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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » Just for Cafe members! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
4729 Posts

Profile of Steve Brooks
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Cafe's wonderful tech crew, Mary B. and Gene. They are not only very knowledgeable in matters of computer languages and software, but in particular, things having to do with websites and the World Wide Web. They are also my friends. Smile

I've come to rely on Mary and Gene not only for great tech support, but for their wonderful personal touch they add to everything they do. Both are honest, hardworking people who put 100% into all that they are involved in. In todays hustle and bustle world, that is a rare quality indeed. Smile

That said, I got to thinking about all the members here at the Cafe. Many have personal websites advertising the services and/or shows that they do, others have probably thought about a site, but have no idea how to get started. In both cases, money and quality are both a concern.

I can tell you from personal experience in designing my own sites, it's not an easy task. Indeed, even if you have a great site, finding someone to host your pride and joy can be as difficult as executing a decent pass. Smile

Oh sure, there are a zillion huge hosting companies out there, all claiming to be the best, but in reality few can really deliver the goods. Those that do have a decent service, charge an equally large fee. For the average person, neither option is acceptable. To make matters worse, you may spend months of research, money, and add a few more grey hairs before coming across a really good company. Believe me, been there...done that! Smile

It might interest you to know that the Cafe is currently resting on a server that Mary and Gene manage. They own a company called GMB Webworks. The company specializes in site hosting and design services.

Since moving the Cafe there, most if not all our technical problems (downtime, etc) have been eliminated, just like magic! Not to mention the fact the price is right, and the customer service is as fast as lightning!

In that light, I feel I should share the wealth with the rest of you. I talked it over with Mary, and she has agreed to help with your hosting or design problems. So listen up! Smile

The following is a special arrangement for members of The Magic Cafe!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you currently have a website, you can have it hosted with GMB Webworks, and receive the following:

  • 200 MB webspace (More than you'll probably ever need!)
  • 2GB (gigabytes) of transfer (Plenty of bandwidth)
  • CPanel control panel (Keep track of site stats)
  • 5 MySQL databases (The Cafe operates on only 1)
  • PHPMyAdmin (If you know PHP, this is great. If not, Mary and Gene have a support message board and suport ticket system in place to help!)
  • Unlimited POP3 email accounts (Need I say more?)
  • 10 Mail lists (Keep track of your clients)
  • CGI Bin (Have your own counter, guestbook,etc!)
  • Subdomains (i.e., services.yourdomain.com)
  • Subdomain Stats (Keep track of which name works best)
  • Custom Error Pages
  • FrontPage Extensions (Handy if you use FrontPage and design your own sites with that software)
  • Hotlink Protection
  • Shopping Cart (Worth the hosting price alone! A must if you want to do Ecommerce)
  • 24/7 FTP Access (Access your site anytime!)
  • Anonymous FTP (Great option to have)
  • Cron Jobs (Don't know? Then don't worry.)
  • Many Pre-installed CGI scripts
  • Webalizer Web Stats (More options to track site stats)
  • Redirects (Gives you major control with visitors)

There is no set-up fee! (Most companies charge for this)

The best customer service and support you'll find anywhere! Period!

No credit card is required, checks or money orders cheerfully accepted!

All the above and more, for only $5.00 a month! No. you don't need glasses, I did say Five dollars a month!
In the Internet world, this is unheard of!
You will not find a better deal anywhere, trust me on this!

Any Magic Cafe member can get this deal by sending Mary an email at info@gmbwebworks.com

You should include your Cafe username and email, and you will need to have a domain name. If you don't have a domain name, you can go to the GMB Webworks site and click the DirectNic link (their affiliate link) and purchase a domain there. If you do not understand how to do this, Mary will gladly help you. Smile

If you do not currently have a website...why not? Mary is a wiz at site design and can have a state of the art site up and running faster than you can say abracadabra! Prices on site designs will vary, but I promise you a great deal. Just tell her your needs, and presto! Smile

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, as only a limited number of new accounts will be accepted. So if you snooze, you lose!
:hotcoffee:
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
ddyment
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Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
This certainly sounds like an attractive price, but your description of the service left out two of the most important issues... reliability and performance.

How much redundancy is provided in the hardware configuration offered? In other words, what happens to my site if the server on which it's running should fail, or power should fail, or network connectivity should fail at GMB Webworks?

Also, what is the bandwidth of GMB's connection to the Internet backbone? Not to a local provider, but to the backbone.

These are the important issues, not how much storage space you get. If my site goes off the air should someone cut a power or communication line somewhere I'm out of business!

... Doug
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5074 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
I would think these questions should be asked of Mary and Gene rather than using Steve as a go between. The offer is there for anyone interested. Specifics should always be addressed with the owner of the service. I'm sure, based on the service we get in the Cafe, that Mary and Gene can handle any problems that may or may not arise.

Dave
Where the magic begins
ddyment
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Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
Sorry... the questions were intended to be rhetorical. I don't require answers from GMB, as I'm happy with the host I use for my various Websites. I was just trying to point out to others that the benefits being promoted by Steve are far from the complete story, and that Cafe readers looking for Website hosts should be aware of that fact.

... Doug
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
4729 Posts

Profile of Steve Brooks
When it comes to the Internet, there is no such thing as a perfect solution, that's a fact. Even multi-million dollar companies like 'Ebay' and 'Amazon' have their share of server problems at times, and they have the best equipment and connections money can buy! Smile

That said, what Mary and Gene do provide is a 99% uptime solution for those who cannot afford the best. The average magician/entertainer would be hardpressed to find the same reliability, options and friendly service anywhere else at that price.

Others, like yourself, are happy in their current situation, and that is fine. But there are many folks who will benefit greatly from the hardwork and generosity that Mary and Gene provide.
Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Gene
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Café Forum Developer
Howard City, MI
444 Posts

Profile of Gene
Hi Doug,

Valid questions, to be sure! Let me try to answer them the best I can for you. I don't mind in the least answering them here either, topsinmagic! Smile

We, like many other hosting services, do not "operate" our own server, but rather lease a dedicated server at a data center. Our server (we have just the one at this time) is located in Houston, Texas, and we lease the server from http://www.rackshack.net. If you wish, you can read all about their networks, redundancies, bandwidth, etc., HERE. (Saves me a good bit of typing. Smile )

If you're interested, our total server bandwidth allowance is 400Gigs/month, but if we ever got close to that (I doubt that would *ever* happen - that's an absolute *ton* of bandwidth) we would know about it beforehand and make arrangements to have whatever extra we need available. That's one of the overall levels we check quite regularly, but I can tell you that right now we aren't even running 50gigs yet. Of course, that's what we're allowed just for our server, but you can read for yourself about all the traffic stats (burstable networks levels, etc.) on Rackshack's page.

At the quoted price, we do not offer backup services. In the event of a complete server failure, it would be the customer's responsibility to keep backup files of their site for restoration, including any databases involved. We cannot be held responsible for loss of any content placed on our server. That's just a bit much to ask for $5/month. There are hosting services that offer backup services, either as an included service or an add-on. In either case, those will cost extra money, except for some higher-priced plans (like $30+/month).

[EDIT]
After re-reading this, there are backup features in the client control panel for both the site and any databases.
[/EDIT]

By the way, disk space is not free. Some people have graphics-heavy sites, and if there was no cap then there would be trouble. While we would set a limit to open the account, if any more was needed we would look over the total usage (above any existing accounts) and make a decision regarding offering additional space. If the amount needed isn't that large, it's likely we would offer it free of charge, but that's not a guarantee. Any reputable hosting service does not offer unlimited disk space or bandwidth. If one looks around any of the hosting forums, there will be many references that "unlimited bandwidth" is a myth. It is. Disk space is the same.

Additionally:

Our server was leased without any control panel interface. This was done intentionally so we could purchase a C-Panel license to offer our clients. We feel the C-Panel control panel is one of the best out there.

Further, Mary and I do not run the server alone. We pay a monthly fee for server management services. While we can do the routine, day-to-day management of accounts, site support services, etc., we have our management service handle the server updates, configurations, etc.

You are correct - our address is *not* on the site, but it is available to customers. We already get a bunch of ... umm ... junk in the mail, so we decided to keep our address off the site. If a customer wants it, they will get it without any questions whatsoever.

[EDIT]
After re-reading (again!), our address is included in the "Welcome" email.
[/EDIT]

If you wish, we can provide a list of the sites hosted on our server, but you already can see the biggest one right here.

In an effort to allow each client's site to load as quickly as possible, we are limiting clients on our server. Many hosting companies place 200+ clients on a single machine. We will not be doing that! At present, we have approximately 10 clients (give or take a couple - I'm at work and don't have the exact numbers). This way we can maintain an overage on both overall disk space and allowed bandwidth, plus limit (to a certain extent) the number of sites being accessed at any one time. Our whole intention at the beginning was to get our own server (we were getting sick and tired of the servers our sites were on before) and offer spots to select people to help recoup the costs. That's all we wanted to do; this was never intended as a money-making venture. We hope to make a little money on our website design services, not the server. If we planned on doing any full-blown hosting service to make money, then we would do it. Perhaps later, but now is not the time for us.

BTW - another thing we offer our "full-account" clients ($15/month) is multiple domains on the same account at no extra charge (more disk space and bandwidth is included). The client simply decides how he/she wants the space and bandwidth split up and we take care of it. Not many places do that.

Please let me or Mary know if there's anything more you would like to know.

Thanks!
Gene Brott
Somebody kick me off the computer, will ya? Smile Smile
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5074 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
Gene and Doug: nothing personal in my original message. Just my interpretation of Doug's message seemed like the questions were being directed back to Steve. I know Steve doesn't need a body guard or watch dog and that wasn't my intention either. The questions sounded technical to me about a service being offered and my response was just that I thought they should have been sent directly to you or Mary.
Doug: never an apology needed here at the Cafe. That's one of the nice things about it.

Dave Smile
Where the magic begins
Burt Yaroch
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Inner circle
Dallas,TX
1097 Posts

Profile of Burt Yaroch
I really am not sure what you guys are talking about here...backbones and bandwith are all over my head. But if that stuff means loads fast, doesn't crash, with great search engine optimization, then I know Gene and Mary ROCK! They have designed 2 websites for me to date, and created my company slogan. They do it all, emphasizing the latest marketing strategies and concepts! Smart, creative, quick, inexpensive, and there when you need them.

You won't be disappointed with thier services! (Thanks guys! Smile )
Yakworld.
Mary B.
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Café Tech Advisor
Howard City, Michigan
626 Posts

Profile of Mary B.
Hi everyone, and thanks for the great response to our "Magic Cafe Special". I have had several requests for an online payment method, and have set up an ordering system with PayPal to accomplish this. However, due to the fees that PayPal charges, and the low
price of $5.00/month, we find we must charge $6.00/month if you use the PayPal payment option. If that is acceptable to you, you can sign up for an account through our website at http://gmbwebworks.com/magiccafe.php .

Edited: You should also use the above URL to sign up if you want to make your payment by check or money order. After submitting the form, you will be given the choice to continue to PayPal to make your payment, or we will contact you with payment details if you wish to pay by check, etc.

(end edit)

Thanks again for your interest! And thanks, Burt, for your recommendation!
Smile

Mary B.
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