Archive for August, 2011

Reliable Hosting

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Reliable web hosting services are offered by most web hosting companies these days as many businesses are after a web hosting account that will be able to provide them with almost 100% guaranteed uptime. Regardless of the form of web hosting that you choose to meet your specifications, you should be able to expect a good level of reliability from your web hosting plan and indeed any good web hosting provider will offer an uptime guarantee across their entire range of web hosting services; however, you shouldn’t solely rely on the uptime guarantees offered by your web hosting company because issues may arise that are out of your web hosting provider’s hands to control that could cause longer periods of downtime. Although shared web hosting services aren’t known for their reliability, many web hosting companies are now introducing cloud hosting services to replace these web hosting plans at the lower-end of the market as cloud services can offer up to 100% guaranteed uptime without increasing the cost price of the web hosting plan; you will find existing VPS server and dedicated server hosting plans to be highly reliable anyhow because of the dedicated web hosting environment that is offered. In order to ensure that you make an informed decision about the reliability of any web hosting plan that you may be considering, it is important for you to do your background research into any web hosting company that you may be looking to use because the reputation of a web hosting provider is typically a good indicator of their attitude towards customer service, something that can affect the reliability of a hosting account.

What factors can affect the reliability of a web hosting plan?

There are several different factors that can affect the reliability of a web hosting plan, regardless of the form of web hosting that you choose to use. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Management – the management of the server that you are hosted on is one of the biggest factors that could have an effect on how reliable your web hosting account is because it is important for errors to be dealt with as they arise and for hosting servers to use the latest versions of software available to minimize any possible security risks – as a shared web hosting client you should have confidence in your chosen web hosting provider to manage the shared web hosting server properly, but as a VPS server user or a dedicated server it is down to you to ensure that you have the skills necessary to manage your server properly, if you feel you don’t then you should perhaps consider a managed web hosting plan to fulfil your needs in this area
  • Specifications – as a dedicated web hosting user, the specifications of your server can impact on the reliability of your web hosting experience as if you are using a server with inadequate resources then you could find that your website or web application is putting too much load on your server, which in some cases could cause it to crash – when choosing a dedicated web hosting plan, it is important for you to ensure that you have a clear idea of what you need from a server hosting service so that you can make the correct selections and choices during the ordering process – if you do find that you require extra resources for your server then you can easily purchase upgrades from your web hosting provider as required
  • Other users – if you are hosted in a shared web hosting environment then the actions of other users who are hosted on the same server as you can impact on the reliability of your own website – because everyone in a shared web hosting environment is sharing the same resources, if one web hosting account happens to overload the hosting node and causes it to crash, this will take every website on the server with it – however, if web hosting providers are using the right software then situations like this are completely avoidable.

How do I choose a reliable web hosting plan?

There are measures that you can take to guarantee that you choose a reliable web hosting plan, including:

  • Uptime statistics – most web hosting companies will be able to provide you with their uptime statistics for the past year and if you are going to take the level of reliability that you are provided with seriously, you should ensure that you check out these details – if a web hosting company is unable to provide you with valid uptime statistics then you should perhaps move onto to another provide – it should also be noted that some web hosting companies use uptime monitoring solutions that will be able to provide you with reliable information instantly, an example of such a service is HyperSpin
  • Dedicated web hosting – you should consider a dedicated web hosting plan if you want to be guaranteed reliability because a dedicated web hosting environment will provide you with the ability to control your resource usage as no other users will be able to impact on the performance of your website – even though VPS servers and dedicated servers are rather expensive, the extra cost is usually justifiable through the features that both forms of web hosting are able to offer you, if you aren’t able to justify the extra cost then dedicated web hosting may not be the right choice for you.

In conclusion, reliable hosting should be widespread these days as new technologies have helped to make web hosting platforms more stable, whilst web hosting providers should now have the skills required to rectify most server issues as they arise so that if any downtime is caused, it is minimal.

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Features of VPS Server Hosting

Friday, August 12th, 2011

There are many different features that come together to form a VPS server hosting environment, but the features of a VPS server will provide you with your own dedicated web hosting environment that will guarantee isolation from any other users. VPS servers offer an affordable alternative to dedicated server hosting whilst preserving a majority of the features that a dedicated server can offer you; with a VPS server you will still have your own guaranteed resources that will enable you install and use the applications and services of your choice, as well as allowing you to have an independent web hosting environment that can’t be affected by other users as you will be the only one using your VPS server. Any good web hosting provider will be able to offer you the choice between Windows VPS server hosting and Linux VPS server hosting; both platforms are able to offer a number of different features and you are likely to make your choice based on your requirements, such as the scripting languages and database platforms that you are use to using. For experienced professionals, a VPS server can provide you with an environment in which you can put your skills to use as you will have full access to your dedicated hosting environment; as a Windows VPS server user you will be able to manage your server via Remote Desktop, and if you choose Linux as your platform then you will be able to access your VPS server using SSH.

What are the main features of a VPS server?

There are several different features that you should review in a VPS server prior to purchase as you want to be sure that you choose a server that is not only powerful enough for you, but will be compatible with the applications and services that you wish to use. These features include:

  • Guaranteed RAM – the guaranteed RAM provided with your VPS server is an assignment of the physical RAM that belongs to the host machine on which your VPS server is hosted – the amount of guaranteed RAM that you have available will dictate how many applications and services you are able to run at the same time as all processes require memory to be able to perform their operations effectively, with some applications being more memory intensive than others – all VPS server hosting plans come with differentiating levels of RAM and because of this it is important to do your research to ensure that you choose a VPS hosting plan that will offer you the RAM that you need to run all of the applications that you require
  • Disk space – this is another important factor because it will dictate how much content you are able to store on your VPS server and this could have an affect on you if you are running a large website because large amounts of multimedia such as photos and music as well as large databases can be responsible for using up large amounts of disk space – if you find that you begin to run out of disk space on your VPS server then you can always purchase additional disk space from your web hosting provider, who should then be able to assign it to your server in no time at all
  • Dedicated hosting environment – a dedicated hosting environment will provide you with complete isolation from other users, making you responsible for the stability of your server as you are going to be responsible for managing it – as you will have full administrator access to your dedicated hosting environment, you will be able to install any applications that you want on your platform, making VPS server hosting ideal for web developers or businesses that require specialist applications server-side in order for their web applications to be able to function properly and perform their duties as required – it should be noted that in order to be able to make the most of your dedicated hosting environment, you should have some past experience of server management.

Why should I consider a VPS server over a dedicated server?

You should consider a VPS server over a dedicated server for several reasons, but in order for a VPS server to be of more benefit to you than a dedicated server you must have ruled out dedicated server hosting in the first instance, for example if the resources posed by a dedicated server are too much for you; such reasons could include:

  • Lower costs – a VPS server hosting plan will always be much cheaper than a dedicated server and even though the resources provided may be lower than what a dedicated server can offer, you will retain the main benefits of using a dedicated server such as a the guaranteed resources and dedicated web hosting environment – if you are looking to get started with dedicated web hosting for the first time then this means that a VPS server hosting plan will represent a much more affordable option than a dedicated server
  • Easier to manage – depending on the virtualization platform that your web hosting company is using to deliver its VPS server hosting services, you will be provided with access to a web based control panel through which you will be able to manage certain aspects of your VPS server without the need to login to it directly using SSH or Remote Desktop, whichever is appropriate – this can provide you with a major benefit over dedicated server hosting as it will reduce the amount of time that it takes to complete particular tasks.

In conclusion, the features of a VPS server will allow you to make the most of your dedicated web hosting environment with ease; the low cost of VPS servers has helped to make dedicated hosting services affordable for all. You should always do your research when purchasing a VPS server because there will always be a number of different options to choose from, including managed and unmanaged solutions as well as servers of different specifications.

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Unmanaged Server Solutions

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

For users of server hosting services who are either more experienced or don’t have a budget that will allow them to stretch to managed server solutions, an unmanaged server solution will be able to provide you with a dedicated web hosting solution that will be able to meet your requirements effectively. Even though an unmanaged server solution will mean that you are responsible for the management of your own server, if you are an experienced user then this is going to be the best option for you because it means that your skills will allow you to save money as you will be able to support yourself and create a web hosting environment that suits your exact requirements. For the most part any good web hosting provider will offer a basic level of support with their unmanaged server solutions to cover aspects that are external to your server hosting service; these aspects may include network issues and power issues as these are problems that you won’t be able to fix yourself and so your web hosting company should be willing to offer you the support of their on-site staff to fix any issues that arise. Web hosting companies offer a wide range of unmanaged VPS servers and dedicated servers meaning that whatever you situation and your requirements, there will be an unmanaged server solution available to meet your requirements and budget; you should shop around to ensure that you receive the best deal possible as some web hosting companies offer full support as standard across their entire range of web hosting services, so if you can save money by choosing another company then you should do so.

Benefits of Unmanaged Server Solutions

There are a number of different benefits to choosing an unmanaged server solution as opposed to a managed server solution, but in order to be able to make the most of these benefits you will need to have some experience with server management. These benefits include:

  • Custom web hosting environment – the major benefit of using an unmanaged server hosting solution is that you will be able to put your skills to full use and create a custom web hosting environment that suits your requirements exactly – when using a managed server hosting solution you often have to rely on the support team of your web hosting provider to create you a web hosting environment that vaguely follows your specifications, but as the administrator of your server you will be able to install whatever applications you want and can make any configuration changes you see as being necessary in the process of meeting your web hosting environment specifications
  • Save money – if you are an experienced user then you will be able to put your skills to use with your unmanaged server hosting solution by supporting yourself and because you aren’t going to be provided with support as you have opted for an unmanaged solution, you will be saving money at the same time – regardless of whether you choose a VPS server or a dedicated server, dedicated web hosting solutions can be expensive because of the features that they offer over traditional shared web hosting plans and so if you are able to save money somewhere then this will put you at an advantage because it will provide you with additional funds to invest in another area that may benefit you such as software
  • Wider choice – you will have a wider choice of applications and options to choose from with an unmanaged server solution because a server hosting solution offers you your own dedicated web hosting environment that will function in the way that you want it to, meaning that as a VPS server user the performance of other servers hosted on the same node as your VPS server won’t impact upon the performance of your dedicated hosting environment – in effect the unmanaged nature of this form of web hosting will enable to express yourself more.

Disadvantages of Unmanaged Server Solutions

There can be several disadvantages to using an unmanaged server solution, but the extent to which these will affect you will depend on your experience. These disadvantages include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Additional support – in some situations you may find that you lack the skills required to complete a particular task and this could be an issue for you if you are trying to secure your server or install a particular application that is core to your requirements – if you do find that you require support from your web hosting provider at this point then you are going to have to pay for it if you are using an unmanaged server hosting solution and paying to receive support can be a costly process, meaning that if you feel there could be an issue with your skills at any point then you should consider a managed hosting solution
  • External support – if you don’t choose a reputable web hosting provider then you may find that the support for external issues that can have an impact on the performance of your server is reduced, which could easily call into question the reliability of your VPS server or dedicated server – because of this it is important for you to choose a web hosting company that you can be sure of offering a high level of support for external issues regardless of whether you are a managed or an unmanaged customer.

In conclusion, an unmanaged server solution will allow you to make the most of your skills if you are an experienced server administrator. Larger businesses generally have a bigger need to use custom or specialist software and components that most support teams will refuse to install if the process is too complex, so by choosing an unmanaged solution they will be able to care of these processes themselves. If you are an inexperienced user then you should consider unmanaged server solutions at the expense of support because you will find yourself being out of your depth and unable to manage your server properly.

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Managed Server Solutions

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Server hosting is the most advanced form of web hosting available, regardless of whether you choose a VPS server or a dedicated server as your server hosting solution because they both offer dedicated web hosting environments. Server hosting solutions are used by larger businesses to host large websites that receive a number of visitors every day because large visitor numbers will put a huge load on the hosting server and so in a situation where you are running a very busy website, it is important to be using your own server so that you have large resource assignments available to meet your demands. When purchasing a dedicated web hosting solution you will be asked to choose whether you should like to go for a managed or unmanaged solution; for beginners a managed server solution is the recommended route to take because it will provide you with access to an experienced support team that will be able to assist you with a number of different tasks, allowing you to focus more time on other activities that are more important to you whilst being able to leave the complicated task of server management to a group of people who are experienced with servers. When choosing a managed server solution you should always go with a web hosting provider that you can be sure will be able to offer you a good level of customer service because after all you are going to be paying extra for the extra support, which will be of no use to you if the support offered isn’t any good.

What should I look for in a managed solution?

There are several different features that you should look for in a managed server solution to ensure that you make the right choice over which web hosting plan is going to be most suitable for your needs. Some of these features include:

  • Quality of service offered – managed server hosting services cost more than unmanaged server hosting services and so it is important for you to realize that you are going to be paying this extra premium because of the additional support that is offered – when paying extra for additional support you will want to be sure that you are going to be offered a good level of service as this will allow you to justify the extra cost – the best way to check out the level of service offered by a web hosting company is to read the web hosting reviews that are available for any web hosting company that you may be considering, there should be a mixture of positive and negative reviews available for web hosting providers that have been established for a long period of time
  • Service availability – as a server hosting customer you should be able to expect 24×7 support from your chosen web hosting company, meaning that you can contact them at any time of day with the guarantee that they will answer your query and will be able to sort out your issue if it requires urgent action – most web hosting providers are able to offer 24×7 support through the use of outsourced support staff that are based in other parts of the world and under some circumstances this can impact on the quality of the customer service that is offered, making it even more important to guarantee that you will be offered high quality support then you require it
  • Extra premium – you should look into how much extra you are going to have pay a web hosting provider to receive full support as opposed to how much you would be paying for an unmanaged solution – in some cases you may find that the extra premium is just too much to justify when you can’t be guaranteed high quality support, but at the same time you should review the overall benefits of purchasing a fully managed server hosting solution from a certain web hosting provider because they may go further than simply receiving support when you need it.

How will a managed server solution benefit me?

A managed server solution can offer you many benefits over an unmanaged server solution, although these benefits will only be useful to those who are inexperienced with server management as then you will be able to make the most of what a managed solution has to offer. These benefits include:

  • Professional support – a managed server solution will provide you with access to a professional support team who will be able to assist you with a number of different tasks, whether you want them to create you a secure hosting environment or to install an application that will allow you to make better use of your VPS server or dedicated server – some web hosting companies are also willing to offer a more personal service that is custom to your needs, but specialist web hosting providers offering this level of service often carry an extra premium
  • Stability – if your server is being managed by a professional support team then they will be able to carry out tasks in a professional manner and to the highest standard possible and this is something that is likely to aid the stability of your server hosting solution – stability means that your server is going to be more reliable and less likely to crash and a high level of uptime will allow you to be sure that you are getting good value for money from your chosen web hosting provider.

In conclusion, managed server solutions are the best option for individuals who wish to make the most of their VPS server or dedicated server, but lack the skills necessary to do so. Even though most managed server solutions carry an additional premium because of the extra support that is being provided when compared to an unmanaged server, as long as you select a reputable web hosting provider that can offer 24×7 support then you should find that the extra cost of choosing a managed server solution is easily justified.

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Backup Solutions

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

As a server hosting customer you can never underestimate the importance of backing your server up on a regular basis so that if the worst does happen and your server crashes and takes the hard drive with it, you will have at least one copy of your data that you can then use to restore your server once it has been repaired. Many web hosting companies offer backup hosting solutions alongside their dedicated server and VPS server hosting plans and it is recommended that you consider one of these backup hosting plans if you wish to be sure of the safety of your data. It is recommended that you store multiple backups of your server as this will enable you to restore to different periods of time depending on the incident; it is recommended that you take daily, weekly and monthly backups. There are a number of different ways in which you can backup your server on such a regular basis; recommended practice is to use a professional backup application that will take care of this for you, or on the other hand you may wish to develop your own scripts if you have more specialist requirements that need to be seen to appropriately. You should always try and purchase your backup hosting solutions from a web hosting company other to the one that you have your VPS server or dedicated server hosting plan with as this will allow for greater redundancy, whilst also reducing the chances of creating a single point of failure.

Benefits of Server Backups

Whether you are a business or an individual, there are many benefits to backing up your server on a regular basis as it is important to ensure that you always have a fresh copy of your data to revert to if something goes wrong. These benefits include:

  • Hackers – if hackers gain entry to your server then they could cause irreparable damage and data loss and if you haven’t backed up any of your data then you could find that you’re never able to recover the files that have been deleted or damaged by the hackers – in this situation you will be able to revert your server to one of your previous virus-free backups so that you can then get back the data that has been stolen and return your VPS server or dedicated server to a more secure pre-hack state – however, it is important to take into consideration that this won’t solve your problems if hackers have managed to steal data from your server
  • Server crashes – server backups will benefit you the most when your server has crashed because they will enable you to restore your server using your original data and configuration information, meaning that even if the hardware in your server has failed, once the failed components have been replaced you will be able to resume service with your server as normal – depending on the type of backups that you make, they should enable to restore your server to its original state in no time at all as a system wide backup plan will enable you to guarantee the continuity and the safety of the data hosted on your VPS server or dedicated server
  • Customer trust – if you are running your own web hosting business on your VPS server or dedicated server then server backups will enable you to gain your customers trust because they will want to be sure that if their website does crash or is down for whatever reason, you will be able to restore it for them in no time at all – furthermore, some of your customers will also like to be sure that if they do something that could damage the data in their web hosting account or the operation of their web hosting account, they can easily revert to an old copy of their data and configuration information as to eradicate the problems that they have created with their web hosting account.

Disadvantages of Server Backups

There can also be some disadvantages that you should be aware of prior to purchasing a backup hosting plan as you want to be sure that you are making the correct option with regards to the solution that is most suitable for your requirements. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Costly – the more you need to backup, the more it is going to cost you and so for larger businesses, backing up all of their servers on a regular basis can be a costly and time consuming process – there are a number of different backup processes available, but a standard backup hosting plan that will provide you with a large assignment of disk space to which you can backup your server shouldn’t cost you too much as it is a very basic measures – corporate solutions such as tape backups on the other hand are very expensive, although highly reliable
  • Guarantees – with a backup hosting plan you can’t come to expect too many guarantees in the way of data integrity because often the data will be backed up over the internet, but if you choose a more tested and proven method of storing historical backups of data such as tape backups or DVDs then you can be guaranteed the safety of the data that has been backed up as backing up to physical forms of media is seen as being a more reliable system to adopt.

In conclusion, whether you have a VPS server or a dedicated server, it is important to backup your dedicated web hosting environment on a regular basis so that in the event of data loss or a crash, you are able to restore your server hosting service to its original state prior to the incident with just a few clicks. There are a number of different backup solutions to choose from depending on your situation and whether you are using a VPS server or a dedicated server; your budget will also dictate your ability to choose a particular method of server backup.

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Reseller Hosting Plan

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

A reseller web hosting plan is the ideal companion for a website designer that wishes to offer web hosting services alongside their initial product offerings, or those who wish to start their own web hosting businesses. As reseller web hosting is a form of shared web hosting, you can pick up reseller web hosting plans for a fairly low price meaning that if you do wish to start a web hosting company using a reseller web hosting plan then it will be fairly easy to make a quick profit. The only downside to using reseller web hosting is that the reliability of your web hosting account can’t always be guaranteed, but when you aren’t paying much for a web hosting plan it is important that you don’t come to expect too much of your chosen web hosting plan. Many web hosting companies are able to offer you the choice between Windows reseller hosting and Linux reseller hosting, allowing you to choose the platform that is most fitting to your needs with ease; however, you should note the price difference between Windows web hosting plans and Linux web hosting plans as this may affect your choice of platform. You should also review the different web hosting plans that are offered by different web hosting companies because different web hosting companies will be able to offer you additional features with their reseller hosting plans to enhance your web hosting experience; the additional extras will differ between web hosting companies so it is recommended that you have an idea of what is available.

Why should I choose a reseller hosting plan?

A reseller web hosting plan will be able to provide you with a number of different benefits if you find that it is the most suitable form of web hosting for your needs. Some of these benefits include:

  • Multiple client accounts – the main benefit of choosing a reseller web hosting plan is that if you are going to be hosting websites for other people, you can provide them with access to their own client control panel through which they will be able to manage their own website without the need for any assistance from yourself – most web hosting control panels that are able to offer reseller capabilities will include this function meaning that the client web hosting accounts created under your reseller hosting account will have complete isolation from one another and will allow you to assign each website its own resources to ensure that one of your web hosting accounts isn’t able to affect the operation of any of the others
  • Resource assignments – the resources provided with a reseller web hosting plan will far outweigh those that are offered with standard shared web hosting plans, making reseller hosting the best option for someone looking to host multiple websites under separate accounts – with a reseller web hosting account you will be able to apportion your resources amongst individual websites as you wish so that the resources provided to each website will reflect their demand – if you find that you eventually run out of resources with your reseller account then you can easily purchase additional disk space, bandwidth and other resources from your web hosting provider for use as you wish
  • Custom web hosting plans – most web hosting control panels will allow resellers to create custom web hosting plans based on the resources that they have available to use – when starting a web hosting business, it is important for you to be able to offer a range of web hosting plans to meet the needs of different businesses and individuals as well as the different price points that will affect these differentiating target audiences – once you have defined your custom web hosting plans you can then begin to provision web hosting accounts as you wish as you can create web hosting accounts that are going to be based on the same web hosting plan in bulk.

What are the disadvantages to using reseller web hosting plans?

There can be some disadvantages to using reseller web hosting plans, but the extent to which these will affect you is going to depend on what exactly you expect from your reseller web hosting account. Some of the possible disadvantages include:

  • Reliability – when you are using shared hosting it is important for you to never put too much weight on the uptime guarantee that has been provided to you by your web hosting provider because for the most part it is hard for web hosting companies to offer reliable shared web hosting services – when there are many websites hosted in a single hosting environment, it is almost impossible for web hosting companies to monitor the performance of each individual website meaning that sometimes one website may in fact use up more resources than it should be allowed to and this could cause issues with server performance
  • Security – as is the case with reliability, it is almost impossible for web hosting providers to guarantee the security of every individual website hosted in a shared web hosting environment because of the number of factors that could affect an individual website, including how well the website itself has been developed and coded – however, most web hosting companies will still take all the security measures they see as appropriate with their shared web hosting servers so that they can create the most secure web hosting environment possible given the circumstances.

In conclusion, a reseller web hosting plan is the ideal starting point for someone who wishes to start their own web hosting business or to host websites for others to any extent. Most web hosting providers are highly generous with the resources that they offer their reseller web hosting clients meaning that you needn’t worry about running out of disk space or bandwidth; even if you do run out of particular resources, you can easily purchase additional resources from your web hosting provider as you see fit so that you don’t have to upgrade your web hosting plan immediately.

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Exchange Server Hosting Service

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Microsoft Exchange server is an enterprise-class communication platform used by many businesses to simplify the way in which their employees communicate with each other as well as to encourage employees to manage themselves to a better degree. As Exchange Server is a Microsoft product, it is only capable of running on Windows servers, but a the same time this close tie between operating system and product allows Microsoft to deliver a more stable platform that will be capable of meeting the security needs that may represent a challenge for other email and collaboration platforms. The benefit to many businesses of using a platform such as Microsoft Exchange Server is that the data hosted on the platform is accessible from a number of different devices, allowing businesses to construct a central location for email, contact and calendar information; as well as using desktop clients, data hosted on Exchange servers can also be accessed through the Outlook Web Access web interface and a number of different mobile devices including iPhones and Blackberrys. Many businesses already running a Windows-based infrastructure are likely to be using Active Directory as a way of managing and authenticating users and so Exchange Server is able to tie in with this infrastructure seamlessly, allowing your users to use a single account to logon to Windows desktop computers and their Exchange environment. Even though Exchange Server hosting services may carry an additional premium when compared to using other collaboration platforms, Exchange Server is the only platform capable of offering you such a smooth service.

Benefits of Using Exchange Server Hosting

There are several different benefits to using Exchange Server hosting that you should be aware of, especially if you are considering any other collaboration and communication platform, as these could encourage you to use Exchange Server. Such benefits include:

  • Encourages communication – Exchange Server will encourage your employees to communicate with each other much more clearly using email as the system will provide your staff with a centralized point from which they can access their emails on any device – the issue with the communication structures in many businesses at the moment is that they are simply too basic and lack a number of different tools that would otherwise aim to enhance the experience and Exchange Server improves on many other collaboration platforms by providing you with a web interface as well as a system that you will be able to access on a number of different devices so that you are never far from your emails
  • Allows employees to manage their schedules – another major part of the Exchange platform is the calendar feature that is provided, allowing employees to manage themselves to a higher degree so that they can keep an eye on their appointments – as is the case with email account, Exchange Server calendars can be synced with a number of different devices and applications so that you can add a new appointment to your calendar whilst on the move, safe in the knowledge that the same appointment will be viewable in your calendar on your desktop computer when you return to the office
  • Integration into existing infrastructure – most businesses have an existing Windows IT infrastructure usually based around the Active Directory authentication system and Exchange Server can be integrated into your existing infrastructure with minimal work – the idea that employees can use a single username and password to access their emails and Windows desktop computer will simplify the management process for your IT department as it gives them one single platform to monitor the performance of – furthermore, it will mean that your staff will have fewer passwords to remember, thus reducing the chances them forgetting their login details – even though setting up a Windows infrastructure may be expensive, you can be sure that you will be provided with a secure and reliable infrastructure that will be more than capable of meeting your needs.

Disadvantages of Using Exchange Server Hosting

There can also be some disadvantages to using Exchange Server hosting services that you should be aware of, these could include:

  • Cost– the cost of implementing the Exchange Server platform when compared to other available options can be incredibly high which is why it may not be that appealing to smaller businesses that have smaller businesses and instead will be more suitable for larger companies – Microsoft sells commercial products meaning that you will need a license to use a majority of the premium applications sold by the company, including the Windows operating system – as a business, by choosing Windows as your infrastructure platform you are going to need to take on board the extra costs that are going to be associated with running your infrastructure than if you had chosen to use Linux servers as Linux is an open source platform
  • Windows-only compatibility – it is also important to take into consideration that Exchange Server is a Windows-only application meaning that if you are running an IT infrastructure that is based on any other platform, i.e. Linux, then you should consider a solution other than Exchange Server for your requirements – this means that for businesses which have never used Windows before, a significant investment in Windows servers is going to be required if they wish to make the most of Microsoft Exchange Server, on the other hand they could always choose a remotely hosted as this could be more cost effective and would take less time to setup.

In conclusion, an Exchange Server hosting service will allow you to provide your employees with a centralized communication tool that they can use to communicate with fellow employees and customers of your business. Although there are a number of alternatives available to Microsoft Exchange Server, no other platform is able to provide you with the accessibility features that are offered for a number of different devices; many employees are now on the move these days and use mobile devices such as Blackberrys and iPhones and in most cases will want to be able to access their emails.

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SSL Web Hosting Service

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Before entering their personal details into your website, your visitors are going to want to be sure that they can trust you with their details and that you are going to be able to offer a sufficient level of security to keep their details safe. SSL certificates are one way of providing a high level of security because they help to ensure that all data transferred between your website and client computers is encrypted, meaning that if hackers were to attempt to eavesdrop on a connection then the any data that they did gather would be useless to them. Any web hosting service will allow you to use an SSL certificate with your website, enabling you to create the secure environment that will suit your needs; even though you are going to need to purchase an additional dedicated IP address for use with your shared web hosting plan if you wish to use an SSL certificate, the additional cost is worth it and with a VPS server or a dedicated server you can use your existing dedicated IP addresses as you wish. SSL certificates are available at different price points depending on the strength of the encryption provided and the level of trust that there is in the organization providing the certificate signing; there are many value certificates that are offered by a large number of web hosting providers, but if you are running a busy website then you should consider choosing a stronger certificate that is signed by a more well-known company.

Why should I use an SSL certificate with my website?

There are many benefits to using an SSL certificate with your website and when they are so cheap to setup and configure for use with your web hosting account, there aren’t many reasons that you shouldn’t get one. Some of the benefits available include:

  • Customer trust – if you are going to be selling goods or services through your website then an SSL certificate is one way in which you will be able to obtain your customer’s trust because you will need this before they enter their personal details into your website – an SSL certificate will be visible in the web browser of any client computer that visits your website as it will be validated by the browser itself and then as long as your certificate is valid, this should be shown by the client’s browser – you may also wish to place a security seal on your website that shows that you are using an SSL certificate as part of your security measures – once customers have trust in your website, they will be more willing to purchase goods and services from you and to recommend your website to others
  • Extra layer of security – SSL certificates will provide an additional level of security for your web hosting environment on top of any server-side security measures that may already be in place – the benefit of using an SSL certificate is that it helps to guarantee the security of data transferred between your visitor’s computers and your website, something that isn’t always possible when using standard security techniques such as firewalls and anti-virus applications – furthermore, the purpose of your website will allow you to select the strength of the SSL certificate that you go for
  • Cheap to implement – depending on the strength of the certificate that you purchase, SSL certificates are fairly cheap and simple to implement and can also be used on a majority of web hosting accounts – the weakest certificates available aren’t recommended for the biggest businesses, but ca still be used to provide a good level of security for those who are on a tight budget – if you are using a VPS server or a dedicated server then it is going to be easy to setup your SSL certificate, but as a shared web hosting customer additional efforts will be required because you will need to contact your web hosting company to purchase a dedicated IP address for your website as well as for assistance with the installation process.

Are there any disadvantages to using SSL certificates?

There are a couple of disadvantages to using SSL certificates and if you don’t strictly require an SSL certificate then you may not wish to purchase one. A couple of the disadvantages include:

  • Cost – in order to receive a strong SSL certificate that can provide a good level of encryption for the data that it is meant to be protecting, you are going to need to pay a good amount of money – furthermore, some certificate signing authorities aren’t recognized by all web browsers meaning that you will have to pay an additional premium to be sure that your SSL certificate will be valid with all web browsers and that it won’t throw up any issues for anyone who tries to access the secure areas of your website
  • Certificate expiration – it is important to note that all SSL certificates expire eventually and the longer the expiration date you purchase for your certificate, the more expensive your SSL certificate is going to be – the shortest period that you can purchase an SSL certificate for is one year, but it is recommended that you purchase them for a long period of time as otherwise once the certificate that you are using has expired, you will have to purchase a new one and go through the time consuming installation process once again.

In conclusion, an SSL web hosting service will allow you to provide your website and visitors with a good level of security through the encryption of the data that will be provided. Even if you are a beginner then an SSL certificate represents an affordable option and will provide you with an improve security situation, just at a lower level; bigger businesses may wish to consider more expensive SSL certificates because they usually provide a stronger level of encryption. Furthermore, whatever the form of web hosting that you are using, you should be able to use an SSL certificate with your website.

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SQL Server Management Studio

Monday, August 1st, 2011

If you choose to use a Microsoft SQL Server database with your Windows web hosting plan then you will need a way to manage your database, which is where SQL Server Management Studio comes into play as this is the application provided by Microsoft to allow you to manage your SQL Server 2005 and 2008 databases effectively. SQL Server databases are very complex in their structure and so a sturdy application is required to allow you to make the most of all of the application’s features; as a server administrator SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) will allow you to control the state of the database server as well as individual databases, but at a shared web hosting level you are going to be offered direct user access to your database meaning that you will only be permitted to perform operations in this area. The benefit of SSMS is that it can be used to manage databases locally and remotely so that you can swap between local test databases and remote databases that could potentially be the live backend databases for your website; this enables data to be transferred with ease when editing your database locally before upload it to the remote server. Although you are going to have to pay for Microsoft SQL Server if you wish to use a version that won’t limit your usage, SSMS is available for free and can also be used with the Express (free) editions of SQL Server 2005 and 2008.

What are the main features of SSMS?

SQL Server Management Studio is a product that can provide Windows server administrators with many benefits that will allow them to streamline the management process and save time when completing certain tasks. These features include:

  • Free edition – for those using Microsoft’s free database systems, in other words the Express editions, there is also an Express edition of SSMS available that will allow you to manage your database server fully without the need to pay a penny for any software – although the desktop application is only compatible with the Windows operating system, it does provide system administrators with a simplified method of managing servers without having to login to the server directly as this can be a time consuming process and isn’t the most secure method of management available – the Express edition will also allow those who are using Windows technologies to develop websites for the first time with a way of being able to sample more advance technologies without risking any money
  • Backwards compatibility – some larger companies that have been established for a long period of time may still be running database clusters that are using older versions of SQL Server, such as 2000, and SSMS is compatible with these older systems meaning that you can manage all of your database servers using a single application, rather than having to switch between SSMS and the older generations of management tools that were created – this makes SSMS even more popular with system administrators and will guarantee that larger businesses will continue to use Microsoft’s enterprise-level products for a long time to come
  • Works with Windows web hosting – SSMS can be used to manage your SQL Server databases across the range of Windows web hosting plans offered by Storm Internet, regardless of whether you have chosen Windows shared hosting or Windows dedicated hosting – this will provide you with a wider range of benefits from your Windows web hosting plan if you are able to have greater access to the management of your databases because it means that you will be able to add extended functionality to your dynamic web applications – furthermore, when using SSMS with a Windows dedicated server running SQL Server you will be able to manage more of your server remotely without the need to be continually logging into it via Remote Desktop.

What are the benefits of using a database server as opposed to a desktop database system?

There are many benefits to using a database server as opposed to a desktop database application, or in other words using Microsoft SQL Server as opposed to Microsoft Access in a live environment. These benefits include:

  • Scalability – SQL Server can provide you with a higher level of scalability than Microsoft Access, in turn allowing you to grow your website as you wish without having to worry about having the performance of your web application inhibited by the database application that you are using – most websites also suffer load spikes during peak times and so it is important for the database application that you are using to be able to cope with this so that your website doesn’t crash, Access won’t be able to cope with load spikes in most cases whereas SQL Server will be able to make efficient use of your server’s resources to counteract the load spikes
  • Security – the security provided by SQL Server is on a much higher level than that provided for the data stored in Microsoft Access databases, making SQL Server the ideal option for businesses that are going to be processing and handling the personal data of customers and visitors – SSMS will be able to aid you with the security of your databases by allowing you to setup strong passwords as well as allowing you to ensure that that encrypted content including passwords and email addresses can be stored in your database tables.

In conclusion, SQL Server Management Studio is a vital tool that will form part of the software collection of any seasoned SQL Server database developer. As a Windows web developer you are going to be using SSMS as part of the development process to create and manage the SQL Server database that you wish to use as the backend for your website; you may also be using SQL Server as the backend database platform for your internal corporate infrastructure, in which case you will also come into contact with SSMS as part of your daily management processes – in either case you will discover the power of the application and how it can benefit you.

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