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Web Hosting - Bandwidth and Server Load, What's That? Two key performance metrics will impact every web site owner sooner or later: bandwidth and server load. Bandwidth is the amount of network capacity available, and the term actually covers two different aspects. 'Bandwidth' can mean the measure of network capacity for web traffic back and forth at a given time. Or, it sometimes is used to mean the amount that is allowed for some interval, such as one month. Both are important. As files are transferred, emails sent and received, and web pages accessed, network bandwidth is being used. If you want to send water through a pipe, you have to have a pipe. Those pipes can vary in size and the amount of water going through them at any time can also vary. Total monthly bandwidth is a cap that hosting companies place on sites in order to share fairly a limited resource. Companies monitor sites in order to keep one site from accidentally or deliberately consuming all the network capacity. Similar considerations apply to instantaneous bandwidth, though companies usually have such large network 'pipes' that it's much less common for heavy use by one user to be a problem. Server load is a more generic concept. It often refers, in more technical discussions, solely to CPU utilization. The CPU (central processing unit) is the component in a computer that processes instructions from programs, ordering memory to be used a certain way, moving files from one place to the next and more. Every function you perform consumes some CPU and its role is so central (hence the name) that it has come to be used as a synonym for the computer itself. People point to their case and say 'That is the CPU'. But, the computer actually has memory, disk drive(s) and several other features required in order to do its job. Server load refers, in more general circumstances, to the amount of use of each of those other components in total. Disk drives can be busy fetching files which they do in pieces, which are then assembled in memory and presented on the monitor, all controlled by instructions managed by the CPU. Memory capacity is limited. It's often the case that not all programs can use as much as they need at the same time. Special operating system routines control who gets how much, when and for how long, sharing the total 'pool' among competing processes. So, how 'loaded' the server is at any given time or over time is a matter of how heavily used any one, or all, of these components are. Why should you care? Because every web site owner will want to understand why a server becomes slow or unresponsive, and be able to optimize their use of it. When you share a server with other sites, which is extremely common, the traffic other sites receive creates load on the server that can affect your site. There's a limited amount you can do to influence that situation. But if you're aware of it, you can request the company move you to a less heavily loaded server. Or, if the other site (which you generally have no visibility to) is misbehaving, it's possible to get them moved or banned. But when you have a dedicated server, you have much more control over load issues. You can optimize your own site's HTML pages and programs, tune a database and carry out other activities that maximize throughput. Your users will see that as quicker page accesses and a more enjoyable user experience.

Free Anonymous Phone Number and Voice Mail through JC Connect Do you wish you had access to free anonymous phone numbers and voice mail for your business or personal use? The web offers many freebies, including access to these types of services. Most of the time, you just have to know where to look. Here are some services, including the well-known JC Connect, which provides users with free, fast and accessible service to these types of services. Get Fast and Free Access to Business Services with JC Connect What is JC Connect, and what can it do for you? JC Connect free service is the web's longest-running service in terms of providing its users with free phone numbers. You can use these free incoming phone numbers in order to receive fax and voice messages. This service is still widely known by its old name, JFax, but now it is officially recognized as JConnect Free services. This well-regarded service offers their free services at no cost to you. The service also requires very little personal information from its uses. All you need to provide in order to use its services include your name, email address, gender, age and your zip code. After signing up, you will receive a unique phone number. Use this unique phone number in order to forward messages. These messages are well-compressed image and audio files. You can forward these messages to your email in-box. Because these services are free, the company requests that users limit their usage to a certain number of messages at a time. This is a good site if you don't have easy access to a fax machine. Need Free Web Space for Your Business? Another tool that most small businesses need is free web space. Freeservers is a popular web service that provides users with 20 MB of free website space. The site has become well known for its complete suite of tools and features. Some of the features that this free service boasts include easy-to-use web design templates, FTP upload and many other web-based tools. You can also program your account so that emails can be sent directly to your domain. There are also many free web traffic analysis tools, including daily and weekly breakdowns of all your site's traffic. You can actually see how many people have viewed your website on a daily basis. Freeservers does require users to display a non-obtrusive banner ad on their website pages. Free and Easy Tools for Keeping Up With Your Portfolio Are you looking for a free and easy way to keep tabs on your portfolio? Here is a website that allows you to do just that. Company Sleuth is a website that helps you keep track of your investments. You simply sign up and enter the ticker symbols for the companies and corporations that you want to watch, and let the site do the rest. What sort of information will come your way once you have signed up? Once you have signed up, the site will cull information from news sites, investor forums, press releases, job listings and even official SEC document in order to give you the latest information on the companies you want to keep an eye on. Want to Test Your Website? If you want to test the mettle of your own website and its servers, NetWhistle is there to do just that. This service tests the reliability and strength of your domain's website. It will check to see if your website server is up at intervals. This service will create a log and notify you immediately if there is a problem with your website. You will also receive a handy weekly report card.

Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.

Important Steps to Follow in Creating a Professional Digital Identity for your Job Search Having a professional digital identify is essential in finding new business or employment. Everyone can benefit from having a polished professional digital identity. It is key to advancing in any career. Of course, how you present yourself digitally depending on what type of career advancement you are going for. If you are starting a new business you will need to have a stellar website. A professional should consulted so that you have the best website possible. If you are interested in securing a new job, you can probably build your own website or just post your resume and portfolio. Trying to land an interview is much easier than striking out on your own so it takes a little less effort. However, no matter what your career aspirations are a professional digital identity is important. If your professional digital identity is lacking in credibility spend some time and effort improving it. A healthy professional digital identity will help you get the job you desire. Instead of spending money on business cards, invest in presenting yourself well on the web. People can always get in touch with you on the web. Business cards get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day paper accumulation that most people acquire. Locate all of the social networking sites you can. You can never be too well represented on the web. Of course, people like to shake hands and meet you in person. When circumstances permit, set up lunches or coffee dates to discuss projects or networking opportunities. For entrepreneurs, it is wise to stay well acquainted. The type of business you are in will influence what you have in your portfolio. If you are striving to build an online presence for your own personal business, have plenty of samples on your site. If you business is not one where you have samples to show, have coupons or special offers posted. Create a strong professional digital identity and you will attract more sales. Whether you are networking or building up business for yourself, you need to have a professional digital identity that people can respect. Provide a number of ways for people to get in touch with you and keep your information updated. Do pro bono if necessary. Do some things for free to gain exposure. First impressions have a big influence on what people think about you. In the past people were limited to physical or phone impressions. These days the way that employees first get to know most candidates is through their digital identity. A bad web site or a sloppy portfolio online can ruin your chances of getting a job. Make sure that your professional digital identity is well developed. One of the major mistakes people make when it comes to digital identity is registering for networking and social sites and posting less than favorable pictures and comments. Some employers check MySpace and Facebook to try to get a clear picture of the candidate they are interviewing or deciding whether or not to work with. If your Myspace page is full of pictures of you in your scantly clad bathing suit their decision to hire you or not becomes very easy. Do not use your real name to register for these types of sites. Or if you do, use the site in a professional manner. Set up your Myspace page in an attractive and professional way. Friends will be able to reach you but employers will also view you in a professional manner. A great way to present yourself well digitally is to have your own website. Upload your resume and include information about your work history. Employers will be able to review your work history more extensively making them more inclined to contact you.