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17 Jul 2002
I was wondering if it was possible to buy a domain name rather than to have to pay for it every month.

What happens if you stop paying your host site ? Is your whole site deleted ? For example, I have my site about Japan hosted free on Lycos. If I decide to pay Lycos to get my own doamin name, avoid the ads and speed up the access to the site (is there any other substantial advantages by the way ?) and then want to stop paying for it later ; what happens to my site and domain ?
Usually, domain names are registered for at least one year. Some registrars offer remarkable discounts if you register your domain for up to ten years in advance. I've transferred and registered all my domains to a French registrar that offers all services a webmaster could wish for, at a more than reasonable price.

You have to renew your domain after the registration period has finished. Most registrars grant you at least 4 weeks to pay your bills in case you forgot about your domain. Otherwise the domain is dropped from their registry and again available for registration. If it's a good/meaningful/usable/catchy domain it's snapped within milliseconds. No way to compete with the big guys (many of them Koreans and Chinese). I'm prattling.

As for hosting your web site: it depends on how much you are willing to spend per month. For $10-15 you can get decent hosting. You get what you pay for, that's why I would not recommend to go with the "$30 per year" hosts.

The advantage of paid hosting is that - within the limits of your account specs - you are master of your web space: install your own scripts, guestbooks, counters whatever.
Look at my 3 sites; I have made all of them with free hosts (geocities and tripod). I can also customize the page the way I want and insert my own scripts. I don't have any webdesign programmes such as dreamweaver (otherwise it would look better), but still I am quite satisfied with the results so far (without spending a single penny). That's really the ads that bother me, but I am not willing to pay every months just for that (too few visitors anyway).
Oh, I know quite a few successful pages that are hosted for free. I've also started with free hosts, but you know... interest => addiction => obsession...

Now apart from graphic design, the only program I use is a plain and simple text editor.
I got so addicted that I got my own server (errr sort of) ...

The freebie places are ok, but like you said you have to live with the ads and the chance that they can use your material (check the small print on their policy page) also you are at their whim if they shut you down or not. Payed hosting is bit better this way.
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