Webserver use, configuration and management

Unit WUCM1

Domain names and ISP services

Practical tasks

This set of practical activities would be best undertaken in small groups. In terms of easy access to a web system, groups of two might be best. The virtue of a group is the opportunity to discuss and debate the issues involved.

ISP for small businesses

The first task is to use the web to locate a range of ISP companies offering web space and domain registration services that are suitable for an SME (Small or Medium Sized Enterprise).

The minimum requirement would be a choice of domain name in a commercial domain (.com or .co.uk etc) and not tied to the ISP, (i.e. not having something like Freeserve in the domain name.

Having located a number of possible ISPs, build a spreadsheet or similar to tally up the different characteristics of each company. What search terms are likely to produce the detail you want? The objective is to generate a rational and supportable recommendation as to which is the “best buy” – much in the style of a consumer PC magazine, e.g. the Broadband article by Whitfield, (2004).   Aim for at least three ISPs to choose from.

The subsidiary task is to look at the security policy enforced by the ISP you have recommended. The terms “fair use policy”, “information security policy”, “privacy policy”, or “email policy”, etc. may be used in place of the term “security policy”. Is the policy mainly aimed at protecting the interests of the ISP or the customers/users of the ISP? What is the balance of benefit if the policy is adhered to?

ISP for a large company

The next task is to locate a suitable “managed server” for a larger company. Here the objective is to look at what services are provided. Make a list and see if you can identify any problems that might occur. Take the perspective of the person responsible for the company’s web image.

As with the ISP above, now look at the security policies and try to evaluate whom they benefit.

Domain name hunt

Suppose you are about to start up a specialist business selling cheese from around the world. First task is to decide on a name for your new business. Now decide on what your web presence should be. Can this name be registered? As a .co.uk site? As a .com site? Use the web searching facilities to find out if the name would be usable. How would you modify the name to get it registerable?


Paul Albitz and Cricket Liu,
DNS and BIND (4e),
O'Reilly, 2001,
ISBN 0596001584


Last updated by Prof Jim Briggs of the School of Computing at the University of Portsmouth