Changing web hosts: what not to forget?

You thought long and hard about this and you decided that you want to change web hosts. Perhaps your current web host has been found out to be unreliable or it’s simply not up to par for you. No matter what the reason may be, there are some things that you need to know and remember before doing so. First of all, it’s not going to be a simple quick task. This is something that will require your time, patience, and of course some research.

Let’s start off by discussing picking out web hosts. When picking out another web host, you need to make sure that the new web host will have everything that you need for your website. If you just randomly pick a new web host before doing research, I’m sure that you will be unsatisfied when it comes to putting everything together. If it is easier for you, write out a list of everything that you need to have from the host and then you can match it up with the company. If you write everything down, it will make it harder for you to leave something out.

Changing webhostingInform your clients that you will be switching web hosts. You can do this by adding a note on your page, sending out a newsletter, or even making a blog. You are not only doing this out of courtesy, but also showing your clients that you are loyal to them and still would like them to remain your clients.

Before you start moving or deleting anything off of your page, you need to back up all your files for your website. In most cases, it is just better to have two backups as opposed to one, in case one gets lost or broken, you have the other. You have to prepare for the worst so when something does go wrong and you lose your files, you won’t need to fret because you will already have it taken care of. Do not completely get rid of the site that you are switching from, keep it as a backup-plan for the worst case scenario so you have a plan already.

When you move your domain name from an old one to a new one, this will be easy to do if your new host is a registrar. It can take up to several days for this to be completed, so keep this in mind. Make sure that you receive the authorization code from your old domain registrar so that you can move it to the new one. Once you put in the e-mail that you used to sign up the domain with, all you will have to do is click on a link and the transfer is made.

Changing web hosts can be easily done but you have to keep in mind the tips that I have given you so you do not forget certain things. If you feel you need to change web hosts, it may be beneficial for you if you are already thinking about it. If you are worried that you will forget something or not do something right, no need to go crazy worrying. Hire someone who can handle everything and makes sure everything goes smoothly.

Is unlimited bandwidth just a web hosting myth?

There are many different myths floating around the internet about free and unlimited offers. When it comes to web hosting, there are quite a few companies that offer unlimited bandwidth for a low monthly price. This guarantee, accompanied by unlimited space and domains cannot possibly be real, could it? Looking further into the web hosting small print, the truth will finally come out.

In the highly competitive web hosting market, companies have to use whatever means they have to grab customers. The current trend has pushed these web host companies to offer unlimited everything. People that this as they see it. Unlimited means as much as we want when we want it right? Unfortunately this is not the case. Everything that is offered with a unlimited icon has a point where it is no longer allowed. It is easy to understand why they can’t allow true unlimited bandwidth for such a low price.

bandwithIf the web hosts were to remove the caps put on each user on a server, than a single user could use up all the CPU power and bandwidth on themselves, and cause all other uses on the server to crash. This is a huge risk, especially with the other guarantee of 99.9% uptime. To counteract this inevitable outcome, web hosts have given a generous amount of bandwidth, but they still keep it in perspective. This is a business, and it is impossible to make a profit when someone tries to extort your service.

Other claims, such as the unlimited domain hosting only add to undercut the unlimited bandwidth. Up until a certain point, the amount of sites you host won’t take up too much bandwidth. When you begin to host dozens to hundreds of different web sites, there is no way your cheap web hosting plan can suffice. Eventually, each site will take up enough bandwidth to put you over your designated cap. At that point, all of your sites could experience downtime. This can be a huge problem, especially when a large number of your sites are hosted on the same server.

All of these things come down to common sense. There would be no need for larger plans if the cheaper plans were truly unlimited. With an uncapped populous of users that continuously grow their usage, the only choice left is to force upgrades. Next time you are conned into believing everything that is advertised, look into the fine print. Normally the usage rights are listed out clearly so that users have no way to complain they were misled.

Unfortunately for most people, they overlook these simple laid out rules of use. Next time you are asked to agree to terms of service, remember to read through most of it to see what you are agreeing to. If you fail to do this before purchasing, there is nothing left for you to do when you unexpectedly get capped. Use common sense, read everything before signing, and know your limits. Following these rules will ensure you are never mystified by the cunning offers in front of you.

Review: Google Adsense

Google AdSense is the publisher’s side of Google’s advertising program. The other side is AdWords. The two programs work hand in hand where advertisers pay Google to run their ads as sponsored links on the Google search engine and on approved publisher websites. Google, then rewards qualified publishers by paying them a portion of the ad revenue in return for potential customers or leads. This program is called AdSense.

People who run developed websites, either through their own domain names or through one of the free blogs, are called publishers. They publish content and maybe sell products of their own or from affiliate programs. Generally speaking, the content must have some value to users, at which time, the publisher or webmaster may apply for a Google AdSense account. Google’s team will review the site for eligibility and then either approve or deny the application. As the long as the site is deemed appropriate, it will be approved. Examples of sites that are not acceptable to Google are adult related sites, sites selling illegal products or services, sites that promote hatred or prejudice, and sites that appear to have been made solely for the purpose of earning AdSense revenue. These sites are called MFA (Made for AdSense) and normally are poor in quality with little or no understandable content.

Once the webmaster is approved to the program, she logs in to her account and finds various ways to promote the ads that other businesses run on Google’s network. Currently, the choices are word ads, word and image ads combined, image only ads, link units (list of four or five keyword links leading to a search page), site search, and ads for feeds. Other options exist but not everyone is approved to use them right away.

Read moreReview: Google Adsense

How Realistic is the Business Model of a “Professional Blogger”

Plenty of new and seasoned webmasters are getting on the “blog wagon”. But is it all that great as a revenue producing strategy? Is it possible to make a good income, even replacing your current job? How should blogging really be used, and what should be the focus of your blog? Basically, the question is “how realistic is the business model of a professional blogger”?

Before we begin our analysis, right off the top we should say, that professional blogging is not a bad business model. In fact, there are thousands of successful bloggers making incredible amounts of money from their blogs, but in reality in proportion to the number of blogs on the internet, very few make real money. The biggest problem can be traced back to what a blog was meant to be. It was a “web log”, a journal or diary of sorts where an individual could talk about her daily activities, and loyal followers came to watch her progress.

Blogging WOmen

Read moreHow Realistic is the Business Model of a “Professional Blogger”

The Importance of the “alt” image attribute for SEO

Indeed, both the content your users see, and the coding behind the page that search engine spiders read, are important for search engine optimization. Pretty well anything you do with your website will affect how the search engines view your website. And images are a source of search engine optimization, as well.

Before we continue, let’s show you in xhtml (html does not need the closing / at the end) code what an image “alt” looks like.

<img src=”products/redrubycollar.gif” alt=”Red Ruby Collar for Kittens” /> OR

<img src=”http://www.mykittywebsite.com/products/redrubycollar.gif” alt=”Red Ruby Collar for Kittens” />

Now looking at this piece of code, you will notice that it tells the server to find the photo in the “products” folder. But let’s say that photo is missing or the file path is incorrect or the user turns her images feature off on the browser. The user will just get a “broken icon” on the screen. And if the graphics are part of the navigational or menu bar, the user cannot browse the site. But equally disastrous is the search engines have no clue what that spot means. They can only read the text and the content on the page but will not be to list the photo in the “images” database so those photos, if important, are not provided in the search results for images.

But if the “alt” text is present, the search engines know what the photo is. In this example, it tells them to look for a picture of a “red ruby collar for kittens”. And for the person using the site with graphics turned off, she will see the text and know what is meant to be there. Specifically, the “alt=” is a way to speak to the search engine spiders, and should be descriptive about the photo that the code is referencing. It is also compulsory if you want to write correct code and have your code validated.

Keep in mind that the name of the GIF or JPG does not have to be the same as the ALT. Your ALT should be descriptive and can even be a sentence. Going one step further, although the “alt” is not a license for “keyword stuffing”, if used properly, it is a way to get better rankings for a keyword. Take a look at this example we found on an auto insurance information site:

<img src=”insurancepolicy.gif” alt=”Take a moment of your time and find out how cheap your car insurance could be!” />

You notice that we have asked the user to take action while at the same time we told the search engines that our keyword is car insurance. In addition to the actual content, the descriptive alt sentence will help us do better in the search results than if we left the ALT empty. (alt=” “).
And remembering the importance of using small file sizes, here is what your image code should look like when complete. You might ask why you need the width and height in the code thinking it is redundant because your picture is that size. The reason you need it? If the browser knows the size of the photo, it will load the text above, below and around. Your users can start reading without waiting for the whole page to load. Without this “placeholder”, browsers must wait for the photo and continue.

<img src=”products/redrubycollar.gif” alt=”Wouldn’t your kitty look sweet in this size two, red ruby collar for kittens?” width=”190″ height=”153″ />

Lastly, the more photos on a page, the longer it will take to load.

What’s the difference between a VPS and a Dedicated Server

With so many different choices out there when it comes to web hosting, it can be a tough decision to choose between them. One of these tough decisions comes when people are unsure of the differences between a VPS and a dedicated server. These two types of webhosting are very similar, and confusion is inevitable. Today, we will focus on these two services, and decide the major differences. Take the time to decide which best fits your needs.

vpsThe cheaper of the two is the Virtual Private Server, also known as a VPS. For those that have not yet been informed, a VPS is a shared server that has many of the same functions as dedicated hosting. Unlike regular shared hosting, VPS allows the user to have a separate operating system, as well as root access. VPS customers also are given certain performance guarantees that are normally associated with dedicated hosting. Although there are multiple users on the same server, each user has their own personal settings. To paint a clear picture, here is an example. The VPS is like an apartment complex. Everyone has their own living space, front door and lock. They are partitioned apart, although the whole of the building is together. Many common spots are shared, but each section has its own space. This is how VPS functions.

Dedicated hosting on the other hand holds the top spot for web hosting. With dedicated hosting, you are renting out your own server personally. Renting the server enables you to use it total control, as you are the only customer that is using it. This personal server allows for much more memory intensive scripts to be run smoothly. For large websites with large volumes of traffic, a dedicated server is the perfect solution. Unlike a VPS, you have no worries that the other users on your server might be taking up too much bandwidth. Never again will your load time and uptime suffer at the whim of others. Functionality is much like a VPS, with root access, the ability to run your own operating system, separate firewall, and many other similarities.

Read moreWhat’s the difference between a VPS and a Dedicated Server

The Importance of Domain Age for SEO

When it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, there are many different factors that contribute to a website’s rankings for a specific keyword. On page optimization, key word density, and backlinks are the most common, and important, factors in SEO. However, there is one other factor that may play a small role in a website’s rankings that is often over looked by webmasters, and that is domain age.

clock domain ageThe importance of domain age for SEO has been debated for several years now. Supporters of the theory that the longer your domain has been around the better it will perform in the search engines have two theories why this is the case. The first idea is that well established sites have old domain names and therefore old domains should have a well established website with quality content. The other idea is that spammers tend to register and drop domain names quickly, so therefore newly registered websites have a greater chance of being used for spam. While you may in fact be hosting a legitimate website on a newly purchased domain, in the eyes of the search engines you could potentially be a spammer and someone they want to keep their users away from. Obviously, spammers are now looking for domains with age to put their spam on, so when check the age of a domain, you should really also check its history.

There are several theories out there as to how Google uses domain age to influence a website’s rankings in their algorithm. One speculation is that Google will look at the date when the domain was registered and associate all of the documents on that website with the original registration date of the domain. This would give more legitimacy to the website’s content in the eyes of the Google search engine, allowing a website to rank higher for certain keywords.

Read moreThe Importance of Domain Age for SEO

The best sites to find freelancers to help you

When you decide that you need or want help with writing articles, submitting links, modifying your design or layout, writing a script, an online marketing consultant or to carry out a specific function, or any other duty that you find troublesome, there are plenty of freelancers around the world to help. And, they are easy to find if you know the right places to go. Since this write-up is just a brief summary, let’s look at EIGHT places that are among the best sites to find freelancers to help you.

freelancerThe first type of sites are gateways where webmasters and freelancers interact. Web owners or employers submit their project specs with maximum budgets, and then the freelancers bid on the projects. Once a person is chosen by the webmaster, the project is closed to other bidders. The freelancer completes the assignment and the webmaster pays. Then each leave comments on the website about the other. If the project is rather large costing a lot of money, then some type of escrow may be used.

Elance was probably the very first major portal bringing webmasters and freelancers together. Started in 1999 by two professors, after having written an article in the Harvard Business Review, Elance was a product of the new economy where corporations could find cheaper employees quickly and hire them to do specific duties. Once the project was complete, so was the association. Today, Elance is still large, but it has become very expensive to use, both in labor rates per hour and user fees.

ScriptLance and RentACoder were the next two oldest and are well-known. The sites started with projects for programming and coding but quickly evolved into all types of assignments. The great thing about these two sites is labor can be very cheap in price and excellent in quality.

oDesk, meaning “no desk” because the worker is virtual, is the next in terms of age, but the concept is different. Employers place projects for bidding, but freelancers are pre-screened. In order to become a contractor, the site requires the potential worker to go through a series of tests to determine competency. Once approved, they can make a profile and bid on jobs. The other thing that is drastically different is, although the workers are freelancers, they are still monitored. The site takes “screen shots” of their computers, web cams are available, and their keystrokes are logged.

GetAFreelancer, also known just as Freelancer works along the same lines as the other portals. It, too, has become very popular and workers can be found to complete projects very inexpensively.

The second group of sites where you can find freelancers is on forums. These sites have sections where you can post your project and wait for responses or you can buy from sellers who have posted their services. These are not bidding sites per se, although you can ask potential workers to give their “best price” when quoting their services.

SitePoint is quite old and popular. But because of all the fraud and spam, the site moved to a “paid” type of service. To list a project, there is a small fee. The forum is still free to use and you can search upon registering. And they do have plenty of “how-to” articles which can help you.

DigitalPoint is probably now the biggest forum where people meet others to find work and complete projects. But you really must be careful of the scam artists. There are plenty of good people on the site, however, so be sure to check people out before sending any money.

WarriorForum is a good site to find freelancers, too. Although quite a bit smaller than other forums, you can search through the services and see if someone has something to offer you.

As you can see, there are a wide range of sites available to find freelancers to help you.

What Is Web Hosting Uptime And What Does It Mean For You

If you are new to web hosting, it is likely you are being overwhelmed with tips on what to look for. Some of the main things that are covered are the bandwidth available from the web hosting company, as well as it’s memory limit. Some people will see unlimited bandwidth and memory and think that they found the mother load. Although these are important aspects to look into before purchasing web hosting, they are not the only things to consider. Uptime is a very important requirement that cannot be overlooked for the sake of your long term business.

Dedicated webhostingIf you are unfamiliar with the term, uptime is the amount of time your server is on and active. Basically, your web site is up and able to be accessed almost all the time. As you peruse through the many different web hosting packages out there, take into account the uptime guarantee they are offering. If they are a legitimate company, they will advertise a very high percentage for uptime. With so many high guarantees, it would be unwise to go with any web host that does not guarantee at least a 99.9% uptime.

Why do we need such a high percentage of uptime? That is a simple question to answer. Anytime that your web site is down from the web, you are missing out on possible customers. Downtime, the time when your web site cannot be accessed, should be limited to as rarely as possible. These guarantees become important when your site begins to get an increase in traffic. While these are the best times for your web site, it can also be the most vulnerable for your server. Sharing the server with other users give it the necessity to cap your bandwidth and memory at a certain point. Keeping your website up while notifying your about the issue is something most web hosts will do in an attempt to still uphold their guarantee while letting you know you’re walking a thin line.

Read moreWhat Is Web Hosting Uptime And What Does It Mean For You

Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting & Dedicated Server Hosting Explained

Web hosting is the means by which a webmaster publishes her information on the internet. Lots of computers called servers are kept in large rooms called data centers, and are all connected to the internet lines, ready to distribute content to the world wide web in the form of your website.

For many people, a simple web hosting account is enough to manage their website. They pay a couple dollars per month per domain name and the hosting company gives them a tiny piece of the server. Their account will have limits in terms of disk space available for storing the files, and bandwidth used (uploading to server and visitor usage of site). The customer will have a password to access the account and be able to see their website stats, current files, and maybe have the capability of editing files right on the server.

The next step for individuals with many domain names is a reseller account. This generally allows you to add as many domains as you own with limited disk space and bandwidth allotments. The beauty of these types of accounts is everything is conveniently in one place, plus they are very inexpensive. It is much cheaper to have a reseller account than pay per domain for hosting. And of course, you can keep the whole account for yourself. Just because it is called reseller does not mean you have to allow others to host on your account.

webhostingAll of the single hosting accounts and reseller accounts are on the same servers which is called a shared situation. There could literally be hundreds or thousands of domains on one server. The real danger here is your site is affected by all these other domains. If one person decides to install a malicious script, your site is going down with everyone else. If one person decides to use all the resources to spam email addresses, you will suffer. Hosting companies usually terminate their relationships with these people but the damage has already been done.

Once a business becomes too big for the first two types of web hosting accounts, webmasters might move into a semi-dedicated situation. This is where two or four people share the same server. Each is partitioned one-half or one-quarter of the resources. Some hosting companies will manage everything for you including setting up your databases, email addresses, adding domain names, and writing htaccess files. Other companies require you to manage your own section through server management software. The key here is to compare all the services in different packages to determine what you need. Do not make a decision based on price alone, but rather, what services that price includes.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a system where one server is partitioned into several virtual servers. It is also known as Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS).

Lastly, having reached a traffic threshold where you require your own server, hosting companies offer dedicated servers. You are the only person using the server and all resources are allocated to your sites. Usually the hosting company owns the server and leases it to you on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Depending on the contract you sign with the host, you might be responsible for your own management or they might offer managed servers. Normally the host is responsible for any hardware problems, but if you manage your server, you are responsible for any software and technical issues, at which point you may be required to hire someone to help you.

One more scenario does exist and this is where you buy your own computer and send it to the host to reside in their datacenter. You might just pay the datacenter for housing the server or you may also make a deal where the hosting company will manage it for you.