Want to host a simple website? You will probably be happier with a good, inexpensive web host. While there are tons of awesome free web hosts to choose from, many are deceptively practical. If your website is simple, static, and just for fun, there is another option: hosting on a free cloud storage service.
Not only are cloud storage services more reliable than most free web hosts, they involve almost no learning curve, making them perfect for people who just need something that works.
Here we took a look at how you can host a website for free using Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
To note: This article assumes that your web pages are already created and ready to use; we only cover the actual process of making these files accessible online. Not there yet? Consider using a static site generator.
How to host a website on Dropbox
For Dropbox web hosting, you’ll need to use a web service called DropPages.
DropPages connects to your Dropbox account and creates a special app folder that you’ll use to store your site’s pages. DropPages hosts your web pages through its own web server and ignores everything else in your Dropbox account.
The pros and cons of DropPages
Whenever you make changes to the files on your site, DropPages updates its own versions and serves them immediately. Managing your site involves nothing more than modifying local files in your Dropbox folder and syncing them.
DropPages is not only extremely easy to use; it also comes with two free subdomains to access your sites. This makes it easier to share your site with others and makes DropPages a viable option for simple sites that are more than “just for fun”.
Although DropPages offers a free plan, you are limited to 50MB of storage space. This should be more than enough when you are starting out. If you hit that limit, you can either pay for the basic plan or upgrade to a traditional free host.
How to set up DropPages
First, visit the DropPages website. Click on Login to sign in to Dropbox, then authorize DropPages to access your Dropbox account. You will need to sign up for a seven-day free trial including payment information.
When prompted, enter the subdomain you want to use for your site and click .droppages.com at the end.
This creates a new folder in your Dropbox account, located at Dropbox / Apps / My.DropPages. In this new folder, you will see three subfolders.
The main thing that you should worry about is the content, which is where your HTML code goes. If you have CSS, JS, or image files, put them in the Public folder. Templates can be safely ignored unless you intend to use the DropPages template system.
Upload your website to the correct folders, then wait for it to sync with Dropbox and DropPages. If you want to speed things up or if it doesn’t update, you can go to your DropPages dashboard and click Publish now Where Reset sync.
You should now be able to display your new site publicly using your custom domain.
How to host a website on Google Drive or OneDrive
Dropbox hosting isn’t your only option in this category. Since Google Drive and OneDrive don’t have built-in ways to host websites, you’ll need to use a free service called DriveToWeb.
DriveToWeb hosting connects to your Google Drive or OneDrive account, searches for all publicly available HTML pages and resources, then takes those files and serves them through its own web server.
The advantages and disadvantages of DriveToWeb
The great thing about hosting a site with DRV.tw is that whenever a file changes, DriveToWeb automatically grabs it and updates itself. Want to change the text on a page?
Simply edit the file and save your new version to Google Drive or OneDrive; the web version will change to match automatically. You don’t need to manually reload or force DriveToWeb to rescan your drive.
DriveToWeb is extremely easy to configure. You can have your site ready in three minutes. The wrong side? An ugly web address. DriveToWeb creates an anonymous and random identifier to access your site, such as “vtqelxl5bdrpuxmezsyl9w”.
It keeps you safe, so visitors won’t see your account name, but it makes sharing difficult. The only people who will see your site are those you directly share the URL with.
How to configure DriveToWeb
First, make sure your website is uploaded to Google Drive or OneDrive and all files are organized properly.
Try to view the site locally in a web browser to make sure it looks like what you want it to appear on the web. You will need to make these files publicly available, unless you plan to share each item with your audience individually.
Now that your website is public, visit the DriveToWeb site and click on the cloud storage service you are using: Google Drive or OneDrive.
When you are prompted for permissions, grant them. This is necessary for DriveToWeb to find which HTML and active files are publicly available.
Once authorized, DriveToWeb will spend a few seconds searching for these files and converting them to web-accessible pages, then display a list of all the pages that have been converted:
Congratulation! Your site is now live. When they say “drive to the web” they are not kidding. It doesn’t take long at all to build a simple website using this platform.
Other Ways to Create and Host a Free Website
If you want to build a website to display your work online, hosted portfolio sites are also a good option. Keep in mind that these sites usually charge a small fee for you to use your custom domain for the wallet website.
If you just need a way to share something important with a small audience, hosting a site for free using one of these services will usually be much more effective (and generally more well received) than outreach. more impersonal like mass mailings or even a dedicated social media account. Keep it classy with your own free hosting.
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