Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Benefits of choosing the right Server Location

When choosing a hosting provider, don’t forget to think about one important factor: Location, Location, Location.

Where your server is located could have a major effect on the efficiency and future of your website. When thinking of where to purchase hosting for your site, it’s important that you consider where your server will be located. A hosting provider should have global communication connections, access to your target market and a handle on what factors in to optimal server location regions.

Before you read on, you should understand a little about web infrastructure:

The Internet is really just a web (hence the name ‘worldwide web’) of interconnected networks. When information is requested from a server (as in loading a site or webpage), it has to travel from your server to a hosting network and then to a few other networks for the data to be exchanged. This is why location is so important: your hosting provider needs to be close to a reliable network for you to get a fast connection that will perform better for your target market.

In addition to a good location, your server should be housed in a data center that has highly advanced technology and a team of experts. Another must is an advanced cooling system that will balance the workload of multiple servers working overtime. If a center is managed properly, the chances of your website failing or loading slowly are much slimmer.

Some Factors to Think About:

Environmental

A server should be located in an environmentally low-risk area for a number of reasons. Extremely cold weather is often not a problem, as a network of servers needs to be kept cool; however, an area with extreme weather is not an ideal place for a data center.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornados can pose a huge risk to a number of sites hosted in a risky area. That’s not to say risky areas do not have data centers, though. Remember hurricane Sandy? Data centers around the northeast were effected by the storm, causing great unrest in the hosting industry and many down websites.

Legal and Political

Every different region (or country) has it’s own unique security, privacy and freedom of speech laws. Keep this in mind as you’re choosing who to host your site with. In certain international areas, some content might be against the law. In China, for example, there are extensive limits to what can be made available to the public. Just keep your target market in mind at all times.

Also know that in the U.S. the Patriot Act enforces the fact that servers can be confiscated and inspected as evidence. If you have content that you want to disseminate beyond a local market, do a bit of research to see what’s ok for the areas you’re targeting. Your hosting provider can also give you some helpful international advice.

Exchange Rate

The price of the hosting package you select will be influenced by the energy costs and rate of exchange in the location your server is housed in.

Energy costs in Canada are way lower than in the U.S.; however, if you go with a more expensive New York based server, you’ll be closer to major networks of communication–and that’s often better for your online content distribution. If the exchange rate happens to be better in the U.S. at the time, then that’s another factor to think about.

Server Location for SEO

Google and other search engines determine your server location when indexing your site for a certain regional market or language category.

Your server location is essentially a clue regarding your site’s intended audience and search engines will definitely pick up on that. That’s why it’s so important to consider hosting your site on a server (or in a data center) that’s within range of the demographics you’re trying to target. Proximity to your market should be considered by both you and your hosting provider.

If you have an international site, it’s best to have it hosted in a number of international locations. This way you’ll reach the full potential of your site’s target market.

Cloud Providers and Server Proximity

Cloud providers have servers many miles away from where you or your business operates, and it’s likely that these servers are also miles away from your customer base. Simple tasks like sending e-mails or updating social media might not be a big deal; however more involved data operations might go through at much slower speeds of performance.

Look for a cloud provider that has servers dispersed geographically which hold the same data. For example, if you have a wide target market, you’ll probably want one in New York as well as in London in order to reach a broad audience with very little site latency. If you can’t find a provider that offers such a service, you’re better off picking one that’s in close proximity to you.

Choosing a Good Provider

Lastly, integral to your site’s success is the caliber of hosting provider you decide to go with. Make sure to have a conversation with hosting companies about all of the locational factors mentioned above. That way, you can cross-check your potential provider for their knowledge of the industry as well as their servers’ proximity to your center of operations and target market.

Joomla 3.1 – The Ways Things Should Have Been

Like many technologies, whereas numerous solutions exist, choice of a technology usually boils down to two leaders. In the field of Open Source Content Management Systems for websites, although there are a number of players, the debate has become simple – which is better: Joomla or WordPress? These days the answer just might be Joomla.

Joomla has been around a long time. It started life as Mambo in 2000 and a split in the Mambo leadership led to Joomla being formed in 2005. This split came only 2 years after the launch of WordPress.

WordPress started life as a blogging solution, but very quickly morphed into a full-blown CMS. While people enthused over how easy WordPress had become to use, and how flexible it was, despite regular new versions, Joomla remained pretty much a staple diet of clunky management and a less than intuitive back end design.

At the end of last year I was about to embark on a new website project and I had pretty much decided to transition from Joomla to WordPress. However, I started to hear some great things about the upcoming Joomla version 3, so I decided to hang on a while. Joomla 3.1 – the first stable version of Joomla 3.0 – was launched April 24, 2013, and in the end I was glad I waited.

Joomla 3.1 is the Joomla version that Joomla should have been from the start. It is light (in comparison to much earlier versions) and has become much more intuitive, especially for someone familiar with previous versions.

Backend Improvements 

The first thing you notice when you open up the new version of Joomla is that it has a more commercial feel about it – this looks like something you would pay for and it is remarkable that it has actually been developed by volunteers! The backend administration screens have been revamped and are even customizable by adding a variety of templates. All aspects of administration are easily accessible from the single administration page.

Native Templates

Unlike many of the previous versions of Joomla, the native templates (the templates supplied with the software) are no longer throw away. Only people looking for the simplest of websites ever considered using the native templates Joomla previously provided, and most headed for commercial templates, or a developer. The reason for this was because the native templates were instantly recognizable, and using them gave a website a ‘me too’ look and feel. The templates that Joomla 3.1 offers – Beez3 and Protostar – are much more powerful. Protostar in particular is flexible and customizable enough that I had no hesitation in using it for my website. It has numerous module positions and options like custom colors, so it really is possible to design something that looks and feels unique.

Bootstrap 

What is truly great about Joomla 3.1’s native templates is that they are built using the Bootstrap framework. Built at Twitter by @mdo and @fat, Bootstrap requires less CSS. As a result, it makes templates fast and responsive. I am using a shared hosting account with the bare minimum of resources. But when using both the front end and the backend of Joomla 3.1, I genuinely feel as though I am using a more powerful hosting package. Bootstrap has now been utilized by a number of designers, and so a number of commercial Bootstrap templates are now Joomla 3.1 compliant.

Mobile Ready

Possibly the biggest advantage of the Bootstrap framework is that it is designed to make your sites mobile ready. This means you do not need to do anything else to make your site compatible with Internet capable mobile handsets, tablets, phablets, etc. Looking at your “Bootstrap” site through a mobile device is an “oh yes!” moment – I certainly didn’t expect the results to be so good. The menus are clearly laid out and even from a mobile phone with a 3.1 inch screen, I can access them very easily.

All the home page articles are ordered so that they appear as a list rather than next to each other as they appear on a PC. The effect is really good – Bootstrap really does make your website usable on a mobile device. The images below are from my Galaxy Pro – an old phone with a tiny screen. But Bootstrap means it is easy to navigate and read my site, even within such a small area.

Modules and Plug-ins

Joomla 3.1 comes with a number of native modules and plug-ins that add functionality to a site and add to its appearance. The system has a built in plug-in for Search Engine Friendly URLs which is a boon for any website. In addition, there’s a native plug-in for ReCaptcha, which is an absolute must these days. There is also a module for archived articles, articles categories, newsflashes, lists of related articles, custom HTML – in fact so varied are the number of native options, that I built my site using a minimum of third party plug-ins and modules. Those I did use integrated with the system very easily – for someone who doesn’t delve into code, that is a godsend.

Tags

Joomla 3.1’s Tags have been described as a solution to a problem that you did not know you had. And I completely agree. Tags make moving around a site lightening fast. Basically if you write an article on ‘London buses’ you give it a Tag called ‘London buses’. In the future, if you write other articles on London buses, you add the same Tag to those articles. Tag categories show as buttons at the top or bottom of each article, and if you click on a specific Tag, you are taken to a list of articles, all of which include that topic – click on the ‘London buses’ Tag and you are taken to a list of articles that covers or includes information on ‘London buses’. It is a phenomenal way to get around a site – very practical, and I am sure one day Tags will be an industry standard.

One Click Update

Earlier versions of Joomla have been troublesome as far as keeping current is concerned. New versions of Joomla arrived without fanfare or notification, as did modules and plug-ins. For me, upgrading Joomla to the current version meant getting a programmer involved. Checking modules and plug-ins meant visiting websites, downloading new versions, and installing them again. All very time consuming. Now Joomla 3.1 notifies you when new Joomla versions are available, and upgrading means simply clicking a button. In addition, the system notifies you when modules and plug-ins are out of date. What’s great about this is Google has now taken to giving a lower rank for websites that are not using the latest version of CMSs (such as Joomla). They are taking this so seriously that they are actually emailing people to ask them to update to the latest version because of security risks – see below. So, this is a great time for Joomla to simplify their updating process.

Conclusion

Joomla 3.1 is the way things should have been, but considering the price (free!) what you got before was good value for money. However, what you get now with Joomla 3.1 is outstanding – this is what they had in mind when they started. And now that updates to new versions are only one click away, there is no reason why Joomla users should not remain loyal forever.

China Firewall and Web Hosting

Firewall protects your network and computer healthy, that’s good. But things are little different to Chinese people especially Chinese webmasters. There’s a general firewalll setting on their internet gateway which will block a certain outbound connections. In this article we’ll discuss how it works and what should Chinese webmasters do in order to put up a healthy website.

How does china firwall works?

China firewall is short for GFW, it’s a project supported by their government over the entire Chinese internet gateway. The GFW’s main work is to block websites which’s considered to be “dangerous” or potential dangerous, it’s generally referring to political, sexal and some illegal stuff. Till present, 2 of the world’s hottest community sites are officially blocked by GFW – Facebook and Twitter.

Why the firwall?

Although the internet business is growing rapidly in China, their internet quality is not as good as other countries such as Japan, Korea, US etc. Since the internet is open for every people on the globe and there’re lots of news and discussion topics every day and let people know more about the outside world, it also brings issues to some parties and they always want to avoid some sensitive information in order to keep up their interests and control.

What’s effect of GFW?

The biggest problem created by this firewall is it blocked a certain famous sites such as facebook, it blocked the communication between Chinese people and the outside world, this must be a historical backward. The worst of the worst to webmasters is they will have to take the risk their hosting server/website will be blocked some day.

Is there any good of the firewall?

Yes, it does have some contribution to internet people in china, at least the Chinese people won’t be able to open some adult sites which is absolutely bad for children.

What should chinese webmaster do?

Surely, since there’s a firewall infront of every Chinese webmaster, they have to follow the rules to putup a live site. The first thing is not to mention politics and sex related topics on their websites. The second and most important is to find a good hosting service which is not GFW friendly.

Best web hosting service for china friendly

Since we’re talking about firewall in this article, we’ll mainly focus on this point but not others such as pricing. After out search and research, we suggest hostinginchina should be the best choice for Chinese webmasters.

Visit http://www.hostinginchina.com/blog/ for official plan details now!