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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to generate/download a full backup

A full backup is a backup of all of your files, e-mail, databases, etc. To run a full backup, you can not download the full backup right away. The backup takes time to perform and the server will send you an email once the backup is ready to download. Below are steps to requesting the backup to be performed.
  
Shared and Reseller: You may only create cPanel backups of 4 GB or less. If your backup is larger than 4GB, you must contact CentrioHost support for help to bypass the limit.
  1. Click Backups
  2. Click Generate/ Download Full Backup
  3. In the drop down menu, select Home Directory
  4. In the box to the right of Email Address, type the email address where you will receive notification once the back up is done.
  5. Leave the rest of the settings blank.
  6. Click Generate back up.
  7. This will generate the back up for you and place the TAR.GZ file inside of your Home Directory.
  8. You can now download the backup via cpanel / FTP/ or SSH
If you would like to download the backup from cPanel (easiest way), please do the following:
  1. Click Backups
  2. Click Generate/Download a Full Backup
  3. Under "Backups Available for Download", click the link with the file name of the backup.
  4. It will then start to download.
  5. Select a destination on your PC for where you would like to save it to.
  6. Click Save

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lunarpages Sucks?


As a nature of business, it is certain that not 100% of customers will satisfy with a service. In Lunarpages web hosting, some subscribers think they have done a good job while some other subscribers have had a bad experience with them. And it is not difficult at all to find negative comments and complaints when you google Lunarpages review. Complaints about website deletions, rude customer supports, unstable up time and etc are easily available. Perhaps Lunarpages web hosting is really a bad host? And this is making Lunarpages to be infamous and further downgrade in their service?

To me, I try not to judge a web hosting just by their users review. This is because I believe a web hosting service (in fact every services in the world) is impossible to please each and every customers. Servicing is something very subjective and it is not easy to measure. How rude is rude for a customer support? I am sure everyone has their own definitions.

Lunarpages web hosting somehow remains as a quality hosting for me though I have read many complaints and agree that their experiences are horrible. (And I believe the stories are real and they have no reasons making up the stories) This is mainly because I do not have any experience that is considered as bad with Lunarpages after hosting with them for 3 years. So I thought what has gone wrong there? I have somehow come out with some find out.

While reading the complaints, I have realized a commonality among the reports. Most of the reports are written and filed a few years ago which I think they are no longer valid today. As web hosting is a tech-based business and obviously web hosting is improving from time to time. I am sure Lunarpages has learnt about their mistake (if any) and has improved a lot. Even Intel has gone into Quad core processors. There is no way Lunarpages is still running on Pentium III. Therefore if you got a chance in reading one of those reports, perhaps you should take a closer look at the date of writing.

Lunarpages is aggressive in their business all this while. They are alert from time to time on their market and hardware needs. They have recently upgraded their servers and have moved their data centers toAmerican Internet Service (AIS), San Diego. AIS is one of the most prestigious buildings in the world with comprehensive facilities. Redundancy is a key concern in AIS and I am sure our data is well guarded with redundant OC48s and OC192s connections, redundant power supply, redundant data center and even redundant HVAC system. Clear enough if Lunarpages is not serious with their business they will not invest such an amount of money to upgrade their servers.

On top of the upgrades I am pretty surprised that Lunarpages does not increase their hosting charges. (Because I thought they want to cover back their initial cost of the new facilities) What is more surprising is that Lunarpages actually lower down their monthly charges! Lunarpages decreases the subscriptions fee even though they have better facilities now. So I think they are really aggressive in providing a quality web hosting.

That is how I see Lunarpages and those are the reasons why Lunarpages remains as a quality hosting for me. Although there are complaints on the hosting (which hosting companies do not have?) Lunarpages is working aggressively in improving themselves. It is undeniable Lunarpages is losing up the hosting market but that has nothing to do with providing quality services. (Perhaps Lunarpages is losing up in marketing?) And people are saying Lunarpages sucks? I seriously doubt it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

cPanel vs Plesk – Does It Really Matter?


It has long been my experience that most seasoned webmasters are huge fans of the Web site control panel available with most Web hosts known simply ascPanel. Those who use it exclaim often about its power and general ease of use over the alternatives such as Plesk. I, on the other hand, am convinced anyone who thinks cPanel is easier to use than Plesk needs to stop drinking the pond water.

For less experienced users, I remain firm in my belief that Plesk blows cPanel out of the water with its ease of use. But rather than going on and on, let’s take a solid look at what this looks like for Joe Average, shall we?

Plesk demo:

Without even having a clue as to what I am doing, I can easily determine that I can add a domain name from the first page I arrive at. Just click domains, create new, follow the prompts. Simple. Instantly, everything I need is toggled to be turned on. Even after hitting next, I am instantly presented with the place where I set up my FTP account. I cannot overstate how “droolingly” simple Plesk makes this — it’s almost frightening. I also have access to toggling support for perl, php, python, or whatever else I need WITHOUT needing to dance around from option to option. By continuing to hit next, each step even down to domain policy is right there without me ever having to search for it.

Once my initial domain is set up, once again, Plesk owns the experience by instantly providing me with clear indications of where I need to go to, then sets up my email accounts. Everything else I need is right there at my fingertips — for this given domain that I created, as well. Subdomains, etc. — the works.

cPanel/WHM:

Immediately, we find things overcomplicated. Why? Because I must decide whether I start with cPanel or WHM. Remember, I am looking at this from the perspective of a very new user. I am not relying on any experience here, rather, I’m looking at how intuitive the options really are. Moving on.

Being as it appears that cPanel is the control panel and WHM is for managing the Web hosting accounts, I guess one would start with WHM? Upon arriving at the WHM demo account, I am assuming that one would start with Basic cPanel/WHM Setup? After clicking on this, I find boxes where I am to enter in my default nameservers. Okay, did that… where’s the next button? And also, where do I add in my domain?

Frustrated, I then click home and proceed to try account information, then trying server configuration, (pulling my hair out now), then finally setting on Multi Account Functions. None of these options are doing ANYTHING of value for just starting out. Awesome. So I click home once again. Wait, I see a cPanel link — perhaps this will help me get my domain set up? Not even close…

Finally I wise up and scroll down on the lower left side of the screen. At the bottom, there is an option for create a new account. Maybe this is where I add my domain? Yes, this is it. And this looks much better, too. So I add in the needed info. I also like the default mail settings detection option — this is good. Okay, all of this is set. Sadly, this is as far as the demo will take me. So I can only assume I must set up email fromcPanel, then? Back in cPanel, I find email, choose it, and set up my account. Easy enough. Cool. Adding FTP, also doable from cPanel easily. There, that ought to do it for me.

What I learned from a newbie experience:

While cPanel/WHM are certainly usable enough, they are very poorly laid out. Seriously, cPanel and WHM should not be separated like this. I realize why they are, but the end user simply wants it to be combined, right there, and easy to navigate. Plesk wins easily by making the entire setup process as complex as installing software onto Windows. Just keep hitting next.

So yes, cPanel is definitely demonstrating more powerful options with the ability to restart things like POP3, SSH, DNS, and FTP services. Despite this, Plesk makes getting started MUCH easier. That and the fact that most of the functionality folks want from a Web server is right there for the choosing with Plesk, all without dancing from setting to setting in a blind hope of getting things working.

To the advanced user, cPanel obviously makes sense as you are already familiar with jumping all over the place to get things done in exchange for powerful server control. But for most people, Plesk is going to tick folks off far less when they are simply trying to get their Web site up and running without a trip to the nearest freelancing Web site for help.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Tell if Your Website Host Sucks !!!


Finding the right website hosting service is very important. Here is a list of the ways to tell if your website host sucks.

  1. Their support staff thinks a Class C IP is a type of driver’s license.
  2. You have Super Cache installed on your WordPress blog, but their shared servers still crash when one of your posts hits the Digg homepage.
  3. When you contact their support staff, you are greeted by “Thank you kind Sir, how may I help you kind Sir?”
  4. You have to prepay for 100 years, as well as sell your soul, to get their advertised price.
  5. Trying to complete the sign-up form is like walking through a mine field.
  6. They delete your blog due to an error in their billing system.
  7. They cancel your hosting account out of the blue, and then have the audacity to tell you that you’re wrong when you call and tell them that you DID NOT cancel your account.
  8. Their staff thinks private name servers are individuals who work in the food industry and keep their name a secret.
  9. Their servers crash more than a drunk driver on new years eve.
  10. Their support staff thinks weekly backups are something that you need in a bar fight.

Friday, December 10, 2010

59 reasons why web host’s suck!


With our combined experience over the years, we have seen the best and worst of web hosting companies. He’s a light hearted but rather jaded list of reasons web hosts SUCK!

1. Calling into customer support and waiting on hold for 40 minutes and the hold music is Marilyn Manson!
2. You ask for RoR (Ruby on Rails) and the tech on the phone assures you he can provide that and yells “RWAAAAR”
3. Your hosting company just got bought out by a web hosting company you just transferred away from.
4. They claim to be a member of the BBB but later you find out theirBBB is The Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar (quality fetish suppliers).
5. You call in tech support and a gentleman with an Indian accent says “Sir is your computer plugged in?” .. and you’re a woman
6. You sign up for domain privacy and later do a WHOIS and see your credit card information and SS number. “I was told I would get domain privacy!” “Miss we thought you requested domain piracy” .. and you’re a man.
7. You ask the tech if he has a TOS and he says yes. You later find out he meant totally offensive smells and your site has been suspended unexpectedly, you have no leg to stand on and the tech’s response is “Oh THAT TOS!”
8. The same tech who told you he has backups on your pre sales call turns out to be a wannabee singer and his “backups” are his 12 year old twin sisters who “doowup” when he busts a move in the bathroom.
9. You ask him how big his file size limit is and he responds “That’s kinda personal.. but what I can tell you is I leave the ladies smiling”.
10. The same tech (let’s call him Hubert since there’s a whole theme happening here) answers yes to your questions regarding shared server offerings. You later find out that Hubert is a very giving and generous guy and he “shares” your server space, bandwidth allocation and resources with all the clients hosting on the same server as you… along with your personal information and email address!
11. When you ask Hubert how long they have been in business his response of 15 years reassures you that they are a legit and solid company. When you phone in to challenge this as their whois says 2006 he replies “Ohhhh I thought we were talking DOG years!”
12. When your server goes down right before a big marketing campaign goes out.
13. Calling into support to ask a question and the rep cannot find your account because somehow it got deleted OOPS!
14. Your host asks you to verify your account by repeating your password over the phone. Every time you say it, you hear a stifled giggle and they say “I’m sorry sir can you please repeat that?” Your password is IamTheBe$tLOVER
15.
Your web host has automated support. After 23 minutes of keying in your SS number, last 6 digits of your credit card and your domain name (37 characters) you finally speak with a real person who requests the SAME information AGAIN!
16. After canceling your hosting account you are continually getting billed but now for 2 dedicated servers instead of your $100 a year hosting account.
17. After 36 straight hours of working on your new sites web design and meticulously putting every image in its place you find out that your server crashed and there is no backup. NOOOOOOO!!!
18. Getting a deal on your first year and then having to renew at a more expensive price.
19. You have never been on the internet before and you decide to buy a hosting account and setup an email account through them. Within 20 minutes you already have spam!!!!!
20. Your host experiences power failure and they have no backup generators!
21. When you call your hosting company and ask why your servers went down. They respond with “No they didn’t. It must be a propagation issue or something with your ISP”
22. You call support because your site is down and they say “We are going through an upgrade”. That works once but when it happens every week sporadically during the middle of the day and they keep saying “it’s an update to help better serve you” SUUUUCKS!!!!
23. Your hosting company has a problem with spam and the filter is up so high that no mail is getting through but when you are in a meeting and check your mail all there is in your inbox is porn spam and everyone is looking at you like you’re a sicko.
24. Every time you go to your website it’s down but when other people go to it, it’s fine. Sometimes you will sit your friend down at his computer and you at yours and you phone conference each other to see if it comes up and it does for him but not for you. You decide to go to his house and he to yours and see if it’s just your home computer but wherever you go your website will not be displayed. SUCKYVOODOONESS!!!
25. You call your web host support team because something is wrong with your site and they tell you that a widget 2.0 socket 5 cloud storm hit their data center and that’s why a page got deleted. IDIOT SUCKFEST!!
26. After many attempts of being patient with your web hosting customer support techs inability to fix any problem you get frustrated and a little upset. Later that day you find the following things wrong with your site.
• Your real estate site is unexpectedly not selling real estate anymore. You are selling liquor stores now.
• You just put up a very professional picture of yourself on your site and the next thing you know someone photo shopped your photo with a mustache, a black eye and teeth missing.
27. When you bought your website and domain name through a sales rep at your first hosting company the hosting company used the CEO’s name to register your domain name. Now you want to leave but they own your domain name. TRICKY WEB HOSTY!!!
28. You bought a hosting account through a template hosting agency because you don’t know html and their backend admin area looks cool. After you purchase this you find out that they don’t support their templates!
29. You are talking to smooth salesman Timmy over at a hosting company and he promises you 4 add-on’s, forum management, bulletin management, Free email marketing and a 200 Google adwords credit. After you sign up for their premier account for 5 grand a year you notice that the freebies are not included in your package. You call back for Timmy but no one knows who Timmy is and a “Timmy” has not worked for them EVER!
30. You do not have log files!
31. Your log files are never accurate.
32. You started a lead generation site where people fill out forms for products/servers/newsletters and in return you get there email addresses. Someone decides to give your site a virus and take over your mailing list and your web host cannot do anything about it.
33. Your built in traffic stats never work.
34. Your built in traffic stats are always off.
35. You purchase a large hosting account with a lot of extras but when you need small things done you are nickeled and dimed till you are broke.
36. Your hosting company charges you to park domains.
37. You buy a hosting account with a ton of space but cannot put up multiple sites on it.
38. The only way you can put up multiple sites on your account is via your .htaccess file but you have no freaking clue how to do that and your web host does not support that. GREAT that’s awesome good work!!!!
39. You actually love your hosting company because it’s a smaller no name company but the service is great. You tell all of your 5 friends to join and they do and their servers are overloaded.
40. You sign up for a web host by doing a Google search and after you sign up you call their support line but find out they are a foreign hosting company in Germany and all there support techs speak German. Foreign SUCKY!!!
41. You sign up with your web host but you only get 1 MYSQL database.
42. Your web hosting company is in charge of sending you notification on domain name expiration but you never get yours. Your domain expires.
43. A cyber squatter picked up your domain name and is holding it hostage. You find out it’s the guy from your web hosting companies support team who you previously screamed at and called a stupid moron.
44. You utilize a free web hosting service but they place ads all over your page.
45. Your hosting company has backup servers but they are in the same geographical location so when the power goes off the original servers go down AND the back up’s go down.
46. Your hosting company cannot automate its billing an invoices and its all done by hand. Sadly, the accounts guy was recently paralyzed in a freak server accident and types by blowing into a straw.
47. Your web host goes “down” for 24 hour periods at a time.
48. Your user control panel consists of 2 options. On and Off!
49. You forgot to check “(web hosting name here) sucks” in Google before you bought your hosting account and to your surprise there was over 1,000,000 pages indexed for that “company sucks”.
50. They offer SSH on shared servers and your site is constantly OWNED by 12 year old hackers.
51. They advertise domains for under $2 but when you complete the purchase your charge says $98?
52. You request support and they advise you support costs extra!
53. You request a CPanel them change and they escalate your request to a System Admin!
54. They don’t tell the truth. They claim a lot of services that when you host with them, you find out they don’t offer. Like bandwidth, they’ll claim to provide x amount of bandwidth, then you find out they have a daily cap for using it and when you multiply the daily cap x 30 or 31, it is about 1/2 the size of the bandwidth they claim to provide monthly.
55. canceling – they’ll claim they let you cancel anytime within the contract, but it turns out you can’t ever get a refund (you have to write a letter in your own blood to prove you are who you say you are, then send it to their office in Nome, Alaska that reads mail only once a year during the famous dog sled race). Of course, when you complain about these points, they point you to their TOS where it spells out the whole Nome and dog sled stuff, although it doesn’t mention the writing the letter in your own blood (the person on the phone just made that up to be funny).
56. When immediately after you sign up with them, they offer this great deal on more space/bandwidth/whatever…but you can’t get it because you are already a customer.
57. EVERYTHING is an extra charge, and you feel like you are getting nickle/dimed to death.
58. You get treated like you just won the “Imbecile of the Year” award. (Even if you do deserve that award, being treated that way is not nice.)
59. They pretend to help but can’t speak English….only geekspeak. And they refuse to repeat or explain any further.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why (and why not) host your blog on its own domain?


many bloggers had the same question when they first started blogging: Where should I host my blog? Is hosting my blog on a free platform like WordPress and Blogspot better; or should I operate my blog on its individual domain name and hosting?

Yes, it’s normal that bloggers often face dilemma when it comes to hosting. While different bloggers have different answers for the question; one can’t deny that not every blog needs to be hosted on its own hosting with a unique domain name. As a matter of fact, there are tons of successful blogs do not run on its own hosting – SethGodin.typepad.com, BrandAutopsy.typepad.com, and PhotoshopDisasters.blogspot.com for example are some of the typical example.

Comparing blogs on third-party platform and blogs with own domains

When deciding which way to go with, these are the major five factors that should be considered.

Operating cost

The best part of operating a blog on a free platform is, well, FREE. Hosting blogs on a third party platform like WordPress or Blogspot is totally free of charge; a blog with its own domain is otherwise. Web hosting fees and domain renewal cost are the basic expenditures for blog with its own domain.

Flexibility

Free things often come with a catch-22. In our case, major disadvantage behind a free blog is the flexibility. For example, you have zero controls on the cgi-bin or .htaccess file of a WordPress blog, which means there is huge level of limitations in term of blog’s outlook and functionality designs.

Blog Maintenance

Are you good with computers? Or, are you willing to learn further in website hosting? Do you have enough free time for your blog?

Think twice about hosting a blog yourself if the answer is ‘no’. Hosting a blog on its own domain simply means more maintenance tasks. PHP and database configuration, blog software installation, server side configuration (like robots.txt and .htaccess) – these are the basics for any blogs that run on its own domain/hosting.

Branding

Generally speaking, a blog with its own domain has more advantages when it comes to branding and marketing. A free blog’s long URL (like myfirstblog.wordpress.com) is ugly and hard to remember; plus a free blog often project a part-timer or amateur image online.

Yes we can’t deny that Seth’s and John’s blogs on TypePad are extremely successful but let’s not forget that these two clever minds are well known “brands” before they started their blogs.

Monetizing

Monetizing your blog might not be a big issue here unless you are looking forward to sell your blog in future. Most individual bloggers make money via selling advertisement space (banners or text links) and writing reviews – which are available for both ways of blogging.

Is free blog for you, or other wise?

Now the question is: Where should you run your blog?

Summing up factors listed above, there are a few scenarios when you should go with a free blog instead of its own domain. Non-techies, hobbyists, and students with limited time or budget are recommended to go with free blogging. There are plenty of good free blogging platform around and here are a quick list of some.

XangaBravenet
MultiplyYahoo 360
BlogsterAOL Blogs
BloggerAtom 5
Word PressBlog

On the other hand, if you need a blog with better flexibility and branding potential, then a blog with its own domain/hosting is for you.

Do note that hosting nowadays is much cheaper than before. Most wonderful hosting services (Centriohost for example) – it’s so cheap that most webmasters own more than just one hosting account. Remember, a free blog on Blogspot or WordPress is like house renting – your blog simply borrows the hosting space owned by other bigger websites; while blogs with own domain is like properties in real world. why don’t take up the full ownership of your blog?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Top 5 Features to look for in Free Web Hosting


Looking for a free web host today is a lot different then it was just a few years back. Make sure to look at all of your choices and to compare the web hosting plans. Below are the top 5 features to look for when choosing the perfect free web host.

Unlimited Space & Bandwidth
In most cases you are getting a free web hosting account to avoid paying for hosting. The last thing you want to happen is for you to have a free page up for a few days and then be hit with an “out of space – please pay to upgrade”. Free web hosts usually place ads on your pages and make more money the more space and bandwidth you use. Thus, they shouldn’t have a problem with offering unlimited space & bandwidth for free (without using that to force you to upgrade).

Limited Non-Intrusive Ads
These days most free web hosts can get by from very limited ads either on the 404 pages or on the footers of your pages. You shouldn’t need to have your entire site covered by your hosts banner ads and pop-ups to get a decent hosting account. You should also stay away from hosts that have absolutely no ads. These hosts are obviously not generating any revenue and won’t be able to stay in business and pay for their expenses for long.

An Established Company
It’s become so easy to start a free web host that companies can easily seem great one day and then disappear the next. This is especially the case since the service being offered is “free” and requires very limited expertise to get started. Make sure your web host is well established and has been around offering free web hosting for a while. Several companies like, T35 Hosting, have been offering free web hosting services for over 12 years.

Uploading Your Site
The most important feature you will use from any free web host is the uploading feature. This is how you will upload your initial site and make any future changes. Make sure your host has several options to upload and edit your files like FTP and an online file manager (when you are away from home and don’t have an ftp application installed).

Reliable Support
The last thing you expect from your new web host is for things to break or not work, but unfortunately that is sometimes the case. When this happens, the only one there to help you is the host’s support team. Compare web hosts and make sure you use one that offers a comprehensive support system. Features to look for include a helpdesk, support forum, and a live chat. If the host has a forum make sure to visit it to see how active it is and how quickly requests are answered.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

eCommerce Web Hosting

One of the fastest growing sectors of the Internet is eCommerce. People are becoming accustomed to buying things from Internet store fronts and every year the volume and value of sales increases substantially. If you would like to open up your own eCommerce web site here are a few basics to get you started.

The first thing you need, obviously, is a product or service that you can sell. If you already have a brick and mortar store you can offer the same items for sale on a web site. The number of products that you sell is a big factor in the type of hosting package you need. If you have let’s say less than 20 items, you could set the whole thing up on a very small hosting account. Listing hundreds of products is a different story – you will probably need more disk space, more bandwidth, and more features such as databases and a secure connection for accepting payments.

Since the most important part of eCommerce is getting paid, let’s look at the various payment options available. There are two basic options – collecting payment information directly or hiring a third-party service to process credit cards.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

If you are planning to get or already have a merchant account that enables you to process credit cards you need to have a web site with a secure connection. This provides a way to encrypt sensitive data so that it cannot be intercepted and read as it travels across the Internet. If you don’t have a secure connection (indicated by https at the start of a web address) forget about collecting credit card numbers – customers are too web savvy to post sensitive financial data on an unsecured web site.

In order to get a secure connection, you need to apply for an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. These are issued by companies such as Thawte which require you to supply verifiable information concerning your identity and location. Once you have the certificate it must be installed on your web site. For this you need to have a unique IP address – available at an extra cost from most web hosts. There may also be a fee to install the certificate.

Third Party Gateways

If all this sounds too complicated, you have the option of going with a third party service that handles financial transactions for you. To complete a sale, customers are usually redirected to the web site of the payment service where they provide their credit card details. Some of these services have setup fees and charge a commission on each sale, while others (like PayPal) are free to set up and simply take a percentage of each sale.

Shopping Carts

Shopping carts are scripts that can be installed in your hosting account. They can automate the whole eCommerce experience by organizing your products into categories, creating pages that describe categories as well as individual items, allow you to keep track of returning clients, suggest other items for the customer to buy before they check out, and allow them rate the products they have bought.

Shopping carts can provide a more satisfying shopping experience while providing a structure for your online business.  Many hosting packages include free shopping cart scripts such as Miva, Agora, osCommerce, and Zen. When choosing an eCommerce package, make sure it supports your preferred method of payment gateway. For example, if you already have a merchant account with your local bank, use that as your starting point for choosing a shopping cart which supports that particular payment method.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Using a WordPress Hosting Provider


Using a WordPress Hosting Provider

WordPress is an extremely popular platform for publishing on the Internet. It has been employed by large companies to report on global events and hobbyists to inform the family about the cat having babies. WordPress offers a range of benefits to casual and professional users alike, and there are many WordPress hosting companies that can help you get started right away.


Why WordPress?

The WordPress platform allows anyone to start blogging or publishing a website even without any significant background in web design. Most WordPress hosting providers offer a one-click installation of the necessary software so you can start creating and publishing content right away.

WordPress makes it easy to design and add content to your blog. There are thousands of free templates available to help create the look you want. This is one of the features that make WordPress so accessible to the general public. The layout and design elements are completely separate from the content, which means that once the design is set, any of the authors on the blog can start writing and not have to deal with all the design issues.

Finally, one of the best reasons to use WordPress is that it is open source software. To put it another way, it’s free. The software is open to the public to download and develop, and as the WordPress community continues to grow, more and more developments will keep appearing and new plug-ins and themes will become available. And it will all still be free.

WordPress Hosting Requirements

There are a couple ways to get a WordPress blog started. One is to register for a free online blog hosted by WordPress.com. This is completely free, but there are a couple of drawbacks to it. The first is that you will have fewer customization options because the blog must conform to their web hosting requirements, and the second is that the website address will not be your own. Instead it will be formatted as: “yourcompany.wordpress.com,” which can create a very unprofessional image. That’s not such a big deal for a personal blog, but it could really hurt a business.

Downloading and installing the software on your own WordPress hosting server, then, can offer you all the customization options you want and the ability to have it on your own domain. This option will, of course, incur some web hosting costs, but those are usually very affordable. When you start looking at your hosting options, though, there are some requirements that you should examine before settling on a company.

You need to make sure that the provider has enough bandwidth and storage space to accommodate your needs. You never know when your blog might hit it big, and the server will need to be able to cope with ever-increasing traffic. Be sure to look at the company’s history as well. What is their record when it comes to uptime vs. downtime? What do current and previous clients say about their service? Do they offer auto installation of upgrades and features? Finally, make sure that the provider has the proper software required for WordPress hosting – PHP, MySQL, and Apache server. When all these elements come together you can make your WordPress blog everything you want it to be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 Steps to Start Using IPv6 (not IPv5)


we are less than 45 days from “doomsday.” The IANA only has about 3% of the resources required to sustain our current way of life. 6.8 billion people with only 4.3 billion addresses in existence. It’s the 2012 saga in 2011: The exhaustion of the Internet’s available IP version 4 (IPv4) addresses. What are we going to do?!

Luckily, a lot of people have been hard at work to mitigate the impending Internet crisis. IP version 6 (IPv6) is on the horizon and is already supported by most modern internet enabled devices. If you’re like me, the fact that we went from IPv4 to IPv6 might make you wonder, “What happened to IPv5?”

The powers that be didn’t decide to rid the number system of the number five because of its mixture of curves and right angles, and it wasn’t because they only wanted to use round numbers. IP version 5 (IPv5) was a work in progress and part of a family of experimental protocols by the name of ST (Internet Stream Protocol). ST and later ST-II were connection-oriented protocols that were intended to support the efficient delivery of data streams to applications that required guaranteed data throughput.

An ST packet looks very similar to its IPv4 sibling, and both use the first 8 bits to identify a version number. IPv4 uses those 8 bits to identify IPv4 packets, and ST used the same 8 bits to identify IPv5 packets. Since “version 5″ was spoken for, the next iteration in IP advancement became version 6.

If you’ve been around the SoftLayer blog for a while, you already know a fair bit about IPv6, but you’re probably wondering, “What’s next?” How do you actually start using IPv6 yourself?

1. Get a Block of IPv6 Addresses

Lucky for you, the SoftLayer platform is IPv6 ready, and we’re already issuing and routing IPv6 traffic. Obtaining a block of public IPs from us is as easy as logging into the portal, pulling up the hardware page of a server and ordering a /64 block of IPv6 IP’s for free ($10 if you want a portable subnet)!

For those of you that have ordered IPs from us in the past, IPv4 addresses are usually $0.50-$1.00 each. To get a /64 of public static IPv6 addresses, it’s a whopping $0.00 for the entire range. So just how many IPs is in a /64? 256? Try again. 512? Keep going. 1 Million? You’re still cold. Let’s try 18.4 quintillion. For those that understand scientific notation better, that is 1.84 x 1019. If you just want to see the number written in long form, it’s 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IP addresses. That allocation should probably tide you over for a little while.

2. Make Sure Your Server is IPv6 Ready

Most current server operating systems are ready to take the IPv6 leap. This includes Windows 2003 SP1 and most Linux OSes with 2.6.x Linux kernels. We’ll focus on Windows and RedHat/CentOS here.

To ready your Windows 2003 server for IPv6, do this:

  1. In Control Panel, double-click Network Connections.
  2. Right-click any local area connection, and then click Properties.
  3. Click Install.
  4. In the “Select Network Component Type” dialog box, click Protocol, then Add.
  5. In the “Select Network Protocol” dialog box, click Microsoft TCP/IP version 6, then OK.
  6. Click Close to save changes to your network connection.

Once IPv6 is installed, IIS will automatically support IPv6 on your web server. If a website was running when you installed the IPv6 stack, you must restart the IIS service before the site begins to listen for IPv6 requests. Sites that you create after you enable IPv6 automatically listen for IPv6. Windows 2008 server should have IPv6 enabled by default.

When your Windows server is ready for IPv6, you will add IPv6 addresses to the server just as you’d add IPv4 addresses … The only difference is you will edit the properties to the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) network protocol.

To ready your RedHat/CentOS servers, do this:

  1. Using your favorite editor, edit /etc/sysconfig/network and enableNETWORKING_IPV6 by changing the “no” to a “yes.”

    Example:

    NETWORKING=yes
    HOSTNAME=ipv6test.yourdomain.com
    GATEWAY=10.13.40.1
    NETWORKING_IPV6=yes
  2. Next edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1 to add IPv6 parameters.

    Add the following to end of the file:

    IPV6INIT=yes
    IPV6ADDR=YOURIPV6ADDRESS
    IPV6_DEFAULTGW=YOURGATEWAY

    Example:

    IPV6INIT=yes
    IPV6ADDR=2607:f0d0:2001:0000:0000:0000:0000:0010/64
    IPV6_DEFAULTGW=2607:f0d0:2001:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001
  3. Once you have successfully added your assigned IP addresses, you must restart networking with this command:
    [root@ipv6test /]# service network restart

Once you have completed these steps on your respective OS, you should be able to communicate over the IPv6 stack. To test, you can ping ipv6.google.com and see if it works.

3. Bind Your New IPv6 Address to Apache/IIS

Now that you have more IPv6 addresses for your server(s) than what’s available to the entire world in IPv4 space, you must bind them to IIS or Apache. This is done the similarly to the way you bind IPv4 addresses.

In IIS, all IPs that have been added to the system will now be available for use in the website properties. Within Apache, you will add a few directives to ensure your web servers is listening on the IPv6 stack … which brings us to a very important point when it comes to discussing IPv6. Due to the fact that it’s full of colons (:), you can’t just write out the IP as you would a 32-bit address.

IPv6 addresses must be specified in square brackets or the optional port number could not be determined. To enable Apache to listen to both stacks on separate sockets you will need to add a new “Listen” directive:

Listen [::]:80
Listen 0.0.0.0:80

And for your Virtual Hosts, the will look like this:


ServerAdmin webmaster@yourdomain.com
DocumentRoot /www/docs/ipv6test.yourdomain.com
ServerName ipv6test.yourdomain.com
ErrorLog logs/ipv6test.yourdomain.com-error_log
TransferLog logs/ipv6test.yourdomain.com-access_log

4. Add Addresses to DNS

The final step in getting up and running is to add your new IPv6 addresses to your DNS server. If you’re using a IPv6 enabled DNS server, you will simply insert an ‘AAAA’ resource record (aka quad-A record) for your host.

5. Test Your Server’s IPv6 Accessibility

While your DNS is propagating, you can still test your webserver to see if it responds to the IP you assigned by using square brackets in your browser: http://[2101:db8::a00:200f:fda7:00ea]

This test, of course, will only work if your computer is on a IPv6 network. If you are limited to IPv4, you will need sign up with a tunnel broker or switch to an ISP that offers IPv6 connectivity.

After about 24 hours, your server and new host should be ready to serve websites on the IPv6 stack.

Good luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The 8 Keys to Successful Tickets


Tickets are a tough animal to tackle because everyone is predisposed to their own “best way”. After eleven years in the hosting world (3 in mass virtuals, 3 in enterprise, and 5 in high volume dedicated), the trouble ticket is always tough to perfect.

From our side, here are some pointers that will streamline your ticket:

The 8 Keys to Successful Tickets

1. One Ticket = One Issue – If possible, keep the tickets as simple and targeted as you can. Don’t worry about opening multiple tickets with different issues…we actually prefer it. Having multiple issues can impede proper support. Here’s why:

1) It can make it hard to troubleshoot because we don’t know which one to work on first.
2) We don’t always know which issue is more important (to you) and needs resolution first.
3) It can require different departments and may be shuffled around.
4) The longer the ticket gets, the more the next tech has to read and the higher the propensity to miss key information.
5) Multi-issue tickets seem to be never-ending, frustrating both the customer and the technicians trying to help.

2. Username / Password / Server / IP – start with the basics. We lob about half the tickets back within minutes asking for server credentials which slows the process. It’s your server — if you don’t want us in there just tell us. You won’t hurt our feelings. It makes troubleshooting more difficult when we don’t have access, but we do respect your right and privacy. Just understand there is a trade-off with slower troubleshooting and limited server access. We will not login to your server unless we have to.

3. Come Clean and tell the truth – if you flubbed up a kernel upgrade, deleted key files, installed new software, or just don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry about it. We will not parade you down the data-center hall of shame. We all learned this stuff somehow and most of that learning came from making mistakes. Being honest will get your resolution much faster and your technician will appreciate you not playing “hide the ball”. We all make mistakes — even seasoned veterans. We are here to help you and that is our goal.

4. Close the ticket – if your problem is resolved, just update the ticket and say “please close this one”. Otherwise, tickets can hang out, get stale, and fill up the queue, slowing the whole ticket resolution process. The techs will greatly appreciate your response.

5. Clear, Concise & Complete – “I installed this, made these changes and now the server does _______” (good). We get a lot of tickets where it states “Server seems slow?” (bad). Does that mean network, hardware, disk IO, application, everything? If you don’t know, general is fine, but if you mean Disk I/O seems slow, tell us you mean disk I/O. Don’t leave off that key piece of info like “I run a forum that gets 10,000 hits an hour”.

6. Network Issues – include trace-routes or ping times (as many as you can possibly get). Attach them to the ticket. The vast majority of network issues are outside the network between you and the server. We are very interested in finding those locations so we can:

1) …help you resolve this issue.
2) …contact the carriers for further assistance.
3) …manually route around clogged public peering points.

Chances are, if it is affecting you, it also affects at least one of our other customers as well.

7. Research & Info – help us help you by giving us any ideas you may have. The forums are chock full of goodies. Google solves half my problems on the first search, and the vendor websites are a goldmine. Remember that when we log into your server for the first time, its like going into a home you have never been in while it’s dark. It takes a few minutes to feel around to see what is running and where things are. We appreciate any help or insight you may have in the process.

8. Throw them a Bone – I am convinced that being a support technician is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs in this world. Every phone call, ticket, or chat involves a problem that must be resolved and the person on the other end is potentially anxious or agitated because downtime is bad. When you get to resolution, top off a ticket with thanks….great job…..or end the phone call with thanks for all the hard work. At the end of the day, we are all human and need a little recognition for a job well done

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Article Writing Sites – Websites For Article Writing


If you are maintaining some article writing sites, you need to know that there are a lot of things that you will have to consider so that you can make sure that you will provide your clients with an excellent service. This is necessary if you really want to maintain this kind of internet business.

In order for you to maintain quality article writing sites, you need to know that there are a lot of things that you need to do. First of all, you have to make sure that you will be able to provide your readers with the information that they want to know. This is why it is very essential for you to see to it that the content of your portal is both interesting and relevant.

You should also make sure that you will be able to give them a reason so that they will visit your article writing sites again. To do so, you need to make sure that you always offer something new. You have to constantly update your pages so that their content is always fresh and interesting. No one will frequently visit a portal if it contains the same thing over and over again.

It will also do you good if you are going to always launch an aggressive campaign. This is very important so that your pages will always be exposed and accessible to your target customers. There should be no point where you will stop advertising your internet business.

It can also be a big help if you are going to build links with the other authoritative external portals. This way, you will be able to broaden your network and you will improve your prominence online. However, you should make sure that you will create links to portals that will compliment your niche. It is also a good idea if you will build links with the popular social networking portals.

It can also be a very big help if you are going to launch some contests. This way, you can expect that your target readers will visit your portal more frequently. But you also need to be certain that your contests are related to your niche.

Actually, you can also have an option to outsource writers. This is actually one of the cheapest ways of maintaining your article writing sites.

And lastly, it is also very essential that you are knowledgeable about the various Search Engine Optimization strategies so that you can increase the exposure of your pages.

 

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