Uptime – Do You Get What You Pay For?

Web hosting is a subject that divides opinion more fiercely than you might think. When people are arguing about what is most important in a web host, you can prepare for some strongly differing opinions. While there will be many who prefer that the web host has good tech support, and others will prize webspace above all else, a significant number of people will plump for uptime, every time. If your web host provides the right amount of uptime, the tech support won’t be so necessary (and you can always add more webspace later on).

Uptime is, however, essential no matter who you are and what your site is about. You might as well not have a website if it is going to spend more time displaying error messages to the people who want to read it. Most web hosts will promise in the region of 99.9% uptime. None can promise a hundred per cent, as this is an impossible promise, but you will note that the sites that offer 99.99% or 99.999% will be more expensive than those offering the simple 99.9. Nines are costly.

It is worth asking for proof if none is shown, or asking an impartial contact if the hosting company is as reliable as they say they are. It is one thing to lay claim to excellent uptime and quite another to reliably provide it.

Unlimited Webspace – As Good As It Sounds?

When setting up your website, you are likely to have some grand ambitions as to how it will look. You will want to bring in as many viewers as possible and expand as time goes on. This is what any webmaster wants to do – or at least, the vast majority do. This is the thinking behind the “unlimited web space” offers that are made by many web hosting companies. And as attractive as that sounds, you may find that it has its drawbacks.

With limited web space, the advantage is that you can set a limit for what you pay – ensuring that your monthly bills are more than reasonable. If you get a spike in traffic, the site may experience lagging and even down time – but as long as you are on top of how much traffic you are getting, there need never be any real problem. But if, for whatever reason, hits to your site go astronomical when you have unlimited web space then you will soon find why most people choose limited.

There is a trade-off to be had between settling for less and paying more. Setting limits on the amount of web space you use is the sensible thing to do, at least until you are able to see how much traffic your site is bringing in and how well you could justify spending a little more on it. Certainly, unlimited webspace is a waste if you are not planning to make money from your website.

Colocation – What Is It And How Can It Help You?

Smaller businesses will always be somewhat at the mercy of the larger companies who can pay for their own servers and the IT experts who can make sure that they keep running. It is pointless to look to compete with these companies, but you can follow some of the steps they take and keep yourself ahead of other companies of the same size as you. One way to go about this is to use colocation – a system that allows you to benefit from greater bandwidth and customer support than would otherwise be possible.

Colocation does cost more than standard web hosting, but offers you more for the money. It costs about the same as you would pay for a business grade DSL line providing limited bandwidth, and allows you access to far more bandwidth than the DSL line. It is also a more protected supply than most others, meaning you will have less downtime, and any time you do it will either be scheduled or fixed within moments. Because the colocation facility is dedicated to providing so much bandwidth, it is set up to withstand power outages.

As a colocation customer, you do have more responsibility for your server – indeed, in many cases it is advised that you buy a standard server in a colocation facility (this will usually cost between $150 and 200), and pay a small extra cost to have it maintained by the IT team at the facility. However, if you have your own IT experts, they can attend and carry out the maintenance that is required themselves.

The “Trouble Ticket” System: Just The Ticket Or Asking For Trouble?

There are many web hosting companies that nowadays subscribe to the idea of a “trouble ticket” system for resolving customer issues. The idea of the system is simple – a customer who is having problems with their web hosting fills in a ticket on the error page that is showing, or on the web host’s own site, informing the host of the problem. This is then sent to the web host’s call center who prioritize the issue and assign an engineer to resolve the issue.

The benefit of the system is that it does allow companies to prioritize issues, ensuring that engineers can be assigned to the particularly problematic cases first. It also means that when you do speak to someone from the company, they should be up to speed on what is wrong with your service.

Equally, however, the system has its flaws. Not least of these is the fact that it is simply impossible to know when you will get a call from an engineer. The system is designed in such a way that your first contact will come when they have got around to assigning someone to your case. This leaves you at a bit of a loose end if your problem is stopping you working. How the cases are prioritized is also a gray area.

Research has proven that customers feel far more reassured with a company that has a dedicated tech support phone number that allows them to make direct contact rather than sending off a “ticket”. It is worth holding out for a company that does this, but does it particularly well.

Using Subdomains: Benefits and Drawbacks

Most online businesses don’t like to use subdomains because they feel like they give them a disadvantage in many areas, such as having a prefix name before your web-site, being ignored by bots and index spiders in search engines and all in all, it just doesn’t look right. So let’s check our facts on subdomains.

A subdomain is substitute or second-level of a domain. A regular domain looks as follows: www.jamesbrown.com . A sub domain looks like this

http://bravenet.domain.com. Subdomains do not have www on the front of them. All subs start with “http://subdomain/maindomain.com pattern of identification.

Subdomains rank efficiently well. Search engine spiders and bots are not prejudiced when it comes to the ranking of subdomains and regular domains. As long as your site has the right SEO keywords and has been optimized, whether you have a subdomain or regular domain name doesn’t make a difference at all.

Let’s pretend that you site has a lot of categories in it. If you were to submit to a search engine, you could submit each subdomain as its own individual category and still get a good ranking. Each subdomain would be looked at by search engines as a new site with its own index or home page. You may want to try creating subfolders on the subdomain to get around this so that search engines can read the folder as one set of site information.

People worry about their subdomain getting banned if the main domain name is banned. If the main domain is banned, it will have an effect on the subdomain. You see this happen often in adult content sites that have violated certain agreements that they have signed with a provider that does not want a domain used for adult material.

Again, there is nothing wrong with using a subdomain. If you want to develop each subdomain as its own entity, then by all means, do so. If not, get yourself a main domain name and use that as a certified landing page.

Using MySQL in a Hosting Environment

MySQL is a heavy-duty database server. Used with various software languages, most notably PHP, and part of the LAMP family (which is comprised of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP),

Whether it’s a customer relations management list or medical records, any data you have that needs storing, is stored on a database. You will need a database management system to add, access, edit, and process data in your databases, and MySQL is one of the best and most comprehensive packages on the market.

MySQL can also be used as a relational database management system, which means it can store data in various tables that can communicate with one another rather than all in one large “storeroom” of data.

You can run MySQL as a server in your local device or in a remote server. All you need to access your MySQL databases and MySQL functionality is your server name (such as the name server of your MySQL web hosting provider) or the appropriate IP address. You can then input your various commands, most likely using PHP scripts, to interact with your various databases. These commands are written on programming scripts.

When choosing a MySQL web hosting provider, you’ll want to consider some additional factors beyond the standard uptime, backup/redundancy systems, bandwidth, email, and bandwidth concerns.

Databases: If you’re seeking a MySQL web hosting provider, you’re surely planning on making databases a significant part of your web-presence. You therefore need to find a MySQL hosting provider that offers you at least as many data structures as you might need. A host that promotes itself as a MySQL hosting provider must offer its clients with multiple websites at least five databases.

Interface: You’ll be working with your databases intimately and frequently. You’ll want a MySQL hosting provider that’s designed its admin interface with the MySQL user in mind. If you have various staff-members involved in the building and maintenance of your various tables and databases, you’ll want to be able to create multiple user I.D.’s to allow varying degrees of secure access. CPanel is a good administrative dashboard to have for MySQL databases.

CRON support: A cron helps you to run specific scripts for regular, routine tasks to be run at periodic intervals. A MySQL hosting provider should allow you to set up and manage crons from your admin control panel. These scripts are also good for Preventive Maintenance routines.

PHP Info: The most common script for MySQL databases is PHP. A MySQL hosting provider with PHP extensions enabled is likely to be more frustrating than useful to you. By checking into a prospective MySQL hosting provider’s PHP capabilities, you can ensure compatibility between your scripting language and your database management, thus saving yourself tons of trouble and loads of regrets later on.

Remember, if you are running MySQL databases; make sure that you get a host that specializes in MySQL hosting.

Using Managed Dedicated Web Hosting

Managed dedicated web hosting is for an individual or company that wants storage and bandwidth without the restrictions that you get by choosing a free web hosting service. If you have a site which you want to have more bells and whistles programmed into it, then managed dedicated hosting is the way to go.

Dedicated services give you more email addresses, sometimes up to 500 addresses. It also has storage to support basic database applications on the server side of the web host. This allows for the development of applications that enable you to store data on the server side also and have queries and other types of program and programming scripts embedded into your web-site.

But the key to these kinds of servers are the bandwidth that’s available to the user. Monthly bandwidth can range from 500 to 1000GB for the user.

That’s good for your basic SOHO business or home office because if you’re running a small audio or flash application or database on your site, this type of hosting service should do just fine. Also, you can assign the other email accounts to co-workers, family members or whoever you want to.

When you are running web applications over 1,000GB, that’s when you should consider steeping up your web hosting package. There are various types of web plans based on the types of internet applications that you are developing for your business. For example, if you are developing online streaming video content for your site, then you might want to go past the 1000GB limit on your account and get more bandwidth.

As a SOHO or company grows, the need for more bandwidth is paramount especially if you have an intranet in your office or you have people accessing the back end of your web-site to load data from various locations.

Dedicated web hosting is what the majority of individuals and small businesses use until they start growing out of their bandwidth. They usually upgrade their web hosting packages and buy more storage and bandwidth.

Using JSP as a Host Server

JSP Hosting is a Java hosting program that has many similarities to Microsoft ASP. JSP hosting refers to the ability to run and manage Java Server Pages. Even though Java Server Pages (JSP) is quite similar to Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP) JSP does have slight differences in the hosting environment.

Java Server Pages is a server-side language that uses simple tag-based codes inserted into HTML and XML to produce dynamic and interactive web pages that are platform independent, meaning that by all rights they should appear exactly the same on every computer screen, regardless of the platform. This is the result when your publish yoy JSP-coded website on a JSP-supported Java hosting provider.

JSP allows web designers combine dynamically generated HTML in with their standard, static HTML code. While most CGI programs require you to compose the entire website in that one program, JSP allows you to compose the dynamic aspects and the static aspects of your site separately.

Java Hosting which includes JSP support would be the logical choice of any web designer wishing to eliminate the irritating need to repeat work they’ve already done. Java hosting, and JSP hosting specifically, would also be an efficient choice for those web designers working with a team.

One of the greatest aspects about JSP is that you don’t need to learn Java to use it and it’s practically built into programs like Macromedia Dreamweaver MX.

JSP’s use a variety of simple tags. The following are some of the most basic and common ones:

* Directives: <%@directive%> Instructions processed when the page is compiled
* Hidden Comments: <–comment–> Document the page, not sent to the client
* Declarations: <%!declaration%> Declare methods or variables with scope throughout the page.
* Expressions: <%=expression%> A bit more complicated to explain, expressions produce results which are then inserted into the output stream at the appropriate place
* Scriptlets: <%scriptlet%> A fragment of code that can access a declared variable and execute it at a defined time.
* Actions: An XML-style tag that can perform any of a slew of functions

So if you are running JSP, remember that you need to have a host that provides JSP runtime modules on the host side of your web server so that you can run the appropriate scripts.

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