The quickest way to track down free web resources is to visit specialist free resource directory sites, of which there are almost as many as there are free resources. They can also introduce you to types of freebie which you probably wouldn't have imagined existed, such as the decidedly strange electronic postcard servers.

One of the biggest is www.thefreesite.com, aimed squarely at website developers. It's neatly categorised, and very comprehensive - even its list of other freebie directories has 62 entries. Also well worth visiting are http://netfreebies.net (note - no 'www'), and Freaky Freddie's Free Funhouse of Free Stuff (www.freakyfreddies.com), if only for the wild decor.

Other site-enhancing features include the ubiquitous banner exchanges, in which you display other people's click-through site ads in return for them displaying yours, and a new development, cash-earning banners, in which you receive a payment for each click on an ad shown on your page (don't expect to make your fortune though).

Free web space itself is now so widely available that it's hard to know where to start, but for UK residents the best place is probably the new generation of free ISPs (see last month's review), which don't clutter up your pages with banner ads or pop-up 'visit our sponsor' windows. Dixons Group's FreeServe (www.freeserve.net) is likely to be around for a long time, although its 5MB space limit is a bit miserly. In contrast Free-Online (www.free-online.net) gives you unlimited space.

With so many ISPs and webspace/email providers around, it's inevitable that some will fall by the wayside. Losing your server (or changing to a different one) can be a big problem, since you also lose your website URL and email address, and no-one can find you. One way to insure against this is to use third-party mail forwarding and URL redirection services.

You create an account on a mail forwarding server, and quote it to other people as your email address. All mail sent to that address is automatically forwarded to whichever 'real' email account you specify. When you change ISP or mail provider, you simply change your forwarding address. URL redirection works in a similar way - you set up a 'virtual' URL for your website, and browsers are automatically redirected to wherever it's currently located (one tip here is to avoid redirectors which use complex framing arrangements or even place banner ads above your pages).

The big question is, of course, whether your redirection server is itself going to stay around. I've put my faith in the grand-daddy of them all, www.bigfoot.com (pstephens@bigfoot.com and www.bigfoot.com/~pstephens), but there are plenty of other choices. Until next month, and Netscape-compatible pushbuttons, happy authoring.

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