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15Apr/11Off

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a text form of a corresponding numeric I.P. address of a computer on the Internet. A domain name makes it easier for us humans to remember than the I.P. address which consists of four numbers separated by dots (periods). For instance, it is simpler to grasp and recall www.biotechdesk.com than the I.P. of the computer that hosts this web site.

A domain name also called the URL or a web address must be unique because it specifies the location of a web site on a particular computer. Domain names consist of a series of words separated by dots and can contain only alphabet, numbers and the hyphen. Characters like the underscore, exclamation mark, colon etc. are not allowed. Initially, domain names could only be fifteen characters long, however, now you can have up to 67 characters in a domain name.

The domain name information is stored on Name Servers. These systems not only store just the domain name and its corresponding I.P. address but also other details such as the registrant name, the contact information, registration date, expiry date etc.

Where to register domain names?

To be valid and usable on the web, domain names need to be registered. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies who will register a domain name for you. I booked my first domain through Network Solutions which is the first and still the most reputed domain name registrar. I had to shell out USD 35.000 per year for that domain name.

Now with intense competition, companies are now ready to offer domains for very low prices and even free if you purchase web hosting from them. The cost of domain names differ from company to company and also depend on the top-level domain (TDL). For example, at the time of writing, .co.in was a tad more expensive than the ubiquitous dot-com.

You can register a domain name in a few minutes but it will belong to you only after all name servers in the world have been updated which is usually to 24-72 hours (nowadays, the time has been cut short to 14-18 hours).

With the WHOIS service you can check the availability of a domain name. You can find this service on any reputed domain anmename registration company web site.

How to book a domain name

Do not be hasty when registering a domain name and I say this from experience! I mean look at the domain name of this site - www.webdevelopersnotes.com. I agree that the domain name describes the web site content accurately but will I book such a long name again? No Siree!

Unfortunately I cannot even think of changing this domain name because the web site has become quite popular and I'll lose most of my visitors and any advantage this site has on search engine rankings if I do so. Any way, in addition to the popular .com domain names, there are tens of others like .ws, .info, .name, .net, .biz, .cc, .tv, .mobi etc. There are also country specific domain names like .co.uk, .co.in, .me.uk, .in, .jp, .de...
Which domain is the best for you depends on the kind of web site you plan to develop.

Where to register domain names?

Register a domain name

15Apr/11Off

What is webmail and do I need it?

Webmail is a way to access your email account. It is totally web based and hence the name webmail. You do not need specialized software on your system to use webmail. In fact you don't need to work from a specific computer to access emails through webmail.

The very concept of webmail is to provide access to your email accounts from any computer anywhere in the world (as long as it has a net connection). Webmail provides a web based interface for you to manage your email accounts and you don't need to configure any software since everything is online!

Most web hosting companies allow you to access your email accounts using webmail. It is very simple to use, very similar to working on popular free email accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo! or Gmail.

Webmail software

All your emails reside on the hard disk of the hosting server usually in a separate directory. Webmail software provide you an easy-to-use interface to read, write, delete and manage email messages. Webmail software is usually a suite of programs or scripts written in a server-side language that lets you gain access to an email account and perform routine tasks.

On Linux and Unix web servers, the webmail software scripts are usually written in Perl, Python or PHP and some of the popular ones are Horde, SquirrelMail, NeoMail and RoundCube. These webmail software can also be used on the Windows operating system as long as there is support for that server-side language. For instance, if PHP has been configured properly on a Windows server, any PHP based webmail software can be installed and run successfully.

How important is it for your web hosting service to provide webmail?

As I mentioned above, webmail allows you to administer your email accounts from any computer. And this makes webmail is a very important application to have on your web hosting package. Trust me, I say this from experience. There may come an occasion when you need to read and/or reply to important email messages and you don't have access to your system. Webmail comes to your rescue at times like these. You can simply log in at your email accounts from any computer (as long as it is connected to the Internet)
How do I access my emails with Webmail?

Your web hosting service should provide you the URL for webmail.

It would typically be http://www.your-domain-name.com/webmail.

When you load the webmail URL in a web browser (such as Internet Explorer or FireFox) will now be asked the user name and password of the email account. Enter these log-in details and on success, you will be granted access to your email account.

15Apr/11Off

Differences between Free and Paid Web Hosting

Website owners are often faced with a difficult decision right from the beginning of their online venture. This decision is to choose a web hosting service for their website. Not only are there hundreds of web hosting companies offer their services at affordable prices, but there are also some that offer free hosting to their customers. Here we look in detail at the major differences between having a free hosting service versus a paid hosting service and the impact it can have on your website.

Price

The first difference is the price. Free web hosting allows website owners to host the website completely free of charge. There are no fees involved in uploading files to their server. There are no fees involved for keeping the website hosted on the server over time. Paid web hosting services on the other hand charge a small fee for website owners to have their website hosted. Payment to web hosting services is usually prescription based on a monthly interval. You may choose to sign up for 12 or 24 months and receive huge discounts or you can stick to a month by month plan to make sure you are happy with the service.

Speed

One important aspect of web hosting you need to look is bandwidth. This determines the speed that data is transferred from the hosting server to the Internet user visiting your site The greater the bandwidth, the faster your site will load and the faster users can see videos, pictures and download files from. Free web hosting services usually restrict the amount of bandwidth to your website and as a result this will affect your website's loading time as well as speed when visitors are trying to browse your site. If you have a relatively new site without many visitors yet or your site does not consist of many pictures and videos then the restriction on bandwidth have little or no effect on you. Conversely, if you are planning to grow your website or have a large website with lots of graphics then a paid web hosting option with unlimited bandwidth is your best solution

Space:

The amount of web space you need for your website is also important if you are planning to grow your website, or at least have the flexibility to be able to expand it at a later date. Free web hosting services usually limit the amount of web space allowed by you web site, the number of pages your website can have or both. It is therefore important that if you have a website that can grow to being quite large and significant you are going to need server space from a web hosting company that provides you with plenty. Many paid web hosting services also provide unlimited space for your website, which helps put your mind at ease.

Functionality:

Functionality and control of your website is probably one of the most important aspects when considering a web hosting solution. You want to be in control of your own website and have be able to do whatever you want with it. Most free web hosting accounts do not allow you to use your own domain name. As an alternative, you must use a subdomain or internal domain of their own website. This can be seen as a drawback since you will then have poor branding of your products and services. In addition, many free hosting options place their own ads on your website. You cannot remove these ads and they may be annoying and distracting to your potential online visitors.

In conclusion, pricing would be the only advantage a free web hosting service would have compared to a paid web hosting service. It is also a known fact that it may also be costing you more and causing you to sacrifice more if you do not have an adequate and reliable web hosting service for your website. If you have taken the initiative to start your own website then your next step is to find an affordable web hosting solution with no restrictions.

15Apr/11Off

Web Hosting Guide for Beginners

First and foremost, for non-IT savvy, it might be a little tough for them to comprehend the meaning of web hosting. I believe if you search it on any search engine, of course there will be answer and explanation for them. But, how far do you really understand? Honestly, when I first get to know this term few years back, I had problem understanding myself. Then, I found one simple explanation that might be easy for people to understand. So, today, if anyone were to ask me what is "web hosting", i'd explain as follows...

Imagine you are homeless and you want to rent a room or buy a house. In order to get a shelter for yourself, you need a room. So, you imagine yourself as the website and the room as the hosting that you need to place yourself in. That means your website need a web hosting. Then, that's the time you start finding yourself a web hosting provider. Here, web hosting provider would be the house owner who rents you the room. So, in order for your website to be available and browsed by Internet users, you need to make sure your website is hosted in a web server provided by a web hosting provider.

So, when you finally understand what web hosting is, next will be the time to find out more about the different types of web hosting available. You have shared hosting, dedicated hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, and colocation hosting. You name it, the Internet has it! So many to remember and differentiate..so, let's get the ball rolling with...

Shared Hosting
Shared hosting means that a web server has its resources shared by many other websites. Or you can put it as, in a house, there are many tenants. Usually small or normal e-commerce businesses will choose this type of hosting. Websites with high traffic might not be able to choose this type of hosting due to insufficient webspace.

Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting refers to hosting in which you rent a server from your web hosting provider and will be placed at your web hosting provider's datacentre. They will provide software installation and connection to Internet. This will indicates that the website owner has control over the server as they don't share it with other websites. In short, dedicated hosting is where only 1 user hosted on the server machine and have a full privilege over the server to manage it by themself. The server machine will be still belongs to the web hosting provider.

Colocation Hosting
Well, this hosting has the features which are almost the same as dedicated hosting EXCEPT that you provide your own server and web hosting provider just help you to plug it into their datacentre. You need to install own software and hardwares. Everything is DIY.

Reseller Hosting
Reseller Hosting is a hosting where the account owner has the priviledge to allocate the webspace and bandwidth access and resell them to his clients. This shows that reseller hosts act like a middleman and is usually not responsible for any software or hardware intallation. They only buy webspace and resell to clients.

VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It is almost the same as dedicated server. Hence, it's sometimes called Virtual Dedicated Server. Generally, it means that the account owner has the feeling as though his owns a dedicated server. In real sense, it's actually separating a physical server into several independent hosting spaces or VPS-es, each isolated from the other.This will allow you to create and manage multiple sites and domains and take full control of your VPS with root/administrator access which allows you to access the virtual hard disk, RAM and to reboot your private server independently from other VPS-es.

Domain Name
After we are done with the different types of hosting, there is something else which I want to touch on. It is none other than the "domain name". So, ever wonder what is domain name? Wow, sounds technical? Not really actually. Don't be scared. Last time, when I saw the words domain name, it freaked me out too. Now, when I got used to it, it's not that nerve-wracking after all. So, domain name is just the normal web address or url (Uniform Resource Locator) you type in the "address" area when you open a browser. Examples of domain name are "exabytes.com". You know? Just the normal web address. Well, since it's a web address, it's a unique name. Hence, there will be no other same domain name. In fact, domain name is actually corresponding with numeric IP address. So, every domain name will have its numeric IP address. For example, the IP address for exabytes.com is 72.18.131.206

When you see exabytes.com, ever wonder ".com" stands for what? It actually stands for commercial. Whenever you see .com, .org, .net or others which ends after the final dot or period (.) of a url, it is known as top-level domain. It actually tells you what kind of website it is, indirectly. And the commonly used domain name extension nowadays will be .org, .net, .com. However, there are a lot of new domain extension up for grab lately such as .aero, .info, .museum, and .name. Next in the list that I shall explain is, Country Level Domain Name. Examples of country level domain name is exabytes.com.my. It has ".my" as its country code top-level domain (ccTLD). .my here represents the country "Malaysia". Of course, different country will have different ccTLD. For example, .jp stands for Japan, .au for Australia, .ca for Canada.

There are more to learn in order to excel in web hosting industry. Hopefully this simple guide will help all those novice out there. There are other things you need to know as well. But, it will be in my next article.

15Apr/11Off

Backup of Mysql database using PhpMyAdmin

It is assumed that you have phpMyAdmin installed since a lot of web service providers use it.

0. Open phpMyAdmin.
1. Click Export in the Menu to get to where you can backup you MySql database. Image showing the export menu.
2. Make sure that you have selected to export your entire database, and not just one table. There should be as many tables in the export list as showing under the database name.
3. Select"SQL"-> for output format, Check "Structure" and "Add AUTO_INCREMENT" value. Check "Enclose table and field name with backquotes". Check "DATA", check use "hexadecimal for binary field". Export type set to "INSERT".
4. Check "Save as file", do not change the file name, use compression if you want. Then click "GO" to download the backup file.

Restoring a backup of a MySql database
1. To restore a database, you click the SQL tab.
2. On the "SQL"-page , unclick the show query here again.
3. Browse to your backup of the database.
4. Click Go.

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