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Web Hosting - Unix vs Windows-Based Hosting, Which Is Better?
An operating system functions largely out of sight, or at least is supposed to. It doesn't matter to non-geeks how a file gets stored, or how memory is used, or how simultaneous processes share the limited resources available on a computer. These are among the basic functions of any operating system.
Yet, you can find very passionate supporters - who offer very detailed lists of pros and cons - for every operating system. Why? Because, though the low-level functions of an operating system do their work out of sight, there are many other features that rise to visibility. Sometimes, they do so when they're not supposed to.
Weighing the pros and cons objectively could consume a book. But to select a web host operating system, a manageable level of considerations apply. They can be weighed even by those who don't know a processor queue from a pool cue.
For most web site owners, administering the site/server is just overhead. It's not something they take pleasure in doing and they have plenty of other things to worry about. Many wouldn't know how and have no interest in learning (rightly so, given their priorities). Consequently, ease of administration is paramount for such people.
Whether a Unix-based site (usually Linux these days) is easier to administer than Windows depends on your current skill set and the type of tools and level of access the web hosting company provides. But in general Linux is more difficult to install and maintain than Windows and the learning curve is steeper.
FTP and Control Panels
Often, you don't have to care. For many, the operating system is fairly transparent. FTP file transfers to get a new web page up to a Windows server are very much like they are to a Linux-based site. The user/administrator simply doesn't see what's behind the curtain.
Many companies provide other utilities that completely mask any awareness of the operating system underneath. When that's the case, the web site owner has no reason to care, until or unless they need or want to go 'inside the black box'.
Performance issues can be relevant in selecting which operating system host type to choose. But for the most part, that aspect is outside the web site owner's control. Overall performance can be good or bad on either system, depending on many factors that the publisher will rarely see. The issue is a wash, as far as tipping the scales is concerned.
What is more likely to be seen by a web site owner, at some point in their (and their site's) development is the database product that can be used to store information.
Microsoft SQL Server is relatively simple to use, yet extremely powerful and can deliver great performance. But it doesn't run on Linux. At least, not without special software to emulate Windows, which usually kills performance. On the other hand, with a bit of time invested, MySQL isn't significantly more difficult to learn than MS SQL Server and there are many free installations. Cost may well outweigh other considerations for most on this issue.
Last, but not least, there are differences in programming languages that can be (or at least typically are) used on Windows vs Unix. If you have programmers who are skilled in Visual Basic, ASP and other Microsoft technologies, then a Windows-based host will be your preferred choice. For Perl and PHP programmers, Linux is the more common platform of choice.
No single factor can push you to one versus the other operating system. And, in the long run, it isn't the primary consideration, unless you just enjoy playing with operating systems.
Yes, There Really is a Freebie Santa Claus If you are a cynic when it comes to offers of free stuff, you are not alone. Everyone has had notions like ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? and ?if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is? drilled into their heads, and for good reason ? these things often hold water. On the flip side, there ARE actually lots of places you can score some decent free stuff, if you know where to look and are willing to devote some time to hunting them down. The key to getting the best free stuff with the least amount of hassle is to stick with that healthy cynicism but to also dipping your toe in the freebie pool little by little. But why would anyone give stuff away for free? It is certainly an obvious question, but if you stop to consider it for a moment, you can see that companies actually have a lot of motivation to give away free stuff. After all, if they give you something for free, you are bound to have a little soft spot for their company, and when you are ready to part with some cash, their product may near the top of your list. Also, by giving away free things, companies can convince people to try new products. You might not want to try a new kind of shampoo if you have to pay for it, but you?d certainly be willing to give a free sample a try. You may end up loving it and switching to that shampoo for good, turning you into a paying customer. Another reason a company might give you free stuff is to complete market research. This is where getting free things can get a little complicated for some people because the products may not cost you money, but the offer may cost you a little time. A company might ask you to take a survey of your buying habits before they give you a free offer, or they may ask you to provide feedback on a regular basis as you try their product for free. Some people balk at the time commitment required here, but for other people, filling out some paperwork is a small price to pay for some free stuff. Of course, to convert you into a customer or to communicate with you about market research, a company will have to contact you, which is complicated area number two for freebie lovers. You will almost always be forced to hand over your email address in order to cash in on a free offer, and that is a recipe for opening your inbox up to a barrage of spam (many companies sell your email address to offset the costs of their free promotions, which means the number of people soliciting you can go through the roof very quickly). If you want to avoid this downside of freebie hunting, set up a special email address specifically for your freebie deals. That way all of your spam goes to this one address and your regular email you use with family and friends remains free and clear. One final note of caution about free stuff online: a lot of scammers have hit on the idea of using pretend freebie offers to solicit personal information about people or to convince people to send them money. Don?t send money, even for postage, to a company you don?t know and never, ever give out personal information online. No reputable company is going to ask for your social security number or bank account details for a freebie offer, so don?t hand them out to anyone. When in doubt, skip it and move to the next freebie.
Web Hosting - FTP and Other File Transfer Tools Anything related to the Internet or computers is bound to introduce technical issues pretty soon. One of the earliest that novice web site owners encounter is FTP, which is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. Seeing it spelled out, it's easy to see why those in the know quickly move to speaking in short hand. The reason web site owners soon will (or need to) become familiar with FTP is obvious to anyone who has built a site on a remote server. You have to have some way of getting the files to the remote computer and FTP is one of the most common tools. It's also one of the simplest and most efficient. FTP is composed of two parts: the client software and the server software. It's similar, in a way, to talking to someone on the phone who writes down everything you say. You (the client) make a request ('transfer this file to the server') and the listener (the server) takes the request and acts on it. That request to copy a file from a local computer to the remote one is carried out (often 'under the covers') by a PUT command, as in PUT this there. You create the web page (in the form of a file) and then PUT the file on the server. To move a file in the opposite direction, from the remote server to your local computer, your client software issues a GET command. Many FTP clients have graphical interfaces, similar to Windows Explorer, that allow you to drag-and-drop or otherwise copy the file without ever seeing the actual commands that carry it out. But it's helpful sometimes to know what goes on underneath. In tricky cases it can be an advantage to use a command line interface (in Windows, the 'DOS box', with a similar interface familiar to most Linux users). Knowing the commands and being able to use them in the command line form can sometimes help you diagnose what is going on when the graphical tools misbehave. But FTP is not the only way to get a file from here to there. In fact, your browser moves files around from a remote computer to your local one all the time. In most cases, when you type in or click on a URL, what happens under the covers is in essence a file transfer process. The web page is transferred from the web server to your local computer then displayed by the browser. Alternatively, you can sometimes even email a web page/file from your local computer to the remote server, then use an email client on the server itself to get the file and put it in a folder. That requires that you have some form of access to the remote computer. But there are many ways of doing that, such as in-built utilities in the operating system or using commercial remote control programs. Those alternatives can be helpful to know in cases where the FTP file transfer process is misbehaving. Having more than one way to accomplish the task helps you diagnose what might be going wrong. It also helps you get the job done when the usual tools aren't cooperating. The more you learn about these sometimes puzzling acronyms, the easier you can accomplish your own goals.
Everywhere You Look There are Creative Writing Prompts (creative writing prompts) As glamorous as creative writing prompt sounds, it is nothing more than they start of an idea for your writings. A prompt could be virtually anything from a picture to a dream, whatever gives you that ?Oh that would be a great story? feeling is your prompt. Like a movie preview it gives you a taste of what is to come or a sample at a store that makes you want to buy the product. It could be a single word or a collaboration of words. Whatever it takes to get the story into your head and then onto the paper would be considered a creative writing prompt. The need of finding creative writing prompts often stems from having writers block. If coming up with your own prompts has become difficult don?t worry. There a literally millions of prompts out there. You just need to find the right ones for you. Take the Internet for example. Do a search for creative writing prompts. You now have pages and pages of story starter?s right at your fingertips. You have many options available while searching for prompts. From one or two words starters to a brief synopsis of an idea they are available to you. Some sites offer daily prompts. They will even email them to you. There are many books available with nothing but lists of prompts just waiting to be turned into great stories from your mind. There are a lot of writers that feel that using lists of prewritten prompts by someone else is cheating. They feel that all prompts used must be their own. But truth be told, there is not a creative writing prompt that has not been wrote about. It is the creation that comes after the prompt that makes the writing your own. The prompt is not what your creative writing is all about, but a springboard for your imagination. It is merely what opens the portal to your imagination, to your passion, and to your thoughts. Sitting at your computer and staring at the blank page will most likely give you a headache before a great idea. Go outside, close you eyes, and clear your mind. Listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear? Children?s laughter, neighbors chatting, or ever the birds chirping. Let those sounds drift away and your mind float. Slowly letting things come back into your mind, your last trip to the beach, your kids at the playground, your spouse cooking dinner any of these can be an idea jogger that gets the creative writing flowing. These thoughts alone could spark a hundred ideas just waiting to be words on your canvas. It also may help to keep a notebook with you at all times. That way whenever you have a great idea you can jot it down before it escapes you. Many writers only use creative writing prompts from outside sources. They are given to them by editors and publishers telling the writer what they want you to write about. Some writers work better this way being given the idea and running with it. Others prefer using their own. Creative writing prompts not only help initiate ideas, they also help spark your memory for you to write about your own past experiences and adventures. You can use them for writings on your website or blog. Whether you use outside sources for your inspiration or use your own it does not affect the integrity of the words that complete the idea. The story behind the prompt is the vision of your creative abilities, not the prompt itself.