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Web Hosting - Databases, What Are They and Do You Need One?
'Database' is one of the most commonly used terms that one encounters in web site design. Yet, what they really are and whether they're essential is often not clear to novices.
A database is a collection of organized data, stored in files that have a specific structure. It's that organization and structure that allows for easy and rapid storage and retrieval.
The need for a database generally only arises when you have a certain amount of information and that information needs to have some structure. If you have a half-dozen names and addresses to store, a database is usually overkill. If you have a blob of data with no relationships between any of the items in that blob, maintaining a database is usually more trouble than it's worth.
Maintain a database? Yes, like other complex systems a database, to be effective, needs to be designed properly at the outset then kept 'tuned' for good performance. The alternative is to gradually allow the database to become more and more disorganized. That leads to difficulty in use, poor speed of retrieval and more frequent failures.
With MySQL, Access or MS SQL Server, the three most common choices of database product for web sites today, setting up a database is relatively simple. Even those with limited technical skill can get one up and running just by following some simple instructions. But some thought should be given to how you want the information organized, and to maintaining the system during its lifetime.
Suppose you have a set of names, addresses, email addresses, products purchased, date purchased and amount. If you have only a few dozen records it matters very little how these pieces are arranged and related. A database usually isn't even warranted in this scenario. Once you have several thousand or more records, it matters a lot. Speed, the ease of expanding the set of attributes (like adding, say, product category), and other issues come into play.
Even those with little technical expertise, but a willingness to exert logical thought and invest some time, can build a very robust database. Think about how you would organize a set of data (called 'tables'). Should Name, Address, and Product be in the same table? Or should the personal information be stored in one table and any product information (product, price, ...) in another?
Some experimentation may be needed to get it right, but the choices have an impact on how easy the tables are to maintain. It also affects the speed with which programs can fetch old data and store the new.
Having a database also introduces new maintenance issues for the server administrator, since backups usually need to be done differently. Recovering a failed database is usually more complicated than simply re-copying files from yesterday. Ask your hosting company what tools and skills they have for dealing with any database system you consider.
It's true that introducing a database creates more complexity and the need for additional thought and administrative effort. At a certain level, professional expertise will be needed. But clearly the advantages outweigh the costs in many cases. Companies large and small eventually use databases to store and organize data. At some point, you may be fortunate enough to be one of them.
The Slam and Other Outlets for your Poetry Needs (poetry reading) Poetry is an effective display of human life and emotion. Not only are the writer?s feelings about life revealed, the reader is also taken on a journey of meaning and feeling. Poetry is an outlet for writers and readers alike. Each new poem that is written is another chapter in the entire human experience. Since people are looking for meaning within their experiences, poetry draws fans by adding that meaning. Poetry reading can be educational and enjoyable. There are many places and forms that poetry reading can take, so if you are looking for an outlet or inlet of your own, you?ll be sure to find one that will fit your needs perfectly. A Poetry Slam A poetry slam is a gathering of poetry lovers. Each person that attends brings one or several pieces of poetry to read. The poems can be individual work or work that you have come across in your poetry reading. The point is to allow everyone to enjoy poetry that they may have never heard before. As each reader places his own interpretation within his reading, everyone can enjoy the variation in style and sound and meaning that comes out of the experience. There are probably a few poetry slams scheduled in your community already. Check the library or the local college campus for more information. If poetry slams are not already being scheduled, or if they are not frequent enough for your taste, you can start your own. All it takes is a meeting place and some flyers. You?ll probably meet all kinds of people that you enjoy being with at a poetry slam. Going to Class Another place to meet other poetry lovers is in class. If there is a college or university campus near you, join a class. Poetry classes are often scheduled in the evening because of their popularity with those who are not regular students. Poetry reading happens in a couple of different kinds of classes. You can take poetry classes that focus on poetry that has been written through history. Sometimes the classes will focus on a specific group of people or time in history. As the subjects change, you can continue to take the classes and continually come across new poetry that you have not read before. You can also take poetry classes that encourage you to write your own poetry. You will then be able to read your work as well as listen to others? work. The great thing about poetry classes is that they are set up for discussion. You can discover more meanings in other people?s writing and develop your own with the help of other qualified students as well as your professor. The Impromptu If you are involved in any other kind of poetry reading, you will probably be well immersed in the different forms of poetry. Understanding a few different writers? perspectives will allow you to involve poetry in your every day life. As you talk to friends and relatives about typical situations that arise, you will be able to bring meaning to many of your conversations through poetry reading. You will probably also develop your own skills of writing and so be able to express yourself effectively when it comes to all kinds of human experiences. Hopefully, at impromptu poetry readings, you?ll be able to inform your friends and relatives as well. Poetry reading opens doors to the heart and the mind. Poetry is a deep expression of emotion and the understanding of life as well as death. Don?t hesitate to broaden your own poetic horizons by experiencing your own poetry and that of others. Try some of the outlets and inlets listed above.
Free Anonymous Phone Number and Voice Mail through JC Connect Do you wish you had access to free anonymous phone numbers and voice mail for your business or personal use? The web offers many freebies, including access to these types of services. Most of the time, you just have to know where to look. Here are some services, including the well-known JC Connect, which provides users with free, fast and accessible service to these types of services. Get Fast and Free Access to Business Services with JC Connect What is JC Connect, and what can it do for you? JC Connect free service is the web's longest-running service in terms of providing its users with free phone numbers. You can use these free incoming phone numbers in order to receive fax and voice messages. This service is still widely known by its old name, JFax, but now it is officially recognized as JConnect Free services. This well-regarded service offers their free services at no cost to you. The service also requires very little personal information from its uses. All you need to provide in order to use its services include your name, email address, gender, age and your zip code. After signing up, you will receive a unique phone number. Use this unique phone number in order to forward messages. These messages are well-compressed image and audio files. You can forward these messages to your email in-box. Because these services are free, the company requests that users limit their usage to a certain number of messages at a time. This is a good site if you don't have easy access to a fax machine. Need Free Web Space for Your Business? Another tool that most small businesses need is free web space. Freeservers is a popular web service that provides users with 20 MB of free website space. The site has become well known for its complete suite of tools and features. Some of the features that this free service boasts include easy-to-use web design templates, FTP upload and many other web-based tools. You can also program your account so that emails can be sent directly to your domain. There are also many free web traffic analysis tools, including daily and weekly breakdowns of all your site's traffic. You can actually see how many people have viewed your website on a daily basis. Freeservers does require users to display a non-obtrusive banner ad on their website pages. Free and Easy Tools for Keeping Up With Your Portfolio Are you looking for a free and easy way to keep tabs on your portfolio? Here is a website that allows you to do just that. Company Sleuth is a website that helps you keep track of your investments. You simply sign up and enter the ticker symbols for the companies and corporations that you want to watch, and let the site do the rest. What sort of information will come your way once you have signed up? Once you have signed up, the site will cull information from news sites, investor forums, press releases, job listings and even official SEC document in order to give you the latest information on the companies you want to keep an eye on. Want to Test Your Website? If you want to test the mettle of your own website and its servers, NetWhistle is there to do just that. This service tests the reliability and strength of your domain's website. It will check to see if your website server is up at intervals. This service will create a log and notify you immediately if there is a problem with your website. You will also receive a handy weekly report card.
Web Hosting - Look Before You Leap Companies that offer Internet-connected servers that provide space and bandwidth for a domain, for one or more web sites, are called Web Hosts. Large companies have private networks that allow them to host domains on their own equipment and IP address range. But for the majority of those who want an Internet presence, a 'rented' web host is a necessity. There are a wide variety of hosting plans available. Some are free, others charge up to a $100 or more per month. Some provide nothing but a tiny amount of disk space and minimal network bandwidth. The web site owner is on his or her own for any thing else. Others offer a range of services, including server and email administration, backups, web site design assistance, troubleshooting and many others. In the world of web hosting, you may often find yourself sharing a server with anywhere from one to a thousand or more other web sites. That allows the web hosting company to keep equipment and staff expenses lower. Many web sites are simple and low-volume enough that the arrangement works fine. When you or one or more of the others grow, it may be helpful to consider a dedicated server. A dedicated server, as the name suggests, hosts only your domain. You can put one web site on it, or as many as you wish. You control the access. You may also, as an option, take over much of the server administration yourself. That may save you money on support costs, but cost you considerable time. If you don't have the expertise, you can end up costing yourself much more than you save. In order to carry out those administrative functions yourself, even if you hire help, it's desirable to have some technical knowledge under your belt. Some of that knowledge will be useful, even for day-to-day tasks apart from dealing with emergencies. FTP, email administration, backup methods and other technical areas are among the more common areas you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with. When your web site grows to a certain size and level of complexity, you'll begin to find it worthwhile to look at implementing a database. But that brings with it a still higher level of ability, both technical and logistical or creative. Implementing a database can be relatively simple. Designing one that provides what you want, with decent performance and maintenance that doesn't become a nightmare, will take some careful thought. Not everyone has the temperament for that type of work, especially those who prefer graphical design, content creation or development, and the many other web site tasks that are part of every implementation. There are other, more low level administrative matters. Managing disk space, maintaining domain names, dealing with registration and changes, and a number of other 'utilitarian' tasks are also not everyone's cup of tea. Some understanding of how DNS works, as well as the design of the Internet itself, are helpful. That provides a good context for understanding the role of some of those tasks. When you begin to seek out a web host to implement a web site, consider all these factors and look in the mirror. What kind of web hosting you should pursue is determined by a combination of who you are and what's being offered. Look before you leap.