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Building a Better Website

Building a better website on somebody else's server means playing a tightly controlled game by the server operator's rules. For some technophiles, it's galling to learn that they can't use their favorite common gateway interface (CGI) or Internet Server API (ISAPI) code. For most small-time Web operators who don't know diddly about the underlying technology required to create Web interactivity, this may come as something of a relief. Basically, you'll be restricted to using whatever your server operator has placed in its bag of Web widgets, whether you like them or not.

However you approach building a site on somebody else's server, you'll be bound by the rules and restrictions that the server's owners and operators impose. They made up the game, they made the rules, and you'll have to play by those rules, whatever they may be.

In fact, figuring out exactly what you can and can't do can be an interesting challenge all by itself. Thus, when it comes to picking a low- or no-cost Web service provider, I urge you to ask to see whatever documentation, tutorials, and examples they can offer you to help you build your site within whatever framework they support.

If you can't easily lay your hands on simple, straightforward materials and documents that explain the widgets they make available, keep looking for somebody else who can provide them. This isn't rocket science, but building a website is an activity that will go much more easily if you know what you're trying to do, and have some basic clues about how you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. Monkey-see, monkey-do works well for beginners, but only when they can see what they can do, if you know what I mean!

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