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Frequently Asked Questions

Even if you have already decided to have a website, please read our reasons for having a website if you have not already done so. This may give you some further ideas about what to put on your website.

Below are some frequently asked questions, regarding both FreemasonsWeb websites and masonic websites in general.

Why does my website say,"This website it is not currently available"?
How can I keep my website offline, but allow Provincial and/or Grand Lodge to view it?
How do I remove the "Login" menu item?
Will my name and picture appear on the website?
Does having a FreemasonsWeb website automatically mean I'm conforming to my governing body's guidelines?
Our lodge/chapter already has a domain name and/or website, can we host a FreemasonsWeb website?
What domains are available, and what will my sub-domain be?
What skin styles are available?
How do I access my email?
I already have my own email address, can I use this instead?
I'm worried about viruses and SPAM - what protection do I have?
Will guest-book entries automatically appear on my website?
What types of membership are available?
What would I use the membership levels for?
Do I have to offer membership on my site?
Why should I choose FreemasonsWeb when there are free sites available?
How can FreemasonsWeb offer websites at a cost less than other providers?
Will you be offering a wider choice of skin-styles and product features in the future?
What guidance do you provide in using the FreemasonsWeb CMS?
I'm having problems viewing Freemasons-Web and/or my website on my browser
How do I get my site to appear on a Google search?

Why does my website say,"This website it is not currently available"?

This message can appear for one of two reasons:

  1. Your website is currently "offline", because the "Is Visible To Public" option is not set within Site Designer->Website Preferences.
    Note that this is the default setting for all UGLE constitution websites in order to comply with their regulations.
     
    If you think this is the case:
    1. Go to Site Designer->Website Preferences
    2. Ensure the Is Visible To Public option is checked
    3. Click the Save button.

    or...
     
  2. Your trial period or subscription has expired.
    In this case, go to the Billing & Subscription page to start or renew your subscription.

How can I keep my website offline, but allow Provincial and/or Grand Lodge to view it?

For this you'll need to create a member account for the person viewing the site.

Note that the person who wants to review your site may already have a FreemasonsWeb account, so first try to add them by:

  1. Go to Member Options->Member List
  2. Enter their email address in the edit box next to the "Add Existing Member" button.
  3. Select Site Manager from the dropdown.
  4. Click the Add Existing Member button.

If the member for that email address cannot be found, you'll need to add them yourself:

  1. Go to Member Options->Member List
  2. Click the Add Member button
  3. Fill in the details on the Add Member form, giving a username such as reviewerMylodge1234 (replace Mylodge1234 with your own lodge name/number) - Note that the email address field is optional, and probably best left blank for this type of member.
  4. Take a note of the username and password you've provided.
  5. Ensure their Member Level is Site Manager.
  6. Click the Save button.

Now that your member has been created, you'll need to ensure the Site Manager member level has access to your site whilst its offline:

  1. Go to Site Designer->Website Preferences
  2. Ensure the "When not visible, allow access to:" option is set to Site Manager
  3. Click the Save button.

Finally, contact the person letting them know your site is ready for viewing by logging into www.freemasons-web.com, and clicking on the link to your website on the Member Options page.

If you've created a user account for them manually, make sure you let them know their username and password.

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How do I remove the "Login" menu item?

To do this:

  1. Go to Site Designer->Website Preferences
  2. Ensure the Allow Member Login option is unchecked
  3. Click the Save button.

Your members can still log in by appending ?pageId=login to your website URL, for example:

If your website URL page is:
    www.lodge12345.masonic-lodge.org.uk

The login link will be:
    www.lodge12345.masonic-lodge.org.uk?pageId=login

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Will my name and picture appear on the website?

Your name, picture, or any contact details should only ever be published with your specific consent.

If you think your details have been added without your consent, you should contact your webmaster and ask that this is remedied immediately.

This is a requirement laid down in the website-guidelines of the governing bodies of all orders in every constituency.

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Does having a FreemasonsWeb website automatically mean I'm conforming to my governing body's guidlines?

Whilst your website will conform to most governing bodies' guidelines as standard, there is still much under your control that you will need consider.

Below are some of the main points you should keep in mind:

  1. Names, pictures and contact details can only be published with the individual's specific consent.
  2. Under no circumstances should you publish the name of any degree candidate on your website.
  3. It is your responsibility to ensure that you respect the copyright of any images or text you publish on your website.
  4. Links to commercial websites are generally forbidden by most governing bodies (the only exceptions being your web-designer, or hosting company - e.g. FreemasonsWeb).

Note this list is not exhaustive. You should refer to your own governing body's website guidelines if in any doubt.

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Our lodge/chapter already has a domain name and/or website, can we host a FreemasonsWeb website?

The short answer is yes, however there are several options open to you.

A sub-domain is automatically created for you when you purchase a FreemasonsWeb website. As all the information on your site is held centrally on our web-server's database, you cannot simply "copy" the site over. However, you have the following options:

  1. Set up web-diversion on your domain to redirect your website to your new FreemasonsWeb site address. Most domain providers supply this feature as standard.
  2. Alter the DNS entries for your domain to redirect your website to your new FreemasonsWeb site address.
  3. Use a frame-page to "contain" your FreemasonsWeb website.Note: Some domain providers may already offer this facility as part of their web-diversion.

The preferred option is to alter your DNS entries.

You should use the contact form to contact FreemasonsWeb for instructions on how to set this up.

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What domains are available, and what will my sub-domain be?

You have the choice of one of the following domains:

  • UK Lodges:
     
  • subdomain.masonic-lodge.org.uk
  • subdomain.masons-lodge.org.uk
  • subdomain.masonic-website.org.uk
  • subdomain.masoniclodge.org.uk
     
  • Lodges outside the UK:
     
  • subdomain.masons-lodge.org
  • subdomain.masonic-website.org
  • subdomain.masonic-lodge.ca
     
  • Royal Arch Chapters:
     
  • subdomain.ra-chapter.org.uk
  • subdomain.ra-chapter.org
     
  • Knights Templar & Related Orders:
     
  • subdomain.preceptory.co.uk
  • subdomain.kt-preceptory.org
  • subdomain.kt-preceptory.org.uk
  • subdomain.kt-priory.org
  • subdomain.kt-priory.org.uk
     
  • Order of the Eastern Star:
     
  • subdomain.o-es.org
  • subdomain.o-es.org.uk
     
  • Ancient and Accepted Rite:
     
  • subdomain.aarite.org.uk
     
  • Red Cross of Constantine:
     
  • subdomain.rc-of-c.org.uk
     

You have complete choice over the name of your subdomain, as long as it is not already in use. We recommend one of the following formats:

  • www.mytown-number.domain - e.g.:
       www.helensburgh-503.masonic-lodge.org.uk, or
       www.helensburgh-522.ra-chapter.org
      
  • www.lodgename-mytown-number.domain - e.g.:
        www.st-george-helensburgh-503.masons-lodge.org
      
  • www.lodgename-number.domain - e.g.:
        www.st-george-522.ra-chapter.org.uk
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What skins are available?

Below are the skins currently available, with an example thumbnail representation of the home page.

Note that skins can be changed at any time by selecting a different skin within Site Designer->Advanced Styling.

You can use up to two skins per site, an each skin can be customised either on a site-wide or per page basis.

Blue Boxed S+C

Websites using this skin:
Lodge St George, Helensburgh No.503
Lodge Neptune Kilwinning Saltcoats No 442
Old England 1790
Willem van Oranje Lodge No 3976
elgar-lodge 9254
Faith and Confidence Lodge No 8222
Strand 1987
Mitre Lodge No. 9307
Harrow Temple in Unity Lodge No. 1310
Chaddesley Corbett Lodge No. 8942
Five-Heads 8507
The Operative Lodge Of Dumfries 140
Coulsdon Lodge No.4547
Loyal-Monmouth 457
Lodge of Good Fellowship No 276
Blue Simple Pattern

Websites using this skin:
Iuventutis 9338
Leyton-Lea 7038
Loyalty-&-Charity 1584
Red Boxed Triple Tau

Websites using this skin:
St George, Helensburgh Royal Arch Chapter No.522
semper-fidelis 529
Essex Chapter of Royal Arch Masons No. 276
Criterion Chapter of Installed First Principals 6220
Red Carpeted Header

Websites using this skin:
Operative lodge of Airdrie 203
ST-COLUMBA-GOVAN 729
Green Boxed S+C

Websites using this skin:
Lodge Govandale No 437
Worcestershire Masonic Golfing Society
wmmc motor-club
Kidderminster Masonic Centre
Forest-Green-Lodge 7925
Stechford Lodge No. 3185
Old-Edwardian-Lodge-of-Stourbridge 6141
Rounded Red 1

Websites using this skin:
Lodge St Maurs Kilmaurs 1398
Rounded Blue 1

Websites using this skin:
Lodge St. Modan, Rosneath No.1015
Triumvirate-Lodge 9505
Silhill Lodge 4786
Forest of Galtres Lodge No. 9438
Holgate 4792
Sydney-Lodge 829
Royal Union Lodge No. 246
Basing Lodge 5500
Lodge Sir George Cathcart No. 617
Rounded Black 1

Websites using this skin:
Lodge Burns Immortal 1730
Machen Lodge 1782 Birmingham Freemasons
Old Manuscript 1

Websites using this skin:
St. John (Kilwinning) Largs 173
Adoniram Council No. 2
Pro Patria Lodge No. 4144
Lodge Leven St John 170
Manor-of-Bexley-Lodge 5977
Fulcorn Lodge No.4791
Lodge-Dramatic 571
Hamlet-Court-Lodge 6026
The Lodge of Restoration No. 9935
Simple Blue 1

Websites using this skin:
Bromwic Lodge 6773
Lodge-of-St-Blaise 6113
Lodge Greenock St. John's No. 175
Swan-of-Avon 2133
Old Symondian Lodge No. 5734
Lincoln Masonic Centre (LMC) - The Home of Freemasons in Lincoln
Universal Friendship Lodge No. 9759
Simple Blue 2

Websites using this skin:
Old Carolian Lodge No 7599
Vernon 560 | Stourport Freemasons | Wyre Forest Masons | Craft Lodge
Bordesley Abbey Lodge No.4495
Lodge-Thorntree 512
Victory-Marine-Lodge 6160
Boswells Lodge No. 7759
Perseverance Lodge Cheltenham 4554
Big Space

Websites using this skin:
Newfields-Banqueting-Suite
Chelmsford Masonic Hall
Blue Boxed Keystone

Websites using this skin:
East Barnet Lodge 6259
ROYAL WHARFEDALE LODGE 1108
Loyal Travellers 2733
SevenStars 6417
The-Elizabethan-Lodge 7262
Blenheim Park Lodge 8981
Wheel of Fellowship 9016
North Leeds Masonic Centre
Lodge Langside Glasgow No.955
Red Boxed KT Cross

Websites using this skin:
Palestine Preceptory 217
Clean Blue

Websites using this skin:
The Lodge of Hope and Charity No. 377
St. Hilary Lodge No. 3591
Swinford Lodge No. 5729
Sebright Lodge of Old Wolvernians No: 8007
Deo Confidimus Lodge 6253. Essex
Worcester Masonic Centre (WMC)
Lodge Cochno 1304
St. Johns Lodge No. 6414
Lodge Polkemmet 927
Old Cheltonian Lodge, No.3223
Adams Lodge No. 3122
Weatheroak Lodge No. 7214
Knowle Lodge 8001
Liberty Lodge Leeds Freemasons
The Lodge of Peace and Harmony No. 359
Preston Park Lodge No. 6903
Lodge-of-Allegiance 6000
Mitton Lodge No.6904
Lentune-Lodge 8743
The Old Chelmsfordian Lodge 5499
The-Bewick-Lodge 5988
St James's Operative Lodge No 97
Coleshill Lodge 8272
Lodge Concord Glasgow No 1341
Lodge of Progress 4620
The Lodge of Harmony 309
Lodge-Cadder-Argyle 147
Winscombe 6474
Simple Red 1

Websites using this skin:
Geoffrey de St. Aldemar Preceptory No. 2
Kirkstyle 453
Provincial-Grand-Royal-Arch-Chapter-of-Lanarkshire-Upperward
Rose Croix - District of Surrey
St Thomas of Acon - South Eastern Counties
Simple Red 2

Websites using this skin:
K T Bodyguard of Worcestershire
Provincial Priory of Worcestershire
Commemorative Order of St Thomas of-Acon
St Thomas of Acon - Province of Wessex
Red Cross of Constantine - West Midlands Division
Worcestershire Rose Croix
Province of East Anglia
Simple Blue 3

Websites using this skin:
Old -Dudleian-Lodge-6734
Gorton 7657
Dark

Websites using this skin:
William de Warenne Lodge No. 6139
The Lodge Semper Fidelis No.529
Gordon Bourne Lodge 9388
Coston & Franchelie Lodge No. 5600
Royal Naval Lodge 2761
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How do I access my email?

You can access your email through your browser, or via an email client such as Outlook™

Browser Access

For browser access, point your browser at http://webmail.my-subdomain

Your subdomain will be the last part of your site's website address, e.g.:

For website address: Email access is at:
www.lodge-example-1234.masonic-lodge.org.uk http://webmail.masonic-lodge.org.uk
www.example-1234.ra-chapter.org.uk http://webmail.ra-chapter.org.uk

Your username is full email address, e.g.: secretary.lodge-example-1234@masonic-lodge.org.uk

Your password is the password that was entered when ordering your website.

Email Client Access

For Email Client access, you will need the following information:

Server:Enter the part of your email address AFTER the "@" sign - e.g. masonic-lodge.org.uk
Username:Enter your full email address, e.g.: secretary.lodge-example-1234@masonic-lodge.org.uk
Password:Enter the password that was entered when ordering your website.

Note that you should use the 'POP3' protocol for reading your emails.

The 'SMTP' protocol can be used for sending emails, but you must ensure that your email client is set to log-in using the same login details as above.

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I already have my own email address, can I use this instead?

You are free to continue using your own email address, however you may consider setting up mail-forwarding on your new FreemasonsWeb email account. This will ensure any emails sent to your FreemasonsWeb email account will be sent on to your existing email address.

Note however, that if someone else replaces you in office, you should let them know so they can change the forwarding address.

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I'm worried about viruses and SPAM - what protection do I have?

All our email accounts offer virus and SPAM protection as standard.

Virus protection can be applied to both incoming and/or outgoing emails. Note however, that although virus protection will shield you from most viruses, you should avoid opening any email attachments unless you know exactly where they have come from.

You have various options available to you to strengthen your SPAM settings and how your SPAM is dealt with (e.g. marked as SPAM, or deleted).

As an additional deterrent, try not to publish your email address anywhere on the site. Certain individuals "crawl" web-pages looking for email addresses to send SPAM to.

There is a "contact-us" page facility, which your visitors can use to send you emails. This page includes a "captcha" security code which helps to stop automated emails being sent via your website.

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Will guest-book entries automatically appear on my website?

By default, all guest-book entries must be checked and authorised by you before they will appear on your website.

Although this option can be turned-off it is not recommended, and may contravene your governing body's website guidelines.

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What types of membership are available?

There are two types of visitors to your website: public visitors, and members.

By default, all the content of your website is visible to the public, but you are free to limit pages or events to certain levels of membership.

For someone to become a member, they must first register on FreemasonsWeb, which is free for anyone to do so.

Being a member of FreemasonsWeb does not grant them membership access to your website. The member must first "request" to become a member of your site at any of the following levels:

  • Basic Member - Used for members of other lodges/chapters who wish to keep in touch with what is going on at your lodge/chapter, and have access to pages/events not available to the public.
  • Full Member - Members of your own lodge/chapter, who can be given access to additional pages and/or events of your choice.
  • Site Managers - Members who have been given limited authority to alter the content of your web-pages within the FreemasonsWeb CMS.
  • Site Administrators - Members who have full control over your web-site page-content,style and preferences.

Only Site Administrators can authorise or deny membership requests. You may also choose to authorise membership, but at a lower membership level than requested.

There is no limit to the number of websites you can become a member of, but you are only a member at the level you have been authorised at. For example, you can be a Site Administrator of your own lodge, but a Basic Member of another lodge.

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What would I use the membership levels for?

A typical use of membership levels is as follows:

  • General Public - Can see all social events (excluding VIP social events) on your event list.
  • Basic Member - In addition to the above, they can see VIP events and any degrees you are conferring.
  • Full Member - In addition to the above, they can see events marked as committee meetings, or special meetings.

Of course this is just an example, you are free to assign membership access as you see fit.

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Do I have to offer membership on my site?

No. Member login can be turned off, in which case all of your website will be visible to the public.

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Why should I choose FreemasonsWeb when there are free sites available?

There are many companies offering free web-hosting, however most use advertising banners to support the cost of that hosting. Having adverts or links to commercial companies on your sites is forbidden under the guidelines of most governing masonic bodies, who strongly advise against the use of free web-hosting.

However, your hosting is not the only thing to consider:

  • Buying a domain and the associated space is around £6 per year for your domain, and £3-£4 per month for your hosting.
  • New domains can take up to 72 hours to be available to the whole of the internet.
  • Whether you use free hosting, or decide to pay for it you still need to build your website HTML which takes time and technical know-how.
  • A typical website by a professional web-designer is likely to be in excess of £500 (the average cost is around £100 per page).
  • Even if you use a content management system such as Joomla or Wordpress, there is a vast learning curve in both creating your website and maintaining it.

If you decide not to use a web-designer, you have all the web-design, content and maintenance to carry out yourself. Also, there are inconsistencies in how different browsers display web-pages which is additional consideration when designing your website.

Compare this with a FreemasonsWeb website:

  • Your domain and hosting is all provided by us for only £20.00 a year (less than £1.75 a month).
  • Your website will be ready, pre-styled, and fully populated with content in less than 5 minutes.
  • The initial cost of your website with an unlimited amount of pages is only £99.99.
  • All our websites have been designed by professional web-designers, and have been tested on the most popular browsers on both the PC and Apple Mac.
  • FreemasonsWeb websites and the FreemasonsWeb CMS are designed with ease-of-use as the top priority.

FreemasonsWeb appreciate that the secretaries, scribes and recorders of many lodges/chapters are generally not technically minded, and our product is designed with them specifically in mind.

We believe that FreemasonsWeb offer a professional website solution at a highly competitive cost.

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How can FreemasonsWeb offer websites at a cost less than other providers?

FreemasonsWeb offer websites for masonic organisations, and masonic organisations only.

In doing this, we have been able to:

  • Remove any ambiguity about how our websites will be used, allowing us to dictate how we store our data, and limit the complexity of using our CMS.
  • Make our styling-skins focussed on each order in question (but with the ability to customise), so each design can be used by many customers.
  • Hold all of our websites and data centrally, keeping our hosting simpler and easier to manage.
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Will you be offering a wider choice of skin-styles and product features in the future?

Absolutely! Almost all our income is going towards our running/hosting costs and further development.

Any updates will be announced on our website.

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What guidance do you provide in using the FreemasonsWeb CMS?

Guidance in using the FreemasonsWeb CMS can be found in the form of:

  • Help links on each page within the members area;
  • Video tutorials and a consolidated list of Help links within the "Help & Tutorials" section.
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I'm having problems viewing Freemasons-Web and/or my website on my browser

Internet browsers can differ the way they handle Javascript and display HTML content. A considerable amount of effort was made to ensure that FreemasonsWeb and its websites behave consistently between the various browsers available.

Therefore, FreemasonsWeb and the websites produced by it are designed (and tested) to work with at least 95% of the most popular browsers.

  • Google™ Chrome (used by 55.8% of all internet users)
  • Firefox (used by 26.8% of all internet users)
  • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer (used by 9.8% of all internet users), of which:
    • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer 10 (used by 2.1% of all internet users)
    • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer 9 (used by 2.4% of all internet users)
    • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer 8 (used by 3.2% of all internet users)
    • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer 7 (used by 0.4% of all internet users)
    • Microsoft™ Internet Explorer 6 (used by 0.1% of all internet users)
  • Safari (used by 3.8% of all internet users)
  • Opera (used by 1.7% of all internet users)

These statistics are based on the December 2013 statistics provided by www.w3schools.com.

If your browser isn't in the above list, or has a popularity less than 3%, it is possible that you may have issues using the FreemasonsWeb CMS, although it is less likely that you will have issues with the sites produced by FreemasonsWeb.

If you are having issues however, we recommend downloading one of the following browsers for administering and/or viewing FreemasonsWeb sites:

Both these browsers are free to download and use.

In addition, Javascript is required to use the membership and administration side of FreemasonsWeb. If you are uncomfortable with enabling Javascript for general internet use, consider downloading one of the above browsers for administering your FreemasonsWeb website, and continuing to use your existing browser for general internet use (be sure to click No to making your new browser your default browser if you go down this route).

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How do I get my site to appear on a Google search?

To get your site up on a Google search (or via the Google search bar), does take some time.

Google works by following links to your site, so unless you've got other sites linking to it, it's not going to pick it up. It also looks at how many "relevant" sites are linking to yours - the higher the number of links to your site, the higher your site will appear on Google's search results. By "relevant", I mean other masonic sites. Google penalises links from unrelated sites, such as general directories etc.

There's a couple of things you can do however to speed things up:

  1. Register your site URL with google: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. We did look into doing this automatically, but Google won't allow it. It also requires you to be the owner of the site, so this is best done by yourself.
  2. Uncheck the "hide from lodge directory" setting within your website preferences. Google (and Yahoo, Bing etc) regularly visit FreemasonsWeb's members site page, so having your site on this list will help to move your site up the search results.

Spreading your URL around the fraternity, and also on social network sites such as facebook or twitter will help to get it on Google quicker.

Please note that SEO (Search engine optimisation) is a big subject, with sites constantly competing to get the top hits within Google, Yahoo and Bing.

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