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FAQ About Starting a Website

Here are some FAQs for you to consider while deciding what to do about having your own website. Whether it's a revision of an existing site, transfer to another website hosting service or creating a brand new site, I hope the following will be of assistance to you.

If you are a new or prospective client and would like to read an in-depth description of the website creation process, please visit my Design Tips page.

If you still have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Can I do some of the work on my own website?
How do I obtain a URL (website address) for my website?
Where should I host my website?
Windows or Linux hosting? Which one is right for me?
What will my website cost?
How long will it take to get my website up-and-running?
What's the truth about GoDaddy's customer service?

Can I do some of the work on my own website?

I encourage you to do as much website work as you want and I will be glad to assist you in any way possible. However, there is a certain skill level involved in many aspects of website design and maintenance and you should have some familiarity with writing HTML code.

How do I obtain a URL (website address) for my website?

There's a persistent rumor that if you search for a website name at a hosting service they will discover your interest, reserve the name for themselves and then sell it to you at an inflated price. True or false? I certainly don't know the answer. But the "risk free" way to see if a name is available is to simply enter it into your browser such as: mycoolname.com and see what happens.

If you keep getting a "Server Not Found" error (also known as a "404 Error"), then you can be fairly sure that no one has snapped up that name yet. But just to double-check, go to the GoDaddy or Network Solutions database to confirm that it's actually available. If it is, click over to your choice of registrars such as GoDaddy, 1&1, etc. and take possession of your new domain (website's name).

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Where should I host my website?

Website hosting refers to the actual physical location of the files which make up your website. Typically this is on a server which is maintained by a third-party such as GoDaddy, 1&1, etc. which charges for its services. Free website hosting is available but there is sometimes a price to pay in the long run. With the free hosts, their quality of service (such as up-time, documentation and customer service) may vary greatly. You may be required to display ads from other sites or endure long waits to talk to a real person should assistance be required.

On the other hand, some free hosts are well-respected and offer excellent services. Word-of-mouth investigation and research on your part is the best way to avoid these possible pitfalls. You get more for your money in most areas from a commercial host, but for many small sites, a free host is all that's required. Remember to check out your own ISP to see if they offer free personal website hosting.

All of the websites for which I am currently responsible are hosted on GoDaddy or their resellers. began with them more as an accident rather than a choice. I receive no funds through kickbacks or discounts from GoDaddy or any other host. It's just that I'm now familiar with GoDaddy's procedures and quirks, of which there are many. In addition, I am most comfortable working with Windows rather than Linux hosting (see the question directly below). For those reasons, I usually suggest that people host their websites at GoDaddy using their Windows economy hosting service.

Another good choice for hosting would be Max West who operates Webmaster Support Services. I have dealt with Max and always found him to be responsive to my questions or requests for assistance.

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Windows or Linux hosting? Which one is right for me?

Oh, dear. This is like those age-old debates about Ford vs. Chevy or Coke vs. Pepsi. Everybody has a viewpoint and sometimes discussions on this subject get really heated. You may occasionally be told that one or the other hosting is no good, prone to failure, easy to hack, too expensive, etc. These exaggerated blanket claims are simply not true and you should pay no attention to them.

My personal experience has always been with Windows so naturally I'm more comfortable dealing with Windows hosting. I feel that many features inherent in the Windows server platform (specifically ASP.Net and VB.Net) allow me to use ready-made methods to create controls when creating a web page. All that means is with a Windows hosting service I don't have to struggle to re-invent the wheel each time I create a nice fly-out menu or set up a database to display information. So, unless you have a very small site with minimal requirements, I must usually restrict myself to only handling websites which either utilize or may be converted to Windows hosting.

An examples of these ASP.Net controls may be found on the websites I created for the Prescott Computer Society. Look at the clickable calendar at the bottom of each page and the text which appears when a meeting date has been selected.

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What will my website cost?

A commercial host will charge for both the hosting service and a single domain name registration for a total cost of about $60 per year. This amount may vary according to any discounts you might receive for extended periods of registration, promotional offers, etc. I suggest that you obtain current hosting charges directly from GoDaddy (or any others you may be interested in) for their hosting service.

At GoDaddy, you will want their Windows economy hosting (see the FAQ immediately above) with no additional services. I find that the economy service, on its own, is perfectly adequate for a typical small site. You can always upgrade with additional services later should the need arise. During the registration process, Go Daddy will bombard you with a multitude of extra cost add-ons which you may safely ignore.

My rates for design services will be individualized to your particular situation and requirements. Typically I will quote a flat-fee for initial setup and one year of maintenance once your site is online. I will gladly work with you to determine what your needs are as well as your ability or desire to do any updating work in the future. I'm more than willing to get your site established and then let you take over.

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How long will it take to get my website up-and-running?

If it's a brand-new site that is fully developed (graphics are created, pages have been written, etc.), I have gotten online with GoDaddy in as little as 10 minutes. On the other hand, if it's an existing site that you want to move to a new host, it may take as long as a few weeks for all the paperwork to be completed. Occasionally, if a site has many domains (site names) located at different hosts or registrars, it will take even more time for all the pieces to come together.

What's the truth about GoDaddy's customer service?

GoDaddy has a reputation for poor customer service and other assorted ills. In one sense, this is true. Their hosting account interfaces and fee schedules are confusing and they often change their prices and layouts. They will do their best to up-sell you services that you do not need. It's also difficult to get a straight (or repeatable) answer from Customer Service should you call on what should be a routine question about your GoDaddy account.

Typically, my clients already have a GoDaddy account due to their having reserved their domain names some time ago. They are mystified about how GoDaddy works and what to do next when wanting to purchase hosting services. This is understandable and I work with them to get the best (usually the most minimal) package that GoDaddy offers.

On the other hand, once you have maneuvered through the GoDaddy maze and get online, you will have little contact with their Customer Service. Only on rare occasions will there be any service interruptions and if there are, GoDaddy has always responded promptly and efficiently to my communications.

I find that email is usually the most effective way to resolve a problem at GoDaddy. The knowledge level of the phone personnel is erratic and an email is more likely to be routed to a staffer who actually knows what to do.

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