Free Hosting Answers! http://freehostinganswers.com Everything about free hosting, free hosting industry analysis Sun, 30 Aug 2015 13:32:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 61703806 How to connect to PPTP VPN server from a Windows machine (Windows 7 as an example) http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-connect-to-pptp-vpn-server-from-a-windows-machine-windows-7-as-an-example/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-connect-to-pptp-vpn-server-from-a-windows-machine-windows-7-as-an-example/#respond Sat, 21 Dec 2013 04:44:08 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=241 win7-control-panelFor some reasons, you may need use VPN service.  If you do not have a VPN provider, you can install your own PPTP VPN server on Linux machines in about 5 minutes. This post gives step-by-step guide on how to install and configure a PPTP VPN server  on Redhat, CentOS and Ubuntu. It should also […]]]> For some reasons, you may need use VPN service.  If you do not have a VPN provider, you can install your own PPTP VPN server on Linux machines in about 5 minutes. This post gives step-by-step guide on how to install and configure a PPTP VPN server  on Redhat, CentOS and Ubuntu. It should also work on SUSE, Fedora and many other Linux distros.

In this post, I will share with you how to connect to the PPTP VPN server from a Windows machine. I will use Windows 7 Home Premium as an example.

Step 0: Make sure you have a PPTP VPN account.

The information needed includes: PPTP VPN server IP, user name, and password

Step 1: Connect to internet

To connect to a VPN server, you must connect to internet first, because normally the VPN server is not in your local area network. You can connect to internet with cable or wireless. PPTP VPN has no issues with wired or wireless connections.

If you can read this post, it means you are connected already.

Step 2: Open control panel

On your Windows machine, go to Start (the button in the bottom left)–Control panel. You should get a window similar to the following screenshot (click the image to enlarge). Click the Network and Internet as illustrated

win7-control-panel

 Step 3: Add a PPTP VPN connection

After clicking the Network and Internet, in the new window, click “connect a network”, then in the pop-out window, click “connect to a workplace” (make sure you click this one!!). Click Next to proceed. You may refer to the screenshot below (click the image to view the full-sized image).

win7-add-vpn-connection

In the pop-up window, click “Use my Internet connection (VPN) as shown below.

win7-vpn-connection-internet

Step 4:  Provide PPTP VPN server IP or hostname

In the new window, you are asked to provided the ip address (hostname  is also acceptable) of the PPTP VPN server. You can get such info from your VPN service provider. If you installed the PPTP VPN server yourself, you can put the server IP here.

Optionally, you can change the destination name of this VPN connection (illustrated as 6 in the screenshot below). This is just for your own info. You can type whatever you want.

Then click Next to continue.

win7-vpn-server-ip-setup

Step 5: Provide your PPTP VPN account info

In the new window, you need provide the user name and password of your PPTP VPN account. You should get such info from your VPN service provider. If you set your own PPTP VPN server following this guide, you  can add an user name and password in /etc/ppp/chap-secrets .

If you are the only user of the computer, or you are willing to share the PPTP VPN account with other users in the computer, you can  check “Remember this password” so that it is necessary to type the password next time. If you do not want to store password in the computer, do NOT check it.

Then click “Connect” to connect to the VPN.

These are illustrated in the screenshot below. Click the image to view the full-sized image.

win7-pptp-vpn-account-info

 

After 1 or  2 minutes, you should get the following screen:

win7-pptp-vpn-connected

Step 6: Test the connection

Open your browser, go to whatismyip.com to see whether your IP is changed to the PPTP VPN server IP.

Get any problems? Share with us in the comment box below! (please do NOT post any account info or personal info).

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How to install your own VPN server in 5 mins (PPTP on CentOS, RedHat and Ubuntu) http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-install-your-own-vpn-server-in-5-mins-pptp-on-centos-redhat-and-ubuntu/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-install-your-own-vpn-server-in-5-mins-pptp-on-centos-redhat-and-ubuntu/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2012 12:55:45 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=184 virtual-private-networkVirtual Private Network (VPN) is the most effective way to bypass access control, the censorship, and network spying. It is also a safe way to connect to the internet to protect your privacy. It is usually better than using web proxy. For example,  when you are on a business visit to Asia, very likely,  you […]]]> virtual-private-networkVirtual Private Network (VPN) is the most effective way to bypass access control, the censorship, and network spying. It is also a safe way to connect to the internet to protect your privacy. It is usually better than using web proxy.

For example,  when you are on a business visit to Asia, very likely,  you are not able to access your Hulu Plus contents, or Amazon Prime unless you use a VPN connection to a server located in US. The reason is that Hulu or Amazon is only allowed to stream videos in US per license agreement with copyright holders.

Of course, there are many VPN providers. But if you want full control or want to  share the vpn with your buddies, you can get a server and install it by yourself.

Before you start, you need get a dedicated server with root access. VPS may not work well depending on the virtualization software used. You can get a cheap dedicated server with less than $50/month.

There are mainly 3 types of VPN servers: Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and OpenVPN. In this tutorial, we use PPTP because it is supported natively on almost all devices, Windows, Linux, Android, IOS and Mac OS.

Step 1. Install PPTPD

If your OS is CentOS/RedHat 5:

yum install ppp
cd /usr/local/src
wget http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/packages/pptpd-1.4.0-1.rhel5.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uhv pptpd-1.4.0-1.rhel5.x86_64.rpm

If your OS is CentOS/RedHat 6:

yum install ppp
cd /usr/local/src
wget http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/packages/pptpd-1.4.0-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uhv pptpd-1.4.0-1.el6.x86_64.rpm

If you are using Ubuntu:

apt-get install pptpd

Step 2. Edit IP setttings in /etc/pptpd.conf

vi /etc/pptpd.conf
or
nano -w /etc/pptpd.conf

localip 192.168.0.1
remoteip 192.168.0.101-200

Step 3. Add user account in/etc/ppp/chap-secrets (assign username and password)

vi /etc/ppp/chap-secrets
or
nano -w /etc/ppp/chap-secrets

usernameForuser1 *  setpassword1here  *
usernameForuser2 *  setpassword2here  *

Step 4. Optional settings in /etc/ppp/options.pptpd

vi /etc/ppp/options.pptpd
or
nano -w /etc/ppp/options.pptpd

ms-dns 8.8.8.8
ms-dns 4.4.4.4

Step 5. Enable network forwarding in /etc/sysctl.conf

vi /etc/sysctl.conf
or
nano -w /etc/sysctl.conf

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

Use the following command to apply the change:

sysctl -p

Step 6. Configure firewall

iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 1723 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p gre -j ACCEPT
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
iptables -A FORWARD -i ppp+ -o eth0 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o ppp+ -j ACCEPT
service iptables save
service iptables restart

If you are using CSF firewall, you may refer to this post on firewall settings.

Step 7. Start PPTP VPN server

If your OS is CentOS or Redhat, using the following command:

service pptpd restart

To start PPTP Daemon automatically when rebooting next time, use command:

chkconfig pptpd on

If your OS is Ubuntu, you just reboot your machine.

Now you can test the VPN server from any client: Windows PCs, Linux PCs, Android phones/tablets, or iPhone and iPad.

The log of the VPN server, by default, is combined with system log located at /var/log/messages.

PS: for text editor you can also use nano, instead of vi,  if you are not comfortable with vi. If you are using nano, make sure you start nano with “-w”.

Any questions? you post them in the comment section.

Updated 1: update the version of  pptp daemon.

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5 efficient ways to advertise your free hosting services for free (and without using any social media) http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/5-efficient-ways-to-advertise-your-free-hosting-services-for-free-and-without-using-any-social-media/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/5-efficient-ways-to-advertise-your-free-hosting-services-for-free-and-without-using-any-social-media/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 14:09:13 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=178 5 efficient ways to advertise your free hosting services for free (and without using any social media)As a free hosting provider, you budget is always tight.  Even if you have a deep pocket, you may still try to find some free lunch. The good news is that there are many different ways to advertise your hosting services without spending a single cent. No, I am not talking about social media (twitter, […]]]> As a free hosting provider, you budget is always tight.  Even if you have a deep pocket, you may still try to find some free lunch.

5 efficient ways to advertise your free hosting services for free (and without using any social media)The good news is that there are many different ways to advertise your hosting services without spending a single cent. No, I am not talking about social media (twitter, facebook, Google +….), which is over-talked everyday.

Besides social media, you can still find some more efficient ways to get free advertisement. Here are the most 5 efficient ways.

1. Signature in a well-established forum.

This is an old tactic far earlier than social media. Most forums allow you a signature, where you can put a link for your service. This will not only increase the exposure of your service whenever you reply a topic or start a new thread, but also potentially increase your search engine ranking. It is unnecessary to post everyday; just post every week or every month will keep your link floating.

One important aspect of this approach is to find a popular forum, e.g., Digital Point forum, site point. What most people overlooks is some niche forums, e.g., parenting forums. Such forums usually provide better SEO values.

Please read the terms of each forum carefully. Some forums allow signature after a few posts; some forums allow up to 3 links.

2. Commenting on blog posts

This is an abused tactics by a lot of spammers. Luckily, now most blogs have quite efficient anti-spam plugins, so spammers are getting harder time now.

Commenting on a blog is similar to reply a topic in a forum. It is a kind of contribution to the blog. So, it is not strange most bloggers want you to comment, and want your input for the topic.

Most blogging system allows you to input a website linking to your name. This link usually can boost your search engine ranking and give decent traffic if you comments are relevant.

Remember, never use any automated systems/scripts. Your comments will most likely be  ended in the trash bin. If you are really lucky, you can only shoot a few useless blogs.

So, read the blog and give relevant comments only. Why wait? comment on this post.

3. Blogging for your services

Create a free blog and post good things about your free hosting services. I know you probably already have a blog, but you need multiply it.

You can simply create a few new blogs in other providers’ domains. This adds incredible value to your service: search engine simply likes to see something similar in different locations.

You can just post once a week or twice a month. After a few months, you will find decent traffic from such blogs. It only needs patience and persistence.

4. Guest blogging

In addition to commenting on other’s blog, you can propose guest blogging to the blog owner if you can write something relevant to the blog. Of course, the gust post should add value to the original blog.

As an exchange, you usually can use a few links in the post, and some blogs allows a html bio, where you can introduce yourself in depth. Nowadays, a lot of  big blogs highly depend on quality guest posts.

Surely, you need ask, unless you are so famous. Like salesman, you may get rejections, but don’t give up.  If you can really write something valuable to a blog, the owner will eventually welcome you.

If you can write something relevant to free hosting and valuable to our readers, request guest posting now on this blog!

5. Post ads in some forums

Still, a few established forums has free advertisement section. For example, for free hosting providers, FreeWebSpace.net or other webmaster forums are good place for free advertisement, because the readers are usually looking for free services there.

Again, read the rules. Some forums allow one ad each week; some may allow more.

It is extremely important to respond to any inquiries in the thread promptly. So it is wise to subscribe to ad thread you started.

Anyway, these are the 5 efficient ways to advertise your services without spending you =r money. It may take time; but they work.

So, why wait? after reading this post, you can immediately do two things:

1. Comment this post

2. Ask for guest posting

 

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How to create a 404 page? http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-create-a-404-page/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-create-a-404-page/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2011 20:11:37 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=164 yahoo-404404 page can be your invisible cash cow!. As I mentioned in the previous post on how to use popup ads wisely for your free hosting services, you can put some ads on a 404 page. 404 page refers to the “Page not found”. When a page is requested, your web server will serve the […]]]> 404 page can be your invisible cash cow!. As I mentioned in the previous post on how to use popup ads wisely for your free hosting services, you can put some ads on a 404 page.

yahoo-404

Now you know why nobody buys ads from Yahoo!

404 page refers to the “Page not found”. When a page is requested, your web server will serve the page to the web browser if it exists. If it is not existing, the web server will issue a 404 error. By default, most web servers (e.g., Apache) will give a plain text page indicating the page is not found.

The page not found error can be caused by different reasons. For example:

  • typo in the URL;
  • page was deleted;
  • broken link;
  • change of rewrite rules;
  • you want to hide some pages to certain visitors;

For free hosting providers, you usually get 5-15% of such traffic. More importantly,  visitors usually will click one of the links in this page to navigate to the other pages. That is the reason why I always urge all free hosting providers create a meaningful 404 page and monetize from it. Meaningful means clear navigation to proper pages (e.g., homepage, signup page, ..).

To create a 404 page is very simple. On most systems (Linux+Apache), you need:

  1. create a html/php page. You can use your existing template so that this page has consistent appearance with all other pages. You can use html and any programming language (e.g., PHP), just like a normal content page. Then name it as you want.
  2. in your website’s home directory (for cpanel, it is public_html directory), modify the .htaccess file. At the end of this file, add one line (replace whatever.php with the file name you specified in step 1):
    ErrorDocument 404 /whatever.php
  3. update the .htaccess file. Test it with a non-existing page (e.g., http://YOURDOMAIN/nonexisit.pppp )

When you prepare you 404 page in step 1, it is important to put clear navigation (links) so that visitors can be redirected to the most suitable pages. You can also put some ads on this page. The conversion rate or CTR on a 404 page actually is similar  (if not better) than other content pages.

Also, when you name the file, try to avoid 404 in file name  because search engines do not like 404.php or 404.html. You may use “navigation.php” or “notfound.php”.

Anyway, put a 404 page today to: 1) provide better navigation for the lost visitors; 2). monetize such traffic.

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How to use popup ads wisely? http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-use-popup-ads-wisely/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-use-popup-ads-wisely/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2011 12:12:21 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=157 not-all-pop-up-are-badSome consultants may tell you as a free hosting provider, you should stay away from popup or pop-under ads, because such ads may drive genuine users away. This is not always correct, at least it is often misleading. Using popup ads wisely can monetize your traffic without affecting genuine users. Yes, you should not put […]]]> Some consultants may tell you as a free hosting provider, you should stay away from popup or pop-under ads, because such ads may drive genuine users away.

not-all-pop-up-are-bad

You will love this popup.

This is not always correct, at least it is often misleading. Using popup ads wisely can monetize your traffic without affecting genuine users.

Yes, you should not put popup ads in normal pages, or your own pages, because most users do not like popup windows. However, these pages are perfect for popup or pop-under ads:

  • 404 page. If the page does not exist, put a popup ads before redirecting the user to the main page will not affect most users. Remember, for free hosting providers, you may have 5-10% traffic goes to 404 (page not found). Some free hosting providers never put a 404 page,  or directly redirect the traffic to other pages. This is a big waste.
  • Suspended pages. You will get a lot of abusers whenever you run  free hosting service. You need take some actions to avoid excessive abuses. Once such account is suspended, you can show all visitors a suspended page, and put some ads, including popup or pop-under ads. Usually for abusing account, you should suspend it first instead of deleting it. If you delete it, the abuser can re-register and continue to use the abusing URLs.
  • 403 page. If you installed mod security for your Apache server to filter abnormal traffic requests,  you should setup a 403 page. If the page is not found, 404 page will be used. Anyway, you can also try to monetize such traffics with popup or pop-under ads.
  • Proxified pages. As I mentioned in the Top 5 Adsense rules for free hosting providers, you should not place Google Adsense ad on proxified pages because you have no control on the contents. However, you may put popup or pop-under ads on such pages. As long as you cap the frequency of such ads, users usually do not mind it.

Be reminded, Google does not want to see pop-up or pop-under ads in Adsense pages. So, if a page can put Adsense, you should not put any pop ads, as mentioned as Rule #5 in the Top 5 Adsense rules  for free hosting providers.

Anyway, you should maximize your earning potential from non-conventional traffics by using popup or pop-under ads wisely.

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5 rules to find a perfect domain name for your free hosting service http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/5-rules-to-find-a-perfect-domain-name-for-your-free-hosting-service/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/5-rules-to-find-a-perfect-domain-name-for-your-free-hosting-service/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2011 13:21:46 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=144 5 lionsMost people believes that a good domain can attract and retain users for your free hosting services.  But what is a good domain name? Here are 5 rules you should follow to find a perfect domain for your website, especially free hosting sites. Rule #1: Use meaningful words, or keywords in your niche. Meaningful words […]]]> 5 lionsMost people believes that a good domain can attract and retain users for your free hosting services.  But what is a good domain name?

Here are 5 rules you should follow to find a perfect domain for your website, especially free hosting sites.

Rule #1: Use meaningful words, or keywords in your niche.
Meaningful words are easy to memorize. Your free hosting service need new users, and retain users. If the words used do not have any meaning, the chance is that the user may forget your website. Do not expect them to dig their email for your domain name.

Also, try to use simple words. Remember the native language of most of your users is not English. You are not Google, not Yahoo. Most users will not try to figure out the meaning of your domain name if they do not know the meaning.  You may use simple words related to your service. For example, if you are going to provide free forum hosting, you may include bbs or forum in your domain name.  The main purpose of including keywords in your domain name is not  for memorizing, but  for SEO.

Rule #2: No hyphens.
It is very common you find out all combinations of your desired words were registered. Every second, tens of thousands domains are registered.  So, some domain registration system will suggest some words with hyphens.

Try to avoid such domains. Firstly, do not expect users to remember hyphens. Secondly, it signals the users that  there is a direct competitor, which has longer history and track record, although this is not necessarily true.

Rule #3: No pure numbers.
Most people even cannot remember home number. How can you expect them to remember 6 or 7 digits number (most 3, 4-digit numbers have been registered)?

It seems some Asian webmasters like numbers, possibly because they have better genes with numbers. Anyway, unless your free service is targeting Chinese or other Asian users, you should also avoid pure numbers. No more than 3  numbers in your domain.

Rule #4: Dot com matters.
There are many domain extensions, or top-leve domains (TLDs) or country code TLDs. Usually your first choice of .com was registered already. So, most domain registration system will recommend you other TLDs.

Try to avoid any other TLDs if you are going to use it for your free hosting services. Occasionally, you may use .net or .org if .com was taken. Or, if your targeted users are in a specific country, you may use county code TLDs.

Never use .info for your free hosting service. Due to the promotions of .info domains, most users do not trust .info domain much. Also, as a lot of spammers, and phishing sites are using .info,  your email from .info domains may have higher risk of being marked as spam in most email systems.

Rule #5: Know cultural differences
Be cultural sensitive. Try to avoid controversial or vulgar words. Unless your free service is targeted for specific countries or regions, you need check the words used for your domain carefully.  Use Wikipedia or some other references to fins out whether the words have special meaning in other countries or cultures.

If you follow these 5 rules, I am sure you will find a perfect domain to start your free service. It will be costly if you have to change domain names later.

 

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How to find a reliable free hosting provider? 4 questions you need ask yourself http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-find-a-reliable-free-hosting-provider-4-questions-you-need-ask-yourself/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-find-a-reliable-free-hosting-provider-4-questions-you-need-ask-yourself/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2011 10:43:09 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=142 green-babyWhen you hunt around for a free hosting provider, You will find that finding a reliable free hosting provider is not an easy task. But before checking free hosting providers, you need ask yourself a few questions to avoid future disappointment. #1 What resources do I need? The common error most free hosting users make […]]]> green-babyWhen you hunt around for a free hosting provider, You will find that finding a reliable free hosting provider is not an easy task.

But before checking free hosting providers, you need ask yourself a few questions to avoid future disappointment.

#1 What resources do I need?
The common error most free hosting users make is looking for wrong resources. For example, if you just want to start a simple blog, you do not any fancy things. You can immediately get free one from reliable providers like Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs, LiveJournal. But if you need some special plugins for your blog, then you probably need ftp access or at least you can install your own copy of your blog. Most blog providers provides standard packages for all users and seldom cater for individual requests.

If you want put your own personal sites without using standard software packages, you need narrow down whether you need SQL database, whether you need PHP, whether you need Perl.

Another resource you need consider is whether the data transfer has any limitations. Some may give you 100GB data transfer, but cap your transfer at 1Mbps. Some may give you unlimited (actually does not exist) disk space, but limit the file size of individual files. Usually ad-supported providers will not limit your data transfer, but most no-ads providers may impose the limitation so that they can bet on your upgrading.

#2 What support do I need?
You need understand what support you need to setup and run your website. For example, whether you can use ftp, or you have to use web-based uploader; whether you can wrote HTML files, or you need some pre-defined templates.

Also, you need know whether you are comfortable with the support through public forum. Most free hosting providers do not have phone support or ticket support systems. You need ask question in a forum, and the reply from the provider is generally slow. So, you need know how to check forums to find answers.

If you prefer talking over the phoe or online chat, then you need make sure whether the free hosting provider provides this. Sometimes, if you can fins a local provider, you may get such service.

#3 Am I comfortable with advertisement  on my site?
As I explained in how free hosting works, free hosting providers need find ways to support their service. At the end of the day, they have to pay the bills on servers at least. Advertisement is one of the major revenue sources for most free hosting providers. So, most of the time you sites may be placed some advertisements by your free hosting provider.

Some post-to-host providers may not place advertisements. But you need commit some posts each week to qualify for the free hosting service. Or if you just need host some static HTML pages, some providers may not place ads as well. The simple one is Google Sites.
#4 Will I consider upgrade if my site booms?
If you are building a community for a clan, you may consider upgrade later when your community gets larger.  Usually, for large community sites, it is easy to get enough revenue  from the site to support the site itself. If you community is large, members may demand more features that free hosting provider may not provide.

So, if you may upgrade your account later, you need find a hosting provider with easy upgrade options. Some providers provide free and paid hosting on different servers, and you need know whether they help you move the site if you are not sure about such jobs.

After you get answers for these 4 questions, next step is to compare different free hosting providers. I will explain to you later on how to check whether a free hosting provider is reliable or not.

 

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Top 5 Adsense rules for free hosting providers http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/top-5-adsense-rules-for-free-hosting-providers/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/top-5-adsense-rules-for-free-hosting-providers/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2011 20:52:25 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=136 girls-drink-beerIn the how to make money from your free hosting service post, I told you there are many ways to generate revenue to offset your cost. Google Adsense is the first choice of many free hosting providers Adsense usually can  generate reasonable revenues for your free hosting service. As Google does not require minimum traffic, […]]]> In the how to make money from your free hosting service post, I told you there are many ways to generate revenue to offset your cost. Google Adsense is the first choice of many free hosting providers

girls-drink-beer

As long as you follow the rules, it is safe!

Adsense usually can  generate reasonable revenues for your free hosting service. As Google does not require minimum traffic, and international traffic is also accepted, you can use Adsense from the beginning. As mentioned in the checklist for free hosting providers, it is unlikely to get profit for the first a few months. So, set an reasonable expectation from Adsesne.

It is important to go through the guidelines of Adsense before you place ads on your site. Most free hosting providers may just skip the reading. If you do not follow the rules set by Google, the consequence can be severe: your account is terminated and you are banned from Adsense.

It does not need a rocket scientist to understand the Adsense guidelines, but sometimes some webmasters may get confused, and interpret them wrongly.

So, I summarize the common mistakes made by free hosting providers on Google Adsense placement. You need follow these five rules to keep your Adsesen account safe.

  1. Do not placed Adsense on customer’s website. You can only place Adsense units on pages in which you know the contents. Because you do not know what contents your users may put on their websites, it is too risky if you put your Adsense on these sites. For example, your user may upload a few unacceptable photos, and if Google notices your Adsense ad in that page, then you are in trouble.  Usually Adsense units on public forum is ok, but you need keep eyes on threads and remove offensive contents before Google finds them. For web proxy providers, you should NEVER put your Adsense ads on proxified pages. You simply can not know what sites you users may visit.
  2. Do not solicit click. New free hosting providers often put some words like this on their pages “please click ads to support our free services” bla bla. This is explicitly forbidden by Google, because you are soliciting clicks. You should not mention your ads except that you can mentioned your ad revenue will support the free service.
  3. Add a privacy policy page. Most big ad network now requires a privacy page, You need state your site’s privacy policy. If you are not sure, find privacy statement from other free hosting providers’ sites and modify accordingly.  You only need make sure it is as accurate as possible based on your knowledge. Occasionally,  Google may check around and ask you to put one.
  4. Try different placements. The performance of Google Adsense units vary, greatly, depending on how you place them. You need do some experiments and optimize: size, location and color on individual pages. For example, squre/rectangle  (e.g., 300*250, 338*250) units usually performs better than 468*60 units. The location is also important. For example,if you put your ad units immediately after your tutorials, the click rate generally is high than before the tutorials, because people just finish reading your contents/instructions and are ready for some actions.
  5. Do not use popup or pop-unders. Sometimes, you may have some popup ads or popunder ads for error pages. But you should NEVER use them together with Adsense. Google does not like such ads.  So, make sure there are no Adsense units on the page where you put popup ads.

These are the simple 5 rules that all free hosting providers should follow, if you do not want to get your Adsense account disabled.  To get best results, you should test different placements.

 

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How to choose a dedicated server provider? Top 5 golden rules! http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-dedicated-server-provider-top-5-golden-rules/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-dedicated-server-provider-top-5-golden-rules/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 13:52:39 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=131 How to choose a dedicated server provider? Top 5 golden rules!For most hosting providers, after the first initial growth period, you will find your reseller hosting account is not sufficient, as I discussed in a previous post on whether a reseller account is sufficient for you. Then, you need a dedicated server. There are so many dedicated server providers. Therefore, a lot of free hosting […]]]> How to choose a dedicated server provider? Top 5 golden rules!For most hosting providers, after the first initial growth period, you will find your reseller hosting account is not sufficient, as I discussed in a previous post on whether a reseller account is sufficient for you.

Then, you need a dedicated server.

There are so many dedicated server providers. Therefore, a lot of free hosting providers chose the wrong ones. Here are the top 5 rules to ensure you find a reliable provider.

  • Rule #1: Stay away from resellers. There are so many resellers in hosting industry. Most of them provide some good and additional services, especially for shared hosting. But for dedicated hosting, the premium provided by resellers usually is server management. If you need someone to manage the server, I usually recommend free hosting providers to hire some freelancers to do such jobs, instead of resellers. Getting a dedicated server through reseller has several disadvantages, for example, the reseller may have some billing disputes with the datacenter, and then your server will be in a vulnerable position. The problem is you even don’t know it.
  • Rule #2: Buy the resources you will use. This sounds silly, but it is often overlooked even by some free hosting veterans.  You have a budget, then you need decide what kind of resources are essential for you. If your free hosting is bandwidth intensive, for example, free web proxy, then you should spend choose a plan with enough bandwidth, if possible, upgrade to unlimited bandwidth.  However, if your free hosting service is database intensive, for example, WordPress blog hosting, you should get a server with enough RAM, and more cores, and faster hard drive if possible, not to waste money on unlimited bandwidth. You always has a budget limitation, spend wisely to get  the resources  that you need and will use.
  • Rule #3: Get a server close to you or close to your users. It is always better to deal with local dedicated hosting providers so that you can easily visit them. Some small datacenters may also allow you to enter and work on your server. If you cannot find a suitable provider near your location, try to find a provider close to your users. This will generally make your server more responsive for your users. For example, if the majority of your users are in Europe, it is a good idea to get a server in Germany or Netherlands if it is affordable. When you buy overseas servers, you need pay attention to the connection quality in overseas datacenters.  Some datacenters in Africa and Asia can be quite slow and have very limited bandwidth. In this situation, you may just get a US server.
  • Rule #4: Friendliness is the key. Not all datacenters welcome free hosting providers. Before any complaints arrive, all datacenters look good. How to handle complaints will differ datacenters greatly. As a free hosting provider, you should always expected that your service may get some complaints, e.g., spamming, phishing… A friendly datacenter will work with you and then solve the issue, others will simply boot your ass. So, sometimes, try to avoid big names because they usually have no patience on small hosting providers like you.
  • Rule #5: Check network reliability before your buy. Over the years, the network reliability in almost all datacenters  has improved significantly. But some datacenters still have more problems than others. WebhsotingTalk is a good place to check the network reliability of different datacenters. You may also find out whether the datacenters in your shortlist have many compliant.  A gentle reminder, do not over-use the info in any public forum. Often the complaint in public forum is exaggerated. Anyway, WebHostingTalk should be able to give you a rough idea on the reliability of different providers.

Anyway, if you follow these rules, you will spend your money wisely and get the best ROI.

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10 must-have free plugins for your WordPress blog http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/10-must-have-free-plugins-for-your-wordpress-blog/ http://freehostinganswers.com/blog/10-must-have-free-plugins-for-your-wordpress-blog/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 09:46:05 +0000 http://freehostinganswers.com/?p=123 10 wordpress pluginsWordPress  is simple to use. It is also simple to provide free WordPress blog hosting as explained to in previous post. But once your WordPress is setup, you need some plugins to make it work better for you. If you are providing free WordPress blog hosting service, you need install them so that your users […]]]> 10 wordpress pluginsWordPress  is simple to use. It is also simple to provide free WordPress blog hosting as explained to in previous post. But once your WordPress is setup, you need some plugins to make it work better for you. If you are providing free WordPress blog hosting service, you need install them so that your users can use.

So, here are the 10 must-have free WordPress plugins. They will help you broadcast your posts, stop spammers, engage with readers, and improve the loading time of your blogs.

  • PubSubHubbub. This plugin will let people know in real-time when your blog is updated. It works like a real-time broadcaster for your post. The name is not easy to remember, because it is named by geeks in Google. You may find more information on PubSubHubBub protocol in the official site.
  • Slick Social Share Buttons. This plugin can add facebook, twitter, google +1, google buzz, linkedin, digg, and stumbledupon social media buttons to your website in either a floating or sliding panel. So, readers can easy share your contents and engage with your site. Based on our experience, floating works the best.
  • Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin works on single blog and multi-site blogs (blog hosting) as well. Don’t wait for Google crawler, generate sitemaps and submit them to Google. Bing and Yahoo also accepts the same sitemaps.
  • HTML in Author Bio. Adding the bio info in your blog will give your readers some trust. By default, for security reasons, WordPress strips all htmls in the bio. The plugin stops the stripping of html formatting from the description (bio) field and sanitize content for allowed HTML tags. For example, you can add links to your other projects, your Google+ profile
  • Contact Form 7. This plugin makes it easy for your readers to contact you. It allows you to flexibly design the form and mail. You can manage multiple contact forms as well. There are several similar plugins there, but this one is the easiest one.
  • Akismet. This plugin will fight against spammers for you. It  comes together with WordPress, and you  just need enable it. When enabling it, you need get a free key by registering your email on their website.
  • Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin. This plugin checks  IP address, email and user id of anyone who tries to register, login, or leave a comment against StopForumSpam.com, Project Honeypot and BotScout to to prevent spammers from registering or making comments.
  • Custom Post Limits. By default, WordPress provides a single configuration setting to control how many posts should be listed in each section of your blog. This value applies for the front page listing, author listings, archive listings, category listings, tag listings, and search results. This plugin allows you to override that value for each of those different sections.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site. This is extremely useful when you have hundreds posts. I used some similar plugins before, but I switched to this one recently. It seems the algorithm is more accurate than other plugins.
  • Quick Cache. When you have a few hundreds visitors each day, your blog will become slow. This Quick Cache can make it faster. If you are not a computer savvy, you can just image this cache can fetch the post/contents directly from the cached file, instead of from the database. This can save tremendous time. There are several cache plugins there, but this one is easy to use. You just turn it on. All default settings work perfectly.

Of course, there are many other free plugins you may try. Actually, this is one of the reasons why WordPress is getting more popular. If you need something special, you probably can find a free plugin.

 

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