Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hosting Day After Update

IMAP/POP3 Server is now working!

Appears as though there was an internal issue with IMAP/POP3 Server. Could not turn on the mail services applications server. Not sure why this was occurring. Service is now running and all is green to go. Hopefully all will be stable. Time to configure mail boxes.

Host The Day After

What do you do when a catastrophic failure occurs?

So, you have chosen a hosting company and have been satisfied with the service up to this point. Then, you get this little Email note that mentions there will be some service being done on the server, and there may be a small amount of down time. SMALL AMOUNT

That was the starting point. Six days latter, two dozen phone calls, dozens of emails, dealing with three different web hosting service providers, my wife asking me what the heck is going on countless times, frustration upon frustration, and finally a website back online. Not completely.

Apparently, most hosting companies do not own their own data centers. When a data center is sold with out any notice, the hosting providers that are paying rent space are then at the mercy of the new owner. If a new owner decides to move an entire data center, by truck and does not take the leased equipment with them then you are SOL. Compounding the problem was the RAID drives were not compatible at the new location servers and a large number of websites were completely down and still are.

So, I had to go back to my selection process for a new hosting company. Well, after striking out with my first selection, I went another route. Virtual dedicated. Not everything I wanted but it has huge bandwidth and lots of storage capacity.

Most everything is up, except my POP3 Email server. Problem on the server end.

Check back at this blog for an update.

Professional Web Services, Inc. net marketing, Internet advertising, and advertising copywriting.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Selecting a Hosting Service Provider

How Do You Choose a Host Service Provider?
by: James A. Warholic

Once you have gone through the domain name registration process the next stage is choosing a host company. With hundreds if not thousands of hosting service providers online, it can be a frustrating task of selecting a service provider to host your domain name.

I am always the cynic when it comes to referrals online. It is so easy to make a company look great with good recommendations for different hosting providers that it is hard to filter out the good with the bad at times. Even after careful analysis and checking out forums I have come to the realization that things are not always perfect unless you are willing to pay for high redundancy.

Some key points to consider in choosing a host provider
  1. What is their customer service response time? Can you talk to a live person? Do they provide a contact phone number? Can you get a hold of them?
  2. How long have they been in business?
  3. Pick a provider that does not allow obscene material.
  4. How easy is it to navigate the control panel?
  5. If more than one website is going to be run then consider having a reseller type account.
  6. Check out the forums online for recommendations.
  7. Do searches for the providers name to see what types of comments are mentioned from other websites.
  8. Keep options open for streaming video and audio. Not all companies have this option.
  9. Provide enough hard drive storage and bandwidth to cover your needs.
  10. Consider the type of operating systems. Linux or Windows based. Linux based systems are generally less expensive.
  11. Email considerations. How many email boxes will you be having? IMOP that unlimited boxes are the way to go.
  12. Autoresponders
  13. Email Forwarding
  14. Are there SPAM filters and spyware blocking built in?
  15. Online access to email or Web eMail.
  16. Mailing Lists
  17. Consider shopping cart software for selling items from your website.
  18. Provide for Databases such as MYSQL Database.
  19. Provide SSL (secure socket layer) for secure transmission of data.
  20. Web apps for more advanced site development such as PHP and MOD_PERL.
  21. Expansion into other forms of content delivery such as Podcasting.
  22. Does it have the capablities for setting up blogs?
  23. Option for dedicated IP address.
  24. Subdomain provisions
  25. Setting up Forums.
  26. Bulletin Boards.
  27. Frontpage Extensions for those that use MS Frontpage
  28. Access to log files and web site statistics.
  29. Consider the cost.
I place the cost aspect last. Costs range all the way from less than five dollars a month all the way to fifty dollars or more for shared hosting. Shared hosting means more than one website is place on a server. If a dedicated server is required then the starting costs are somewhere around sixty to several hundred dollars per month. A dedicated server is only used for your account. Bandwidth requirements and storage capacity is what determines the price points.

Important Notes

If a service provider loads their computers up with hundreds of clients then this will ultimately slow down the down load speed at which someone could get access to your B2B or B2C website. New domain hosting service providers are showing up continually. Do not get locked into a long term contract with any one Domain host. If a problem occurs it is much easier to switch to another service. If you are having problems right now you can always switch to the new Host before you cancel with the old. This provides for a seamless integration with no down-time for the website.

For help with your website, Internet Marketing, Advertising Online, multimedia streaming videos, and technology and professional branding services contact us: Professional Web Services.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hold Your Domain Name Dearly

The importance of keeping your administrative contact information close to you.

When a domain name is registered one of the most important details not to overlook is who the administrative contact is for the website domain name registration.

I found out first hand how difficult it is to gain control at a registrar.

This past week I had to do some detective investigation for an owner of a business that has yet to place his website online. He has owned his domain name and has paid for hosting for nearly a year without actually having the site live. Through a series of misfortunate events the employee that was asked to register the domain name was no longer working for this business.

At the time of registration the employee used an email contact to another domain that is now defunct. The employee was the only one that had access to the control panel for the domain. Now, it is close to a year later and the renewal is coming up and if something is not done soon the business is going to loose their name.

I did a whois search and tracked down the registrar. I proceeded to call the registrar and informed them of the whole story. The supervisor directed me to an important document that needed to be downloaded and filled out by the business with supporting documentation attached. Once this document is completed and returned by postal mail (not Email or FAX) it will support the legal requirements for disputes. Additional information in regard to this can be found in the UNIFORM DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY at ICANN.ORG/UDRP/UDRP.HTM.

I passed this information on to the business owner and directed them through the form.

I know there are a lot of businesses that take their domain names too lightly. Maybe there is only one employee at your company that has access to all the information. What if something happened to that employee. Even trusted employees can have an untimely death. If the employee used a personal email location for the adminstrative contact that could not be accessed by others to retrive a password for a domain then you would be in the same boat as the business above.

There are a number of ways to guard against this and detailed thoughts have to be considered.

Consider having more than one person have access to all of the accounts. Of course this goes with out saying, they should be trusted employees. As a company owner myself I place this responsablity upon myself. If using employees to handle this important work then there should be set up a checks and balances system. The owner or owners of the company should be able to go in at anytime and verify what is what.

If you need help with any of this feel free to contact us at Professional Web Services.

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