Web hosting services that are available without payment

Web hosting services that are available without payment can help to lower costs and technical barriers for site owners, enabling people to easily create their own websites. Unfortunately, spammers often take advantage of these services to quickly and inexpensively create dozens or hundreds of sites that violate our quality guidelines and add little or no value to the web.

Google makes a strong effort to take action only against individual spammy pages or sites. However, in some cases, when the spammers have pretty much taken over much or all of the web hosting service, we may take action on how the hosting service as a whole appears in search results in order to prevent spam from being shown to our users.

If you have a hosting service that's available without payment, here are some ways to reduce or prevent spam:

Tell users that you don't allow spam on your service

Publish a clear abuse policy and communicate it to your users, for example during the sign-up process.

Block automated account creation

In your sign-up form, consider using CAPTCHAs or similar verification tools to only allow human submissions and prevent automated scripts from generating a lot of sites on your hosting service.

Monitor your service for abuse

  • Monitor your hosting service for spam signals such as redirects, large numbers of ad sections, certain spammy keywords, and large sections of encoded JavaScript code. The site: search operator or Google Alerts can help detect problems.
  • Keep an eye on your webserver log files for sudden traffic spikes, especially for newly created sites.
  • Monitor your web hosting service for phishing and malware-infected pages. For example, you can use the Google Safe Browsing API to regularly test URLs from your service.
  • Come up with a few confidence checks. For example, if you're running a local Polish web hosting service that's available without payment, what are the odds of thousands of new and legitimate sites in Japanese being created overnight on your service? A number of tools are available to detect the language of newly created sites—for example language detection libraries or the Google Translate API v2.

Identify spammy accounts

Keep a record of signups and try to identify typical spam patterns, such as:

  • Form completion time
  • Number of requests sent from the same IP address range
  • User agents used during signup
  • User names or other form-submitted values chosen during signup.