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Small Business Web Hosting

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Top 10 Things You Should Look For

If you are reading this article you have either started a new business and are looking for some helpful advice on selecting a web hosting package or you are looking to move from an existing hosting provider. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to pick a solution that is right for your business now and in the future.

You’ve probably heard all sorts of nightmare stories of sites going down, losing their data, losing sales information, terrible support, domain hijacking, spamming….the list goes on. So what we have tried to do below is give you ten of the most important areas of a small business web hosting package that you can use as a checklist to vet prospective hosting providers.

1. Personal & Knowledgeable Technical Support

We have put this at the top of the list as this seems to be one of the biggest issues facing companies that are just starting out. They want to be able to phone up and get hold of a person, not an automated message or an off-shore call centre, that can help troubleshoot issues straight away in the shortest time possible.

Running a small business means that most owners are doing a number of jobs and they don’t have the time to be “on hold” while the first line tech support tries to work out what the issue is. So you want to ensure that your web hosting provider has this capability to deliver excellent, personal technical support.

2. Intuitive and User-Friendly Control Panel

The control panel is where you create and manage your domains, sub domains and databases. Cpanel is one of the most popular control panels for web hosts these days, but there are plenty of others out there. As a small business starting up it’s quite likely that you don’t have the technical expertise to configure your website without a Cpanel, so make sure you can look over an example of the control panel and make sure that it is easy to use.

3. Hosting Package Considerations

As the needs and requirements for each business varies here are some of the items that you should look into to ensure that the prospective web host will be able to run and support your website now and as your business grows:

– Shared vs. Dedicated Web Hosting

Most small businesses only require shared hosting (often referred to as ‘virtual hosting’) which means your website sits alongside a number of other websites on the same server but as your business grows you may need to move to a dedicated server for any number of reasons, such as: your site has a high volume of traffic with eCommerce functionality, you need greater access to the operating system for specific software that you need to run or for scalability and security reasons.

So ensure that you can move from shared to dedicated with the same provider with minimal business disruption (i.e. down-time).

– PHP vs. ASP Web Hosting

As a general rule of thumb most smaller websites are developed using a programming language called PHP as this is open source (i.e. free) and widely used which makes for a good support base. Larger clients and corporates often go for ASP as it is formally supported by Microsoft. The type of hosting you will need is often predetermined by the company that has designed/developed your website. If your site is database driven then you’ll need to ensure that the package you buy includes the ability to create databases such as MySQL for PHP and SQL Server for ASP.

– Email Addresses

Make sure that you package gives you the ability to create at least more than one POP3 email address and that they don’t charge separately for this pleasure. If you are fairly mobile and need the ability to check your email from any computer rather than something such as a Blackberry then make sure you also have webmail functionality. This is pretty standard for any decent hosting company these days. Finally, as a number of internet service providers (ISPs) such as BT, Virgin etc are a little precious about using their outgoing email servers (SMTP Server) to send your emails from your new company email addresses then you’ll need a SMTP service provided by your hosting company.

– SSL Certificates

If you plan to sell anything via your site you’ll need to have a security certificate installed on your website. Make sure this is something that the hosting provider/package can handle.

– Automated Backups

Backups should be automated nightly on the hosting provider’s side giving you peace of mind should anything go wrong. You don’t want to have downtime and then to find that you can only get a restored version from the previous month.

– FTP Access

You definitely want the ability to connect to you server via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client so that you can upload multiple files at once. There is nothing worse than having to upload files one-by-one.

4. Testimonials

This is a pretty simple exercise where most proactive web hosting companies will publish a number of testimonials on the site so that you get an idea of what other users think of the service. Have a read through and see what they have to say.

5. Uptime Availability

Uptime is a measure of the time a computer system has been up and running. It came into use to describe the opposite of downtime, times when a system was not operational. What you are looking for here is some statement from the hosting provider saying that they “Guarantee a 99.9% uptime”. Anything less should make you worry.

6. Flexibility

Running a small business is never straight forward and there will no doubt be changes that you need to make to most areas of the business including your website and hosting needs. Having a flexible hosting provider that you can have a chat with to decide what ‘the best route forward is’, can be invaluable. The problem with most large scale hosting providers is that they can’t or rather wont be able to help by giving you the personal attention you may need in the early days which could be crucial.

7. Server Security

The hosting provider should be big enough to have the processes in place to ensure that all servers are patched regularly and have the latest firewall protection. What this means is that as server vulnerabilities are found (i.e. what the hackers try and exploit) so they should be closed down so as not to allow a breach and possibly downtime.

8. Storage Space

Most basic ‘brochureware’ type sites don’t require much storage space. Around 25MB is normally sufficient but you may want to check what the upgrade price is to ensure that they don’t have a low price for the entry level package and then a large jump to the next available option.

9. Bandwidth or Transfer

So what exactly is bandwidth? Most hosting companies offer a variety of bandwidth options in their plans. In simple terms, bandwidth is the amount of traffic that is allowed to occur between your web site and the rest of the internet.

The issue is trying to work out how much bandwidth you think you need and this really depends on the numbers of visitors to your site, the number of pages they view and the average size of your pages. If you plan on having multiple downloads then this will also need to be factored in.

Here are some basic formulas for monthly figures:

  • Average Daily Visitors x Average Page Views x Average Page Size x 31 x Fudge Factor

For a “download” site, your bandwidth calculation should be:

  • [(Average Daily Visitors x Average Page Views x Average Page Size) + (Average Daily File Downloads x Average File Size)] x 31 x Fudge Factor

Similarly to the above point on storage you want to ensure that the upgrade to a larger bandwidth package doesn’t break the bank.

10. Ethical? Banned from the Search Engines?

As you can imagine during these tough times some hosting companies are not very discerning when it comes to what type of content is hosted on their servers. The issue with this is that if you have shared hosting and have other websites that are, let’s say, a little unsavoury, then you may find you start having issues with the search engines as they may ban the server that you site is hosted on due to the other sites on the same server or worse still downtime due to spam, bandwidth issues etc.

So when going through the motions of picking a provider ask them the question and see if they can give you a positive response.

So there you have it. Our pick of the ten most important web hosting areas that you should check to ensure that you new small business runs smoothly especially during these troubled times.

Fishfood Hosting is an ethical web hosting company servicing small businesses. Click here to view our hosting packages and how they perform against the criteria above.

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Elite League of Legends Teleport Tricks to Destroy Your Friends

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Every day, thousands of gamers log onto League of Legends to play Riot Games’ free DOTA-style video game, unfortunately most of them get crushed by the elite few that know all the tricks of the trade. The most popular tricks often involve one of the lesser used summoner spells in public games; the incredibly useful but oft-ignored teleport spell, and while these tricks can take weeks to master, it only takes a few moments to read on and learn them.

1. Fiddlesticks’ Surprise — If there is one sound that strikes fear into the heart of every experienced League of Legends player, it’s the horrifying “Caw! Caw! Caw!” of Fiddlestick’s monstrous ultimate, which is nothing less than an area of effect spell of doom for everyone caught in its wake. The problem with this spell, of course, is its two-second channel time that requires you to be smart about when you’re ready to attack. Surprisingly, few players realize the power of this ultimate when combined with the utility of the teleport summoner spell.

An awesome way to get the drop on your opponents with Fiddlesticks, is to lay a ward down in the farthest bushes on the top or bottom lane of the map. When done correctly, you can teleport in behind your opponent and out of sight, waiting for the right time to launch from the bushes and strike. This is particularly effective if for some reason you are playing Fiddlesticks in the lane, as you can recall base before quickly teleport behind them to create mass confusion.

2. Nunu’s Trap — Nunu is well-known in League of Legends to have one of the strongest ultimates in the game, capable of swallowing entire teams in its large radius and exploding them into a million bits. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most difficult ultimate to land in the game as it has a long stationary channel that is easily interrupted and even more easily stepped out of…. that is, of course, unless you have the teleport summoner spell.

With the teleport spell at your disposal, Nunu can quickly become a frightful player for the opposing team. Try sneaking a ward right into the middle of the middle lane to teleport to later, and wait until your opponent’s solo mid steps by it. When he does, teleport in and quickly ice-blast him for the slow effect, pop your ultimate and watch as he explodes with the help of a teammate already in that lane. This is an awesome technique because you will actually give yourself an additional second or so for your ultimate to go unnoticed, as your opponent will be extremely confused as to how you appeared next to him out of the middle of nowhere.

This is also an effective technique at grouping hot-spots, like Baron, Dragon, or a short distance in front of your middle tower. Placing a ward a bit in front of your middle tower is particularly rewarding, as once you teleport in and cast your ultimate while your opponents are attacking your tower, they will be pinched in and be forced to move into the tower where all your teammates await, or back toward you for an icy surprise of ultimate death.

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How to Play Spoons Card Game

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How would you like to play a game that could be enjoyed by the entire family regardless of age? Sounds pretty fun, right? Well, we’re going to teach you about just that game. It’s called spoons, and it’s one of the more popular card games. It’s really simple to play, and it’s really enjoyable! So just follow these simple steps.

What you’re going to need:

  1. Spoons ( You need one less spoon than there are players. So let’s say that there are 5 players, you need six spoons )
  2. Deck ( Full Deck of Cards )

Game Set Up

To set up the game, you’re going to need to count the number of players. Let’s say that there are six players in your group. You’re going to need six suits of cards. You don’t need to use the whole deck.

Now, at this point, you’re going to need to put the spoons in the center of the table and pass out an equal number of cards to each player. Then you’re ready to go!

Game Play

Once each player has a hand of cards, it’s time to get started. The object of the game is to get a suit of hands in your card, so what you’re going to do is select one card from your hand and pass it to the player on the left. At this point, the player on the left, the one receiving the card, has the option to take that card into his hand, or he can pick a card from his hand and pass it to the player on his left. This continues until one player has an entire suit of cards in his hand.

Once that happens, his goal is to sneakily grab a spoon from the center of the table. If other people find out he has an entire suit, they could inadvertently make him the loser, so don’t let that happen. Once you’ve grabbed the spoon you reveal your hand to the other players.

They then have to hastily grab their own spoons. The player who is left without a spoon is then declared the loser and removed from the game. The game play continues until there are only two players in the group. At which time, they are both declared the winner.

Get Your Game On!

As you can tell, spoons is a real simple game, and it is perfect for those family game nights. So we recommend you give it a try! We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Dog Training Academy – How to Create Obedience in Your Dog

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Training a dog can be a frustrating act but not anymore with the Dog Training Academy e-course. Dogs tend to be unruly at times with excess of barking and whining along with aggressive actions towards visitors. It is high time to start training your dog using well established and proven methods when you find him reacting in a non responsive manner to your commands.

Lack of training can lead to behavioural problems in your dog and this can turn them into a disobedient pet. An unruly pet can end up tearing furniture or behaving in an uncontrollable manner. It is hence necessary that you take the right measures to control behavioural problems and to train your dog. This is where Dog Training Academy can help you get the perfect pet by bringing in obedience in your dog. The training course is a 7 day series that consolidates tips and tricks on training your dog on obedience matters.

Training a dog is not an easy task, but the job now becomes simple for you now with this free training e-course. The methods of training and the skills of the owner and pet normally determines the time taken to train a dog, but this training e-course can resolve all your problems in just about 7 days. They provide you with many widely practiced professional methods of obedience training to bring in fast and effective behavioural changes.

Basic bonding and effective communication is required between you and your dog before you can start training on obedience. This kind of essentials that needs to be obtained before the dog can respond to your basic commands and orders are detailed in the Dog Training Academy course.

There are many ways of training your dog other than the e-course methodology. One such way of obedience training your dog is by taking him to a training school. Such schools provide professional help offered by expert trainers who can handle any kind of dogs. But is it necessary to check whether such schools are recognized ones before your enrol your dog. Such kind of schools also charge a hefty amount for a complete training spanning around 3-4 weeks time as compared to the free course.

A proven training plan and a step-by-step guide of the plan can make you feel the difference in your dog’s behavior in just a week time. The training plan can bring in more obedience and security in your dog at the end of the course. Enrol for the Dog Training Academy course and you no longer need to worry about torn furniture or garbage in your living room.

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