Google Starts Deprecating Web Hosting Support In Google Drive

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One of the lesser-known features of Google Drive has always been its ability to host basic web sites for free. If you only found out about this from the preceding sentence, you now have one year to enjoy this tool. Google today announced that it will deprecate the web hosting service starting today and will turn it off completely on August 31, 2016.

The company says that in the time since it launched this feature three years ago, “a wide variety of public web content hosting services have emerged,” so it has decided to discontinue the feature in order to focus on the core user experience in Drive. That’s been the standard reason for Google to deprecate services lately, but it’s still a bit of a surprise that the company would turn off hosting support.

For now, you can still use Drive to host basic sites that only need a few JavaScript resources and CSS files. You can’t use any server-side scripting tools, of course, but Drive has always been a useful service for quickly putting up a basic site. It even offers an API for developers.

Google itself, of course, offers Google Sites as part of its Google Apps for Work package as an alternative. It feels like it’s been a while since Sites got any major update, though, and it doesn’t quite offer the same flexibility when hosting your own sites.

It’s worth noting that others, like GitHub, for example, have long offered a very similar service. In addition, you can also use Amazon’s S3 cloud storage serviceDropbox and a number of other services for hosting basic sites.