List Building – Validation

Email address validation is much more than simply checking your list for valid email addresses. It also checks for valid headers to ensure that email is being sent and received to the correct mailbox. The last thing you want is your emails being relayed all over the Internet and bounced from server to server without knowing where it’s going. Your users may end up doing their own validation and you might come off as a spammer.

This section groups all of these smaller sections together:

  • Domain Links
  • Whois
  • SPF
  • Privacy Policy

Domain Links

When you create your newsletter or send out emails to your users, the one major thing you want to check for is valid links. This consists mostly of actual page links, but in the least, you want to make sure your domain is pointed right. This will ensure that your users can match your email address to the domain you have listed in the message.

If your links are dead or full of typos, you’re not only reducing your click through rate to zero, but you’re also tampering with your reputation. It should be fairly obvious how to make sure your links are valid, but just to be sure, you should always copy and paste a link directly from the page you want to link to.

Another good thing about always placing domain links in your messages is because if that person forwards your email to other people they think might be interested, you’re going to get instant promotion. This is more true when it comes to producing ebooks that are loaded with backlinks to your site.


A whois service is one that provide important information regarding owners of domain names. These tools come in handy if you want to know who owns a domain name of one of your users. When you start seeing a particular domain name spamming up the Internet, this step becomes very useful in tracking down who’s behind operations. Here are some free whois checkers starting with my favorite on top:

  1. – The reason I like this service so much is because it will check every single domain extension in existence. It’s also super easy to remember. The only downside to this site is that it’s loaded with adverstisements, but once you get used to the navigation, you’ll be fine.
  2. – I use this site half the time, but only because I used to use it all the time until I found the one above. The advantage here is no advertiseing, it’s usually very fast and it too is also easy to remember. But the downside is that it only supports 6 domain extensions (com, net, info, org, biz and us).
  3. GoDaddy Whois – Another great search tool especially for those domains that have special business contact info. GoDaddy formats this information much better than some of the other whois servers. Drawback: you must enter a captcha code unless you’re logged into your own GoDaddy account.

Of course there are thousands and thousands of other whois services out there. As long as you get the info you need, any one of them will work.


SPF (in email terms) stands for Sender Policy Framework. It is an anti-spam measure that allows domain owners to control the emails that pass through their servers based on domain name. Essentially a server admin can allow only certain hostnames to send email over the web server. This generally stops forged mail from coming through.

In case you didn’t know, most email servers are relatively open. This means that with the right settings, I can send an email off of some other webserver using my own email address. It’s called a relay and it’s like piggybacking. An example would be if I sent an email to your address from my address, but used Yahoo!’s servers to do it instead of yours or mine.

An SPF record created by Yahoo! would prevent me from doing this because my computer (host) is not on their network. It’s certainly not fullproof and it shouldn’t be considered the end-all for spam, but it’s a great start.

I wouldn’t be given SPF justice if I tried to explain everything here, so please check out the SPF group website called OpenSPF. To view more specifics on this technology, check out their FAQ page.

Privacy Policy

Your website should have a Privacy Policy. It should discuss everything you do and don’t do on your site regarding your user’s information. This is important for many reasons, but here are a few you should consider:

  • Covers – It keeps you covered. One example would be if you told your users up front that you would send them 20 emails a day and they still signed up, then they would be liable for the “spam” that they get from you if they wanted to complain.
  • Informs – It informs your users of an potential 3rd party emails that might be coming their way. Let them know if you work with other partners and wish to send them special offers.
  • Protection – It protects your users from themselves. As mentioned above, your users won’t have a leg to stand on if they don’t abide by or understand your policy.
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Site Creation – File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Once you have your web host configured, you need to upload your website’s files or install your CMS software. The easiest way to do this is through File Transfer Protocol (FTP). FTP makes it so simple to send files to your hosting account. Alternatively, you can use the file manager included with your website control panel, but it has its limitations.

With FTP, you’ll be able to instantly send files to your server all at the same time as opposed to individually. The only catch is you have to download and install an FTP browser. But trust me, once you have this, you’ll never go back to your control panel file manager!

What is it?

FTP is a standard network protocol used only for transferring files. If you understand that HTTP is for transferring web documents like pictures, html files, sound, video, etc. then you can see the relation. It was created back in 1971 as a way to promote the sharing of files, computer programs and other data. It also streamlines the upload process by using multiple connection methods so the user doesn’t need to know what filesystem they’re connecting to; the software automatically detects it and makes applicable adjustments.

How does it work?

It utilizes a client-server configuration where a server has been setup on a remote site and the user connects to it via an IP address or domain name to begin a transfer session. More than likely, connecting to your server will require a connection to FTP.(yourdomain).COM using the port number: 21. Of course, different configurations will yield different settings.

Inherently, FTP is not secure and therefore, a user on the same network as the FTP session could use a packet sniffer program to see passwords, usernames and data as it’s being transferred. Today, FTP sessions can be used with the addition of an SSL certificate over the FTPS protocol. Most FTP software can also handle SSH connections.

You can even set up your own FTP server at home and have access to all of your files whenever you need them. I remember years ago (and long before torrents), FTP servers were the number one way to download software, although some of it wasn’t exactly legal!

What do I need?

For simply connecting to your webserver and uploading files, you only need one thing: FTP client software. Here’s a list of some of the most popular programs out there:

  • Globalscape CuteFTP Pro – This is my favorite and I’ve used it for over 10 years. The Pro version is the way to go because it offers SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS and SSH connections. Normally it costs $59.99, but it’s worth it. However, I noticed they added an academic licensed version that you can buy for only $3!
  • SmartFTP Pro – I haven’t used this one myself, but at only $49.99, its not a bad price. Again, I’d recommend the Pro version for the added security features. They also have an Ultimate edition that includes a terminal client. I wish CuteFTP Pro had this feature!
  • BulletProof FTP – This recommendation really only made this list because I used BulletProof FTP Server for a number of years and I loved it. This program is only $34.95, but it can hold its own against the others in features.

Once you install your client of choice, all you have to do is plug in your server’s IP address or domain name, your username and password and you’re connected! You’ll instantly have access to the location of all your website files and you can begin uploading your content.

If you’re not sure about your server settings, contact your web host to get the applicable information.

<< Back to Domain Name System (DNS) Forward to Email >>

Site Creation – Domain Name System (DNS)

Understanding the Domain Name System, or DNS is an important part of understanding web hosting as well as the Internet in general. Without it, we wouldn’t have domains and the Internet would not be what it is today. You may not have known it, but underneath the entire infrastructure, lies DNS.

What does it do?

In short, DNS takes domain names such as and translates them into an IP address like: Imagine if you had to remember how to find websites based on their IP address? Even if you did, imagine what would happen if that website changed its physical location, thereby changing the IP address? DNS was created to bypass these problems and allow for the creation of what I call aliases that are understandable to humans.

How does it work?

When you register a domain name, you’re placing a record in the domain registry that tells the Internet how to find your website. If someone types in, this is what happens:

  1. Your computer asks your ISP (Verizon, Time Warner, AOL, etc.) if it knows what and where is.
  2. If your ISP doesn’t know, it asks the Top Level Domain server. In this case it’s .com and of course .com knows that there is an entry for “ledfrog”.
  3. It returns the IP address of the server that Ledfrog is located on and tells your computer where to connect.
  4. Your web browser then connects to the IP address and you now see the website on your screen.

Of course, that’s a very basic look at the process because there are thousands of DNS servers out on the Internet that do search queries to help with the processing of domain names.

How does this apply to me?

Once you register your domain name, you need to point it the name servers of the web host you’ve chosen to host your site. As an example, the name servers for my site are: NS1.MEDIATEMPLE.NET and NS2.MEDIATEMPLE.NET because hosts my site. Those nameservers are responsible for telling the world that my website is located there and to display it to everyone who asks for it.

Another main advantage to DNS is the ability to change your web host at any time. Since the web host isn’t going anywhere, their IP addresses will never change. If your site moves, your nameservers change and therefore get updated with the new IP addresses. Because you have a registered domain name, there’s nothing more you have to do once you update your nameservers.

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