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Internet Basics - Registering on a website

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Online forms

Registration form example

There are many times when you will be asked to register for something online, such as internet banking or shopping. If you register on a website it means they will save information about you and you have to log in to the site to use it.

When you register online you have to complete a registration form. It looks very similar to a paper based form.

There are different types of sections to fill in on a form:

A field looks like an empty box, where you can enter any text, such as your name.

Keyboard layout highlighting the Tab key

To activate a field you need to left click with your cursor in the box. As a shortcut you can use the tab key on your keyboard to move from one field to the next.

A drop down box is for choosing from a selection, such as the county you live in. To use a drop down box left click on the down arrow and then left click on your selection.

A radio button is when you can choose only one option, such as male or female. Left click on a radio button to select the option.

A compulsory field is one you have to complete to register. These are normally marked with an asterisk, *.

Completing the form

Usually you don't have to complete all information on a registration form. Only give information if you want to.

Many websites will not let you register unless you have a valid email address. They will often use your email address to send you a confirmation that you've registered properly.

User names and passwords

When you register on a website you'll be asked for a username. A username can be anything you want it to be; it doesn't have to be your real name. You might not want to use your real name as this will help keep your identity unknown and safe.

Form showing Username and Password fields

When you register you will also be asked to give a password. It is important that you choose a password that is memorable and not easy for someone else to guess. You don't want someone else to be able to access all your details!

The best type of password is one that mixes letters and numbers.

Bad examples of a password:

  • password
  • michaelsmith

Good examples of a password:

  • he770mum
  • mik35th

It is safer to have different passwords for different websites. This way, if someone finds out only one password at least they won't be able access everything you have signed up for.

Normally, when you type in your password, it will appear as asterisks so people near you cannot see what you are typing.

IMPORTANT: Never give your password out to anyone as no legitimate company will ever ask you for it.

Security questions

When registering you often get asked to complete a security question, such as 'where were you born?'. This is so that if you forget your username or password they can ask you the security question to verify who you are and your details will be sent to you.

Secure sites

Before you start entering your details on a website make sure you are on a secure site. A secure site will have https in the address bar and there will often be a padlock symbol either next to the address, or in your status bar.

Tick boxes

Terms and conditions accept tick box

Once you have completed the registration form you will normally see some tick boxes. A tick box is one you have to select on or off.

In order to register you usually have to tick the box to accept the terms and conditions of the website.

However, tick boxes are often used for marketing purposes and ticking them will mean you get sent junk emails. Sometimes they are sneakily already ticked! Make sure you read and check what you are signing up to before you finish registering.

Finally, always remember to log off from a site after you have finished using it. This is very important when you are using a public computer.

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