html – Web hosting, Domain names, Dedicated servers Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:05:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 html – 32 32 Preparing Images for the Web Wed, 07 Jul 2010 15:24:15 +0000
Nothing is worse for an Internet user than to get to a website and have to wait a long for it to load, especially if that long load time is the result of one seemingly tiny image at the bottom of the page. Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure your website images are actually ready for the web:

1. Use compression, either of the JPEG or PNG variety. PNGs will need to be crushed in order to not be huge file sizes. Your front page should not be filled with images over 10kb (aside from maybe the banner). If you have a blog, try to keep images under 50kb. You can have users click on thumbnails to see larger versions.

2. Use appropriate sizes. If your HTML declares an image to be 250×150, the image should actually be that size. If you resize a larger image, the visitor’s browser will still have to load the full sized image, which takes longer to load.

3. Use the appropriate alt tags. In order to be standards-compliant, all images on any page should be properly described in alt tags so that visually impaired visitors will know what they are.

4. For large packs of images, use a gallery. If you are going to be displaying images in bunches, use some type of gallery or light box (modal windows). People who see the initial page will still get fast load times, and if they want to see the images up close, they can choose to wait longer.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Permissions for Common File Types Wed, 16 Jun 2010 14:23:08 +0000 File permissions for test user
In a previous post, I explained how to use chmod to change file permissions and also provided some security tips to ensure your file permissions are not more permissive than they need to be. Looking back on those posts, I think it would be useful to list some common file types and the maximum permissions that those files should have. The maximum means that there is no legitimate reason for those files to be any more permissive.

(r = read, w = write, x = execute) (Owner, Group, Other)

1. Executables – CGI files – Perl scripts, for example, often need to be executable. 755 (rwx r-x r-x)
2. Regular HTML and PHP files – These only need to be read by the outside world. 644 (rw- r– r–)
3. Private files – Sometimes text data files are stored on the server but do not need to be seen. 600 (rw- — —)
4. World writable – use these only if absolutely required by the application. 666 (rw- rw- rw-)
5. Full permissions – almost never necessary and could cause security problems. 777 (rwx rwx rwx)

There are other combinations, but these are the common permissions for files on most Linux servers. Only change file permissions if necessary. Otherwise, keep them as conservative as possible. This will ensure the security of your website(s) and server.

Please stop building these websites Wed, 12 May 2010 18:49:56 +0000 laptopWeb comic guru The Oatmeal has published a hilarious piece entitled, “8 Websites You Need to Stop Building.” The list parodies all the hype behind social networking sites, Digg alternatives, and the like. My favorite inclusions:

5. Social media websites
Too many people claim to be “social media experts” and it’s amazing how many companies are recruiting employees with “social media experience.” Sorry guys, I really don’t want to become a fan of my orthodontist on Facebook and half the crap on Digg is self-promoted content no one ever reads. Just focus on creating useful content marketed appropriately and you will get the visitors you deserve.

8. Websites with Flash Intros
Soon to be replaced by some other standard I’m sure.

2. Websites whose sole is to share things
I’m especially annoyed by sites that think I want to email every page to a friend.

Why Browser Detection Fails Tue, 11 May 2010 16:02:52 +0000 Yahoo's BETA browser detection
No matter what browser you use, there is a good chance you have come to a website that would not load. I am not referring to the sites that function incorrectly in a browser. I mean those websites that purposely deny your browser access because it is not the “right” browser. They usually come with cute messages telling you why you are not special enough to view their site.

Why am I ranting about this? The reason is simple. I do not want any of you who have websites or design sites for others to make the same mistake. Most HTML, CSS, and Javascript will function in any modern browser. If it does not for a particular user, they would be better off seeing what does not work and have a chance to fix it. Rather than making a site that may not work in some browsers, take the extra time to test your site, make it standards compliant, and ensure that it works in most browsers.

Browser detection fails because it usually relies on user agent data, which cannot be reliable. For example, a browser may be based on gecko (i.e. Firefox compatible) but may display a different name. The same may be true for any number of browsers, particularly those on mobile devices. You do not want to deny potential customers simply because their browser does not have a common name.

Photo Source: Flickr

Advantages of Server-Side Scripting Mon, 10 May 2010 19:32:40 +0000 Source code in Perl
Server-side scripting means that a script that is executed on a website will be processed by the server and then displayed as regular HTML in the user’s browser. The alternative to it, client-side scripting relies on the user’s own browser, often including plugins, to execute the designated scripts. Both are common, but there are some decisive advantages to taking care of scripting on the server side.

When a website relies on the client’s browser or plugins to execute the script, the assumption is that the necessary plugins or features are actually installed and enabled. If the user does not have the necessary requirements or chooses not to use them, those features on the site will be unavailable. Examples of client-side scripting include Java and Adobe Flash.

With server-side scripting, everything happens internally before the user ever sees the site. By the time the user gets to the page, it is already displayed correctly, and it will be the same content for every user. They do not have to download any extra tools or plugins. Examples of server-side scripting include PHP, Perl, and ASP.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Binary vs ASCII FTP Upload Thu, 15 Apr 2010 17:20:05 +0000 Binary pillow
Many recent FTP program automatically detect your file type and upload them correctly without any problems; however, if your FTP software does not do this or if your file is unique and cannot be detected correctly, you will need to set either an ASCII or Binary upload method.

A binary file is a file that contains data, but that data is encoded in some type of binary form. This means that if you open up the file, you will not understand most of the contents, although some text metadata may be included. A computer, on the other hand, can read the file just fine. Examples include images, videos, and compiled software.

ASCII files are just the opposite. These files are human readable, even if they contain software code. They are in plain text format. Examples include html, txt, and php files. Your FTP program will have a selector that lets you choose which type of file it is or select automatic to have the program attempt to automatically determine the right type of uploading required.

Photo Source: Flickr

Enterprise content management with eZ Publish Fri, 19 Feb 2010 22:06:04 +0000 OpenOffice import in eZ publish
At one time, managing a website meant manually updating dozens of HTML pages or using some type of local site management software like Netscape Composer, Microsoft Frontpage, or Adobe Dreamweaver. There are now a plethora of content systems available that include web-based backends. Pages are now actually dynamic representations of database content, and the market is thick with options.

When speaking of enterprise-quality CMS options, a few names come to mind immediately: Joomla, Drupal, and eZ Publish. Voted by many as the number one CMS, eZ Publish is known for its ease of use (as the name implies) and its scalability for small, medium, and major enterprise sites.

Some of the major websites now using eZ Publish include: Vogue, Elle, National Geographic, Virgin, and Marie Claire. It includes features such as multiple file uploading, the ability to publish from Microsoft Word, multimedia publishing, and multiple user and site management tools. Best of all, like Joomla and Drupal, eZ Publish is free and open source software released under the GNU General Public License.

Source: eZ

Create an XML sitemap for your website Tue, 26 Jan 2010 18:42:03 +0000 Wikipedia sitemap
A site map is a single document that links to all other documents within a website. Essentially, it provides an overview of all of the site’s content. Over the years, as website sizes have increased, sitemaps have become instrument in search engine optimization (SEO). Google introduced a tool called Google Sitemaps that allows Web content providers to publish their sitemaps. Other search engines now also support these sitemaps.

The standard format for a sitemap is XML, which lists the data in a format both browsers and other software can interpret. It is also common to provide an HTML version and possibly even a visual representation for human users who actually want to browse the sitemap. Many times it is useful to users if they have trouble finding something on a site or are not even sure what they want to find.

There are many sitemap generators on the market that automate their creation. Some content management systems also have user-created extensions or plugins for sitemap generators. Furthermore, there are some free sitemap generators on the web, such as These typically also include submission instructions so that you can make your sitemap available through Google.

Photo: Wikipedia

Tips for using web templates Fri, 22 Jan 2010 23:40:13 +0000 road
Templates are a great way to give your website a professional look without hiring a professional designer, but can do more harm than good if used improperly. Here are three important tips to keep in mind when using an HTML template:

1. Change the logo.
Chances are good the template designer did not intend for you to use the default logo. The right logo can turn any cookie-cutter template into something that looks original. If you don’t know how to design a logo yourself, learn how on a site like or hire a designer. This can often be done for as little as $20.

2. Choose the right colour scheme.
If you have a garden website, don’t use a black and grey theme. The colors of the template should match your topic. Also avoid being too generic– explore the full range of colours available to you! Too many webmasters caution themselves with dull blues and lackluster greens.

3. Don’t always follow the pack
Many people are inclined to download the most popular template files. While this makes finding the best themes easy, if you use something that 50,000 other webmasters have already downloaded, chances are good your site won’t look original. Search around a bit and find something that isn’t quite as well known. And finally, check out competitor sites in your niche to make sure they aren’t already using your template. Even if you didn’t copy the site, unknowing visitors will be inclined to think you did.

Photo | clix

How to embed your playlist into your website Tue, 05 Jan 2010 15:30:09 +0000 Mp3 playlist in a player
Yesterday, we learned how to create m3u playlists to stream your mp3 files over your server ondemand. Anytime users open the playlists, the mp3 files will be played for them. But what if you want to skip this step and have the media play directly from the website? It will require your users to have some time of player plugin, and most will. It is a good idea to still provide a download option with a direct link to the m3u file.

To setup an embedded player, type a code snippet such as this into your html file:

<embed name="music_playlist"

Replace “music-playlist.m3u” with the name of your playlist. Save the file and then try it out in your browser. Users should now be able to stream mp3 files directly from your website without downloading anything. Since this method still requires a player plugin, you might also consider a Flash player alternative. In the future, HTML 5 audio will also be an option.

Photo: Flickr