The Easy WebContent website-editing service more than lives up to its name. And it's inexpensive.

It is a rare but unalloyed pleasure to try a product or service for which you have only modest expectations, and find yourself blown out of the water. Easy WebContent, an online service designed to take the fuss out of editing web pages, is that good.

In fact, Easy WebContent is a $9.95-per-month (about a fiver) service that's better than most stand-alone web-design applications we've used over the past 10 years or so.

Easy WebContent isn't designed to compete with an Adobe Dreamweaver-scale product; it's meant to help average mortals update web pages. And in that market, it has no rival.

Online services such as Mr Site use template approaches that restrict what you can do with your site; Easy WebContent comes much closer than its template-oriented competitors to being a web design application.

Easy WebContent's target market is people who don't want to learn underlying HTML; many "simple" web page applications don't require you to use HMTL either, but they tend to rely on piles of custom JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets that make pages uneditable - except in that software, so you can't reuse them you if you decide to switch to another application.

To upload new and revised files for your website with Easy WebContent, you just enter the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) settings that most web hosts provide. The service doesn't help you create a site - it's really for editing existing pages you've already designed or had a designer create. Nor does it include any e-commerce tools.

To get started, you set up an account with Easy WebContent and enter the FTP log-in information for one or more websites that you want to manage through the service. The service retrieves an index of all the files in each hosted site, broken down into separate File Manager lists for each site.

Easy WebContent lets you edit web pages without changing the web server's configuration. Most users, especially those using basic hosting services, have no access to web server settings that more-elaborate products require, including installing special scripts.

The File Manager has just three links per HTML file: Edit, Preview, and Delete. As in an operating system file list, the file type, size, and last modified date are all shown. Click Edit, and a what you see is what you get (Wysiwyg) onscreen editor appears.

We found it easy to revise existing copy; add tables; resize, flip and crop images; and even add forms. (The forms produce simple email results, but that's fine for most purposes.)

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