Archive for the 'Technology' Category

posted by MariyaV @ 15:51 PM
January 9, 2014

Three Pitfalls of CMS

Most of the sites in the Internet are now using CMS. The reasons for that are obvious. The main one is that you don’t need to code – basically what you need to do is just clicking buttons. This applies to both functionality and design, so, the role of the administrator is mainly adding and managing content. If comparing a site with a house, with CMS you just move to a house and put your things into it. Without CMS, you would need to build the house first. So, if building houses does not apply to you, then CMS is your friend. But this article is not about adavantages of CMS. It is about pitfalls.

First pitfall is security. Structure of popular CMS (such as WordPress or Joomla) is constantly studied by malicious users who are inventing new sophisticated ways to hack it. Even if you run a non-commercial website with several daily visitors, it doesn’t mean you won’t become a victim. There is always a risk of massive hack of the whole server which will affect all the sites with certain CMS vulnarability hosted on it. There are several essential recommendations:

– Always have a fresh backup at hand. It doesn’t help to avoid hacking but helps to restore your site quickly if it is defaced or broken.

– When installing your CMS (e.g. WordPress), use strong password, custom username and custom installation directory. The latter is less obvious but even more important.

– Install a basic security plugin.

Following the advices above still doesn’t give a guarantee that the site will be fully safe. However, the chances of being hacked will be much lower.

Another pitfall is limited functionality. Each CMS comes with some specific range of fetaures and options which are good for a basic and standard web-site but not enough if you need something special. With open-source CMS (take WP) adding functionality is possible through installation of plugins. However, it puts you into a different trap: having too many plugins means abusing resources of your hosting (especially if it is a shared package). Not to mention that performance of the site will get slower and less stable. There is no ideal solution for this one. So, If hiring a developer does not apply to you, you will have to accept that one can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and just search for a golden middle between too little funtionality and too many addons.

And one more pitfall is slow loading of the pages. The loading speed depends on several factors such as response time and bandwidth of the server, redirects and scripts. However, we are now talking not about an additional script eating your performance but about CMS itself being such a script. Otherwords, an HTML page alone is loading faster than the same page as part of the CMS-using website. With open-source CMS this problem can be partly resolved by installing a caching plugin (it simply converts awkward pages created by CMS into HTML for faster loading). Even though it’s better to have less plugins (see the previous paragraph), a caching plugin is a must-have one.

Among other common disadvantages of CMS, users also often name necessity of learning how your CMS works and if you change CMS – you need to learn it from scratch. However, in our opinion this is not as complicated as it seems and no match to the three pitfalls listed above. Most of the interfaces are user-friendly and you begin learning the basics more or less quickly and easily regardless of your past experience. In the same time, we do not doubt that the more you know about your CMS, the better site you can create.

The fact that CMS have their pitfalls doesn’t mean that you should avoid them. Especially, considering the fact that in most cases you don’t have alternatives. Just be prepared and remember that there is no perfect solution, but there can be one which suits your needs best.


posted by admin @ 19:19 PM
June 17, 2011

windows vps hostingRecently one of our readers asked us to post an article about the benefits of Windows driven VPS hosting. Since we’ve been looking into provision of this service as well, there was some interesting information gathered and we would like to share this with you. We thought that showing both upsides and downsides of this type of hosting is more fair. Sure, this article is posted from our point of view, so it reviews peculiarities of Windows hosting in terms of use of VPS-hosting specifically as a platform.

How is Windows run on VPS servers?

Running Windows on VPS usually implies the use of two types of virtualization technologies – XEN – the technology, generally applied in creation of fully virtualized VPS platforms and Hyper-V – special virtualization system, developed by Microsoft to run Windows VPS server only. XEN is known to many of our readers – this virtualization technology allows to create and manage virtual servers keeping them completely isolated from each other, while using same hardware resources by different system kernels – each fully virtualized environment keeps the system with its kernel that addresses to the layer of virtualized hardware.

As for Hyper-V – this technology needs some description. In fact, it is a hypervisor that works on the basis of partitioning with at least one parent partition that has access to hardware and can create child partitions that host guest OSs within virtual environment – just like XEN and its interfaces. But if you take a closer look, you can see that Hyper-V is a version of core installation of Windows Server 2008 with virtualization support – which makes it look much like OpenVZ that utilizes modified Linux kernel. Thus, it is fair to call it a symbiosis of two technologies.

What is so special about Windows VPS Hosting?

VPS as a platform to run Windows on has become a real discovery for many users who needed Windows-based hosting but could hardly afford a dedicated server while experiencing issues with shared hosting, run under this OS. Indeed, using Windows as a server OS and namely for hosting needs is quite troublesome – initial resource usage is higher than that under Linux, disk usage policy and work of the disk subsystem is more complex, and full functional access can be achieved only by establishment of remote desktop connection (RDP) or a control panel. The latter aspect caused the biggest inconvenience, since shared hosting users are not usually provided with RDP access while the control panel functionality is limited so, that the lack of privileges makes the use of many tools impossible.

Use of VPS hosting has solved many of those problems – VPS carriers with large amounts of RAM allowed to delegate resources that are enough for the system to operate with additional software and cover the loads created by resource intensive programs (e.g. Microsoft Exchange server); RAID hard disk arrays + virtual disk partitioning allowed to minimize the I/O loads and increase the read/writing speed. Finally, a VPS allowed to create isolated environment, which enabled the users to manage their servers under “Administrator” privileges.

What are the downsides to keep in mind?

Besides the obvious upsides of Windows-based VPS hosting, there are, however, downsides that should be considered while making the choice. First of all the price – when it comes to evaluation of Windows hosting in general and its hosting on a standalone server in particular, all licenses, starting from the OS itself and all software, seem to cost an arm and a leg. The server is not going to be cheap as well – as mentioned above, Windows requires more resources, so the least powerful virtual server you will need is a XEN-based VPS – which are more expensive than those under OpenVZ – with 1 GB of RAM at minimum (you can find plans with 512 MB of RAM offered, but there won’t be much resources left to operate with). A Hyper-V based server with same resource rates will grant you more stable hosting, but it is going to cost more.

Mentioning this downside we don’t mean that the pricing difference is going to reflect in tens of dollars compared to Linux VPS hosting, but this may make some users think, whether they need it – at least those, who are not sure, if they are going to prefer ASP and .NET to PHP. If you are sure about the use of Microsoft software, here are some more tips on what you should be careful about.

Accessibility. You may be happy about having RDP and control panel access to your server – both provide clear intuitive interfaces, the former actually makes you feel like sitting at your home desktop, but are those means actually enough? If your server gets too overloaded, you may not be able to access it to reboot it, so you will need to send a support request which definitely causes a time loss. What you may make sure about before choosing your Windows-driven VPS host, is if they offer remote reboots from the host’s client panel – this may save your time.

Monitoring. Unlike Linux-based VPS servers, those running Windows need more severe monitoring, which may result into either bigger expenses – so you will need to hire an administrator or involve your host’s support team – or stresses, caused by constant inspection of your server’s state and investigation of issues it has or may have in future.

There are even more aspects, related to OS Windows itself to be kept in mind – security, as Windows is quite vulnerable; software-related; usability-related and others. So it is fair to get back to the question, whether you really need it. Many webmasters who are asked to create a site to work on a Windows server usually ask this question. And when they receive a solid “yes” they want the project to be described as clearly as possible. Thus, if you imagine your project well and see the full picture of how it is going to be run and why exactly it needs Windows, you are on the right way, and we hope, that your experience in this is going to be positive.

posted by Archie @ 21:40 PM
January 28, 2011

justice scaleWe are back to the topic of cloud hosting. The latest article we published on it was dedicated to two cloud hosting platforms we compared – a standalone server with CloudLinux OS installed and a cloud, based on several VPS-nodes. Since we analyzed both platforms from the point of view of shared hosting, it is now time to take a closer look at what cloud-based shared hosting actually is like.

The main concern there is about resource delegation – those who use shared hosting, know that providers of shared hosting services usually limit server resource usage softly – they announce the limitations in their Acceptable Usage Policy or any other document, that regulates service operation, which means that anytime the user abuses the server by exceeding the limits and overloading the server, they can suspend the account. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Archie @ 9:17 AM
January 19, 2011

Not that long ago we published an article introducing you into cloud hosting. This relatively new, yet powerful and promising technology becomes more widely used in hosting of small and medium online projects day by day. It means that this kind of hosting services gains users trust and requires less technical skills than one might think. Additionally, it makes prospect customers expect further price reduction, which in turn may increase the sales of this product.

If you want to make sure that all your plans regarding your hosting ground get realized, it is vital to do some pre-sales work targeted at finding out as much technical information as possible. Many things about the technology in use are usually available in extended feature list of packages offered by a hosting provider, at their corporate Wiki or FAQ documents. Today we are going to talk about the primary parameter to look after while choosing your cloud host – platform.

Platform for Cloud Shared Hosting Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Archie @ 20:34 PM
December 22, 2010

Cloud HostingHave you ever purchased a hosting solution that in the end appeared to be either not sufficient for your needs or too powerful than actually required? Well, if you did, you are most likely to have experienced inconveniences and service slowdowns in the former case, while the in latter case you realized you are paying too much extra. Thanks to the technology called cloud hosting, it is right now easier to get a hosting solution that would provide the exact amount of resources needed at that particular point.

What Is Cloud Hosting? Read the rest of this entry »