Web and Hosting Tips
Written by Jeremy Jensen
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
In a digital era where connectivity and technology are terms as ubiquitous as food and water, it’s easy to take the Internet for granted and not pay it any more mind beyond your latest tweet. In fact, relatively few people really understand what the Internet is, no less the origins of the world wide web or how it has grown over time to reach its current capabilities.
Although this information might strike you as irrelevant, it might be wise to take minute and learn the basics just as you should understand the fundamentals of a car, considering that the Internet will undoubtedly be the tool that defines the 21st century.
Birth of “The Net”
Conceptualization – The Internet was conceived in 1962 by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT as a “Galactic Network” that would connect a group of computers so they may access data and programs regardless of where a single computer was located.
Experimentation – After MIT researchers Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence G. Roberts expanded upon Licklider’s idea and theorized the feasibility of such an invention, they managed to successfully link two computers from Massachusetts to California via a low speed dial-up telephone line in 1965.
Development – By 1968 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, guided the technology and its development under the project name ARPANET and honed the boarder aspects of the project, such as its structural and technical parameters, architectural designs, and key components like the Interface Message Processors (IMP).
Inception – After the very first host computer was connected to the first node at UCLA in 1969, the Stanford Research Institute connected and host-to-host messaging was born. Following this with the addition of two nodes that dealt with application visualization projects, four host computers were connected to ARPANET.
Sophistication – As more and more computers were added to the network, function and utilization was the focus for improvements. Software was subsequently devised and the Network Control Protocol (NCP) was implemented, thus leading to the need for more applications. In 1972, the budding network saw its culmination in the construction of the ultimate coordination tool– electronic mail.
Integration – Soon the ultimate goal of ARPANET turned to incorporating other separate networks through the foundational idea of Internetworking Architecture where they may be independently designed for a unique interface. This would be referred to as “internetting” and throughout the late ‘70s and early 80’s there would be extensive development of LANS, PC’s and workstations that would not just lead to more networks, but to more modifications of the initial model.
Evolution – As the Internet grew, so did the progressive management issues; in particular were the router insufficiencies, the transition to the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol, and problems regarding a single table for every host after they all were assigned names for easier public use. This latter was accommodated by the creation of the Domain Name System (DNS) that would mitigate the task by properly distributing hierarchical host names into Internet addresses.
Mainstream – By the mid 90’s, the Internet was a respected and well-supported technology that was embraced not only by those in the research communities, but the mainstream masses for personal communicative uses too.
What Brought About the World Wide Web
Documentation – One of the key factors in the successful building of the Internet into what it is now was the free promotion and sharing of research and data. The new, dynamic, and real-time exchange of knowledge was critical to the concept of an online, interconnected community.
Community – Though the Internet was established by those in academia, it was the efficient transmittance of ideas that allowed the common man to become engaged and help build it with his public presence. By creating a widespread community, they also created a widespread dialogue and their peer-to-peer relationships helped drive the technology forward.
Commercialization – As vendors began to supply the network products, and the service providers the internet connections, we have seen a shift in the popular demand that now treats the technology much like a physical commodity due to the systemic use of browsers and search engines and the World Wide Web for commercial purposes.
Tool of The 21st Century
What once began as a data communications network and evolved into a global information infrastructure is now a technology that manifests itself in every person’s life. It dictates how we communicate as a society, how we learn, and how we will continue to evolve. You should take credence in the fact that knowing this brief history will help you understand the trajectory we are all on as a globalized, interconnected people.
Written by Natalie Lehrer
Monday, August 25th, 2014
With your website up and running, you can welcome visitors from all over the web. And with several websites – or web applications – you can multiply that number of visitors further. But what if you wanted to give each visitor a seamless experience so that whichever website he or she accessed, it would be possible to transparently get services from the other websites, too? Sure, you can always provide handy links to open up new browser windows or embed information in pop-ups, but web hosting also allows you to make things much more seamless and slick. You can give your visitors the perception that they are getting everything they need from just one site.
How your visitors see your site can affect visitor loyalty, traffic and (if that’s your goal) website revenues. Suppose you run a travel information service on one web hosting platform, a hotel reservation service on another, and you’d also like to make up to date currency exchange information (which you don’t host) available to your visitors too. In fact, by using a standard networking protocol that other providers offer, you can also make your web site the center of the universe for your visitors and invisibly pull in all sorts of information that could be of interest to them. ‘One-stop shops’ like this are more convenient and encourage more visitors to return. So what sort of mechanism lets you do that?
SOAP: Simple But Effective
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol to give its full, former name) is a standard protocol that lets web sites access information from external sources for their visitors without interrupting the ‘one site does it all’ experience. It’s not the only way to accomplish this, but it is one of the most simple. What’s more, it doesn’t depend on any particular web programming language or web hosting operating system, so it can hook up just about anything. SOAP just uses two universal resources to work: HTTP (which is how your website works anyway) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which is also available as a standard part of any mainstream web platform.
What SOAP Does
SOAP specifies how to set up communications with an HTTP header and an XML file so that an application in one server can call an application in another and ask for information. It also specifies how the other application then responds to the first with the requested information. Essentially the provider of the information makes instructions available about what information can be requested and how. These instructions are expressed in WSDL or Web Services Description Language (which is based on XML). The consumer of the information uses the instructions to create a calling application and sends it using SOAP to manage the interaction.
Back To Our Example
If you’re running the website with the travel info and the webserver with the hotel reservation system, then you can choose to have a SOAP provider application on your reservation system and a SOAP consumer application on the travel info website. A visitor reading your travel info could then click to get immediate hotel availability information and even a hotel reservation form without leaving the travel info site. To get auxiliary information on currency exchange rates for foreign destinations, you could use the WSDL instructions from a third-party site and create a second SOAP consumer application to get up to the minute currency conversion for your own visitors – again, without them leaving your travel info site.
Is It Complicated to Implement?
In absolute terms, no. Somebody who knows HTTP and who understands XML will likely find that SOAP and WSDL are simple enough to work with. Of course, you’ll want to design and test your web services applications properly to make quite sure they work consistently and reliably for all your visitors. But once they are in place, you can then also offer your slick hotel reservation web service to other webmasters so that you can boost your business even more!
Author bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/monsieurlui/316350341/in/photolist-tXnWe-fNfHbS-ifXF2F-ifXFjN-arujE9-cfFUX3-kLeAct-9kKrVe-5T9fu6-4xhrfT-fkv78c-aWa2ZT-3265bo-FLKc7-nxxMxP-eUAzmU-617kFE-7WvyGS-fV8bGm-e1ajoV
Written by Brandi Bennett
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.
While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the social media platforms. Well, no more!
G+ now offers businesses the ability to access all of the analytic information that they need in order to determine the best methods of connecting with customers, identifying what is working and what is not, and, perhaps more importantly, works to increase the amount of control that small businesses have over their promotional activities. Offered as a part of the service now known as “Google My Business,” small business owners are able to manage many aspects of their online presence, including search results, maps, directions, reviews, and the analytical data offered to them through the use of G+.
Time To Make A Change?
Google’s always worked to try to provide users with all of the information that they could ever possibly need or want (and then some), but now it appears as though they are working to take care of not just individuals but businesses as well. With all this available readily at your fingertips, perhaps it’s time for you too to consider making a change; if not permanently, at least working to include G+ in your retinue of tools.
Written by Natalie Lehrer
Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Have you ever wondered how some of those more popular web sites manage to deliver their content to you so quickly and so reliably – no matter where the company is located and no matter where you happen to be connected? In many cases, the answer is not one gigantic server with huge Internet bandwidth. It’s more likely to be the use of a content delivery network (CDN). If your own web presence is starting to generate serious interest and traffic, especially from different parts of the world, it may be a solution that makes sense for you in order to supply your content to a growing number of fans or customers.
Like Web Hosting but Multiplied Up
A CDN works in a similar way to a single web hosting installation, but replicates your website data on multiple servers. These servers are distributed geographically to increase proximity with visitors to your website. Some CDNs focus on certain regions. Others claim worldwide coverage – the biggest CDNs can have thousands of servers, all automatically configured to serve the end-users that are the physically closest to them. Smaller distances mean fewer hops, less latency and faster overall transmission. Higher numbers of servers mean that end-users are less likely to see delays when trying to access a very popular site, because the load is shared out between the replicating hosts.
What do CDNs Do Best?
CDNs can work well with static web content, including text and images. However, their effect is often most noticeable in video transmission. When videos are streamed from a local CDN server to a user, latency can be minimized and good video replay quality can be achieved, with the stop/start or jitter that occurs when large numbers of remote users all access the same central server. Other benefits include resilience of content delivery in case part of the Internet experiences problems, and robustness against attacks such as denial of service. For example, if you think you’d like to be the new YouTube or Vimeo on the net, a CDN could be a useful or even essential part of your plan.
Some CDNs are smarter still. Not only do they recognize which users should be served from which local node when they type in the domain name of the website in question, but they also intelligently compress and pre-load data. The compression techniques can be high-performance yet without loss (important for transferring many large data files). The pre-loading relies on a statistical analysis of which website content is the most popular or most frequently downloaded in a given sequence. The CDN node will send the next webpages in the sequence at the same time as the first webpage requested by the user. If the user then navigates to the next page in the sequence (which has a good probability of happening), the content is already present on the user’s computer and ‘flashes up’ immediately.
When Would You Start Using a CDN?
If you currently attract so many users to your site that performance and/or network bandwidth are becoming bottlenecks, CDNs may be worth investigating. They may be a less expensive yet more effective option compared to trying to beef up your central web hosting. A ‘CDN aggregator’ company may be able to help by modeling your traffic and your requirements, and identifying the best deal among the CDNs available. Such aggregators may even offer a dynamic ‘mix and match’ service, continually selecting the most favorable CDN for your requirements. This often assumes of course that you accept to sign up with the aggregator as the intermediary for providing this service.
Author Bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ttdesign/343167590/in/photolist-wjPLA-7Be85n-rbCWW-aQf21D-7KjZjr-7zDWzv-6aw5Lh-8MDbrZ-5KpNhE-7XMuAD-6cGrgu-89Tw5Q-6nt5X1-5LVP4E-84s4zk-hQ5CiF-7BS33u-ELx7g-9zVHaR-7YQdNq-fqcg29-gRu2rU-ht66k-6HPouy-6z8pej-jkgYmp-7H54Kk-8ZVktv-6B3s58-8MtWqu-dbvTz6-fD4Ngx-8fPKrA-7WBuA2-89TsG5-4RDokh-cjL6F5-bccJFK-6whmkD-nqmnkC-7znbaU-5y9Lmn-8WgR9s-eVRB9u-3XBxv-dN9oWd-cnJHKG-7Rb4Yp-9mg1XN-cjKJeu