|GeoCities||Small Business Web Hosting|
|Domain registration included||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data transfer per month||3GB||5GB||10GB||25GB||75GB||200GB|
|Phone and e-mail support||No||E-mail only||E-mail only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Yahoo offers an impressive array of site tools for both its free and paid users. If you're a beginner who has never seen an HTML tag before, Yahoo PageWizards takes you step by step through the process of building a simple About Me Web page. Start by picking a template (a few dozen are available for free accounts, hundreds more if you graduate to the paid GeoCities Plus or Pro plans), then fill out a form with the text and the links you want on your new site.
Ready to get more advanced? Dip into Yahoo PageBuilder, a Java-powered WYSIWYG editor (an applet that loads onto your Web browser) that lets you drag and drop text, images, and links onto your pages. For a free, Web-based page-building tool, PageBuilder provides some impressive features, including multiple fonts and text-alignment options, page templates, and add-ons such as a page counter (which comes in several styles), Yahoo News headline modules, date/time stamps, forms, pull-down menus, buttons and checkboxes, and more. Prefer to code on your own? Yahoo's HTML Editor lets you get down and dirty, offering help such as a pop-up table builder that will set up your rows, table data, cell padding and spacing, and other details.
The Yahoo File Manager displays your uploaded files and directory structure--you can upload up to 20 files (5MB at a time) through the Web interface. If you upgrade to a paid account, you can transfer files using your favorite FTP client, while users at the business-account level can download Yahoo SiteBuilder, a reasonably powerful site manager and FTP utility (although the free SiteBuilder is still no match for a commercial application such as, say, Macromedia Dreamweaver or Adobe GoLive). Yahoo offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL)-encrypted FTP connections for paid business-level Standard and Professional customers, but the lower-tier Starter and paid GeoCities accounts are stuck with unencrypted FTP.
Although we'd prefer not to have advertising, we were pleased with the unobtrusive ad placement on our free GeoCities Web page. Instead of an obnoxious pop-up or a massive banner ad, Yahoo serves a series of sponsored links in the right-hand column; simply click an arrowed tab, and the ad drawer closes. If you have a paid account, Yahoo's site-statistics page gives you page views, visitor profiles, and referrer information with details about how a person found your page and what page they went to after yours. If you upgrade to a paid business-level account, Yahoo also provides regular site backups; raw access logs (good for tracking visitors' IP addresses); domain registration and site subdomains; and support for PHP, MySQL, and Perl.Yahoo offers extensive online FAQs for its free accounts, including everything from a generous library of HTML tips to guides for all the GeoCities tools, plus troubleshooting help. Paid subscribers also get e-mail support (we received a reply about five hours after sending a query), while upper-tier small-business customers can call a toll-free number for 24-hour phone support (we called on a weekday morning and spoke to a representative within two minutes).