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Web Hosting - Why Backups Are Essential One thing most web site owners have little time for is... anything! Anything other than focusing on their site content and the business or service it supports and the information it provides, that is. That means that administration often suffers, as it frequently must. There's only so much time in the day. But the one thing that you should never let slide are backups. They are like insurance. You rarely need it (you hope), but when you do you need it very badly. Performing regular backups - and testing them - doesn't have to be a nightmare. A little bit of forethought and effort and they can be automated to a high degree. And, they should be tested from time to time. Even when a backup appears to have gone without a hitch, the only way to know whether it's of any value is to attempt to restore the information. If it can't be restored, the backup is worthless. Even when the web hosting company provides the service, there is still some planning involved for the site owner. Hosting companies often rely on one or both of two methods. They backup everything (called a full backup), then backup anything which has changed since the last full backup (called an incremental backup). Of special interest are any configuration files that have been tailored. If you've modified the default installation of a software package, you want to be able to recapture or reproduce those changes without starting from scratch. Network configuration files, modifications to basic HTML files, CSS style sheets and others fall into the same category. If you have XML files, databases, spreadsheets or other files that carry product or subscriber information - about items purchased, for example, or people who signed up for a newsletter - those should get special attention, too. That's the lifeblood of your business or service. Lose them and you must start over. That can break your site permanently. It should go without saying that all HTML and related web site files that comprise visible pages should be backed up regularly. It isn't necessary to record every trivial change, but you can tailor backup software to exclude files or folders. Usually they're so small it isn't worth the trouble. But in some cases those small changes can add up in scenarios where there are many thousands of them. Here again, the backups are worthless if they can't be used. Even if the hosting company charges for doing so, it's worthwhile to test once or twice a year at least to ensure the data can be restored. That's especially true of database backups, which often involve special software and routines. Database files have a special structure and the information is related in certain ways that require backups be done differently. Developing a backup strategy can be straightforward. Start simply and review your plan from time to time, modifying it as your site changes and grows. But don't neglect the subject entirely. The day will come when a hard drive fails, or you get hacked or attacked by a virus, or you accidentally delete something important. When that day comes, the few minutes or hours you spent developing and executing a backup plan will have saved you days or weeks of effort.

The "Catch" to Some of these Freebie Sites Remember that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, it's not true?there are plenty of freebies out there. However, there are some things you should know about if you are going to go after these freebies. The World Wide Web is awash with web sites that like to offer visitors with loads of tempting freebies. But although many of these are legitimate offers, there are some things you should know about these freebie sites. Here are some things to know about these freebie sites. Getting Things for Free?A Caveat Here is the basic caveat when it comes to these freebie offers?there is usually something you will have to endure in order to get your freebie. Although you may not have to make any sort of financial contribution or monetary expense, you will have to pay in some small non-monetary way. Here is a quick rundown of various kinds of 'catches' that you may come across as you seek out the best of the web's freebies. Watching Ads Before You Get to the Good Stuff One of the most common techniques that websites will use before you can get access to their freebies is to force you to watch ads. There are many different versions of this method. Many sites that promote freebies will support their site through advertisements. Most advertisements show up as pop-up or banner ads. Some websites also use video websites. With the ubiquity of high speed Internet, video ads have lately become the preferred method of advertisement on many websites. The less subtle of these ads are the pop-up and banner ads. Pop-up ads are often quite obtrusive and they can interrupt your enjoyment of the website. You might want to avoid ad-based freebie sites at work, as these can often interfere with your screen. Many popular freebie websites also offer ad-free versions of their content. This may be something to consider if you really find the website's content valuable. Be Wary of Automatic E-mail Sign-Ups Many freebie websites will sign you up automatically for their email newsletters. The worst-case scenario is when the website allows its partners to bombard you with email ads. What is the best way to avoid getting on an unwanted email list? Read the fine print, and whenever you get the option, uncheck the opt-in box at the very bottom of the page. Take Care of Your Privacy Many sites that offer freebies make money by selling the personal information that they gain from their web traffic. In order to avoid having your personal information being sold, you should avoid giving your personal information to websites that can't provide you with an upfront privacy policy. You should also look for the TRUSTe seal that ensures your personal information is kept secure and private. Also, never provide more information than you need to provide. Avoid Large Downloads Whenever Possible Another thing you should watch out for are large downloads. Although there are many legitimate large downloads out there, you should avoid sites that don't tell you exactly what you are downloading, how long the download will take, and how big the file size is. Watch Out for Disappearing Websites If there is one thing to know about freebie websites is that they are often 'here today, gone tomorrow' type enterprises. Many freebie websites simply don't survive for very long. You should think hard before committing to a website that offers free services that you will have to depend on. The last thing you want is to depend on a website's services, and then have those services disappear or suspended.

Sync your Technology with Free Organizers Found on the Net Are you looking to simplify your online presence? Do you want an easy way to keep social and business contacts organized accordingly? Do you wish you had an easy way to keep track of your different online passwords, your favorite websites and manage your life away for the computer? There are now many options for those seeking to sync their technology with their Internet life. Here are some fast and easy resources that allow you to sync your technology with your online presence. Many of these organizers make it possible for you to keep track of your web activity with your life away from the computer. Here is a quick run-down of just some of the free organizers and resources that are available on the net that can help make your life easier. Using Planner.Excite.com to Organize Your Technology There are so many organization tools these days?personal digital assistants, outlook email, smart phones, mp3 players and several others coming out every season. Many of us use several different disparate electronic planners to organize work, school, business and home. Work email, calendars and planners often overlap with personal business, school and home calendars. Wouldn't it be nice to have all of your meetings, dates, appointments and contact numbers organized in a single area? This is where Planner.Excite.com comes in. This service allows you to sync all the information on your palm pilot, pda, outlook and smart phone so that you don't have to enter the same information more than once. Moreover, it allows you to sync different schedules?work, home, business, family and school?into one master schedule that is easy to follow. Other organizational tools include email and pager reminders so that you never miss another event, date or appointment again. Organize Your Online Discussions with Delphi Do you like to hold web-based discussions or send messages for business or social purposes? If so, delphi.com is an advanced web-based messaging service that allows you easy access to threaded discussions. You can choose to keep your threaded discussions public, or protect them with a password. It's up to you. This is a great and secure way to organize your online conversations and discussions. For Easy Event Planning, Choose Evite.com Are you looking for an easy way to use the World Wide Web to organize your events? If so, turn to Evite.com, the place for electronic events and event planning. Evite.com is an easy and free service that allows you to organize all kinds of events, from baby and wedding showers to surprise birthday parties. This is an easy way to keep in touch with all your online friends and family. It is simple to use?simply create your own attractive electronic invitation and email it to everyone on your invite list. The site allows you to create and personalize your own electronic invitations using their templates. Palm.net Allows You to Sync Your Whole Life Ever wish your personal digital assistant allowed you to sync up your whole life? Palm.net allows you to do just this. This online organizer works with your handheld organizer in order to help you organize and schedule your whole life, including what's playing on television, your local movie theater, local sporting events and other activities. Organize Your Files with Visto.com What is Visto.com? This website is a calendar and task manager that allows you to organize all of your disparate files. This is a great way to organize files, especially if you work from different computers or simply need a new and easy way to store files. Choose from online file storage and organize and sync your work and home Visto files.

The "Catch" to Some of these Freebie Sites Remember that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, it's not true?there are plenty of freebies out there. However, there are some things you should know about if you are going to go after these freebies. The World Wide Web is awash with web sites that like to offer visitors with loads of tempting freebies. But although many of these are legitimate offers, there are some things you should know about these freebie sites. Here are some things to know about these freebie sites. Getting Things for Free?A Caveat Here is the basic caveat when it comes to these freebie offers?there is usually something you will have to endure in order to get your freebie. Although you may not have to make any sort of financial contribution or monetary expense, you will have to pay in some small non-monetary way. Here is a quick rundown of various kinds of 'catches' that you may come across as you seek out the best of the web's freebies. Watching Ads Before You Get to the Good Stuff One of the most common techniques that websites will use before you can get access to their freebies is to force you to watch ads. There are many different versions of this method. Many sites that promote freebies will support their site through advertisements. Most advertisements show up as pop-up or banner ads. Some websites also use video websites. With the ubiquity of high speed Internet, video ads have lately become the preferred method of advertisement on many websites. The less subtle of these ads are the pop-up and banner ads. Pop-up ads are often quite obtrusive and they can interrupt your enjoyment of the website. You might want to avoid ad-based freebie sites at work, as these can often interfere with your screen. Many popular freebie websites also offer ad-free versions of their content. This may be something to consider if you really find the website's content valuable. Be Wary of Automatic E-mail Sign-Ups Many freebie websites will sign you up automatically for their email newsletters. The worst-case scenario is when the website allows its partners to bombard you with email ads. What is the best way to avoid getting on an unwanted email list? Read the fine print, and whenever you get the option, uncheck the opt-in box at the very bottom of the page. Take Care of Your Privacy Many sites that offer freebies make money by selling the personal information that they gain from their web traffic. In order to avoid having your personal information being sold, you should avoid giving your personal information to websites that can't provide you with an upfront privacy policy. You should also look for the TRUSTe seal that ensures your personal information is kept secure and private. Also, never provide more information than you need to provide. Avoid Large Downloads Whenever Possible Another thing you should watch out for are large downloads. Although there are many legitimate large downloads out there, you should avoid sites that don't tell you exactly what you are downloading, how long the download will take, and how big the file size is. Watch Out for Disappearing Websites If there is one thing to know about freebie websites is that they are often 'here today, gone tomorrow' type enterprises. Many freebie websites simply don't survive for very long. You should think hard before committing to a website that offers free services that you will have to depend on. The last thing you want is to depend on a website's services, and then have those services disappear or suspended.