Free Web page host Homestead.com is officially no longer 100 percent free as of today.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company Wednesday launched a subscription-based version of Homestead Personal, its award-winning Web site building service.
The company says the decision to launch its subscription-based model only came down after the collapse of the sponsorship market forced it to charge, or discontinue its popular personal service altogether.
Starting at $9.99 per month, the new Homestead Personal includes the best of Homestead’s original flagship consumer service while adding several new features, such as a new Site Design Wizard, expanded storage and an extensive library of more than 800,000 images. Homestead members, as well as new subscribers who purchase six month or annual packages can expect additional discounts.
The monthly price was settled on after more than 115,000 Homestead members responded to CEO Justin Kitch’s initial letter explaining the company’s decision.
“We have received very positive feedback from our existing member base supporting our move toward a subscription model,” says Kitch. “Our members have told us that they are willing to pay a reasonable price for Homestead’s best-of-class Web-building services. Moving forward will allow us to focus on improving our pioneering and inventive technology and enabling our customers to create powerful, high-quality Web sites more easily and more quickly than ever imagined.”
A free but scaled-back Homestead Personal Preview service Site is available, but will be limited to 8 MB of storage and three pages within a single site. In addition, customer support is limited and Homestead branding is no longer optional. Preview customers only have access the online version of SiteBuilder.