Is Your Web Site Held Hostage By Service Providers?

Written by Shaun Fawcett

Do you use third-party services to trackrepparttar links on your Web site? What about for processing your online credit card payments? If so, you are probably losing sales that you don't even know about. Sorry, but it's a fact.

Third-Party Services Defined.

Let me explain what I mean by "third-party" services. These arerepparttar 134418 "link tracking" type of services that one can purchase from various online companies. People userepparttar 134419 special html link codes that these services provide to keep track of how visitors move around their Web sites. In return for a monthly fee,repparttar 134420 user gets online access to a Web site that stores their link tracking information on a database, and gives them access to tracking statistics. This allows users to quickly and easily find out such things as which links visitors to their Web sites click on, and how often.

But, it's not just link tracking services I'm talking about here. Payment processing gateways is another type of third- party service that many of us are dependent upon.

These third-party services are great in theory, and when they're working well they're also great in practice. BUT there can be a definite downside to them. That downside is this. If that service company's servers or and/or network go down for any reason, you go down with them!

A Case In Point.

After a few bad experiences overrepparttar 134421 past year, I have made it a habit to check all of my Web sites every morning. I quickly open each ofrepparttar 134422 home pages and click on a few key links and make sure they are working as they're supposed to. Of course, I don't haverepparttar 134423 time to check each and every link, but I do testrepparttar 134424 key ones I know my visitors tend to click on most often on their way to making a purchase. And, I definitely checkrepparttar 134425 main "order" links on each page.

If I find that these links are not working for some reason, as I have on numerous occasions, it is aboutrepparttar 134426 worst thing that could happen. In fact, it could ruin one's whole day, because it means lost sales! Last week while doing one of these routine checks I discovered that a number of links were not working on one of my sites. I did some further checking and realized that these links had not been working for more than 12 hours! What this meant was that visitors to my site had been/were clicking on these links and getting a blank page full of gibberish that indicated that my service provider's data base was corrupted. In effect, this problem was crippling my site.

You know what that meant to me of course - lost visitors AND lost sales!

Long story, short. It took more than 24 hours from my initial call untilrepparttar 134427 problem was fully resolved. This was during a prime sales period inrepparttar 134428 middle ofrepparttar 134429 week. Consequently, I estimate that duringrepparttar 134430 36-hour period that my site was intermittently "out-of-action" due to this problem, I lost somewhere between 6 and 8 sales. Ouch! I can't afford that. Can you?

Here are a couple of other quick examples of similar occurrences that some of you might be able to identify with.

Lost Weekend. Lost Sales.

One Friday night a few months ago I discovered thatrepparttar 134431 links on two of my sites were not functioning properly. These links were being tracked by one ofrepparttar 134432 "big name" services that is widely marketed acrossrepparttar 134433 Net. Believe it or not, I spent that whole weekend checking my links regularly and then trying to get in touch with this so-called "service" provider (I userepparttar 134434 term "service" advisedly here).

What is web hosting?

Written by Michael Guilfoyle

What is web hosting? If you want to take part inrepparttar internet as a business, information resource, directory, or as a hobbyist wanting to share data, information and knowledge withrepparttar 134417 many people and communities onrepparttar 134418 internet, you have to contain this in a central spot onrepparttar 134419 internet. You have to own a piece of space in cyberspace. Web hosting empowers you and anyone with a computer and internet connection to own a piece of cyberspace. In your space, you can have news, bulletins, documents, data, files (your web site) and your own post office (mail server) to accept mail, all inrepparttar 134420 context of you or your business. This is your space and to get this space you either have to own a piece ofrepparttar 134421 physical internet with a network connection torepparttar 134422 internet backbone and computer(s) operating as server(s) offering access to your files and post office, for people onrepparttar 134423 internet to view your web site or send and receive email with you. The cost of owning a direct connection torepparttar 134424 backbone and a server dedicated to a web site and email is out of reach forrepparttar 134425 average business and especially general members ofrepparttar 134426 internet. Even running a web site and mail server on your own computer when it is connected torepparttar 134427 internet requires a lot of technical ability and knowledge. The internet itself has to be your business for either of these options to be viable. In our modern society, for every person in business or with a career in most industries today, it is imperative to have a place in cyberspace, not just to be competitive but to survive. Web hosting companies were born out of this great need to provide an environment forrepparttar 134428 masses to own a piece of cyberspace, to offer an environment where people could have their piece of cyberspace onrepparttar 134429 internet 24/7 withoutrepparttar 134430 great cost. Web hosting companies developed a model where they could split up areas onrepparttar 134431 servers connected torepparttar 134432 backbone and ‘rent' this space, cuttingrepparttar 134433 costs across many people sharingrepparttar 134434 server and backbone connection torepparttar 134435 internet. In a web-hosting environment, you are offered a web site to place your files, data, documents, and bulletins for people to access with their web browser and an email server for you to send and receive email messages. The web host will also provide you a means to get an address for people to get to your web site with a web browser and post email to you. To obtain space in a web hosting environment you become a member and agree to terms and conditions of rentingrepparttar 134436 space - just as if you were to rent a house or commercial premises for your business. Once you agree and become a member, you are given an access code, a key, to your piece of cyberspace. This key, inrepparttar 134437 form of a login and password, allows you to connect torepparttar 134438 web hosting server and up-load (transfer to) your web site so it can be accessed onrepparttar 134439 internet. Your login and password is also used to connect to a mail server to create and administer mailboxes to send and receive email for you, your staff, or family members. Just like when you rent a house or commercial premises for your business, you have so many rooms, bathrooms, and floor space to use. In a web-hosting environment, your area is defined as disk space and network transfer. Disk space is measured in Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Megabyte roughly means 1,024,000 characters and Gigabyte roughly means 1,024 Million characters. Imagine a character as one key on your key board. These amounts determine how many files, documents, or data you can have on your web site. Network Transfer is also measured in Megabytes or gigabytes which determines how much data (how many of your files, documents or data) can be downloaded (transferred to) people accessing your web site. The more people, orrepparttar 134440 more data each person accesses on your web siterepparttar 134441 more data is transferred onrepparttar 134442 network. The more disk space and network transfer you userepparttar 134443 greater percentage ofrepparttar 134444 web-hosting environment you are using - thereforerepparttar 134445 higherrepparttar 134446 rent. Just as no office building and home isrepparttar 134447 same, neither is every web-hosting environment. Some offices have stairs, others have lifts, some houses have ensuites, swimming pools, and gardens, - and others do not. Web-hosting environments are muchrepparttar 134448 same, some offer bare structures to do justrepparttar 134449 basics and others offer an array of features and facilities to help you do just about everything you could ever need or want. Some ofrepparttar 134450 features and facilities likely to be offered are ranges of software to use, components, databases, and server side script processing. The similarity of renting an office or home to renting space in a web-hosting environment is even more similar. With some buildings a gardener and/or a guard is available to look afterrepparttar 134451 gardening or provide security. In a web-hosting environment, you have support people to help you do what you need to do on your web site to make it grow and there are server administrators to protect and secure your web-hosting space. When you rent a building there are key parts needed to work or live inrepparttar 134452 space, like rooms, offices, kitchens, toilets, and bathrooms. In your web-hosting environment, you will find equally important components that are required to makerepparttar 134453 space workable. The core components in a web-hosting environment are: Web Server The web server is a relatively simple piece of software that accepts requests over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and delivers HTML pages and Image files. FTP Server FTP isrepparttar 134454 means of which a web master can transfer files to and fromrepparttar 134455 server. To put your HTML and image files on a server you will generally use FTP to upload (transfer to) your files torepparttar 134456 server runningrepparttar 134457 web server.

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