Lessons in Web Hosting

Ever since the Internet began (I think that’s a pretty epic way to start a blog post, don’t you?), I’ve been wanting to purchase myself a website. Not because I have anything I want to put there, I just have been learning HTML, PHP, ASP.NET, and so on and so on for the past 10 years. Yeah, I can practice them all just by creating local webpages, but you can’t get a true feel for it unless it’s out there on the scary Web. I want to play around with databases. I want to create web forms and have people submit them. I just want to explore. Well, it looks like I finally got that opportunity.

A close friend and I had been talking for a while now about doing a podcast. You know, one of those podcasts where we talk for a while about whatever we feel like (mostly games, of course). I finally got our act together and we actually moved forward with this plan. While I don’t have anything to reveal just yet, I have been learning a ton this week about web hosting. It’s amazing how much I didn’t know, and I found it terrifying that these sites don’t actually adequately explain what it is you need to purchase.

For example, let’s say you’re a complete beginner on the Web, but you want to start a webpage. What does “Domain” mean? What does “Hosting” mean? Where do I get these things? What other things do I need to consider when purchasing? What’s “Shared Hosting”? What’s the other option?

I don't know what that means!

I know all the answers to the above questions, but not because any of the hosting sites I visited explained them to me clearly. It’s entirely possible I looked in the wrong place for the answers, but I think that should be the most important thing you see on a site that’s trying to sell you a product. What is your product? Why do I need it? This is Marketing 101, folks. Even I know that.

So, in order to have a site that can host a podcast, I figured out that I need enough storage to host, let’s say, at least a year’s worth of audio files. And I have no clue how much bandwidth I need, but I played it safe and went with “unlimited”. Can’t really go wrong there, right? It ended up being way cheaper than I expected, especially when we end up splitting the cost between the two of us. (Oh, yeah, did I mention that, partner?)

Right now I’m waiting for the Domain registration to complete (which takes 24 hours? That sucks), after which I’ll have fun playing around with installing WordPress, some forum software, and maybe a little playspace for me and my databases. I’ve always wanted to try to create a web game. No, Jick, I’m not copying off you.


The Bloggers Talk Back

Last month, I was part of an interview on Massively about the relationship that community managers should have with blogs. I really enjoyed answering the questions, both because it was my first opportunity to do so in a public manner, and also because I liked seeing a pop quiz that I knew all the answers to.

Sure enough, today Massively invited the bloggers to answer similar questions from their point of view. I was hopeful that they’d do something like this, because I was interested to see if my opinions and view of the bloggers were in line with how they saw themselves. I think I can safely say that I was spot on. The blogsters that were interviewed fell right in line with my thoughts about how we should interact with them, and I’m very glad. It’s nice to be validated once in a while. The blogs that were interviewed (like Bio Break and Keenandgraev) understand that they’re the editorial side of gaming press, more or less. They have no restrictions in what they can say, and there’s no need for them to please the company they are currently talking about. You can’t necessarily say the same for any of the press sites out there. Remember the Kane & Lynch debacle? Good times.

Anyways, my point is: You go, bloggers. You keep doing what you’re doing, because I love reading you and because I respect your position. I won’t forget about you at my next job.

New Theme!

I know this is super exciting for everyone, but I’m excited, so you’re going to have to deal with it. White text on black backgrounds just doesn’t cut it anymore. Five years ago it was COOL and EXCITING. Now it hurts my eyes. So I’m changing it up. What do you think?

I also updated my Blogroll (actually, I didn’t even know I had one) with blogs that I regularly read. A few are just my friends who happen to be excellent writers, and the others are all a bunch of industry people I’ve never actually met. But they’re all very excellent blogs to read, especially going back through the archives. If you’re bored (or if you want to see my taste in writings), check them out!

It’s kinda fun to have started blogging regularly again. And I actually have pageviews this time, too! Twitter never ceases to amaze me.

Why “Of Tolls and Rolls”?

I figure I should explain my new Blog title choice. If my close friends at FLS are reading this, they should understand it. But if you don’t get it, you should probably go watch “Robin Hood: Men In Tights”. Firstly because it’s an awesome movie, but secondly so you can keep up with the references here. Like the title of my blog.

Also, I’m going to try and post more pictures in my posts from now on. It breaks up the monotonous walls of text that tend to amass.