Web and Hosting Tips
Written by Brandi Bennett
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Gaming servers are servers that are used to host games. If you have played an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game, then you have connected to a gaming server.
A gaming server is a dedicated server or server cluster with the requisite amount of hardware and resources to be able to run the game fluidly. Most games, like Warhammer and Minecraft, will not allow a person to charge people to play the game, as the game is the property of the gaming company itself, however you are generally allowed to charge them to play on your server. You can, of course, simply setup a server to play with your friends.
Why Would I Do This?
Well, to put it simply, these games are fun. Warhammer is a strategy game and Minecraft is like Legos for adults. The more people playing, the more fun it can be, but in order to have multiple people playing these games with you, you either need to have a LAN party and a server at your house, or you need a dedicated server – with that you can play with your friends no matter where they are, as long as they have their computer and an internet connection!
You’ve Intrigued Me… Now What Do I Do?
Well, if you already have a dedicated server, great! Go ahead and install your game of choice and go to town. If you don’t have a dedicated server, you can certainly acquire one here.
Many gamers are also getting back into playing older games due to recent nostalgia levels rising, so now is a great time to take advantage of those gaming skills you cultivated as a child! And don’t forget: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start!
Image Source: YTimg.com. (2014). Minecraft. Retrieved from http://i.ytimg.com/vi/yUnsOEh6PVc/maxresdefault.jpg
Written by Kevin Wood
Monday, January 12th, 2015
Hashtags have slowly become a part of the popular culture, especially the digital culture. Over time they’ve grown to become a central part of an effective social media campaign. However, if you’re just getting started with using hashtags they can be overwhelming, and frankly a bit confusing.
Once you get the hang of using hashtags it will get much easier, but it’s important to know the basics so you have a better chance at running an effective campaign from the start.
What Is A Hashtag?
In a way, hashtags can be seen as keywords. They allow for the aggregation of information that’s all based around a certain topic. Originally, hashtags were used by Twitter as a way to categorize their messages. Since their inception hashtags have grown across other platforms as well, including Instagram, Flickr, Vine, and more recently Facebook.
For instance, if you’re posting a picture of a tasty cup of coffee on Instagram, you may tag that picture with the hashtag #coffeelove. Or, if you’re posting a picture of a beautiful sunset, you could use the hashtag #sunset. Of course, hashtags apply to more than just pictures.
In order to utilize the power of hashtags for your business it’s crucial you create your own. You may be able to reach new followers by hopping on existing hashtags, but to truly create the buzz you’re looking for you’ll want to get creative.
A successful hashtag campaign will help to build awareness for your brand or business, or even promote certain contests or giveaways you might be running.
Rules For An Effective Hashtag Campaign
The most effective hashtags are short, sweet and inspire action. To get to that point it’s going to take a little work, but it’ll be well worth it.
1. Be Unique, But Not Too Unique
When you’re creating your own hashtag you’ll want to make sure it’s unique and memorable. If you already have a company hashtag you’ll want to improvise on this to show association, but still have enough difference so it stands out.
When it comes to length try not to overcomplicate things. Face it, no one will remember a hashtag that’s a sentence long, but it will also be hard to differentiate from other tags if it’s only a few letters long. Finding the right balance is crucial.
Your hashtag also needs to be relevant to the campaign you’re trying to run. For example, if you’re trying to create a hashtag around an event make sure the hashtag alludes to what the event is actually about.
Once you’ve come up with a unique, catchy, easy to remember, and slightly descriptive hashtag, then it’s time to move on.
2. Use It Across Multiple Channels
As was mentioned earlier, hashtags are useful across multiple social media platforms. When you’re executing your campaign you’ll want to have a presence on the social media platforms your audience hangs out at.
People use different social media platforms for different purposes, but your hashtag can help weave a thread back to your business throughout all these seemingly disparate networks.
This will help your hashtag get more exposure across more social channels, which will increase the likelihood of your campaign catching fire. Secondly, this will help people remember your hashtag, as they’ll be exposed to it in multiple settings.
3. Always Research First
You’d hate to tweet your super unique, extremely creative hashtag only to realize that another person has been using the hashtag for an entirely different purpose. This would not only be detrimental to the success of your campaign, but could also result in serious customer backlash.
It’s always worth it to spend time researching potential hashtags to see what comes up. Make sure you check across multiple platforms as well. By doing this beforehand you could avoid a seriously embarrassing incident for your company.
Overall, an effective hashtag campaign is all about using a memorable hashtag at the right time, all in service of your customers. The steps above will get you going in the right direction.
Photo Credit: quinn.anya via compfight
Written by Natalie Lehrer
Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Confidence is so important on the Internet. Any site that acquires a reputation for unreliability, insecurity or dishonesty can expect to see traffic dwindle to zero. On the other hand, a site that can prove it takes security seriously can attract more visitors. And that can be good, whether your hosted web site is for a community, a membership service, or e-commerce. Surfers and online shoppers also increasingly recognize the on-screen presence of a small padlock icon or a website address that begins with “https://…” as signs that they can trust the site they’re connecting to. That’s SSL or ‘secure sockets layer’ in action. So how does SSL help you gain visitors’ trust?
Protecting Information As It’s Transmitted
SSL operates between a visitor’s browser and your site or application. It’s an industry-standard mechanism that ensures the encryption of data being passed backwards and forwards, so that no unauthorized person can spy on the information and hack it. It also prevents cyber criminals from diverting visitor traffic to their own site using their own encryption, and gaining access to your data that way. All major web browsers have SSL capability built in. But for a website to have SSL capability means acquiring a specific SSL certificate.
How Do You Get an SSL Certificate?
You have to apply to an authorized issuer of SSL certificates and be vetted. Such an authorized entity is known as a Certificate Authority (CA). Browser companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and so on trust the CA to only issue CCL certificates to other trustworthy companies. The CA has its own Root Certificate (so there aren’t many of these in the world!), which it uses to generate individual SSL certificates. It also checks that you have the right to use the domain name under which your website operates and may also make checks on your company identity (depending on the ‘strength’ of the SSL certificate you want.). SSL certificates are then installed on the web servers concerned as data files.
What Does SSL Do For You?
Lots of things! It makes your site or system look more professional. SSL certificates have to be earned. It helps clinch a decision by a visitor to sign up as a member or to make payment through your site. If you sell online and you use a reputable online payment partner, that partner will have SSL implemented. However, there are additional reasons for having your own SSL, such as protecting visitors’ personal details – and also protecting any confidential information that you may send back to them (access to a private server, administrator privileges, cash voucher numbers, etc.)
What Does SSL NOT Do For You?
Again – lots of things, because SSL is designed to exclusively protect the integrity of data while it’s in transit between one system and another. If the information happens to contain a virus, SSL will faithfully transmit that virus. If it contains an attempt to gain illicit access to your web site or database files, SSL will transmit that as well. In other words, while SSL is excellent for protecting data on the move in a network link, both browser users and web site owners must still take all required precautions to prevent any malware from circulating or any undesirable actions within the systems themselves. So add good system security (or find a web hosting provider who can guarantee it) to SSL and you’ll be a step ahead all round in enhancing your website experience and visitors’ confidence.
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.
Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Welcome_multilingual_Guernsey_tourism.jpg
Written by Jeremy Jensen
Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Amidst our globalized world where everything and everyone is getting connected online, it’s easy to get caught up in cyberspace and forget that you are using a technology barely fifty years old. That’s right, the Internet originated in the early 60’s and yet the Web seems to now infiltrate every facet of our everyday lives. Be it in your content consumption, your car, your home, or even your own body.
Integrating growing technologies and the best methods, the Internet is truly evolving faster than we could ever have imagined, not just becoming a larger part in our lives, but life itself. And thus, I dare introduce to you, the latest prediction as to the Internets next grand step — Web 3.0.
“Wait,” you’re thinking “so when did Web 2.0 happen?” Believe it or not, you’re reading this on 2.0 right now. Although Web 2.0 leads you to believe that you somehow downloaded some official upgrade from the 1.0 static version without knowing it, be informed that there is no formal patch or update.
Rather, Web 2.0 is a blanket term for the generation of interactive social media functions on most modern sites. Instead of a basic webpage that only allows passive content viewing, Web 2.0 incorporates a virtual community where the user may engage in a dialogue and interact with the site’s creator and others; for example, a 2.0 site could be a product’s site with a review board, a blog with a comments section, or even an Ask-Me-Anything page on Reddit. Also known as the Social Web or the Mobile Web, 2.0 strives to be a communication tool for collaborating and sharing with one another– people connecting with people.
Building upon 2.0’s notion of connecting people, the next generation will attempt to link us with information and be a “Smart Web.” Though some are skeptical at the very mention of artificial intelligence, most of us subscribe to the idea that technology, science, and people are all working symbiotically at an unprecedented rate to create more efficient tools. Whether or not this means sentient, free-thinking machines and The Singularity one day is up for debate, but what is clear, is that humans are using the Internet much like an extra brain. And this is precisely where Web 3.0 comes in — it’s a “Semantic Web” that would provide a uniform framework so that data could be shared, analyzed, and reapplied across all applications and platforms for unlimited function, maximum effectiveness, and with minimal human interaction. This essentially means that there would be a such a sophisticated element in the web that it could actually “understand” you and interpret what you want.
Sci-fi crazy nonsense? Some may think so, but I think it is closer than most people would care to believe. Take Siri for example. She is a “Knowledge Navigator” that utilizes a natural language user interface that adapts to individual preferences and eventually customizes results for you. Now if you can consider an Internet experience that would combine this technology with all your personalizations collated and surmised from Big Data collection, it doesn’t seem so far fetched. Through the sites that you frequent, the past searches you have made, products you have bought, links you have posted, pages you have liked, personal descriptors you have provided, a semblance of the user’s identity is formulated. It then uses this personalized data as a metric in which to measure, screen, and ultimately select what is best suited to your needs. In layman’s terms, Web 3.0 will attempt to be an online version of yourself that does all of your surfing for you.
The Future of the Web
The convergence of emerging and developing technologies will continue to reshape, innovate, and disrupt current web standards; however, it is imperative to remain objective to a point with its role. As technology becomes ubiquitous, it will be increasingly difficult to ask ourselves the hard questions, like are we missing a natural and organic method to our own madness by letting the Internet pervade all stages of humanity?
This is not to say that we should be wary of The Terminator or The Matrix coming true (if it hasn’t already), but rather ask if there ever should be lines drawn. In light of Edward Snowden’s leaked government documents on mass surveillance and data mining, it is safe to say that technology is quickly becoming a double-edged sword that every person will have to wield. Will it be the machete that cuts a path or will it be the blade in our own Seppuku? The choice is ultimately ours.