Free Hosted Intranet Review

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Sun, 2014-09-07 17:33.
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Intranet is no longer something that only big companies have. Intranet, especially social intranet, is now used ubiquitously by small business and civic organizations, thanks to the fact that many intranets have migrated to cloud and no longer rely on intranet administrators and developers (that usually come with $100,000/yr  price tag) in order to be launched and managed.

In case you are not familiar with the technical terms, 'hosted intranet' means that you don't need to your own server to have access to your intranet – it's hosted in the cloud somewhere far, far away (usually Amazon or Microsoft cloud) and is set up for you, so you don't have to have own intranet admins. The opposite of that is on premise or self-hosted intranet, meaning you deploy it on your own server (the latter option is preferred by some organizations who want to make sure they have 100% control over data).

Without further ado, let's look at the best free hosted intranet options:

There are three reasons why I think Bitrix24 is the best free cloud intranet. The first part is the free part – while most intranet vendors limit functions in available in the free version, Bitrix24 give you more or less fully featured intranet right away – the only features that are turned off are extranet users, records management, time tracking, and ability to insert your own logo.

The second reason is the paid part – while other intranet vendors charge on per user basis, paid plans in Bitrix24 come with unlimited users, so if your organization is large, you can still have thousands of people use your intranet and pay only $99/mo. In addition to that, another rarity for intranet vendors, with Bitrix24 you can migrate from the cloud to your own server or the other way around any time you want to.

The third reason is the features that you get. Most are very traditional for enterprise social networks and intranets – activity stream, likes, media gallery, badges, tags, following, mentions, e-mail connectors, document repository and so on. The project management module is great – you get workgoups for your projects with reports, gantt charts, check lists, an other standard project management features. Document management module is there too, complete with multiuser online editing that works even if you don't have MS Office installed on your computer.

After that you get a bunch of goodies – while most intranets offer instant messaging as the only chat option, in Bitrix24 you have IM, group chat, persistent chat, video chat, video conferencing and screensharing. Yes, even in the free version.

CRM? Not something regular intranet comes with, but it’s there in Bitrix24. Complete with invoices, product catalogue, sales funnel, send&save email and email-to-lead integrations, business process (workflow) integrations and mobile CRM. Yes, even in the free version. HRISShared Calendarsmobile intranetmobile CRMdynamic organizational chartwiki, desktop app that totally replaces the need for Dropbox – yes, even in the free version.

I'm going to stop here, because listing all the features available in Bitrix24, especially the self-hosted version, would take too much time. Like I said, I think it's the best option for free intranet that's currently available and guessing from the number of languages supported by Bitrix24 is quite popular worldwide.
2. G+

Google+, the unloved social network offers free private workgroups that can be used as free hosted intranet. Here's a short video that explains how it is done -

Wiggio is another good free intranet option, provided you don't mind ads on our intranet, because the free version is ad-supported. While it does not offer nearly as many features as Bitrix24, in addition to workgroups, it does have shared calendars, polls, virtual meetings and to do lists. The mobile app is available for iPhone only, however.