A free web hosting service is a web hosting service that does not typically cost anything but it is usually supported by advertisements. Free web hosts will usually provide a subdomain (yoursite.example.com) or a directory (www.example.com/~yourname). In contrast, paid web hosts will usually provide a second-level domain along with the hosting (www.yourname.com). Many free hosts do allow use of separately-purchased domains. Rarely, a free host may also operate as a domain name registrar. There are also some free domain companies which may provide free third level domain names free with DNS and other facilities.
Many free web hosting services discourage the use of their free web hosting services for file or image hosting only in which no web page is established or setup resulting in the use of bandwidth due to hot linking of files with no revenue gain to the service provider in the case of advertising supported services. As a result, hot linking or remote linking or inclusion of many image, media and download file formats is disabled or not permitted on many free web hosting services.
Other common limitations on file hosting limits on free hosts are limits on file size; for example a free web host may not allow the upload of files larger than 5 MB. Some may have restrictions concerning certain file types such as programs or large media files such as MP3s. Many free web hosts also require that space be used to host an actual live website, and not be used for the sole purpose of storing files. This has resulted in the growth of other free hosting services dedicated to specific types of data, such as image hosting, video hosting, and general file hosting services which permit remote sharing and hot linking of files and larger file formats.