Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Free Online/Cloud Storage Services

Best Free Online/Cloud Storage ServicesIf you are in business chances are that you either work at home or in a number of different locations. To be efficient, you need access to company documents and that access needs to be 24/7. Gone are the days when you had to send yourself an email just to make sure you had access to a document at another location. Neither do you have to carry around a thumb drive or an external storage drive anymore. These days there are countless online storage services that reside in the cloud and offer the perfect solution to ensuring that you (or your employees and coworkers) have access to the documents you need.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the best free solutions:


If your office is driven by Microsoft software, then this is the solution for you. Totally free, SkyDrive acts like a stripped down version of Office 365. You get 7 GB of free cloud storage but you also get a whole lot more. Specifically, you get a basic online version on Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. This means that you can, for instance, create a Word document on your computer, upload it to your SkyDrive account, and you can make minor adjustments in the cloud before downloading again. Alternatively you can create entire documents in the cloud (albeit with more limited functionalities on offer).

It is well integrated with Windows solutions like Windows 8 and Office 2013, and if you go mobile, it is available cross-platform (download Android and iOS apps for your mobile device). You can sync a folder on your PC so that whatever you create syncs with SkyDrive and it offers third-party apps (but they are not as varied as another great online storage solution, Google Drive). You could run a small business from everything that SkyDrive provides, and if you need more storage space, 50 GB, 100 GB options are available, maxing out at 200 GB at an annual fee $105.

Google Drive

Google Drive offers a whopping 15GB free and like SkyDrive, it is big on integration. Google Drive's app options (Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Drawing) that mimic Microsoft software options, but obviously not a successfully as SkyDrive. You can upload documents you have created in Microsoft Word and migrate to Google Drive's native format. Still, large corporations use this capability to run their offices, and so can you!

Google Drive is very strong on collaboration - two or more people can create the same document online at the same time. This is really impressive and has a number of implications for dealing with customers, especially when gathering customer requirements. Obviously, it is finitely integrated with Gmail (and Google Apps for those of you who still have free Google Apps accounts) and other services like Google+, and the 15 GB of space is growing steadily - for instance people with certain mobile phones you get 25 GB of free space. Obviously, this is a mobile option and there is a fantastic app available for Android and iOS devices. A truly great online / cloud storage service with masses of bells and whistles provided by third-party apps. Additional storage options available up to 200 GB at only $9.99 per month.


Dropbox is the original, and although it offers only 2 GBs of free disk space, this is a great option. It is a popular solution with a solid following that has a 'first-is-best'-type loyalty. Again, a cross-platform solution which supports desktop and mobile devices, Dropbox excels in community support and a mass of third-party options that leverage Dropbox's open API format. Again, as with other options, you can sync your desktop with Dropbox so you can be sure of a cloud-based backup of anything you create. Additional storage is available up to a massive 500 GB at $499.00 paid monthly and with a 17% discount for annual payments.

Box offers a range of features and is very much a professional's solution. Its focus is on people who need to use a range of computers to do their work and it has great backup functionality. It offers a range of options and like other solutions, provides automatic syncing with PCs and other gadgets. It also generates links for file sharing so that you can give access to documents to people you are collaborating with. It has become a popular solution with those in business and a number of well-known companies utilize its services. Like Google Drive, Box coverts large email attachments into stored files before an email is sent. User-friendly and solid, Box offers 10GB of free storage with a maximum file upload size of 250 MB. Additional storage goes up to "Enterprise" level which offers 'unlimited' storage for $35 per user per month.


iCloud is great for people who own Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and it's a solid option even if you don't. It syncs files on your Apple device (music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, etc.) and allows you to share saved files with whomever you please. It offers 5 GB of free cloud storage and iWork apps (particularly Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) provide a similar option to Google Drive - users can create documents like they do on their desktop using Microsoft software. Additional, storage goes up in increments up to 50 GB offered at $100 per year. This is though very much an 'Apple' solution - if your company uses Apple devices, it's a good option, if not, it's possibly not the natural solution.

Norton Zone

As Norton Antivirus is recognized as being the best antivirus solution available, Norton Zone offers a very safe place for your files. A cross-platform solution (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, etc.), it excels at providing security options. A downloadable app sits on your PC and anything you put in this 'folder' gets sent up to the cloud, meaning efficient syncing alongside peace of mind. 5GB is available free of charge while personal plans go up to 100 GB at $11.99 a month or $119.99 per year. Business users get unlimited storage for $75 a user per month or $720 per user per year. Norton Zone offers built-in device management including 'Mobile Password Management' so users can block access to lost devices and wipe their data remotely. Impressive. If security is your angle, this might be the one for you.

How to Create a Website Using A Free Domain

There are many free website hosts on the Internet. Without shelling out a penny for a domain, or Web address, you can create a Web page. Most of the free domains limit the amount of space included. They may also limit how much information can be transmitted per hour. If your website will not have heavy traffic, a free domain could be a great solution. Have a question? Get an answer from Online Tech Support now!


  1. Creating a Free Domain

    • 1
      Select a free domain from Let's use as an example.
    • 2
      Click "Create an account."
    • 3
      Fill in the account information, including the username, which will be your domain name.
    • 4
      Click on "Create my account now."
    • 5
      Sign into your email account to activate your website account.
    • 6
      Return to the domain website and log in using your username and password.
    • 7
      Use 'the "Site Builder" or pre-made templates to create your website. If these are not available see simple HTML below.

    Building Your Page: Simple HTML

    • 8
      Click on the file manager.
    • 9
      Select "Edit the index.htm file."
    • 10
      Begin an HTML document, using the tag <HTML>.
    • 11
      Create the head of the document, using the tag <head>. The title and other important information belongs in the head.
    • 12
      Add a title by using the title tag with your text. Example:
      <title>Type your website title here.
      This will display your title at the top of the web browser.
    • 13
      End the title using </title> after your text.
    • 14
      End the head with the tag </head>. Your document should look like this:
      <title>Your title here</title>
    • 15
      Create the body of the document using the <body> tag. This is what visitors will see on the page. Example:
      <body>This is my very first website!
    • 16
      End the body of the document with the tag </body>.
    • 17
      End the HTML document with the tag </HTML>.

    Add a Background Color

    • 18
      After the <body> tag, use the tag <body bgcolor="">
    • 19
      Select a color from the hexidecimal color codes.
    • 20
      Copy the hexidecimal color code.
    • 21
      Paste the hexidecimal color code between the "" quotation marks in the background color tag.
    • 22
      Click 'Save' to preview the background color on your web page.

    Add an Image

    • 23
      Click on the file manager.
    • 24
      Click "Upload file."
    • 25
      Select a photo or image from your computer and click "Upload."
    • 26
      Click on the name of the photo to view its website address.
    • 27
      Copy the image's website address.
    • 28
      Click to edit the index.htm file.
    • 29
      In the body, use the image tag; <img src="">
    • 30
      Paste the image's website address between the "" quotations.
    • 31
      Click "Save" to preview the page, complete with image.

Frequently asked question and answer

1. Visit the Office Live website. Click on "Create a Free Website" on the home page. 2. Enter your email address in the space provided and then click "Next. 3. Choose 

1. Log on to a website that allows you to create a website for free, such as Wordpress began as a free blogging website, but it has evolved into an online content management 

1. Visit several different free domain and hosting sites. Decide which site offers the best services for your needs. 2. Decide on a domain name. Have several options for yourself 

1. Select a free domain from Let's use as an example. 2. Click "Create an account. 3. Fill in the account 

How to Reserve a Domain Name. Do You Need a Web Host if You Want to Reserve a Domain for Future Use?

The Short Answer

The short answer to the question is "no". That is, if all you want is to reserve a domain name, you can easily do it by simply registering that domain. You do not need a web host or website or anything like that to get that name.

How to Reserve a Domain Name (The Detailed Answer)

A website is a separate thing from a domain name. As I explained in my article on How to Create a Website, a domain name is just a name. When you register a domain, you merely get the right to associate it with your website. In the brick and mortar world, a domain name is like the business name that you register with some government organisation ("organization" in US English), while a website is analogous with your shop or office premises. Just as you can register a business name without renting premises in some building for your shop, so also can you register a domain without "renting" space on a web host for your website files.
Having said that, most (if not all) domain name registrars, the companies through which you get your domain, will automatically associate a dummy (placeholder) website with your domain when you register it. This is called domain name parking, and the end result is that when you type your domain name into your browser, you end up at the placeholder site set up by your domain name registrar. See my article on What Does It Mean to Park a Domain Name? Domain Name Parking Explained for more information if you want to know more about this.
What if you get a registrar that doesn't automatically park your domain name? Well, it actually doesn't matter. Don't believe the advertising hype (if any) from a registrar that implies parking is of any importance at all. In my opinion, this kind of domain name parking doesn't really benefit you at all: it benefits the registrars since they dump their advertisements on that placeholder site. The fact of the matter is, even if your domain is not parked or anything like that, once you've registered it (and paid for it), it's yours to do as you like. You can put a site on it immediately, or if you prefer, at some later date. No one else can buy it and put up their sites on that domain for as long as you own that domain.
(For the curious, all that happens when you don't associate any website with a domain is that when someone types that name in a web browser, the browser will tell that person that the website does not exist or something like that. Don't worry. This message, in such a situation, merely means that the domain has no associated website; it doesn't mean that you suddenly lost your domain or anything of the sort. If you've paid for your domain, and kept your domain registration up to date by renewing it, you still "own" that domain no matter what the browser says. Remember that browsers don't really care about whether someone has registered a domain or not: their job is to display the websites located at those domains, not to give you a report on the state of the internet.)
In summary then, to reserve a domain name, you simply have to register it the normal way. The exact procedure can be found in the article How to Register a Domain Name, and I won't repeat it here since you can just click through to read it. That's all there is to it. Since you are not going to start a website immediately, your job is done. (But remember to renew the domain every year if you want to continue holding onto the name.)

What to Do When You Are Finally Ready to Start Your Website

What happens when you are finally ready to associate a website with your domain name? At that point in time, you will need to carry out the rest of the steps in my article on How to Create Your Own Website.
Briefly, this means that you'll need to get a web host, go back to your registrar's website, log into your account (which would have been created for you when you initially registered the name), and point that domain name to your website. Then you'll of course have to design the website itself, perhaps by using a web editor like Dreamweaver or some other thing. Please see How to Make / Create Your Own Website: The Beginner's A-Z Guide for details.

It's a Common Practice

Reserving domain names is actually a more common practice than you may think. Many experienced webmasters do it automatically long before they start a website. Most even register multiple variations of a name for a single idea, since at that early stage in the planning process, it's hard to be sure which name they might finally settle on. And as everyone knows, domain names sell like hot cakes, so a name they think of today might not be available tomorrow.
What I'm trying to say is that you're not alone in reserving domain names that you might want to use. Like many other webmasters, I too believe that it's a good idea to do it. It's just too easy for someone to beat you to a domain name, even if that name is some weird made-up word that doesn't occur in the dictionary. If you want to be sure that a name is available for you to use in the future, the only way is to get it while you can. And as you can see, it's actually quite an easy process, since you don't really need to do anything else, other than getting the name from the registrar (and paying the requisite domain cost).
This article can be found at
Copyright © 2011-2012 Christopher Heng. All rights reserved.
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Understanding Domain Registration

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) regulates domain registrations and sets prices. Visit to learn your rights as a consumer.



Domain Registration

The registrar can be a company other than the hosting company. While HostGator can host any domain name (as long as the DNS is pointed to us), we cannot register every domain.
If you register a domain directly with HostGator, you should always contact HostGator for domain-related help. If you register your own domains as an eNom reseller, then most issues will be handled directly by eNom. You may still contact HostGator first to be sure.
To register a domain now, visit
When registering a new domain, be sure to provide a valid email address for your WHOIS as you will be required to verify your WHOIS information via email. If verification is not received within 15 days, the domain name will be suspended.

It is recommended that you use an email address independent of the domain you are registering since you will need access to this email address to verify your WHOIS information.
If the type of domain you want cannot be purchased online, or if you need to pay with a method other than credit card, please submit a ticket to our Billing department for assistance.

Domain Order Validation

Once you have completed your domain registration with HostGator, you will be required to validate your domain order. This is a required step in the domain registration process in accordance with the ICANN 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement. For more information regarding the domain order validation process, please see the following article:

Domain Registration Renewal

Renew your domain registration early, before the expiration date. For instructions on how to renew your domain name, please read the following article:

Domain Expiration

If you fail to renew your domain, your registration will be interrupted, at which point your name servers will be changed by the registrar. This means it will take a few days before you can see your site is down, and after you finally pay to renew, it will be a few more days before you can see your site is back up. We will send domain renewal reminders prior to the expiration date by email to the email address you listed with us.

Domain Redemption

The rules of redemption are different for every registrar, please see below for how your domain will be handled based on how it was registered with HostGator.

LaunchPad Domains

Domains registered with LaunchPad will be sent to auction at after the 36th day past expiration. Once queued, the domain will either be sold or deleted by the 42nd day after expiration, depending on whether or not the domain receives bids.
If the owner of the domain wishes to purchase the domain back, they may do so by either signing up for an account with or waiting for the domain to be released to the public once more. Unfortunately, once past the 36 days grace period and the domain is queued for auction, HostGator cannot guarantee the domain's redemption.

eNom Domain Redemption

After 30 days of being expired, domains enter the redemption period. At this point, eNom requires $90.00 plus the normal price to renew the domain name. HostGator will require you to pay this cost or register a different domain (We make no profit on the redemption fee. The entire payment goes to eNom.). This redemption period can last until the next expiration date or until the registrar auctions the domain to a higher bidder รข€” whichever comes first. The registrar may also release the domain so that it can be registered again, but they will not announce when they do this, and they cannot be forced to do this.

Domain Transfers

You must always initiate the domain transfer with the new company. The process takes approximately 5 to 7 days to complete. It is important to keep in mind that there are several obstacles that can make a valid domain registration transfer fail.
  • If you have been with your current registrar for less than 60 days, then you are not allowed to transfer yet; however, if you just renewed your domain, you may still transfer because this means you were with the current registrar for more than a year.
  • If your domain status is "Locked," you will need to ask your current registrar to unlock your domain.
  • If your WHOIS information is incorrect or private, you must have your valid email listed as the Admin Contact Email so you can receive a confirmation notice from the current registrar.
  • If an invalid EPP code ("Auth key") was provided, you must get the EPP code from the current registrar and provide it to the new registrar. If you change any contact information or name servers with the previous registrar, you must get a new EPP code, because it may have changed.
  • If your domain name is in redemption, you must pay the current company before you may transfer.

Please initiate your domain registration transfers at least 1 month before the domain expires. This will give you ample time to fix any mistakes and re-initiate the transfer in time.
Normally, when you transfer your domain registration to a new registrar, you get an additional year added to your expiration date. However, if a domain expires, is renewed and then transferred between registrars within the first 45 days after the expiration date, the domain will not retain the original renewal year once the transfer completes (meaning your expiration date stays the same). This is a registry restriction and applies to all registrars.
To transfer a domain registration now, visit and click on the Transfer Domains button.

Site Files

The site files are what your visitors and potential customers actually see when going to site such as your products and services. The site files are the same as any other file you normally use, like a .jpg photograph, or .mp3 music file. Though, website files are also .php files or .html files, which are PHP scripts or html pages respectively.
The web-hosting server knows how to read these files, which explain how the webpage looks or instruct the server to do a series of computations. These computations are things like figuring out what blog article it's supposed to send back to the viewer, or what forum post it's supposed to send back.

Web-Hosting Servers

The web-hosting or server is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It's merely the space itself. It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn't include a site for you to sell your products.
Luckily, in the web-hosting world, it's very easy to furnish the space provided by your host, because you can install many framework applications through the QuickInstall icon within your cPanel.
Without the hosting services, you won't have a place for your files to reside, so your domain would then become like a disconnected phone number in the phone directory, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.

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