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Web Hosting - How To Select A Web Host
As with many purchases, our first impulse when selecting a web hosting company is to go with the cheapest. Hey, they're all alike, why pay more? Au contraire.
There are a number of objective criteria that separates one web hosting company from another and money is only one of them. And not the most important one. Selecting a company based on price alone is equivalent to selecting an auto mechanic on price alone. Sure, he may maintain or fix your car cheaper. But will the car spend all the time in the shop and none on the road?
The first consideration is 'horsepower'. Do they have the capacity to carry your load and deliver decent performance? Most hosting companies will advertise that they have huge bandwidth and hundreds of servers. They're usually telling the truth.
But there's a difference between existing capacity and usable capacity. If they also have thousands of sites with millions of visitors per day the available or free capacity will be much lower. A big pickup truck may be able to tow 5,000 lbs. But not if it's already carrying 4,999.
Be sure to ask about available capacity, and have the prospective company back it up with reliable numbers. If you can't interpret the information they provide, find someone to help you do so.
Next, and a very close second, is reliability. A lot of power is worthless if it's cut often. Outages are a normal part of business. Even Google and Microsoft go down from time to time. The difference is, it happens rarely and they have failover plans. That means, if their site/system does go down it's either up again in a flash, or you never see the outage because a backup system kicks in automatically and seamlessly.
Be sure to grill the company closely about their up time. They'll often tout 99.6%, or some such figure. But, like the on-time figures of the airlines, those numbers can be shaded by adjusting the definition of 'up time'. What matters to you is whether your visitors will be able to reach your site at any time of the day or night they might want to.
Find out what systems, both technical and human, they have in place to deal with failures of all sorts. Servers can go down, networks can fail, hard disks can become defective and lose data even when the other components continue to work fine. The result is YOUR site is unavailable, which is all that matters to you. The web hosting company should be able to deal with all of that and have you up again very quickly.
Last, but not least, is security. With the continuing prevalence of viruses and spam, you need to know that the web hosting company you select has an array of methods for dealing with them. That means a good technical plan and staff who are knowledgeable in dealing with those issues. The old saying: 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is more true here than anywhere else.
All these issues are central to finding a web hosting company that can deliver the services you need. After those criteria are satisfied by a number of candidates, then you can start narrowing them down by price.
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 - 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.
Ghost Writer: Who Uses Them and Why (ghost writer) A ghost writer is someone who is hired to write for another person under their name. In most cases ghostwriters do the work while the hiring person gets the credit. The use of a ghost writer is huge business. People in virtually every aspect of life could use a ghost writer. A ghost writer will need the ability to become the person they are writing for. The writer has to be able to use their mannerisms, their words, and their way of speaking. The writing must read like they are coming from the person themselves. Being a ghost writer means that you give absolutely all rights to the credited author. You will need to decide if it is worth it for someone else to take credit for your work. There will be confidentiality clauses in your ghost writing contracts. They will state something to the effect of legal action will be against you if the writing is reproduced by you in any way shape or form. There are many reasons why a person would use a ghost writer. Celebrities and public figures use ghost writers to write their biographies and memoirs. Ghost writers are hired to make celebrities sound as interesting and compelling as possible. Their purpose is to pen the stories into best selling books. Motivational speakers may use ghost writers to write self help books. Just because they are great speakers does not mean they can pen the words on paper. Or they just may simply not have the time. There are many types of ghost writing opportunities available. Non fiction writing would be your biographies, autobiographies, how to books, and memoirs. A ghost writer?s role in non fiction could range from the very minimal to the most complex. They may be given an almost complete manuscript and asked to add some finishing touches. Or they may have to start at the bottom collecting research and following the project through until publication. Accomplished fiction writers may use ghost writers to carry on a series of books after the author has passed or to carry out the series while they work on new ventures. The Author may have an established pen name that they use a ghost writer for while they write under the real name. Ghost writers are often used for scripts and screen plays. They are hired to finish and polish the writings of the authors. High school and college students will hire ghost writers to write their entrance essays, thesis, and term papers. Although this may seem unethical, it is legal. The writing and selling of the paper is perfectly legal. It is when the student turns the paper in as his or her own writing that it turns into an illegal action. The political venue for ghost writers is to correspond to the letters that they receive. Official will review the letters before being sent. A political speech writer is often considered a ghost writer. But others will argue this since it is public knowledge that political officials do not write their own speeches. In order to succeed as a ghost writer you must have excellent writing skills and often be able to take on the personality of the credited author. You must also be a great sales person in order to sell your service and be able to prove that you are the best possible choice for them to use you in their endeavors. Making the decision if ghost writing is right for you may be a difficult one. It is often hard for writers to give up all rights to their work.