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The Skin Flint Web Author

Free Stuff for Web Authors

Greetings fellow tight wads. You may notice that I have some cool stuff on our pages. I'll let you on a little secret - I haven't paid for any of it. My web space is supplied by Dragonfire, Geocities and Tripod, I have linked to webcounter for the hit count function and to Lpage for my guest book. So if you surf the web but you're not on the web, follow the links to create your own site for nix - and lose your web virginity with me.

For those who regularly visit this page, especially those who have made contributions, I have had email problems, and exams over the past couple of months so updates have been slow. You will find a bunch of new stuff here now.

I haven't created any graphics yet, other than the crappy banners, and the crappy looking (but cool) push buttons (requires Netscape 3.0). The rest are simply links to other sites. Remember that if you do use this practice, it is wise to seek permission before using anything - unless permission is given in the web page itself; some generous souls have pages dedicated to providing the stingy with fantastic graphics. My backgrounds come from one such library.

Free Web Space

GeoCities Membership of Geocities is free and each member is provided with up to 1M of disk space for free. You can get a few good images in a megabyte and I'll do that as soon as I can get around to it. Geocities has a pretty cool structure (neighbourhood/theme based) , some incentive schemes and supports Mailto forms but not full CGI scripts. The form data is emailed to you - quite a nifty little feature. This particular page is locate on the Geocities server.

The space available and the thematic structure make Geocities an attractive location, but the home page tools are not as easy to use as the Tripod equivalent. For slightly more advanced users, you can generate your HTML on your PC and upload using a facility called EZupload. This is a hell of a lot easier than FTP.

While your here I would suggest checking out Freeloader. This is a fantastic tool which downloads websites onto you hard disk in the background or over night.

Tripod Tripod is similar to Geocities but provides only 100K of disk space. 100K is not the greatest but still sufficient to create a reasonable Web page, as long as you don't go overboard with graphics - again linking to off site graphics is a space saving boon. Tripod has a couple of HTML editing tools which make setting up your own web space ridiculously easy for the least knowledgeable user. Tripod also allows you to create Mailto forms.

Dragonfire provides 25M of disk space Free and allows true CGI scripts, but only Perl or shell scripts as you cannot compile on the Dragonfire machine. You need good knowledge of FTP to use this site but if you know your stuff the facilities are second to none. If you have no idea what I am talking about use Geocities or Tripod. Dragonfire went down for several weeks after a hacker brought the system down - its now OK for WWW browsing, but the CGI support still is deactivated. Thanks to Ryan Brown for letting me know.

Thanks to Jim Drake for telling me about WebSpawner and Kerry McNulty for telling me about Alachua Freenet (Florida residents only).

Webcounter Icon TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED. The hit counter on the contents page is provided by Webcounter. These can be set to a number of font types, sizes, number of digits etc. The number of hits is recorded by Webcounter and added to their top 10 top 100 and top 1000 lists - this could be useful because if your page gets popular enough you can sell advertising space. Then you won't have to worry about scrounging around for freebies. This counter can be configured to only record hits from unique sites.

NEWS FLASH: Web counter have temporarily suspended their free service until they can upgrade their system. Webcounter also supply commercial grade counters, with reliability guaranteed - but not for free.

Geocities, Tripod and Dragonfire all support their own counters. The Geocities and Tripod counters are available only to members. Check out Dragonfire for a counter that can be used from any page. Unfortunately these counter all record multiple hits from a single user.

Free Guest Book

LPage Once again I am using guest book supplied by . It is a basic sort of a guest book and you cannot change the input fields, but the format of the output page comes in several variations, and you can alter the title, background and text colours.

I previously stopped using LPage because it tended to be slow and unreliable. If you want garanteed reliability or If you want more flexibility in the forms, you will have to pay.

The Pergatory Guest Book server is dead - Rest in Peace. Thanks to Nicholas for notifying me that Pergatory is up again. However this time the 'free' guestbook is for a thirty day trial period only.

Free Email

Geocities provides a free Email service which I have tried out, but it can't use through the fire wall when I dial up. I would recommend this if you currently use your work PC for personal Email - which potentially could prove to be embarrassing, or if you want to be able to easily change access provider without changing your Email address.

I have been alerted to several free email suppliers. I lost the name (email problem) of the person who told me about Hotmail who provide free email accounts. Gavin Brock suggested Net Address which I haven't checked out yet. I've also come accross iName which allows you to select from various email domain names, for instance

Free Advertising

The single most important place to advertise your site is the major search engines, Lycos, Altavista, Yahoo etc. However the easiest way to do this is to use one of the front ends. With these you load the required data once into the front end and it automatically updates several of the search engines. The alternative is for you to enter the same data into each of the search engines.

Another way to advertise your page is to use banner exchange programs such as Georewards and Internet Link Exchange (Here's my IEL stats.) I place a banner on my page which is automatically assigned to me by the banner server. This earns me credit which is used to advertise the crappy banner at the top of this page on other peoples' pages. Also don't forget to add your URL to my add-a-link page. Its easy.

Free HTML editors

There are several free HTML product that I have used, but I haven't decided which is the best to recommend. I have used AOL Press, HoT MetaL, Netscape Gold and Microsoft Internet Assistant. They all have their pros and cons - I'll get around to making a recommendation eventually. None of these do the full job and I am inclined to write the code by hand at the movement.

Free Logo

The Logo Shop This guy Tony (another Aussie ;-0) has promised to do me a matching banner and logo once I get my hit counter above 300 - so tell your friends about my pages and help me out. Any way, getting back to Tony, he will create a free logo or banner for you so check out his site.

Free Theme Music

Geoff will provide a free theme tune for some lucky people to use on their page(s). He can provide midi or .wav format like the one here. He whipped this one up overnight - pretty good going Geoff, thanks. By the way, he's also an Aussie.

Syntax Checking

There are several HTML syntax checking services on the net, there are also more than one spell checker. I like Dr. Watson. It is simple to use, offers lax, normal and strict HTML syntax checking and checks the status of all of the links on a page as well as a a spell check! Before you write this service off, note that I have not finished checking all of my pages.

Free Access

This is the trickiest part. I have two means of access; one is my employer. This is truly free access, but I am restricted to using this access for work purposes only. The other free access is through the university where I study - some may consider this free access, but on the other hand if I you aren't already studying this access costs $40,000 pa. (I'm sure you could do better than that paying commercial rates:)

Related Sites

Chris Thomas (yet another Aussie) has his own free stuff site.

What's Next?

I will continue to scan the Web to bring you the best web stuff that I can and tips on how to add features to you web pages for nothing. If you have any suggestions, either for new categories or products and services within categories - email me. Thanks Charlie for the info on Web Counter.

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Now that you know how to get your site up for free how about actually Making Money on the Web or returning to A Romp with the Parks

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