alt.www.webmaster FAQ

Last revised: Jan 21, 2011
The current version is located at:
http://www.aww-faq.org.

 

Purpose of the Newsgroup Recommended Links Frequently Asked Questions Tips on Dealing with Clients Overview of AWW
Posting Messages Advertising Trolls Warez and Cracks Notes for Novices


Welcome to alt.www.webmaster (AWW). Thank you for taking the time to read this information. This FAQ is not meant to be a set of rules. It is simply a guide to help new users become acquainted with how the group operates, some useful information, and some of our favorite links. All the suggestions in the section titled Posting Messages in AWW are based on the assumption that people are willing to cooperate and observe some conventions in order to facilitate the smooth operation of the group. We hope you will find the newsgroup and this FAQ to be useful resources and we welcome your participation.

Ads are not welcome in AWW, whether on-topic or not. In fact, they are so unwelcome that they are usually reported to the poster's ISP and web host, etc. by some newsgroup members who really don't like ads. Read the Advertising in AWW section for a definition of what we consider unsolicited commercial advertising and likely to get you reported, and what types of web site promotion are considered appropriate. If all you want to do is post ads, then go to alt.www.webmaster.ads (AWWA) or some other newsgroup that has a more ad-tolerant attitude. Please read the FAQ for AWWA at http://awwa.aww-faq.org/ before you post an ad there.

Table of Contents

Purpose of the Newsgroup.
Recommended Links.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Tips on Dealing With Clients.
Overview of AWW.
Posting Messages.
Advertising.
Trolls.
Warez and Cracks.

Notes for Novices.

Purpose of the Newsgroup

The members of AWW like to discuss Web site setup and configuration, web hosts and hosting packages, web hosting tools and operating strategies, and promotional campaigns and methods.

Recommended Links

Our recommended links are located at:
http://www.aww-faq.org/aww-links.html.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to host my web site with the same company where my domain is registered?

No. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Hosting through your domain registrar exposes you to additional risk. If there are issues with your host, they can hold your domain hostage. Also, you need to have the option of moving your web sites if your host stops working. You can't move your sites if you can't access the domain registration to change the nameservers.

Can I protect my source code, meta-tags, and other easily viewable code from people being able to see it?

In a word, no. There are right click scripts and JavaScript encoding that some use, but they don't really work. They'll only stop the most basic of users, anyone who shuts off JavaScript will still get at your code. If you still want to try, you can find some different methods here:

http://javascript.internet.com/page-details/

and http://allmyfaqs.net/faq.pl?Hide_source.

Can I automatically get e-mail addresses from my visitors?

That would be unethical. But even if it wasn't, it's not really possible. The only items you really have access to are the environment variables passed by the browser and the IP address of the user.

Environment variables may contain the e-mail address in some browsers if the user entered their true e-mail address, but that's rare. The vast majority of your visitors will not have their e-mail address available if you query the environment variables. IP addresses cannot be mapped to an e-mail and neither can hostnames in 99% of the cases.

What is favicon and how can I use it?

The following two pages answer this very well:

http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/favicon.html

 

http://www.favicon.com/

How do I password protect my pages?

The easiest form of password protection is JavaScript-based: write a script wherein the user has to enter a password to complete it and be redirected to the desired location. This is also the easiest-to-circumvent: as with all client-side work, the user can easily discover the password simply by using the "view source" option on their browser. A slightly more difficult, but much more secure, method of JavaScript-protection is to prompt the user for a password that is automatically added to the URL of your original page, that allows them to access the password-protected page. Unfortunately, neither method will work if JavaScript is disabled.

If you use [Apache], you can use .htaccess and .htpassword, the most effective form of password protection. More information here:

http://www.kelv.net/programming/htaccess/.

How can I stop someone from hot-linking to my images?

You can use .htaccess if you are using mod_rewrite. Add the following to .htaccess:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpe?g|gif|png)$ - [F]

Please note that this sort of protection is very weak. Hotlinking will still work if the linking site is on an SSL-encrypted page, because all clients clear the referer when an HTTP page is called from an HTTPS one. Also, clients can use simple personal proxies that transparently rewrite referers to match your rules, in order to bypass all these filters. An example is Hotlinker (www.hotlinker.net). These tricks are already widely used for porn sites. The best way to go is to use cookies (like PHP sessions) or cryptography.

How do I change the color of the user's scrollbar?

The declaration used in CSS for colored scroll bars is:

<style type="text/css">
body {
scrollbar-arrow-color: cyan; scrollbar-base-color: blue; scrollbar-dark-shadow-color: blue; scrollbar-3dlight-color:white; scrollbar-face-color: #b0c4de; scrollbar-highlight-color: blue; scrollbar-shadow-color: blue; scrollbar-darkshadow-color: purple; 

</style>

Change color as desired. Only works in IE5.5+.

Professionals consider it unethical to change any settings the user has made. That includes changing the scrollbar's color, stopping right-click, forcing them to open windows they don't want, writing to their disk, forcing your site into Favorites, and editing anything else the user has set. You don't need to do these things, and they generally detract from the impact and credibility of your site.

How do I make a file available for someone to download?

<a href="FileToDownload.EXE">Download</a>

If the user has the application associated with the file type installed, and the browser is aware of it, then the document will open in the browser. If the browser doesn't recognize the file type, then the user will be prompted to download the document. If you always want the document to be downloaded, then make it a zip file.

How can I stop someone from downloading my images?

The short answer is, you can't. There are a number of protection schemes that purport to stop this but the truth is that they can all be circumvented. The very fact that your images display on your visitor's machine means they have already been downloaded.

Which is better, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, or (insert your favorite browser) ?

There is no browser that is better than another, just different features and bugs. You'll see people claim IE is better because it's not as picky about having proper HTML and you'll see people claiming other browsers are better because they force you to write proper code. Remember, there are many browsers out there -- see http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/. You must make sure your website looks acceptable in most major browsers, by writing your markup according to standards -- see http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/ for details.

I'm looking for an on-line analyzing service that will check each individual visitor's path through a site in detail; e.g. entry page (with time stamp), navigation, duration at each page, exit page, etc.

There is no reliable way to track a visitor's path through a web site with absolute certainty or accuracy. One can extract some useful information about trends of site usage by examining logs, and raw figures can be useful for PR. However, it is always important to remember that the information is inevitably neither complete nor accurate. Log analyzers can only produce an approximation or "best guess" due to many factors.

Can I make money through advertising and affiliate programs?

There are a lot of factors that go into making money through advertising. One of the most important considerations is to have advertising that complements the content of your site.

How do I copyright my site?

Your site is protected by copyright law when it is created. 
For more information on US copyright law, see: 
http://www.loc.gov/copyright/faq.html.
For more information on UK copyright law, see:
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law.
For more information on Australian copyright law, see:
http://www.copyright.org.au/.
For more information on Canadian copyright law, see:
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-42/.

Copyright laws in other countries may differ.

What is the best software for automated submission to search engines?

There are only about 10 search engines that are worth the effort to get listed in. Manual submission is best.

How can I find out what my domain name is worth?

There are several appraisal services that attempt to put a value on domain names. The values they assign mean nothing. Ultimately a domain is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

I want to register a domain name that has expired. Why hasn't the registrar released it?

Because they are holding expired domains and releasing them when they feel like it. Some names never get released. Yes it's wrong, but they are going to keep doing it until someone stops them.

I have multiple physical disabilities and I would like to do web design and testing. How do I get started?

A physically disabled designer may need some special tools to get the job done, but web design is web design. Go to the Recommended Links Page for some useful links for those with disabilities.

How can I prevent my images from being indexed by Google?

Add this to your robots.txt file:
User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

How can I use Google to see which web sites are linked to mine?

Put this in Google's search box:
link:www.yourdomain.com

How can I use jpeg compression for best results?

Jpeg has fully customizable compression from 1% to 99%. A balance can often be struck between acceptable quality and acceptable file size by using a compression of perhaps 30% or even 50% in some cases.

By default, most graphics packages will tend to use a compression factor of about 15%, which is great for large photographs, but results in unnecessarily large file sizes for more simple images such as buttons and logos.

With the popular Paint Shop Pro, the compression factor used for saving Jpeg images is accessible by the 'options' button when doing a "Save As" and selecting Jpeg image format.

Where can I find a PDF editor?

Get Adobe Acrobat from http://www.adobe.com, Fine Print's PDF factory from http://www.fineprint.com or FreePDF.

Where can I find an SWF editor?

http://www.19.5degs.com/swfeditor.php 

How can I preload images for my OnMouseOver script?

Preloading images : http://wsabstract.com/javatutors/image3.shtml

Preload Image Script : http://wsabstract.com/javatutors/rfunction6.shtml

How can I set up a web site so that my clients and coworkers can create and publish content?

You need Content Management System (CMS) software. Here are some examples:

http://www.joomla.org/.
http://drupal.org/.
http://www.moveabletype.org/.
http://www.postnuke.com/.
http://twiki.org/.
http://www.macromedia.com/software/contribute/.
http://www.mediawiki.org/.

http://wordpress.org/.
WP is primarily designed for creating blogs, but with its many plug-ins and options, it also makes a great CMS.

http://php.opensourcecms.com/.
A web site where you can view user ratings of CMS software and try demo versions.

Where can I find out the most common queries made to search engines?

Info can be gained from https://adwords.google.com/select/ and there's always the perennial favorite:  http://wordtracker.com.

 

Tips on Dealing with Clients

How do I get clients?

Word of mouth is really the best way. First off, you will want a portfolio. Do some pro-bono sites for charities around your area. Then start in on small businesses. As your portfolio slowly grows, so will your skills. As your skills improve, so will your client base. There is no quick way to do this, just have patience, and a day job.

How much should I charge?

The average as of 2006 for beginning webmasters with a decent portfolio is about $50 an hour. Please take into account the various economic factors of the region where you live.

Overview of AWW

alt.www.webmaster is for discussion by practicing, recovering, and beginning webmasters. It is a forum for mutual support and griping over idiot clients, poor standards compliance by browsers, and supportive Q&A with occasional forays off-topic into such subjects as how best to destroy our enemies (spammers) and whether or not Chihuahuas are a respectable logo idea.


Posting Messages in AWW

If you are new to USENET, take some time to read the USENET Help FAQs and How to Ask Questions the Smart Way. After you have read some posts in AWW and either did not find the answer, or you want to jump into a discussion, feel free to do so. Just be aware of a few things:

  • Participants in this newsgroup are encouraged to treat everyone with respect, avoid personal attacks and the use of foul language. There are young people that frequent this newsgroup and we want them to feel welcome here. This is not alt.www.webmaster.xxx, so if your question (or your behavior for that matter) is better suited to an all adult audience, we'd appreciate it if you would take it there.

  • If you are starting a new thread, please make the subject reflect the message. "HELP!!!!!" and "Question to the Group" are not valid subjects. Make it descriptive. Some of us are specialists and will be faster in answering your questions if you do a proper subject line. You should not ask for a reply by email. See: Why you shouldn't ask for E-mail responses on Usenet for more information.

  • Do not post messages containing html, scripts, binaries, etc. This is not the web, and we post in plain text only. Please be courteous and do the same.

  • When replying to a message don't top post. Include the author, message identifier, and relevant portions of the message you are replying to, and edit out the rest--including "sig" lines.  Please try and keep subject lines relatively up to date, so people can kill threads. Avoid one line "me, too" posts.

  • We will often do a site review if requested. Just remember, most of us are professionals, and we will critique your site as if it were a professionally made high-hit web site. Though the reviews may seem cruel, they are merely exacting. Sometimes we enjoy shredding a web site just for the sport of it though, especially if we think that someone is using a request for a critique as an attempt to get around our ban on unsolicited advertising, or we get spammed by someone with a web site that looks like it was designed by a 10-year old.


Advertising in AWW

You are welcome to post your url and a description of your services in response to a relevant question. The best way to advertise in USENET is by participating in the conversations with a sig file pointing to your site. No one complains about that (as long as it's a short sig - 4 lines or less - and you're honestly participating.) We are interested in your opinions and questions, not your 12 line sig.

Unsolicited commercial messages of any kind are prohibited, and will probably be reported to the sender's ISP and web host etc. by one or more of AWW's regular participants. "Commercial" is defined in The American Heritage┬« Dictionary as "Having profit as a chief aim" and that's an excellent way to define the type of messages we don't want. You cannot promote your web site, offer to "sell" anything, exchange links, form partnerships, etc. 

Genuine offers of paid employment are acceptable, as long as the offer is for a fixed hourly rate, price per page, or a contract rate. Posting an offer to trade web design for future profits is not allowed, unless you have prepared a written business plan that includes the percentage of shares/profits we will receive for our speculative investment of time, and any other pertinent details.

A newsgroup has been specifically created for those offering products and services of interest to webmasters. You are welcome to post your ad in alt.www.webmaster.ads (AWWA). See http://awwa.aww-faq.org/ for the AWWA FAQ.  If your ISP doesn't carry it, please ask them to do so. Do not cross post messages to AWW and AWWA.


Trolls

From time to time AWW is invaded by trolls seeking to harass and disrupt the group and who think they are entitled to engage in whatever asinine behavior they wish.

Sometimes AWW is included in cross posting in flame wars. If you see a message that is completely out of context, check to see if it's been crossposted to several groups.

Can't the trolls be stopped?

In all cases trolls should be ignored. If a troll is really determined to post messages in AWW, there's always a way to do so, either through shell accounts, friendly news servers, remailers, etc. The best thing to do is ignore them, because that denies them the thing they want the most -- recognition. Arguing with them is the worst thing to do, because their only real interest is in provoking a response.

These trolls really bother me. Can't I do anything?

Yes. Use your kill file. In Microsoft Outlook simply highlight a message from the offensive user, click on the Message menu and then click on Block Sender. If you decide to unblock someone later go to Tools, Message Rules, Blocked Senders List.

Warez and Cracks

Requests for cracked or illegally copied software, or for information on how to find such software, will be replied to with a single line -- "We don't support that kind of activity here."


Suggestions for changes to this FAQ can be posted to:
news:alt.www.webmaster

 The AWWA Faq is brought to you by Red E Kilowatt

 
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