Tiiny Host, a free temporary static website host

Yesterday, I stumbled across what is probably one of the simplest to use static web hosting services I have encountered so far. The service is called Tiiny Host and is a simple, free, and semi-anonymous temporary static website host. The service offers the possibility to publish tiny static websites that will remain online for up to seven days. No registration needed, and if you are moderately fast with a keyboard and mouse, you can get a static website online in 30 seconds.

A free static website can be brought to life through three steps:

  1. Go to tiiny.host and choose a subdomain of the tiiny.site domain.
  2. Choose a zip file containing the files making up your website. The zip file must not exceed 3MB. (You will of cause need to create a zip file beforehand.)
  3. Click “Launch,” wait for the files to upload, and the website is alive and can be reached at <YourSubdomain>.tiiny.site

Easy, right?

Tiiny Host requires no user account registration, but you can add an e-mail address in case you want to modify the website later on. Well… you cannot actually modify an uploaded website, but you can upload a new zip file that overwrites the existing files on your chosen subdomain. Under the hood, websites are hosted by Amazon AWS, resulting in quite fast website speeds in most parts of the world. The Tiiny Host website does not mention anything about allocated bandwidth, so I assume it is unmetered.

The absolute power of this service is the simplicity and lack of dealing with account registration and technical concepts such as FTP, SSL certificates, Git repositories, and you name it. The obvious major limitation is that websites only stay online for seven days. I see several use-cases that can benefit from a service like this. For example, showcasing demos and prototypes, temporary websites for user experience and usability evaluations, and an easy to use and learn publishing platform for educational purposes.

Tiiny Host also offers paid versions providing several additional features. The most significant feature is that uploaded sites will stay online. The paid versions also include:

  • Option to assign custom domain (i.e. assign example.net to your website.)
  • Optional password protection of sites.
  • Eight live sites.
  • 18 archived sites.
  • Uploading limit of up to 50 – 300MB zip files depending on the subscription plan.
  • Dashboard to control your different sites.
  • Control site lifespans (i.e. you can choose if a site should automatically disable after a certain period of time.)

While I like the concept and simplicity of Tiiny Host, I find the current pricing of the two paid plans at $6 and $16 per month to be at the high end. At that price range, it is not difficult to find equally good or more feature-rich solutions. Their initial offering at $39 per year sounded more compelling. In comparison, Fast.io provides a similar simple static web hosting solution with additional features at $12 per month. Fast.io also offers a free plan, and two other great free alternatives are Netlify and GitHub Pages. The alternative services are more complex to use, but essentially provides the same features and will suit the needs of most users looking for solutions like the ones offered by Tiiny Host. A key feature of all three alternatives is that uploaded sites do not get deleted after a certain period.

Overall, I find Tiiny Host interesting and will keep an eye on the service. It should not be considered an alternative to full-blown static website hosts, but rather a niche service for fast deployment for showcasing and the like.

I have a few concerns. The service does not state who is behind, and the operators are only reachable through a generic e-mail address. When using the free tier, the service does not explicitly ask for personal information. Still, there is no specification of what information the operators collect, and the they have not published a privacy policy. Additionally, they do not have a GPDR policy, a point that can make use of the service problematic for EU-based organizations. These concerns are all red flags that should be seriously considered before using Tiiny Host.

I will highly encourage not to use the service for storing any sensitive data, including personal information, internal documents, proprietary code, etc. For example, you should not use Tiiny Host as a file sharing service when sharing private or internal data with colleagues. You should only publish content you would not otherwise mind posting in public.

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