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Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning
At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration.
Plan, plan, plan.
Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration.
Backup and Test
Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work.
Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed.
This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components.
Accept Some Downtime
Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off.
Prepare for Name Changes
One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations.
When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 188.8.131.52. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them.
There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time.
In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync.
The Little Gotchas
But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it.
Gather Tools and Support
Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs.
Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment.
Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.
Working on Your Own Time: It’s What Freelancing is About (freelance jobs) Do you have a busy life? Do you wish that you could schedule your work around the rest of your priorities? You work to make money so that you can live. You have no choice but to pay for housing and food and other life necessities. Because you need the money, work tends to creep up to the top of the priority list. Other things are more important though. Freelance jobs allow you to put work where it belongs on the list of priorities. You can play with your kids when they’re home, enjoy doing the things you enjoy outdoors while it’s daytime and spend your Sunday mornings at church instead of behind a counter. The work still needs to get done, but you can do it when you have time instead of from nine to five, Monday through Friday or worse, whenever you’re put on the schedule. Kinds of Freelance Jobs Do you have the appropriate skills and abilities to work at freelance jobs? There are many, many different kinds available. Those with professional degrees can consult. While the jobs that result from extensive education generally lead to many hours working for a good salary, your education can lead you in another direction. If you can manage to find the clients, you can work by appointment only, guiding those who do not have the experience or education that you have. If you are not a professional, you may still have the appropriate talents that will get you into freelance jobs. Writing is a very popular freelance opportunity. You live in a world that relies on the written word. You do not go through a single day without reading a considerable amount of text. Someone needs to do all of that writing, and much of it is hired out to freelancers. Actually, any skill that you possess may be suited to freelance work. Check out a few job boards and find out who’s hiring. Tips of the Trade Freelance jobs are out there, but so is the competition. To get yourself to the top of the hiring list, there are a few things you can do. First, use any experience you have to your advantage. Even if a previous job was short term or didn’t seem significant to you, you gained experience there. Let the employers know about everything you can do. Another thing you must do as a freelancer is to be very consistent and organized. An employer will be much more likely to rehire you if you turn out a good product. Everything you turn in should be clear and professional. Always meet deadlines. While most of the freelance jobs are extremely flexible, allowing you to work at your convenience, there are still deadlines. The work needs to be finished when the employer asks for it. Most of the qualities that will get you more freelance jobs only require common sense and a good work ethic. Living on Sparse Paychecks One downside of freelance jobs is that they are not necessarily consistent. Especially if you jump from one job to another, working for different companies, you will not have any guarantee about how much you will get paid each month. The flexibility may or may not be worth the uncertainty of freelancing to you. If you can manage to save effectively, the distance between paychecks won’t matter. If you do get frustrated about always wondering where the next paycheck is coming from, just remind yourself that the trade off is getting to enjoy more precious time not tied to a desk. There are definitely pros and cons when it comes to freelancing. You just need to decide how important it is to you to prioritize your life around what really matters to you.
Fair Use Copyright Law Don’t Overstep the Fair Use Copyright Law Many people are interested in the fair use copyright law. The fair use copyright law enables people to use portions of material that is copyrighted for the purposes of criticism or as commentary. The hard part for many people is understanding what is permissible under the fair use copyright law and what is not permissible. Anyone who writes or publishes should brush up on what is allowed and what is not allowed. Using another person’s words to make news reports, to use as a comment or criticism or to use for research, scholarship, or for educational uses that are nonprofit are generally considered fair use. In these instances, the fair use copyright law allows one person or author to make use of another person or author’s work without asking permission to do so. In situations that do not fall within these specifications you are probably violating someone’s copyright if you use their work – especially if you are using another person’s work for economic or commercial gain. When you are trying to see if you can use another’s words, you should keep a few things in mind. The answer to the following questions will help you gage whether you would be violating a copyright. First, are you transforming someone else’s work or are you copying it? Second, are you going to be making any financial gains from your work that would compete with the original copyright holder? Third, do you have the author’s permission to quote their work? Just because you list the author and give credit to him or her does not protect you from infringing upon someone’s copyright. Fourth, how much of the original author’s work are you using? If you are using a substantial amount of another’s work, you are probably in direct violation of their copyright. Many publishing companies have set rules on how much material they will allow to be quoted in other sources. Some of these ranges start at 100 words or less. However, there are truly no standards to go by, so be careful. You can not assume that keeping your copying fewer than 50 words will allow you to pass under the radar – especially if the original piece is hovering around 125 words itself! Lastly, what portion of another’s work are you using? If it is the meat of the book and the most important part of the book, you are probably in direct violation of the owner’s copyright. With a little common sense it is not hard to decide if you are violating someone’s copyright. People who are truly interested in staying within the guidelines of the fair use copyright law usually do a good job of doing so. Many people push the fair use copyright law right up to the line, while others will blatantly cross over it without giving a second thought to the repercussions. When these people are summoned to court to answer for their vagrant disregard for the property and copyright of another they are usually sorry. Sorry they got caught! It is very important that people who take advantage of the fair use copyright law are held accountable for their actions. Without accountability many more people would follow in their footsteps and use another’s works as their own.