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Web Hosts: The Basics

August 21st, 2018

Before you start searching for a web host, you must familiarize yourself with the terminology used in this field. The following terms are also considered key factors in deciding the suitable hosting plan that meets your requirements. You can start learning what does each term mean and how does it affect your selection.

Web Host

A web host, also known as web server, is a computer connected to the internet. This computer is more powerful than normal PCs and is set up to serve up websites. Your website content will reside on this computer, which will give people who surf the internet a way to access your website.

Web hosts can be categorized into three main categories based on the price range and common features for each category:

1. Free Hosts: limited in space, bandwidth and other features. Suitable for personal websites or for temporary usage. Usually enforce pop-up, text or banner ads. They do not provide the best performance and/or reliability. They provide minimum or no customer support. If you register for a free host, your domain will be something like yourname.freehost.com or [http://www.freehost.com/yourname].

2. Shared Hosts: most websites are using this type of hosting. Suitable for personal, small and medium businesses. Prices range from $1 to about $25 a month. Features also range from very limited space/bandwidth to semi-dedicated servers. Your website has its own top level domain (e.g. [http://www.website-hostings.net]) The number of websites on a server affects its performance and availability, more websites usually means less performance. Servers hosting less number of shared websites are more expensive, but more reliable. Some companies allow customers to host multiple websites with different domains under a single account.

3. Dedicated Hosts: A full server dedicated to a single customer. Usually used by large businesses and very active websites with thousands of daily visitors. The customer will have full control over the server, and can create as many websites as he likes. Customer can have his own hosting company run on a rented dedicated server. Prices depend on the specifications and services provided with the server, starting from about $100 up to about $800 dollars a month.

4. Colocated Hosts: very similar to dedicated hosts, but the customer owns the server hardware instead of renting it. The server will be housed in provider’s data center. Prices are a bit higher than dedicated servers.

5. Reseller Hosts: providers offer web server storage to customers, who then resell the web server storage to their customers. Providers usually offer resellers a discount price.

6. Other Hosts: there are few other types of hosts such as email hosts, media hosts, data hosts, etc but these are out of the scope of this article.

Domain Name

www.website-hostings.net [http://www.website-hostings.net] is an example of a domain name. It’s a name that points to where your website is physically located. The actual address of your website is a set of numbers that looks like (70.86.135.242). This address is unique for every web server. Domain names are just pointers to the real addresses. It’s easier to remember the domain names than the IP addresses.

Space / Storage

The amount of web server’s disk space available for customer’s website files, images and databases. It can be as small as 5MB in some free hosts and as big as 300GB for some dedicated servers. Space prices reduced significantly during the last few years. Customer can find hosting plans offering 3GB of space for less than $10 a month.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from web server to clients’ internet browsers. Each time a person view a page data is transmitted from the server to that person’s PC. Audio, video and images contents consume much more bandwidth than text. Bandwidth can be as low as 100MB a month in some free web hosts and as high as 2000GB a month in some dedicated servers. Customer can find hosting plans offering 75GB of monthly data transfer for less than $10.

Server Type

Usually means the operating system than runs the web server. Common types are Windows, Linux and UNIX. Server type determines the server side scripting and database types. Windows usually runs ASP and ASP.NET with Access or SQL Server databases. Linux/UNIX servers usually runs CGI, PHP or JSP with mySQL or Oracle databases. Windows servers are usually more expensive than Linux/UNIX servers.

Databases

As you have seen in server types, there are different types of databases. The most commonly used is mySQL because its an open source GPL (free) software and can serve a lot of online applications’ requirements such as forums, content management, mailing lists, etc. MySQL, however, has some limitations in its features. Complicated large business sites will need more powerful databases such as Oracle or SQL Server.

Server Side Scripting

Most new users prefer to use PHP as server side scripting. The reason is that there are hundreds of open source (GPL) PHP scripts that can meet a lot of webmaster’s requirements. Similar to mySQL, PHP has some limitations in features required by advanced websites, which makes some senior web developers prefer to use ASP.NET or JSP. Other developers still prefer to use Cold Fusion, CGI, ASP or PERL.

Email

Most hosting plans include the feature of having some email accounts with customer’s domain (e.g. admin@website-hostings.net). The number and size of email accounts depends on the hosting plan. Free plans do not usually have this feature, small plans give about 10 accounts where big plans do not limited the number. Those email accounts are usually web based and accessible through POP3 clients as well.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A standard way of transferring files across the Internet. Most webmasters upload and download their websites contents using FTP. The upload or download processes are usually performed using FTP client software. To access their web servers, webmasters need FTP username and password. Some hosts give more than one FTP account to their customers. FTP can by anonymous as well, but its not recommended for security reasons.

Control Panel

Most web hosting companies provide their customers with a control panel, a web based application that helps in managing websites. Common functions in control panels are: managing email accounts, providing statistics, managing FTP accounts, managing domains and subdomains and managing databases. The most commonly used control panel application is cPanel. Some companies develop their own control panel application.

Uptime

An important feature of web hosts is their uptime, which is usually measured in percentage. A server that goes down for an average of 30 minutes a day will have an uptime percentage of about 99.98%, which is acceptable for most small to medium business websites. Anything less than this percentage is not suitable for a business website. Mission critical sites cannot tolerate frequent outages, thus they may use web monitoring services to notify web administrators immediately when an outage happens.

Price

With the wide range of options available for customers, the price is also ranges from 0 to $1000 a month. Most personal, small and medium websites shouldn’t cost more than $15 a month. It’s not recommended for business website owners to go for very cheap plans (less than $5) because this price usually means a compromise in the quality of support and reliability of the server.

Word To The Wise If You Are Web Design Developer

August 20th, 2018

Are you finding yourself in a position saying to yourself, my goodness why are all of my client’s getting rich and I am still working my butt off doing the same thing every day? If you are a web developer and are so good at what you do? Then why don’t you stop serving clients? You are reading this and have just been struck by lightning because you haven’t thought of this yet or maybe you have but you just haven’t put a solid plan together.

I have one question for you. “If you are so darn good at producing professional websites and making them successful, why haven’t you built an empire of your own?”

It’s simple. You never set a goal. You must first have a goal; tell yourself “I am ready to be successful.”

Success can be defined in many different ways, the way you define success is the first step. If you define success by running a web development business and pleasing your clients and you make 15% of the gross sale per job and it covers just enough to pay your utility and mortgage bill then that’s it, you are successful and that’s all you will ever need.

Or if success for you is, running your own web development business, expanding to 30 employees by the end of the month, opening a call center to take all of the call’s pouring in for web development and there are so many call’s to take you don’t think you will ever get to them all, then this can be your definition of success for you too.

First step is to define success

Second you will need to wake up and smell the coffer. Realize that you have been the one sitting across this table you are at now and helping and watching all of your client’s get rich quick because you can.

Third, you will need to find something of your own to marketing, and develop for yourself since you are so good at it.

Fourth, thank me for sending the lightning bolt to your address

Business Development Strategies in Legal Publishing Can Work for You

August 19th, 2018

Hoping people will buy your published material or products will be the death of your business! No longer is the traditional one-way publishing model or company-centric thinking acceptable or profitable. According to Mark Rousseau, General Manager for Findlaw/Lexpert at Thomson Carswell, “You need to find out what the client’s needs are and develop products and services to address those needs to succeed in today’s business world.”

Let’s take for example, Mark Rousseau’s growth mandate of 30% compounded growth over the next 5 years. How does he plan to achieve this? According to Mark, they are undertaking a number of business development initiatives to meet their division’s growth objective.

Thomson Carswell acquired Lexpert Magazine in 2004 from entrepreneur and publisher John Alexander Black and hired Mark Rousseau who has more than 20 years of publishing experience to operate and grow the business. The staff size has since doubled from 15 to 30 employees. According to Mark, “the only other thing that has changed is billing and IT which has been centralized with Thomson Carswell’s operations”. The entrepreneurial operation of the publication itself has remained intact.

Always thinking of ways to grow the business, Mark Rousseau has shifted their advertising focus to include new potential advertisers in the business-to-business and luxury goods categories. This makes perfect sense when you realize that the average corporate reader’s annual income is in excess of $150,000!

If you want to be viewed as an industry leader, be the first to do something different! Lexpert is leading the way by planning and hosting the first ever Rising Stars Awards show this November for the top 40 Canadian Corporate Counsel and Leading Lawyers in private practice under age 40, in partnership with The Globe and Mail. This out of the box thinking has also led to other innovative initiatives. According to Mark Rousseau, the pilot for their business development course was so successful last year that they are planning to do six 1 ½ days business development courses in 2006. Each course will be taught by a leading lawyer in a specific practice area with his/her own unique course material for a maximum of 30 corporate counsel and senior level executives.

Building strategic partnerships is not a new idea but if you are able to leverage your partnerships like Lexpert has done with the two national dailies in Canada, National Post and The Globe & Mail, you too can have a captive audience of senior business executives in exchange for current and relevant corporate deal news. Once a week, features from Lexpert’s Big Deals column appear in the Legal Post section of the National Post; and coming soon, a new deal with The Globe and Mail which takes effect on Oct 1, 2006 will further assist Lexpert’s clients in reaching their target market of Canadian business executives.

Lexpert, now part of the global information powerhouse Thomson Corporation, understands the importance of leverage. Through joint initiatives with their U.S. sister companies Thomson West (the largest legal information provider in the U.S.) and Findlaw (a popular U.S. legal Internet site), Lexpert has been able to successfully enter the U.S. legal marketplace and reach 15,000 U.S. Corporate Counsel and 10,000 Leading U.S. lawyers with their magazine. They now do a 25,000 mailing twice a year in the U.S. market with the help of their U.S. siblings, to provide valuable exposure for their Canadian advertising clients and to increase the magazine’s readership beyond Canadian borders.

With an increasing base of web savvy clients, Mark Rousseau also plans to have everything in print, available online and has a team of web developers revamping their corporate web site at http://www.lexpert.ca to improve their users’ navigational experience. For example, if you are a corporate lawyer, you will be directed to view information on the site that is relevant to you.

Lexpert is certainly no stranger to launching successful products into the legal marketplace. Their print publications like “Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory”; “Lexpert/American Lawyer Media Guide to the Leading Top 500 Lawyers in Canada”; “Lexpert/CCCA Directory and Yearbook”; and “Lexpert Law Student & Associate Recruitment Guide” have all been well received by their intended markets. Even their much anticipated online product Deal Monitor, currently under development and slated to be released before the end of this year, is bound to be another huge success as this product promises to address the needs and demands of their key clients.

With assistance from Thomson Financial and Thomson West, this database will consist of Canadian and U.S. based corporate deals dating back 5 years. This online subscription tool will have analytical capabilities such as trending with historical data, customized search capabilities, and the ability to produce custom graphs and much more. According to Mark, they are not a magazine but “a vehicle to help their clients develop their business”. He contributes much of their success to the close relationships they have developed with their clients.

For those starting a publishing business, he recommends focusing on the web, as the print publishing industry is saturated and a tough model to build and sustain. He also suggests that you get audience generated content to guarantee the readership of your publication.

The moral of this story, no matter what industry you are from, finding out what your clients’ needs are and developing products and services to address those needs is the key to your company’s success and profitability.

Article Summary of Best Practices for Business Development:

– Find out what your clients’ needs are and develop products and services to address those needs

– Create a solid business plan to help achieve your company’s growth objective

– Research the demographics of your target audience to expand in the right direction

– Be the first out of the box with something new in your industry

– Create opportunities to allow your clients to demonstrate their expertise

– Form and leverage strategic partnerships

– Invest in the development of products and services that your target market needs & would pay for

– Create a company web site that is easy to navigate and provides a good user experience

– Have your products and services available online

– Focus on building partnership relationships with your clients

– Research the industry you are thinking of entering

– Survey your clients or potential clients for new ideas