When I found that I could purchase the blackstone.name domain, I had to find a hosting service to actually run the servers. After looking at several companies, I settled on DreamHost (DH). Their plans seemed inexpensive, and they seemed pretty responsive to issues that came up in their systems. Of course, there were a lot of complaints (on the internet! imagine!) about their reliability, but the statistics didn’t seem too bad. I picked the cheapest plan, and have been pretty well satisfied since May 2007.
At this time, I have the following domains registered:
For a couple of years I also registered castleknob.net, but decided it wasn’t necessary.
Within the domains, the following answer to http:
- camino.blackstone.name – custom-coded to show Susan’s status updates and pictures from her walk on the Camino Frances to Santiago in 2007; I used a photo album organizer called Gallery (http://gallery.sourceforge.net) to show her pictures.
- chris.blackstone.name – this is a WordPress blog set up by and for Chris to post descriptions and pictures from her trip to Southeast Asia.
- mike.blackstone.name – a WordPress “blog”; you’re reading it!
- castleknob.com – a custom-coded site to show the publicly available works published by Castle Knob. This will eventually be replaced by a more robust WordPress site.
In addition to the web services, DH provides email. The following addresses are active; several others are forward-only to one of these:
- firstname.lastname@example.org (also anything that has “mike” in it)
- email@example.com (forwards to her gmail account)
Other addresses are set for Mom and Dina, and someone named Steven Blackstone. When I set up blackstone.name, I offered email service to anyone named Blackstone; Steven is the only non-relative who took the offer. However, when I had a problem with email, I reset several passwords; shortly after, I heard from Steven that he was relying on the service. I restored his access, and he also requested addresses for other members of his family: Thijs, Hugo and Daphne. They seem to be in the Netherlands.
The administration of these services requires very little effort. The most predictable is annual renewal of the domains. Occasionally there have been glitches with email, which have been handled promptly by DH customer service. Administration is handled through DH’s web-based control panel at dreamhost.com (passwords available on request).