Get Your Site Off Free Servers

Free servers suck.

You know they do, but you use ’em anyways cuz you think that it’d be way too expensive to host your site any way else. Not true! If you’ve got enough money for a burger and fries, you’ve got enough money to host your site on a decent server with real scripting and e-mail capabilities. Read on and learn how to escape the burden of pop-ups, traffic quotas, and extended server down-time!

1. Define your needs
This might be the hardest part. You need to decide what you think you’ll really need and want for your site… How much space? How many e-mail accounts? Do you want to use a database? Do you pre-installed scripts that are ready to use, or do you want to get adventurous and install scripts yourself.

2. Search for a host
Hit one of these URLS to search for a host:
   http://www.hostsearch.com/
   http://www.hostindex.com/
   http://www.hostreview.com/
I think HostSearch is the best of the three, but you can use whatever you like.

Using the UNIX Power Search form, select all the different options and parameters you’d like to see… PHP Scripting, MySQL, Pre-installed CGI Scripts, Custom CGI Scripts Allowed, and Server Side Includes (SSI) are all highly recommended. Set the Price Per Month field to, say… $6 bucks, and the Country option to United States and submit the form.

3. Pick a host
You might think that $6 a month is too small an amount and that nobody offers any features for such a low price, but you’ll be surprised at the results of our search. Following the steps listed above, HostSearch returned 278 plans! Now comes the 2nd hardest part: deciding which host to use. If you’re new to hosting your own site this can get really confusing, but you can always move to a different host without too much trouble. The best way is to visit as many of the hosts sites as you can bare and pour through everything they offer, taking notes and bookmarking the good ones all the way through. You’ll get a feeling pretty quickly about what looks like a good host and what looks like a fly-by-night and untrustworthy venture.

As an example, we’ll choose one host from our $6 search and see what they offer.

   http://www.elitehosts.com/

These guys seem to cover all the basics while easily flying under our $6 limit:
   $4.95 a month
   MySQL database
   PHP scripting
   e-mail accounts

4. Sign up
Yeah, you’ll need a credit card, but some things are impossible to avoid when it comes to this modern world. If you’re lucky you might find a host that accepts PayPal, but that involves a credit card or a checking account in itself. Either way, they don’t give these hosting plans out for free so you gotta play by THE MAN’S rules.

When you sign up you’ll be asked if you have your own existing domain name, if you want to register a new domain, or if you don’t want to use a domain name at all. Domain names are hella cheap, so there’s really no practical reason to choose the third option… you don’t want your URL to be www.billscheapasshosting.cc/~yourbandname, do you? Be careful about letting them register your domain; some hosting companies will charge well over the $9.95 that you’ll spend doing it yourself!

Also, some companies require you to be at least 18 years old… damn age-ists!

5. Move your files
You’ll need an ftp program to get your files on the server, cuz there ain’t no upload-through-a-webpage ’round these parts. You’re hangin’ with the big boyz now! If you’ve never ftp’d before, there are numerous how-to’s on the topic, and your new host should even have a help page or support forum covering this as well.

6. Learn some scripting
This step is more of a suggestion than anything else. Don’t be afraid to learn how to code… it’s actually kind of fun! Again, there are tons of how-to’s on beginning PHP, ASP, and Javascript programming, and you should definitely take advantage of your new server-side scripting possibilities.

7. Don’t be afraid
On the whole, this is a very easy process… if you’ve read all the steps I’ve outlined and think that it’s beyond your grasp, please reconsider! Thousands of people take this first step every day, and even if most of ’em get it wrong, eventually most get it right. Good Luck!
Continue reading “Get Your Site Off Free Servers”

More on “the idea”

I’ve found the scripts and the host… all I need is enough people to express some interest!

To explain it all a bit more… It’ll be just like signing up for a Geocities account… sign up, give a password, decide on a subdomain name (like thesuspects.nameofthesite.com), and upload yer files. If you wanted something special like a guestbook or a forum or a poll, it’d take me a day or so to set it up.

Cool or crap? Let me know.

My new idea

Here’s a new idea:

A hosting service for Houston area bands so they don’t have to use those crappy “free” hosts that throw up 5 banners every time the page loads while going down every other day. Each band would get 5 megs of space, an email account, and real scripting language support (so you could run your own guestbook/forum/mailing list). The cost would be FREE. Tech support would be me. All of the sites would have a small (very small) banner at the top of the page linking to all of the other bands hosted with the service. No pR0n or spam or crap would be allowed, and I would police that pretty closely.

This isn’t a big revolutionary idea (lot’s of people do this kind of thing), but I don’t know of anybody in Houston who’s doing it right now. If this sounds like a good idea to you, please leave a comment and tell me what you think… It’s just an idea right now, so I still need somebody to talk me in or out of it. Please pass this on to any of your friends, too… I’d like to get as much feedback as possible.

Sucked away, kicking and screaming

Note to all you people in bands… if you’ve got a show up on the north side (javajazz or the like), let me know. I’m trying to keep in touch with the musician side of my life as much as possible, and I think the best way to do that is to see people playing and having a good time on stage (it’ll make me hungry again). Ska, punk or whatever… it doesn’t matter.

I’m going to come out and say this right off the bat: I don’t want to be some sort of creepy old guy who is always trying to tell the young bands their business. If you see me at a show, don’t get bent out of shape if I leave early or don’t talk to anybody… I’m just trying to maintain a low, unobtrusive profile and not piss anybody off. It’s best that way, trust me. 😉

The Kids Are In Bands

i was taking a look at the java jazz schedule the other day, and it got me thinking about how different it is for budding musicians now compared to when i was a young lad attending high school on da north side…

do you know how many bands were around when i was in high school? one. one lousy band, and they only formed to play billy idol and cure covers for the end-of-year talent show. why weren’t there more? didn’t we like music? were we so super-crappy that there was no way we could form a band even if we tried?

DIY was an ugly word
in the 80’s, punk wasn’t accepted by the quarterbacks and cheerleaders yet, so getting down n’ stinky with three chords in yer folks garage wasn’t an acceptible way to spend free time
keyboards were in, guitars were out
75% of the music around that time was made on very expensive electronic devices that our parents wouldnt buy for us.
the people we saw making music were old
except for stinky, three chord-playing punk bands (that few paid attention to), most people on the radio and mtv seemed to be much older than us, and therefore made the music-making process seem beyond us.
guitars were more expensive and harder to buy
ok, maybe not more expensive, but there weren’t as many good inexpensive guitars t choose from. we didnt have guitar center or mars back then, either… if we wanted to hang out somewhere and play the opening riff to “iron man” or “stairway to heaven” we had to do it at h & h or parker (and they never let that go on too long).
venues? what venues?!?!
i know there were places for bands to play back then (the island), but i sure wasn’t allowed to drive downtown back then… downtown was u-g-l-y back in the day!
no one told us we could start a band
this is the weakest and weirdest of all the reasons, but it’s prolly the biggest reason for me… i played tbone all through high school and never once did any of the teaching staff bring up the idea of us playing our instruments for fun or profit outside of the context of a school assignment. you’d think that teachers would want their kids to have a reason to play as often as possible, but that never occoured for me and my friends.

Call the doctor

i’m already having bad dreams involving my newest ex-bandmates…

a few nights ago, i dreamt that i was playing in a band staffed with all of the irritating people from the two “real” bands that ive been in over the past 12 years. a whole decade of slack and lateness and arguments, rolled into one nightmare is not very cool…

The Game-Plan

here’s what the game plan is:

write some music
i’m operating under the assumption that i (by myself or with al or with somebody) will be able to write and record some music that is actually worth listening to. that might be a tall order, considering how busy and uninspired i feel right now, but i think it’s worth a shot. will anybody care enough to visit and take a listen? who knows.
talk about music
if there’s one thing i like to do, it’s discuss the ins and outs of music. i’ve tried to record thoughts and opinions on the subject before (houston.music.slander), but i just didn’t devote enough time to it to make it worth reading. hopefully, this will be different.
help people
i’m sure i come off like a crusty old man when i say this, but you damn kids really need some help. the overwhelming majority of the kids listening to punk and ska these days don’t have a grasp on what the music is really all about, and that is something that should be fixed in any way possible. case in point: while im’ing a kid in a local band the other day, he was shocked to find out that ian mckaye (minor threat, fugazi) was a “pioneer” in world of emo. how can you not connect ian with emo?!? i guess when bands like jimmy eat world and dashboard confessional are considered emo bands, anything is possible.

is this all possible? will anybody care? do i need to just face my destiny, buy a cricket bat, and start managing bands for a living??

we’ll see…