Archive for May, 2014
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6 Important Rules in Website Design and Hosting

When it comes to your website, extra attention should be paid to every minute detail to make sure it performs optimally to serve its purpose. Here are seven important rules of thumb to observe to make sure your website performs well.

1) Do not use splash pages

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like “welcome” or “click here to enter”. In fact, they are just that — pretty vases with no real purpose. Do not let your visitors have a reason to click on the “back” button! Give them the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Do not use excessive banner advertisements

Even the least net savvy people have trained themselves to ignore banner advertisements so you will be wasting valuable website real estate. Instead, provide more valueable content and weave relevant affiliate links into your content, and let your visitors feel that they want to buy instead of being pushed to buy.

3) Have a simple and clear navigation

You have to provide a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash based menus or multi-tiered dropdown menus. If your visitors don’t know how to navigate, they will leave your site.

4) Have a clear indication of where the user is

When visitors are deeply engrossed in browsing your site, you will want to make sure they know which part of the site they are in at that moment. That way, they will be able to browse relevant information or navigate to any section of the site easily. Don’t confuse your visitors because confusion means “abandon ship”!

5) Avoid using audio on your site

If your visitor is going to stay a long time at your site, reading your content, you will want to make sure they’re not annoyed by some audio looping on and on on your website. If you insist on adding audio, make sure they have some control over it — volume or muting controls would work fine.

6) The most important – Host only with a Reliable Hosting Provider.

Before Chosing a Web Hosting provider, read its reviews and always check the top 10 hosting providers.

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Affordable PHP MYSQL Hosting Is Within Your Reach

Gone are the days of expensive web hosting. There was a time, just a few years ago, when hosting was not as cheap as it is now. Lets see why.

Hosting is all about storage on a hard disk (which resides on the web server) and bandwidth for your data. Till a few years ago, hard disk storage was not as large as it is now. Now-a-days hard disk drives come in a typical 400 GB to 500 GB capacity ranges. Even the smallest ones for home computer usage come in over 100 GB sizes. Compare that with a 40 GB hard drive just a few years ago.

A few of these 400 GB to 500 GB range hard disk drives in a typical Linux powered web server with 4 Intel Xeon Central Processing Units gives more than enough processing power and storage capacity to host hundreds of websites on one server, all of them running happily.

Throw in open source (free) Apache + PHP + MySQL combination and you have a recipe for hosting a real working dynamic website at very low costs. What was once a premium combination is now very standard and very cheap and very affordable. It is not uncommon to find hosting plans as cheap as just 99 cents per month, which come complete with all features including PHP and MySQL and enough storage + bandwidth.

There is, thus, no reason for anyone who wants to host anything from a personal homepage or a home business / small business wanting a dynamic website for their online business, to go only for simple HTML websites. No. That is long gone.

Shared web hosting has become very affordable for every kind of use and application. As storage and processing technology advances, hosting will be available with even better capacities and more powerful features. It makes complete sense to use the power of PHP and MySQL when it is well within everyone’s reach.

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Choosing An Excellent Host: 3 Steps

Choosing a Web hosting services provider can be a challenge. There are literally thousands of companies that offer countless products and services. It can be a difficult task for a novice as well as for a seasoned professional, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve broken the process down into three steps:

Step One: Free or Paid Hosting?
Step Two: Determine Expectations
Step Three: Compare Hosts in the Right Category

Step 1: Free or Paid Hosting?

A large percentage of Web sites are ‘free’ and posted by individuals for personal reasons. Typically, these sites are associated with one of the larger portals such as Yahoo or AOL and consist of a page or two with limited content. If you’re looking to put up a personal site like this, look no further than the solutions offered by these two companies. The tools and applications such as email, community interest portals and photo management software provided are straightforward and make setting your site up very easy.

The downside to free hosting? Generally you’ll have to put up with banner ads on your homepage or other ads you don’t get to pick. To be fair, it’s how these companies can afford to set up your infrastructure for free. All the same, you have no control over whose ad shows up on your site. If that’s unacceptable, a paid hosting solution (some start lower than $5/mo) might be your best bet. Some low cost solutionas are EasyCGI, IPower, and StartLogic.

Most Web hosting companies bundle services into a series of packages. The standard hosting service component is normally a bundle of disk storage space (where your site is stored) and bandwidth (the capacity for data transfer of a wired or wireless communication system.) In addition, hosting companies usually bundle email services with standard plans. The email service contains POP and IMAP solutions which direct email received through your site to desktop applications (Outlook® or Exchange®.) “Web-mail” is also provided to view and manage email through a Web browser.

Frequently, small businesses want a Web site that functions only as an online brochure that provides information about the business but not sell products. Standard packages are ideal if you’re building a simple brochure site. Additional service packages offer eCommerce, media intensive applications for video and audio sharing and dedicated servers, designed to back-up more complex business requirements. Paid solutions pretty much come down to whether you’re going to sell products and services online or just display information in a brochure format and what kind of customer and technical support you’ll require.

Step 2: Determine Expectations

There are basically two price levels prevalent in Web hosting. There’s a large group of Low Price or Discount hosts that offer nice solutions from below $5 to $15 per month and there are hosts that offer solutions that start above $15 and the pricing goes up from there. Companies such as Affinity have developed a number of different hosting brands to help simplify the customer experience. As an example, Affinity uses the HostSave and WinSave brands for their low-cost hosting solutions and the ValueWeb brand for their premium services.

Customer service is usually the primary difference between inexpensive hosting solutions and the higher priced options. Here’s where the “you get what you pay for” maxim comes into play. Prior to choosing a provider its important to determine how serious you are. In other words, if the site is your small business lifeline, where you’ll find customers, display, sell and even ship products you probably don’t want a hosting company that won’t answer calls when there’s a problem. On the contrary, many experienced professionals would rather not talk to someone and prefer technical support and customer service through email or online chat.

Clarifying expectations ahead of time can mean the difference between a great online experience or completely frustrated and without support. The extra $10 per month may be worth the piece of mind it buys.

Step 3 : Compare Hosts in the Right Category

Once you know whether you need a standard hosting plan or an eCommerce solution and whether low price or premium (a.k.a. better customer support) hosting is right for you, it’s time to shop. Any of the major search engines will provide a multitude of responses with a query such as Web Hosting or eCommerce hosting. You can even narrow your search with more definition. A search for “Cheap eCommerce hosting” will yield mostly companies whose solutions fall in the low price category. Actually, you don’t even have to go to a search engine to find cheap hosts. Everything you need is here. Go to Hosting Reviews and you will find a large list of hosts, all with reviews, user comments and ratings. From there you can find the cheapest or best host to suit your needs.

Take some time and visit several hosting company’s Web sites. Go over plan options and see which offer the services and support that match your expectations. Because of the similarities, hosting plans can become confusing. Most major providers have a “Compare Plans” page you can print. Its good to print out the various packages and have them in hand while you shop.

Using Affinity’s ValueWeb brand as an example, some hosts offer a portal where you’re free to ask existing customers if they’re satisfied and recommend the provider. Look for this function as you shop, it’s an excellent tool in how to determine whether a company is right for you. Unless you’re an experienced professional you shouldn’t buy a solution without at least first talking to a sales rep at the company. This gives a sense of the company’s commitment to its customers. Many also call the technical support numbers to see how long it takes to answer and how friendly and knowledgeable the staff is. Companies such as Affinity, combined sales and support departments so when you order an account you’re talking to a technical support representative as well. This creates a forum in which all questions can be answered without having to be transferred to other departments.

It’s important to find a hosting relationship that fits your needs and who’s level of involvement you feel comfortable with. Following these steps will make choosing a Web hosting solution easier and, hopefully, even fun.

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Do I Need Managed Web Hosting Or Shared Web Hosting?

There are many different choices to make when it comes to selecting the best type of web hosting for your particular needs.  Shared web hosting is by far the most popular type of web hosting, and is ideal for most websites.  However, many websites, such as those with very high traffic or form whom security of sensitive information is of utmost concern, managed web hosting just might be a better choice.

Shared Web Hosting

For smaller websites, purchasing a server or paying to leasing a dedicated server would be an unnecessary and very significant expense.  Shared web hosting is an inexpensive and effective web hosting solution for most smaller websites.  This type of hosting is referred to as shared web hosting simply because multiple websites share space on a single web hosting server.

Web host servers are large and powerful, and have sufficient room and bandwidth capacity to host multiple websites with ease.  When you select a shared web hosting option, you purchase a package from a web hosting company that includes a certain amount of space and bandwidth on the company’s server.  This option allows website owners to enjoy the power of a powerful web hosting server without having to pay for more than is actually needed.

The number of other websites with which your site shares a web host depends on the size and bandwidth needs of each website along with the capacity of the server.  As long as your shared web hosting agreement includes a sufficient amount of space and bandwidth for your needs, you don’t have to worry about running out of room in a shared environment.

If your website grows faster than you expect, and you do find that it is outgrowing your current hosting agreement.  You can always negotiate with your web hosting company to add additional space and bandwidth capacity to your current shared hosting agreement.  Another option is to step up to a higher level of web hosting, which could mean getting a dedicated server with managed web hosting.

Managed Web Hosting

Websites that deal with highly sensitive confidential information, as well as those who receive a great deal of traffic are more suited for a dedicated web hosting environment than for shared web hosting.  With dedicated web hosting, your website does not share a server with other websites.  One web hosting server is dedicated specifically to your website.

Most companies who need the capacity of a dedicated web host decide to go with a managed web hosting solution.  This is because the actual management and administration of a dedicated host can be very time consuming.  If a website owner selects an unmanaged hosting option, he or she becomes responsible for every aspect of maintaining the web hosting server.  Managing a web host is very time consuming, and involves everything from day to day maintenance to security issues.

Those who operate large websites are typically busy with other activities, and it is worth setting up their web hosting agreement so that the hosting company handles most of the task associated with managing the dedicated host.  Another option for managed web hosting is simply to contract with an outside organization to handle the duties associated with managing the web host server.

Making a Decision

If your website is large enough to need a dedicated web hosting, it is certainly in your best interest to go with managed hosting instead of unmanaged hosting unless you employ a server maintenance expert who has the time to handle the large task of maintaining your web server.

However, before making the decision to invest in managed hosting, it is in your best interest to see if shared web hosting will meet your needs.  Shared web hosting is significantly less than dedicated hosting options.  Remember that shared web hosting is sufficient for most websites, so don’t take on the expense of managed hosting if it is unnecessary.

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LittleOak.net Review Demo Video

Watch the review of LittleOak.net web hosting video by WebHostingReviewPlanet.com. See how to get more information on LittleOak below.

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GreenGeeks.com Review Demo Video

Watch the review of GreenGeeks.com web hosting video by WebHostingReviewPlanet.com. See how to get more information on GreenGeeks below.

If you would like more information on GreenGeeks.com visit their web site here.

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3 Differences Between Shared and Dedicated Hosting

When it comes to making the all-important choice of what web hosting method to use the choices come down to shared hosting and dedicated hosting. There are so many arguments arguing for both shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Perhaps it is time to shed a little light on this web hosting dilemma.

First of all, let’s deal with the all-important question of server access. Needless to say, if you choose to use shared web hosting you will be sharing space with other businesses. Now your parents may have told you it is good to share but that is not always true in the world of web hosting. In the world of web hosting shared is synonymous with limited access.

A limited access approach to web hosting means that your access is limited through a control panel that is provided by the hosting provider. And if the web hosting provider is in charge of the control panel then they are in control of your access. A lack of control to your web hosting means a lack of control for every part of your web hosting needs.

On the other hand, a dedicated hosting server gives you complete and total access. Now doesn’t that sound a lot better? Full access in the form of dedicated hosting means that you get the final say in all web hosting decisions. Dedicated hosting also gives you access to the remote desktop manager, which allows you to have access to the machines desktop.

Next we look at web hosting from the perspective of exclusive use. Getting back to the concept of shared web hosting, the question needs to be asked, how much do you like to share? With shared hosting you are sharing a server with roughly 500-1000 other websites. Wow, that’s a lot of neighbors in your cyber neighborhood. With these many other websites clamoring for web hosting you may not always have access to all the server’s resources. Other websites may be taking up more web hosting resources than you are.

A dedicated hosting service however, gives you exclusive access to all the resources the dedicated hosting server has to offer. Your information alone is responsible for the performance of the server.

Finally lets deal with scalability in regards to the issue of web hosting. Most shared web hosting services do not allow you to install your own applications on the web hosting service. They have a set configuration and they do not go outside the box, thereby limiting your growth.

A dedicated hosting service gives you complete control. Your IT department can install any applications that are necessary for your web hosting needs. Again more control means a more effective web hosting service.

So all in all, it would seem that dedicated hosting is a far more viable option for most businesses web hosting needs. Dedicated hosting gives you more control and, in the world of web hosting, it’s all about control.
limiting your growth.

A dedicated hosting service gives you complete control. Your IT department can install any applications that are necessary for your web hosting needs. Again more control means a more effective web hosting service.

So all in all, it would seem that dedicated hosting is a far more viable option for most businesses web hosting needs. Dedicated hosting gives you more control and, in the world of web hosting, it’s all about control.

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1and1 Hosting – Raising The Bar

First, I have to admit. I’m a terrible customer.  I’m a demanding perfectionist who rarely feels that he is getting his money’s worth.  This is especially true of hosting providers.  In the past four years, I’ve had to change providers at least six times because I felt that I was not getting what I paid for. This brief commentary is somewhat of a treat for me as I finally get to say something good about a hosting provider!

A little over two years ago I was reading up on the latest technologies in one of my favorite publications, eWeek, when I ran across a nice, full-page ad from 1and1 offering an introductory offer of free hosting for three years.  Wait! What! No way!  This has got to be too good to be true! Off to the trusty computer I go…

Sure enough, it was the real deal. 1and1 was indeed offering free web hosting for three years to introduce its new public sector hosting service.  Well, like any good cash-strapped college student, I stepped right up and got me a piece of the pie. I’ve got to say, the pie was good too!

After roughly two years of hosting with 1and1, with minimal problems I should say, I started to notice that I was getting dangerously close to the bandwidth allowance my free package had to offer. No big surprise there; these things happen when you’re trying to establish an online presence and you offer free downloads.  It was time to upgrade my hosting.

At the time, there were no great specials going on at 1and1 so I decided to shop around. That was a tremendous mistake! What I got was a course in how *not* to run a hosting service.  I will be polite, this time, and not name and companies, but let’s just say stay away from cheap reseller hosting accounts!  The uptime is nowhere near what they promise and every time you turn around some idiot is running a script that bogs the server down to a crawl.

After a couple months, a chunk of wasted cash, and several moves back and forth between providers, I finally conceded that 1and1 was indeed the best host I had come across thus far. As luck would have it, I had received an email from 1and1 announcing a great promotion for their free preview package holders (obvious marketing trick, but good timing in my situation).  They were offering their top shared Linux package for half the price.  Ok, that sounds like a good deal, and it was, but what about next year? Well, this is where it gets even better.  Not only did I get the package at half price, but they guaranteed that price for three years with free upgrades!

I might not be the brightest light bulb in the box, but I know a good deal when I see one.  So, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, I signed up.  What I got was a whole lot more than what I bargained for, and honestly, could have hoped for.  Almost instantly after upgrading, I noticed that my sites were running faster.  I’m assuming that paid customers are placed on less crowded servers.

Then, the first upgrade came.  My space and bandwidth were doubled at no extra charge.  I thought to myself, cool, I’ll take it!  A couple weeks later, I was browsing the 1and1 site comparing features for a potential client when I noticed that the package I have had been bumped to ridiculously high levels.  Even though I was getting my money’s worth at the time, I felt a little bitter that I wasn’t getting the full package spec.  After all, I was promised that I would get every package upgrade.

Just like any other nightmare client, I promptly dialed billing to give them a piece of my mind.  Apparently, the billing agent was no stranger to difficult clients like me.  Within a few minutes of talking to me, he got me defused and assured me that my package would be brought up to spec within four weeks. That was two weeks ago.  He explained that it was taking more time than expected to upgrade all their current accounts to the new account specs.  He really surprised me when he said that I’d actually be getting more than what was currently listed on the site. What?!  Ok then! Thank you for your time!  Needless to say, I was left feeling very positive about that support call.

Here’s where we get into the numbers… When I logged into my account today, I was greeted by some very generous numbers for the package I have.  I discovered that I now have 30,000MB of storage and 1,500 GB of transfer on a shared hosting account that normally runs $19.99/mo! Wait!  That can’t be right! Those are VPS specs!  Yup, you read right. 30GB of storage and 1.5TB of transfer for under $20/mo. PLUS, with 1and1, I only pay $5.99 per domain, per year.

Now, let’s be real here.  Those numbers are great and all, but other providers offer similar specs.  What sets 1and1 apart?  For starters, uptime!  With every other host I’ve used, uptime was a major issue.  This is not so with 1and1.  I can count on one hand how many times in the past two years my site was not available and nearly every time it was related to an ISP router, not 1and1! Also, one of the things I’ve really grown to appreciate is their one-of-a-kind control panel.  It’s a little slow, but it more than makes up for it in streamlined administration.  This is especially true of the domain administration.  Even complete n00bs have no problem navigating the 1and1 control panel and managing their package like a pro.

Again, I’m not the easiest person in the world to impress, especially when it comes to hosting providers.  Nevertheless, 1and1 has really raised the bar of what a good hosting provider is in my mind.  They are now the benchmark by which I will measure all hosting providers.  If you are in the market for a good, reliable, affordable hosting provider, I cannot say enough positive about 1and1.

There is only one negative I’ve found with 1and1 and it’s not even really a negative. They’re a bit restrictive on script execution.  If you think about it, in a shared hosting environment, this is a good thing, and this also explains why the only time I’ve noticed the server actually being down was during a scheduled hardware upgrade. Now, who’s going to complain about a free upgrade in performance?

If you would like more information on 1and1 and the packages they offer, I encourage you to visit their site.  Just as a point of reference, I’m running on the Developer Package.  I think you’ll find that it’s a more than adequate package for moderate to heavy traffic sites.

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5 Things To Look For In A Promising Web Host

Finding a promising web hosting company for your internet based business is an essential piece to the puzzle. This is the company that has control of your server space, web services and file maintenance, so you want to make sure you are protected. Here are 5 things to look for in a promising web host.

1. Reliability

There is nothing more important than reliability when it comes to selecting a web hosting company. There are a number of things that can go wrong within an in…

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Finding a promising web hosting company for your internet based business is an essential piece to the puzzle. This is the company that has control of your server space, web services and file maintenance, so you want to make sure you are protected. Here are 5 things to look for in a promising web host.

1. Reliability

There is nothing more important than reliability when it comes to selecting a web hosting company. There are a number of things that can go wrong within an internet based business and it is assuring to know that your web host is there for you. Prior to selecting a company, take the time to look at the percentage of time their server is working properly. If the server tends to be down 15% of the time or more, this kills valuable time that you could be working.

2. Contact info

Part of a web hosting company being reliable is also them being available. If your server goes down, you want to know that you can get a hold of the company as soon as possible. The best way to check on the support personnel is to call them up prior to agreeing to anything to test them out.

3. Domain name

With thousands of internet based businesses on the web and millions of web addresses already taken, it can be difficult coming up with an original domain name. However, every web host should be able to provide you with one for a reasonable price. Check into the support they give you for finding a quality domain name and the prices each company charges for a domain name.

4. CGI access

Depending on the type of internet based business you have, you may want to or need to run your own programs. In order to do this, you must have CGI access. Not every web host offers this, and not every company offers the same capabilities for their CGI access. When researching into a web hosting company, check to make sure they offer CGI access that allows you to read, write, and execute on your server.

5. POP account

Having a POP account is vital for your business because of the protection that it offers. A POP account gives you password-protected access to mail that is sent through your website email address.

There are several things you want to look into prior to selecting a web hosting company. The more questions you can come up with to ask the company and the more research you put into your decision, the better off you will be.

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Why You Should Choose Paid Hosting Instead Of Free?

Many of you faced with the question today of having a web site. And after developing your site you will probably starting to find good free hosting. What’s the catch with the free hosting providers?

There is nothing in this world for free. Ask yourself a question – how do they survive? They have to pay for servers, bandwidth, server software and got no income?

The answer is – advertising, yeah they place an ads on your site and usually have a tracking tools to decide whether traffic on your site click on their ads and generate income or not. If not do not be surprised your account closed.

– Free hosting companies usually place their own ads on your site.
– There are some free hosting companies that do not place an ads but if you get some traffic on your site
your free provider may close your account and place his own page with ads instead of your site.
– PHP, CGI, Perl and many other tech tools are disabled.
– You have very limited disk space and limited bandwidth.
– You have not memorized by others address like /freehoster.com/somedir/~youraccount
– You don’t have useful tools like Site builder, add-on scripts which some paid hosting companies offer for free.
– You don’t have email address similar as your account name.
– A lot of free hosts change their Terms without warning you.
– Because they are offering free hosting, the majority of them can not afford to offer 24/7 or any support.
– Very few free web hosts offer a control panel with their plans.

With pay host you eliminate all this inconveniences except one – it’s not free. I know this is not simple step to decide to pay for hosting. So if you need just information page for your friends then free hosting option is right for you. But if this is your presentation site or you plan to do some business and need tools like PHP, CGI etc… I’d recommend to take a look at paid hosting companies.

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