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Web Hosting - When Changing Web Hosts
Nearly everyone will want to change to a new web host at some point. It may involve just changing out old hardware for new. It usually means finding an entirely new web hosting company. When faced with that decision there are a number of issues to be considered.
Swapping hardware and/or software is a fairly straightforward decision. There are two possible scenarios. Either you maintain your own hardware and software at a facility managed by others, or you are considering upgrading to newer (usually more expensive) systems maintained by others.
In either case, it's simply a matter of estimating the cost and the short-term impact versus the long-term benefits. If the system(s) you currently use are short on capacity, sooner or later you'll be sufficiently motivated to make the change. Either the hardware will become unreliable or loaded to the point you'll be forced to migrate, or your needs will expand enough to justify the effort and expense of moving.
Similar considerations apply to the scenario in which you rely on the web hosting company for everything, and want to find someone else to rely on. Regrettably, that's a very common situation. Many web hosting companies provide systems and staff that sooner or later fall below an acceptable level.
Most people make the decision to change based on emotion. That's not entirely bad. Emotions incent you to take action. But you need to keep a cool head, too, in order to calculate your long-range self-interest. Bearing some minor inconveniences from time to time is usually worth the trade off. When it begins to affect your site to the point you're losing visitors, it's time to make a change.
To get a more objective handle on when that point is reached, reach for some numbers. Maintain, or get from the hosting company, a factual report about availability and current usage. If the server is down so much, or so heavily loaded, that it drives your visitors away, it's time to take action.
There are other less easily quantifiable but equally important factors, as well.
You will at some point need to communicate with one or more persons who help maintain your site. Even if you do all your own server, database and web site maintenance, someone behind the scenes is helping to keep things running smoothly. That's called 'infrastructure'. If the road you drive on has potholes, it's not enough that you can fix your own car.
In terms of network bandwidth and availability, server capacity, disk space, security and a whole array of other aspects, the web hosting company has to have competent people who care (and are allowed) to do the job well. When the company's people fall down - because of incompetence, lack of resources or absence of a culture of excellence - or for any other reason - your web site suffers. This issue more than any other is what drives people to seek another web hosting company.
Even if you choose well at the outset, things can change. Management changes, staff changes and companies are taken over by other companies. Sometimes, it isn't simply a matter of swapping out an unreliable piece of hardware or software. When it's time to swap out people, you look for the same aspect: doing the job required.
Preparing Questions to Ask in your Upcoming Job Interview When you get ready for a job interview, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to guess the questions you will be asked and prepare your answers to them. How will you explain that gap in your work history? What will you say when they ask you why you left your last job? In the rush to make sure that you have all of your answers perfectly prepared and ready, don?t forget to prepare a few questions of your own to ask the person who is interviewing you. Asking questions is an important part of your interview. When you get asked the old ?do you have any questions for us? one, it pays to actually be able to come back with a few questions instead of a, ?no, I don?t think so.? Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the interview and have done some thinking about the position, plus, the questions you ask will help you elicit valuable information you need when you have to decide whether or not to actually take the job, should it be offered to you. The first thing you should want to find out is why the job is open in the first place. Is the job you are applying for a new position? That means you can expect to have a lot of transitional bumps along the way as you are integrated into the company. If the job is not new, and the person before you was fired, then you can expect things to be in a state of disarray when you take over and that you will have to spend a lot of time up front cleaning up spilled milk. If the job is open because the person who had it before you moved up in the company, then you will know that this is a job with a lot of future potential. Next, find out a little bit about the person who will actually be your boss if you get the job. Sometimes, this person will be involved in the interview, but often they will not. Finding out how high up in the company chain you will be reporting will help you gauge how important the position for which you are applying is to the company. Also, it helps to know a little bit about the personality type of the boss to be. If you like to keep your head down and do your work, and your potential new boss is one of those ?wacky? types, then you may want to look elsewhere. From there, ask about the kinds of responsibilities you will need to take on board right out of the gate. When companies are hiring for a new position, they usually have a few ideas about what that person will need to start working on right away. Getting a clue about your first project will help you decide if this job is right for you. This is also a good time to ask the interviewer about their job and why they like working the company. You may find out that this really could be your dream job, or you may end up sensing from your interviewer that you should run away, fast. Last but not least, ask your interview when you should follow-up on your interview. Don?t open the door for a ?don?t call us, we?ll call you? kind of interview closing. Let the interviewer know to their face that will be making the effort to contact them again. You may get the vibe from your interviewer that the job probably will be going to someone else, so you can move on quickly, or you may end up being offered the job on the spot. Either way, you will have opened the lines of communication to take the next step.
Web Hosting - Databases, What Are They and Do You Need One? 'Database' is one of the most commonly used terms that one encounters in web site design. Yet, what they really are and whether they're essential is often not clear to novices. A database is a collection of organized data, stored in files that have a specific structure. It's that organization and structure that allows for easy and rapid storage and retrieval. The need for a database generally only arises when you have a certain amount of information and that information needs to have some structure. If you have a half-dozen names and addresses to store, a database is usually overkill. If you have a blob of data with no relationships between any of the items in that blob, maintaining a database is usually more trouble than it's worth. Maintain a database? Yes, like other complex systems a database, to be effective, needs to be designed properly at the outset then kept 'tuned' for good performance. The alternative is to gradually allow the database to become more and more disorganized. That leads to difficulty in use, poor speed of retrieval and more frequent failures. With MySQL, Access or MS SQL Server, the three most common choices of database product for web sites today, setting up a database is relatively simple. Even those with limited technical skill can get one up and running just by following some simple instructions. But some thought should be given to how you want the information organized, and to maintaining the system during its lifetime. Suppose you have a set of names, addresses, email addresses, products purchased, date purchased and amount. If you have only a few dozen records it matters very little how these pieces are arranged and related. A database usually isn't even warranted in this scenario. Once you have several thousand or more records, it matters a lot. Speed, the ease of expanding the set of attributes (like adding, say, product category), and other issues come into play. Even those with little technical expertise, but a willingness to exert logical thought and invest some time, can build a very robust database. Think about how you would organize a set of data (called 'tables'). Should Name, Address, and Product be in the same table? Or should the personal information be stored in one table and any product information (product, price, ...) in another? Some experimentation may be needed to get it right, but the choices have an impact on how easy the tables are to maintain. It also affects the speed with which programs can fetch old data and store the new. Having a database also introduces new maintenance issues for the server administrator, since backups usually need to be done differently. Recovering a failed database is usually more complicated than simply re-copying files from yesterday. Ask your hosting company what tools and skills they have for dealing with any database system you consider. It's true that introducing a database creates more complexity and the need for additional thought and administrative effort. At a certain level, professional expertise will be needed. But clearly the advantages outweigh the costs in many cases. Companies large and small eventually use databases to store and organize data. At some point, you may be fortunate enough to be one of them.
Working on Your Own Time: It?s What Freelancing is About (freelance jobs) Do you have a busy life? Do you wish that you could schedule your work around the rest of your priorities? You work to make money so that you can live. You have no choice but to pay for housing and food and other life necessities. Because you need the money, work tends to creep up to the top of the priority list. Other things are more important though. Freelance jobs allow you to put work where it belongs on the list of priorities. You can play with your kids when they?re home, enjoy doing the things you enjoy outdoors while it?s daytime and spend your Sunday mornings at church instead of behind a counter. The work still needs to get done, but you can do it when you have time instead of from nine to five, Monday through Friday or worse, whenever you?re put on the schedule. Kinds of Freelance Jobs Do you have the appropriate skills and abilities to work at freelance jobs? There are many, many different kinds available. Those with professional degrees can consult. While the jobs that result from extensive education generally lead to many hours working for a good salary, your education can lead you in another direction. If you can manage to find the clients, you can work by appointment only, guiding those who do not have the experience or education that you have. If you are not a professional, you may still have the appropriate talents that will get you into freelance jobs. Writing is a very popular freelance opportunity. You live in a world that relies on the written word. You do not go through a single day without reading a considerable amount of text. Someone needs to do all of that writing, and much of it is hired out to freelancers. Actually, any skill that you possess may be suited to freelance work. Check out a few job boards and find out who?s hiring. Tips of the Trade Freelance jobs are out there, but so is the competition. To get yourself to the top of the hiring list, there are a few things you can do. First, use any experience you have to your advantage. Even if a previous job was short term or didn?t seem significant to you, you gained experience there. Let the employers know about everything you can do. Another thing you must do as a freelancer is to be very consistent and organized. An employer will be much more likely to rehire you if you turn out a good product. Everything you turn in should be clear and professional. Always meet deadlines. While most of the freelance jobs are extremely flexible, allowing you to work at your convenience, there are still deadlines. The work needs to be finished when the employer asks for it. Most of the qualities that will get you more freelance jobs only require common sense and a good work ethic. Living on Sparse Paychecks One downside of freelance jobs is that they are not necessarily consistent. Especially if you jump from one job to another, working for different companies, you will not have any guarantee about how much you will get paid each month. The flexibility may or may not be worth the uncertainty of freelancing to you. If you can manage to save effectively, the distance between paychecks won?t matter. If you do get frustrated about always wondering where the next paycheck is coming from, just remind yourself that the trade off is getting to enjoy more precious time not tied to a desk. There are definitely pros and cons when it comes to freelancing. You just need to decide how important it is to you to prioritize your life around what really matters to you.