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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
You Can Find Free Deals and Discounts at Slick Deals Where can you go when you want to find the best deals on the net? Where can you turn to when you need quality advice before making a major purchase? How can you make sure that you never pay too much for something again? This is where slickdeals.net comes in. Slick Deals is a great website for finding what you are looking for, and making sure that you never pay too much again. Tips and Hints for Searching on Slick Deals Slick Deals is home to an advanced search engine that allows you to compare the prices of different items, both small and big ticket, and compare prices. This website allows you to make sure that you can always find the lowest price and never overpay again. Here are some hints and tips for searching for the best deals on Slick Deals. First, if at all possible, make sure that you have the SKU number on the item you are searching for on hand. Using the SKU number allows you to search for the right item at all times. The SKU number will vary in length and number-letter combination, depending on the kind of object or item you are shopping for. Avoid using parentheses when you are searching for something. Avoid using negation modifiers that will potentially exclude items from your search. You should also avoid hyphens in your search. This will tend to filter out more potential search hits, rather than pull up more potential choices. For the Latest Deals on Slick Deals, Check the Front Page When you are looking for the latest deals on Slick Deals, you will want to make sure that you check the front page. The default front page is also home to the newest deals. By defaults, you will only see deal titles when you first log onto the Slick Deals website. All of the deals on this front page are color-coded. You will find that ongoing deals are displayed in a bold blue tone. Expired deals are displayed in a gray color. To find out more about these front-page deals, simply click on the title. Then the deal will expand and you will be able to read more about the deal. Once you have read all the information you want, simply click on the title once again to close the window. To find out more about deals of the whole day, click on the day bar. When you click on the day bar, all the deals of the day will expand so you can read the details. Simply click the day bar once more to close the deals. How to Share Deals with Friends The Slick Deals website makes it easy for you to share deals with other interested parties. If you would like to share a deal that you find on Slick Deals, simply choose one of the following three methods. You can share a great deal with a friend by selecting the 'Tell a Friend' button that is available for each deal. Clicking on this link allows you to send a friend an email, informing them about the deal on Slick Deals. Another easy way to contact a friend or potentially interested friend is to send them an instant message using AOL Instant Messenger. Simply select the 'AIM' button for this option. Another easy way to send a copy of the deal to a friend is to send them a permalink using another form of communications. You can also leave your own opinion or review of the deal by selecting the Comments link. Slick Deals relies on user-driven content to establish a vibrant and informative website geared directly for consumers.
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.
Free Copyright Music Free Copyright Music Means Deeper Well for Artist Inspiration Free copyright music is often mistaken with domain free music or music in which the copyright has expired. A copyright is in place for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. If there are more than one writer's for the music, the copyright will be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last surviving contributor. While this rule was set in place in order to ensure that the heirs of the author would also benefit from the royalties after the music's writer or composer was no longer living it is important to remember that these laws are the current laws and music written at different points in time are most likely subject to different copyright laws. When searching for free copyright music it is always a good idea to search through music that is very old rather than focusing your search on more recent musical selections as they will most likely still be under copyright protection. It is important to remember when using free copyright music or public domain music that you must be certain the copy you are using is within the copyright period. Any music that was published before 1922 is public domain music. This does not however include derivatives or new versions of that music which may still be under copyright protection. Finding a copy of the music with the copyright date included, if that date is prior to 1922 is the best route to ensure that you are in compliance with current copyright laws and not infringing on someone else's copyright. It is also important to keep in mind that written music is protected differently than recorded music. Almost every sound recording that has been copyrighted in the United States is protected until 2067. If you absolutely need a sound recording you should either purchase one or make one of your own. There are some free copyright music that will allow free use of the music whether written or recorded, you must be thorough in your search for this music however as it quite rare. Another thing to consider is that copyright laws in the United States are different than they are in other countries and if you wish to use music that is or was under copyright in another country you must follow the laws that apply to the particular piece of music you wish to perform. Free copyright music is available in almost every country and many genres; the trick is in finding great sources where you can easily find this music. There is a project called Mutopia, which operates like project Gutenberg. Mutopia provides free copyright music rather than books however. The Gutenberg project also has a section that is devoted to free sheet music in addition to its wonderful resources for books. Each of these projects provides excellent resources for those who find themselves in need of free copyright music for whatever reason. Whether you are a musician who is seeking inspiration from the music of old or hoping to find a composition, which you can rearrange and make your own, there are many ways in which you can go about achieving your goals that will not violate current copyrights. The key is in learning the laws both where you live and in any countries in which the music you seek to modify. By choosing selectively and listening to your options with an open mind and seeing things with a creative eye, you will find a huge world of opportunity available to you as a musician. Isn't it amazing how free copyright music can have such an effect on your ability to create music that you may someday copyright?