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Deciding between Shared or Dedicated Web Hosting

January 6th, 2012 by Joel in Web Hosting

If you’re on the lookout for hosting, it won’t be long before you realise there is more than just one sort of website hosting. It is important to know what the differences are and how this can impact your web site and so make sure you choose the right type of hosting from the outset.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting is where your website is sat on a dedicated web server. The benefits of this are that all the resources of the server such as processor and memory are utilised just your website alone, maximising the performance to help it respond quickly and effectively to your visitors. Dedicated hosting is commonly the best choice for larger businesses that rely heavily on their online presence. Naturally, the downside is increased cost as a dedicated servers will invariably cost more than a shared hosting package.

Shared web hosting

Shared hosting, as its title implies, is where your web site shares a web server with other web sites which are additionally hosted there. To the visitor, they will probably never notice any difference as each website is treated seperately by the server.  The variety of web sites on a single server will be dependent on the web hosting firm which might choose to host many smaller web sites on a single server or a more limited number of larger websites. It might of course choose a combination of both.

The downside of shared website hosting is that if a number of websites on the server use more resources than others, it could actually reduce the efficiency for all of the web sites making other websites respond more slowly. This will obviously be heavily dependant on the web hosting company making sure websites on shared servers are managed properly to ensure resources are shared fairly for its customers.

The good thing about shared hosting is of course the cost. The price of shared hosting has dropped considerably in recent times and this makes it a great option for a lot of smaller companies or private users who might for instance want wordpress web hosting for a personal blog. There are now many affordable web hosting companies who offer shared website hosting for a very affordable cost; even as little as a few pounds per month.

Which to decide on?

Choosing the right type of web hosting will be largely dependant on the size  of your web site, the number of anticipated website visitors and whether your website operation is critical such as you depend on it to earn income. If you have a simple blog website with a few hundred guests per day, then a shared web hosting package will be price effective and very likely to perform adequetly to your needs. If, however, you could have a large ecommerce web site with thousands of visitors per day and the web site provides a key income stream for your business, a dedicated web hosting package will most likely be a necessary expense when measured against lost revenue should for instance your visitors leave because then find your website is slow to use.

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My first Android App – Traffic Reports

December 31st, 2011 by Joel in General

Last year I setup a traffic reports website which basically makes it easy to find traffic reports for certain areas of england. Due to some spare time over the festive period, I set about creating an app to provide enhanced functionality on my Android phone, and so an app was born!

The idea was to use the GPS functionality of my Android phone in order to get quickly to localised traffic reports but also provide a quick and easy way to get to other traffic reports, such as roads I might want to check out before a long trip, with just a couple of screen touches.

I’ve actually ended up using it quite a bit and so I have also stuck it on the Android market so others can benefit also. I’ve built a free version which covers england motorways and popular A roads and also a full version at just £1.29 which has localised functionality aswell as many UK towns and history tracking so that you can get to the traffic reports for the roads, motorways and towns you use the most.

For more information on the apps see Android Traffic Report Apps

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Using Analytics to track downloads or clicks to Offsite Pages

April 16th, 2011 by Joel in SEO

Analytics is a great tool for gathering statistical information on your website visitors and how they behave on your site. By applying the standard code to each page, Analytics will automatically track visits, time on site, bounce rate and other helpful stats on how people got to your website and how they behaved once they got there.

But what about sending people off to another website or downloading information. This data does not get picked up automatically because:-

  • Pages without analytics code such as a PDF, or downloadable files such as music, video files will not be recorded.
  • If a visitor leaves your site by clicking a link to another website they are simply recorded as exiting your site.

However, theres an easy to use solution which can help catch these anomolies. Using a small piece of Javascript on the link to the download or external site link you can tell Analytics that a download has taken place or that a user left to a specific external website. Heres how:-

Step 1

Firstly, wherever the link is you want to track you will need to add the following to the anchor tag:-

onClick="javascript: _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/mypage']);"

The last variable here ‘/mypage’ is the important one. This is the page on your website you are telling Analytics to record as visited. This can be anything you like and it doesn’t even have to exist. It will simply be recorded by Analytics.

Heres an example anchor tag with the Javascript attached:

<a href="http://www.mysite.com/linktomydownload.pdf" onClick="javascript: _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/pdfdownload']);">

Of course you can use this for external site links also. Simply make sure the variable in the Javascript has a unique reference that will identify it in Analytics. e.g. an external link to the BBC website you might use ‘/external_bbc’ as a way to identify it or maybe just ‘/bbc’.

Step 2

  1. Log in to your Analytics account and set up a new goal (You can this by going to the edit option for your Analytics profile).
  2. Provide a helpful name that you can indentify your goal. e.g PDF Download
  3. Select URL Destination as the goal type and choose Head Match for the matching option.
  4. In the goal URL enter the exact same reference you used in the variable in your ‘onClick’ javascript. So for the example we laid out above we would put ‘/pdfdownload’ (without the quotes) in the URL field.

And you are done!

Analytics should now begin tracking the clicks from those links and will begin to show up in your Analytics reporting. You can test it by clicking one of the links you have tagged on the site and checking Analytics the following day.

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