!) with a free host running on the old Multihoster platform. (I still have a copy of this laying around if anyone wants it, btw.) All was good, and in just a couple of weeks, I had built up a huge (can't remember the exact number, but it was close to or over 1,000) memberbase. Things were going great, and that was awesome considering I had only promoted at one place, and didn't even know at the time that FWS existed. Besides that, the name of the host sucked (Q151), so things were really good. Then, one morning, I went to check the site and answer emails, and everything was gone - literally. All of the files were deleted, including the Website files and user files. There wasn't even a cool hacker greeting - just nothing. I was quite put out (as I am sure you can imagine), but rebuilt without trying to determine how someone could have gotten in and deleted everything (I never did claim to be very bright, now did I? :p). The site ran again for a couple of days, garnering over 200 users again, and then was hacked again, with all user files deleted. The main page was messed up, too, but at least this time they left a cool hacker message. :)

I finally gave up, but not before trying one last time! I did go on to research the problem and discovered that it was caused by a MySQL injection attack. Of course, at the time I was too lazy/unskilled to go about fixing it, and to this day have not. (So if you take me up on my offer of Multihoster, just be sure you know how to secure it against an attack like this!)

I laid low for awhile, and then in December (or November - or something late in) 2006, I launched another free host, called FreewayWebhost. It still runs today (the new owner screwed up the homepage with his ads! :mad: ), and seems to do Ok. I didn't like the platform it was running on, though, so I sold it in March 2007.

Over the summer of 2007, I ran imgFX.info and something else whose name I cannot even remember now. These were just side projects in relation to much larger Websites I was running at the time, and I sold both of them as I got too busy to give them the proper amount of attention. (Plus, you can make good money selling good Websites.) The problem came around when the new owners did not properly manage the sites - both are gone today. :(

In June or July of 2007, I started freehosting300.com. It got up to 500 or so users, but I thought the name was stupid and too long, so I sold it for a pittance.

In August 2007, I launched freezoka. Many folks don't know this, but I did sell freezoka last month and made what I thought was a nice return on my investment, especially considering the ad income I received while I was running the site. Unfortunately, I do not think the owner has given the site the attention it needs, and I am hearing that it is falling apart. :( (Of course, by now you can imagine that if I sell anymore Websites, I am going to choose the buyer - not let the buyer choose me!)

Also last month, I started a new free host called 40gigs.com. That is my current project, and I would like to grow it into something quite large. However, in the past week I have run into major trouble with the company we lease our servers from, which means I may have to move the site to a new provider. There is always some bit of drama in free hosting!

And, one last service I run is 07x.net. I started that earlier in the summer, just to use a domain I had laying around. :) It has done surprisingly well for the very small amount of promotion I've done.

So, as you can see, this is my story in the free hosting world. :) It might be interesting to some, confusing to others. I got started because I came across an open-source script, and continue to offer free hosting now because I like helping people out, I like the financial opportunity, and I really am a geek and just like Web hosting. :)
Hey TSO, when you say you want to turn 40 Gigs in something quite large .. what numbers are you thinking at ? 30000 users ? more ? less ? :)
i am started from small reseller and i am now on big reseller providing free web hosting

Well I started on a reseller but it was like prizes as free hosts then I found a partner.

Bough a dedi then from there we have become very good and very big :)

No problems what so every. All our members trust us and we get very good donations each month and we don't even have ads on our website lol or our clients hosting :)

We are getting a offshore server soon ;)!
lol, started with a VPS, thing did go well. Went to Reseller, did not go well either. Went to VPS again with lots of new knowledge... and now our free web hosting services are controlling 3 servers. :)