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Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning
At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration.
Plan, plan, plan.
Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration.
Backup and Test
Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work.
Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed.
This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components.
Accept Some Downtime
Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off.
Prepare for Name Changes
One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations.
When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 188.8.131.52. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them.
There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time.
In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync.
The Little Gotchas
But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it.
Gather Tools and Support
Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs.
Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment.
Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.
Web Hosting - Why Backups Are Essential One thing most web site owners have little time for is... anything! Anything other than focusing on their site content and the business or service it supports and the information it provides, that is. That means that administration often suffers, as it frequently must. There's only so much time in the day. But the one thing that you should never let slide are backups. They are like insurance. You rarely need it (you hope), but when you do you need it very badly. Performing regular backups - and testing them - doesn't have to be a nightmare. A little bit of forethought and effort and they can be automated to a high degree. And, they should be tested from time to time. Even when a backup appears to have gone without a hitch, the only way to know whether it's of any value is to attempt to restore the information. If it can't be restored, the backup is worthless. Even when the web hosting company provides the service, there is still some planning involved for the site owner. Hosting companies often rely on one or both of two methods. They backup everything (called a full backup), then backup anything which has changed since the last full backup (called an incremental backup). Of special interest are any configuration files that have been tailored. If you've modified the default installation of a software package, you want to be able to recapture or reproduce those changes without starting from scratch. Network configuration files, modifications to basic HTML files, CSS style sheets and others fall into the same category. If you have XML files, databases, spreadsheets or other files that carry product or subscriber information - about items purchased, for example, or people who signed up for a newsletter - those should get special attention, too. That's the lifeblood of your business or service. Lose them and you must start over. That can break your site permanently. It should go without saying that all HTML and related web site files that comprise visible pages should be backed up regularly. It isn't necessary to record every trivial change, but you can tailor backup software to exclude files or folders. Usually they're so small it isn't worth the trouble. But in some cases those small changes can add up in scenarios where there are many thousands of them. Here again, the backups are worthless if they can't be used. Even if the hosting company charges for doing so, it's worthwhile to test once or twice a year at least to ensure the data can be restored. That's especially true of database backups, which often involve special software and routines. Database files have a special structure and the information is related in certain ways that require backups be done differently. Developing a backup strategy can be straightforward. Start simply and review your plan from time to time, modifying it as your site changes and grows. But don't neglect the subject entirely. The day will come when a hard drive fails, or you get hacked or attacked by a virus, or you accidentally delete something important. When that day comes, the few minutes or hours you spent developing and executing a backup plan will have saved you days or weeks of effort.
Free Copyright Music Free Copyright Music Means Deeper Well for Artist Inspiration Free copyright music is often mistaken with domain free music or music in which the copyright has expired. A copyright is in place for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. If there are more than one writer's for the music, the copyright will be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last surviving contributor. While this rule was set in place in order to ensure that the heirs of the author would also benefit from the royalties after the music's writer or composer was no longer living it is important to remember that these laws are the current laws and music written at different points in time are most likely subject to different copyright laws. When searching for free copyright music it is always a good idea to search through music that is very old rather than focusing your search on more recent musical selections as they will most likely still be under copyright protection. It is important to remember when using free copyright music or public domain music that you must be certain the copy you are using is within the copyright period. Any music that was published before 1922 is public domain music. This does not however include derivatives or new versions of that music which may still be under copyright protection. Finding a copy of the music with the copyright date included, if that date is prior to 1922 is the best route to ensure that you are in compliance with current copyright laws and not infringing on someone else's copyright. It is also important to keep in mind that written music is protected differently than recorded music. Almost every sound recording that has been copyrighted in the United States is protected until 2067. If you absolutely need a sound recording you should either purchase one or make one of your own. There are some free copyright music that will allow free use of the music whether written or recorded, you must be thorough in your search for this music however as it quite rare. Another thing to consider is that copyright laws in the United States are different than they are in other countries and if you wish to use music that is or was under copyright in another country you must follow the laws that apply to the particular piece of music you wish to perform. Free copyright music is available in almost every country and many genres; the trick is in finding great sources where you can easily find this music. There is a project called Mutopia, which operates like project Gutenberg. Mutopia provides free copyright music rather than books however. The Gutenberg project also has a section that is devoted to free sheet music in addition to its wonderful resources for books. Each of these projects provides excellent resources for those who find themselves in need of free copyright music for whatever reason. Whether you are a musician who is seeking inspiration from the music of old or hoping to find a composition, which you can rearrange and make your own, there are many ways in which you can go about achieving your goals that will not violate current copyrights. The key is in learning the laws both where you live and in any countries in which the music you seek to modify. By choosing selectively and listening to your options with an open mind and seeing things with a creative eye, you will find a huge world of opportunity available to you as a musician. Isn't it amazing how free copyright music can have such an effect on your ability to create music that you may someday copyright?
Check Volition.com for the Best Free Stuff Connections on the Web The web page itself states that it is ?the oldest free stuff site on the Internet?. In its design, it is very similar to very many of the free stuff pages on the web. Links and listings are used to guide free stuff and freebie seekers to their desired products. The site depends largely on visitors mailing in new links with freebies or suggesting new promotions. Similar to many other pages on the internet that offer free stuff, there is now guarantee and any offer that is accepted needs to be checked by the customer for validity. Internet fraud is a very real problem and especially in classified sections, internet fraud can trap many inexperienced and even experienced internet users. Volition offers one section, where users can sign up for movie prescreening tickets. These tickets are available for a list of participating cities for the newest movies on the market. Not any minor movies, the big Hollywood ones can be prescreened for free when signing up regularly for the ticket contest. The web page itself tries not to offer links and freebies that are commonly available on the Internet and tries this way to stand out form other free stuff online pages. The web page?s web master keeps the links up to date, but should a user experience any problems or find links that are not working any more it is important to let the web master of the page know. Only this way the page can stay up to date and as a good resource for anybody who is looking for free stuff. Another great section on volition is the section where users can find links to places that pay their visitors and signed up member?s money to participate in certain things. Users can get paid for participating in surveys, for e-mailing, for shopping, for Internet surfing and much more. Even if one is not really in need of money, these links are worth to be checked out, even just for fun. One great way to earn money is by shopping. Mystery shoppers are paid by big companies to do what most Americans like best, buy, buy and buy more products. To be able to check out this earning possibility the web page offers links and supportive advice from people that are just doing that. Classifieds are also part of the web page. This section offers products for sale. Anything from cars, to personal and regular buy/sell ads can be found in this section. Well worth checking out when somebody is looking to pay less on an item. For a whole different crowd, the web page also offers links for web design. Someone that is interested in having his or her own page can get started by visiting one of these useful links displayed on volition. These links offer anything from web design tutorials to free code and free gadgets for web pages. The links also direct users to places that offer free web space, where one can post the newly created homepage. Some people are more interested in advice form others or to interchange topics with others. For these people, volition offers a great variety of different forums with all kinds of topics. One big part gives advice and answers questions that are related to mystery shopping, other forums talk about games, entertainment and travel. Additionally the page offers links to interesting and fun pages. Pages that sell art supplies, pages that offer fun online games such as hangman and pages that offer other games and topics of interest. Whatever it is on might be seeking, it might be found on this free stuff online web site available to anyone.