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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.
What Career Coaching Can Do to Help Land a Better Job A career coach is something many people have heard of but few actually understand what they do. Career coaching has become more popular in recent years, and they are actually used by many people who already are employed to help them stay on the right track in their career. If you are looking for a job, however, and especially if your job search is proving difficult and painful, a career coach might be just what you need to get your search on track. Career coaches get a lot of flack by trade. Some people laugh them off as the latest in the line of self help gurus that people spend a lot of money to see, often with mixed results. To some people, career coaches are up there with psychoanalysts and personal trainers ? accessories of the rich but not very relevant to your every day kind of person. This assessment of career coaches might not be entirely fair, however. Career coaches can, and have, helped tons of people get on the right track in their job searches and have helped even more people not only find a job, but find a career that they love. So, just what can a career coach do for you? If you are job hunting within a certain industry, a career coach can help you narrow down your choices while simultaneously making sure you are putting your best foot forward when you go out there on the hunt. Sometimes, especially if you have been in a field for a long time, the skills you are highlighting on your resume are stale or the language you use to talk about your work history is outdated. In addition, a career coach can help you make sure that when you go into a job interview you can present yourself as on top of the latest developments in the field and as a person who could jump right into the job without needing a lot of training or guidance. The same goes for someone who is trying to get a job in a new field. A career coach will give you pointers about that field and the companies in the field as well as giving you general advice about the typical culture of that business ? what kind of lingo is used, where the industry is centered, who the big players are, and even how to dress for your interview so that you look the part. Career coaches can also make sure your resume is in order and showing off your skills in the best light possible. This help a career coach provides when you know what kind of job you are looking for is all well and good, but they can do even more when you know you need a job, but you just don?t know what you want to do. If you have been frustrated in your career goals in the past, a career coach will work with you to decide exactly what kind of job you really want to have. They can help you figure out which industries are best suited to your interests, your skills and your personality. If you want to start your own business, they can walk you through the process from start to finish. A good career coach could be the key to finding the career of your dreams instead of just one more job. Last but not least, a career coach can let you know what you are doing wrong in your career. Do you have a problem with your interpersonal working relationships, or are you bad at delegating so you always end up doing all of the work? A career coach will work with your to set these problems right. When you need a better job, a career coach can clear the path for job improvement.
Web Hosting - Free vs Paid Web Hosting Options Everyone likes to get something for free. But as the existence of spam shows, free isn't always good. Sometimes, it's downright harmful. Deciding whether it's worth the cost to pay for hosting involves a number of complex considerations. Hosting companies that offer free services obviously can't stay in business from the money they make from you, since there isn't any. So why do they offer free hosting and how do they make money? Why should you care, so long as you get yours? Because, in reality, there's a price of some kind for everything, even something that's free. Free hosting may come from a company doing a promotion to attract business. They expect to demonstrate their value, then charge an existing customer base fees to make up for what they lost by the (short term) offer. It's in essence a form of advertising. But free hosting is offered by lots of companies that are not dedicated to managing servers for websites. Google, Yahoo and thousands of others provide a modest amount of disk space and a domain name on a server for free. Users are free to do anything they like with it, though if the load becomes excessive you can be shut down. That introduces one of the more obvious drawbacks to free hosting: resource limitations. Typically free hosting offers a relatively small amount of space. That's often enough to host a few dozen pages. But an active site can quickly run out of room. A more serious limitation is load. Free hosting often places strict limitations on the allowed amount of bandwidth consumed. If you become a well-visited site, when users start banging away on the server, you can be asked to leave or simply be blocked for the rest of the month. Or, you may be permitted a certain quantity of total bandwidth use per month. Once it's reached, no one else can reach your site until the beginning of a new month. At the same time, you will certainly be sharing equipment with thousands of other sites. Their load can affect your performance, prompting you to move. Migrating an established site brings with it a number of thorny issues that might be better avoided in the first place. Free hosting has another potential downside: lack of support. When you pay for hosting you typically get, at least in theory, a certain level of support. Backups in case of disaster recovery from a hack or server failure, assistance in analyzing connection problems... the variety is endless. With free hosting you usually get none of that. A company or site that offers free hosting will usually recover a disk or server that fails completely and you'll be back up when they do. But if only selected portions of the drive fail, or you lose a few files through a virus attack or accidental deletion, you have to rely on backups to recover. A free service will usually come with no such option. That may not be a problem if you have a small site. You can make copies of everything at another location and simply recover the site yourself - if you have the discipline to keep it current and the skills to make and restore the copy. Free hosting will typically come with a few email addresses, intended to be used for administration and other tasks. But if your needs grow beyond that, you'll need to seek another option. The email service also comes with minimal oversight. The server may be protected against spam attacks and provide virus scanning. But few free services will provide even minimal help with any issues that arise. But the most serious limitation may have nothing to do with any technical issues. Free hosting services often require that your site's pages carry some form of advertising that pays the host, not you. That may be fine for you, or it may not. Individual circumstances vary. On the other hand, if you're just starting out, a free hosting option can be a great way to learn needed skills and a few of the potential pitfalls. You can set up a site, learn how to maintain and improve it, and not care too much if it gets hacked. Freely hosted sites can be a great platform for learning the ropes. Free services don't usually offer any of the features that an active, commercial site will need sooner or later. So if you plan to grow, it may be reasonable to get the free service for a while, knowing you'll have to migrate when you become popular. But in the long run, you get what you pay for and you may need to pay for what you want.
Web Hosting - Do It Yourself Administration, Things to Consider The choice of whether or not to try to administer your own web site brings with it a host, pun intended, of issues. For most web site owners, the primary focus is naturally on creating, maintaining and enhancing the site. That often is just part of managing an entire business, for which the web site is just the means to an end. That implies there will be little interest in or time left over for technical administration like database maintenance (tuning, space management, security, bug fixes), establishing and maintaining backups to ensure they're successful and usable, email administration, disk space management, applying operating system fixes for bugs and security, and other tasks. But cost is always a factor in any business. Paying for technical help can burden the budget of a new and struggling business. Consulting fees can range from a few dollars an hour to over $100. On the lower end, the poor skill level and quality of work will make it not worth even that small amount. On the higher end, you can quickly rack up expenses that will bust your business. Permanent employees are usually somewhere in the middle of that range when you add up salary, employment taxes and more. Often, server and/or web site administration can be paid for as part of the web hosting package. That cost is usually lower than independent contracting help, but those staff are usually tasked with maintaining dozens if not hundreds of servers and sites. They can, therefore, give very little individual attention to yours. Often, novice web site owners are intimidated by some of the technical requirements for server or site administration. But, as with anything, a little familiarity can show that the knowledge required is more modest than one might expect. Administration in many cases involves fairly elementary, and frequently repetitive, tasks. These can be learned easily. Using a test site or a free hosting service is a good way to practice and learn without risk or cost, other than time invested. Once that initial hurdle is jumped over, administration can be done quickly and some even find it interesting. It allows the site owner to exercise additional control over the total product, and there's satisfaction in being able to say 'I did that' even if you prefer not to do it forever. That real-life learning experience also allows the site owner to better judge any consultants or staff that are hired. It's much easier to judge if someone is providing you with an accurate assessment of a problem if you've solved it yourself. Any time-estimate they provide to fix it can also be better calculated if you've had to do it yourself. Every web site relies on a variety of factors, usually unseen, in order to continue to function properly. But the fact is that they misbehave from time to time. Deciding whether to tackle those problems yourself depends on your available time and skill set, and what it will require to get things back on track. In other words, it's a standard cost-benefit analysis that everyone has to undertake every day in life.