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Good Practices on the Net (2011)

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Having witnessed much time wasting, money lost and problems due to lack of "common sense", I've decided to write this guide.I'll amend it in the future when I come across new tipss.

Your Home Internet Connection and Email

Most ISPs provide free email as part of their package. My advice is "Don't touch it with a bargepole, even a very long bargepole". "Why?" you say, "it's free isn't it?". Yes but so is web mail such as hotmail.com and GoogleMail.com (aka Gmail.com).

ISP's email suffers because

  • You can lose it all.
  • It's not their main business.
  • They have weird policies like port blocking.

ISPs provide an email service only because it gives them a lock in. If you have a lot of email stored with them, it will take a significant amount of bad service, hassle, charges from premium rate phones for technical service etc before you'll consider leaving them. They've got you locked in. ("By the balls" is another way of putting it!). Once you leave them all your email is lost. You can't take it with you...

Some people (mainly scruffy guys with beards who worship Linus Torvalds) run their own email servers. I did it once and I'm clean shaven! If you learn Linux or are a Windows expert it's not hard. But ISPs got wise to that and "To reduce Spam- yeah right!" they block port 25 waving a pair of V shaped fingers at their own customers. There are some good ISPs who don't block port 25 but they tend to be smaller outfits. So if you are an unshaved individual who likes Finnish born developers, you probably already do this. At least then ISPS can't lose your email because they haven't got it. You can lose it but this is not the place to discuss backup policies.

The Main Reasons not to use ISP's Email

They can go bust (rare), get taken over (not as rare), you leave them (likely). In all three cases you lose your email. There may be an ISP who will happily provide you with a copy of every email stored on their servers ("Oh look is that a pig flying past?") but I've never heard of such a mythical beast.

I was with Screaming.net in 1997 and they got taken over by Tivali. Luckily I had sussed this in advance and opened up a Hotmail account. Because everyone who had an email address with Screaming.net had to change it to Tivali. I'd have been screaming as well.

Just repeat this mantra. "If I use an ISPs Email, I'll probably end up losing all my email.".

Register Your Name as A Domain

If your name is John Smith you have my sympathies. Unless you have a distinctive middle name like John Tiberius Smith (Was you Father possibly an original series Star Trek fan?), you are unlikely to find a domain name available for your name and may have to settle for something like johnsmithStarTrekRuinedMyLife.com which isn't exactly great.

Most people may never need their own domain name ever. But if you do, now is the time to check if its available and register it. Even if you don't need a website yet, you can just use it for email. (It'll need hosting but that doesn't cost much). If you are likely to become well known or famous, get your name registered or somebody else most certainly will!

You don't own a domain name, you just rent it. A .com costs about £10 a year, a .co.uk about £3.00. Email hosting costs £10 a year. But before you dash off to register, keep reading... because

Never Register a Domain Name with the Firm that Hosts It

If that's gobblydedook don't fret. I'll explain...

To have a website or just an email with your own domain you need to pay for two things.

  1. A domain
  2. Hosting

Hosting is a bit like having a landline. It's the physical stuff where you have files (webpages) located on a computer connected to the internet. You even get a number (the IP address). Unfortunately its often like a shared line, Lots of other websites or email addresses will be hosted at the same IP address. So you need a Domain.

A Domain is like an entry in Yellow Pages. Mine is dhbolton.com.

Lots of companies offer hosting, many companies offer doamin registration and most of them also offer hosting. There are basically two main types of hosting computers that either run Windows or Linux. It's about 2:1 in favour of Linux to Windows on the internet. This a very dynamic area with companies offer hosting by the month. If you take an interest in this you'll realise that it may be good to change hosting for better, faster or just different hosting facilities.

If you host with the same company that you registered the domain, it's a lot more fiddly to move hosting; another lock-in and you may have to pay a trabsfer fee. So just don't. I repeat Never host with the same company that you registered the domain with.

 

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