Free Speech Hosting: Does it Offer Protection?
It’s designed to offer a safe haven for those with controversial opinions that traditional hosts may not welcome. In fact, there are a number of free speech web hosts that can help in that regard.
Does free speech web hosting offer any protection?
What Is Free Speech Hosting?
Some hosts say they will stand by your right to say what you want, no matter how objectionable your opinions.
By doing that, the host is offering to deal with the inevitable complaints.
In the past, most web hosts wouldn’t bother to do this, even if the content wasn’t illegal, simply because of the time and cost involved. That’s why this type of hosting sprung up.
Free Speech Hosting Isn’t Perfect
Even if you go with a free speech host, you still can’t do anything illegal. Or, if you do, the host can’t protect you.
Havenco was a controversial Web host that was located in the ‘country’ of Sealand, a platform in the middle of the ocean. Anything was allowed except for child pornography, spamming and hacking. It closed in 2008 due to financial problems.
Any country that is exceptionally lenient is unlikely to have a top-class infrastructure for hosting anyway.
Censorship and Hosting
Look at some of the more controversial sites on the web and where they are hosted.
- The Drudge Report is hosted at Cogent
- Liberal Forum is hosted at Hostgator
- TShirt Hell is hosted at Rackspace (on the company’s own IP address)
- Storm Front is hosted at ThePlanet
Of all the heavily political or otherwise controversial sites we checked, only one, Wikileaks, was hosted on a dedicated free speech host.
In general, hosts stand by their customers, even if they disagree with what they say, because unnecessary controversy is bad for business.
Do We Need Free Speech Hosting?
There may have been a time when free speech web hosting was necessary. Now, it seems a little outdated.
As long as content is legal, most hosts will accept it.
Free speech hosts tend to offer a less robust service at a higher price, and the extra fees no longer guarantee protection beyond that of a regular host.
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