Blue Link Webs produces small and medium Web sites for business. We're experts at database-driven Web sites using LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

Domain Names and Hosting

In order to have a Web presence on the Internet you will need two things in addition to the Web pages we create for you: a domain name and an arrangement with a Web hosting company.

A domain name is the name by which your site will be known on the Internet. For example, bluelinkwebs.com is a domain name. We could have been something like www.mindspring.com/~bluelinkwebs, but we wanted to be fancier than that, so we registered our own domain name. You will want to do that too.

You find a domain name you like, then "buy" it through an accredited registrar. The word "buy" is in quotes because you really rent it. Expect to pay around $12-15 per year for your domain name.

We'll help you find a domain registrar, search for domain names that haven't already been claimed, and register your domain name. We won't do it for you. Here's why: We've spent too many hours dealing with the problems that have arisen when Web developers have registered names for clients, then gone off to do something else, perhaps in another state. The developer, not the client, owns the name. The poor client can't even do something as simple as pay the next year's registration fee on the name! So, we want you to deal directly with your chosen registrar. We'll help you do it, but you don't need middlemen, and getting a third party involved will complicate your life later on. Trust us on this one!

The Web hosting company owns and operates the computer that runs your Web site, and those of hundreds of other small and medium businesses. In addition to the computers, the Web hosting company supplies a professional data center, Internet connections with a backbone Internet provider, air conditioning, backup generators, security, software updates, and all the other things necessary to run a reliable data center. Expect to pay between $3.00 per month and $100 per month for Web hosting, depending on the size and sophistication of your needs; generally you'll be nearer the low end of that range. As with your domain name, we think the best solution is for you to establish your own relationship with a hosting provider, and we'll help you do it. We have a list of favorite providers, and in this case, we can even provide hosting services if you want us to.

Yes, you can run your own Web server on a cast-off PC at the end of a DSL line in your bedroom. Lots of hobbyists do that, and if your Web site is a hobby for you, you can too! If you're thinking you want to do that for business, read Dr. Philip Greenspun's book chapter, So You Want to Run Your Own Server. And if you think running your own server will save you money, think again. By paying 24 months in advance, Blue Link Webs bought the server account that's sending you this Web page for $2.77 per month. At eight cents a kilowatt hour, a server that consumes 100 Watts of power will cost you more than twice that, $5.76 per month, just for the electricity!

Something you should know about inexpensive hosting services, all of them, is that you won't get 24 x 7 x 365 uptime. Achieving that level of reliability requires multiple servers, load balancing, geographic diversity, distributed databases, and automatic synchronization. Instead of $100 per month, think $100,000 per month. When your Web presence gets that big, we hope you'll remember us and throw a few crumbs our way! In the mean time, expect that a shared server at a well-managed hosting company will experience fifteen to thirty minutes of downtime per month. Generally this is for maintenance of software, and is unavoidable when a domain has only one server.