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Family Website Design/Hosting/Whatever

lawyerdad

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So I have this extended family, primarily a bunch of cousins scattered around the country. We were close growing up (our families all lived much closer then) and still are fond of each other, but we suck at keeping in touch. Plus, of course, we're hoping our own kids will be less lame than us and will manage to remain close.

What with geographic scattering, jobs, our own families, etc., we really only see each other and talk when someone gets married or someone dies. (Sadly, we've reached the point in life where the latter seems to happen more often than the former. But perhaps as our own kids grow up we can reverse that trend.)

Our parents and grandparents used to use a "Round Robin" letter as a way of keeping up with family news, etc. While I kind of like the idea of reviving the practice, in reality nobody's going to write a real letter. Plus, the whole thing died out because one of my uncles always let it stop on his desk for year, and he's still alive . . .

At the most recent funeral, I volunteered to look into setting up a family website we could use to keep in touch, post news that might be of interest, etc. There are, obviously, commercial services that do this (set up a framework for you as well as host). Having poked around, I think the primary features I'm looking for are:
1. Able to be set up and maintained by a luddite like myself (i.e., idiot-proof).
2. Some sort of restricted/password access.
3. A reasonable amount of storage for hosting pictures and whatnot.
4. Some sort of forum/discussion thread functionality for general discussions, updates, visit planning, whatever.
5. (This one seems nice but I don't view it as a strict requirement) -- some ability for people to have their own sub-forums or personal pages or whatever where they could post more detailed information about their immediate families or pictures of their most recent vacaction ro whatever. I'm envisioning kind of a hub-and-spoke architecture, with the hub being the main page/discussion board/whatever, with the ability to follow one of the spokes if, for example, you want to see more pictures of cousin Bob's kids.

Anyone have an experience with some of the commerical suggestions or very non-technical suggestions. I obviously don't want to overpay, but I don't mind paying an extra $50-100 a year or whatever for better functionality or easier interface.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
 

Matt

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I have my company site at lunarpages.com.

Been with them four years, and on the whole they have been very good. I think they are like eight bucks a month or something. Ample storage, unlimited email addresses etc.

Also the package comes with various scripts that you can activate that should do most of what you are talking about. We run an intranet across our offices using the included software that has photosharing, a forum and so forth. Should more than cover off your needs.

PS Let me know if you are interested in them, I think they have some member-get-member program so I get a discount or something for referring you
 

Matt

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...or failing that, why dont you just set up a Facebook group called 'lawyerdads family' and set it to 'invite only' to keep out the marauders.

It will do basically everything you are looking for.
 

Karo

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Yep, I'm keeping touch with family and friends on Facebook. Works like a charm for me.
 

yfyf

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I'm pretty impressed that Facebook is so suitable for families. I never really thought about using it in that way. I'm also glad it's becoming a viable alternative to Myspace because every time I see that site, it makes me want to knock myself into unconsciousness.
 

JoeWoah

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From what you describe, I'd start out with Wordpress at http://wordpress.com. It's simple and it's free. If you want to add a domain name to, just set the DNS to redirect for free... or you can pay Wordpress $5 a month to add your domain to all your pages name.

Basically, Wordpress is a full featured blogging suite, but it's genius is it's simplicity. It will only take you 15 minutes to figure out and it's easier to use than word.

When, and if, you feel you've outgrown Wordpresses features, you can use Wordpress.org. Basically, it's the same thing but it's open source with tons of add-on's and you need to host it on your own server (or one you pay separately for). It's just as easy to use, but depending on the kinds of add-on's you use, the more complex it may get.

One thing I have to say, there is nothing Wordpress can't do.

As for hosting, personally, I like Valueweb. They aren't the cheapest, but they have the best service.

For cheap, there is Godaddy with plans at $2 per month.
 

lawyerdad

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Thanks, all. I'll check these out. [email protected], if I decide to go with lunarpages I'll give you a shout.
 

pauliodotnet

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for hosting, I own a small hosting company, i charge 100 a year - PM me if you are interested
 

finch

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+1 for Godaddy. I've had my domains and hosting with them for years, honestly I can't even recall any major issues during my time with them.
Originally Posted by JoeWoah
For cheap, there is Godaddy with plans at $2 per month.
 

Piobaire

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Another vote for godaddy.
 

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