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Web Hosting - Unix vs Windows-Based Hosting, Which Is Better?
An operating system functions largely out of sight, or at least is supposed to. It doesn't matter to non-geeks how a file gets stored, or how memory is used, or how simultaneous processes share the limited resources available on a computer. These are among the basic functions of any operating system.
Yet, you can find very passionate supporters - who offer very detailed lists of pros and cons - for every operating system. Why? Because, though the low-level functions of an operating system do their work out of sight, there are many other features that rise to visibility. Sometimes, they do so when they're not supposed to.
Weighing the pros and cons objectively could consume a book. But to select a web host operating system, a manageable level of considerations apply. They can be weighed even by those who don't know a processor queue from a pool cue.
For most web site owners, administering the site/server is just overhead. It's not something they take pleasure in doing and they have plenty of other things to worry about. Many wouldn't know how and have no interest in learning (rightly so, given their priorities). Consequently, ease of administration is paramount for such people.
Whether a Unix-based site (usually Linux these days) is easier to administer than Windows depends on your current skill set and the type of tools and level of access the web hosting company provides. But in general Linux is more difficult to install and maintain than Windows and the learning curve is steeper.
FTP and Control Panels
Often, you don't have to care. For many, the operating system is fairly transparent. FTP file transfers to get a new web page up to a Windows server are very much like they are to a Linux-based site. The user/administrator simply doesn't see what's behind the curtain.
Many companies provide other utilities that completely mask any awareness of the operating system underneath. When that's the case, the web site owner has no reason to care, until or unless they need or want to go 'inside the black box'.
Performance issues can be relevant in selecting which operating system host type to choose. But for the most part, that aspect is outside the web site owner's control. Overall performance can be good or bad on either system, depending on many factors that the publisher will rarely see. The issue is a wash, as far as tipping the scales is concerned.
What is more likely to be seen by a web site owner, at some point in their (and their site's) development is the database product that can be used to store information.
Microsoft SQL Server is relatively simple to use, yet extremely powerful and can deliver great performance. But it doesn't run on Linux. At least, not without special software to emulate Windows, which usually kills performance. On the other hand, with a bit of time invested, MySQL isn't significantly more difficult to learn than MS SQL Server and there are many free installations. Cost may well outweigh other considerations for most on this issue.
Last, but not least, there are differences in programming languages that can be (or at least typically are) used on Windows vs Unix. If you have programmers who are skilled in Visual Basic, ASP and other Microsoft technologies, then a Windows-based host will be your preferred choice. For Perl and PHP programmers, Linux is the more common platform of choice.
No single factor can push you to one versus the other operating system. And, in the long run, it isn't the primary consideration, unless you just enjoy playing with operating systems.
Web Hosting - The Internet and How It Works In one sense, detailing the statement in the title would require at least a book. In another sense, it can't be fully explained at all, since there's no central authority that designs or implements the highly distributed entity called The Internet. But the basics can certainly be outlined, simply and briefly. And it's in the interest of any novice web site owner to have some idea of how their tree fits into that gigantic forest, full of complex paths, that is called the Internet. The analogy to a forest is not far off. Every computer is a single plant, sometimes a little bush sometimes a mighty tree. A percentage, to be sure, are weeds we could do without. In networking terminology, the individual plants are called 'nodes' and each one has a domain name and IP address. Connecting those nodes are paths. The Internet, taken in total, is just the collection of all those plants and the pieces that allow for their interconnections - all the nodes and the paths between them. Servers and clients (desktop computers, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and more) make up the most visible parts of the Internet. They store information and programs that make the data accessible. But behind the scenes there are vitally important components - both hardware and software - that make the entire mesh possible and useful. Though there's no single central authority, database, or computer that creates the World Wide Web, it's nonetheless true that not all computers are equal. There is a hierarchy. That hierarchy starts with a tree with many branches: the domain system. Designators like .com, .net, .org, and so forth are familiar to everyone now. Those basic names are stored inside a relatively small number of specialized systems maintained by a few non-profit organizations. They form something called the TLD, the Top Level Domains. From there, company networks and others form what are called the Second Level Domains, such as Microsoft.com. That's further sub-divided into www.Microsoft.com which is, technically, a sub-domain but is sometimes mis-named 'a host' or a domain. A host is the name for one specific computer. That host name may or may not be, for example, 'www' and usually isn't. The domain is the name without the 'www' in front. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the individual hosts (usually servers) that provide actual information and the means to share it. Those hosts (along with other hardware and software that enable communication, such as routers) form a network. The set of all those networks taken together is the physical aspect of the Internet. There are less obvious aspects, too, that are essential. When you click on a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.microsoft.com) on a web page, your browser sends a request through the Internet to connect and get data. That request, and the data that is returned from the request, is divided up into packets (chunks of data wrapped in routing and control information). That's one of the reasons you will often see your web page getting painted on the screen one section at a time. When the packets take too long to get where they're supposed to go, that's a 'timeout'. Suppose you request a set of names that are stored in a database. Those names, let's suppose get stored in order. But the packets they get shoved into for delivery can arrive at your computer in any order. They're then reassembled and displayed. All those packets can be directed to the proper place because they're associated with a specified IP address, a numeric identifier that designates a host (a computer that 'hosts' data). But those numbers are hard to remember and work with, so names are layered on top, the so-called domain names we started out discussing. Imagine the postal system (the Internet). Each home (domain name) has an address (IP address). Those who live in them (programs) send and receive letters (packets). The letters contain news (database data, email messages, images) that's of interest to the residents. The Internet is very much the same.
Is Christian Publishing the Easy Road to the World of Writing Success? (Christian publishing) Any community with a special interest will pay for products that cater to that special interest. If that community is of significant size, you can bet that there will be products galore geared to them. There is money to be made where there is a need for a product. The Christian community is one such group that has a desire for a very specific product. They are interested in products that explain their faith and expand their knowledge of what is less understood within that faith. They also seek encouragement in what is already agreed upon. Because of all of these needs, there is certainly a market to be entered into within the Christian publishing network. The question is, since the group is exclusive, does that mean that there are too few writers for the consumers? Is it easier to get published when you?re not competing with the best of the secular authors? Those are difficult questions to answer with any certainty, but there are some topics to explore within that subject. Degree of Expertise In one genre of Christian publishing one qualification is essential. To write with expertise on subjects of faith, it is necessary to have the correct education. A seminary degree at the very least is required for convincing publications. The publishers do not accept authoritative writing from those without the proper education. When it comes to education, separate Christian denominations will expect degrees endorsed from those specific denominations. You may have expected that a Christian would need to write for the Christian community, but the requirements can be much more stringent. Just as a pastor or preacher must have the proper education to teach a congregation, a writer on subjects of theology or other topics from the Bible must also have the credentials to back up his claims. While it is not possible for every writer to obtain the correct degree for authoritative writing, there are other kinds of writing that will easier to achieve within Christian publishing. Experiential Knowledge A huge portion of Christian publishing is made up of personal stories. A Christian has unique experiences related to his faith. People who seek encouragement will buy books that relate to their own circumstances. A typical human problem is grief. If a Christian can effectively write about their grief from a perspective of faith then those writings will be helpful to other struggling Christians. Other important subjects include doubt, blessings and prayer. A lay Christian can back up their experiences and observations with scripture and therefore be much more relevant in their writing to the Christian community. If the writer?s material is not sufficient to fill a book, there are other outlets within Christian publishing for those who are able to inform and encourage fellow Christians. Magazines and church bulletins often publish poetry and short stories for the building up of believers. The Bottom Line Christian publishing may not be necessarily easier to do than secular publishing. If your heart is in the ministry to other Christians however, it may be the best field for you to attempt writing for. Christian publishing is not a ?first step? to enter into the publishing world. Most publishers are only looking for sincere and relevant publications. They will avoid writings done only for the money and will favor those with the honest goal of furthering the message of the Christian faith. Specific communities are looking for products geared to their lifestyles, but the best candidates for creating those products are those who have talent invested in that community. Entering into the Christian publishing world will be a similar task to entering into the scientific publishing world. It will take dedication and work. The writer will come out with a deeper understanding and faith of his own.