Free software is often called freeware. You download it and use it for your business or personal use and never have to pay for it. But can you host it in the cloud or on your website?

In most cases, yes. It’s free and once you download it you can do whatever you want with it. However, some free software might come with its own set of user permissions and restrictions. You’ll have to read the Readme file or other developer notes that come with the software to see what is allowed or not allowed.

Assuming that you have free reign with the use of free software you download for use with your business, can you host it on your website and share it with your website users? Absolutely – again, with the proviso that nothing in the developer notes prevents it. Usually, it doesn’t.

Free software is actually good for hosting in the cloud. If you have a website that allows people to download software or use that software while logged into your website, check with the software developer about rights and attribution. If you are allowed to host free software online and share it with others, you might have to tweak it to operate via website interaction. Be prepared to work out any bugs.