What is a Database? What is SQL? What is MySQL?

What is a Database? What is SQL? What is MySQL?

Among the things that are sometimes asked by new webmasters are “What is MySQL?”, “What is SQL” and “What is a database?”. These questions arise because such terms tend to surface all over the place in connection with the creation of a website.

What is a Database?

Database is a systematic collection of data. Databases support storage and  manipulation of data. Databases make data management easy. Let’s discuss few examples. An online telephone directory would definitely use database to store data pertaining to people, phone numbers, other contact details, etc. Your electricity service provider is obviously using a database to manage billing , client related issues, to handle fault data, etc. Let’s also consider the facebook. It needs to store, manipulate and present data related to members, their friends, member activities, messages, advertisements and lot more.

What is SQL? What is MySQL?

Structured Query language (SQL) is actually the standard language for dealing with Relational Databases. SQL programming can be effectively used to insert, search, update, delete database records.

That doesn’t mean SQL cannot do things beyond that. In fact it can do lot of things including, but not limited to, optimizing and maintenance of databases.

SQL is the most popular language for adding, accessing and managing content in a database. It is most noted for its quick processing, proven reliability, ease and flexibility of use.

MySQL is a database management system, like SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, Postgres, etc. MySQL is a RDMS (Relational Database Management System). MySQL is an essential part of almost every open source PHP application. Good examples for PHP & MySQL-based scripts are WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal.

What is Linux Hosting?

What is Linux Hosting?

The system of World Wide Web works with Internet Hosting Services where organizations can upload their data on Internet for distribution. Web hosting service, Email Hosting Services, DNS Hosting services etc. are some of the types of Internet Hosting Services. Through web hosting services, you can upload your website on the World Wide Web.

Let us imagine your website as a data container, which has all the content you would like to distribute on the World Wide Web. Web hosts provide space to your website on their servers along with Internet connectivity through their data centre. In simple words, you are hiring server space and connectivity through web hosts.

There are both free and paid web hosting service providers which you can choose as per your requirement. File hosting, image hosting, blog hosting, video hosting, email hosting are some of the types of hosting services provided by web service providers.

Types of Platforms

Windows and Linux are the two types of platforms, which are typically available for web hosting. Kindly note that these web hosting platforms are independent of the operating system you use.

If you have a static website which is made of HTML and CSS then you can host your website on both the platforms. The choice of the platform would be majorly based on the type of scripting language you use for your website. For example if you use PHP and MySQL for your website then you should ideally host your website on Linux. On the other hand if your website has been made using scripts like ASP.net, ASP, SQL or Access then Windows should be your natural choice.

Over the years Linux has emerged as one of the favourite web hosting platforms.

Linux Web Hosting Platform

Linux is an UNIX- based and open source platform that is predominantly used for Website hosting. LAMP is the most important feature of Linux. LAMP is an acronym used for Linux, Apache, MariaDB/MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python. LAMP signifies combination of software and server technologies which are open source and thus making Linux web hosting offers optimal solution to website hosting with limited budget.

Windows and Linux both give you the access to FTP, with which you can upload files on the server through your hard drive. However, the uniqueness of Linux lies in provision of ssh or telnet access which helps to interpret user data over transmission control protocol (TCP). With Common Gateway Interface (CGI), it aids you with application on the browser.

Advantages

Some of the advantages of using Linux Hosting are:

  • Secure and Stable: Linux is known for its stability and security aspects. Linux web hosting gives you robust platform in terms of data safety and steadiness.
  • Easy Backups: It is very important to have backup for a website especially when it accesses non redundant. Linux brings you the best in class and easy backup facility through inbuilt tools.
  • Basic Plans:  Linux web hosting provides you with the array of basic plans encompassing FTP access, Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripting, MySQL services along with email services and ssh access.
  • Simple Administration:  Unlike all other platforms, Linux offers simple administration benefits without using other software tools.
  • Technical Support:  Linux platform comes with a philosophy of providing troubleshooting facility and problem solving function to its users. Making it reliable, technical support and service which is offered by Linux is best in class.
  • Low cost: Linux being an open source platform charges you far lesser in terms of setup, software and monthly costs making it a most preferred solution.

Disadvantages

Some of the disadvantages of using Linux Hosting are:

  • Domain Knowledge: Though it cannot be called as a major demerit but having inadequate knowledge of Linux can be disadvantageous.
  • Compatibility: Websites which are developed keeping windows as its native platform may have problems gelling with Linux bringing out a compatibility issue. Off late this problem is solved in a way with usage of ASP.net.

Anything which has advantages has disadvantages too. It is up to the user to make the most of it with the brighter side. Though Linux web hosting has its share of disadvantages, it always has an upper hand over other platforms in terms of its open source architecture. The web scripts which are currently ruling the roost of web design and development seem compatible with Linux Web Hosting making it a most chosen platform in the currently available range of web hosting services.

What Is Google Analytics?

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account.

Google Analytics features include:

  • Data visualization tools including a dashboard, scorecards and motion charts, which display changes in data over time.
  • Segmentation for analysis of subsets, such as conversions.
  • Custom reports.
  • Email-based sharing and communication.
  • Integration with other Google products, such as AdWords, Public Data Explorer and Website Optimizer.

Google Analytics is geared toward small and medium-sized retail websites. The service has limitations that make it less suited to more complex websites and larger enterprises. For example, the system collects data through a JavaScript page tag inserted in the code of pages the user wants to collect data on. The page tag functions as a Web bug to gather visitor information. However, because it’s reliant on cookies, the system can’t collect data for users who have disabled them. Google also uses sampling in its reports rather than analyzing all available data.

Furthermore, some security experts have raised concerns about privacy issues in Google Analytics. Through the Google Analytics Dashboard, users can collect information on people whose websites link to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

What Is FTP and How Does It Work?

What Is FTP and How Does It Work?

What is File Transfer Protocol?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In a nutshell, FTP is used to transfer computer files. You’ve probably used FTP before, even if you didn’t realize it. If you have downloaded something from the Internet, such as a new version of an application, it is very possible that you used FTP to do so.

FTP is also frequently used as a way to transfer web pages. FTP allows new web pages created by an individual to show up on the Internet. FTP essentially transfers these web page files to the computer server so others can access them. FTP can also be used to download files or programs from the Internet to your computer. When you download these files, you are transferring them from other servers through FTP.

FTP can allow you to transfer files over any two computers, as long as they both have an Internet connection. You can share folders that contain data like music, Word documents and more.

How does File Transfer Protocol Work?

When files are transferred through FTP, one of two actions is happening – uploading or downloading. Uploading involves transferring files from a personal computer to a server. Downloading involves transferring a file from a server to a personal computer. FTP uses TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) to transfer your files. TCP/IP is basically the language that the Internet uses to carry out commands.

If you are going to use File Transfer Protocol in order to download files, you should keep security concerns in mind. Files downloaded from the Internet may have viruses that can harm your computer.

One way to use FTP is to go through an FTP client. FTP clients may make it safer for your computer to download/upload files and help you avoid malware and viruses. Some FTP clients are pricey, while some are completely free. Using an FTP client is not a necessary step for transferring folders, but it may make uploading and downloading files easier to do.

What Is DNS?

What Is DNS?

DNS – Domain Name System

It’s short for Domain Name System (or Service or Server), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name www.example.com might translate to 198.105.232.4.

The DNS system is, in fact, its own network. If one DNS server doesn’t know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on, until the correct IP address is returned.

What is: cPanel

What is: cPanel

cPanel is a web based hosting control panel provided by many hosting providers to website owners allowing them to manage their websites from a web based interface. This program gives users a graphical interface from which they can control their portion of the Unix server. The tools provided are designed to simplify running and controlling a website. It uses a tiered structure that allows different levels of access. Administrators and end users can control the different aspects of the server and the website directly through their browser. CPanel is generally accessed using https on port 2083 or simply by adding “/cpanel” to the end of the host name. Depending on the hosting provider the cPanel will generally have some sort of auto installer or package dedicated to content management systems like WordPress.

With WordPress installed, a user can use cPanel to manage the features offered by their WordPress hosting plan. Some of these popular features are the ability to manage databases, domain names, mail accounts, and back-ups. Software like cpanel, makes it extremely easy for users to manage their hosting with little or no technical knowledge of web hosting on their own without breaking anything

What Is Considered Bulk Email?

What Is Considered Bulk Email?

Bulk email is a powerful component of permission marketing. Bulk email is the practice of sending out electronic mail messages to large groups of recipients at once. Depending on how, why and to whom it is sent, bulk email can be a useful communication tool or an annoyance that opens its sender up to a range of sanctions. The difference between a desired bulk email and spam is relatively clear.

 Solicited Bulk Emails

Companies send out bulk email legally every day. When a flower delivery company from which you have bought flowers in the past sends you a reminder for Mother’s Day, it’s a bulk email. Newsletters from your favorite websites are also usually sent as bulk email, as well. When these messages are sent with your permission, they can be useful marketing tools for the companies that send them.

Unsolicited Bulk Emails

For many, the term “bulk email” means spam. However, spam email is a special type of bulk email in that the messages aren’t solicited. For an email to be considered “spam,” it has to come from a company with which you don’t already have a preexisting relationship. Sending spam email is illegal in the United States.

Making Bulk Email Work

The line between bulk email and simply sending messages to a group of friends or associates can be a bit blurry. At the extreme, sending a million messages out is definitely bulk email while sending a memo to five people at once isn’t. Different Internet providers have different thresholds for when they consider a bulk email to be abusive of their network. A good rule of thumb is to try to not send more than 100 messages per hour to a given network, and no more than 10 at a time.

The CAN-SPAM Act

Should your bulk email be considered spam, you could fall subject to the CAN-SPAM Act. This law carries penalties of up to $16,000 per message. As such, when you send out bulk email, it’s important to always have accurate information on who is sending it and to include instructions on how to unsubscribe.

The Upside of Bulk Email

Well-respected Internet pundit Seth Godin coined the term “permission marketing” to refer to the potential of bulk email. If you can get permission from customers or prospects to periodically send them bulk email that they want to read, you can build a meaningful relationship with them with relatively little cost. These messages can become the cornerstone of your branding and sales efforts.

What Is a Website?

What Is a Website?

One of the most common reasons for us to be hanging around on the Internet every day is the abundance of information it is loaded with. The information is generated by multiple sources and is carefully organized in the form of files and web pages, which, when grouped together to form a single entity, become a website.

The Website

In this sense, a website represents a centrally managed group of web pages, containing text, images and all types of multi-media files presented to the attention of the Internet users in an aesthetic and easily accessible way. All websites enabled through the Internet constitute the World Wide Web (WWW).

An example of Microsoft Website

The data contained in the websites is organized and made accessible to the online public with the help of programming languages such as (X)HTML and PHP, just to name a few. Website programming is the main method of defining the structure of a website and managing its behavior as visitors browse through its pages. With the help of web design techniques, the well-structured information is given a user-friendly look & feel. In order for the properly programmed web pages to be presented on visitors’ monitors, they need to be hosted on a web server, which will allow them to be transferred to any web browser via HTTP, the main protocol of the WWW and the 4-letter abbreviation we see at the beginning of each website name.

Visiting websites

Visitors can access a certain website by simply typing its name in the address bar of their web browsers. Website names are made up by their owners and represent an easy-to-remember combination of letters and numbers, more popular as domain names or sub-domains. When you visit a website, you just use the site’s domain name, with the Domain Name System (DNS) taking care of placing the domain on the specified web hosting server. Depending on the purpose it serves, a website could be owned and administered by an individual, an organization or a company.

Website elements

The remarkable progress in website creation technologies and the limitless capabilities of the human imagination has determined the great variety of websites we see today on the web. However, they all contain some basic elements that make them easily recognizable by users in terms of functionality – a home page (also known as index page), the first page we see when entering a site; a navigation menu – the main guide to the website’s contents; a footer area with important links, copyright information, etc. With the help of hyperlinks the visitor is taken from one web page of a site to another in a logic-driven way, which considerably increases the website’s usability.

Static and Dynamic websites

The creative concept and software behind a website determine whether it is static or dynamic. Static websites present the information online to the visitor in a straightforward way – as it is stored on the server. A good example of a static website is each simple company website providing details about the company’s portfolio, contacts, future projects etc. Its setup usually requires some basic website skills and knowledge of HTML and CSS. Dynamic websites, in turn, use databases to store and handle the information, which allows the web pages’ content to be changed automatically in certain pre-defined cases. A dynamic website is, for instance, every portal, blog, or e-commerce store you may visit daily. The list of dynamic website software is much longer, including – PHP, JSP, Perl, ASP and many more.

The PHP website

PHP is one of the most popular tools for website creation. This scripting language is easy to learn and gives the coder great possibilities to create his website and also give it advanced functionality. PHP websites constitute the majority of the personal websites today. PHP is also the scripting language of choice for most of the popular blog, forum or ecommerce sites. It is also easily combined with databases, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, which allow for the data to be kept and organized in an easily accessible manner.

What is a robots.txt file and how to use it

What is a robots.txt file and how to use it

Robots.txt – General information

Robots.txt is a text file located in the site’s root directory that specifies for search engines’ crawlers and spiders what website pages and files you want or don’t want them to visit. Usually, site owners strive to be noticed by search engines, but there are cases when it’s not needed: For instance, if you store sensitive data or you want to save bandwidth by not indexing excluding heavy pages with images.

When a crawler accesses a site, it requests a file named ‘/robots.txt’ in the first place. If such a file is found, the crawler checks it for the website indexation instructions.

NOTE: There can be only one robots.txt file for the website. A robots.txt file for an addon domain needs to be placed to the corresponding document root.

Google’s official stance on the robots.txt file

Robots.txt and SEO

Removing exclusion of images

The default robots.txt file in some CMS versions is set up to exclude your images folder. This issue doesn’t occur in the newest CMS versions, but the older versions need to be checked.

This exclusion means your images will not be indexed and included in Google Image Search, which is something you would want, as it increases your SEO rankings.

Should you want to change this, open your robots.txt file and remove the line that says:

   Disallow: /images/ 

Adding reference to your sitemap.xml file 

If you have a sitemap.xml file (and you should have it as it increases your SEO rankings), it will be good to include the following line in your robots.txt file:

  sitemap: http://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml 

(This line needs to be updated with your domain name and sitemap file).

Miscellaneous remarks

  • Don’t block CSS, Javascript and other resource files by default. This prevents Googlebot from properly rendering the page and understanding that your site is mobile-optimized.
  • You can also use the file to prevent specific pages from being indexed, like login- or 404-pages, but this is better done using the robots meta tag.
  • Adding disallow statements to a robots.txt file does not remove content. It simply blocks access to spiders. If there is content that you want to remove, it’s better to use a meta noindex.
  • As a rule, the robots.txt file should never be used to handle duplicate content. There are better ways like a Rel=canonical tag which is a part of the HTML head of a webpage.
  • Always keep in mind that robots.txt is not subtle. There are often other tools at your disposal that can do a better job like the parameter handling tools within Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, the x-robots-tag and the meta robots tag.
What is an Address (A) Record?

What is an Address (A) Record?

Address (A) Records are a type of Advanced DNS record that direct a domain or subdomain to an IP address (IPv4) of the server hosting the website. As an example, an A Record is used to point a logical domain name, such as “google.com”, to the IP address of Google’s hosting server, “74.125.224.147”.

A Records consist of the Host Name, Address, and the TTL.

 

Host Name

This is the name of the record. Your domain name will automatically be appended to the end (example if you enter www the record will change to www.mywebsitename.com when saved). If you enter @ it will simply be replaced with the root domain (such as, mywebsitename.com).

 

Address (Points To)

This is the IP address (IPv4) to which the A Record will point.

 

TTL (Time To Live)

The TTL sets the amount of time in seconds for the record to stay cached before retrieving it again. The default (and lowest accepted) value is 14400 seconds (4 hours). You do not normally need to modify this value.