Domains and registration

Posted by: keymaker

Domains and registration - 03/12/10 10:24 PM

I've noticed using iWeb that mobile me can host a domain name of one's own choosing but can I assume that one can use any third party host simply for registration and then move the name over to mobile me?

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Domains and registration - 03/12/10 11:39 PM

Posted by: keymaker

Re: Domains and registration - 03/12/10 11:51 PM

Great, thanks... let's say I register for one year can I then keep the name up at mobile me but drop the original host so I don't have to keep paying for it?

Posted by: Reboot

Re: Domains and registration - 03/12/10 11:51 PM

In a nutshell there's two separate things in order to get a website. 1. name registration, and 2. the host, where your files sit out in the Ether. They are separate things. You don't need a host to have a registration, but you do need to be registered to have a host.

They can be done through separate companies like donna said.
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Domains and registration - 03/13/10 12:08 AM

Okay, so I'd have to keep the payments up... I need to include an e-commerce function not necessarily for version 01 but let's say version 2.0 so would I be right that wouldn't be supported by mobile me?

Posted by: Reboot

Re: Domains and registration - 03/13/10 12:44 AM

MobileMe is not meant for ecommerce. MobileMe is an AOL of web hosting.

It's great for what it was meant for. It is really easy to set up a personal web space. It's meant for the person that really doesn't need to know how it all really goes together, and doesn't care, they just need to share their pics and such. Of course Jobs knew what he was doing, who am I to question that.

But it's not a real business website and wasn't meant to be, although the MobileMe synchronization for iCal, Address Book etc, iDisk, and off site backup, still brings in a good portion of the small business market from what I've seen in the field. Even though there are other alternatives I've seen many small operators using it solely for synchronization and backup because it is so seamless, easy, and integrated.

If you want to run an ecommerce site it is going to cost you in either time to train yourself, or money to pay someone to help. If you want to play, you've got pay. grin

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Domains and registration - 03/13/10 03:54 AM

You'd have to keep the domain name registered, so you'd need to keep paying for the registration. Otherwise a squatter would grab it when it came up for renewal and charge you an arm and a leg to buy it back.
Posted by: Ben Dover

Re: Domains and registration - 03/13/10 07:30 PM

What Reboot said - On the spot. Clever, too, that "AOL of webhosting", although not to poopoo MobileMe, since it does cool stuff like syncing. Most shared server hosts, I'd believe, though, would usually have an iDisk-like thing ( but really, the sane way to do that would be to grab a freeware third party firewall to whitelist the IP/domain address to the port {IIRC, the Mac firewall doesn' have that kind of tailorability} ).

Stuff for consideration:

MobileMe, also, for most people, I'd believe, is a personal storage thing - OK, mere personal storage usually is against the Terms of Service for shared server hosting. Shared server hosting usually is strictly about whatever it takes to make your website(s) sing, and not as a personal online repository for puppy pictures and (especially, I would believe, targeting file sharing, unless it's a valid legal function of a website) videos and MP3s. So, that's another thing you can do with MobileMe, that you normally shouldn't be doing with a shared server host.

OK, you can do e-commerce for free or virtually free (if you don't mind PayPal's 3% grab, which is way cheap, really, for processing), but you'd probably best step up a little and pay a little.

Totally free limits you to some kind of aggravating and bizarre exchange of emails, payment and delivery methods.

Or you can have PayPal process stuff for their 3% nick. If you don't care to brand the PayPal processing pages that occur on their secure site (return to your site at transaction's conclusion), at that point you don't need SSL. However, if you do care to bring in branding images, whatever, they have to come in from a secure server space, or else the transaction gets an erroneous 'unsecure transaction' prompt that will scare most people off. So, if you want to be consistent, you'd probably want to go with an SSL certificate, which necessitates a static IP, so you're talking an additional U$D100/year for both. You can do this sort of setup ( without the custom-branded PayPal pages, unless you want to pay for a shared server host plus static IP address and SSL certificate, just to have a secure space for images smile ) with MobileMe pages.

A preferred alternative is a good free open-source e-commerce system installed on your domain. The best is probably OpenCart, in terms of performance, exploits history, features, ease of use, customizability, appearance, etc. However, most require a merchant account ($$$) or PayPal Pro (very cheap, but not exactly free). Everything, processing, happens onsite (most support PayPal Direct, whereby the processing occurs in the background/invisibly on PayPal's site, but they remain onsite, never temporarily going to a PayPal page), so that is nice, however that again requires an SSL certificate and static IP ( unless, of course, you really want to be doing this sort of stuff on your site insecurely shocked ). You can't do this with MobileMe - You need a shared server host in order to install e-commerce software.

So, to do this properly, you're looking at approximately $100/year ( Bluehost, the best, and includes free domain registration and proxifying/privacy {you want that, or you'll get spammed from your WHOIS, or worse - normally, third party proxifying runs $5-15/year in addition to registration cost} ) for the shared server hosting, plus another $100 ( Bluehost ) for a static IP and SSL certificate.

Shared server hosting is actually pretty cool, with a good provider like Bluehost. I think it works like Pareto stuff - A tiny minority is responsible for the majority of load, and the overwhelming majority produces virtually no load, plus they can distribute load for things like slashdotting, etc. Good hosts hack slashdotting just fine and don't penalize a user for these irregular anomalies, however if one experiences millions of hits/month, they should get a dedicated server or a VPS (and those hits certainly justify the business case for that).

With shared server hosting, there is one webserver install per server, with stuff like .htaccess files and php.ini files at the individual user/user domain/subfolder levels for Apache and PHP directives at domain/subdomain/folder/subfolder levels, so there is some tailorability, but some limitations on webserver configuration.

With dedicated servers, of course, you have complete control. With VPS (Virtual Private Servers), it's sort of like shared server hosting, but with the total control and performance of a dedicated server. There's some outstanding VPSes out there, with prices starting at $5/month and performance that blow the doors off less capably setup dedicated servers. What you have with these is a variety of pre-config'd or your own rolled webserver installs/disk images (such as LAMP, Ruby, Python, a mailserver, etc) at the user's virtual webspace level, instead of a one-size-fits-all at the webserver level. Another nice things, too, is that any breaches/exploits are confined to taking down its individual virtual webspace and not the entire webserver. This isn't your mama's virtualization - Most cloud computing is virtualized.

So, basically, like Reboot said, 'pay to play', but you can do it for free or virtually free, but paying a little is well worth it.


MobileMe or shared server host, plus free e-commerce. Exchange emails and rig up some form of payment and delivery.

MobileMe or shared server host, plus PayPal standard processing. Processing happens on PayPal's secure site, then can automatically return to your site upon transaction conclusion. Number of PayPal backend tools for managing stuff. These transactions are unbranded however, aside from any usual textual display faces, etc - If you want to brand them with images/logos/whatever, these have to come in from a secure server, thus requiring SSL certificate and static IP address (additional $$$). PayPal has a 3% nick. You can't get a static IP address or an SSL certificate for MobileMe (assuming, so don't really know - you might want to check that out), so if you want branded logo images/whatever for your PayPal pages, you likely have to go with another shared server host other than MobileMe.

Shared server host with everything occurring onsite. MobileMe can't do this. Requires free open source e-commerce software, plus a merchant account ($$$) or usually a PayPal Pro account (cheap, but not free, in addition to the usual 3% nick).

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Domains and registration - 03/14/10 12:21 AM

Yeah, I use Bluehost for web hosting, but I registered one of my domain names with Doteasy and the other one with Yahoo, but I redirect both the domain names to Bluehost. MobileMe is great for file sharing and syncing my computers and iPhone together for calendars, address books, bookmarks, etc. Who ever thought it could be so complicated? wink
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Domains and registration - 03/14/10 02:03 PM

Thanks that's really useful - I followed most of it... I'm going go back and read it again. eek My concept is to get the prototype up without commerce using mobile me and see how my students and general punters get along with it before switching to another host that will support the commerce aspect. Bluehost looks good - I'm going to give 'em a call tomorrow to make sure there's no complications dealing with them from the UK.

Posted by: Ben Dover

Re: Domains and registration - 03/14/10 09:27 PM

Well, since I know zero about MobileMe, you might want to check if it is a secure site - There's a good chance it is, because of things like Mail, etc. However, it doesn't necessarily have to be secure for an e-commerce storefront, since the sensitive data part of the transactions would temporarily occur on secure PayPal pages before returning to a page on your MobileMe site that you've specified (I would guess that normally would be either the last page or some sort of confirmation page). This secure stuff is pertinent only if you care to bring in a logo image to properly brand your PayPal pages, else the secure PayPal page will throw an erroneous insecure transaction prompt due to images coming in from a non-secure source.

And to correct something in my first post, I believe that Bluehost has a free shared SSL certificate that should suffice for branding images. The free shared SSL certificate works on specific links that you cite, whereas an SSL certificate is domain-wide. Also, a static IP address and an SSL certificate is $75/year.

Website Payments Standard (IIRC, that's what it's called) is a "free"/pseudo-"free" PayPal service whereby they charge you a decreasing cut of sales, depending on volume (ranging from 2.9%-2.2%, IIRC). Incidentally, I know several brick and mortar merchants who pay 5-9% ( I think there's a guy who pays 13% smile ) on their merchant account, so PayPal's vigorish/juice/take is eminently reasonable.

I know little of Website Payments Standard, however, but basically that's how it works. This would be the way to go if you don't have a tremendous amount of product, or product change occurring, such as a high volume of new products occurring regularly. If your product lineup or changes are small and/or lean more towards the static versus dynamic on a scale, this is probably the way to go.

Basically, what's different in the customer interface is the checkout experience. With Standard they checkout at PayPal then return to your site. With Pro they checkout on your site.

However, the difference to the website/shopkeeper is significant between Website Payments Standard and Pro.

Both charge a reasonable vigorish/cut per transaction. Standard has a $0 monthly fee, i.e., basically free except for vigorish. Pro has a $30 monthly fee in addition to the vigorish.

Both accept major credit cards as well as PayPal payments.

However, with Standard, PayPal maintains the sensitive customer information, but with Pro, since the entire transactions occur on your website (with PayPal processing it invisibly in the background), you the website owner shoulder the burden (and real/legal fiduciary responsibilities and liabilities) of sensitive customer information. So, although Bluehost webserver accounts are defaulted reasonably secure and hardened, a little additional incentive/subject matter familiarity on your part would be recommended (regarding additional hardening directives you can take with the webserver software and the e-commerce software you elect, databases, via .htaccess and php.ini).

Checkout pages (per product or per cart) with Standard are made on PayPal, and when last I used Standard (some time ago), the make-ready process was more convoluted than making them up in the storefront side (e-commerce software, or html store pages such as you would have in MobileMe, as you would be able to do with Pro), so checkout pages in Standard require a little more effort. However, with Pro, since the entire transaction occurs on your website, the checkout pages are made up in the e-commerce software (very simple and low effort) or in the case of MobileMe, on the page, in html/iWeb/whatever (again, much simpler than making them up in your PayPal Website Payments Standard account). However, it's not as bad as it sounds, to make up pages in PayPal - But, if there's a lot of product, it goes much faster and easier to make them up in e-commerce software or something like iWeb or a CMS/DreamWeaver/whatever, than in PayPal, so if you want to do that (lot of product, faster, easier), that onsite make-ready only happens with Website Payments Pro.

E-commerce software makes everything easier, simpler and faster, if you have a lot of stuff to sell, but normally does cost you that monthly Website Payments Pro $30 charge (I'm not totally sure if that's entirely accurate, though - You would want to research various softwares to determine any that support Website Payments Standard). Perhaps even OpenCart does - I should know that, but don't. Also, I'm not necessarily recommending PayPal, either, but it is the cheapest and is robust and well-featured enough with various management things. Another thing, too, with e-commerce software (well, I'm talking OpenCart here) is the flexibility, especially regarding things like myriad shipping things, using and applying coupons, various discountings, etc. The make-ready for that stuff in DreamWeaver, a CMS, iWeb, whatever is a little more daunting. However, for a fairly simple e-commerce thing, not an extremely large number of product or changes in the product lineup, fairly static shipping options, no coupons or other discount things, etc, Website Payments Standard in conjunction with just making up a storefront and product pages in iWeb, Dreamweaver, a CMS or blogging platform, whatever is good enough.

Boy, I have really failed at stating this stuff simply smile


Incidentally, in the event that you do spring for Bluehost or any other shared server hosting, and elect e-commerce software, install it into a subdomain of your main domain, instead of into a subfolder of your main domain.

To a visitor, in the browser, a subfolder installation would look something like this:

A subdomain installation would look like this:

The difference in the actual directory structure is this

For a subfolder installation:
  • public_html or www (this is your website root level, which is one of many other folders {such as /etc, /mail, /tmp and files at your user/home folder level)
    • domain
      • store

For a subdomain installation:
  • public_html or www
    • domain
    • store

The reason is that if you elect to have a dynamic site utilizing a CMS or any other database-driven software (such as a blogging platform like Wordpress) for your main domain, some CMSes such as Drupal are strict about their structure and reject/disallow a "foreign" folder in their CMS structuring scheme, while other CMSes that allow that can get confused by another database-driven installation within their installation, i.e., major conflicts can happen. The ModX CMS has no problems with other database-driven installations within its installation, however it is still good practice to have disparate database-driven installations independent/wholly isolated from each other.

To a visitor, the subdomain is linked/whatever to your main domain via host's NAT, DNS mapping, etc, if you've properly added the subdomain, rather than just creating a new folder at public_html/www root level (which doesn't get associated with any re-mapping).

If your main domain is just going to be static html, such as with Dreamweaver, iWeb, hand-made-up html, then it doesn't matter whether you install e-commerce software into a subfolder or a subdomain.
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Domains and registration - 03/15/10 07:01 PM

Thanks again - everything is noted. I spoke to Bluehost today on their live chat system which was pretty cool... looks like there are no international probs so I'm going grab my domain with them. Unfortunately com and have gone but I can get org.