Yourself a Website – Without the Drama
Get Yourself a Website – Without the
So, you’re done with the free web hosts. Gone through Geocities,
Angelfire, Fortune City. You’re exhausted with the pop- ups
and banners. You want a real site. But where to go? You look around
the net, and the possibilities seem endless. 20 MB of space for
only $20 a month! Wow! That’s fantastic!
Or is it? Way back when I bought my domain and signed up with a
web host, I was the typical “the internet is so wonderful”
optimist. I was thrilled to find something that sounded just about
what I kind of wanted – and bam, just like that, $300 poorer
and with a useless chunk of web space that wouldn’t even work
properly. My domain addresses wouldn’t connect, my content
was being warped – things weren’t looking too good for
A year later and much the wiser, I know better. My site is working,
I have a lovely, helpful support team, and I now know what I want.
But, that’s all well and good for me – I have had the
added advantage of working for a web hosting company. But what about
the rest of you out there who don’t have my experience, who
see a world of opportunity and are about to jump into the cesspit
of money loss and disappointment.
So, I figure, why not let you in on a useful hint, one that may
save you from misfortune. What is it, you ask? Well, simply –
know what you want! Sounds way too simple for me to be handing it
out, right? I don’t think so! Sure, you have a vague idea
of what you want, but do you know what all of it means? The “mumbo
jumbo”, so to speak?
I didn’t think so! Listen up, sit back, relax, and before
you go jumping off the deep end, scroll down and read a bit.
MB of space
MB? Eh? Well, MB stands for MegaByte. This is basically the amount
of storage space you will have. You can figure out how much space
you will need if you spend a little bit of time thinking about what
is going onto your site – how graphic intensive it will be,
how many pages, any multimedia or music, etc. Make an approximation
in your head and then add another 50. This will allow you to add
on and expand. It’s always better to have too much, rather
than too little.
the payment plans are generally either monthly or yearly. Make
sure, even if you want a year or more of hosting, to start with
a monthly plan! If you give them $3/400 for a year, and then they
end up being useless, I’ll bet you that you won’t be
getting that money back.
If you start with a monthly account, you can always upgrade to
a yearly account. And if you can’t upgrade and you’re
really worried, add up how much it will be for a year, and set that
money aside to slowly add back onto your credit card every month.
Do you already own a domain name? A domain name is basically the
www.yourdomainname.com. Most of web hosts will provide domain name
registration in their packages. If you already own your own, you
will have to transfer it to their name servers.
Make sure this is possible! Ask them if they will do it for you,
or ask for directions on how to do it yourself. If you don’t
own a name already, though, how many will you need? Will the one
be enough? Do you need redirects; do you want extra names attached
And then you need the actual name! If you’re completely stumped,
have no ideas, there are some really good places online which will
create a list for you.
Make sure your name is relevant to what’s on your site –
people tend to get annoyed if your website is called “cool-
cars.com” and it ends up being about cushion embroidery.
There are quite a variety of options in this area. You have mail
servers, mailing lists, redirects, catch all. If you’re going
to be getting a substantial amount of mail through your website,
you might want a mail server – an actual site online where
you have your own personal mail box. It would usually be mail.yoursitename.com.
Mailing lists are sometimes offered and sometimes not – if
you’re going to be sending out a newsletter, promotional info,
etc to a lot of people you might want to go with this option. A
mail catch all basically does what its name suggests – catches
emails with typos, wrong names etc, but have your domain written
properly in the address, (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org).
And finally, mail redirects, which give you an email address, but
redirects emails sent to it to another mailbox – for example,
if you have email@example.com, it could redirect to your hotmail
There are many other added options as well, which you need to think
about. If you want to have multimedia on your page(s), Front Page
support, Access/database support, cgi-bin, custom 404 error pages,
search engine submission. Sit down and make a list of what you need.
But before you do anything, send the support team of the web host
an email. Ask them if they provide all of your specific requirements;
describe what you are looking for. Be friendly and concise, and
see how they react.
If they are prompt and friendly or slow and unpleasant. You are
always going to end up needing some sort of support during your
hosting, and this will be a good indication of what kind of assistance
you will get further down the line.
Basically what I’m telling you here is to think before you
spend. So many people have tales of woe and disappointment; don’t
end up being one of them. There are no guarantees here, but make
it as close to it as possible.
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