website – Web hosting, Domain names, Dedicated servers Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:05:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 website – 32 32 4 Ways to Minimize Download Bandwidth Tue, 20 Jul 2010 18:06:47 +0000 Black and white download emblemIf your website is dishing out a lot of files, you may find your bandwidth diminishing significantly. Particularly large file can add up pretty quickly when hundreds or even thousands of people download them. Here are some ways to reduce your network load.

1. File compression – This seems basic enough, but you can save tremendous amount of disk space, and in turn download bandwidth, simply by compressing your files. Try archive and compression like tar.bz2, tar.gz, or .rar.

2. P2P File Sharing – Peer-to-Peer file sharing is a great way to reduce load. Instead of every user downloading the file from you, all users share in the distribution of the file. BitTorrent has become particularly popular for use with large downloads.

3. File Hosting – There are many file-sharing sites that will allow you to host your files remotely and then share them with users. Many of these, however, limit download speeds for users who are not themselves subscribers.

4. Cloud Storage – If you know you are going to be send a large amount of data each month, you may consider using a cloud storage service, like Amazon S3. These are normally very inexpensive and will save you money over time.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

How to Use Email Forwarding Tue, 20 Jul 2010 19:03:03 +0000

For example, you can forward all messages sent to billing@yourdomain, sales, and marketing all to the same address: tom@yourdomain. That way, Tom will handle those email messages accordingly without having to check each of those accounts separately.

Most web-based control panels have support for mail forwarding built into them. If, for some reason, you do not have that option, you can create forwards manually. To forward email from one address to another, use email aliases. To create aliases, edit the /etc/aliases file and add lines like the following:

billing: tom

That will forward all mail sent to “billing” to “tom”. Once you have created your alises, save the aliases file and run: “newaliases” from the command line.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

What is Microsoft Silverlight? Mon, 28 Jun 2010 16:24:07 +0000 Silverlight screenshot

Microsoft describes Silverlight as:

“…a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET-based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to Web browsers running on Mac OS X and Windows.”

To put it in layman’s terms, Silverlight is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash. As a direct competitor to Flash, Microsoft had big plans for Silverlight from the beginning. It can play animations, multimedia, videos, and be used for application development.

As a website owner or system administrator, you should be aware of Silverlight, but you may not have a good reason to use it at this time. First of all, while Microsoft says it is cross-platform, it is not available for Linux, BSD, and some mobile operating systems. There is a free version of it, called Moonlight, created by Novell, but it has always been a full version behind Microsoft’s and does not support the DRM video components that allow for features like Netflix “Watch Now” playback.

The second problem with Silverlight is that it simply does not have very widespread adoption. If you put Silverlight elements on your website, visitors will need to download the plugin (if it is even available on their operating system). This is bad enough with Adobe Flash, which some users block, but they may choose to not even bother to view your site if they have to download another plugin. While Silverlight may have some features that Flash does not, it is essentially just trading one closed format for another. You would better serve your community of users by adopting standards-based multimedia tools (such as html5 video).

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Google Boosts Its Servers with Caffeine Fri, 11 Jun 2010 15:10:43 +0000 Artistic rendering of Google's logo
Although I am sure plenty of Google employees dope up on gallons of coffee per day, this is not about that kind of caffeine. Google announced on their blog that they are changing the way their servers index sites. As with anything related to Google searching, this is particularly relevant to webmasters who want their websites in the top of Google search results.

Without delving too deeply into the new technology, it is sufficient to note that Google’s indexing just got faster…a lot faster. They are currently refreshing their indexes 50 percent faster than their previous search index technology. The new tech is called Caffeine, and it has a more organic approach to indexing. While the old technology re-indexed the entire web in layers, Caffeine will index small portions more frequently.

I put the new system to the test, just to see how fast it actually was. Yesterday, I posted a new blog entry on one of my other sites. By the time I had saved it and headed over to Google, the new pages were already indexed. When you get things right on your website, this will be a good thing. When you get things wrong, be mindful that Google may index and even cache that page within minutes. Overall, however, it is a good thing, and website owners trying to get information out fast will appreciate it.

Source: Google
Photo: Flickr

Joomla Security Tips Part 4 Thu, 10 Jun 2010 16:00:07 +0000 Joomla login screen
Here are a few more Joomla security tips to help you make sure your Joomla installation is rock-solid.

1. Create strong passwords. You should change your administration password often and use a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Avoid using dictionary words, and make sure your password is at least eight characters long.

2. Monitor crack attempts. If you have your own VPS or dedicated server, you can run TripWire or SAMHAIN to frequently check for attempts to comprise your server’s security.

3. Create scripts to automate security tasks. With a busy schedule, you may forget to check for new versions of Joomla and any extensions you have installed. Setup scripts to make the process automatic.

4.. Check logs often. Many times, simply looking over access and error logs can reveal thinly-veiled attempts to intrude on your server, particularly if the attacker is trying to do so through a web application like Joomla.

5. Run checks for SQL injection vulnerabilities. There are free tools on the web that will perform these checks for you.

The important thing to remember is to always be diligent. Create a security routine and stick to it. Do not let months go by before you decide to check on your Joomla installation. You may find your site has already been comprimised.

Source: Joomla Security Checklist

Linux Server Command Line FTP Tue, 08 Jun 2010 20:08:56 +0000 FTP iconFor desktop computers, graphical FTP clients allow users to connect to their websites and upload files. Essentially, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the most common method of publishing your web content to your website. Although many users rely heavily on dynamic websites, such as blogs, to update their sites from the web, they still might use FTP to upload static content.

When logged into to a remote server, you still have the option of using FTP to connect to other servers, such as your backup storage device, although you will not have the benefit of a graphical interface. Here are a few basic commands for text-based FTP.

ftp – Starts the FTP program.
open – Connects to a remote server. You can use it in combination with an address (i.e. open
ls – Lists the files in a directory
cd – changes to the specified directory
get – downloads the specified remote file (i.e. get filename)
lcd – changes the current local directory (i.e. lcd /home/user)
send – uploads specified file (i.e. send whois-list)
quit – exits and returns the prompt to the local server

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Smokescreen to Create Flash-free Ads Fri, 04 Jun 2010 15:16:31 +0000 Lyris Ad
When it was officially announced that the iPhone would never have Flash player installed, Apple users moaned. When Steve Jobs denounced Flash and swore that the iPad would also be Flash-free, people began to become concerned. For animation and video, Flash currently reigns supreme on the Web, but it has not been and is still not the only option.

A company called Smokescreen has introduced a new technology (or rather a merging of old and new technology) to produce Flash-like animated ads using software that all platforms support (Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile operating systems). The ads use a combination of Javascript and HTML5 to create ads that are nearly identical to their Flash counterparts.

The Smokescreen website lists multiple demos of their product in action, although some of them still need to work out the kinks. Technology powerhouses like Apple, Google, and Mozilla are pushing for the adoption of HTML5 video, while Adobe hopes to hold onto its claim on web animation and video. One obstacle that HTML5 proponents must overcome is the inability for current HTML5 video to display dynamic ads. Several marketing firms are working quickly to develop solutions. Current YouTube videos using HTML5 do not display ads, and those videos that do use Flash only.

How to Insert HTML5 Video Mon, 31 May 2010 22:32:17 +0000 Big Buck Bunny movie in html5 video
We have been covering the developments of HTML5 in the Web world, but we have not yet explored exactly how to get HTML5 video onto a website. The good news is that embedding HTML5 video is painfully easy. It only requires one basic tag: <video> . To make something a little fancier, website creators can add additional attributes.

HTML5 video will take the following format on your website:

<video src="crazycat.ogg" controls="controls">
We're sorry, your browser does not have HTML5 video support. Please download the video

There are a number of additional options:

autoplay – The video will start playing automatically

controls – Displays player controls

height – specifies height of video

width – specifies width

Once you have the video the way you want it, paste the code into your website, and it will work in any browsers that support HTML5 video. Since some do not, you should provide an alternate method of viewing the video as well.

How to Remove "Welcome" Header from Joomla Fri, 28 May 2010 15:29:40 +0000 Joomla page with welcome message
Joomla is a very powerful free and open source content management system (CMS), and its upcoming release, version 1.6, is expected to continue its tradition of stable and efficient website management. There are, however, certain settings in Joomla that are not so obvious, and a webmaster that has not learned how to fix those little nuances can usually be identified by the appearance of his website.

One such annoyance is the “Welcome to the Frontpage” message that appears in the blog section of the front page of a new Joomla website. Even after adding your own custom content and tweaking your template, you might still find that awful message staring back at you. Fear not! There is a way to remove it, and it does not even involve any magic hacking. Just follow these steps:

1. Login to your Joomla installation as administrator (
2. Click “Menus” and then click the name of the menu you are using.
3. Find the default page, designated with a yellow star in the “Default” column.
4. Click the name of the page.
5. On the right side, click Parameters (System)
6. Next to “Page Title” you will see the dreaded welcome message. You can can change it, delete it, and/or click “No” next to “Show Page Title” to remove that title section completely.
7. Click “Save”, and you are all finished.

Photo Source: Flickr