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Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.

Five Ways to Find Free Stuff Are you crazy about web freebies? Do you love free stuff? Who doesn't love free stuff? Most people appreciate the occasional free sample in the mail, but there is a specific group of individuals?freebie hunters?that are dedicated to finding the very best in freebie offers. Fortunately for them, and all of us, the World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies, special offers and promotions. Coupons and free samples are just some of what you can get by becoming a dedicated freebies hunter. If you are new to the world of active freebie hunting, here are five ways you can go about finding more free stuff. 1. Getting a Hold of Free Samples. Free samples are the bread and butter of the dedicated freebie hunter. Who doesn't like free samples? Free stuff is good stuff. However, be forewarned that once you get into the world of free samples, it can be easy to get carried away. You may find that your mailbox can fast become flooded with free samples. If not your physical mailbox, your inbox can also become flooded with free coupon offers. Always read the fine print carefully when you are soliciting a free sample directly from a manufacturer. You may inadvertently be signing up for newsletters, promotions and ads. To find the best and latest free samples, visit the StartSampling.com website. StartSampling is an innovative company that allows you to sample new products from exciting companies. If you have a favorite company, you can head to their website and sign up directly for new product samples and discount coupons. For instance, if you are a fan of Crest brand toothpaste or Oil of Olay products, you can sign up with them directly for free samples and coupons. 2. Looking for Free Communications Tools? If you are looking for the best in free telecommunications tools, you are in luck. For those of you tired of being overcharged for faulty 4-1-1 telephone calls, there is now a free directory that you can turn to. Free directory assistance is now available to you at 1-800-FREE-411. This free directory assistance allows you to get most numbers that you need at absolutely no charge. However, you will have to listen to a short advertisement before you are allowed to find your number. For even more free telecommunications tools, check out this handy phone tool. The next time you are stuck in an unpleasant situation and need to escape, plan on using the popularitydialer.com. Simply set the time you need and you will receive a fake call that can pull you out of a less than desirable situation. 3. Finding Free Memory. Need more ways to stay on top of things? Are post-it notes just not cutting it? If you need a little more, you will find that memotome.com can be a great help. Memotome.com is a free scheduling tool that allows you to stay on top of events and dates. It is free to become a member and you even get access to free party and event planning tools. 4. Get Your Fill of Free Literature. Are you an avid reader? If so, you will find that paperbackswap.com is a reader's paradise. All you have to do is choose the book you want to read and request it. You should receive the book in the mail in a few short days. You can also list your own paperback books that you would like to get rid of. 5. Your Free Route to Financial Planning. If you are looking to become a financial planner, check out the very free planning tools that are available online. You can take advantage of free calculators that allow you to figure out your income and savings.

Short Trips: Articles are Great Ways to Enter the Writing Market (writing articles) Not everyone who loves to write is destined to become a writer. Most people define a writer as a person who makes a living from their writing. Writers are committed to a career of difficulty and very hard work. Not that every other job doesn?t include work, but writers make up a group of individuals who are less recognized for their contributions. Certainly there are famous writers who are appreciated for their efforts, but they do not represent the majority of those who take up a pen for their livelihood. If you love to write, but you?re not sure about taking the leap into becoming a writer, there may be a perfect option for you to use your skills. Writing articles is a writing job that can be taken up to whatever degree you would like to do so. Types of Articles to Write Because articles are such short pieces, each one can only cover the smallest piece of information that the world contains. Depth and length are limited by each other and so writing articles allows you to focus on just about anything you?d like. If the articles cannot cover the scope of material that you?d like to cover, you can write more. Articles come in all kinds of packages. They are written for magazines. A magazine will always have a general topic that it strives to cover. Within the broad topic though, there are thousands of possibilities for the creation of articles. Newspapers are more directed towards current events rather than interesting tidbits or random information, but they also must buy articles in order to be printed each and every day. There is also the possibility of writing articles for the internet. In that genre, the topics expand exponentially as time goes on. The opportunities are out there, so how do you start writing articles? Getting Hired for the Work To get hired to write articles you mostly need the ability to market your writing skills. There are many, many good writers in the world. To get hired to write, you must be better than good. You must be able to use your words to describe, explain and convince. You must let an editor know why you are the right writer for a particular job. If you can write effectively enough in your resume and cover letter, an editor will know immediately that you have the skills and abilities to write equally convincing and interesting articles. If you are interested in continuing in the process of writing articles, you must know how to construct great content into a great finished product. Writing Great Articles If you can allow your curiosity to drive you, you will never run out of the ability to create great articles. The first rule in writing articles is to be ever ready to learn something new. You never know when you?ll need that piece of information to back up your writing. The idea for writing articles is only half of the battle though. You also have to actually do the engaging writing. This is where you pull out all of your literary tools. Write with enthusiasm so that your reader will be enthusiastic. Write with variety and slight complexity so that your reader will not be bored. Add a little bit of suspense as you are writing articles so that every reader will keep going until the end. Writing articles can be a career, but it doesn?t have to be. The beautiful thing about article writing is the short term nature of each project. You will move from one topic to the next as you continue to learn and expand your writing abilities. Writing articles can take you from your front yard to across the world in as short of trip as you need it to be. If you are considering the possibilities available to you in a writing job, investigate the possibilities of article writing. If you are a writer, you?ll love the work.

Five Ways to Find Free Stuff Are you crazy about web freebies? Do you love free stuff? Who doesn't love free stuff? Most people appreciate the occasional free sample in the mail, but there is a specific group of individuals?freebie hunters?that are dedicated to finding the very best in freebie offers. Fortunately for them, and all of us, the World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies, special offers and promotions. Coupons and free samples are just some of what you can get by becoming a dedicated freebies hunter. If you are new to the world of active freebie hunting, here are five ways you can go about finding more free stuff. 1. Getting a Hold of Free Samples. Free samples are the bread and butter of the dedicated freebie hunter. Who doesn't like free samples? Free stuff is good stuff. However, be forewarned that once you get into the world of free samples, it can be easy to get carried away. You may find that your mailbox can fast become flooded with free samples. If not your physical mailbox, your inbox can also become flooded with free coupon offers. Always read the fine print carefully when you are soliciting a free sample directly from a manufacturer. You may inadvertently be signing up for newsletters, promotions and ads. To find the best and latest free samples, visit the StartSampling.com website. StartSampling is an innovative company that allows you to sample new products from exciting companies. If you have a favorite company, you can head to their website and sign up directly for new product samples and discount coupons. For instance, if you are a fan of Crest brand toothpaste or Oil of Olay products, you can sign up with them directly for free samples and coupons. 2. Looking for Free Communications Tools? If you are looking for the best in free telecommunications tools, you are in luck. For those of you tired of being overcharged for faulty 4-1-1 telephone calls, there is now a free directory that you can turn to. Free directory assistance is now available to you at 1-800-FREE-411. This free directory assistance allows you to get most numbers that you need at absolutely no charge. However, you will have to listen to a short advertisement before you are allowed to find your number. For even more free telecommunications tools, check out this handy phone tool. The next time you are stuck in an unpleasant situation and need to escape, plan on using the popularitydialer.com. Simply set the time you need and you will receive a fake call that can pull you out of a less than desirable situation. 3. Finding Free Memory. Need more ways to stay on top of things? Are post-it notes just not cutting it? If you need a little more, you will find that memotome.com can be a great help. Memotome.com is a free scheduling tool that allows you to stay on top of events and dates. It is free to become a member and you even get access to free party and event planning tools. 4. Get Your Fill of Free Literature. Are you an avid reader? If so, you will find that paperbackswap.com is a reader's paradise. All you have to do is choose the book you want to read and request it. You should receive the book in the mail in a few short days. You can also list your own paperback books that you would like to get rid of. 5. Your Free Route to Financial Planning. If you are looking to become a financial planner, check out the very free planning tools that are available online. You can take advantage of free calculators that allow you to figure out your income and savings.