The 10 Incredibly Useful And Entertaining Free Websites

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They say the best things in life are free, but what about the best things on the web? As it turns out, the old saying holds true there, too! Some of the best, most popular and useful websites are completely free from a monetary standpoint, offering users great value without asking for a cent in compensation. Of course, there are plenty of free sites that aren't really anything to write home about, either. So how do you separate the wheat from the chafe? In this article, we'll explore 10 of the best free websites and what they offer. Enjoy!

1) GMail

Let's face it: most people still associate the Internet with e-mail. And when it comes to the most user-friendly e-mail around, it's tough to beat Google's free GMail service. Introduced as a beta service in 2004 (a status it puzzingly still has today), GMail shattered the hadn't-changed-since-1997 10MB storage limit everyone else was offering by giving people a whopping 1GB for their e-mails. Gone were the days of having to delete old e-mails to make room for new ones. Today, GMail users can store over 5MB of e-mails and search through them with the same power and ease of the Google search engine. Free e-mail doesn't get much better than that!

2) YouTube

Most people think of YouTube as a place to watch music videos and hear their favorite songs (which it does offer.) However, the curious web surfer can find much more on YouTube than just music, including in-depth tutorials, ongoing debates between users, clips of sporting events, movie trailers, even narrated videos of people blowing things up in their microwaves. If you're looking for a video of any kind, chances are excellent that YouTube will have it.

3) AccuWeather.com

Whether you're looking for a Doppler Radar picture, a 10 day forecast, or detailed hour-by-hour weather reports for your own area. AccuWeather has you covered. Visitors to the popular free weather site can sign up for personalized e-mail alerts, as well as download a desktop application that brings up to the minute weather data day and night.

4) TripAdvisor.com

TripAdvisor.com has made life easier for thousands of travelers in just its few short years of existence. By combining official travel and resort literature from vendors with first-hand testimonials and descriptions from actual vacationers, TripAdvisor has become the one-stop source for getting lowdown on just about any travel destination in the world. If you're wondering if a hotel is as glamerous as it appears or whether driving to that scenic town is worthwhile, TripAdvisor will tell you.

5) Mint.com

It's getting tougher and tougher to stay on top of one's personal finances, with the deluge of pre-approved credit card offers pouring through the mailbox and opportunities to rack up debt cropping up all the time. Fortunately, at least one website is making it possible to keep things simple. By signing up for a free Mint.com account, you will be able to track your entire financial life from one website. All your spending (at least, your credit or debit card spending) will be meticulously and automatically tracked, broken down, and categorized, giving you a complete picture of your spending habits and overall financial health.

6) Yahoo! Answers

Have you ever had a burning question that needed to be answered - fast- but no concievable way to answer it? If so, Yahoo! Answers is the site you've been looking for. For absolutely no cost, anyone can post questions of any kind on Yahoo! Answers. Just type in your question, assign it to the appropriate category (for example, what's a good recipe for pumpkin pie? would be categorized into food > cooking.) and click Submit. Within minutes, your question will be answered by any number of eager, responsive users.

7) RefDesk.com

Looking for detailed, factual information on a subject that Google doesn't seem to be delivering the goods on? You might want to head on over to RefDesk.com instead. There, you will find links to major, credible resources on everything from health, science, technology, and dozens of other topics. It's a great place to go for research papers, article writing, or any kind of serious research for which casual search engine queries don't suffice.

8) WebMD.com

The leading website for health information, WebMD is a tremendous free resource. Health-conscious users will find everything from the latest medical research, recommendations on curing illnesses, information on the symptoms of various diseases and disorders, and suggestions on which doctors and medical procedures to use for specific situations. Anyone who is at all interested in their ongoing physical and mental health would do well to stop by!

9) Google News

It's the free news service used by Presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs, and everyone in between to keep track of current events. Comprised of daily, up to the minute news reports from thousands of sources, Google News is arguably the fastest and easiest way to take the pulse of world news. Everything from sports, politics, science and technology is covered, so you don't have to waste time reading dozens of different papers for the most important scoops.

10) Twitter.com

The newest member of the great free website club is Twitter. A virtual unknown until recently, Twitter is a way for people from all walks of life to answer the question what are you doing right now? Here's how it works: you sign up for a free Twitter.com account, and type in what you're doing at various points of the day. (These are known as Tweets.) You can then tell your friends and family to keep an eye on your Twitter page so they can keep tabs on what you're up to. Over time, you will find yourself much more attuned to what the people you care about are doing with their day.
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