Is Your Web Site Held Hostage By Service Providers?Written by Shaun Fawcett
Continued from page 1
Well, my links didn't work for that entire weekend. At time, I did some research through my ISP that put me in touch with gateway site for my service provider. When I contacted gateway company by telephone, they advised me that my service provider's servers were dropping all connections and nobody there was responding!
It just so happens that that particular service provider prominently advertises "24/7" support service in all of their marketing copy! Well, I'm sad to report that not once that weekend did anyone at that company ever respond to one of my many e-mails or phone calls. It appears they all took weekend off and crossed their fingers that problems wouldn't occur. Unfortunately for their customers, problems did occur. So, effectively, my two sites were shut down for an entire long weekend because of that problem. There went another 5 to 10 sales!
To add insult to injury, these people never once contacted me following week to apologize for inconvenience and loss of business they might have caused me (as well as to thousands of others, presumably).
Lost Weekdays. Lost Sales.
A couple of months ago, links to my "big name" payment processing company stopped working for an extended period of time. I found out later that they had experienced a major power outage that shut down their entire network. They were out of commission for somewhere between 12 and 20 hours. Apparently, they did not (do not?) have a backup power source in case of such an interruption! Duhhh, this is year 2002 isn't it?
This is a major online payment processor I'm talking about here folks. Shouldn't such back-up be standard for a major payment processor? The implications of this for small online business person were enormous of course: during that period, literally tens of thousands of dollars in sales were lost by thousands of that service provider's customers!
At least three more examples of such shoddy third party service provider incidents that occurred over past year come to mind as a write this. But alas, I'm out of space.
Bottom Line. Don't Accept It.
If you use third party services for anything like link tracking or payment processing, don't assume that things are always running along smoothly on "automatic pilot" as some of Internet gurus would lead you to believe.
Be constantly vigilant, and when you discover a problem, sound alarm right away, and don't let your "service" provider off hook until problem is fixed.
If you get any kind of "run-around" at all, head for major message boards and discussion forums. That should get them to take you a bit more seriously in a hurry.
Finally, whatever you do, DO NOT accept type of third party service breakdowns that I describe above. They wouldn't be acceptable in offline business, so why should we accept them online?
Shaun Fawcett is Webmaster of writinghelp-central.com and author of the eBooks "Instant Home Writing Kit" and "Instant Recommendation Letter Kit". His popular FREE e-mail course "Tips and Tricks For Writing Success" offers tips on all types of home and business writing. Sign-up for FREE at: http://www.instanthomewritingkit.com/free-course2.html
What is web hosting? Written by Michael Guilfoyle
Continued from page 1
Mail Server The mail server consists of two parts POP (Post Office Protocol) and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). POP is where email is received into your mailbox and SMTP is what is used to send and receive email between mail servers. Database Server If you are using server side scripting on your web server (you use something like Microsoft Internet Information Server) then instead of providing ‘static' data only on web pages you can provide data from a database allowing your users to search and view data in different and dynamic way. Also, a Database server is used to gather data from visitors to your site; orders, feedback, discussions and like. Each one of above components are software programs running on servers in web-hosting environment. You can interact with each of these with special software programs you use on your computer. The main ones being: Web Browser When viewing web you use a web browser like Internet Explorer. Many web hosting companies provide a ‘Control Panel' to administer your web host account, which you use with your web browser. Most allow you to configure most aspects of your account using a simple web browser. Web site/page editor Today many web servers allow editing of WebPages over HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) based on Microsoft FrontPage technology. These special editors allow you to essentially look at your web site as if you were using a web browser and edit pages directly as you see them using WYSWIG (What you see if what you get) technology. Most web hosting environments support this, and if you are starting out, make sure it is available. One tip: make sure web host providing this really does understand this technology - it is main area of which many hacks and security intrusions occur. FTP Client This is a very simple piece of software that allows you to view server folders and files in your web host account as if they were files and folders on your own computer. You can then drag and drop files between you computer and your web host account. Email Client If you are on internet you would already be using an email client to send and receive your email. The most common are Outlook Express, Eudora and Web based mail clients like Hotmail. Database Administration Client The most common databases used with web servers are Microsoft SQL Server (available only on Windows) and MySQL (commonly found on Linux and UNIX but also available on Windows). SQL Server comes with it's own administration client where you can view your databases, edit them, backup data and do all administration functions you need. MySQL has an active online community where there is a range of administration clients available. Choosing a web host is, again, similar to choosing a house to live in or commercial premises to do business. You need to define what it is you require: how much space you need and what features and facilities you need. If you have been reading this article because this is new to you, then it is likely at this stage you only need minimal space and basic facilities. Once you have worked with basic facilities you will learn more and become aware of greater facilities and features and then you can simple move from one web -hosting environment to another - paying more or paying less. Moving in cyberspace is much easier, faster, and more seamless than physically moving house or commercial premises. Initially you may use web-hosting environment offered by your ISP (internet Service provider), company you use to connect to internet. But remember these companies main business is connecting many thousands of people to internet - not managing web hosting environments. You will generally find they offer less than basic facilities and minimal space. If you are just starting out with your first web site first major choice you will be faced with is "Unix" or "Windows". For a person just starting out on internet, both are equally capable and will offer facilities you need to have your place in cyberspace. If you have a web designer or technical person to help you, you only need to consider how much space you really need. With this simple idea in mind, when you are just starting out, owning your piece of cyberspace will not cost anymore than $8 per month. Many web-hosting companies will offer what you need for as little as $3 per month (usually paid yearly). If you are going alone and doing it all yourself you may want to consider an account with a web hosting company that offers and prides itself on it's support and customer service, 24/7 support access and experience, knowledge and skill of it's server administrators. Remember, these are gardeners and guards who take care of your environment. Web hosting is very simple and straightforward an once you obtain your space in cyberspace you will never want to let it go and you can easily move it where you want as a turtle carries it's shell on it's back. Always remember you are not stuck in first web-hoisting environment you choose. Web hosting is your space in cyberspace and it is imperative to have a place in cyberspace in our modern society, just as it is to have an office to do business. Michael Guilfoyle http://www.m6.net/ - 4 web sites, one account, $20 per month - 500MB, 3GB, Unlimited POP, ASP.net, ASP, Unlimited Access DB's - $8 p/mth - Bandwidth from $1.61 per GB, unlimited POP, ASP.Net, Easy upgrade Downgrade
Michael Guilfoyle http://www.m6.net/ - 4 web sites, one account, $20 per month - 500MB, 3GB, Unlimited POP, ASP.net, ASP, Unlimited Access DB's - $8 p/mth - Bandwidth from $1.61 per GB, unlimited POP, ASP.Net, Easy upgrade Downgrade