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How can a free web hosting be offered? I don't understand how it's possible.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by webguy09, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. webguy09 New Member

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    I didn't know where to ask this. I didn't know who to ask. I'm the only person I know that knows ANYTHING about anything technical.

    Well, I found a site offering a FREE VPS. Which I don't get how it's possible.

    So I signed up and used something random and didn't port any of my actual domains. Well, what do you know - it works! And I double checked all my ad blockers were off (feel free to double check me) but I can't see any advertising.

    Further, they don't offer any WAY to pay for it. Only referrals.

    Well if they have many referrals, how are they paying for the servers?

    I can think of some malicious ways for it to exist:
    steal user data
    steal user passwords
    steal user account data that might be used elsewhere.

    and the domain owner is in India, another flag. Then again, no American is going to offer ANYTHING for free.

    But is there a possible LEGITIMATE way for this to exist? I don't understand how it exists.

    IDEAS WELCOME.

    Also I noticed if you switch to "custom" control panel (in the top left of your admin screen, says "Choose Theme" but really it's switching between control panels), it is buggy - but the other control panels like Panel C and Plesky look surprisingly great.

    Another thing I can think is that maybe this is only temporary, to try to get the admin to test out how it works to kick off a potential web hosting business.

    Another thing I can think of is potentially it is bait-and-switch. Like maybe he'll offer for free and then when he has a ton of users "expire" the "free" account and now they have to pay for a subscription to access their data.

    Another thing is that when you sign up you agree to terms for Intuit or something like that, I forget. I think they do something like toolbars.

    So please help me out here and tell me how this exists.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  2. erixx

    erixx

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    Interesting enough for a discussion about "free" services that always "take" something from you.
    Being an interesting subject, I see no need for
    1) Hysteria
    2) Screaming in cAPITALS
    3) Paranoia

    Just expose your story, mate. And welcome!
     
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  3. webguy09 New Member

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    Thanks, but I did two stupid things:
    1) I created an account with random letters as the user name (dumb).
    2) I posted the referral link to the website. Dumb for a first post on a forum.
    3) Within minutes the account was deleted for spam. Even though I am not a spammer, I understand why. It's really hard to make this post with this question without sounding like a scammer! That's why I had to yell. To detract attention from the fact that the very premise of the question SOUNDS like spam because I know you can't get something for nothing - everyone knows that.

    So I made the post this time just without any links and tried my best to get people to read it before dismissing as spam, because I really want the answer as to why it exists and how the company is making money from me. I don't want to give them any real data until I get a plausible explanation.
     
  4. micropage7

    micropage7

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    sorry man no CAPITALS for more
    its like you shouting at everyone in here:shadedshu:

    spam is everywhere, you have phone, youll get spam, email most is spam
    and some of spammers make their profit from it so its kinda hard to avoid

    some forums have tight policy about spamming especially when you are a new member
     
  5. webguy09 New Member

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    please read former post. Really sorry about the capital letters though.
     
  6. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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    Am I correct in assuming you're talking about a free cloud storage service?
    Would you mind dropping the name of the company down for me? I can always check it against the database of registered companies and view all their finance records on the interwebz.
     
  7. webguy09 New Member

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    actually it is a free VPS.

    Usually with free VPS in the past that I've seen, they have ads all over their pages if you have the "free" hosting. WHich is highly impractical.

    So I actually have a couple of paid hosting plans. I pay years in advance normally.
    I've been wanting a VPS but can't afford one at the moment. Well, more like I can't justify $99/mo for something that shared servers are doing fine for me right now.

    So I don't understand how this one exists and is free. I checked the FAQ page but there is nothing there to tell WHY it's free. Which, in itself is fishy. But the server is fast. Which is why I want to know.

    Too bad I can't post the link so you could look. :(

    Man it is really hard to not sound like a spammer when using the word "free". :(
     
  8. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no idea what a VPS is, just type the name of the company, that's perfectly acceptable.
     
  9. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If it seems like a scam...

    Anyways, they're free because they use cookies and information gathering that is sold off to 3rd parties. That's how they get the money to run them.

    No need for a link or to name the website. If you google "free vpn" there's hundreds of them.
     
  10. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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    The site is hosted in Egypt and is only free for 1 month. Don't use it.
     
  11. webguy09 New Member

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    Oh, can you elaborate more on how they do it?

    By information gathering are you talking about legal information gathering? Or malicious type like stealing my passwords and web data?
     
  12. webguy09 New Member

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    Oh, bait and switch? I was looking but didn't see where it said only one month. Let me look again.


    edit: no, it says:
    £0.00(per lifetime)

    you're right about the location though, it's in Egypt. I think I said India earlier. Must have been looking at the wrong thing.
     
  13. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That information is rarely disclosed. It could be malicious or it could not. The best way to get the answer is to contact this "free vpn" service that you are considering. Each are different.
     
  14. BazookaJoe

    BazookaJoe

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    Typically with any "Free" service what you get is a basically functional service, with a number of commonly important features locked away behind a "Premium Membership" option.

    This is how it is sustainable for businesses to offer free web hosting, or any other similar service.

    They typically do a lot of very careful research in to what people actually want and what they need - the free package will offer all the basics, but leave out the more important core components until you pork out some cash.

    Now there will be a lot of people who are happy with a terrible basic website and never pay - and they have already thought of this, but there are also a surprisingly large number of people who DO cave in and just pay for the extras. They make more than enough profit from these paying customers to let the few freebees slide - and at the end of the day any site that does not need or use the extras is in almost all cases a completely unimportant site that does no significant traffic. (bear in mind even a thousand visitors a month could be considered totally insignificant to some large server arrays - and the simple fact is almost no "free" websites will ever see that kind of traffic)

    And even if a total freebee site DID land up pushing a lot of traffic, believe me they can and DO shut those down unless they pay up - but at the end of the day its something crazy like less than 1 in 100,000.

    Beyond all of that if you already have a big server set up with links and storage and bandwidth for another more important project it can be INSANELY cheap to carry a few websites - (Obviously depending on many factors) costing the hosting company as little as 1 or 2 US cents a month (less than a Penny in UK language) So if even 1 person is paying $5 a month for their premium package, it could literally be paying for both their site and carrying a few hundred free ones.

    Pick up a few hundred premium members, and you can carry THOUSANDS of free users , and still make some fat extra cash on the side of what was probably an already financially self sustaining server array to begin with.

    The short answer is : Hosting is a LOTTTTTTTTT cheaper for a big business than what they sell it for - And giving it away FREE is almost the same as selling it at cost price in some situations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    webguy09 says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  15. webguy09 New Member

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    well for this one, they don't even offer any WAY to pay. they don't have a paid premium package. It's really odd, it it completely based on referrals. which is more odd because why do they want more and more for free? Which means they must be getting something else from people.
     
  16. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    I deleted your original post, which you made on a new forum account, including links, so I assumed it's spam.

    The posting you made now is ok, because it doesn't contain URLs.

    Free hosting is certainly not impossible, you can cram a lot of virtual machines onto a single server, maybe even hosted from home. The question is what the people running the service hope to gain.

    If they have a free plan, in addition to paid plans, it's probably to get new (paying) customers.

    If they only offer free, I'd be very careful (like with everything free). They'll probably mine your data, or look for passwords, or payment processing data, or usernames (and steal their passwords).

    Another possibility could be some kind of bait and switch. Get free customers now, later, tell them they'll have to pay for future services, and hold their data hostage until they do so.

    VPS = virtual private server btw. It's a virtual machine that you have full admin access to. Don't confuse with VPN (virtual private networking).

    If I were you, I'd rather spend $5 a month with an established VPS host and be able to sleep at night.
     
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  17. webguy09 New Member

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    hmm, this makes sense. If it's almost free for each member, if the company has a ton of extra usage, they could be trying to maximize their gains without having to sell a bunch of paid memberships, by skimming and selling data or doing something else. Especially if they are already set up and it doesn't cost any extra to basically give away the space.
     
  18. webguy09 New Member

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    They only offer free.

    I wonder if I could use the extra space for things which are not important, like hosting and transferring large unimportant images or files. Stuff which I have backed up but could free up resources on my shared servers without giving any real data that could become compromised.

    I'm certain at this point that the risk is too high to actually point any domains to and use for anything directly meaningful.

    p.s. now that we know I'm not a spammer I went ahead and removed the caps from the OP and the explanation that I'm not a spammer which is no longer needed.
     
  19. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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    After googling for all of 5 minutes I found the locations of the server from other sources, and found a line on a review of the site that said the first month was free. ScamAdviser certainly doesn't hold it in high reputation either.
     
  20. webguy09 New Member

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    ScamAdvisor give the following warnings:

    [​IMG]Technical contact email address is a free one
    [​IMG]Administrative contact email address is a free one
    [​IMG]This website is 240 Days old
    [​IMG]The website expected life (364 days) is relatively short.
    [​IMG]This website setup involves countries known to be high risk
    [​IMG]This website is likely to be operating from a high risk country

    However these aren't necessarily bad except the high risk country, because I use free emails and contact on some of my domains which are also less than a year old, so that isn't necessarily important, although it can be a useful factor when combined with other important factors.

    Webutation however gave it a 95/100.

    Where did you find it saying a bait and switch? I tried searching google but didn't come up with anything. That was the first thing I tried and I just tried again but couldn't find anything.
    Also the site explicitly says that it is free for life, I doubt they could hook anyone with a bait in switch with an obvious lie on the front page, especially when they only have 1 month to hook them. It would make more sense to bait and switch for everyone after they got a whole lot of users by changing the policy, rather than going against the front page of their website. No one would be hooked from that.
     
  21. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    if it's unimportant, just delete the file :)

    if you backup your real server's script files and config files, they could look at those to find your directory structure for an attack, or find weaknesses in scripts, etc.
     
  22. webguy09 New Member

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    Yeah, definitely wouldn't want to backup config files to a free server. I don't even back up important things to paid cloud backup, because I don't trust it.
     
  23. micropage7

    micropage7

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    ok, back to the title, theres some reasons:
    1. the company has other line of business like premium hosting so they could offer you free web hosting for limited space or traffic
    2. the company may agreement to other to "lend" your data and any sponsor would give them some money

    some free has limitations, so you need to compromise some factors
    if you wanna use the better web hosting, better paid service
     
  24. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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    I apologise if I'm missing something, but this is what I see.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. webguy09 New Member

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    Not the same site.
     

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