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Technical Support
http://www.trainweb.com/tech/support.html

Technical support is provided to our paying commercial sponsors. Click here to send e-mail. Please include specific details of the problem you have encountered.

If you have a web site hosted at TrainWeb for free, we provide very limited technical support. If you believe the web server is down or that there is some other technical problem at our end preventing you from accessing your web account or interfering with the proper operation of your web site, then click here to send e-mail to us about the problem.

As a service to the rail community, TrainWeb is currently hosting for free well over 400 rail related web sites of individuals and non-profit organizations. We will continue to host these web sites and welcome additional new non-commercial web sites to be hosted free on our server to the limit of our resources.

Because there are so many sites hosted for free on our server, we are not able to provide individual technical support. The only time that we will provide technical support is in those cases where nobody else can fix the problem. For example: the TrainWeb server is down, the FTP or Telnet functions are not working, the page counter is not working, etc. These are problems that nobody other than the staff at TrainWeb can fix.

Most requests that we get for technical support are because of a lack of knowledge or training on the part of the people doing the design of the web pages for the sites hosted for free on the TrainWeb server. For example, web pages do not appear after they have been uploaded, or links are broken, or the photos do not show up on the web pages. These are the types of problems that the TrainWeb staff can not help you with. There are just too many of you and too few of us!

Over 400 web designers have successfully followed the instructions that we provide for accessing their web site and uploading their pages to their free web accounts on the TrainWeb server. Thus, we know that our instructions are correct and do work. You should be able to follow our instructions and get your web site operational without further help on our part unless we have made a mistake in the creation of your web account. That is rare, but does happen at times. In those cases, we will promptly fix our error.

If you do need help in getting your web site up and running on our server, you should find an experienced web designer and have that person walk you through uploading the first few pages to your web site until you get the hang of it. You should find it a pretty simple matter of updating and adding web pages, photos and graphics to your site after that.

If you do not know of any experienced web designers and still need some hands on help, I'd recommend joining the mail list below and see if you can find help from some of the web designers that already have their web sites hosted at TrainWeb for free.

We hope that you will understand that we cannot get involved in spending any time helping individual free web sites to get their sites working. At this time, we have a very small in-house staff and are swamped with work for our commercial accounts and other day to day chores. Someday in the future, we hope to be able to hire at least one technical support person when funding permits, or maybe find someone to volunteer their time to provide support to the web sites hosted free at TrainWeb.

We do wish to issue one warning and helpful hint, however. Using almost any commercial web design software on the market seems to work fine in designing web pages to be hosted at TrainWeb, with one exception: Microsoft Frontpage. We have received very few complaints and have very few problem reports from people using other web design tools. We have had nothing but complaints and problem reports from people attempting to use Microsoft Frontpage! It is possible to use it to create web pages at TrainWeb and some people are still using it for their web sites hosted at TrainWeb, but you really have to know what you are doing! Please do not turn to us for help if you are using Microsoft Frontpage. We don't have the expertise or the time to help you, and you have been warned.

The creation and layout of web pages is rather simple. A web page can be as simple as a single ".html" or ".htm" text file which can be viewed by a visitor when uploaded to your web account. Microsoft Frontpage is the only software that I have run across that does more than create a simple ".html" text file when you try to create a simple web page. It seems to create many auxilliary files which it scatters into many subfolders. Those sets of files and folders can end up all over the place when you attempt to upload them to our server. I have no idea why Microsoft Frontpage takes such a simple process and turns it into a mess and a disaster! I have not heard of any such problems being created by any other web design tool on the market. If you call Microsoft and ask them about the problem, they will tell you that you should only have your site hosted on a Microsoft Web Server (naturally!). Because Microsoft seems to be determined to create software tools and web pages that are incompatible with industry standards and other standardized web software, we steer as clear as we can from Microsoft and avoid their software as much as possible. We strongly recommend that others do the same until Microsoft decides to work toward creating software tools and web pages that are compatible with software packages that need to access those same pages.

If you are seeking a specific recommendation of what web design tool to use, we do know that many of the people with web sites hosted at TrainWeb are using Adobe Page Mill and are quite happy with that software, both for the Windows and for the MacIntosh.

Join the discussion list for web sites hosted at TrainWeb! Often the fastest way to find out how to do something on your web site or how to resolve a problem is to ask the WebMaster of another web site that is hosted at TrainWeb. Any WebMaster that is a member of this list can post messages to this list. Those messages will be sent by e-mail to all members of this list. Thus, you can use this list to interact with WebMasters of other organizations that have their web sites hosted on the TrainWeb server.

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