Web Design and Hosting - Free Web Hosting Perks That Will Perk Up Your Web Site
If you've got or are considering a web hosting account with PHP and mySQL support, you'll find a wealth of free programs and scripts to take advantage of their powerful combined capabilities.
Web hosting providers, from free to pricey, have always included some free pre-installed scripts to their customers in the way of guest books, counters and calendars. If you're shopping around now, though, you'll find that the toys and bells and whistles that you can install on your web pages include hundreds of scripts and applications. You can set up one of dozens of forums, choose from many image galleries and photo albums, and serve classified ads, offer auction listings and dating services - in short, just about anything at all that you can do on the Internet, you can do with a free PHP script from your web hosting provider.
One of the best free services to look for is Fantastico, a web-based script installer that allows you to add any of dozens of free goodies to your web site with just the click of a mouse. If your web hosting provider offers Fantastico with its hosting accounts, you've got access to over a dozen different content management systems, half a dozen user forums, several different blog packages, shopping carts, including Zen Cart and OS Commerce, an easy FAQ maker and six different customer support options so that you can offer help and support on your web site.
Two of the handiest types of free tools that many web hosting companies offer for free are:
Portals and Content Management Systems
Content management systems make it easy for you to add and remove pages and information to and from your web site. Most include modules that let you add discussion boards, shopping carts, polls and instant messaging, as well as user authentication and security to your web site easily. Among the content management systems that your web hosting company may offer for free are Mambo, Post-Nuke, Xoops and Drupal. All are open source software with a lot of user support beyond the support offered by your web hosting company, so there are always new modules and new tricks being offered for all of them.
Blogs are online publishing tools that make it easy to update your website as often as you like. They automatically put the latest entries up and move older entries down in the reading queue. One of the most commonly used is WordPress, which many web hosting providers include as a free setup script with your web hosting account.
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