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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 Top Virtually Bug-free Free Email Services on the Net Virtually bug-free e-mail services are available actually from several places. Many of these service providers are big names, known by many, especially Internet users. The difference between the different e-mail providers lies in several things. These differences include but are not limited to plenty storage space, effective spam filtering, a fast user-friendly interface, desktop e-mail program access and much more. Currently in the United States and the rest of the world, the best offer for free e-mail comes from Gmail. Gmail is part of the Google business enterprise (the search engine most of us know) and offers the most features and storage space for their users for free. With virtually unlimited storage capacity for e-mails, a user never has to delete any e-mails of the server and can collect all the messages. Gmail offers a simple user-friendly interface, which also includes an excellent search function that lets a user find messages instantly and precisely. Another great feature of gmail is the POP and IMAP access features. This gives the user the possibility to download the e-mail from the server with any e-mail program that the user generally would use. The program can then also automatically download the e-mails into the program ready for the user to read. Gmail is funded by displaying advertising next to the e-mails read. Next on the worldwide list would be GMX, a German provider that offers many of the features gmail offers, but with limited storage space. This program also has the POP feature and can therefore be used in conjunction with any of the common available PC e-mail programs. Right after gmail it is one of the most reliable e-mail services, but unfortunately they discontinued the English user face and only offer a German version now. Thereafter on the top free e-mail services providers is AIM Mail. It is the free web-based service from AOL. Like gmail it offers virtually unlimited online storage, excellent spam protection and a simple, easy to use interface. Unfortunately, AIM Mail lacks proper productivity, such things as labels, smart folders and message threading is not available. AIM Mail also offers a very functional POP and IMAP access. Yahoo! Mail would be the next e-mail service that should be mentioned on the list of the top virtually bug-free services on the Internet. Yahoo also offers virtually unlimited storage space for e-mails and a few other nice features, such as Short message services for texting to friends and family, instant-messaging features for the internet and up to date news feeds. What Yahoo! mail lacks is a really good spam filter. It offers a spam filter, but it is not effective enough. Also nice to have would be labeling options as well as smart folders. The Yahoo! Interface is just as easy and user-friendly as the other providers and fairly reliable. To complete the list we need to mention the following three services, Inbox.com, FastMail and Hotmail. Inbox.com offers e-mail users 5 GB of free space to store e-mail online. Despite the limited space, this service is outstanding due to its high-speed accessibility. Web access and POP access are very fast and even the search functions are faster than with most other services on the market. The drawbacks of Inbox.com are the missing IMAP access, only POP is provided and the organizing of mail is slightly unorganized due to missing smartfolder technology. FastMail on the other hand offers users only IMAP. It has many useful features and has one of the best web-based e-mail interfaces. It also generally displays fewer ads then the other services do. And lastly, Live Hotmail should be mentioned here, since most PC users that have a Windows based operating system will have heard of hotmail. This program offers 5 GB of storage for e-mails online. It has a fast search option, a solid security feature and the interface is as easy as the ones users are used to on their desktop. Even though security is great, the spam filter is not quite as effective as some of the other e-mail providers. Also missing with this provider is the POP and IMAP access as well as smartfolders and other great e-mail organizing features.

The Options For Online Creative Writing Courses (online creative writing courses) Online courses are ever growing in popularity. Many consumers don’t have the patience, money, or time to attend regular college classes, so many of them has turned to the Internet as their means of education. The online course phenomenon is especially helpful for many writers, as more and more writers find it both convenient and helpful to take online creative writing courses. Online courses are also known as distance learning courses, because of course the student is not in the classroom, or even the school when the course is taken. These distance courses have been seen as one of the best ways for a busy writer to brush up on their skills or learn new ones. Taking creative writing courses gives writers many options, such as working at their own pace. Many writers are too busy to attend class and enjoy the freedom giving by online courses. The distance courses give students the freedom to work at their own pace while learning everything that is needed. Students also don’t have a set time for the courses, so they may choose when they want to learn. An online course gives the writer time to fulfil all of their other duties. Online creative writing courses are easy to find, and there are plenty of programs offered by online writing schools. Writers Weekly University is one online school that offers creative writing courses for the busy writer. The university offers e-mail courses for freelance writers and aspiring novelists. They offer courses such as The Art of the Press Release, Finish Your Novel in eight Weeks, and How to Write a Cookbook and Sell It. Published writers and editors usually teach the online courses offered by Writers Weekly University. The courses may be inexpensive, and typically range from $25 to $745, but the price is based on the length and complexity of the course. Writers’ Village University is also a school that offers online creative writing courses. Writers’ Village University is one of the most popular sources for online writing courses, and offers more than 250 courses. The courses offered by this university are paid for in a non-traditional way. There is no payment required for the actual courses taken, but instead a membership fee, which gives writers unlimited access to hundreds of online creative writing courses. The Writers’ Village University is also one of the most inexpensive with a membership fee of $69 per year or $10.99 per month, which for many is less than the cost for Internet access. The university offers courses in fiction writing, comedy writing, literature, business writing, and poetry. However, the schools for writers don’t stop with the Writers’ Village. There are many more online schools that offer writing courses to consumers. Writers Online Workshops is also an online writing university that offers writers the creative courses they want and need. This university is facilitated by Writer’s Digest, and the courses are said to be taught by the best writers. The creative writing courses at this university range from fiction writing to business writing to poetry to composition. The Writers Online Workshops are far more expensive than other online creative writing courses, and typically start at $200. The courses provided by this university also require textbooks, so students will feel as if they are attending a regular university. Online creative writing courses may not be for every writer, but they can help a writer improve their skills while obtaining some education in the field they love. The courses may not be foolproof, but they may be a great benefit to every writer who wants to take them and wants to learn more about writing.