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April 2010 « CWCS Managed Hosting Blog CWCS Managed Hosting Blog

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UK Dedicated Server, Cloud , Colocation and Managed Hosting Specialists | CWCS

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Danger of ‘Free’

Bill Gates once said, “Like almost everyone who uses email, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so exciting.”

All of us know when we see an offer too good to be true, but when it comes to the internet, we tend to believe it. When a new company offers us free web hosting, we don’t consider in what way we are paying for this. We all know we have to pay, but it doesn’t occur to us how we pay. Sometimes it’s easier to not consider the dangers of revealing the excessive amount of information we have to give to receive free web hosting or any other gift, or the wasted time we spend wading through spam letters because our name is on an immortalised list somewhere in the heart of the worldwide web.

Other times they offer us something for free in the hope we will purchase a product later. Often you will see this in anti-virus programs, scanning our computer for registry issues our previous defences didn’t find, but sometimes the product is simply no good at all. It may tell us it’s more than good enough, so we don’t bother looking for a reputable program.

At CWCS we give you the technical information you need to make the right decisions when you aim to employ dedicated server hosting. We explain the details and benefits of our web hosting services so you can independently verify them and ultimately believe in us.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

How to change web hosting providers

There are numerous reasons to change your web hosting supplier, and if you do decide to do so it does tend to be a fairly straight forward procedure. Ensure you remember to prepare and plan before you cancel your existing package and that there is sufficient time overlap between your existingweb hosts account being removed and the new host account being created, then there is no reason why you can’t move hosts with absolutely no disruption of service.

The first stage is to make sure you have a full and up to date copy of your website files, databases, email settings and any SSL certificates you may have. Most hosts provide you with a function to retrieve and store these files. If you are not careful and lose these due to cancelling your existing account before you have made a backup, it can sometimes be impossible to retrieve them.

The second stage is to get an idea of the contract length or grace period for your cancellation so you know when is best to setup your new host. A week overlap between the two accounts should be an absolute minimum, usually a month is the ideal time. This will allow plenty of time to upload your backed up site to your new provider, and do the other necessary work to get the site live with the new hosts. Once uploaded you are ready for testing.

Most web hosts provide a preview facility to view your uploaded website before it is live on the internet, however if they don’t you can follow the guide that follows and this will allow you to accurately preview your site files to ensure they work correctly.

Finally, when you are satisfied that everything is setup correctly, you are ready to transfer the domain over. This process can take anything up to 72 hours plus any time your existing hosts take to process your transfer request, therefore usually allow at least a week for this process.  Take a last backup of any files that might have changed and then swap the Domains Name Servers (if you manage the domain yourself or you have a designated domain manager you are sticking with) or initiate a registrar transfer/ IPS tag transfer of your domain to your new provider. Once the domain is transferred, request the new provider update the name servers if they haven’t automatically and allow 24 hours for the site to switch to the new host.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

I Don’t Need to Worry About my Site

Often when small companies first venture onto the internet, they don’t expect to see that much business, and use the website merely as a sign of prestige. Placing their website address at the bottom of their business cards, or throwing a “Check out our website” at a passing enquirer is all they really use it for, and the design is often minimalistic and unsupported by an experienced web hosting company.

Increasingly, however, people are turning to the internet for specific details and quotes rather than ringing around aimlessly through the yellow pages. What your customers want is the information and language in order to contact you with more experience, before they actually talk to you. No one wants to look inexperienced and one of the major benefits of a website is to provide your client with the all of the appropriate jargon, so they can correctly describe what they want.

Your website may start off as a simple one page mini-site, but could grow into a larger brochure of your deals and services that contains many levels of technical information, or perhaps something larger still that allows the customer a specific query section, rough quotations and even order pages. For this, a dedicated server is recommended.

Knowing the requirements of your site means understanding about details such as uptime, disk space or bandwidth. It means finding the right website hosting service and deciding whether to go with a dedicated server. At CWCS we can help you through these issues to ensure you have the right setup for your business needs – now and in the future. You may feel you don’t need to worry about today, but your competition is already thinking about tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, it is one of the main standards for transferring files from or to one location and another. It retains files in their designated form as opposed to another form of transferring files one way (usually) called HTTP. For HTTP you download data from a server and then your browser software converts it into viewable content. With FTP you can transfer text files, movies, documents, audio files and indeed any other kind of file without opening or viewing it, you can then use your desired application to view the file on your own PC or allow others to download your files from a remote location or even view files via HTTP if you place them on a web server.

FTP’s principal use is in a web hosting environment and is for uploading website (html, php, asp… etc) files to an online web server where they will be stored for access by website visitors. FTP has become the standard process for this as it allows password protection and access to the files on the web hosting side restricting website administration to only those that need it. Administrators can view and edit all the files on the web server. Almost all Web Hosting Companies will provide FTP access to their customers who want to use this service. Usually the FTP is restricted so it is much faster to upload files then it is to download so as not to slow down the HTTP access for everyone visiting websites on the server.

FTP is not the only way to transfer files to your webhost either. Some hosts allow Microsoft Front Page publishing; however since Microsoft ceased support for this some time ago, the number of hosts who provide this service are diminishing. If you have your own dedicated server or virtual dedicated server, you can also use network drive mapping (SAMBA or NFS) to transfer files as well, however this can sometimes be less secure.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Choosing a Windows Server for your Website Hosting

Windows servers are the most used system across the world, accounting for over 80% of all operating systems. So why are Windows dedicated servers so popular for website hosting?

1.    Windows is tried and tested:
Microsoft is one of the biggest corporations in the world, with a huge burden of responsibility. If they don’t resolve a problem quickly, companies, banks and even governments could fail.

2.    Windows works in a way we all understand:
As Windows is the most popular computer system by far, everyone knows it and understands it. We know how to install new features, or adjust settings. Children learn it from school and on their home PCs. We practice the techniques every time we turn our laptops on and play some music, or see what our friends are up to, or even play a game. Thus, a Windows dedicated server is likely to seem familiar and easy to use.

3.    Everything is built to work on Windows:
Since Windows is the industry standard, all new software will be released first on Windows. So, the latest art packages, the newest drivers, the most recent updates, all companies releasing material for computers will look to their primary market first, Windows. Let’s not forget that Microsoft themselves produce a huge amount of new material just for their system, making Windows dedicated servers a popular choice.

Learning a new system can take a while, especially if you aren’t technical and don’t have the time to learn the intricacies of a new operating system. At CWCS we can help you choose the right website hosting system for you and your company.

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