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Web Hosting - Is a Dedicated Server Worth What You Pay?
In reviewing web hosting plans, many web site owners are faced at some point with the decision of whether or not to pay for a dedicated server. A dedicated server is one which holds your site(s) exclusively. It's not shared with other sites. You then have the option to put one site or many on that piece of hardware.
But the decision is never easy. There are multiple considerations to take into account, far beyond just the higher dollar outlay that inevitably accompanies a dedicated server option.
Performance is (or should be) a prime consideration for the majority of site owners. Studies show that when a page doesn't load within about 10 seconds or less, almost everyone will give up and go elsewhere. The delay may be caused at any of a hundred different points in the chain between the server and the user. But often, it's the server itself.
In any case, it's important to eliminate the server as a possible bottleneck, since it's one of the few points over which the site owner can exercise some control.
That need for control extends further than just performance, however. Other aspects of the user experience can benefit or suffer from server behavior. Security is a prime example. With the continuing prevalence of spam and viruses, a server can easily get infected. Having only your site(s) on a single server makes that issue much easier to deal with.
With fewer sites on a server, there is less likelihood of getting infected in the first place. Also, since you will place a higher value on security than many others, it's easier to keep a dedicated server clean and your site well protected. You can use best practices in security to fortify your site. Having other sites on the server that you don't control raises the odds that your efforts are for nothing.
One way your efforts can get watered down is through IP address sharing. Less sophisticated hosting services will often assign a single IP address to a single server and multipe sites. That means your site is sharing the same IP address with other domains. That leaves you vulnerable in several ways.
Virus or spam attacks may target a particular IP address. If you have the same one as another site, one that is more likely to attract hostile intentions, you suffer for and with someone else.
In other cases an IP address range is assigned to the server, with each site receiving its own address from within that range. Though better than the one IP:server scenario, this still presents a vulnerability. Many attacks try a range of IP addresses, not just a single one.
But even legitimate sources can give you trouble when you share an IP address or a range. If another site engages in behavior that gets it banned, you can suffer the same fate if they ban the address or range. If the miscreant that shares your server/IP address or range is himself a spammer for example, and gets blacklisted, you can inadvertently be banned along with him. Using a dedicated server can overcome that problem.
There's a certain comfort level in knowing what is installed on the server you use, and knowing that you alone put it there. But a dedicated server option may require increased administration on your part. If you're not prepared to deal with that, you may have to pay still more to have your dedicated server managed by someone else.
All these factors have to be weighed carefully when considering a dedicated server plan.
Why Time Management Makes for a Better Employee Time management is a major issue in the workplace. When time is not utilized efficiently, it leads to sloppy work, missed deadlines, and way too much stress. Employers are constantly seeking ways to teach their employees to manage their time better for a simple reason ? a team that manages its time well is a team that is productive and successful. Everyone has done it. You?ve know that there is a big deadline approaching for weeks on end, and you kept telling yourself that have plenty of time. Then, suddenly, it is the day before the project is due, and you haven?t even begun it. You know you will have to pull an all-nighter, and even then you will be lucky to get everything done in time. Your heart is racing, your head is pounding, and you?re cursing your procrastination yet again, thinking about how much time you wasted surfing the next when you could have been doing a little work on the project every day, so it wouldn?t be so overwhelming. The end result of a project like this is predictable. You may get it in on time, or at least close to the deadline, but your work is likely to be sloppy. The rush job you did will be evident to everyone, and if your project involved making a pitch to a potential customer, your time management failure may end up costing your company big money (and costing you a job). As if you were not stressed enough already! If you contrast that performance with one in which you had effectively managed your time, the difference is clear. If you have worked on the project over the entire time span you had to finish it, a little bit at a time, then you would have had time to make sure your work was up to par. You wouldn?t have been scrambling for last minute information to include, and you could have made sure your work was free from little errors like typos or pages that printed incorrectly. Most importantly, you wouldn?t feel like you needed a week long vacation when the project was over, because your stress level never would have hit the roof. So, how do you become a happier and more effective employee by managing your time better? The first thing you can do to become an effective time manage is simple ? write yourself a to-do list everyday. Not only does a to-do list help you think through exactly what you need to accomplish so you don?t forget anything in the rush, but it also helps you feel accountable for everything that needs to get done. If you write ?spend 30 minutes on the big project? on your to-do list, it is a lot harder to come up with excuses why you can put it off for another day. Your conscience will make you want to get through everything on that list. If it seems like you never have enough time in the day, keep a journal of all of your activities. If you spend 20 minutes chatting by the coffee pot, write it down. After a week, look back over your activities. You may be surprised how much time you actually spend doing nothing. Now that you know, you can reinvest that time more wisely. The last thing is the hardest thing ? getting over procrastination. This one is sheer willpower. When those voices in your head start arguing over whether to work on something now or put it off until later, listen to the work now voice. Give yourself manageable goals, like working on something for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, to get started. Once you experience the freedom from stress that time management brings, that procrastination voice will be a thing of the past.
Web Hosting - Unix vs Windows-Based Hosting, Which Is Better? An operating system functions largely out of sight, or at least is supposed to. It doesn't matter to non-geeks how a file gets stored, or how memory is used, or how simultaneous processes share the limited resources available on a computer. These are among the basic functions of any operating system. Yet, you can find very passionate supporters - who offer very detailed lists of pros and cons - for every operating system. Why? Because, though the low-level functions of an operating system do their work out of sight, there are many other features that rise to visibility. Sometimes, they do so when they're not supposed to. Weighing the pros and cons objectively could consume a book. But to select a web host operating system, a manageable level of considerations apply. They can be weighed even by those who don't know a processor queue from a pool cue. Learning Curves For most web site owners, administering the site/server is just overhead. It's not something they take pleasure in doing and they have plenty of other things to worry about. Many wouldn't know how and have no interest in learning (rightly so, given their priorities). Consequently, ease of administration is paramount for such people. Whether a Unix-based site (usually Linux these days) is easier to administer than Windows depends on your current skill set and the type of tools and level of access the web hosting company provides. But in general Linux is more difficult to install and maintain than Windows and the learning curve is steeper. FTP and Control Panels Often, you don't have to care. For many, the operating system is fairly transparent. FTP file transfers to get a new web page up to a Windows server are very much like they are to a Linux-based site. The user/administrator simply doesn't see what's behind the curtain. Many companies provide other utilities that completely mask any awareness of the operating system underneath. When that's the case, the web site owner has no reason to care, until or unless they need or want to go 'inside the black box'. Performance Performance issues can be relevant in selecting which operating system host type to choose. But for the most part, that aspect is outside the web site owner's control. Overall performance can be good or bad on either system, depending on many factors that the publisher will rarely see. The issue is a wash, as far as tipping the scales is concerned. What is more likely to be seen by a web site owner, at some point in their (and their site's) development is the database product that can be used to store information. Databases Microsoft SQL Server is relatively simple to use, yet extremely powerful and can deliver great performance. But it doesn't run on Linux. At least, not without special software to emulate Windows, which usually kills performance. On the other hand, with a bit of time invested, MySQL isn't significantly more difficult to learn than MS SQL Server and there are many free installations. Cost may well outweigh other considerations for most on this issue. Programming Languages Last, but not least, there are differences in programming languages that can be (or at least typically are) used on Windows vs Unix. If you have programmers who are skilled in Visual Basic, ASP and other Microsoft technologies, then a Windows-based host will be your preferred choice. For Perl and PHP programmers, Linux is the more common platform of choice. No single factor can push you to one versus the other operating system. And, in the long run, it isn't the primary consideration, unless you just enjoy playing with operating systems.