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Web Design and Website Services: Frequently Asked Questions

 


What do you charge for domain hosting?

Most sites can be hosted with my hosting service for $5 per month.

$5 a month hosting package includes: 250 Mb of space and 1000 Mb of bandwidth; Cpanel site manager; your own domain email addresses; web mail; web statistics; spam filtering, and a lot of other great stuff.

Need more space or bandwidth? Please for a quote based on your needs. Discount rates on web design and maintenance are available for nonprofit organizations.


What is Domain Registration?

That's when you sign up to own your little bit of virtual real estate, www.whateveryouwant.com (or .org or .net.) It used to be very expensive to do this, but prices are now as low as $9 a year to have your own domain name, and as low as $5 a month to host your domain website. This can give you email service as well: you@yourname.com.

Sometimes you can get by without even needing hosting, by using forwarding services provided by your domain registrar. So your email goes into your existing email box and your domain leads viewers to, for example, free space you get from your ISP or elsewhere. If you think you will need these services, be sure to sign up with a registrar who provides them without overcharging. Currently I know of registrars that include these services in registrations costing $9-16/year, so there's no reason I know of to pay more than that.

If you haven't registered your domain yet, I recommend avoiding VeriSign (which has absorbed Network Solutions.) See my column "A Month of VeriSign Customer Service" for a tale of my latest dealings with them. You can get more services for half the price with other registrars. Be sure to read the fine print before you sign up. Some reserve the right to charge you an undisclosed fee if you change registrars, or to market your contact information to other companies. Feel free to write me for current recommendations on registration.


How Can I Avoid Spam?

When you put up a website, you almost always will want to have your email address on your site so people can contact you.

Unfortunately, spammers have little spider-bots crawling the net, 24/7, looking for new email addresses. They gobble up anything that looks like an email address and put it on spammers' lists. (In one test, a unique email address put on a back page of a site received spam within 12 hours. Yikes.)

Fortunately, most spambots do not assemble Javascript (yet.) Browsers do. Therefore email addresses can be encrypted so your email address looks normal on your page but is invisible to spambots.

All my site designs include Javascript encryption of your email address, to protect you from spammers.


My Philosophy:

Most web sites should be accessible to as many people as possible, and should not require the latest hardware or software to work properly. Pages should be quick to load so that those with dialup modem connections can use and enjoy them.

Web sites should be reasonably inexpensive to design and maintain. Cost should be proportional to size and complexity. A small, simply laid out website should not cost a lot to design or to have hosted.

Web sites should especially reflect the site owner's wishes.

Perhaps your site is next? Give me a call at (603) 569-2341 or to arrange a free consultation and an estimate on your project.


Web Design Resources:

I like this page: "Art and the Zen of Web Sites". .Lots of advice on why simpler is almost always better.

Fellow Webmasters, Take Note: You Too Can Defeat Spammers! Wonderful freeware that works with any OS (Mac, Windows, etc.) and encrypts email addresses so that spammers can't harvest them from your web site, among other interesting things, can be had from InnerPeace.org. http://innerpeace.org/webtoolkit.shtml


Other Resources and Links

Anti-Spam Information:

The internet began as a way to share information, but since it has been opened to commercial content, more and more it is being treated as a gigantic marketing database and advertising delivery system for large corporate interests.

The daily flood of spam familiar to most of us who have email is just one visible part of a larger ongoing effort, which includes the use of your computer to send information about you and your use of the web to marketers, unbeknownst to you, through web beacons and tracking modules that can be inserted into your system when you visit their websites or open a piece of HTML-encoded spam.

If you wish to resist that effort, there are a number of things you can do.

  • You can filter your incoming mail before you download it or open it. This of course can protect you from viruses as well. Domain hosting packages from me include SpamAssassin spam filtering if you choose the CPanel hosting. You can send the spam to a separate email address, a spam monitoring box, or just have it deleted.

  • Report spam. There are several places to report spam. Many ISPs do not allow their users to send spam. Some states have even made some forms of spam illegal. In any case, it makes sense to complain about it to the people who could do something about it.

    Report spam to the US government by forwarding it to the FTC's spam reporting address: uce@ftc.gov


    Report spam to the sender's ISP and the company that hosts their site by using SpamCop. Most spammers forge information in the email headers to disguise the spam's origin (thus you receive spam from fakes addresses, or even ostensibly from your own address.) SpamCop sorts through all the garbage and sends reports to the ISPs and web hosts that are actually being used by the spammer. You can use SpamCop for free, or support their worthwhile effort by paying for membership (which is $15 for what they say is 2 years of average use.)

  • Read the Privacy Policy at websites where you are giving information. Of course, not all companies abide by their published privacy policies, so exercise caution in any case.

  • If you use Yahoo, (if you have a Yahoo ID, for instance, in order to get email from groups on Yahoo), opt out of Yahoo's marketing and web beacons. Unless you opt out, they consider you want spam, junk mail, telemarketing, and to be tracked all over the internet, and they will happily do all that.

  • Don't buy anything from spammers. If you do, you're making sure spamming pays.


    Macintosh computer troubleshooting and assistance:

    I like Macs. For the story on how this unlikely love affair began, see the first edition of my LowEndMac.com column, Acoustic Mac.

    LowEndMac is a very useful site, with tons of great articles, links, and email lists you can subscribe to.

    And if you live nearby (central NH) and have questions about or problems with your Mac, or your Windows PC, I may be able to help, or know where you can get help. Visit this page or for more information.

     







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