The problem when you build a free web site using free website services like Geocities, you are at their mercy. After all, you are using their services for free, so what's more could you ask for if they decided they no longer want to run the free service anymore.
And recently Yahoo has made a lot of changes to make themselves more competitive against their rivals namely Google and Microsoft. So whichever business unit is not profitable, they will discontinue it or change it in one way or another. Yahoo has been revamping many of their services and stop providing many of their services. My Yahoo Briefcase was discontinued, and changes to 360° Yahoo was also made. There were a few more other services as well, so hopefully Yahoo would be leaner and better to compete against their rival. Best of luck, Yahoo!
While for the rest of us who make use of their free services like Geocities to build a free website and 360° for blogging, now will have to consider the next option.
Build a free web site using those free services are like that, you never know what the company would want to do. It is up to them, after all they do need a source of revenue to upkeep and maintain their services. So don't cry foul when they decided to change their terms or close down their free website services.
Although I don't really make full use of Geocities free website, I had it for a very long time, and it was kind of sad to see it go. It was also where I start practicing how to code HTML. The usefulness when you build a free web site is the chance of learning some HTML/CSS programming without having to make any payment for a full web hosting services. However nowadays, the free website offerings now comes with a free web site builder which makes it easier to make websites but at the expense of not being able to get your hands dirty into coding.
Thankfully there are still some free website services that still have the ability for you to do your own coding and upload to their free website hosting.
In closing Geocities, Yahoo offered suggestions where you could still host your web site for free. They are:
- Tripod Lycos (www.tripod.lycos.com/)
- Webstarts.com (I think this site is dead, can't see the website at all)
- SynthaSite (now Yola.com)
I could add a couple into the list:
- Google sites (sites.google.com)
And of course using free website will have its caveats, but that is the price you have to pay for not paying for web hosting.
Why free website may not be a good idea if you are into building a website seriously.
- URL address is added on and not your own domain - bad impression if you are serious into getting a web presence for work
- You are at the mercy of web hosting company policy - they dictate the terms. If they want to close, they will close (eg Geocities), if they want to change URL, they will change (eg SynthaSite to Yola), it may be ad supported (eg Bravenet)
- Bandwidth transfer will be limited
- Storage space is less
- You lose all the inbound links when they make changes to their URL address (eg Geocities, Yola, etc) thereby losing your website traffic.
Good point about free website
- Well, it is free
- Good place to learn about website creation
- If they provide HTML file uploading, it is good place to learn about HTML/CSS
So with the closing of Geocities by 26 October 2009, I no longer can build a free web site with them, though fortunately it is not such a major impact for me. However, I do need to remove links from web site to my website at Geocities; otherwise I get broken links within my website which is not a good as it is frown upon by search engines.