Web Kingdoms

"Ev'rything free in America!For a small fee in America!" -- Stephen Sondheim, 1957"In the future, everyone will have their own magazine." -- Rev. Ray Speen, 1987Half a second ago (by geological time) you had to be either a chiphead or a jarhead to successfully stake a claim on some part of the CyberFrontier. Now, anybody with a Net account can have their own Website. Free.Two truths have made it possible for *anybody* to have a Website. Truth Number One: Writing HTML code (the ASCII text language of a Webpage -- the Modern guts to that PostModern graphical page) is very easy. Truth Number Two: Once a company (especially a tech company) creates its own Website, it is cheap to offer pieces of it to the public. It's good PR and usually is offered as a teaser for more sophisticated services you have to buy. But it doesn't matter: These mini-sites are every bit as accessible and functional as true "host" sites. It's kinda like if the TV networks decided that it would be market-savy to give each and every American their own limited amount of airtime to show anything they want.All you need to set up your Website is a connection to the Internet (preferably provided for less than $15 per month by a local provider). It doesn't matter if the provider doesn't give you space for a homepage because there are plenty of Websites out there that will. Your provider may even reduce your monthly charge if you don't space on their host server. If your provider offers 1 Mb of free Homepage space, linking to your own free sites immediately adds to your Cyber real estate.No matter which free Homepage provider you go with, you'll have the following features: Use of an online editor to semi-automate the construction of your page's look and function, ability to upload individual files to your personal directory, a unique URL (Web address) that anybody can access, ability to delete/replace/edit all your files (which can be graphics, sound, text, etc.), password protection for editing your site and the ability to add hyperlinks to other pages (yours or someone else's). In other words,* your* site can be just like all those other sites out there.Not all free Homepage providers are created equal. CommunityWare has faster FTP uploading and a much simpler-to-use editor than Angelfire Communications, GeoCities or The Globe. Angelfire provides 1 Mb of storage space while the others provide 3 Mb. However, Angelfire and the Globe both allow advertising. On the other hand, GeoCities and CommunityWare have the capability of hooking your site into a local "virtual community," aligning you with others of like mind. All of these sites prohibit smut. Many of them also offer free e-mail accounts accessible by visiting their pages and logging in. Of course, your ISP already provides you with an e-mail account.Free Homepage sites typically provide ample tutelage in HTML hacking. This means you can quickly give your site a professional look as well as juice it up with cool stuff like hit counters, guest books, site search engines and form mail. All offer ways to immediately view what your opus-in-progress will look like. Of course, you will quickly max out your free storage space. Rest assured: You can seamlessly link to a file on another free host(s) that's halfway around the world! Simply by creating accounts on the sites mentioned here and linking them together, you can be lord of a 10 Mb WebKingdom. Now, if only you had something to say ... Just remember what I like to call "Iggy's Rule of Web Design": Keep it low tech so everyone can enjoy it. (This rule stems from Iggy Pop's contention that he would only give permission to press a Stooge's record if the master tape sounded good on the 8-track in his car). Studies have shown the typical Websurfer will wait exactly two nanoseconds for a page to load before making the choice to "bail." Your site should be simple enough that it will load fast on a desktop that has the computing power of the average Tamagotchi.


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