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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.

Web Hosting - When Changing Web Hosts Nearly everyone will want to change to a new web host at some point. It may involve just changing out old hardware for new. It usually means finding an entirely new web hosting company. When faced with that decision there are a number of issues to be considered. Swapping hardware and/or software is a fairly straightforward decision. There are two possible scenarios. Either you maintain your own hardware and software at a facility managed by others, or you are considering upgrading to newer (usually more expensive) systems maintained by others. In either case, it's simply a matter of estimating the cost and the short-term impact versus the long-term benefits. If the system(s) you currently use are short on capacity, sooner or later you'll be sufficiently motivated to make the change. Either the hardware will become unreliable or loaded to the point you'll be forced to migrate, or your needs will expand enough to justify the effort and expense of moving. Similar considerations apply to the scenario in which you rely on the web hosting company for everything, and want to find someone else to rely on. Regrettably, that's a very common situation. Many web hosting companies provide systems and staff that sooner or later fall below an acceptable level. Most people make the decision to change based on emotion. That's not entirely bad. Emotions incent you to take action. But you need to keep a cool head, too, in order to calculate your long-range self-interest. Bearing some minor inconveniences from time to time is usually worth the trade off. When it begins to affect your site to the point you're losing visitors, it's time to make a change. To get a more objective handle on when that point is reached, reach for some numbers. Maintain, or get from the hosting company, a factual report about availability and current usage. If the server is down so much, or so heavily loaded, that it drives your visitors away, it's time to take action. There are other less easily quantifiable but equally important factors, as well. You will at some point need to communicate with one or more persons who help maintain your site. Even if you do all your own server, database and web site maintenance, someone behind the scenes is helping to keep things running smoothly. That's called 'infrastructure'. If the road you drive on has potholes, it's not enough that you can fix your own car. In terms of network bandwidth and availability, server capacity, disk space, security and a whole array of other aspects, the web hosting company has to have competent people who care (and are allowed) to do the job well. When the company's people fall down - because of incompetence, lack of resources or absence of a culture of excellence - or for any other reason - your web site suffers. This issue more than any other is what drives people to seek another web hosting company. Even if you choose well at the outset, things can change. Management changes, staff changes and companies are taken over by other companies. Sometimes, it isn't simply a matter of swapping out an unreliable piece of hardware or software. When it's time to swap out people, you look for the same aspect: doing the job required.

Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home ? away from family dinners, play time and your kids? sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied ? that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, ?I?m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn?t getting done.? However, maybe the problem isn?t that you aren?t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren?t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you ? draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn?t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you?re working ? work. When you?re with your family ? concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter?s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don?t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.

Tackling those Second and Third Interviews to Land that Job If you make it to a second or third interview, you are a serious candidate for the job. The key now is to narrow down the candidates. This moment is when you will determine if you get called with a job offer or receive a notice of rejection in the mail. Arm yourself with the proper tools and make an even bigger splash on the second and third interviews than you did at the first one. The first thing to remember when you are going into a second or third interview is what you said in the first interview. The interviewer will have notes from the first interview so you need to be ready to follow up on things you said initially. This is why it is important to be honest and realistic in the first interview. If you work hard to impress the interviewer and end up lying, you may not be able to recall they lies you told in the first interview. Eliminate this from being the case by telling the truth the first time around. Be armed with questions about the position and the company in generally. Search through information online about the company and get a feel for day-to-day operations. Type in the name of the company in Wikipedia and see what comes up. Many corporations are listed in this massive Internet encyclopedia and information about the company can be found there. Find out as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. If you are interviewing with the same person the second or third time around, ask about their experience with the company. Questions like, ?What is a typical day for you on the job?? or ?How long have you been employed with the company?? can help to build a relationship with the interviewer. It also signals that you are comfortable with the interviewer. Not to mention, who does not like to talk about themselves? This is a great way to keep the interview moving on a positive note. Have plenty of questions about the position. Show that you have researched the job and are very confident that you are going to get it. The more inquiries you have about the position the more serious and interested you will seem. By the second or third interview, you will probably meet a number of different people. Shake hands firmly and look them in the eye when talking to them. If you are given a tour of the facilities, ask questions. Do not just let your tour guide point out areas without you taking an interest in them. Although it may seem like second and third interviews should be easier, do not let your guard down. Stay on your toes and be even more prepared than you were for the first interview. As the interview process moves on you will probably be meeting with the person that will be your direct boss or the director. Interviews with these figures may be much more difficult than the first interview which was probably with a human resource person. Be aware of this fact and have answers for those tough questions like, ?What makes you the right candidate for this job?? Also be prepared for hypothetic situations that may take some spur of the moment problem solving. No matter what number interview you are on, there are some standard rules to follow. Take copies of your resume to your second and third interviews. Even though the interviewer may have a copy of your resume, you want to be armed with extras just in case there are other people in the department that would like copies. If you meet with different managers they may all ask for copies of your resume. Yes, they have copies, but they want to see if you are prepared.