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File:NearlyFreeSpeech.NET Logo.gif
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Web hosting service
Registration Yes
Available language(s) English
Owner NFSN, Inc.
Launched February 4, 2002[1]
Alexa rank 153,641

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET (NFSN) is a web hosting service. It charges according to bandwidth and storage usage; other services such as domain registration, MySQL, email forwarding, and DNS service are available for additional fees. NFSN also offers a specialized domain contact management service to protect the privacy and anonymity of its users. Because of NFSN's "pay-as-you-go" fee structure, sites costing less than 0.01USD per month are possible. [2]

In July 2009, NFSN indicated that they would be restructuring prices; the tentative model would include a penny-per-day site charge, along with a DNS fee and other price increases, only making the 0.01USD per month site possible if the user switches to a "static" site (no server-side scripting).[3]


Notable features

  • Variable bandwidth and storage fees: instead of buying "resource buckets", users pay for the resources their websites use. Fees are deducted from users' accounts in one-cent increments although funds are deposited in advance. Unused deposited funds are fully-refundable at any time. [4]
  • SSH access for uploading and managing content, along with Secure FTP, FTP, and SCP support.
  • Unlimited number of sites per account and unlimited MySQL databases (extra 0.01USD per day fee required for MySQL).
  • Full server logs with automatic rotation and compression.
  • Unique in the industry privacy policy. [5]
  • Sites are hosted on a cluster, as opposed to a single server. As a result, sites are not suspended for excess CPU usage resulting from increases in web traffic.
  • No service contract time commitment is required or even available.[6]

Notable drawbacks

  • Transport layer security and static IP addresses are not possible. This is due to a company policy in response to IPv4 address exhaustion.[7] Although an IPv4 address can be shared by multiple sites, current web standards require a unique IP address for each HTTPS site. (Also see Virtual hosting)
  • Colocation and dedicated hosting are not possible. All customer sites are run on a network of "distributed, fault tolerant, load balancing shared servers." [8]
  • Although .htaccess files are allowed and most standard functions work as expected, it can not be used to block IP addresses, so it must be done separately.[9]
  • Persistent processes are not allowed,[10] although triggering a script with an HTTP request from an external server is a suitable workaround for tasks such as scheduled backups.
  • Automatic HTTP compression is not supported, though in some cases a workaround is to rename HTML files to PHP and insert <?php ob_start("ob_gzhandler"); ?> at the top of each, potentially using .htaccess (php_value auto_prepend_file "yourheader.php").


NFSN bandwidth fees are based on the following function, which represents the cost of <math>\Delta b</math> GB on an account where <math>b_0</math> GB have already been consumed. NFSN have posted the formula[11]

<math>\operatorname{nfscost}(b_0, \Delta b)=\sum_{x=b_0}^{b_0+\Delta b}\frac{1}{1 + \log x}</math>

While bandwidth fees decrease as more bandwidth is consumed on an account, NFSN hosting is nevertheless expensive on high-bandwidth sites. However, NFSN hosting is very inexpensive for low-bandwidth sites for the same reason that it is expensive for high-bandwidth usage.


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