AWW FAQ August 25, 2005

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

        alt.www.webmaster FAQ
   Last revised: November 12, 2003
  The current version is located at:

Welcome to alt.www.webmaster (AWW). Thank you for
taking the time to read this information. This FAQ
is not meant to be a set of rules. It is simply
a guide to help new users become acquainted with
how the group operates, some useful information,
and some of our favorite links. All the suggestions
in the section titled "Posting Messages in AWW" are
based on the assumption that people are willing to
cooperate and observe some conventions in order to
facilitate the smooth operation of the group. We
hope you will find the newsgroup and this FAQ to be
useful resources and we welcome your participation.

Ads are not welcome in AWW, whether on-topic or not.
In fact, they are so unwelcome that they are usually
reported to the poster's ISP and web host, etc. by
some newsgroup members who really don't like ads.
Read the "Advertising in AWW" section for a definition
of what we consider unsolicited commercial advertising
and likely to get you reported, and what types of web
site promotion are considered appropriate. If all you
want to do is post ads, go to
(AWWA) or some other newsgroup that has a more
ad-tolerant attitude. Please read the FAQ for AWWA at before you post an ad there.

     **  Table of Contents  **

Purpose of the Newsgroup
Recommended Links
Frequently Asked Questions
Tips on Dealing With Clients
Overview of AWW
Posting Messages in AWW
Advertising in AWW
Warez and Cracks
AWW Notes for Novices

    **  Purpose of the Newsgroup  **

The members of AWW like to discuss Web site setup
and configuration, web hosts and hosting packages,
web hosting tools and operating strategies, and
promotional campaigns and methods.

     **  Recommended Links  **

Our recommended links are located at: .

     **  Frequently Asked Questions  **

Q. Can I protect my source code, meta-tags, and other
easily viewable code from people being able to see it?
A.  In a word, no. There are right click scripts and
JavaScript encoding that some use, but they don't
really work. They'll only stop the most basic of users,
anyone who shuts off JavaScript will still get at your
code. If you still want to try, you can find some
different methods here: /

Q. Can I automatically get e-mail addresses from my
A. That would be unethical. But even if it wasn't,
it's not really possible.
The only items you really have access to are the
environment variables passed by the browser and the
IP address of the user. Environment variables may
contain the e-mail address in some browsers if the
user entered their true e-mail address, but that's
rare. The vast majority of your visitors will not
have their e-mail address available if you query the
environment variables. IP addresses cannot be mapped
to an e-mail and neither can hostnames in 99% of
the cases.

Q. What is favicon and how can I use it?
A. The following two pages answer this very well: /

Q. How do I password protect my pages?
A. The easiest form of password protection is
JavaScript-based: write a script wherein the
user has to enter a password to complete it
and be redirected to the desired location.
This is also the easiest-to-circumvent: as with
all client-side work, the user can easily discover
the password simply by using the "view source"
option on their browser. A slightly more difficult,
but much more secure, method of JavaScript-protection
is to prompt the user for a password that is
automatically added to the URL of your original page,
that allows them to access the password-protected page.
Unfortunately, neither method will work if JavaScript
is disabled.
If you use [Apache], you can use .htaccess
and .htpassword, the most effective form of password
protection. More information here: /

Q. How can I stop someone from hot-linking to my images?
A .You can use .htaccess if you are using mod_rewrite.
Add the following to .htaccess:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond % !^$
RewriteCond % !^ /.*$     [NC]
RewriteCond % !^ /.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.gif$        -                           [F]

RewriteCond % !^$
RewriteCond % !^ /.*$     [NC]
RewriteCond % !^ /.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.jpg$        -                           [F]

Please note that this sort of protection is very weak.
Hotlinking will still work if the linking site is on
an SSL-encrypted page, because all clients clear the
referer when an HTTP page is called from an HTTPS one.
Also, clients can use simple personal proxies that
transparently rewrite referers to match your rules, in
order to bypass all these filters. An example is Hotlinker
( These tricks are already widely used
for porn sites. The best way to go is to use cookies (like
PHP sessions) or cryptography.

Q. How do I change the color of the user's scrollbar?
A. The declaration used in CSS for colored scroll bars is:
<style type="text/css">
body {
scrollbar-arrow-color: cyan;
scrollbar-base-color: blue;
scrollbar-dark-shadow-color: blue;
scrollbar-face-color: #b0c4de;
scrollbar-highlight-color: blue;
scrollbar-shadow-color: blue;
scrollbar-darkshadow-color: purple;

Change color as desired. Only works in IE5.5+.

Professionals consider it unethical to change any
settings the user has made. That includes changing
the scrollbar's color, stopping right-click,
forcing them to open windows they don't want,
writing to their disk, forcing your site into
Favorites, and editing anything else the user has set.
You don't need to do these things, and they generally
detract from the impact and credibility of your site.

Q. How do I make a file available for someone
to download?
A. <a href="FileToDownload.EXE">Download</a>
If the user has the application associated with
the file type installed, and the browser is aware
of it, then the document will open in the browser.
If the browser doesn't recognize the file type,
then the user will be prompted to download the
document. If you always want the document to be
downloaded, then make it a zip file.

Q. How can I stop someone from downloading my images?
A. The short answer is, you can't. There are a number
of protection schemes that purport to stop this but
the truth is that they can all be circumvented. The
very fact that your images display on your visitor's
machine means they have already been downloaded.

Q. Which is better, Netscape or Internet Explorer?
A. There is no browser that is better than another,
just different features and bugs. You'll see people
claim IE is better because it's not as picky about
having proper HTML and you'll see people claiming
Netscape is better because it forces you to write
proper code. Remember, there are more browsers than
just IE and NS out there -- see /. The truth is
that you must make sure your website looks acceptable
in most major browsers, by writing your markup according
to standards -- see for
Neglecting one or more browsers will cause you to lose
traffic or possibly even make your website look very
bad. Nothing is worse than directing someone to your
website, then finding out that it really looked poor
to them in their browser. Usually the best way is to
view in Netscape while developing because it does
force proper code. If it works in Netscape, it should
work in most others.

Q. How can I test my page for WebTV?
A. WebTV has a special viewer that you can download
and see exactly what your page looks like in WebTV.
You can get it here:

Q. I'm looking for an on-line analyzing service that
will check each individual visitor's path through a
site in detail; e.g. entry page (with time stamp),
navigation, duration at each page, exit page, etc.
A. There is no reliable way to track a visitor's path
through a web site with absolute certainty or accuracy.
One can extract some useful information about trends
of site usage by examining logs, and raw figures can
be useful for PR. However, it is always important to
remember that the information is inevitably neither
complete nor accurate. Log analyzers can only produce
an approximation or "best guess" due to many factors
which are explained in depth at .

Q. Can I make money through advertising and affiliate
A. There are a lot of factors that go into making money
through advertising. One of the most important
considerations is to have advertising that complements
the content of your site.

Q. How do I copyright my site?
A. Your site is protected by copyright law when it is created.
For more information on US copyright law, see: .
For more information on UK copyright law, see: .
For more information on Australian copyright law, see:
Copyright in Australia. A Short Guide.
For more information on Canadian copyright law, see:

Copyright laws in other countries may differ.

Q. What is the best software for automated submission
to search engines?
A. There's only about 10 search engines that are worth
the effort to get listed in. Manual submission is best.

Q. How can I find out what my domain name is worth?
A. There are several appraisal services that attempt
to put a value on domain names. The values they assign
mean nothing. Ultimately a domain is only worth what
someone is willing to pay for it.

Q. I want to register a domain name that has expired.
Why hasn't the registrar released it?
A. Because they are holding expired domains and
releasing them when they feel like it. Some names
never get released. Yes it's wrong, but they are going
to keep doing it until someone stops them.

Q. I have multiple physical disabilities and I would
like to do web design and testing. How do I get started?
A. A physically disabled designer may need some special
tools to get the job done, but web design is web design.
Go to the Recommended Links Page for some useful links
for those with disabilities.

Q. How can I prevent my images from being indexed by
A. Add this to your robots.txt file:
User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

Q. How can I use Google to see which web sites are
linked to mine?
A. Put this in Google's search box:

Q. How can I use jpeg compression for best results?
A. Jpeg has fully customizable compression from 1%
to 99%. A balance can often be struck between
acceptable quality and acceptable file size by using
a compression of perhaps 30% or even 50% in some cases.
By default, most graphics packages will tend to use a
compression factor of about 15%, which is great for
large photographs, but results in unnecessarily large
file sizes for more simple images such as buttons and
With the popular Paint Shop Pro, the compression factor
used for saving Jpeg images is accessible by the
'options' button when doing a "Save As" and selecting
Jpeg image format.

Q. Where can I find a PDF editor?
A. Get Adobe Acrobat from
or Fine Print's PDF factory from or

Q. Where can I find an SWF editor?

Q. How can I preload images for my OnMouseOver script?
A. Preloading images:
Preload Image Script:

Q. How can I set up a web site so that my clients and coworkers can create
and publish content?

A. You need Content Management System (CMS) software.  Here are some
examples: / / /

Q. Where can I find out the most common queries made
to search engines?

A. /
is a useful tool. More info can be gained from and there's always
the perennial favorite:

     ** Tips on Dealing with Clients **

Q. How do I get clients?
A. Word of mouth is really the best way. First off,
you will want a portfolio. Do some pro-bono sites
for charities around your area. Then start in on small
businesses. As your portfolio slowly grows, so will
your skills. As your skills improve, so will your
client base. There is no quick way to do this, just
have patience, and a day job.

Q. How much should I charge?
A .The average as of December 2001 seems to be US$50
an hour. Please take into account the various economic
factors of the region where you live.

     **  Overview of AWW  **

alt.www.webmaster is for discussion by practicing,
recovering, and beginning webmasters. It is a forum
for mutual support and griping over idiot clients,
poor standards compliance by browsers, and supportive
Q&A with occasional forays off-topic into such
subjects as how best to destroy our enemies (spammers)
and whether or not Chihuahuas are a respectable logo idea.

     **  Posting Messages in AWW  **

If you are new to USENET, take some time to read the
USENET Help FAQs, at:
and How to Ask questions the Smart Way, at:
After you have read some posts in
AWW and either did not find the answer, or you want
to jump into a discussion, feel free to do so. Just
be aware of a few things:

¤  Participants in this newsgroup are encouraged to
   treat everyone with respect, avoid personal
   attacks and the use of foul language. There
   are young people that frequent this newsgroup
   and we want them to feel welcome here. This is
   not, so if your question
   (or your behavior for that matter) is better
   suited to an all adult audience, we'd appreciate
   it if you would take it there.

¤  If you are starting a new thread, please make
   the subject reflect the message. "HELP!!!!!"
   and "Question to the Group" are not valid subjects.
   Make it descriptive. Some of us are specialists
   and will be faster in answering your questions
   if you do a proper subject line. You should not
   ask for a reply by email. See: Why you shouldn't
   ask for E-mail responses on Usenet for more

¤  Do not post messages containing html, scripts,
   binaries, etc. This is not the web, and we post
   in plain text only. Please be courteous and do
   the same.

¤  When replying to a message don't top post.
   Include the author, message identifier, and
   relevant portions of the message you are
   replying to, and edit out the rest including
   "sig" lines. Please try and keep subject lines
   relatively up to date, so people can kill threads.
   Avoid one line "me, too" posts.

¤  We will often do a site review if requested.
   Just remember, most of us are professionals,
   and we will critique your site as if it were
   a professionally made high-hit web site.
   Though the reviews may seem cruel, they are
   merely exacting. Sometimes we enjoy shredding
   a web site just for the sport of it though,
   especially if we think that someone is using
   a request for a critique as an attempt to get
   around our ban on unsolicited advertising, or
   we get spammed by someone with a web site that
   looks like it was designed by a 10-year old.

     **  Advertising in AWW  **

¤  You are welcome to post your url and a
   description of your services in response
   to a relevant question. The best way to
   advertise in USENET is by participating
   in the conversations with a sig file
   pointing to your site. No one complains
   about that (as long as it's a short sig
   - 4 lines or less - and you're honestly
   participating.) We are interested in your
   opinions and questions, not your 12 line sig.

¤  Unsolicited commercial messages of any kind
   are prohibited, and will probably be reported
   to the sender's ISP and web host etc. by one
   or more of AWW's regular participants.
   "Commercial" is defined in The American HeritageŽ
   Dictionary as "Having profit as a chief aim" and
   that's an excellent way to define the type of
   messages we don't want. You cannot promote your
   web site, offer to "sell" anything, exchange links,
   form partnerships, etc.

¤  Genuine offers of paid employment are acceptable,
   as long as the offer is for a fixed hourly rate,
   price per page, or a contract rate. Posting an offer
   to trade web design for future profits is not allowed,
   unless you have prepared a written business plan that
   includes the percentage of shares/profits we will
   receive for our speculative investment of time, and
   any other pertinent details.

¤  A newsgroup has been specifically created for
   those offering products and services of interest
   to webmasters. You are welcome to post your ad in (AWWA).
   See for the AWWA FAQ.
   If your ISP doesn't carry it, please ask them to do
   so. Do not cross post messages to AWW and AWWA.

      **  Trolls  **

From time to time AWW is invaded by trolls seeking to
harass and disrupt the group and who think they are
entitled to engage in whatever asinine behavior they

Sometimes AWW is included in cross posting in flame
wars. If you see a message that is completely out of
context, check to see if it's been crossposted to
several groups.

Q. Can't the trolls be stopped?
A. In all cases trolls should be ignored. If a troll
is really determined to post messages in AWW, there's
always a way to do so, either through shell accounts,
friendly news servers, remailers, etc. The best thing
to do is ignore them, because that denies them the
thing they want the most -- recognition. Arguing with
them is the worst thing to do, because their only
real interest is in provoking a response.

Q. These trolls really bother me. Can't I do anything?
A .Yes. Use your kill file. In Microsoft Outlook
simply highlight a message from the offensive user,
click on the Message menu and then click on Block Sender.
If you decide to unblock someone later go to Tools,
Message Rules, Blocked Senders List.

     **  Warez and Cracks  **

Requests for cracked or illegally copied software,
or for information on how to find such software,
will be replied to with a single line -- "We don't
support that kind of activity here."

Suggestions for changes to this FAQ can be posted at:
or as a reply to this message.

Site Timeline