Belly Up

by Bob Osgoodby

Seems HotYellow98 went belly up, as many of the dot.coms did after the dismal third and fourth quarter of last year. Over 600 dot.coms went of business in the third quarter alone.

Unfortunately, people who built their online business around this provider, now have to find a different one. The fortunate ones were able to save their web pages, but it seems that many will simply have to bite the bullet, and start from scratch.

If you own a domain, the web site and pages are your property. Normally, if you become dissatisfied with the provider, it is relatively easy to switch to another. But, if the host goes out of business, and the pages are not retrievable, you have a problem. You should always retain a copy of all your web pages and images used on your local computer. This serves a dual purpose. It not only provides a high degree of safety in the event of a problem with the web server, but also assures that you will have a copy of your web pages if your web provider goes out of business.

A number of people were able to retrieve their information and put it on free web space provided by their ISP. But, their problem is that they no longer have access to the email address associated with their site. They also have ads pointing people to a web site that doesn't exist anymore. While their domain name is still there and is their property, the web pages are gone.

If you use a free service to host your web pages you could be burned. When their advertising dollars dry up, they may simply fold their tents and disappear into the night.

You basically have two options when setting up your own web site. You can do it yourself or you can contract with someone to maintain it for you. For the completely uninitiated, this might be your best bet. Many of these companies provide free web page design, and will hold your hand throughout the entire process. And, if conditions change and you need to revise the site, they are just a phone call away. If you are a take charge kind of person, you may want to do it yourself.

First you have to find a domain name that is not already taken. A good place to look is but wait before you register it there. They charge $63 to register it for two years, which is really the minimum you should select. You can register it for two years for only $25 at - - which is the most inexpensive registration that I have found. If you go there, click on "Domains".

Next you have to find a provider who will make web space available. Here, you must find a provider who will let you start out at a minimum level, and if your needs increase, you can upgrade to the next level. Many provide up to 40MB of storage for your web pages (and charge appropriately) and this is overkill. Most of the web sites around don't require more than a few MB of storage. Think about it 2 MB is over two million characters of information or 400,000 words. Sure some of that space will be taken up by images, but that is a lot prose. This entire article is 814 words, but only 3,618 characters. If you need more at some future time and you can upgrade, why pay for storage when you don't need it now.

I found a site that only charges $7 a month, however there is a $30 setup fee. You can check this out at but here is some better news. Go back to and you will find sites starting at $25 a year with no setup fee. This represents a saving of $79 a year over the closest competitor I have found. Since you own your own domain, if you become disenchanted with your current one, you can transfer it to any provider you wish.

Most ISP's provide free web storage space. This is fine unless their service deteriorates, as many do if they grow to fast, and your response time becomes dismal. You can't simply transfer those web pages to another provider. And, if your provider takes umbrage with you, and cancels your account, you just lost all your web pages. These providers also provide minimal capabilities, and you will not have more than the basics when it comes to "bells and whistles".

Forget the free web space providers - do you think you're putting forth a professional image with their ads cluttering up your web pages? I don't think so.

Your absolute best bet is to contract for services with a provider who provides quality service at a reasonable price. But above all, protect yourself from the possibility that they might go "belly up".

Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter Visit his Web Site at to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit

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