F’ree Hosting?

I’ve seen several ads for “Free Hosting.”  What does this really mean?  There has to be someone who is paying for the watts and discs and boxes.  I’m sure that there’s a form of quid pro quo to justify giving away this service.

Maybe it’s a loss-leader, a free (but limited) service.  Or perhaps it’s like Live Messenger and other programs which feature mandatory advertising built in to cover the costs.  Or perhaps they want to have rights to a portion of your content.  one likelihood is that it’s free up to a certain point, and then you get billed for any overage. The key is to read the fine print in the terms of use before you upload even one byte.

Nevertheless, this may be a good solution for someone who doesn’t want to (or can’t) pay for hosting just yet. If you’re only fooling around trying to get an idea of what’s what, or testing an online product, this may be a reasonable approach.

I should point out that I signed up for GeoCities(R.I.P.) when it was still functioning.  It was a simple, free service, ad-supported service eventually owned (and shut down) by Yahoo.  I haven’t needed to sign up for anotherone of these services.  That’s not to say I won’t.  I’ll do it for one of two reasons: Some friend asks me to investigate a few, or I ask myself to do it, so I can gain a bit of credibility for this post 🙂

One caution:  DON’T play “You Bet Your Business.”  Don’t  use this type of service to run a full-fledged, legitimate business site. Your free hosting provider has no incentive to resolve any problem at 2:00 am, or any other time, either.  They also may have serious limitations that can incur more hidden costs than a business-oriented site.

So, a trial site with static pages? Okay.  A personal Webpage that links elsewhere? Sure, within limits.  Testing a program stack? Maybe.  Anything you want to depend on?  Not a good bet.

Christmas Day

This is a time for relaxation and being with family and friends.  We did a lot of visiting yesterday and telephoning today to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. So the early morning and the rest of the day are open for other pursuits.

It’s been an interesting day here, since I also was able to actually concentrate on what I wanted this blog to look like.  Well, maybe “look” is the wrong term, since I just threw a theme up on the site.  It’s one I had played around with before, but I’m not sure I would use it for keeps.  The name is “Atahualpa, ” and it has more bells and whistles than I think a theme should really have.  I believe the designers wanted to have a “configurable” theme, one where you didn’t have to edit the code or CSS.  So most of the options that would be changed by fixing the code are instead done by selectively changing some of the 200+ parameters. I’ll expand on this topic later, since it’s central to programming architecture.

What I meant by look was what I expected it to cover, how I was going to build it, what I would feel comfortable publishing and why.  Everyone who starts a blog needs to make these decisions.  The focus can change over time, and probably should, since what’s of interest now will change later. I could care less about the box of floppy disks I have, for example.

On the other hand, I have many interests that I’d like to discuss and expound about.  How should I handle these so I can stay on target? Kevin Kelly, a cofounder of Wired, has many different blogs.  Could that be a way to resolve this problem?  We’ll just have to wait until I arrive at that bridge.

The ‘Plan’ for This Site

When I first started this blog, I expected it to be a narrative of what I did to get an online business running, as an example to others who wanted to do something similar.  Times have changed, and so has my focus, to some extent.  What was hard before is easier now.  Blogs are commonplace (rumored to be over 81 Million), and easy to set up.

What has not changed is the challenge of building a business.  While anyone who wants to start a business hopes it will be a success, more often than not, the venture folds.  I’ve been through it several times.  It seems, though, that the essential ingredient for true success is to keep on trying, keep on learning, keep on doing.  What we do poorly at first, we can get better at by continuing to do, and continuing to learn.

So here’s the plan for now.  I will write posts, open for comments by people who are interested.  As I get better, perhaps there will be really good and useful stuff.  Maybe not.  I’ll probably separate off things that belong in different blogs, keeping this one for what seems to be developing into my main focus.

Hope you’ll check back, or better yet, set up an RSS feed.