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Hosting 101

hosting illustrationI recently wrote and submitted to this site a short, but in my opinion concise article about picking a domain name. I tried my best to include all the ins and outs of the requirements and not so important details. Now I would like to discuss the good and bad of the hosting world.

To start with, let’s make sure that we’re discussing the same thing. A host is a company who controls a computer that stores your information. When someone visits your domain, the computer serves your web site to their browser.  The host is the company, the server is the computer. That distinction is important when choosing a place to serve your site.You may have a great host, but a poor server, or reverse that. Maybe the server is strong, but the host has awful client support. When shopping around you need to consider both aspects.

Okay, that’s really over simplified, but if you think Continue reading


Podcast with Sara Soueidan

In the world of cascading style sheets there are a few well known people, people who have gotten a name for themselves for their posts or videos about CSS. Sara Soueidan is one of the better known experts that I have followed on Twitter. According to her web site, she is a front-end development and trainer.  To me, it’s her work in CSS that I am the most interested in.

Recently she was an emcee at the CSSDAY (read my short entry on the event)in Amsterdam, and now she is doing a podcast with the web site, Syntax about SVGs. If you’re interested in web design, it’s a must-hear podcast.

For those of you who may not be fully aware of this file format then here is a summary from wikipedia:

Scalable Vector Graphics is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium since 1999.“–Wikipedia

That might not be as clear to some as it is to others, in simpler terms, an SVG is an image format that is written as xml. You don’t have to write the image specs from code there are programs like Illustrator that will convert your image to an SVG.

There are many reasons that you’d use an SVG, but but for me I use them because of their scalability. Since the image is vector based, that means that the image is created with math, and each time the browser/computer reloads the image it recalculates the info/math in the browser. The result is that the image is always crisp and clean, with none of the jaggies that you get when resizing jpgs or pngs. The best use of SVGs, in my opinion are smaller in size, like a logo, but I think I’m a minority on this.

In the podcast, Sara gives much of the information about using SVGs as well as the reason that they are relevant in modern CSS and HTML sites. She explains how to embed them in a page, and other relevant info that I think is very useful to people like me or even beginners.

You can find more about Sara at her web site:

Normally, I try to justify embedding the content on this site, but I think that has quite a lot of info, like show notes, that goes with the episode, so it would benefit you to visit their site for the podcast.

The podcast is here:
 SVGs With Sara Soueidan



CSS Day 2019 Conference

As a web designer and almost a frontend developer I am always interested in hearing what established web designers are doing. This year in Amsterdam, NL the world of CSS designers/developers came together to discuss what else? Cascading Style Sheets. I guess to most non-web people this may not sound like the most fun place to be, but to me I can only hope someday I’ll be able to partake in the festivities. I sometimes feel that I’m all alone when it comes to working on the web, mostly just me and my computer. The thought of mingling with like-minded people would be great fun. Officially, the conference is over, but according to the web site,

“Make no mistake, this is an advanced conference. We ask our speakers to treat CSS and UI topics that they themselves, as well as the attendees, can geek out on.”

Some of the speakers that were featured were some of the designers Continue reading


I Broke Down and Conformed.

You know those banners that are on the bottom of most web sites you go to? You know, those annoying banners that block content because you refuse to accept any cookies? If you’re like me you find those things annoying and wish you didn’t have to deal with them.

So last night I decided to join the herd and install the code on two of my sites. I didn’t want to do it but due to laws in the European Union, any web site that expects to work in Europe is supposed to have them. In fact if what I’ve read is true, they will get stricter as time goes by. At the moment a site must inform the visitor that they set cookies. In the future they’ll have to state what cookies and give you the option to opt-out.

As a visitor to many sites, this sounds really good on the surface. I don’t want to be tracked or to have the site do things to my browser just because I don’t know what they are doing. More info is usually better. If you agree with me, step back a second and imagine every site you go to requires you to tick a box, or maybe tick several boxes to choose what cookies you’ll accept before you actually get Continue reading


Domain Name 101

So you’ve got a great idea for a site and you’re thinking about doing it yourself. Good choice! When I first started back in the late nineties I tried out a lot of different ways to get my site online. If you’re old enough to remember, the biggest thing going was the free hosting from many providers. You only had to have their banner stuck to your page somewhere. If I were to sum up the service back then it would be ‘terrible.’ They rarely gave you the ability to control your site the way you wanted. You were limited by their control panels and what kind of languages you could have in your code. It was the wild west back then and I have to admit looking back it was kind of fun.

So how do you get started?

The first thing you’re going to need once you have an idea for a site, is a domain name.
A domain name is registered with an organization like ICANN though registrars like and What you need to know when registering a domain name is that it’s really not like it used to be. Ten years ago it was important to register a top level domain(tld) otherwise your site wasn’t considered real and people would be confused by something other than, .com, .org, or .net. I don’t think it’s that way anymore. Over the past few years the flood of different domain extensions have increased to the point where it doesn’t really matter anymore. What’s important is that the name is memorable. If I registered a .design domain name as, it would be easy to remember, and that is the key. If your domain name is memorable, you can’t lose.

My personal choice for purchasing domain names is I don’t have any affiliation with them except that they have been good to me. There are a lot of good ones, and some hosting companies will include a domain name in their hosting offer. I wouldn’t do that, it’s better to keep it separate. You register the domain name, then search for a good host. When I was first starting out, I went for the deal on hosting that included a free domain name. All good, right? Well, after a few days I couldn’t upload anything to the server and out of frustration I canceled the hosting. Not a big deal except they kept the domain name and I didn’t blame them for it. But on my side, the name that I had chosen, the name that I spent hours researching and second guessing until I was positive it would work for my new business, was now gone. I considered it a lesson learned.

Beware, many registrars just want to get your money.

When you’re shopping for a domain name remember to ignore the first price. For example there are many domain registrars that will give you a discount for the first year or two, but then charge full price from then on. Don’t be fooled, some domain extensions can be upwards of $100 per year and you may feel obligated to stay with them because you don’t want to change names.

Okay, I decided for this lesson that I’d research what the going rate for the tlds are. I went to the sites below and searched for “thisisapricecheck” and the results are listed. I have to say that I was disgusted with They automatically added my search into the checkout, they didn’t list the prices until I clicked the checkout button, and then they added services that are simply not needed. I would avoid them at all cost. It’s a shame because there was a time that I thought that they were in the top three.


Having researched the prices, I was reminded that you don’t need anything but a domain name. Don’t be fooled by the sales gimmick of adding more and more onto your purchase. Yes, the privacy feature is nice, but it’s not needed. I’ve had my sites public for twenty-years and have yet to see any spam or any problems at all.


  • Look for a domain registrar that isn’t ‘selling’ to you. I’m not sure if that make sense, but think about it as buying a car from a car dealer. The best places give you what you want and don’t try to upsell you.
  • Shop for price. If you’re starting a business there’s a good chance that you’ll have the domain name for many years. Don’t be misled by discounts for the first year or two. The actual price is what’s important.
  • Spend time researching. There are hundreds of sites that want your money, but only a few deserve it.
  • If you’re sure of your new venture, then register for multiple years. It’s kind of like locking in your price. For my personal site I registered for ten years. It will save you money in the long run.
  • Don’t be afraid to transfer your domain to a different registrar if you’re feeling abused by your current one.



  • Don’t add extra items to your purchase. Anything important like ssl can be added later. If it’s not important ignore it. I tell my students, “Just the domain, nothing else.”
  • Don’t buy hosting from the domain registrar. They may be a good host, but you can never tell. had a reputation for years as being a great registrar but an awful host. People would buy hosting and be limited on what they could do with their site.
  • Don’t buy a domain from a site that you aren’t comfortable with. I think you should trust your gut reaction to a domain name purchase. The domain name could be with you for who know’s how long, twenty or thirty years. That’s too long to be with a site that you don’t trust. Remember you can always transfer to a different registrar.

Okay, as I conclude this lesson, I just want to remind you that you should trust your own decisions. I’ve seen people who have registered strange names and have succeeded with them, and the opposite is true. There are good domains names that don’t get traction. In the end it’s your concept and execution that will ensure that you are successful on line.