Surviving the Digg Effect (or TechCrunch, Lifehacker, etc.)

It’s a problem we would all like to have. Your site gets mentioned on a very influential blog, such as TechCrunch or Lifehacker, or on a site like Digg and all of a sudden you are inundated with visitors. Unfortunately, your budget webhost setup is not ready or able to handle that influx and so all those visitors are greeted with a page not found … [ Read more ]

Canonicalization Prevention Guide

Canonicalization, a computer science term, is used, especially by Google, to refer to the process of picking the best url when there are several choices. From an SEO perspective, it is important to avoid creation of duplicate content due to potential negative effects in search engine rankings.

Specific code snippets to resolve the problem in different situations have been widely discussed, but there is no … [ Read more ]

Identifying a Compromised Script Sending Spam from Your Server

When you use third party software programs, both open source and commercial, there is an increased possibility that they will have security flaws which are exploited. This is true because the programs are well-known, often make the source code publicly available, and because hackers realize that security holes in these programs will exist on a lot of servers.

Recently, I noticed that one … [ Read more ]

Fixing a HTTP Error 500 – Internal Server Error

The 500 Internal Server Error is a very general HTTP status code that means something has gone wrong on the web site’s server but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is. When you receive such an error on your site, a good place to start your troubleshooting is with the error log, which can usually be accessed easily from … [ Read more ]

Setting Up / Moving Servers – A New Server Checklist

It probably seems logical that you should avoid moving servers if you can. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can’t avoid it. In that case there are some things you can do to make your experience more trouble-free.

The Easy Way to Migrate Servers

If you use cpanel or Plesk, each offers a migration tool. Use that tool on the new server to automatically transfer your entire domain from … [ Read more ]


The PHP Extension and Application Repository, or PEAR, is a framework and distribution system for PHP code components. Stig S. Bakken founded the PEAR project in 1999 to promote the re-use of code that performs common functions. The project seeks to provide a structured library of code, maintain a system for distributing code and for managing code packages, and promote a standard coding style.

While PEAR … [ Read more ]

PHP Configuration

The default configuration for PHP may very well suit all your coding needs just fine. Sometimes, however, it won’t. Generally speaking there are three ways to make changes to your PHP configuration:

  1. Modify the php.ini file if you have access to it. Some hosting plans will allow you to access and modify this file and some won’t. Personally, I would recommend

[ Read more ]

Miscellaneous Server Tips

  • Make sure index.php is considered a default index page. If it isn’t, add a .htaccess file (or edit the existing file) in the root (e.g., htdocs) directory with the following line:
    DirectoryIndex index.php index.htm index.html
    or just modify the DirectoryIndex line in the httpd.conf file
  • Make sure that visitors to your site can’t view directory contents. If your webhost uses cPanel choose the Index Manager

[ Read more ]


DNS stands for Domain Name System (or Service or Server). It is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name … [ Read more ]

SenderID / SPF / DomainKeys

Most email is handled by the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Unfortunately, SMTP was designed in an era when nobody recognized a need for significant security measures. Today, spam and phishing has exposed the underlying security weaknesses of SMTP. As a result, various efforts are underway to add the necessary security to prevent future spam, phishing and other unsavory uses of email. The two primary … [ Read more ]


The cron daemon (a program that runs continuously and exists for the purpose of handling periodic service requests that a computer system expects to receive) is where all timed events are handled. Cron commands are usually referred to as “jobs.” For me, cron jobs are a totally essential tool. I use them to run scripts at regularly scheduled intervals. For example, I send out email … [ Read more ]

.htaccess Tutorial

Sometimes you may wish to make a change to your server configuration without changing the configuration for the whole server. To do so you can add a small file called .htaccess (which stands for hypertext access). The dot is important in this file name and the name is ALWAYS the same regardless of the change you make.

Before deciding to make a .htaccess file, first check … [ Read more ]

httpd.conf file

On Apache servers, the httpd.conf file is the main file of concern when modifying settings and functionality.

Depending on the hosting package and provider you chose, you may or may not have access to this file to modify. You may also have access to make limited changes via a graphical control panel. The default settings of your hosting package will dictate which, if any, changes might … [ Read more ]

Webserver Software and Degree of Control

Depending on the hosting provider you choose you may have very little or a fair amount of configuration to do before your website will be ready for debut.

Apache & IIS

Apache is the open source web server software that runs on *Nix platforms. It is currently the dominant software used across the Internet. Though there are other programs that could be used, most likely your hosting … [ Read more ]