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Posts Tagged ‘Hosting’

Usually, every web designer/developer works on a project where a standard web hosting account is not enough.

This can be about the need of more system resources or the extra customization requirements like installing specific .dll files, running an alternative database server, etc.

In case you are in a search, MediaTemple DV -a popular VPS hosting solution (with managed and developer versions)- is a very good fit for such cases.

Media Temple DV

Both plans are very good because they guarantee uptime, can scale from small-to-huge sizes (which is a money-saver) and have 7/24 support.

On the other hand, they differ in “how much hands-on you prefer”.  Here are the details:

DV Developer

Media Temple - DV Developer

The Developer version is perfect for anyone who wants all the control and who is experienced in working with SSH.

You get the VPS server and manage it; system updates, back-ups, etc. MediaTemple provides a panel that offers some basic server controls and the rest is up-to-you (which is perfect for many).

DV Managed

Media Temple - DV Managed

The Managed version is a very good fit for anyone looking for a VPS without the hassle of managing it.

powerful control panel (with reseller capabilities) is provided for adding domains, e-mails, databases or install 100s of apps with a click.

However, you still get the root-access and can apply customizations if wanted.

Also, consider that although MediaTemple will be there for you regarding any system-related issues, don’t forget that you’ll still need to solve user/code related issues.

Conclusion

MediaTemple DV provides a very solid virtual dedicated server experience, it can handle very big projects and, most importantly, there is an awesome support.

For deep integrations, an API exists. And, the pricing is reasonable for both of the plans.

Also, since years, MediaTemple has a very respectable name which is pretty hard to keep in the industry.

libcloud is a standard client library, written in Python, to access popular cloud hosting providers.

Using cloud services without the need to learn APIs for each of them & building web applications that use multiple providers become much easier.

Common Cloıud Hosting Library - libcloud

libcloud currently supports ~8 cloud hosting providers including Amazon EC2, Slicehost & Rackspace.

It would be lovely to see similar libraries built for other scripting languages which will make the lives of developer easier.

Cloud IconCloud hosting, storage & content delivery networks (CDNs) are very popular services for the last few years, which is very normal, as they offer a series of advantages in running + serving web applications.

An application hosted in the cloud will:

  • easily scale (with instantly deployable & API controlled instances, unlimited diskspaces, etc..)
  • serve files faster with content delivery network (CDN) support
  • have a better availability (with strong SLAs)

With the increasing number of providers & tools created, cloud hosting is getting simpler & simpler everyday.

Getting in the cloud, in most cases, will save so much time & resources when running a growing web application. You won't need to think of the hardware, better react to the system resources & bandwidth usage fluctuations, pay exactly for what you use & much more.

Here is a collection of popular options & tools that can help you in hosting your applications in the cloud:

 

Cloud Hosting & Storage Options


Rackspace Cloud

Cloud Servers – (hosting)

Mosso Cloud Servers

The service provides instantly deployable servers with a choice of popular Linux distributions (no Windows). Currently, there is no API support but it is on the way.

Cloud Files – (storage)

Mosso Cloud Files

A redundant data storage service which replicates the data in 3 seperate locations.

Files can be managed from a web-based interface or an API. The system is integrated with LimeLight content delivery network & files can be selected to be served faster via this network.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – (hosting)

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 is a web service that provides you the environment to instantly launch (or remove) new servers (instances) with the OS & configuration you need which makes scaling of a web application much easier.

This functionality can be controlled via the web service APIs or tools to be mentioned in this post.

You are charged with the resources consumed like hours your servers (instances) work or the bandwidth used.

Read the rest of this entry »

Info: Every user / developer has different experiences. Any more tips that you share in the comments will be appreciated.

"Why is my website slow?" is a popular question. And it is a vital problem for a website.

Faster the website, happier & more the visitors. That's a well-known fact.

There are several factors that may slow a website. In general, all of them can be solved. This just depends on how much effort you can spend on it.

How much time do you have?

You may not have enough time to spend on speeding up your website. Depending on your free time, you may choose the steps to apply like mentioned below:

  • I have very limited time: Apply step-1, step-2, step-4 & step-5 (only the compression parts) and step-6.
  • I have some time: Apply all of them except step-3 & step-8.
  • I rule the time: Go with them all.

Improve Website Speed

Most of the tips are the ones that you probably know. So, you can use the list as a checklist (which it normally is in my "customer notes sheet" : ) ).

Here are the tips:

1. Get A Fast & Less-Loaded Web Server

This is a must. Whatever you do to make your website faster, if it is served slow, there's nothing to do.

Make sure that the server your website is hosted has low ping values & it is not over-loaded. Specially if you've a database and/or using dynamic files (like asp, asp.net, php, ruby..) server over-load can kill the performance.

If you've a simple website with few visitors then shared hosting is ok. For a website getting popular, think of a VPS with guaranteed RAM & CPU usage. If the website is already popular, a dedicated server will be the best performing one.

2. Know When To Use GIF, JPG & PNG Files. 

Playing with the quality of images will dramatically lower the sizes of them while they will still be looking good.

GIF is suitable for images with few colors like logos, text & line art. When saving a GIF file, make sure you use a small color pallette (learn more).

JPG is good for images with lots of colors & details like photographs. Decrease the quality of a JPG image before saving. It will still look good for a web image (learn more).

PNG, a format specially for websites, has great quality – both transparent & non-transparent – is specially functional when you're in need of quality transparent images. Don't forget that IE6 has problems in displaying them (learn more).

3. Use XHTML – No Tables

This is easy to tell but may be harder to implement for anyone that has few experience with XHTML.

The thing is, tables are rendered slower than DIVs by browsers. You can do more with less code & no need to say it is much better to be compatible with any browser (including mobile browsers), in means of SEO, etc..

Update: There may be cases when using tables are much more logical like "tabular data". You may have to code a lot for creating the look of a simple 5 columned table. Don't do that & use tables when needed.

What is tried to be mentioned here is, use XHTML rather than tables in general. But don't try to draw images with XHTML.

4. Use CSS Smartly & Compressed

  • Mention every style in CSS files.
  • Find the common properties in objects, define them once & try not to repeat them.
  • If using a significant amount of totally different properties for a specific page, define them in another CSS file & only include on that page. So users viewing other pages won't need to download those properties.
  • Compress your CSS file (you may try this, this or this).

5. Merge & Compress JavaScript Files

Try merging JavaScript files prevent multiple includes (see step 6).

If a JavaScript file will be used only in few pages, try to include them inside those pages only (like CSS in step 4).

Compress JavaScript files. It lowers the size seriously & doesn't have any bad effects on your side. This & this are some of the popular compressors.

6. Manage Included Files Better

There may be several files included in webpages like CSS files, JavaScript files and other JavaScript files for statistic services, social bookmarking sites, widgets & more.

Try to decrease the number of these files:

  • If using digg-reddit-like voting widgets, don't use them in stories that won't hit the frontpage & remove the ones that were submitted few days ago as they won't have any help after sometime.
  • Use only 1 statistic service if possible. Every web-based service requires new files to be installed & they are called each time a page is loaded.
  • Host files on your side & don't use web addresses as file paths.
    • If you're using any JS frameworks like jQuery or MooTools, don't call the .js files from their websites but download & upload them to your website.
    • Don't try to call any file from a web address like "http://.." as this always requires dns queries to be done & will work slower.
  • PHP Speedy (WRD post)is a very effective solution that does all the combining & compressing automatically. You may want to try it.

7. Use HTTP Compression

HTTP compression is one of the most effective step with a little effort.

Today, almost every browser & web server supports HTTP compression. Using it, your files are sent to the visitor compressed & un-compressed on their side & you can have up to 90% success for the text based files (like HTML).

You have 2 popular choices with this:

8. Better Coding

This is for websites which does not use any ready-to-use systems like WordPress, Drupal, ExpressionEngine or similar (if you're using these then you're lucky as they are already well-coded).

Besides the better XHTML & CSS coding, the dynamic coding of the website directly effects the performance.

As you can guess, this is a huge subject. But there are some major things like:

  • Seperate the static & dynamic content. This will help writing less-code.
  • Create smart & effective functions. For ex: if you're going to use a user's name & birthdate at the same page, don't run 2 queries or functions, your function must call 2 of them. Simply, try to do everything once.
  • Connect to the database as few as you can & once connected, call only the data you need.
  • Try to keep database sizes small. If you've a large database, sometimes seperating it into several databases perform better, specially for the data which is reached not so often. From the server's point of view: 4-250mbs of dbs perform better than 1-1gb of db.

9. Cache Webpages

Caching is a superb way of decreasing the stress on the server by running more static files & less queries. It simply saves a static, HTML version of the page to be displayed & displays that file rather than the dynamic one.

For CMS applications like WordPress, there are already ready-to-use caching plugins (like WP-Cache). For PHP, here is a great article from SitePoint.

A small note, caching can also be done at the web server level. But if you're on a shared hosting account, you better be lucky to have it on.

What Do You Suggest?

Besides the tips mentioned above, what are your tips to make websites faster?

Easy CGI is an experienced & quality web hosting service which is specialized in Windows web hosting (now Linux too) solutions.

They have competitive prices and a fast-responsive 24*7 support system (which is the most important factor when choosing a hosting solution)  via phone, ticket & e-mail.

They have an attractive discount offer to WebResourcesDepot readers:

First 3 months of any shared hosting plan to be only $1.99. Click here to get it.

Windows 2008 Web Hosting

To give an idea about the shared hosting features: smallest shared web hosting package includes IIS7 support, 3500 GB traffic, 350 mb diskspace, 50 MySQL databases, SmarterStats statistics (very nice application), ASP.NET, ASP, PHP 4/5 support, shared SSL & more.

Besides shared hosting solutions Easy CGI offers:

P.S. This post is an advertorial.

Many users updating a domain’s DNS addresses while switching web hosting companies, probably, has an experience with new DNS addresses not being activated in a short time & spent some time with checking if they are activated or not.

DNSPinger is free web-based service that checks the domain name provided every 3 minutes for 24 hours and notifies the user via e-mail when the DNS update is activated.

DNSPinger DNS Update Alert

The story

Few days ago, I updated the DNS addresses of a domain name and it took more than 12 hours to activate and I spent some time with pinging it to see if the hosting switch was successful. Rather than checking for it anymore, I created a .vbs file that would check the update status and notify me.

Hoping to help other users having the same problem, here is DNSPinger, an easy to use DNS update notifier.

If you’re dealing frequently with domain names, bookmark DNSPinger and it’ll save your time.

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