Contribute to the World Wide Web, even with little or no access to the Internet; and learn to improve your access. 
Basics  ~  Connections  ~  Webware  ~  Training 
indirect access ~ public access ~ free web hosts ~ access services 
your comments and suggestions 
No computer, want to connect -- Public-Access Sites
No convenient public-access sites -- Indirect Access
No computer, want to get one -- start at Basic Systems
Have computer, need a modem -- start at Basic Systems
Have computer, need Internet connection -- ISP Services 
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Indirect Access to the Internet 

The Appropriate Technology movement distributes sustainable solutions to real problems -- no safe water, no radio, no firewood -- in areas around the world that are far from any highways, power lines or airports.  We should develop something like that for the Internet. 

Does it seem odd that we would create a section of a Web page for people who don't have access to the Web?  Well, that's sort of the point -- we don't expect anyone with no way to access the Web to be able to read this page without some help.  If you have a friend or colleague who has no way to explore the Web directly, you can send them a copy of this page, or the entire Web Workshop, or any other standard Web pages, via e-mail -- or, if they don't have e-mail, you can copy the pages onto a floppy and mail it to them.  Indeed, even if they don't have access to a computer at all you can print out the pages and mail them! 

Of course, that means that someone who has no direct access to the Web needs to cooperate with someone in order to begin exploring it or working with it -- but what is the Internet but an immense experiment in cooperation anyway? 

From the beginning we designed the Web Workshop and especially the Web Notepad with the aim of encouraging people to become active participants in the World Wide Web -- to feel just as comfortable creating Web pages as reading them. 

Some Web pages cannot be copied successfully and sent on floppies or as e-mail attachments at all -- for example, pages that use Java applets to display part or all of their content.  So you should try browsing the file containing the page, from your own hard drive, after you save it as a file -- before you before you send it off to someone.  Instructions for saving a Web page as a file are given in the Help files for your Web browser, and are discussed on our Web Workshop page on Making Pages

One can also explore the Web without a computer using published  books and    Try Yahoo! Internet Life, Internet World, Wired or ZD Internet Magazine; or some of the others listed in the Internet Magazines section of the Yahoo directory, or a good local newsstand or bookstore.  Or see a few of the many titles in Yahoo!'s index of Books about the  Internet -- covering introductory and advanced works on every aspect of the Internet, including e-mail, discussion groups, the Web, Java, Webmastering, and Web publishing, plus how to use the Internet for research and various other practical tasks, and for enjoyment. 

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Public Internet Access Sites

Internet Cafes (also called CyberCafes) are places where you can use a computer and an Internet connection while you nibble on your croissant and drink your coffee (or herb tea, or whatever).  A typical rate in the United States is ten cents per minute ($6.00 per hour). To see if there is an Internet cafe near you, follow this link to one of the CyberCafe Indexes.  (If you don't find one nearby, you might try your phone book -- many of these indexes list only a fraction of the Internet cafes that are actually out there.  Unfortunately, too, some of the ones that are listed have gone out of business. 

Public libraries now often have computers with Internet connections available, as well as some colleges and other schools -- in some towns the computers in the schools are available after hours. 

In either case, the computer will probably be set up to prevent people from modifying the contents of the hard drive.  You probably will be allowed to download Web pages to the diskette drive, modify them, and create new ones. 

If you want to work with other people on the Net, or publish your pages on the Web, you will need to be able to communicate with people, and send and receive files.  Unfortunately, though, most public-assess Internet connections will not give you access to e-mail.  Even if you have a regular e-mail account, you won't be able to access it from a public connection. One good solution is to open a Web-based e-mail account.  Another is the regular mails. 

A 'free-mail' account -- a Web-based e-mail account -- will give you access to e-mail anywhere you can access the World Wide Web. C|Net's Review of Free E-mail Services says that Rocket Mail and Hot Mail are the best choice for most users, (or at least were, when the review was written). 

If you have a computer and a modem, but can't afford a personal Internet connection, free e-mail-only access to the Internet may be a step in the right direction.  They won't let you send e-mail attachments as such, but you can work around that.  See the Juno section in Internet Service Providers, below. 

The regular mail services can be used to cary messages about the Web, on paper or on floppy disks.  Most Web sites could easily fit on one or two floppies.  See the Indirect Access section, above. 

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Free Web Hosting Services

People using public-access connections to the Internet can create, post and maintain Web pages.  To do so they need, in addition to a Web-based free-mail account, an account with a Web hosting service or Web presence provider. 

Free-mail accounts are discussed in the previous section.  Commercial Web presence providers are discussed on our Weblication page (forthcoming). Free Web hosting services are discussed here. 

A Web server is a computer, connected to the Internet, that stores copies of your Web pages and serves them out, when people who want to see your Web site request them.  A Web hosting service or Web presence provider lets you put your pages on their server.  Here are links to  services that will do that for free, or for your toleration of advertising messages from their sponsors: 

Yahoo! Directory of Free Homepage Services 
Free Homepage Center 
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Internet Access Services  
Introduction - Free E-Mail - Commercial ISPs 

Introduction: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) vs Online Services. 

An Internet Service Provider typically provides a fast dial-up connection to the Internet, usually without any attempt to provide any special content available only to it's customers. There are hundreds of ISP's (not counting all the universities and other institutions which provide free Internet access to eligible people). 

An online service, like AOL or Compuserve, provides a private network with special content available only to it's customers, and also provides a means of accessing the public Internet. 

The main advantage of an Online service is that it is easy to set up.  The main disadvantage of online services as ways of connecting to the Internet is that the connections tend to be relatively slow and unreliable.  We will not discuss online services further here, except to point out Yahoo!'s online services list. 

One company, Juno, offers e-mail-only connections to the Internet for free. 

Free e-mail-only Internet access: Juno. If you have a computer and want a free e-mail account; with over 400 local access numbers Juno may be totally free from where you live.  You don't need an Internet account, just the software which Juno provides -- software that makes working with e-mail easy. C|Net Review of Juno

Juno doesn't support attachments. To send them, you have to use a separate program to encode them as text -- and if someone sends you one, it arrives as text. A program such as WinZip can turn the arriving gibberish back into whatever it was (a graphic, an application, and so on). Juno's 64K bytes- per-message limit will let you send encoded graphics of modest size. 

Web pages, HTML pages, are already 'text,' and fairly large pages can be copied and pasted into a Juno message with no difficulty.  This entire page, without the graphic at the bottom, is less than 20 Kilobytes. 

Juno Online Services; (800) 654-5866, (212) 597-9000;  System requirements: 386, 4MB RAM, VGA display, 15MB disk space, Windows. 

Commercial Internet Service Providers 
Introduction - Lists and Reviews - National (USA)
  - International 
Internet Service Providers (ISP) sell connections to the Internet to anyone who can afford them. In the US, it is easy to find an "unlimited" connection for $20 per month or less -- much less, if you pay by the year. 

In selecting a provider, it is important to find one with an access number that is a local call for you. Whether the company serves only your area - a local ISP - is not so important.  You need a local access number, not necessarily a local ISP. Almost all ISp's have Web pages, and most have a sub page that will tell you if the company provides a local access number for your area. 

Lists and Reviews provided by the following links may help you to find an ISP: 

Internet Access Providers Meta-List  

The List:  Over 3,000 Internet service providers  

ISP Reviews: Yahoo! Directory   CNET's List of ISP Bargans 

Please note that the various rating services use somewhat different criteria and have done their research at different times, so they may not agree with each other.  Here are some specific sugestions, based on the reviews: 

National Isps (Continental USA) 
Accounts and Prices ~ CNET Review 


International ISPs 

IBM Internet Connection 

Local Access Numbers ~ PC World Review ~ CNET Review
Registration Center: for downloading the connection software

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Revised on January 27, 1998 
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