Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I'm confused by "domain names" - once I've selected a domain name and paid for it, why do I have to keep paying every year? And what happens if I don't pay after the first year? Why is the name not mine once I've paid for it?
A. When you select a domain name and "pay" for it you are not actually "buying" the domain name (though we often refer to you as the "owner") – rather, you are registering it, and the fee that you pay is to compensate the registrar for managing and administering that name. You have to pay that fee annually (you have the option of paying for several years' registration fees at one time). If you fail to pay the registration fee annually (i.e., to "renew" your domain name registration) then you lose the right to use the domain name, and it becomes available to anyone else who chooses it and pays the registration fee. What often happens is that a "domain name shark" will register a name that has thusly become available. "Domain name shark" is the derogatory term applied to those companies that register previously-registered domain names in hopes of getting the original "owner" to pay a large amount in order to have the domain name transferred back to them.
Q. One of your design examples (Four Winds) shows a web site that doesn't have its own "hosting" account. I know that because I use an ISP that lets me have a web space with the same sort of address structure - as a part of my e-mail account. Can I have you build a site for me and have it placed in my ISP-provided web area?
A. Probably. In order to do this, we will need the access information for your web space. This means that your ISP will have to provide you with "ftp" access to your web space, and we will need your ftp user name and password. If it turns out that your ISP does not allow you to have ftp access to your space, then we will not be able to upload your completed web site to that space. Be aware, however, that we may not be able to implement some of the features/functions within your site that would be possible were you using a professional hosting account. As a rule, the web space that comes bundled with your ISP-provided e-mail account is very limited as to what you or we can place within it.
Q. Will I have any problems if I have someone else manage my web site, once you've built it?
A. Anyone who understands website design, client-side programming, and server programming (we generally use either Perl or PHP on the web server) can maintain and manage your site. Of course, we hope that you will give us a chance to do your management "chores", since we will be intimately familiar with all aspects of your site.
Q. Our company has its own server, and the technical people say that it can be a web server (they say that it is already connected to the internet). Will you build a web site that will run on our company server?
A. We will be more than happy to work with your company's technical staff to deploy the site that we build for you on your company's server. However, we'd urge you or someone in your company to give serious thought to using a commercial hosting company, rather than hosting on your own internal server. We believe that you will find it far, far more cost-effective to use a commercial provider than to incur the additional cost associated with ensuring that your own server is secure, available 7/24, staffed so as to handle unexpected outages quickly, etc.
Q. Why do you recommend only non-local companies for web hosting? There are several reliable companies in the greater-Knoxville area that offer this type of service, yet you don't list any of them? Seems like small local businesses ought to recommend each other's services, rather than sending the business off somewhere else!
A. We know quite well that there are local hosting companies. We have had occasion to deal with a few of these companies, and found them to be reasonably easy to work with. However, our first responsibility is to our clients, rather than to the local economy at large. It's our assessment that none of the local hosting companies can match the breadth of service and functionality, nor the price, of the much larger national companies that we recommend. The smaller local companies simply don't have sufficiently large customer bases (hundreds of customers, at best, vs. tens-to-hundreds-of-thousands of customers for the larger companies) to make it feasible for them to invest in the range of services or support staff that the national companies can afford.
All that having been said, our clients ARE the boss ... so if you have a local company that you want to handle your web hosting, we will be happy to work closely with them to deploy your web site.