How to buy a domain name for your business or personal website, and 5 things to watch out for

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Purchasing a unique domain name is the first step to building a website for your business or brand.

  • You can buy a domain name from a domain registrar if you’re thinking of launching a business or personal website.
  • Most domains should only cost a few dollars, though you need to renew it annually.
  • Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about buying a domain.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you’re starting a business, launching a website, or publishing a blog, you might be in need of your own domain, like www.your-domain-name.com.

Having your own domain makes it easier for people to find you and makes you seem more professional and credible. It also affords you the opportunity to have an email address that’s built on your custom domain rather than having a free Gmail account.

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A guide to 403 errors, and how to troubleshoot the ‘forbidden’ webpage

403 error
You can try a few different troubleshooting tricks to get around a 403 error on a website.

  • A 403 error occurs when a server won’t allow you to access a webpage.
  • You can’t always fix a 403 error on your own, but simple tricks like refreshing your page or clearing your cache could help.
  • If visitors to your webpage are getting 403 errors, you may have to reconfigure it.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

A 403 “forbidden” error sounds more threatening than it is.

This type of error happens when a web server doesn’t allow you to access a webpage. You can’t always fix these sorts of errors, but if you can, the solutions are pretty simple.

Here’s everything you need to know about why these errors happen and what to do if you encounter one.

The most common causes for 403 errors

403 errors occur for a single reason: You’re trying to access a webpage that you don’t have permission to see. Consider it a sister to the 404 error, which means the page simply doesn’t exist.

This isn’t any sort of grand conspiracy. Every website has pages that aren’t open to the public – these are usually spots for the site owners to test new features, or edit other parts of the site.

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403 errors aren’t rare, especially if you enter URLs manually.

For example, Insider has pages that are used to edit the text and pictures in a story. People who don’t work at Insider don’t have access to these pages, because if they did, anyone could edit or erase any story at any time.

In most cases, if you’ve hit a 403 error, the solution is to just move on. But if you’re seeing 403 errors on pages that you know you should have permission to see, there’s a deeper issue.

How to troubleshoot a 403 error

Not all 403 errors can be fixed, and not all errors can be fixed by yourself – you might need help from the site’s administrator.

But before you give up, try some of these fixes.

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What is web scraping? Here’s what you need to know about the process of collecting automated data from websites, and its uses

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Web scraping, the process of extracting data en masse from websites, has a variety of practical uses.

  • Web scraping is the process of using automated software, like bots, to extract structured data from websites. 
  • There are many applications for web scraping, including monitoring product retail prices, lead generation, and analyzing sentiment about products and companies on social media. 
  • Here’s a brief overview of web scraping, its applications, and how it works. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Web scraping is the name given to the process of extracting structured data from third-party websites. In other words, it’s a way to capture specific information from one or more websites without also copying unwanted or unrelated information. It’s a common practice that has a lot of potential applications and a murky legal profile. 

What to know about web scraping

Web scraping is usually an automated process, but it doesn’t have to be; data can be scraped from websites manually, by humans, though that’s slow and inefficient. More commonly, scraping is performed by software designed specifically for this application, generally in two main components. A crawler is a program that browses the internet and indexes the content of interest, and it passes this information onto the scraper.

The scraper is designed to locate the relevant structured information using markers called data locators. These locators indicate the presence of the data, which the scraper then extracts and stores offline in a spreadsheet or database for processing or analysis.

One simple example of web scraping: Consider a website that aggregates pricing information for retail products so shoppers can see which retailers have the best prices. A scraper can be programmed to index the product pages at every major retailer, with the scraper then visiting each page and using data locators to zero in just on the price field and ignore all the other data on the page – product description, reviews, and so on. The scraper can be run daily to update the webpage with the latest pricing information from around the web. 

How web scraping is used

Because there is an enormous variety of data online, there is a wide variety of applications for web scraping. Here are some of the most common uses:

  • Price intelligence: Like the example above, many web scrapers are designed to monitor prices from retail sites. Retailers might use this to monitor prices at competitor sites, or the data might be used for competitive analysis, monitoring trends, or as a service to other users.
  • Real estate: Similarly, web scrapers commonly target real estate sites to monitor rental and sale prices, appraise property values in a given region, and conduct market analysis.
  • Lead generation: Marketers commonly use web scraping to generate leads by scraping structured data from websites like LinkedIn.
  • Sentiment analysis: Brands even use web scraping to understand how their products and services are being talked about online. Companies can collect data that mentions their name from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

The legality of web scraping

There’s no easy answer to the question of web scraping’s legality. This technology has had a number of legal challenges dating back to 2000, when online auction site eBay filed an injunction (which was granted by the court) against a site called Bidder’s Edge for scraping its auction data

In the years since, there have been a number of additional challenges to web scraping, but in 2017 LinkedIn lost a suit against a business that was scraping its content. With some precedent in the courts both for and against web scraping, it’s currently a common practice across the internet. 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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What is Carrd? Everything you need to know about the simple website-building platform

young creative entrepreneur making website selling online
Carrd can be used for business websites, personal portfolios, product landing pages, and more.

  • Carrd is a site-building platform, like SquareSpace or WordPress, that’s been getting increasingly popular within the past year.
  • Carrd sets itself apart from other sites by specializing in building one-page websites.
  • Nearly all of its features are free to use, and it has many possible uses. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Lately, you may have heard about a new platform called Carrd. Simply put, Carrd is a website-building platform, much like Squarespace or WordPress. The big difference between Carrd and other sites, though, is that Carrd is optimized to create simple, one-page websites, which makes it much easier to use.

People often use Carrd to display their portfolio, or promote a cause that’s important to them. 

What you need to know about Carrd

There are myriad uses for small websites. Carrd suggests a handful of website types, which are helpfully arranged in different layout templates. They include: 

  • Profile – Good for making a personal information page to tell others about yourself, likely to market yourself to employers or collaborators. 
  • Landing – For things like products, services, apps, and the like. Landing pages make it easy to explain what something is, how it works, and where to get it.
  • Forms – Good for businesses interacting with current or potential customers. Forms can do things like collect emails, conduct surveys, etc.
  • Portfolio – Sort of like a profile, but specifically for visual artists, as it’s meant to show off art and graphics.
  • Sectioned – These Carrds are different from the other categories. They’re like a halfway point between a one-page website and a site with multiple pages. They’re still one page, but they’re sectioned off into different categories – perfect for people looking to disseminate information on a topic, especially a complex one.

On top of these uses, many people have been using Carrd for other things. For example, some writers use it to help outline their stories, using the Sectioned format to help them keep track of characters, world-building elements, plot points, and more. 

One popular use of the Sectioned layout is for online activists to raise awareness and spread information about causes, such as the Carrd site for Black Lives Matter. These sites often include donation buttons or links to organizations that help these causes. 

The best part is that most of the site’s features are free to use. There are a few that you can only access by upgrading to a paid version, like the ability to use forms or third-party widgets, but these extras are mostly aimed at business using Carrd as a homebase – most users can get along without these.

The possible uses of Carrd are limited only by the imagination, and the site is very easy to use. If you’re interested in creating a Carrd yourself, and want to find out more, check out our article on how to make a Carrd

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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