Hosting

Web Hosting

What is Web Hosting

In a nutshell: A place to put your website’s files so they will be accessible to everyone on the Internet

Web hosting, as it sounds, is a place to host a website content. However the question is why do we need to host a website?
Hosting a website is required by the from the Internet is working. When you enter a website URL in the browser address bar, the browser search for the target website URL(domain) IP address. you can learn more about the IP address search process from our article about DNS - Domain Name Server.

After the browser has the necessary IP address, it would send an HTTP GET request to the server. A connection would be established between your computer and the remote web server. The server receives the GET request, which asks for a certain web page to be sent to you. It sends back the web page, encoded in HTML. The browser then begins rendering the page. If it needs to fetch additional elements, such as images or videos that the HTML code says are on the page, it will start the process to get them, which is quite similar to what it did to request the web page.
Accordingly, the basic purpose of web hosting is letting individuals and businesses have a place where they can upload their website content to, thus making it accessible to the entire world. Now that Internet use has grown in popularity, so has the number of websites being hosted on various servers around the world.

Types of Hosting

There are a few different types of hosting services that you can use. Here is an overview of the most common ones:

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common type of web hosting service used by individuals, as well as small and mid-sized businesses. It is also the most affordable and easiest to use. With shared hosting, multiple websites are placed on one physical server, thus sharing that server's resources like CPU, RAM and disk space.

Each customer can administer their own website by logging in to a web-based control panel. This type of hosting will be suitable for most users, as it will be sufficient to host simple websites, such as business sites, blogs, photo galleries and small e-commerce sites. However, if you want to build a website that would receive a huge amount of visitors on a daily basis, or that would place a large demand on server resources, such as a large forum or e-commerce site, shared hosting would not be powerful enough for you.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

A VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is basically a part of a server that is assigned for your exclusive use. Think of the server as a pie and the individual slices as virtual private servers. This sharing of resources is accomplished by using virtualization software. Every user would get an allocated amount of server resources, such as RAM, processing power and disk space. This type of hosting is suitable for sites that would require a bit more power than a shared hosting account.

Managed and Dedicated Hosting Services

A dedicated hosting service gives you an entire server for your exclusive use. You can choose a server configuration that will give you the power you need for your site. With dedicated hosting, you will get full administrator rights to the server and can install any script or program that you want on it to help run your website or other online services, such as hosting multiplayer video games.
Managed hosting will still get you a server all to yourself, however the web host will help you by configuring it and ensuring that it runs smoothly, while you focus on building and maintaining your site. However, you should know that this management service comes at a premium on the price of the server.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a hybrid between VPS and dedicated web hosting. Here, you will get your very own virtual server, but instead of running on one specific physical server, the virtual server can use resources from a cluster of servers and storage devices working together. Cloud servers give you a lot of reliability and flexibility, as you can select from the number of CPU cores you need, amount of RAM, storage space, network resources and many more configurations which allows you to fully control your service by yourself. It is often used by larger businesses that deploy online applications which need a lot of resources.

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DNS – Domain Name Server

DNS – Domain Name Server

In a nutshell: Like your phone book, a place where you find phone number.

Let’s say you enter www.google.com into the browser’s address bar. The first thing the browser would need to do is find the IP address associated with that particular domain name, so that it can connect to Google’s server and fetch the page. There are a few different ways for a browser to translate a domain name into an IP address(for now, refer to IP address as the server unique identifier, like a unique phone number per person). First, it would look up its own cache to see if it already knows the IP address associated with this domain. This would usually occur if you have visited that website in the past few minutes. If nothing is found, the browser keeps looking and asks your computer’s operating system whether it has the IP address of the website in question. Still, if nothing is found, the request goes to your Internet provider’s DNS (Domain Name Server).

The DNS belonging to your ISP(Internet Service Provider) will generally be able to find the needed IP address and send it back to your browser, as it keeps the IP addresses of commonly visited websites in its cache. If it can’t find the record, it will start what is called a recursive search. It first starts at the root name server, then connects to the .com name server and finally reaches the google.com name server, which forwards the IP address of www.google.com to your ISP’s DNS. The DNS then sends the IP address to your browser. The process of accessing a website can be compared to wanting to call someone without having their phone number. You would first check to see if you can remember that person’s phone number in your head. If you don’t, you would check inside your phone’s contacts. If you still don’t have the number, you would then look up the number in the phone book.

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Content Management Systems(CMS)

Content Management Systems – Top CMS in the market 

Content Management System(CMS)

The internet provides small businesses and even individuals with communication tools that would have been considered unimaginable just a few decades ago, but taking advantage of these tools once required either very deep pockets or a great deal of skill. In the early days of the internet, small business websites were little more than online business cards and only major corporations had the resources necessary to regularly update what their visitors would see. Content management systems(also known as CMS or website builders) have changed that. Using a content manager allows individuals to add or remove content quickly or even change the entire look of their websites with just a few clicks. They also allow business owners to respond to changing market conditions quickly and encourage them to see their websites as store windows rather than billboards.

There are several different types of content management system available and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some have evolved from simple blogging platforms to become internet behemoths while others were developed for more niche applications. There are hundreds and sometimes thousands of themes available to create every imaginable kind of website, and an array of plugins allow functionality to be added in a matter of seconds that would have once taken hours of careful coding. Themes use fonts, layouts and color schemes to give websites a distinctive look and style, and plugins can be used to add forms or other types of content, improve security or speed up loading times and manage online stores.

Before choosing a CMS download, you should evaluate your online goals to determine what sort of website features will be needed to meet them. You should then read the following reviews of the top content management systems currently available to find out which of them fits your needs. You should also consider ease of use carefully. This is because not every content management system is designed to be used by novices and advanced features are sometimes accompanied by a sharp learning curve.

Top Content Management Systems (CMS)

WordPress 

WordPress was introduced as a blogging platform in 2003 and has gone on to become what many believe is the most popular web content manager system of all. It may lack some of the more advanced marketing features found in other CMS software, but it more than makes up for this shortcoming by offering tens of thousands of themes and more than 50,000 plugins that take care of SEO and provide website builders with virtually boundless possibilities. WordPress websites now account for about 30 percent of all internet traffic and are used by corporations and organizations including NASA, the BBC and the Rolling Stones.

WordPress may also be a prudent choice for you if you are building your first website as there are dozens of online forums and communities dedicated to the software that could provide you with help should you run into a problem. Some of the most prominent theme makers also have support forums and post regular troubleshooting articles.

While WordPress.com offers subscriptions that include hosting and range in price from $4 to $25 per month, the software itself is open-source and free. Most web hosting providers allow WordPress to be installed quickly and easily, and the software features a WYSIWYG editor as standard to make thinks easy for those with little or no coding experience. WordPress is a popular content manager because it is free, easy to use and extremely flexible, but its popularity makes it an appealing target for cybercriminals and there is no official support from its makers.

Strengths: Open-source, ideal for beginners and very versatile.
Weaknesses: Less secure than other solutions, no official support and websites can be slow or laggy when loaded down with plugins and features.

Drupal

Drupal is another open-source CMS that is supported by an extremely active community. Drupal communities offer forums and IRC channels, and Drupal events are held regularly in many large cities. The Drupal website also offers support and features a forum. Drupal is not as easy to use as some other CMS software, but it offers web developers with tools to organize and manage content not found elsewhere. This is one of the reasons companies including Tesla, Johnson and Johnson and Adidas have chosen Drupal to build their websites.

If you use Drupal to build your website, there are more than 6,000 modules available to add functions and features, but the selection of free and commercial themes is somewhat limited. Modules can be used to add social features like forums and blogs, and Drupals user management controls allow administrators to grant permissions that allow access to only certain content.
Drupal may be a wise choice for you if you plan to display various types of content, such as polls, podcasts and blogs, or if you are concerned about the security vulnerabilities of other solutions.

Strengths: Open-source, flexible user and data management controls and SEO friendly.
Weaknesses: Trickier to install and more difficult to use than other CMS software, server loads can be high for large websites and many of its most useful features are highly specialized and may not be needed.

Joomla

Like WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is an open-source web content manager based on PHP. It was released in 2005 and now powers more than 75 million websites. There are thousands of themes and plugins available to customize Joomla websites, and the software is quite easy to use even for those who have never used CMS applications before. Organizations including Citibank and Harvard University chose Joomla to build their websites largely because of its back-end controls and information management systems, and the software’s popularity has given rise to an active support community.

While there are fewer Joomla than WordPress themes available, the selection is still wide enough to satisfy the needs of most website builders. Like Drupal, Joomla is a dedicated CMS solution, but unlike Drupal it is quite straightforward to install.
You may wish to consider Joomla if you are looking for a pure content management solution but still want software that is as easy to use as WordPress, but you may discover that many of the most useful plugins are only available to those who are willing to pay or subscribe to a service. However, Joomla prompts its users to enter meta descriptions and keywords when content is published, and a range of plugins can increase the software’s SEO capabilities.

Strengths: Joomla is free, easy to use and good for SEO.
Weaknesses: The selection of themes is limited, it may lack features that some advanced users need and combining certain plugins can cause performance issues.

Magento

Magento is another PHP-based open-source web content manager system. It was initially released in 2008, and it has gone on to become one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms. Magento is an extremely powerful system and offers an exhaustive list of features right out of the box. There are also a wide variety of extensions that can improve SEO, speed up order processing and improve security. SEO is a particular concern for online retailers, and they may appreciate Magento’s back-end components that add tags, meta descriptions, URLs and other data that search engine algorithms look for.

While Magento is a web content manager that can be used to build a wide variety of websites, the software has carved out a niche for itself as an e-commerce CMS download. Magento is designed to produce websites that have a unique look and reinforce brand identities, which you could find extremely valuable if you plan to sell products online.

However, becoming proficient with the software can take time and patience, and it may not be an ideal solution if you are unfamiliar with content management applications and are short of time. This is why a great many of the people who download the community version of Magento soon upgrade to an Enterprise package. This can be an expensive mistake as Magento prices begin at $1,500 and can reach six figures. However, there is a thriving Magento support community that can provide quick solutions to most common problems.

Strengths: The basic version of Magento costs nothing, offers a host of advanced SEO and e-commerce features and is supported by an active community.
Weaknesses: Magento is more difficult to use than many other content management systems, it consumes resources and can strain servers and the amount of technical support documents available is limited.

Shopify

Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce WCM solution that has earned a reputation for being extremely easy to use. However, it is a service and not stand-alone software like Magento. However, it provides a turn-key hosted solution that makes setting up an online store extremely easy. The software handles transactions and processes payments and orders, and it offers a “buy now” button that can be placed on other websites and social media platforms to generate offsite sales. The Shopify app store also offers a wide range of plugins that provide added SEO features or other benefits, and many of the most useful apps are free.

Shopify subscriptions range from $29 to $299 per month, but even the most basic package allows online stores to offer an unlimited number of products and includes features like cloud hosting and dedicated customer support. Those paying for premium packages get more comprehensive reports and pay slightly lower credit card processing and transaction fees. If you decide to use Shopify, you may wish to start with the least expensive package and upgrade when your sales reach a point where the added monthly subscription cost is more than offset by the reduced processing and transaction fees.

Shopify may be a good choice if you have products that you would like to sell online and do not have the time, patience or skills needed to set up an online store using a stand-alone WCM. Shopify takes care of online selling chores from printing labels to integrating with couriers, and its strong infrastructure means that you are unlikely to lose customers because your website loads too slowly.

Strengths: Shopify is a robust e-commerce application that is easy to use, offers a turn-key solution and allows online retailers to open their doors and start earning money quickly.
Weaknesses: Shopify is a subscription service that can cost up to $299 per month, and adding features like social logins can make using the software even more expensive. Shopify also provides less customization features than other content managers and the turn-key approach may not provide the level of control that some retailers want.

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Comparison Of The Available Tools To Build A Website

Comparison of the available tools to build Website

Todays internet trend is to create dynamic websites that update their content quite often instead of creating static website where the content is created once and not being updated later. Evidence for that is the fact that Google search engine increases dynamic website location in its search results.Therefore, if you’re building a website, there are numerous options available to you that may influence if your site will be static or dynamic. Here is a simple comparison of the most common ones:

HTML/CSS vs. Flash

An HTML/CSS site is perfect for small business sites that aren’t updated often. HTML is relatively easy to learn, making building and updating your website easier. It can also be displayed on nearly any Internet-enabled device, like a smartphone, tablet or regular PC. On the other hand, Flash gives you the ability to add more multimedia content, like video, animations and music to your site. While it is possible to build an entire site based on Flash, it is very difficult to do so for a novice without coding experience.

Furthermore, many mobile devices don’t support Flash at all, which means that users won’t be able to see your website on such a device. Moreover, Flash is the worst choice for SEO. Web crawlers cannot read Flash, so even if you put keyword-optimized content on a Flash page, it will bring you no SEO benefits. Furthermore, Flash-based websites do not have unique URLs for each page, which further complicates SEO.

CMS vs. HTML/CSS

A Content Management System, like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal provides an “engine” that runs your website. You can choose from several thousands of free or commercial themes, plus you can add plugins that give your site additional functionality, like e-commerce features or a comments section. Using a CMS is practically a must if you have a site that is updated or changed often, like a blog or news site.

However, a CMS based site will use more server resources than a static HTML/CSS site. This might be a problem if you have several sites on a shared hosting account, but can easily be remedied by upgrading to a more powerful hosting solution, like a VPS. Using a CMS is a bit better for SEO, as updating your pages and adding fresh content is a lot easier. CMS platforms like WordPress also have SEO plugins that make evaluating the SEO-worthiness of each page simpler. You should also know that the majority of CMS platforms render pages using CMS and HTML, so you will get no real SEO advantage by just using a static HTML site.

Online Services (such as Wix) vs. CMS

There are a few online services which give you a web-based interface that allows you to build, update and maintain your site. They give you similar functionality to CMS, while being a lot easier to use. However, one major drawback of services like Wix is that they require you to use their own hosting service and pay higher monthly fee compared to regular hosting. You cannot run the site on your own server or shared hosting account. If you ever wish to migrate your site to another platform, exporting the data can be quite tricky. Because Wix is currently based on flash technology, therefore all SEO impacts that were mentioned in the above paragraphs are relevant here as well; Namely Wix is not the best solution for SEO. The option you choose will largely depend on the type of website you are building, as some options are more suitable for specific types of websites. Here is an overview:

Blogs

A blog will need a CMS, as it is updated often and allows user interaction in the form of comments. Basic small business site You can use HTML/CSS if your small business site is very basic and only consists of a few pages that aren’t updated too frequently.

Informative site

If you’re building an informative site, you will probably end up with dozens or even hundreds of pages that are interconnected together. A CMS would be the best option to manage all of this content.

Review site

If you build a review site, a CMS is a must, as user reviews will need to be added live to your pages. All CMS platforms have themes and plugins that can power a review site. When it comes to the three main content management systems available today, there are some pros and cons for each of them:

WordPress

Pros:  Very easy to use, even for beginners. Lots of tutorials and how-to information available online for free. Updating your content becomes very easy to do.

Cons:  Doesn’t offer the needed versatility for complex or large sites, such as news websites or e-commerce sites. WordPress will also require relatively frequent updates to keep it safe from vulnerabilities and hacking attacks.

Joomla

Pros: Still easy to use, while allowing more complex sites. Supports e-commerce functions and is actively supported by a community of developers.

Cons:  While numerous modules are available that can make your site more functional, they can be a bit difficult to install and maintain if you are a beginner. Support for many of these modules is limited to online discussion forums.

Drupal

Pros:  The most powerful CMS, suitable for very complex sites run by professional development teams. Has fewer security issues and possible exploits when compared to WordPress and Joomla. Highly customizable, can be used to run virtually any type of website you could dream of.

Cons:  Quite difficult to install and set up a website. Requires some technical expertise which will take some time to acquire for beginners. Most people who run sites based on the Drupal platform hire a professional developer to set up and help maintain the site for this reason. One great advantage of all three main CMS platforms is that they will work on both Linux and Windows based servers. Even though most people who use a CMS run a Linux-based server, Windows Server and IIS now support all three of these platforms.

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General Website Design Guidelines

General Website Design Guidelines

There are several considerations which you must keep in mind when designing your website. You can find some general ones, such as having a site that is easy to navigate, that loads fast and that can display properly in all of the common web browsers and devices. Then, there are some others which are specific to the type of site you are building.

E-Commerce Site

An e-commerce site should be designed in a way that easily presents information about each of your products to your audience. As your customers would like to have a more detailed look at the items that you’re selling, it is always a good idea to put in medium-sized pictures and give your visitors the chance to zoom in to get a detailed look.

Blog

With a blog, it is better to have one main column that presents the main content, plus a sidebar to the right that can contain various types of navigation elements, such as links to other articles, your blog archives by date, as well as links to your main business website. It is OK to have some ads on a blog, as long as they don’t interfere with the user’s navigation. They can be placed either in the left or right sidebars, or could be found mixed with your main content. For example, you could have one ad banner or row of text ads after every few posts on a page.

Small Business Site

One of the main considerations for a small business site is the colors. You should choose a color scheme that will blend in well with your corporate image and logos. Most commonly, white is used, however you may use combinations of grays, blues and even black depending on the type of business you are running.

Informative Site

As the main purpose of your site would be to provide useful information to the visitor, you should use various types of content to make this happen. For example, you can add infographics, as well as multimedia elements like videos to provide additional information or quickly summarize the text provided on the page.

Review Site

The basic design you use on your review site will depend on whether you post the reviews yourself, in which a format similar to a blog could work, or you allow users to leave reviews for different businesses. In the latter case, you would need to set up an option for users to browse or search for company names and display the reviews in the middle of the page with a comment option at the bottom for the user to add their own review.

There are many tools available to those who are designing a website. You can use one of the ready-made CMS templates for WordPress or Joomla if you want a simple way to create a website. These allow some customization, such as rearranging page elements and adding logos or changing the background colors. You can also use Photoshop to create your own artwork that will be used on your website.

You can hire a designer who will create the graphical files that can be used on your website, such as backgrounds, logos, navigation buttons, etc. These can then be incorporated into HTML templates or used to create your own CMS themes. However, creating a customised theme for a CMS like WordPress would require a lot of effort on the part of the developer, as he would need to code numerous elements of the theme manually. It is possible, on the other hand, to insert certain custom design elements like logos and background images into existing themes, many of which are available free.


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General Writing Guidelines

General Writing Guidelines

There are many reasons as to why you should have useful and valuable content on your website. Obviously, you will need to think of your site’s visitors (the target audience). They are more likely to stay on your site and explore it further if it provides them with information they find interesting and useful. Your content should be designed in a way that addresses the questions that visitors to your website will have. This could be questions about your products and what they could do, as well as more general questions about your industry. There is also the issue of search engine optimization which comes into play. Search engines such as Google love websites that have well-written, unique and original content on them. Sites whose content is updated on a regular basis also do better in search engine results.

Obviously, if you want your site to rank well in search results for keywords that describe your business and its products, you will need to have quality content on it.There are a few things that you will need to consider when you add content to your new/updated website. One of them is the type of content that you use. While written materials can be very useful and informative, they may not always grab the visitor’s attention. This is why using multimedia can be a good idea as well. You can include pictures and graphics that go along with written articles on your website. If one of your content pieces provides facts, figures or statistics, you can summarize the information you’ve written in an easy-to-understand infograph. Finally, don’t hesitate to include online videos where appropriate.

For example, if you explain to your visitors how to set up your product once they receive it, you may want to include a video that shows them how to accomplish this as well.wordpress-265132_1920 Row 3The way content is structured on your website will largely depend on the type of site that you are running. If you have an e-commerce site that sells various products, you may want to include detailed descriptions of your products and their features on each product page. However, you should also include more general information about these products and their usefulness in an other area of your site and link to these relevant pieces on your product pages. If you provide services, such as plumbing, you can include detailed explanations of common plumbing problems, as well as showing how your company fixes them.

Remember that if you want your website to look professional and have it recognized as an authority not only by search engines, but by your readers as well, the content will need to be well-written and free of spelling and grammar errors. You can have someone else proofread and make corrections to your content if you want to ensure it is free of errors.Special tip: Ask yourself what your visitors would want to know when they visit your website. Then, deliver content that will give them the information they seek, all while showing them how your products can be useful in meeting their needs.


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