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Remember Steve

With this post I want to honor the memory of a great man, and to express my regret for the loss of one of the greatest icons from the computer world. R.I.P. Steve.

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Apache Vulnerability – the “206 Partial Content” issue

This is notification for all Apache Web server users.

Recently there was Security Vulnerability Notice – Apache HTTP Server CVE-2011-3192 Denial Of Service Vulnerabilityhttp://www.securityfocus.com/bid/49303/info . This exploit affects all Apache 2.0 and Apache 1.3 installations and permits possible DDoS attacks.  There are several work-arounds available to help securing the affected  servers provided them bellow.

Apache Web server vulnerability Symptoms:

Whit the next line you can check that your Apache is affected.:

If you see message: 206 Partial Content – in output, then your Apache is vulnerable.

Here are several immediate options to mitigate this issue until a full fix is available:

1. Use SetEnvIf or mod_rewrite to detect a large number of ranges and then either ignore the Range: header or reject the request.

1.1 Apache 2.0 and 2.2

1.2 Also for Apache 1.3

The number 5 is arbitrary. Several 10’s should not be an issue and may be required for sites which for example serve PDFs to very high end eReaders or use things such complex http based video streaming.

2. Limit the size of the request field to a few hundred bytes. Note that while this keeps the offending Range header short – it may break other headers (such as sizeable cookies or security fields).

Note: that as the attack evolves in the field you are likely to have to further limit this and/or impose other LimitRequestFields limits.

For more information check: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/core.html#limitrequestfieldsize

3. Use mod_headers to completely disallow the use of Range headers:

Note that this may break certain clients – such as those used for e-Readers and progressive/http-streaming video.

4. Deploy a Range header count module as a temporary stopgap measure:

Pre-compiled binaries for some platforms are available at:

 

Finally make sure you have your Apache web server updated from your OS vendor.

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Explained: hardware servers vs cloud hosting.

As much as your business grows, as much computer power is needed. The separate servers in the datacenters  and VPS’ become inefficient, and slowly loose the battle with the Cloud Hosting.

There will be no more calls about: “Please restart my database server …” – the server is suffering due to the recently started marketing campaign.

There will be no more answers like: “Unfortunately the hardware is not supporting more than 8GB RAM. You have to migrate to a new server.” – migrate to cloud hosting if needed.

There will be no more begging : “My website is under DDoS attack.. my server has lack of resources and the services are dying all the time!!   Please help me solve this problem” – move the slide,  put more power to your server, that’s it! Now calm down.

Please spend a couple of minutes to check this really good Cloud Hosting Explanation:

1. Scalability – as big as you want
2. Instant – you are not waiting for hardware to be assembled
3. Save money – pay as much as you use

Here I will add one not mentioned in the video:

4. More safe for your data – cloud servers use storage resources shared with others set on heavy RAID massive, and even if a hard drive fails, you will not even understand while RAID is rebuilding.

So, no more explanations like: “Your hard drive just died, and the engineers in the datacenter are trying to clone it. Hopefully your data will be save! ” – cross fingers, pray to your Lord, hopefully your data will be save.. to go to cloud server.

Hope this video helped you to understand and decide when you go cloud hosting vs hardware servers

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Online community

Online communityRecently freetutorialssubmit.com moved over WordPress as this great publishing application fits the expanding needs of the Free Tutorials website community.

While in the beginning the online community was dependent on the faunders participation, now the relationships within the membership base have been established. Now our main goal is to keep the community self supporting, as this will allow more people to get online help as well as ability to share their knowledge. We believe that the meaning of knowledge is to share it giving the chance more people to find their path for helping their followers. Helping each other we can develop more depth in the member-to-member relationships. We are led by reason same as the one that makes people actually want to help others in the tech community – it feels good to help others. We  admire the philosophy which encourages everyone to share their experience and  knowledge with the others in the tech crowd, as often helping is like solving a problem – you are reinforcing your own abilities.

For now the old style submission form was kept, where you can submit tutorial or article, pointing online community discussions to your sites or particular page of yours.

Once the website is fully migrated we will open the internal WIS-WIG system for authors published more than five articles or tutorials and requested access.

Remote Access Software

Remote Access Software

With this post I will share my favourite remote access software packages I am using alsmost every day. Not only IT specialist are using remote access to support servers and software remotely, but also it is useful for the business – to make presentations, or conference video calls, etc. I will not go in such details, but rather will present the remote access software for everyday use.

Remote Access Software: Desktop machines

TeamViewer
TeamViewer connects to any PC or server around the world within a few seconds. You can remote control your partner\”s PC as if you were sitting right in front of it. It uses two number pairs – ID and password. Both sides should have TeamVier installed and .. that\”s it! Just provide this to a person who will connect to your PC and watch.

Official website: www.teamviewer.com

Windows Remote Destop
Certainly the integrated in Windows remote access service enables you to connect to a computer or server across the Internet from any computer. Remote Desktop gives you mouse and keyboard control over the remote computer and showing you everything what is happening on the screen.

UltraVNC
UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen and allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control a PC remotely . The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. It means that you can work on a remote computer, as if you were sitting in front of it, right from your current location.

Official website: www.uvnc.com

PuppetMaster
This a mobile version for remote desktop software.

Official website: www.puppetmaster.com-about.com

Remote Access Software: Servers

All the above will work on Windows servers, as well as VNC which will also work on Linux with running X on it.
In other cases when managing server it is done trough a console.

Putty
PuTTY is an SSH and telnet client which allows you to connect to remote server. It is fast, very easy to use, and with all options needed for customising your connection settings. It allows tuneling, XForwarding, etc.

Online how to: Access your server via SSH with Putty

PuTTY Connection Manager
This is actually a free add-on to PuTTY for Windows and it helps manage multiple PuTTY instances. Really useful when you need several PuTTY instances.

Download site: PuTTY Connection Manager

WinSCP
WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Windows. Its main function is safe copying of files between a local and a remote computer. It has Windows Explorer like interface and easy to use drop-and-drag option.

Official website: www.winscp.net/

FileZilla
FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface. Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). Recently the developers of this application included tabbed option which made it even more better. If someone asks about FTP/SFTP – I allays suggest it.

Online how to: Uploading files with FileZilla

Certainly there are thousands of applications and remote access software available in Internet. These are my favorites, and very rare I cannot do something with them and need additional application.

Hosting migration steps

Hosting migration steps

You are migrating your site or sites to a new hosting company and you are wondering what has to be done in order to avoid any downtime. Whit this article I will provide you with the correct hosting migration steps for moving your website to a new hosting.

1. Set-up your site on the new hosting platform – here I mean migration of the files, data bases, changing the URLs inside the code, as well as any custom solutions which have to be working on the current hosting.

2. Check whether everything is fine using temporary URL or the IP address of your new server.

3. Changing the DNS records on the current DNS server – Instead of transferring a domain (which takes 5-7 days and during that time you do not have control over the domain and cannot change the DNS), first change all the records to point to the new hosting.
Before changing the DNS you should ask the support with the \"old\" company to lower the TTL for the domain records. Thing about TTL as the time that the DNS zones will be changed.
For example the most common TTL time used by the companies is 14400 which is about 5-6 hours – that means: if you change the records and something is not working right, you have to wait 5-6 hours before the domain be pointed back.

So, to avoid such situation, ask them to change the TTL to something like 300 (about 5-10 minutes), and if it happens to have issues yet with the migrated website, you will be able to revert to the \"old\" site really quick and continue to work with the new hosting.

4. If everything is fine after the DNS change, request a transfer and while the domain is working, will be transferred to the new company. (This last step is not necessary. You can keep your domains in different company – for example DreamHost)

Probably you can see the logic, but if you just follow this steps, this will be enough to migrate your website without worries.


This article is a part of How to do (start) online business by myself series

Website speed optimization

Website speed optimization

When you create a website you should take in mind one very important detail – the speed with which it loads. A majority of the Internet users do not like to wait and any interruption while loading or slow loading pages will make them leave. Therefore you should ensure that your site be opened quickly and smoothly. I will provide you with a few tips about creating your website optimized for speed.

– Try to make all the graphics in your website to be smaller as it possible as a size (in kBytes). Big and slow loading images will from there the entire page that happens and the whole page.

– The code of the page must as shorter as possible without redundant tags

– Playing background music on a page will definitely slow it down while loading. In addition the statistics have shown that a majority of the Internet users do not like sounds and background music.

– If there is too much information on a topic in a page of your site, you can split it into two or more smaller pages as required in any such site put a link to previous and next. This is also good for the SEO, since each page will have separate keywords

– If you have frames on the website (page), make sure you they are not too many. Using frames at all is not good idea because of various reasons.

– last, but not least is the speed of your web server. If it is located in USA, it will be rather slow if you try to open it in China. Also you may need better hardware if the one you are using cannot afford bug load.

The Google Webmaster Tools provide really good crowler statistics which can help you to determine whether you have good website speed optimization, and to compare it with the rest similar sites in Internet.


This article is a part of How to do (start) online business by myself series

Banner advertising advices

Banner advertising advices

Banners are an effective form of advertising which has a positive effect on your page – more visitors. When creating your banners the following tips may help you to make them more attractive:

– The dimensions of the banners must meet the standards – one of my colleagues has wrote a really good article about the banner standards: Web Banners Standards

– Make your banners with the most commonly used sizes. It is good idea to have a banner (88px x 31px.), because this size is really often offered banner advertising spot

– The banner must be visible and outlined against the rest of the website content. For this purpose use animated banners (GIF, FLASH). If you create animated banner, make sure that the file size is not too big. This can be achieved if you limit the number of frames contained and the banner is optimized with appropriate software.

– The main style of the banner must be consistent with the type (theme) of the page. This is especially important for larger banners (Skyscrapers).

– The text on the banner must be legible, concise, to catch the eye, and to be directly linked with the name and content of your site

What can be told against banners is that the people know that it is advertising and may decide it is lying and may not click on it. Currently the most used way for advertising is text advertisements (like Google adwords) which can be included among the page text.

You can read more about whether the banners are good choice for advertising in: Do banners work?

Make sure you host your banner images in your own webhosting server to make sure that the image is always available.


This article is a part of How to do (start) online business by myself series.

Website Navigation

Website Navigation

The navigation is one of the most important parts of your website and you should spend time to develop it and make it user-friendly . When a visitor comes on your website, you have like few seconds to catch his attention before he leaves.
You must ‘describe’ where the person is, what he can do, how he can do it. If your website content is not 100% understand by the visitor in the first 10-15 seconds that means you have failed and you will have big bounce rate (closing a page almost a few seconds after a visitor has landed on it is a behavior called ‘Bounce Rate’).
With good navigation you will facilitate your visitors and will allow them quickly and easily to find what they need. Here are the basic rules of good navigation:

‘¢ Mandatory in page should appear the main menu. Put there links to the most important sub-pages. Avoid drop-down menus, heavy GIF of Flash animations for buttons since this may slow the website

‘¢ All navigation menus must be displayed in a obvious place

‘¢ One more time – the individual links in the menus should be short and clear headed

‘¢ It is recommended to use CSS and JS or AJAX (use them sparingly to save practically useless code)

‘¢ If your page has more number of categories (sections) it is good idea to add a ‘site map‘ and search form

‘¢ Place alternate text buttons – this will provide the visitor more options

In general to design effective interface, first you should know how your visitors ‘see’ your website when they land on it. Before the final launch of the website, check with your relatives and even with focus groups whether your site navigation is perspicuous.


This article is a part of How to do (start) online business by myself series

Advices about website design

Advices about website design

The design of a website has a major influence to the opinion of the website visitors. One of the first thing that most of the visitors will notice is the appearance of your website. Try to include the following tips in your website project in order to make it look well and build a good impression in your visitors:

– Consider the look and the theme design to be built according to the main purpose of the site

– Use nice colors that not irritate the human eyes – gothic design of a website will not be very useful if a visitor has to read a lot of text

– The background should not be nailing in the eyes. Try to focus on the main part of the website

– The number of colors used should be not too big. Select colors which will contrast and coincide with each other. It is not recommended to use more than 3-5 colors. At the same time try to avoid your site to look too \"lenten\".

– The style of each element (font, logo, buttons, background, bands) should be consistent with other parts of the page

– Use appropriate compression in your images for your page to keep their quality. Use appropriate graphic editor, such as Adobe Photoshop

– The text must contrast with the background to be readable. It is recommended for light background text on it is dark and the opposite – on a dark background use bright text

– Use appropriate fonts. Recommended Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman and Tahoma. Too large fonts are not recommended. The most commonly used size of the fonts above is 8-12 pt.

– Avoid unnecessary use of different moving animations (GIF, Flash) which will make your site slower

– One of the most important things in a website is its logo. The logo must be consistent with the theme of the site

If you follow this tips, your website will become more appreciated by your visitors and will make them returning visitors, which is probably your main purpose.


This article is a part of How to do (start) online business by myself series