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Web Hosting - When Changing Web Hosts
Nearly everyone will want to change to a new web host at some point. It may involve just changing out old hardware for new. It usually means finding an entirely new web hosting company. When faced with that decision there are a number of issues to be considered.
Swapping hardware and/or software is a fairly straightforward decision. There are two possible scenarios. Either you maintain your own hardware and software at a facility managed by others, or you are considering upgrading to newer (usually more expensive) systems maintained by others.
In either case, it's simply a matter of estimating the cost and the short-term impact versus the long-term benefits. If the system(s) you currently use are short on capacity, sooner or later you'll be sufficiently motivated to make the change. Either the hardware will become unreliable or loaded to the point you'll be forced to migrate, or your needs will expand enough to justify the effort and expense of moving.
Similar considerations apply to the scenario in which you rely on the web hosting company for everything, and want to find someone else to rely on. Regrettably, that's a very common situation. Many web hosting companies provide systems and staff that sooner or later fall below an acceptable level.
Most people make the decision to change based on emotion. That's not entirely bad. Emotions incent you to take action. But you need to keep a cool head, too, in order to calculate your long-range self-interest. Bearing some minor inconveniences from time to time is usually worth the trade off. When it begins to affect your site to the point you're losing visitors, it's time to make a change.
To get a more objective handle on when that point is reached, reach for some numbers. Maintain, or get from the hosting company, a factual report about availability and current usage. If the server is down so much, or so heavily loaded, that it drives your visitors away, it's time to take action.
There are other less easily quantifiable but equally important factors, as well.
You will at some point need to communicate with one or more persons who help maintain your site. Even if you do all your own server, database and web site maintenance, someone behind the scenes is helping to keep things running smoothly. That's called 'infrastructure'. If the road you drive on has potholes, it's not enough that you can fix your own car.
In terms of network bandwidth and availability, server capacity, disk space, security and a whole array of other aspects, the web hosting company has to have competent people who care (and are allowed) to do the job well. When the company's people fall down - because of incompetence, lack of resources or absence of a culture of excellence - or for any other reason - your web site suffers. This issue more than any other is what drives people to seek another web hosting company.
Even if you choose well at the outset, things can change. Management changes, staff changes and companies are taken over by other companies. Sometimes, it isn't simply a matter of swapping out an unreliable piece of hardware or software. When it's time to swap out people, you look for the same aspect: doing the job required.
Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad. Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily. Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams. A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'. A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path. Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy. That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place. And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later. One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem. Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine. The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
Copyright Infringement Statistics Copyright infringement statistics, by most standards are inflated. Most recent copyright infringement statistics cite that almost 30 percent of software is pirated in the United States of America. This means that they think 30 percent of the software on your computer is illegal? they think we?re all thieves, to an extent. However, copyright holders have good reason to worry that we?re violating their rules: the number of suspects referred to the United States attorneys with an Intellectual Property lead charge increased twenty six percent in the period between 2002 and 2004 ? and there have been studies that show that this is rising. Copyright infringement statistics are difficult to come by, but it?s plain to see it?s affecting every aspect of intellectual copy. Copyright infringement statistics show that in addition to software privacy, there are a lot of violations in the music world. Copyright infringement statistics show that many unsuspecting people, from college students to thirty-something a professional, download music on a consistent basis, and often it?s not downloaded legally. Often times, someone will download a song off a MySpace or YouTube page, without giving thought to who really owns the copyright and if it?s legal for them to have it. Copyright infringement statistics, brought to us by the music recording industry, would have us believe that online infringement is seriously hurting the recording industry. A sensible person, however, would realize that with the abundance of MP3 sales sites that this will turn quickly and recording giants will see the huge profits available online. It?s already begun, you see, we have yet to see the impact of online music sales, and how it will increase revenue. I?m sure, with the huge talent pool at their disposal, the media giants will find a way to monetize the internet to their fullest advantage. Copyright infringement statistics also show that many people are downloading games off the internet. With the litany of games available to us ? from complete alternate worlds such as World of Warcraft to the more mainstream ?The Sims? series, people are clamoring for PC games ? and for good reason. They?re fun, intelligent games that play on a system everyone has ? a computer. Because of this, people are always looking for new games to play and download, and they may download a game without knowing that it?s not ?freeware? (as many internet games are). In addition to computer games, copyright infringement statistics also show that movies are downloaded in abundance on the internet. Many peer to peer file distribution sites and programs (such as bit torrent or Kazaa) allow for the transfer of very large files, and they?re easy to find online. Using a tool provided by one of many suppliers, users can search for any item they like ? and, of course, the system is abused and people download copyrighted movies and entire DVDs instead of publicly available works. Copyright infringement also branches into written works, such as articles, books, poems, etc. Many times, a student will copy a paragraph or two without realizing the implications of such copying. While they may think of it as ?borrowing?, if it?s used on a grander scale, the person could be opening themselves up to a large court fight, especially if it?s used commercially. As you can see, copyright infringement statistics show us that many people are using copyrighted works illegally. Do your best diligence when using another?s work ? and ask for permission every time you want to use something that you haven?t created. Chances are, if you just ask the question up front you?ll save yourself from becoming another copyright infringement statistic and save yourself from a major lawsuit.
A Writer?s Best Friend: The Job of an Editor (editing) Are you irritated by typos and spelling errors in professional documents? Are you able to help your friends make their writing error free? You may be a good candidate for editing. The world is incredibly dependent on writers and the craft of writing. It is how people communicate with each other most often. As the internet writing forms do not require people to hold to correct grammar, spelling or professional style, most writers are losing their capabilities to complete a professional document or book without help. Writers have always needed the help of editors. Even when there was strict attention to correct writing, editors could come and catch missed errors as well as mistakes in content. Editors are still needed today. Read on to find out more about what can be involved in a life of editing. Who are the Editors? Editors are those people with the ability to read a document and guide a writer to make it the best piece of writing that it can be. Editors work in newspapers, and magazines. They also work for publishing companies and in student resource centers. Editors generally have some education that leads them to the ability to help writers. They probably have a degree in language as well as training with style manuals. What is the Job? An editing job involves taking a piece of writing and conforming it to some particular set of standards. Style manuals are often the standard used. Different publications will choose a style and then ask the editors to make all of the writing that comes out to be consistent to that style. Editing is not only concerned with objective corrections like spelling and grammar though. An editor must also read for clarity, consistency and voice. If a writer claims one thing in one point of their piece and seems to contradict that point in another part, it is the editor?s job to catch the mistake and work with the writer to fix the inconsistency. If the writer is speaking authoritatively in the beginning of a piece and then becomes apologetic later, it is the editor?s job to make the tone match. Editors help with sentence construction, word choice and content order. How to Find Editing Jobs If any of the above job description sounds interesting and even exciting to you, you just may have found your ideal job calling. Before you start looking for editing jobs, you should test your skills. There are editing tests online. Feel free to use a style manual as well as your intuition as you correct the sentences and word choice in the different test questions. If you do not pass the test, you should probably spend a little more time reading a style manual and a basic grammar guide. Once you can ace an editing test, it?s time to look for a job. Be sure to include any experience you may have had. Include any editing of any kind you have ever done. Peer editing in school is appropriate experience to mention. Also be sure to list any style you are able to edit to. Examples are AP, Chicago, MLA, and so on. If you get an interview, be prepared to take another editing test, with the help of your manual. The test will likely be timed. Editing is a rewarding career. It involves helping writers to do their very best writing geared to their particular audience. While it can be stressful because of deadlines and workload, at the end of the day you will know that you have made the world of the written word a little cleaner and much more effective. Editors are an essential part of making the written word what it is today.