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Web Hosting - Why Backups Are Essential One thing most web site owners have little time for is... anything! Anything other than focusing on their site content and the business or service it supports and the information it provides, that is. That means that administration often suffers, as it frequently must. There's only so much time in the day. But the one thing that you should never let slide are backups. They are like insurance. You rarely need it (you hope), but when you do you need it very badly. Performing regular backups - and testing them - doesn't have to be a nightmare. A little bit of forethought and effort and they can be automated to a high degree. And, they should be tested from time to time. Even when a backup appears to have gone without a hitch, the only way to know whether it's of any value is to attempt to restore the information. If it can't be restored, the backup is worthless. Even when the web hosting company provides the service, there is still some planning involved for the site owner. Hosting companies often rely on one or both of two methods. They backup everything (called a full backup), then backup anything which has changed since the last full backup (called an incremental backup). Of special interest are any configuration files that have been tailored. If you've modified the default installation of a software package, you want to be able to recapture or reproduce those changes without starting from scratch. Network configuration files, modifications to basic HTML files, CSS style sheets and others fall into the same category. If you have XML files, databases, spreadsheets or other files that carry product or subscriber information - about items purchased, for example, or people who signed up for a newsletter - those should get special attention, too. That's the lifeblood of your business or service. Lose them and you must start over. That can break your site permanently. It should go without saying that all HTML and related web site files that comprise visible pages should be backed up regularly. It isn't necessary to record every trivial change, but you can tailor backup software to exclude files or folders. Usually they're so small it isn't worth the trouble. But in some cases those small changes can add up in scenarios where there are many thousands of them. Here again, the backups are worthless if they can't be used. Even if the hosting company charges for doing so, it's worthwhile to test once or twice a year at least to ensure the data can be restored. That's especially true of database backups, which often involve special software and routines. Database files have a special structure and the information is related in certain ways that require backups be done differently. Developing a backup strategy can be straightforward. Start simply and review your plan from time to time, modifying it as your site changes and grows. But don't neglect the subject entirely. The day will come when a hard drive fails, or you get hacked or attacked by a virus, or you accidentally delete something important. When that day comes, the few minutes or hours you spent developing and executing a backup plan will have saved you days or weeks of effort.

Networking Know-How: How to Get Through to the Busiest of People When you are job hunting, sometimes the most frustrating part is just getting your foot through the door to let the right people know that you are out there and available for work. Companies can be like members-only clubs; they tend to be a little distrustful of cold callers and most executives advise their assistants to run interference for them on the phone so they do not get stuck having a protracted conversation with someone they just aren?t interested in doing business with. The thing is that to get an interview, these people can be the very same people you need to talk to. How do you get these busy people to clear some time off in their busy schedule to speak to you? First things first ? you have to get the right attitude. If you want busy people to make time to talk to you, you have to present yourself in a way that makes them feel like you are worth the time investment. The trick here is that you have to do this by phone, and often, you have to first convince an operator or personal assistant that your call is one worth putting through to the boss. Your phone etiquette and vocal confidence will be the key here. Consider you basic phone manners first. Instead of launching right into what you want, respond to the greeting of the person who answers the phone with a hello of your own. Animate your voice and always remember that simply saying ?please? and ?thank you? can go a long way. Be the kind of caller that you would want to talk to if your job was answering the phone all day. People will respond to your positive attitude with a positive attitude of their own. Next, consider your confidence level on the phone. Do you tend to get tongue-tied and stumble over your words? That kind of delivery from you will set all the warning bells ringing on the other end of the phone, and you will find the person with whom you wish to speak always ?out of the office.? Instead, work on sounding like you are confident that it is a forgone conclusion that you will get to speak that busy person you want to talk to. Be confident that what you have to say is something that is worth hearing. It may help to write out a framework of what you will say and practice a few times so you sound relaxed and composed when you make that call. Once your attitude is right to make the call, you can then employ a few tricks of the trade for getting through to those busy people. Instead of giving away too much up front, start your call by asking if the person with whom you need to speak is in. If the answer is yes, then you can remove on potential ?excuse? for not putting your call through. If your call can?t be taken at that time, skip the message. Let the PA or operator know that you will call back again. That way you have a legitimate reason to keep calling. Of course, you might have to keep calling and calling, and that assistant might start knowing the sound of your voice. If you keep speaking to the same person, it?s time to open up with some person details. Let them know your name, why you?re calling, and if someone referred you, who that person is. Developing that personal relationship can help you get your call through to the boss. Last but not least, don?t give up. Busy people are, well, busy, and not necessarily avoiding your call. Persistence pays off, so keep on calling until you get through.

Networking Know-How: How to Get Through to the Busiest of People When you are job hunting, sometimes the most frustrating part is just getting your foot through the door to let the right people know that you are out there and available for work. Companies can be like members-only clubs; they tend to be a little distrustful of cold callers and most executives advise their assistants to run interference for them on the phone so they do not get stuck having a protracted conversation with someone they just aren?t interested in doing business with. The thing is that to get an interview, these people can be the very same people you need to talk to. How do you get these busy people to clear some time off in their busy schedule to speak to you? First things first ? you have to get the right attitude. If you want busy people to make time to talk to you, you have to present yourself in a way that makes them feel like you are worth the time investment. The trick here is that you have to do this by phone, and often, you have to first convince an operator or personal assistant that your call is one worth putting through to the boss. Your phone etiquette and vocal confidence will be the key here. Consider you basic phone manners first. Instead of launching right into what you want, respond to the greeting of the person who answers the phone with a hello of your own. Animate your voice and always remember that simply saying ?please? and ?thank you? can go a long way. Be the kind of caller that you would want to talk to if your job was answering the phone all day. People will respond to your positive attitude with a positive attitude of their own. Next, consider your confidence level on the phone. Do you tend to get tongue-tied and stumble over your words? That kind of delivery from you will set all the warning bells ringing on the other end of the phone, and you will find the person with whom you wish to speak always ?out of the office.? Instead, work on sounding like you are confident that it is a forgone conclusion that you will get to speak that busy person you want to talk to. Be confident that what you have to say is something that is worth hearing. It may help to write out a framework of what you will say and practice a few times so you sound relaxed and composed when you make that call. Once your attitude is right to make the call, you can then employ a few tricks of the trade for getting through to those busy people. Instead of giving away too much up front, start your call by asking if the person with whom you need to speak is in. If the answer is yes, then you can remove on potential ?excuse? for not putting your call through. If your call can?t be taken at that time, skip the message. Let the PA or operator know that you will call back again. That way you have a legitimate reason to keep calling. Of course, you might have to keep calling and calling, and that assistant might start knowing the sound of your voice. If you keep speaking to the same person, it?s time to open up with some person details. Let them know your name, why you?re calling, and if someone referred you, who that person is. Developing that personal relationship can help you get your call through to the boss. Last but not least, don?t give up. Busy people are, well, busy, and not necessarily avoiding your call. Persistence pays off, so keep on calling until you get through.

Web Hosting - Look Before You Leap Companies that offer Internet-connected servers that provide space and bandwidth for a domain, for one or more web sites, are called Web Hosts. Large companies have private networks that allow them to host domains on their own equipment and IP address range. But for the majority of those who want an Internet presence, a 'rented' web host is a necessity. There are a wide variety of hosting plans available. Some are free, others charge up to a $100 or more per month. Some provide nothing but a tiny amount of disk space and minimal network bandwidth. The web site owner is on his or her own for any thing else. Others offer a range of services, including server and email administration, backups, web site design assistance, troubleshooting and many others. In the world of web hosting, you may often find yourself sharing a server with anywhere from one to a thousand or more other web sites. That allows the web hosting company to keep equipment and staff expenses lower. Many web sites are simple and low-volume enough that the arrangement works fine. When you or one or more of the others grow, it may be helpful to consider a dedicated server. A dedicated server, as the name suggests, hosts only your domain. You can put one web site on it, or as many as you wish. You control the access. You may also, as an option, take over much of the server administration yourself. That may save you money on support costs, but cost you considerable time. If you don't have the expertise, you can end up costing yourself much more than you save. In order to carry out those administrative functions yourself, even if you hire help, it's desirable to have some technical knowledge under your belt. Some of that knowledge will be useful, even for day-to-day tasks apart from dealing with emergencies. FTP, email administration, backup methods and other technical areas are among the more common areas you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with. When your web site grows to a certain size and level of complexity, you'll begin to find it worthwhile to look at implementing a database. But that brings with it a still higher level of ability, both technical and logistical or creative. Implementing a database can be relatively simple. Designing one that provides what you want, with decent performance and maintenance that doesn't become a nightmare, will take some careful thought. Not everyone has the temperament for that type of work, especially those who prefer graphical design, content creation or development, and the many other web site tasks that are part of every implementation. There are other, more low level administrative matters. Managing disk space, maintaining domain names, dealing with registration and changes, and a number of other 'utilitarian' tasks are also not everyone's cup of tea. Some understanding of how DNS works, as well as the design of the Internet itself, are helpful. That provides a good context for understanding the role of some of those tasks. When you begin to seek out a web host to implement a web site, consider all these factors and look in the mirror. What kind of web hosting you should pursue is determined by a combination of who you are and what's being offered. Look before you leap.