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Subdirectory vs. Domain Name Accounts:

We offer two types of account to meet your e-commerce needs. To understand the difference you must first know what a domain name is and why it is necessary. Domain names are the unique name given to an internet address. For example ours is millcityweb.net. Without that unique domain name, people would be unable to find our web site or send us e-mail.

A Subdirectory account falls under our domain. You get your space under our site. Your URL would look like www.millcityweb.net/yourcompany. The main advantage of these types of accounts is their lower cost. This is due largely in part to the fact that there is less configuration and maintenance work for us to do. The main disadvantage is that you do not get the easy to remember and recognition of your own ".com". Under our system it is also less convenient to set up e-mail accounts since you must request them to be set up by us.

A Domain Name account sits on our host as a Virtual Server. You do not have your own personal server, however it acts as an individual server in almost every other way. When setting up this type of account, you must choose a domain name not already in use on the Internet and register it with InterNIC. (This can be done through us.) When the domain name registration process is complete you will have your own unique domain name (www.yourcompany.com). Your domain name will be assigned to your domain name and you will be ready to upload your web pages and set up e-mail accounts under your domain name. The main advantages of this type of account is the recognition of your own ".com". Having your company name in between the www. and .com is an easy way for people to remember your web site address. It also shows a level of prestige when you can give your web site address as www.yourcompany.com or give your e-mail address as yourname@yourcompany.com. The main disadvantage of this type of account is the relative cost compared to the subdomain accounts, although at $8.99 per month we are among the most competitive web site hosters on the Internet today. Network Solutions, Inc (the domain registrant we use) now requires a pre-payment on all new domain registrations. NSI's standard new registration period is for two years and costs $70.00. If you opt to have Mill City Solutions register your new domain name for you we will pay the up front costs to NSI and then bill you the $70.00. We are not adding any costs of our own and the domain name ownership will remain the same as it is on your billing information.

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The most common domains are .com, .net, or .org.  These are global domains and can be registered by anyone anywhere in the world. There are other domains that are country specific.  Examples of these domains are .us, .fi, and .ru.  Country specific domains may have certain restrictions on them such as residency and tax requirements.  Each are administered differently.  InterNIC administers the .com, .net, and .org domains world wide. 

.com domains are intended for use by commercial entities or companies. .net domains are intended for use by entities or computer systems making up a part of the Internet.  .org domains are intended for use by entities not covered under other domains.  These usually are non-profit organizations.  These domains are available to be registered by just about anyone who can pay the registration fees.  These are not steadfast rules but are traditional guidelines.  Commercial enterprises can register under the .net or .org domains.

There are other domains that you might see.  .gov domains are reserved for US Federal Government entities.  .edu domains are reserved for four year degree granting educational institutions.

If you are a company or commercial enterprise, .com is probably the domain you want to use.  If you are a nonprofit organization or other non-commercial organization, .org is probably the domain you want to use.  If you are a service provider you probably want to use either .com or .net

If you have other questions on domains or want to find out more about country specific domains visit the Network Solutions web page at www.networksolutions.com or go to the InterNIC web page at www.internic.net.

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Domain name registration and InterNIC:

So how do you get a domain name registered?  First find out if your name is already registered by someone else.  You can do that right here.  Once you have checked to see that your domain name is not already being used you need to register it before someone else grabs it first.  We can simplify this and do it for you free of charge as a part of your sign up process.  There is a separate fee for registering your domain name.  This fee comes from the registrar, not us.  Network Solutions, Inc (the domain registrant we use) now requires a pre-payment on all new domain registrations. NSI's standard new registration period is for two years and costs $70.00. If you opt to have Mill City Solutions register your new domain name for you we will pay the up front costs to NSI and then bill you the $70.00. We are not adding any costs of our own and the domain name ownership will remain the same as it is on your billing information.

In case you were wondering who exactly InterNIC is, they are the governing body in charge of domain name registration on the Internet and is a part of the US Department of Commerce.  While InterNIC is the governing body handling the registration of the name , a separate company, known as a registrar, handles the technical aspects of making sure your domain name works properly.  The registrar we primarily register through is Network Solutions.

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How much space is enough?: 

Most web sites will be able to provide several pages of information in less than 10 MB.  Keeping in mind the ideal page size is around 70 KB (this allows for an acceptable download time for modem users), you should be able to fit over one hundred pages in 10 MB.  Of course some pages will be larger than 70 KB and some will be less than 70 KB.  CGI scripts will also take up room in your allocated space however these are often less than 10 KB and even complicated scripts such as shopping cart systems will take up less than 250 KB.  Given the 1 GB transfer limit, you should be able to have several thousand hits on your page before you exhaust your allotted transfer amount.

While on the subject of page sizes, remember that one of the objects of having a web site is to get people to come to your page and spend time there.  If the page takes too long to download, the viewer will very likely move on to the next page.  20-30 seconds is considered the maximum amount of time the average person will wait for a page to download.  This is why 70 KB is often considered the ideal size for a web page.

If you find that you are outgrowing your allotted disk space, contact us about a custom package to suit your needs.

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E-mail options: 

POP e-mail is available with all of our packages.  This allows you to receive business e-mail at your business account instead of your personal e-mail account.  POP e-mail is the most widely used form of e-mail on the Internet today and is supported by popular e-mail clients such as Eudora and Microsoft Outlook. 

Under our Basic package your e-mail addresses will be served from our e-mail server under our domain name.  Your e-mail address will look something like yourname.yourcompany@millcityweb.net .  Under our Advanced and Professional packages your e-mail addresses will be served under your domain name.  Your e-mail address will look something like yourname@yourcompany.com . 

Also available are e-mail aliases and autoresponders. 

Aliases are e-mail addresses that aren't actual accounts but forward the message to an actual account automatically and seamlessly.  Aliases are useful when you want to have several e-mail addresses but want only want to check one account.  An example would be having  addresses for customer support, sales, and general info.  The persons in your organization may have their own accounts under their names.  You could then point the aliases to the appropriate accounts.  Perhaps one person handles all three functions.  Point all three aliases to the one account. 

Autoresponders automatically returns a message to a person when they send you e-mail.  The message is what ever you want it to be.  Autorepsonders are useful when you want people to know you have received their message and will respond to it.  Examples are customer service, sales, or tech support addresses.

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CGI scripts: 

HTTP works well for showing information to the viewer, however you need a script to make the web page manipulate information.  CGI scripts allow you to have your customers conduct searches of your web page, fill out forms on your web page, and use a shopping cart among other things.  CGI scripts also automatically performs functions on your site such as update and show the date and time, count how many hits your page is receiving, or put up random links or pictures.  The uses are countless and many scripts are available for free! 

To use CGI scripts, you must have access to a directory called a CGI-BIN.  All of our packages allow you to have access to your own CGI-BIN directory so that you may upload and configure your own scripts.  We also provide several scripts pre-installed for use on your web page.  These include a hit counter and form mailer.

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Secure Servers:

Data transmissions on the Internet are vulnerable to interception by unscrupulous persons who might want to exploit your or your customers personal or sensitive data.  Use of secure servers prevents intercepted data from being used or read by unauthorized persons.  When conducting e-commerce, it is considered highly advisable to use a secure server when transmitting data such as credit card information or other financial or personal data.  It is in your best interest to protect your customer by using a secure server for such data transmissions.  An example would be the check out page of your electronic store where credit card data would be entered.  When accessing a secure server, you will notice on your browser that the URL starts with https instead of the normal http.  Most newer browsers will also display a locked padlock to signify the connection is secure.

Secure server use is free under our Advanced and Professional packages.  Under these packages you can request a directory to use on our secure server using our secure server certificate.

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Microsoft FrontPage Use

Our servers are located on Linux based machines.  This does not mean you cannot use Microsoft FrontPage to design your web site.  Microsoft FrontPage is one of the most popular web site design tools available and we do not want to alienate our customers using it.  Just check the box requesting Microsoft FrontPage extensions when signing up for any of our accounts and it will be enabled.  You can also have Microsoft FrontPage extensions enable at any time free of charge.

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