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Is Free Web Hosting Reliable? When Should You Try It Out?

Over the past few months, a number of free web hosting providers have mushroomed over the internet. Most of them offer Unlimited Free Space, the minimum being 100 MB or so. All of them claim 99% uptime and all the possible features available with a paid hosting account. This includes cPanel, PHP, Softaculous or Fantastico Auto Installer, MySQL and most of the other standard features which you would expect to get with a paid service provider. Some free providers are also offering SSH Access with their free hosting account.

So how do they make money to pay for their servers? What’s the quid pro quo for the free space? As the famous saying goes “There’s no such thing as free lunch”. Even the free hosting is not really free. Its just that you are paying a different price for it.

Popups and Advertisements

One of the free providers whom we tried out, had an annoying page refresh every 30 seconds. If you were on the control panel page, every 30 seconds the page would refresh and would go to a gambling website with several advertisement popups. Another provider claiming to have been in the free hosting business since 2005, served up 4 popup advertisements when we first logged in to his control panel. The cPanel was an outdated version (probably a hashed version) which had an archaic design and missing all the newer features.

To top it all, our main website page was being served up with some code injected into it. The code was of a hit counter and an ad popup. The popup would show up once a day for every unique visitor – unacceptable for a professional website. The code injection was quite scary and we were not fine with

Selling your data

Most of the free providers, keep a clause in their Terms of Service (TOS) to state that they will sell your data, however, some of them promise not to sell personal identifying data. This means that all your data maybe sold by them for marketing purposes, provided that they separate any identification marks from it. If you are seriously building a website for the the long term, you may not want to risk the possibility of your data being stolen or misused. After all, Intellectual Property Lawyers are expensive to hire.

Restriction on uses

One free hosting provider threatens to delete your account if your website is under construction for 2 weeks or more. Their website states that: “We hold right to delete inactive websites which remain in Under-construction for more than two weeks”. Other providers threaten to delete your account if you have used it as a “backup” and not “actually linked the files to your website”. What constitutes a backup is left open to your guesses, as no where in the TOS do they mention what “backup” means.

FTP Restrictions

A famous free hosting provider does not allow you to login more that 3 times in a day through FTP. So if you have an urgent update to make, you may have to probably wait for a day. Their website states that: “If you access your site too often your ip will be blocked!”. That restriction is not very practical if your website is for the long term.

Whom is it for

Free hosting is only suitable for a disposable website – one that is not going to be used in a production environment. Free hosting maybe an ideal option when you want to test out your design or go live with a web application in test mode. Free hosting also enables you to understand real world scenarios and may also be useful for training and research purposes. Depending on your real requirement and what you intend to do with the hosting space, you will cautiously choose free hosting over a paid account.

Get an Unlimited Hosting account for your professional website at HostingXtreme. Our web hosting prices provide value for money and are in competition with the free alternatives as well.

Longwood 5KM and 10KM 2014
free website hosting
Image by Peter Mooney
This is a photograph from the Longwood GAA 10KM and 5KM Road Races and Fun Runs 2014 which were held in Longwood Village, Co. Meath, Ireland on Sunday 19th October 2014 at 11:00. This is the fifth year which Longwood GAA have hosted race events. This year’s event was an outstanding success with the number of participants doubling over last year’s final numbers. There were almost 400 participants in both events with 224 in the 10KM and 166 in the 5KM. In the first three previous years the club had organised a 5KM road race. The events were organised as fundraisers for both the adult and juvenille teams at Longwood GAA club. The event also provided a fundraising opportunity for the local St. Vincent de Paul charity. Overall the whole day was a great success with the hard work put in by the organising committee ensuring that participants enjoyed their race experience. Both routes were accurately measured, kilometer points clearly marked, junctions well stewarded, and electronic timing provided. The event provided many local runners, joggers, fun runners and walkers with a local event to support whilst at the same time providing runners preparing for events such as the Dublin marathon with an opportunity to race a short, fast, distance in the lead up to marathon day. The GAA club provided excellent stewarding and traffic management all around the course. The race had a professional feel to it and it is sure to grow next year given the very positive feedback from many of the participants today.

This is a photograph which is part of a larger set of photographs taken at the event. There were photographs taken at the start of the races and the finishes of both races in Longwood GAA. The full set is available at this link www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157648845224981/

Longwood is a small village in South East Co. Meath and is close to the town of Enfield with access to the M4 Motorway.

Timing and event management was provided by Precision Timing. Results are available on their website at www.precisiontiming.net/result.aspx?v=2100 with additional material available on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/davidprecisiontiming?fref=ts) See their promotional video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-7_TUVwJ6Q

Overall Race Summary
Participants: There were about 400 participants over the two events.
Weather: The weather was very breezy but dry. The temperatures around 10C.
5KM Course: The 5KM started in Longwood village. Runners then took a left turn in the Village down St. Oliver’s Road. This straight section of road brings runners to a left turn onto a very well maintained boreen road for less than one kilometer. The race then emerges and joins with the 10KM at Stoneyford where the runners take a left and then another left before arriving back at the finish line in Longwood GAA club. Overall this is a very fast and flat 5KM with no hills to speak of.

10KM Course: The 10KM event begins in Longwood Village outside Stoney’s Pub (goo.gl/maps/Of4fW) and proceeds westward out of the village. There are some interesting points along this part of the course. At the 2KM point the runners will run under the double bridges – an aquaduct for the Royal Canal and a bridge carrying the Dublin Sligo Railway line. The race then enters county Kildare just before the 3km and after taking a right turn at the four-cross roads known locally as Lally’s Cross it returns to County Meath on top of the River Boyne Bridge (Ashfield Bridge) which forms the county boundary. The race follows a straight road for the next 2KM until runners encounter Blackshade bridge which is the toughest climb on the route. As a point of interest Blackshade bridge brings runners back over the Royal Canal and the Railway line. The race then crosses the River Boyne again at Stoneyford before taking a right which will bring runners on a testing two kilometer stretch with some short hills. The 10KM course then joins with the 5Km course for the final 1.5KM back to Longwood GAA club for the finish.

Location Map: Longwood GAA club (Race Finish and Race Head Quarters – goo.gl/maps/4a8iQ Google StreetView)

Joining point of the two courses (Google Streetview goo.gl/maps/ICUvs)

Some Useful Links

RESULTS 2014: www.precisiontiming.net/result.aspx?v=2253
www.facebook.com/longwoodroadrace?fref=ts (may require Facebook logon)
Longwood GAA Facebook: www.facebook.com/longwoodgaa (may require Facebook logon)

Our photographs from Longwood 5KM 2013: www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157636477484093/
Our photographs from Longwood 5KM 2012: www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157631820426332/
Our photographs from Longwood 5KM 2011: www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157627782257481/
Our photographs from Longwood 5KM 2010: www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157625058772687/

Garmin GPS Trace for the 5KM Event in 2013: connect.garmin.com/player/238527691
Garmin GPS Trace for the 10KM Event in 2013: connect.garmin.com/activity/387453099

Can I use these photographs directly from Flickr on my social media account(s)?

Yes – of course you can! Flickr provides several ways to share this and other photographs in this Flickr set. You can share to: email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, LiveJournal, and WordPress and Blogger blog sites. Your mobile, tablet, or desktop device will also offer you several different options for sharing this photo page on your social media outlets.

We take these photographs as a hobby and as a contribution to the running community in Ireland. Our only "cost" is our request that if you are using these images: (1) on social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter,LinkedIn, Google+, etc or (2) other websites, blogs, web multimedia, commercial/promotional material that you must provide a link back to our Flickr page to attribute us.

This also extends the use of these images for Facebook profile pictures. In these cases please make a separate wall or blog post with a link to our Flickr page. If you do not know how this should be done for Facebook or other social media please email us and we will be happy to help suggest how to link to us.

I want to download these pictures to my computer or device?

You can download the photographic image here direct to your computer or device. This version is the low resolution web-quality image. How to download will vary slight from device to device and from browser to browser. However – look for a symbol with three dots ‘ooo’ or the link to ‘View/Download’ all sizes. When you click on either of these you will be presented with the option to download the image. Remember just doing a right-click and "save target as" will not work on Flickr.

I want get full resolution, print-quality, copies of these photographs?

If you just need these photographs for online usage then they can be used directly once you respect their Creative Commons license and provide a link back to our Flickr set if you use them. For offline usage and printing all of the photographs posted here on this Flickr set are available free, at no cost, at full image resolution.

Please email petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com with the links to the photographs you would like to obtain a full resolution copy of. We also ask race organisers, media, etc to ask for permission before use of our images for flyers, posters, etc. We reserve the right to refuse a request.

In summary please remember when requesting photographs from usIf you are using the photographs online all we ask is for you to provide a link back to our Flickr set or Flickr pages. You will find the link above clearly outlined in the description text which accompanies this photograph. Taking these photographs and preparing them for online posting does take a significant effort and time. We are not posting photographs to Flickr for commercial reasons. If you really like what we do please spread the link around your social media, send us an email, leave a comment beside the photographs, send us a Flickr email, etc. If you are using the photographs in newspapers or magazines we ask that you mention where the original photograph came from.

I would like to contribute something for your photograph(s)?
Many people offer payment for our photographs. As stated above we do not charge for these photographs. We take these photographs as our contribution to the running community in Ireland. If you feel that the photograph(s) you request are good enough that you would consider paying for their purchase from other photographic providers or in other circumstances we would suggest that you can provide a donation to any of the great charities in Ireland who do work for Cancer Care or Cancer Research in Ireland.

We use Creative Commons Licensing for these photographs
We use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License for all our photographs here in this photograph set. What does this mean in reality?
The explaination is very simple.
Attribution– anyone using our photographs gives us an appropriate credit for it. This ensures that people aren’t taking our photographs and passing them off as their own. This usually just mean putting a link to our photographs somewhere on your website, blog, or Facebook where other people can see it.
ShareAlike – anyone can use these photographs, and make changes if they like, or incorporate them into a bigger project, but they must make those changes available back to the community under the same terms.

Creative Commons aims to encourage creative sharing. See some examples of Creative Commons photographs on Flickr: www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

I ran in the race – but my photograph doesn’t appear here in your Flickr set! What gives?

As mentioned above we take these photographs as a hobby and as a voluntary contribution to the running community in Ireland. Very often we have actually ran in the same race and then switched to photographer mode after we finished the race. Consequently, we feel that we have no obligations to capture a photograph of every participant in the race. However, we do try our very best to capture as many participants as possible. But this is sometimes not possible for a variety of reasons:

     ►You were hidden behind another participant as you passed our camera
     ►Weather or lighting conditions meant that we had some photographs with blurry content which we did not upload to our Flickr set
     ►There were too many people – some races attract thousands of participants and as amateur photographs we cannot hope to capture photographs of everyone
     ►We simply missed you – sorry about that – we did our best!

You can email us petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com to enquire if we have a photograph of you which didn’t make the final Flickr selection for the race. But we cannot promise that there will be photograph there. As alternatives we advise you to contact the race organisers to enquire if there were (1) other photographs taking photographs at the race event or if (2) there were professional commercial sports photographers taking photographs which might have some photographs of you available for purchase. You might find some links for further information above.

Don’t like your photograph here?
That’s OK! We understand!

If, for any reason, you are not happy or comfortable with your picture appearing here in this photoset on Flickr then please email us at petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com and we will remove it as soon as possible. We give careful consideration to each photograph before uploading.

I want to tell people about these great photographs!
Great! Thank you! The best link to spread the word around is probably http://www.flickr.com/peterm7/sets

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