Review: Free speech webhosting NearlyFreeSpeech

I have been with NearlyFreeSpeech webhosting for three years (not this blog) and this review is based on that experience. The fact that I have been with them for so long already indicates that I am happy with their services, although there isn’t too much competition in the free speech webhosting field and that also helped.

Besides webhosting, NearlyFreeSpeech.net also does domain name registration with whois privacy included.

At the time of writting this NearlyFreeSpeech fees are very cheap for static sites (no database and few pictures).  Just remember to change the settings on your account because by default it is set up to support PHP and once you change it to static site the price will go down.

You will need to pay in order to get support for your hosting account at NearlyFreeSpeech, but I have found their members only forum, to be very useful,  NearlyFreeSpeech staff hangs around there too and they will help you out whenever they can.

During my time with NearlyFreeSpeech I have always gotten free meaningful support from their forums. No question has gone unanswered.

Muhammed the prophet

Muhammed the prophet

The Good Stuff

As long as your content is legal in the United States, where NearlyFreeSpeech is based, you will have absolutely no problems with them, it does not matter if you are promoting pedophilia, Hitler, Stalin or anything similar, NearlyFreeSpeech will not take the content down if this is legal in the US and does not infringe on copyright.

You can pay via Paypal, credit card or sending a money order in the post, the last payment method being a rare find for a webhost.

NearlyFreeSpeech will also take anonymous donations to fund your hosting account, this is an excellent way for people to anonymously fund your website, with no involvement from your part, the donator will only need to indicate your hosting account number, which you can make clear on your site, and you will be notified by NearlyFreeSpeech every time someone sends money in.

NearlyFreeSpeech members can propose new features to be implemented and they are then submitted to a popular vote.  There is support for SFTP and SSH and the sense of community at the forums is also very good.

The Bad Stuff

The only way to upload your files is with an FTP or SFTP client, there is no web interface to do that. Nearlyfreespeech hosting control panel is unique to them and has been developed in house, its navigation is hard and you will need to get used to it, it also has far less features than the more usual cPanel.

It will be hard for you to work out what you are going to pay at the end of the year, the way used to calculate that is complex, consisting of the sum of number of active databases, bandwith used, space used, email forwarding used, etc.

You will need to pay to get hosting support and any hosting software you need to install will have to be done manually because you can’t do that from the control panel.

Barak Obama

Barak Obama

Conclusion

If your site is controversial but legal in the US, you will feel safe hosting it at NearlyFreeSpeech.

Their hosting panel is poor and hard to navigate and you will need not to know the basics of webhosting, such as how an FTP client works.

You will only be better off NearlyFreeSpeech if your website has specific software needs such as some peculiar CMS that you would like to install through the hosting panel. You may also be bothered by not being able to work out what the hosting is going to cost you at the end of the year.

Visit NearlyFreeSpeech


Alternatives to NearlyFreeSpeech:

- Invisihosting

- CrisisHost: Read my CrisisHost review

The NSA worked on Windows 7 before its release

The recent testimony of Richard Schaefer’s  to the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security reveals that the NSA tinkered with Windows 7 before its release, it looks like one of the biggest voyeur agencies in the World is not missing a single opportunity to get its filthy pawns all over people’s operating system.

Richard Schaefer, NSA Information Assurance Director quoted

“Working in partnership with Microsoft and elements of the DoD, NSA leveraged our unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft’s operating system security guide without constraining the user’s ability to perform their everyday tasks”

PRIVACY WARNING: Before visiting the NSA website use a proxy!

Full testimony: http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/speeches_testimonies/17nov09_schaeffer.shtml

USA spying on citizens

spooks spying on innocent citizens

Protection against possible NSA backdoors on Windows 7

If you are a Windows 7 user you will want to protect your life, wife and kids from outside interference, but this will be extremely hard now that it is known the NSA had access to Windows 7 before you.

The obvious advice is that you should not use Windows 7 at all, but if you must, at the very least try to stop any possible NSA malware with open source security software:

  • Do not use the Windows 7 firewall get some old computer and install a free open source firewall based on FreeBSD such as M0n0wall
  • Do not use Microsoft Windows Defender get a free open source antivirus such as ClamWin
  • Watch what data packets are being sent out and where, download a free packet sniffer such as Wireshark

Registering a domain name with privacy protection

You may want to set up a website that deals with controversial issues or post information regarding possible corruption cases inside the Mi5, the Internet Watch Foundation or Huntingdon Life Sciences. The first thing you should do for this is to get your own domain name.

You could host your site for free, but if your webhost ever goes down or is coerced by the Government to pull the plug on it, all your hard work will be gone at the flick of switch.

Having your own domain name protects you against this. By keeping a local/remote backup of your website and owning the domain name, in case of deletion you simply reupload your data to another webhost located offshore and redirect your domain name there. Owning your domain name allows you to be in control of your site, you should not give this right away to others.

World Wide Web

As per ICANN rules, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, you must provide your real contact information when you register a domain name. This includes your full name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. Failure to do so will result in your domain being seized.

You can still register your domain with fake details, but if the ICANN finds out, your domain name will be taken away. If you decide to use fake details, make sure that your email address is valid because once a year your domain name registrar will send you an email notification asking you to confirm your personal details.

You should also use common sense and avoid using names like Micky Mouse or Pamela Anderson when registering a domain name. In addition if you use someone else real name and address to register it, that would probably be illegal as you will be impersonating someone identity without their consent. Making up a fictitious personality to register a domain name breaks ICANN rules but unless it is made for criminal purposes most countries do not prosecute people doing this.

Besides emailing you once a year, the ICANN does not go around checking if people has entered their correct registration details, it is when someone makes a complaint against you that they will investigate it.

There are some companies that can be used as a front end to protect yourself from spam, fraud, stalkers and keeping your name, address, email and phone number private. By using them you are not breaking any ICANN rules and your domain name can not be taken away from you, those companies act as a third party lodged in the middle in between the public whois register and you.

Not all domain names can be registered with whois privacy protection, for example the .EU and .US top level domains need to be registered using your real details.

The domain names I know of that accept private registration are:

.COM, .NET, .INFO, .ORG, .ME, .MOBI, .BIZ, .NAME, .WS, .CC and .TV.

Question mark

List of registrars offering whois privacy protection:

These three companies are all resellers and you can find a dozen like them around, easily recognized as their websites and services all look pretty close. All of them use DomainsByProxy for domain privacy registration. I think that DomainsByProxy is one of the best choices, although they are based in the US, they will only reveal your information when required by law.

The domain name registrars I named above tend to have special offers from time to time where you get a domain privacy registration at a very low price for each domain name you buy from them.

If my experience is anything to go by, this special price will then be jacked up by five the next year. The trick is that once you have registered a domain name with privacy protection transferring  it to another registrar means you will lose that privacy registration.

You are likely to be stuck with the registrar you choose and pay the higher fees or risk your identity be known during the domain transfer. If you see a special price and do not take up the offer for five or ten years, you most likely will have to pay a higher price when renewal time comes, special price offers do not apply on renewing the domain name.

This domain registrar HQ are located in the Bahamas and subjected to their privacy laws. I have found Internet.BS to be the cheapest domain registrar around, they even have this statement on their frontpage: Our Warranty: If you find a better offer, we match it!

When you register a domain name with privacy protection through Internet.BS, these are the details that anyone doing a whois on your domain name will see:

Domain Privacy Protection with Internet.BS
Domain Privacy Protection through Internet.BS

Notice that your real email addres will be replaced by a forwarding antispam email address .

Other registrars that offer domain name privacy protection:

If you want to save yourself time looking at prices, your best bets are Internet.BS and BlackBeltDomains. I also do not know how good it is the privacy protection provided by the registrars on the last list. I have only used Internet.BS, BlackBeltDomains and NameCheap, with NameCheap being a bit more expensive that the other two. But prices and offers do change all the time.

Personal disclosure: The link to BlackBeltDomains has an affiliate code included!

Bad Apple

The bad apples of the basket:

Dynadot: Dynadot so called domain privacy registration will not replace your name. Only your email, phone, and address. Pretty pathetic leaving your name out in the open to be targeted by Mi5 busybodies and spammers.

Nameguard: At Nameguard they use a company called Privacyprotect to safeguard your so called privacy.

Privacyprotect, according to their site, will disclose a domain name owner’s private data if they are engaged in spam or abuse, the complainant can be any member of the public and needs to attach evidence. Whether that evidence will be enough proof of abuse/spam will be solely decided by them.

It would be easy for anyone disgruntled with your site to formulate bogus charges against you and then request them to reveal your personal details.

In fairness, the only company that openly states it will refuse to disclosure any domain name personal details without a court order is DomainsByProxy, the others simply skip over the issue by not mentioning it.

Review: Free speech webhost Crisishost

Crisishost has been in the free speech webhosting business since 2003 and they advertise themselves as a Professional and reliable free speech webhosting, as someone who has been one of his customers I can tell you for sure that their advertising is nothing but a joke.

The Good Stuff

They call themselves a free speech host and they really are, no matter what controversial neonazi or pedophile site you want to host with them, they will host it! As long as it is legal in the USA of course, that is where Crisishost management and servers are based, the last traceroute (2nd November 2008) to their server revealed that their server is located at The Planet datacenter, a well known place for dedicated and colocation servers.

Besides the fact that they will host your controversial site with no questions asked, nor hassle, and their reasonable prices, I couldn’t find anything else good about them.

The Bad Stuff

Keep every single email you receive from Josh! Josh is the guy behind Crisishost, he will be prone to lose your emails and forget things, so you better keep a copy of everything he sends you, that includes Paypal receipts.

1-  I make the payment via Paypal two days later I have to email him to ask to set my account up, Josh quickly replies, sets up my hosting account and apologies about the delay.

2- A few days later I send an email to Josh asking some CPanel (webhosting control panel) related question, he does not reply, I send a second email with the same question, he doesn’t reply neither, so it then becomes pretty obvious he is simply ignoring them.

3- I email Josh to upgrade my plan to get more bandwith, no problem, reply in less than 24 hours and all set up quickly. A few days later I email him asking something else about the hosting, no reply again, “Why bother anymore?” crosses my mind.

4- I visit my website and I see that the server has gone down, the disruption will go on for two whole days, I never get any kind of warning from Crisishost, and knowing Josh email habit of not replying to any email not related to payments I decide not to waste my time asking. Crisishost webpage has no update about any downtime.

5- I get an email from Josh asking for renewal of payment, I email him back with evidence of Paypal payment that already covers that period, the guy even doesn’t reply to apologise for his mistake or anything.

6- I get an email from Josh, three short lines to inform me that they are moving servers and I have four days to back up all my data locally and will possibly have to reupload it all again to the new server.

Conclusion

Crisishost will not bother you about your website content if this is legal in the USA, their prices are reasonable, and they use CPanel for webhosting which is pretty cool, but if you ever need any kind of technical support you will be on your own.

Any email asking questions will not get a reply, your site will be up and running as long as their server doesn’t go down, if it does nobody will warn you. You may also get a short notice one day telling you to back up all your data and reupload.

I think there are better free speech hosting offerings out there and I will review them soon, so stay tuned.

I am hotlinking this review to Crisishost so they will know about it, if anyone wants to reply they are more than welcome to do so in the comments section, I don’t censor anybody on this blog unless it is a spammer.