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Flashback: FreeVPs.us, the Free VPS Forum

Free VPSJust want a free VPS? Yes, there are actually legitimate ways to get a free VPS.  Interested in a bit of LowEndLore s we look back at a famous community landmark that has left the scene?  Read on!


At one time, it was fairly easy to get a VPS for free.  All you had to do was join a forum.

No, not LowEndTalk.  Rather, I’m referring to the now-defunct FreeVPS.us, which ceased operations circa 2019.  It ran on MyBB and at one point the proprietor told me the specs.  It was run on a very modest VPS system – something like 768MB at one point but it may have been upgraded later.

The FreeVPS model was simple:

  1. You signed up for the forum
  2. Every time you posted, you earned points.  Enough monthly points entitled you to earn (or keep) a free VPS
  3. There usually weren’t enough free VPSes for everyone who qualified.  I forget if they allocated based on longevity, maximum points, first to request, or lottery.  I think it was a “who has the most points past the minimum” scheme.

VPSes were provided by different advertisers, some of whom are still around and some are long-forgotten brands.

I got a VPS once, because I wanted to try KiloServe.  KiloServe was a short-lived low-end VPS provider that got into big AMD CPUs and for a brief time had very fast VPS systems.  Unfortunately, as I recall, margins were thin and they met the usual fate.

Anyway, it was kind of neat, though I only kept mine for a month before turning it in so someone who actually needed it could get it.

This simple model went on for many years but eventually petered out.  The main causes of its death were several.

First, advertisers weren’t getting any value providing the free VPS.  Turns out that people who can’t afford a few bucks a month on LowEndTalk or LowEndBox are not going to upgrade the free system to a paid one.

Second, I have to think there was a lot of hassle for providers.  You’ve got a low-margin VPS but the owner is constantly changing which results in higher administrative costs.  And it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that some of those people are going to spam and cause other problems.

Finally, the real Achilles heel is that the content produced by all these forum participants isn’t all that exciting to search engines and hence for advertisers.  The fundamental economics don’t work because there’s not enough quality content to get sufficient eyeballs.

I did it to try out a free VPS, but once I turned it back in, I never came back because the rest of the “community” was people copy/pasting or writing random stream-of-consciousness stuff to get so many posts/threads/words to earn points.

In other words, FreeVPS was a write-only community. No one cared if anyone else read what they wrote, because they were only there to score points on the forum’s system to earn a free VPS.

In the end, FreeVPS closed up shop. It was an interesting experiment and you have to love the ethos.  It reminded me of the old “post to host” model, where forum participation earned shared hosting freebies.  Those schemes ultimately fizzled, large for the same reason: the economics just don’t work out.

 

2 Comments

  1. MrYang:

    URL please !
    I can’t open up
    freevps.us

    August 15, 2022 @ 11:47 pm | Reply
  2. FreeVPS.us, which ceased operations circa 2019.

    August 16, 2022 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

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