The Birds and The Bees
(How this web site was created)

Numerous people asked, so here's how I registered my domain and created this web site.

  1. Register the domain
    I used $35/year, credit card required. Very easy, just enter the domain(s) you want and if they're not taken, you can purchase it/them immediately. Tada! You're a domain owner! TIP: Register your domain with an email account not via your domain; if there's problems with your domain and the domain registration company only knows an email account at your domain... This may seem obvious, but I've heard it suggested several times so it seems to be easily forgotten.
  2. Find a host
    I used Concentric. Why? a) suggested them, b) their cheapest plan (CH-1) is better/cheaper than anyone else I could find, c) their server operational policies are serious enough to be reliable (FYI, they use high-end Solaris servers), and d) I'd heard good 2nd-hand and 3rd-hand word of mouth. CH-1 is a good deal: $24.99/month gets you 20 mailboxes, 100M disk space, 7GB transfer allowance per month, shell access, access to the common CGI scripts (e.g. counter, form2file, form2mail) as well as some more advanced ones ('survey' and 'discussion group'(!)), support for custom CGI scripts (via "VDE"), browser-based administration and reports, and more. I've been very pleased with the service to date, and the price is great. From you can follow a link to Concentric, just follow the prompts. You'll need a credit card, and you'll want an existing email account where Concentric can send you information to complete your registration. TIP: Think of a "Master Admin Id" before signing up; Concentric will prompt for one, it's necessary to complete the registration process. Kinda hard to start administering your site if you don't have an account with administrative rights to your site... TIP: A friend suggested avoiding "Administrator" (and variations thereof) for the "Master Admin Id"; it's a commonly guessed user id for crackers. I guess "!9fI:OA(`#" would be more secure, if you're really paranoid. [NOTE: I'm not. Though perhaps I should be.]
  3. Update the domain's DNS
    Concentric will send you updated DNS info via email; you need to update your domain info with, in particular your domain's DNS info. This tells how your hosted web site can be located via DNS; they'll pass this info on thru the internet's DNS infrastructure. They say it takes 24-72 hours for DNS info to propogate thru the internet; I found it took <24 hours for Voicenet to recognize the update. Until your particular DNS pathway's updated, you can access your site as a sub-site of Concentric; just read and follow their directions during the registration process and follow-up email and you don't have to wait to start using your web site.
  4. Create User(s)
    You'll have 1 mailbox for 1 user; you probably want more. For example, I setup an admin account, plus 1 mailbox for my parents and sister, a few for myself and a couple for Kim. You can always add more later. Why multiple accounts? You could setup different email accounts for different purposes; business vs. personal, junkmail (for the sites that require an email address but you don't really want to be bothered by their followup spam), listserv mailings, and so forth. Concentric lets you dole out as much or little as you like -- control who can use the shell, restrict directories, and more. Pretty easy to setup. You can also setup mailboxes to automatically forward all messages, which is quite nifty; I've got several accounts forwarded to the one I actually use to download my email, but the "To:" field doesn't get changed so I can tell where a message was originally sent.
  5. Create Web Page(s) I use Site Creator when I want a friendly HTML editor (like HomeSite; not as extensive but good enough for me, and free), or TSE/32 when I edit raw HTML (a common occurrence). TagCheck is a Win32 program that helps validate your HTML; also check out various web page check tools for tag validation to transfer timings. CuteFTP 4.0 is the toy of choice to actually update the web site (I do all edits locally, then blast them out when I'm ready).

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The last time I spent too much time fiddling with this page: Sunday 14-Sep-2003
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