Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Web Hosting

In addition to this blog, I have a web site.
    It's not a complicated site: there are no fancy background graphics, trick pop-ups, or anything like that. The site isn't to provide "Internet presence" but is a place to accumulate some things that I want to share and present them in a clear and simple manner.
    A couple of years ago when I started looking for a host I already had web pages. Worldnet(.att.net) was my primary ISP in the dial-up days. Part of their deal was six email addresses per account with 10 Meg of web space for each address. But, there were problems with their operation. They treated the personal web pages as a secondary service, so the uploading and viewing performance both suffered sometimes. It could be pretty hard to get files uploaded using their control panel. Plus, 10 Meg per site is pretty limited and to present graphics required some forwarding between sites.
    In 2005, I made a trip and wanted to put some pictures on a web page but I was full at Worldnet. When I started looking for a web host, Worldnet had already become my secondary ISP because who can pass up the cheap DSL deals. There were plenty of hosting companies, almost too many with not enough information to make a reasonable decision. In the end I went with Nearlyfreespeach.net.
    NFS.N service has turned out to be an ideal solution to my hosting needs. They are distinguished from others by the fact that there are no fixed monthly costs: it is purely pay for storage and bandwidth as they occur - in penny increments sometimes. I don't hesitate to point people at my web site, so sometimes it is fairly active, but I don't actively advertise it, or submit it to the search engines, so it remains low bandwidth and cheap to operate.
    The cost structure has changed a little since I joined. At first, there was a fixed daily fee $.02 for DNS service, if you chose to use it. If you had a domain name, such as www.tomswebsite.invalid and wanted to use it you would pay the cost. If you didn't want to use DNS, or didn't have a domain, you would use a preface on their address like tomswebsslight.nearlyfreespeach.invalid and not pay the fee.
    Since then, email handling has become a major cost driver for them. They do not do email hosting, but if one is sent to my domain it is forwarded to my regular email address. They have eliminated the DNS charge and replaced it with an email forwarding charge of two cents a day. So if you have the forwarding turned on you pay the 2¢, otherwise never see email addressed to your domain and don't pay the 2¢.
    So far it's worked good for me. It's reliable, easy to manage and it's cheap.


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