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Thread: Need help! Taking the web plunge.

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Need help! Taking the web plunge.

    OK - I'm getting very close to signing up for a hosting service as a first step in getting a web based WW business started. The plan is to sign up now, build the web page (and some inventory) over the next two months, and be ready to 'throw the switch' in early spring. This will not replace my day job! This is a first step in building a supplemental income for retirement - still 9 years away.

    Many of you have web sites - I'm a complete novice. I'm looking at Hostmonster as the most likely hosting service - lots of features, good ratings, and low cost. Anyone care to comment?

    Also, what are some of the pitfalls I should look out for? What words of wisdom do you 'old hands' have to offer for someone just stepping into the world of eCommerce? Any direction you can offer would be helpful....Really! Any design guidance? Please?
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  2. #2
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    Go Daddy
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Orem, Utah
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    Before even checking out the price and features offered by HostMonster, I wrote up a paragraph about 1&1 -- my hosting service -- including links for [price and features] and [comparison with other services].

    But after checking out the [list of HostMonster features] (is all of that really included for only $5.95 a month?!?) I'm inclined to say that you've found a darn good service.

    The only 1&1 features that stand out next to that list are
    * 3 free domain names (at the Business level) instead of 1 ... but how many are you going to need?
    * Option of Microsoft-based hosting if you're into that sort of thing
    * The ability to pay even less (for fewer features)
    Best of luck as you try to navigate all the choices out there!
    Last edited by Kerry Burton; 11-19-2007 at 05:19 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Burton View Post

    But after checking out the [list of HostMonster features] (is all of that really included for only $5.95 a month?!?)

    Actually, yes - including all of the ecommerce stuff like shopping carts.

    BTW - If you sign up (and pay) for 2 years it's only $4.95 per month and the Domain registration is free. Free is good

    So, it looks OK?
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  5. #5
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    OK? Yes, I'd say so. If it were me, I'd have no qualms with shelling out the $118.80 and then "forgetting about it" for 2 years.

    But I'm a very small fish ... perhaps you should wait for a couple "pros" to weigh in?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    I can make several suggestions.

    One host to consider is Quality Host. Between my neighbor and I we have probably hosted a dozen sites on there. Very well pleased. Had some minor issues with their mail severs going to down for 10 -15 minutes at a time and I left. Went to GoDaddy. Well GoDaddy is good, but I am probably going back to QH. To many restrictions and to many extra charges at GD for me. But they have been rock solid.

    Main thing I look for in a host are Server Side Includes, Perl, and a personal CGI-bin. These probably will mean nothing to you. But as you learn they may be very important!

    Shopping carts are available. The simplest is using PayPals checkout. I just added that for Credit Card purchases and it's simple and unless you have a Merchant Account or the volume to justify one it's a good way to go for CC payment. Fee's are little high for my tastes, but still cheaper than a merchant account and I don't have the volume to justify one.

    Register.com is the place to handle your domain. They have been the best if you need to change something.

    Learn HTML. It can make you pull your hair out but if you learn to hard code as opposed to using a Visual editor. Your better off in the long run. Learning it is a pain! But I have gone back and found many problems for sites using some of the "easy" editors. I am not a fan of Front Page even though many are. It has TONS of useless code and creates a needless bloated file. But thats my opinion.

    Get help creating you web site if you need it. There are so many bad looking web sites out there. You want your site to look professional, not like you did it yourself. People notice!! I have a company I deal with and it's obvious they do their own pages. Lots of things that are very amateur about it. They have a great product but I think the page can turn people off.

    I probably have more but that is enough for now.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  7. #7
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    New Springfield OH
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    Whats their uptime like? Cheap isn't any good if they go down for extended periods, or frequent short periods.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    I can make several suggestions.

    One host to consider is Quality Host. Main thing I look for in a host are Server Side Includes, Perl, and a personal CGI-bin. These probably will mean nothing to you. But as you learn they may be very important!
    Both present in the service offered - loved the rest of the info also - keep it coming!

    For now, I'll be doing my own with some careful guidance from a friend or two. I don't want the site to look amateurish, but until I can afford more, it will have to do. I've heard lots of not so good stuff about FrontPage. I will probably use the building tool that is available from the hosting service. Another option is Nvu, which is free and I've heard some good things about. Sorry, but HTML just is not on my list of things to do right now - just too much going on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Mickley View Post
    Whats their uptime like? Cheap isn't any good if they go down for extended periods, or frequent short periods.
    99.9% Guaranty - pretty close to always.

    A friend of mine runs several very busy sites for a couple of non-profits. I had him look at the offering and he felt it was pretty good also. He had experience with GoDaddy similar to Jeff's.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  9. #9
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    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    A couple lessons learned from my own mistakes:

    1&1 treated me good for several years, but lately my sites are down or painfully slow FAR too often. I'm going to drop 1&1 and switch hosts as soon as I have a bit of time. I will likely go with Bluehost, which is where we have the FamilyWoodworking stuff.

    My sites have been done with MS Frontpage, but I will likely re-do them somewhere along the way to use something that is not quite so proprietary. Frontpage is relatively easy to use, but some things done in Frontpage do not display correctly on non-Microsoft browsers. (Looks peachy keen on IE, of course.) In hindsight, I would have used a different authoring tool.

    I'll agree and disagree with Jeff's suggestion about learning HTML. I agree it's good to know some basics, to help in figuring out problems that may arise, but a good site authoring tool sure speeds things up, and is way more intuitive to use. (I know a fair amount of HTML, I just prefer not to have to use it in "native" style.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
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    I'm using Ripplehost for my website for exactly two reasons. Maybe three.

    1- darn, it's cheap. (I'm not running a commercial place, so I don't really drive that much traffic to it.) Never seen a place yet that could beat $10 a year.

    2- I know the owners. (they also run idologic, which is a well regarded place for larger websites that need more bandwidth and more support.)

    They "maybe third" reason is that I have over 15 years of Unix IT experience so I have no problem at all with a web host that is basically self-support.

    I just write my own basic HTML. Earlier this fall I picked up a bit of CSS to update things, but mostly I've just got old-fashioned static HTML going on. On the Unix side I use "WML" -- which is a macro language/toolkit -- to help me manage all the source files.

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