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There’s a Secret Way to Host Your Website for Free

There’s a Secret Way to Host Your Website for Free

Ever wanted to make a website?

Well now you have no excuse. In fact, you can host your website for free using this little known trick. I’m not sure why, but nobody seems to know about this trick. I accidentally ran across this help post from Google, and suddenly realized that this is a feature that could be incredibly useful.

Let’s go through the steps

  1. Download Google Drive and create a Google Drive account
  2. Create an HTML website, or simply download a starter project
  3. Now you have your website, but you need to host it! Upload the website files to Google Drive and put them in a new folder
  4. Go to drive.google.com, sign in, right click on the folder with your website files and click “Get Link”
  5. The link will look something like this:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-2V84KLSI7AflhSLXJ6enAtTG1xSmNvUU5DMGFiSVpLVER6QWtiR0dKdkhpLWV5TV9LZkE
    See that part after the “id=”? Copy that long ID down in a separate notepad or word document. That’s your document ID. You’ll need it later.
  6. Right click on the website folder again in Google Drive.
  7. Click Share, then Advanced
  8. Click Change, and set the permission to “Public – On the Web”. Your website is now accessible by anyone if they know how to access it.
  9. Remember that document ID I had you write down? Well, now you can go to
    http://googledrive.com/host/YOUR DOCUMENT ID GOES HERE
    This will take you to your website! Cool, huh?

So, how is this useful?

Well, now every change you make to your website files in your local google drive folder on your computer, not just on drive.google.com will be propagated to that website address. This allows you to make incremental changes to your website and see the results instantly by going back to that web address.

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Now, there are other ways to do this on your computer such as visiting the file with your browser on a local host, but there are some features of websites that are blocked due to cross-domain security issues, which cannot be resolved unless you actually host the website.

What are the limitations?

To start, I’m not entirely sure how long this functionality will remain in Google Drive. It’s not a well-publicized feature, and so it probably also isn’t very highly utilized. Google tends to get rid of things that aren’t highly utilized, so we’ll see how long this lasts.

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In addition, this hosting solution should only be used for rapid prototyping. DO NOT host your website on Google Drive permanently and tell all your friends to go visit that link, because it probably isn’t as secure as actually hosting your website on a dedicated or shared hosting site. This should only be used for personal or internal development purposes.

Finally, certain server languages cannot be run on Google Drive. Unfortunately this is trial and error so if you are not sure, you will have to experience at your own risk.

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Is this really free, or are there some strings attached?

Other than the limitations I mentioned, there are no strings attached at all! It will not cost you a single penny! Now, you do have to keep in mind that once your website is complete and ready to launch to the public and attract millions of views to make you rich, you’re probably going to want to buy a dedicated or shared hosting solution. But then all you need to do is copy the website files over to your host, and BAM — Instant production-level website. Cool, huh?

Featured photo credit: Silhouette of cropped shot of a young man working from home using smart phone and notebook computer, man’s hands using smart phone in interior, man at his workplace using technology, flare light via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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