Tuesday, October 10, 2006

free hosting service :: good business plan or scam

I was searching for free hosting services earlier. Criteria is simple: over 100MB and allows php/mysql and perl CGI, >1G/month bandwidth. frihost.net came as top choice. Its requirement is simple too, 'register to post to its forums five times (and accumulate 10 points)." So I did. registered on its forums, posted 6 messages, and accumulated over 15 points (apparently judged by length of the post). 
went ahead to apply for the hosting account. a day later got a PM (private message) informing of rejection due to poor quality of the posts. I don't really agree, since I believe my posts' quality is in line with other posts therein. Nevertheless, I complied by posting a few more then applying again. This time I got through. The control panel seems to be powerful (HTTP not HTTPS, though).  Yet, I couldn't find a way to publish my first Hello-world page. Based on my understanding of Apache and such, I'd think 'echo Hello World > ~/public_html/index.html' would be it. However, my virtual domain was not resolvable after two days or so. Fake DNS entries in my own BIND setup or hosts entries, getting to the generic 'Apache is up' stock page.
A bit annoyed, so I started to read the FAQ section of the hosting service. Much to my shock, it states that one had to stay active on their forum with quality posts, otherwise your hosting service will be canceled. Now I appreciate the old saying, "when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." What a good business plan, to hold hostage of people with quality posts in the so-called frihost.net forums community.

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