Archive for February, 2011

VoIP Server Hosting Explained

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

VoIP servers are being implemented by many businesses as a way of cutting costs because moving away from analogue telephone systems to more modern digital systems will allow businesses to streamline their communications systems to provide better value for money. With many businesses dealing with hundreds or even thousands of phone calls every day both internally and externally, it is important for the IT departments of these businesses to guarantee that the right provisions are in place to ensure that all of these calls are connected and that the number of calls that are dropped is kept to a minimum.

VoIP Server Software

As a VoIP server hosting customer, you will have the opportunity to choose between two different applications that will be able to provide you with a satisfactory VoIP hosting experience. These two applications consist of:

  • Asterisk – this is one of the oldest VoIP applications available and is often used by small-medium enterprises to create Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) so that employees are able to communicate between one another internally easily – as Asterisk is an open source application, it is highly cost effective because businesses won’t need to pay to use it which will allow them to keep their costs to a minimum – furthermore, when you consider that Asterisk is designed to run on open source Linux distributions you are able to come to the conclusion that by choosing Asterisk you will be saving yourself a lot of money over using a traditional analogue telephone system
  • Trixbox – this is an management interface built on top of Asterisk and provides you with a complete suite of tools that will allow you to professionally manage your VoIP server – Trixbox has been developed using PHP and MySQL meaning that it can be hosted on any server, but most importantly the interface will work seamlessly on any Linux server that is running Asterisk as it has been optimized for use with the Apache web server – Trixbox includes a package manager that will allow you to install an array of other applications alongside the application.

Benefits of Using VoIP

Digital communications can provide businesses with a wide variety of benefits over analogue communications in this day and age, including:

  • Clear communications – if you are talking to somebody over a digital connection then they’re likely to sound a lot clearer than they would over a standard analogue connection because the quality of the signal won’t degrade over distance as is the case with standard analogue connections, although the quality of the input and output will depend on the hardware that is being used
  • Low-cost implementation – implementing VoIP systems for the first time can be fairly low cost because the applications required are all free to use whilst the cost of a decent dedicated server is fairly low meaning that you shouldn’t end up paying too much to use VoIP systems – if you have your own IT department then you can cut costs further by using your own staff to configure your VoIP dedicated server for you, although if you don’t have such resources then any good web hosting provider will be able to assist you
  • Reduced long-term costs – if you are using analogue systems then the chances are that you need to pay continual line rental and then there’s also the high cost of replacing defective equipment – with a VoIP server hosting solution you won’t have many long term costs except what you are paying for your dedicated server and internet connection because you have the choice to either provide your staff with new telephones so that they are able to access the new system or alternatively you can train them to use software applications that will provide the same level of functionality, but will save your business money.

In conclusion, VoIP server hosting will provide you with an opportunity to make the most of what digital and internet communications have to offer. During a time where most businesses are looking to cut their costs, investing in technology such as VoIP hosting will allow businesses to cut their costs whilst improving the level of service that they are able to provide their employees with access to. If you are unsure of how VoIP hosting could fit into your business, it is recommended that you contact a web hosting company that will be able to provide you with a consultation on how VoIP hosting will benefit you.

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Developing Websites for Windows Web Hosting

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Windows web developers are tasked with the job of creating websites that are specifically for use in a Windows web hosting environment, a task that is fairly specialist because as well as using proprietary technologies they also need to be well versed in the features of the Windows operating system. Developing websites for Windows web hosting requires skill and knowledge of specific applications and scripting languages, as the use of Microsoft applications and ASP.NET is common with Windows web developers and helps to guarantee good results.

ASP.NET Development Tools

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There are various tools that you can use to develop the ASP.NET scripts needed to form the basis of your website. Some web development applications are simply text editors that are designed for coding only, although a majority are also accompanied by a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that will allow you to develop your web application visually rather than having to rely on code.

One of the most popular applications to use for the development of ASP.NET web applications is Microsoft Visual Studio; the main features of Visual Studio and its free sibling, Microsoft Visual Web Developer, include:

  • A WYSIWYG editor is provided for website developers who may be more comfortable with developing a website visually – all of the necessary code will be created for you in the background
  • A full library of ASP.NET components will be provided so that you can simply drag and drop these into your web scripts as necessary instead of having to code them in yourself, this can save you a fair amount of time.

Another popular cross-platform application recommended for ASP.NET development is Adobe Dreamweaver, as this is also able to provide beginners with assistance with regards to implementing complex code and functions correctly.

Database Management Applications

As a Windows web developer, you have the options of Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server if you are developing a dynamic website that will be running off a backend database. Whereas Microsoft Access is a desktop database application, Microsoft SQL Server is a far more powerful database server that is targeted at websites that require a scalable database solution.

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The desktop nature of Microsoft Access means that in order to mange a database, you must first download the file from your web space and then open it in Microsoft Access on the desktop. However, Microsoft Access can provide web developers with benefits including:

  • Microsoft Access is fairly cheap to implement because you only need to purchase the application for yourself
  • It is the ideal database solution for small websites and beginners who haven’t developed for Windows web hosting before because the interface is fairly easy to follow and the risk of any issues occurring is minimal.

Microsoft SQL Server is a professional database server meaning that it has advance support for different data types and can be integrated into Windows desktop applications alongside ASP.NET Windows web applications. Microsoft SQL Server databases are manageable through Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio which is a free application available from the Microsoft website, although it is only available for Windows desktop computers. Additional benefits of using Microsoft SQL Server include:

  • A free version of Microsoft SQL Server is available, allowing you to use the application for free when developing small websites
  • The scalability of Microsoft SQL Server provided you with the opportunity to develop web applications that will be able to cope with high visitor numbers as well as spikes in the number of visitors that they receive.

In conclusion, developing websites for a Windows web hosting environment is something that will require the knowledge of at least one Windows compatible scripting language along with at least one database server that will run on Windows and is also compatible with your chosen web scripting language. However, by using ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to develop a website for a Windows web hosting environment, you are guaranteed full compatibility with the operating system and ASP.NET will allow you to tap into additional features of the operating system – this will be something other scripting languages won’t be able to offer.

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Anatomy of Windows Web Hosting

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Windows is the world’s most popular operating system that is used on the desktop and in the server environment. As part of its role in the server environment, Windows is widely used by web hosting companies to produce web hosting plans that offer compatibility with Microsoft applications and technologies. Along with Linux, these two operating systems form the basis of the mainstream web hosting industry in terms of the web hosting plans that are offered and the features that are available.

ASP.NET Web Hosting

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When developing websites that will make the most of the Windows operating system, the best option is to use ASP.NET as this is a scripting framework that has been developed by Microsoft for use exclusively with Windows. ASP.NET’s benefits vary and are limited, but include:

  • You will elevated access to the Windows operating system with additional support offered for developers utilizing the full feature set of ASP.NET as opposed to creating their own controls and components
  • All scripts should simply work with IIS and Windows if they have been developed correctly, without the need for any additional modifications to guarantee full compatibility, as this can be an issue when using certain scripting languages with the Windows operating system.

Microsoft SQL Server Database Hosting

The purpose of a database server such as Microsoft SQL Server is to provide your web pages and scripts with a common location that they can all access to enable them to process the relevant data for display. Databases can be used to store information of all types so that it can be re-used again and again, benefitting websites that rely on information that is submitted by visitors.

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The benefit of using Microsoft SQL Server as your database backend is that it is relatively simple to create a cluster of MSSQL servers that can then be used to serve your content as required. By developing an internal network that can link multiple database servers together, you are creating a fail-proof solution that is also scalable to cope with growing demand on your website.

When compared to MySQL Server, the disadvantage of choosing to use a commercial database hosting alternative such as Micrsoft SQL Server is that you have to pay for the license to use it. The cost of MSSQL Server will depend on the version of the software that you choose to use as well as how many licenses you purchase, but for the most part the cost is justifiable through the means of the reliability provided by a commercial platform and the support that is available for when something goes wrong.

Microsoft Exchange Server Hosting

Businesses looking for corporate email solutions are likely to have Microsoft Exchange Server on their list of solutions to consider. Microsoft Exchange Server is a suite of applications that provides businesses with a central email, calendaring, contact and user management database that can be accessed through various means, although for the most part it is designed for integration with Microsoft Outlook on the desktop.

The main features of Microsoft Exchange Server include:

  • Access to the “Outlook Web Access” web client provides users with access to their email, calendars and contacts on the move through any web browser removing the need for constant use of the Outlook desktop application
  • The application can be hosted either on a single server or can be scaled to include multiple servers, allowing you to tap into resources provided by SANs (storage area networks) as well as those of additional servers through the means of a clustered configuration
  • An Active Directory based user authentication system allows you to provide users with a single login that will provide them with access to not only their emails, but also any Windows desktop computer within your business.

In conclusion, the anatomy of Windows web hosting provides you with an opportunity to experience new technologies include ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to aid you with the development of your website. In addition to being able to develop newer and more functional websites, Windows is also the platform for businesses to use if they are looking to improve internal communications through the means of Microsoft Exchange Server, an application that is available as an optional extra with Windows dedicated servers.

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Green Hosting Explained

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

What is green web hosting?

Green hosting is the term that is applied to web hosting companies utilizing technologies that will allow them to become “carbon neutral” or reduce their overall carbon emissions in order to reduce the impact that they are having on global warming. There are a variety of different methods available and steps that can be taken to become a “green web hosting provider” and as the focus on global warming becomes ever more intense, more businesses are looking to improve their “green image” where possible and choosing green hosting is one way in which they can achieve this.

Electricity from Wind Turbines

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Using green energy sources is one of the main methods that web hosting companies are taking on board to help improve their green hosting image. Electricity from wind turbines is one of the most cost-efficient ways of achieving this to power data centre equipment including servers and routers because they are fairly cheap to install and yield better results when compared to other options. In simple terms, wind turbines deliver power to servers in the following way:

  • Wind turbines can be installed on the site of the data centre to reduce the need for the power to travel through the national grid as this can increase costs
  • The power generated is exclusively used for the data centre, any excess power generated can be fed back to the National Grid as this will provide the data centre with an extra source of income
  • The power can then be used to power the equipment that resides in the data centre, from servers to routers it is all covered and this is without the need for any modifications to the power supplies or the architecture of the power system.

However, the problem with wind turbines is that the generation of electricity is reliant on the weather conditions at the time because if there is no wind then there is no way for electricity to be generated. In such a situation any well-organized data centre will also have mainline power available for use if needs be. If a data centre can be built upon the idea of using renewable energy sources over traditional sources of energy then this will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the given data centre.

Energy Efficient Equipment

In an age where servers are becoming more powerful, people are becoming more cautious of their electricity usage and reliance on non-renewable energy resources. As power becomes more expensive, it is important for hardware manufacturers to develop new products and technologies that use less energy whilst still retaining the developments that have been made with faster processors and memory.

By adopting more energy efficient hardware in their data centres, web hosting companies will be able to reduce their monthly power bills whilst reaping the benefits of having access to more powerful hardware and routers. Such options for more energy efficient hardware may include:

  • Using newer processors that have been manufactured to specifically use less energy at the current generation of server processors, whilst maintaining performance and offering new benefits
  • Moving to use SSDs (solid state hard drives) that are based on more modern flash memory over existing disk-based hard drive solutions used by most server vendors.

Virtual Hosting

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Virtual hosting is another popular method being adopted to help save rack space and to reduce web hosting providers’ reliance on physical servers. Like VPS hosting, virtual hosting allows web hosting companies to purchase one powerful server and then merge existing servers into being separate virtual machines on the physical server. Virtual hosting is able to offer benefits such as:

  • Consolidation of multiple servers into one server, saving on rack space and reducing a web hosting company’s overall power usage because only one server will be in use instead of several
  • Virtual servers will be easier to manage over physical boxes because the daemon software that will be running on the virtual host node will provide you with additional software tools that will allow you to control the state of your virtual servers from the desktop
  • Money will also be saved if you are only purchasing one server over several because you will only be paying for the rack space used by one server in comparison to having to pay for the rack space that is being taken up by several servers.

In conclusion, green web hosting providers can achieve the status of being “carbon neutral” through the adoption of several different techniques that will affect their hardware arrangements as well as how their hardware is powered. The investment in renewable energy sources is long-term which is a reason for not every web hosting company being so keen on it as some will prefer to see instant results over long-term benefits. However, in an age where more businesses are becoming more interested in green technologies, it pays for web hosting providers to research green hosting methods.

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A Simple Guide to Installing WordPress

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

WordPress is a popular application that can be used as a CMS for websites or as a blog hosting system for writers and websites that wish to setup their own blogs; the features of WordPress stand it in good stead for either option. Any web hosting service that can offer PHP web hosting will be able to support WordPress as the two most important system requirements are support for PHP and MySQL databases, both of which are features common to most web hosting packages; from this you can also deduce that WordPress will work on a majority of Linux and Windows web hosting plans. The installation of WordPress has been made to be as painless as possible so that even the most inexperienced of users can do it with little assistance. The purpose of this guide is to aid you with the setup of WordPress as well as the basic configuration options that will provide you with a highly function content management system base on which you can develop your blog or website.

Downloading WordPress

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This is probably the simplest step of them all; simply point your web browser towards Simply click the “Download” button that is on the homepage and then simply choose where you wish to save the download.

Uploading WordPress to Your Web Space

Once you have downloaded WordPress and extracted the files to your desktop, you will need to upload them to your web space. This is can be done using your favourite FTP client as all you need to do is follow the standard FTP login procedure.


Prior to running the WordPress installation wizard you should make sure that you have completed the following steps:

  • Setup a MySQL database for WordPress
  • Set the relevant permissions.

Installation – Step 1

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You will need to open your web browser and navigate to the location that you have uploaded the WordPress files to. As this is a fresh installation, you should be prompted with the following web page, which is the start of the installation wizard.

To begin installation you will need to click the “Create a Configuration File” button; the purpose of this is to create a base file in which all of the basic options for your WordPress installation will be stored, such as your database connection details.

Step 2

The next page offers a checklist that you should go to prior to the installation process so that you can make it as quick as possible. The options noted in this check list will all be needed at some point in the installation process.

Step 3

This page requires that you enter your database connection details so that WordPress is able to connect to the MySQL database that you have setup so that it has a location to store all of the data that is required for the operation of the web application.

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The following details will be needed to create a database connection:

  • Database name – this is the name of the database that you have created in your web hosting control panel
  • Username – as well as creating a database, you will also need to create a separate database user that can login to your database
  • Password – this will be the password associated with the database user that you have created
  • Database host – in most cases this will be “localhost”, although if you are running WordPress in a server cluster or your web hosting company uses separate database hosting servers then this may indeed be different
  • Table prefix – some shared web hosting plans come with the limit of a single MySQL database and this feature will allow you to use different table pre-fixes if you wish to host multiple instances of WordPress off a single MySQL database.

Step 4

Just hit the “Run the Install” button and this will configure WordPress using the database configuration settings that you defined in Step 3.

Step 5

WordPress is now installed and is now functioning with the MySQL database that you have hooked it up to. It is now time to configure the core of WordPress with the settings that you require to access the administrator area of the application.

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You will need to define the following settings in the final step:

  • Site title – this is the name of your website, or the name that you want to be displayed in the titles of your web pages and as the title on your web pages
  • Username – this is the username you want to be assigned to the first administrator account, this can be changed later and additional administrator accounts can be added as you wish
  • Password – this will be the password for the aforementioned user account
  • Email – this is the main system email that will be associated with the WordPress installation.

Once you click the “Install WordPress” button the application will be configured with the settings and options that you have defined; you will then be taken to the administrator login page.

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What is a VoIP server?

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

A VoIP server allows businesses to transfer their traditional phone systems over to a dedicated server based system that will not only allow them to reduce their overheads but will also provide them with a more stable and complete phone solution. As well as providing you with a better quality of communications, a VoIP server will offer you a central location from which you can control your internal communications systems with ease; however, it is recommended that you have past experience if you wish to manage a VoIP server because it may not be as easy as you think it to be. If your staff are able to communicate with one another in a more efficient manner then this could lead to improved productivity, meaning that your employees will be able to focus on their work a lot more rather than having to spend time in meetings as this can be compensated by telephone calls instead. There are various options to choose from when configuring a VoIP server meaning that you should do your research beforehand to ensure that you end up with a final configuration that will be able to meet your requirements as you expect.

What are the benefits of using a VoIP server?

There are many benefits of using a VoIP server over a standard telephone system for many businesses, large and small. Such benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Cost effective – most standard telephone systems are expensive to fit and configure, and on top of this you often need to train employees on how to use them to make the most of your investment – VoIP based telephone systems aren’t nearly as expensive as they can run over your existing network seamlessly without affecting any network traffic, this also allows them to be upgraded without the need for any re-wiring to be done or any hardware to be replaced as the only upgrade that will need to take place is the software on the server that you are using
  • Improved quality – digital communication systems are guaranteed to offer you a better quality of communication than traditional analogue based systems – with a VoIP server all of your voice traffic will be running over standard internet and network connections to your VoIP server at which point it will be forwarded to the correct location for the call to be answered – in a situation where you are using a standard analogue telephone system, your calls will also be transferred to an exchange but this will be done over copper cables meaning that the quality of the signal will be lost the further it has to travel
  • Increased productivity – if you are able to offer your employees another way in which they can communicate with each other instantly, they are going to be more productive because they can spend the time that they would have used in meetings focusing on completing important work – if your employees are able to increase their output then this will help to boost your business’s revenue and in turn the profit making it appeal more to investors, this coupled with your reduced costs can only benefit your business in the long term.

The benefits of VoIP server hosting show that it is worth investing in dedicated server hosting if you wish to upgrade the communications structure of your business to something that is more fitting for the 21st century. It will take time to configure a VoIP server to meet your communication needs perfectly, although once done you will start to realize the true benefits of being able to use a communication system that is highly unlikely to fail.

What are the disadvantages of using a VoIP server?

There are also disadvantages to using a VoIP server, and after reviewing these you may find that a VoIP server isn’t the best option for your requirements. Such disadvantages include:

  • Cost to setup – although a VoIP server may be cost effective in the long term, you will need to consider the cost of purchasing a dedicated server and the configuring it to function as a VoIP server – although some web hosting companies will provide you with a ready-configured solution that you just need to integrate into your existing infrastructure, you may be required to install and configure your server yourself if you purchase a plain dedicated server from a web hosting company
  • Server management – once you have established your VoIP server, you are then in charge of its up-keep, that is unless you have chosen to go for a managed dedicated server hosting service as web hosting companies tend to play a larger role in the support and management offered to fully managed hosting customers – if you are going to manage your own dedicated server then you should be well versed in server management and should have used your chosen operating system before, in this situation the operating system in question is likely to be a Linux distribution
  • Training – depending on the system that you wish to implement alongside your VoIP dedicated server, you may have to train employees to work with the new system which could be inconvenient because it means that you will have to take employees away from their jobs simply to train them on how to use a new phone system and this will mean reduced output and therefore less revenue – you will also need to consider that it will cost you to retrain employees.

In conclusion, a VoIP server is a dedicated server running the software and additional hardware necessary to provide your business with a fully integrated and modern telephone system. VoIP dedicated servers will allow you to take your communications systems into the next era by converting traditional analogue systems over to digital systems that will be able to function over your existing internal computer network. Although there is a lot to learn with VoIP server hosting, you will realize that it is highly beneficial the moment that you decide to embrace it as part of your business’s internal infrastructure.

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Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Friday, February 11th, 2011

If you wish to receive good value for money from any web hosting service then it is of the utmost importance that you know how to choose the right web hosting company for your needs before you even consider choosing the right web hosting service. Although identifying a web hosting service that will meet your needs can be simple through the comparison of the resources offered against your personal specification, often it can be hard to find a web hosting company that can offer you the support and service that you expect without spending a good amount of time doing research. As there are many different web hosting providers to choose from, narrowing your choice down to one particular can either be easy or hard depending on what you feel the deciding factors are for you. There are some web hosting companies that will offer a broad range of web hosting services so that they can target a wide audience, whereas there are smaller web hosting businesses that specialise in one particular form of web hosting to enable to them to offer a more targeted level of service that it custom to the needs of each customer; differentiating between the two is an important must if you wish to save money at some point in the process.


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Advantages of Dedicated Web Hosting

Friday, February 11th, 2011

A dedicated web hosting service can provide you with a wide variety of benefits that will allow you to develop your website to a new level to increase the number of visitors that you receive and to ultimately increase the revenue that you receive. The term dedicated web hosting is used by web hosting companies to promote their VPS server and dedicated server hosting offerings, primarily because these are the two forms of web hosting that can offer a dedicated web hosting environment whilst all other forms of web hosting can only offer a shared web hosting environment. When compared to other forms of web hosting, dedicated web hosting services are far more powerful and provide you with great room for expansion if this is what you are after; alternatively, a dedicated web hosting package will allow you to use applications and services that aren’t available with shared web hosting packages to increase the functionality of your website. As a dedicated hosting customer you are also offer far more options; as well as being able to save money through providing yourself with support as an experienced user, you can also vary your VPS server or dedicated server to match your specific requirements in terms of the resources purchased.


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