Have questions about web design? Many of your answers are right here.

Frequently Asked Questions

This webpage answers many frequently asked questions regarding my services. If you will please read through these FAQs, it may help you better understand the website design and development process.

  1. What is a domain name?
  2. How will you buy your domain name?
  3. What are your domain nameservers?
  4. What is a web host?
  5. What web host is best?
  6. What is FTP access?
  7. Why might I need access to your hosting account and control panel?
  8. What do I charge for web design and development?
  9. How long will it take until your website is finished?
  10. How secure will your website be?
  11. Will I work with adult content?
  12. Will I work on your website as an investment in your business?

1. What is a domain name?

A simplified definition of a domain name would be a location identifier, or the "address" of a website. Much like the address where you live, a domain name points to where your website lives. This website's domain name is brianswebdesign.com. Before you can have a website, you need a domain name (and hosting). Domain names can be purchased with different extensions, such as .com, .net, .info, .tv, etc. A person who owns a website with one of these extensions does not necessarily own all of the extensions. For instance, this website's extension is .com and has no connection or affiliation with brianswebdesign.net, brianswebdesign.org, or brianswebdesign.info.

2. How will you buy your domain name?

To buy your domain name, just go to a popular domain registrar like Go Daddy, check to see if the domain is available, and if it is then buy it. It's really just as easy as buying anything else online. The hard part is finding a domain that somebody else doesn't already own. Pricing varies depending on which domain extension you choose, and if you select any privacy options, but in general you can expect to pay in the range of $10 to $30 per year for your domain name. Most hosting accounts will come with email built in, so make sure you don't pay extra for that, because you won't need it.

When my clients need help purchasing their domains, they can sit with me and go through the purchasing process. I no longer maintain domain accounts for my customers. The main reason why a client should maintain their own domain is that they should be in control of their website. The person who has control of the domain can do whatever they want with it, which is some cases is a really bad thing. I've seen multiple times where clients have entrusted their domain accounts to somebody else, and that person can't be reached, or that person refuses to transfer control. One of my clients had a web designer who wanted them to pay him $1000 to transfer control of the domain. Don't let this happen to you!

3. What are your domain nameservers?

Your domain will have settings that can be changed. The nameservers setting simply tells the world where your website is hosted. It's kind of like an entry in the phone book. For instance, the domain for this site was purchased at godaddy.com, but the web pages that make up this site are located on a web server at MDD Hosting. The nameservers setting of my domain points the world to where it is being hosted. This setting can change, because you might change hosts. When you purchase a hosting plan, they will always tell you what your nameservers are. If you don't set the nameservers correctly, the world will not be able to access your website.

4. What is a web host?

A web host is a company that sells you file space on their web server. A web server is simply a specialized type of computer, which interacts with requests for content. When you request to see a web page or file, your request to the web server is answered with a response. The response is then used by the browser to display what you requested.

5. What web host is best?

There really isn't a perfect web host that I have seen, but I do have my favorites. Web hosts offer different services and functionality with their hosting plans, which can make a big difference. Web hosts also have different server types. Most web servers are either Linux type or Windows type. While Windows web servers have their use, and some web designers specialize in working with them, I prefer to only work with Linux servers. The type of websites that I make depend heavily on Linux server features. Keep all of this in mind if you would like me to work on your website. My favorite web hosts are:

  • MDD Hosting - for the best package of server features, multiple domains, server speed, and a very personal customer support experience.
  • Go Daddy - for simple websites that require low cost hosting. Please do not purchase Go Daddy hosting unless we have discussed whether or not it is suitable for your website.

Like my recommendation to purchase your own domain, I always recommend that my customers purchase their own hosting plan. If you would like me to make a recommendation, I will gladly do so based on your website requirements. If asked, I will purchase hosting for my customers, but hosting fees are not refundable, a service charge will apply, and no account level access, ftp access, or control panel access will be given to you under any circumstance. Unless you don't have a computer or a credit card, you really should purchase your own hosting account.

6. What is FTP access?

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol", and I use an FTP client to upload files to your web host. Using an FTP client to communicate with your web host requires a user name and password, and sometimes other information. If you purchased your own hosting, and I am to work on your website, I will require this login information.

7. Why might I need access to your hosting account and control panel?

There are several reasons why I might need your hosting account and/or control panel access. The number one reason would be if I am to set up a database for your site. There are actually many settings for a website in its control panel, and having access to the control panel may be essential for many projects. There is also a chance that I would need to ask your host's technical support department specific questions regarding your server, and they will almost always require your account login information. When starting a website project, I will always ask for your hosting account/control panel access in case I need it.

8. What do I charge for web design and development?

My hourly rate for web design and development is flexible, and based on the amount of work to be done. My hourly rate for small projects is currently $75.00 per hour. Pricing for larger projects is billed in weekly or monthly increments. In general, the total price for your website would include the following.

  • Template creation
  • Content Insertion
  • Custom Programming
  • Database creation and management
  • Domain and hosting support
  • Website updates
  • Theme changes

As you can see, the price for your website, depending on your needs, can vary greatly. When I estimate a work request, I always base my estimate on how many hours, weeks or months I think it will take to complete the job. I have become experienced enough to know how long it will take me to do most work requests, so you can figure that my estimate will be reasonably close to what you will actually pay.

Unless other arrangements have been made, before I start working on your website, estimates for your work requests should be signed and faxed back to me, accepting all terms on the estimate. Most estimates will also require that at least a half of the estimate be paid before the project is started.

10. How long will it take until your website is finished?

If you speak to any of my previous customers, you will know that I do not procrastinate in any way when it comes to starting or finishing a job. I like to get things done as soon as possible, and you can count on your website being done in a timely manner. When I have received everything I need to get started on your website, I will usually start immediately, but how fast your website is done could depend on my current workload. I have had sites up and running in as little as two days, but unless timing is critical, I would ask that you give me at least one day per page. I will always give you a realistic time range for your website project to be completed when I submit my estimate for your work request.

11. How secure will your website be?

Your needs may vary when it comes to security. If you require an area where only authorized users or members have access, or if you are transmitting credit card data to a payment gateway, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate from your host. The SSL certificate allows for a secure connection, which is the standard for website security. Most hosts will charge about $100 a year for an SSL certificate. Installation of the certificate is usually in the $25 to $30 range.

Shared SSL certificates may be a free option of your hosting plan, but are not always suitable. Sharing an SSL certificate from your host doesn't require a dedicated IP address, but your secured environment will appear to be somebody elses domain in your user's browsers. If your SSL connection is to be used for credit card transactions, a shared SSL certificate is not an option, because your website will not pass your merchant account's PCI compliance scan.

Securing files or folders within your website normally includes restricting access using the server's configuration. Sometimes files may be secured with server side scripting. When set-up properly, either of these security methods are generally accepted as safe. For maximum security, login and any transfer of data should be done through an encrypted connection.

When you and I talk about what kinds of features you need for your website, I will always give you my best recommendation for site security. The internet can be a scary place, but by utilizing common website security features, you shouldn't have anything to worry about*.

* Please read the security disclaimer on your estimate, and agree to its terms, before returning it with your initial payment.

12. Will I work with adult content?

No, I will not work with adult content. This includes but is not limited to pornography and/or nudity of any kind, anime or other adult artwork, and/or the written word of a sexual nature.

13. Will I work on your website as an investment in your business?

This question ought to be the first answered FAQ, because it seems that 90% of the people that contact me about working on their website are asking this question. The short answer is NO! I have considered this type of work/payment for a couple of the businesses who have asked, because in my best judgement they seemed to have potential, but in the end each of these businesses has just wasted my time. If you are starting a business, and you haven't planned that you will need to spend money on a professionally designed and developed website, then you have failed to plan your business properly, and I cannot help you. The exception would be if you have good credit, and can qualify for financing. Let me know if you would like to fill out an application.