Take control of your domain names

When it comes to registering domain names, the temptation is to let your web  developer do it for you or simply to do it through your hosting company, as many companies offer a free domain name as part of the package. Neither is recommended as your domain name is a vital asset for your business and should always be under your total control. The danger is that when changing providers or switching developers, you can be held to ransom over transferring your domain name or it can simply be made very difficult to take your domain name with you. As long as it remains within their registration account then you have no real control.

So keep your hosting and domain registration separate and use an ICANN accredited provider. Over the years, I’ve used a few different registration companies, including Fasthosts (UKReg), Heart Internet and Domain Monster. All have similar prices and all have Control Panels that allow you to change basic and advanced settings for your domain and all offer competitive pricing.

I also look for good technical support by which I mean a fast, knowledgeable and relevant response (hopefully you wont need it but when you do it’s important). Relevant means that replies to my queries are not in the form of stock answers or refer me to the FAQ page but are proper communications from a real person.

My current favourite is Domain Monster who fulfil my basic requirements but also have very efficient, friendly and helpful support staff.

Domain Name Registration
It should be easy to transfer domain names into the service (free for .co.uk and a standard registration fee, extending your registration period, for others such as .com and .net). Transferring out of the service should also be easy and you should not be charged a fee.

The registration company will let you know when your domain needs to be renewed but beware of scam emails or letters from unscrupulous companies offering to renew for an exorbitant fee. Unless it’s from your registration company delete the email or bin the letter.

See the special offer from UKReg and price comparison table here.

It’s not a canned pre-cooked meat product


Spam, spam, spam, email and spam

Whenever you include an email address on a web page it may be vulnerable to spam attack.  This is because spammers use automated search programs (or spam spiders) to search for email addresses on the web to which they can then send their spam.

In CMS Made Simple, there’s a handy trick to encode an email address so that it displays and functions normally but cannot easily be found by an automated scanning system. This technique is sometimes referred to as ’email obfuscation.’

Instead of directly adding the email link in html as <a href=”mailto:me@example.com“>, you can use the Smarty {mailto} tag to encode the email address e.g.

  {mailto address="me@example.com" encode="javascript"}

The {mailto} tag will automatically encode the email address into Javascript, hex or other format, concealing it from spam harvesters. The above tag is encoded to:

    eval(unescape('%64%6f% ... snipped ...%61%3e%27%29%3b'))

The {mailto} tag supports parameters that allow you to specify the encoding method, text to display for the email link, email subject line, additional recipients and more. See more details on the Smarty {mailto} function at the Smarty website.

Where’s my file?

There are lots of ways to find your files on a Windows PC including Google Desktop, Copernic and of course the built in Windows Search. I found both Google Desktop (which is discontinued from 14th September 2011) and Copernic too heavy on resources and although Windows built-in search was improved in later versions to include advanced query syntax, I still prefer to use the excellent and lightweight, free file finder application Locate32.

Locate32 is a desktop search tool that lets you search for files and folders on your hard drive and other locations with amazing speed. It uses databases to store information about directory structures to speed up searches.

Locate32 file finder

There are plenty of options for searching. You can specify file name with wildcards and extension or directory. You can also specify the minimum or the maximum file size and age of the file. In the advanced tab, you can specify whether you want to look for file names, folder names or both as well as specify from a whole range of file types e.g. archives, documents, image files, executables, sound files etc. If you need to, you can also search for text contained within a file from the advanced tab, although this will slow down your search.

The file to download and use is the Release Candidate (RC) version (32 bit or 64 bit), which is the newest, non-beta versions rather than one of the official releases which are, as the website states, rather old.

[s3r star=4.5/5]