Archive for the ‘Web Design’ Category

Various Website Hosting Options

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

On an IT forum that I participate on, someone asked what type of hosting was best. The following is my response about the various hosting options.

Obviously, the response is that it depends on the project you’re doing. The key question to ask is how much control do you need over the server? Although, even now the managed hosts are providing pretty robust customization these days. Of course, there’s also the discussion of shared host versus the various flavors of VPS hosting out there.

I use a shared host for all but 2 of my websites. I’ve done 50k+ pageviews in a day on a shared host plan (optimized WordPress site) and that was only one of the 5-10 domains I had on that plan. I use Bluehost’s shared hosting and it still amazes me how many domains and how much traffic I can do for only $7/month. The real limitation with the shared host is CPU. Everything else is a non-issue from my experience. However, the CPU usage of your database could be an issue depending on your website. The good thing about Bluehost is their software that throttles CPU usage. Some might hate this idea, but on a shared host with 20 other domains, it’s a great feature since then other crappily implemented websites don’t kill yours. Now if your website is the one that eats everyone else’s CPU, you might not like this feature.

For one project, I needed more CPU and more flexibility with things like configuring my SSL certificate (another issue with shared hosting). So, I got a VPS package from: http://www.wiredtree.com/ It has all the CPanel functionality that I’m use to having, but it also gives me access to all the CPanel management functions that usually only the shared host people have access to. It’s been a great experience. Although at $50 a month is quite a bit more than the shared hosting plan.

If you want the beauty of not having to host your server, but ALL the flexibility of having your own server, I know a lot of people that love: http://www.slicehost.com/ From what I hear it’s basically your own virtual server that you can do whatever you want on. People who like to do their own Apache Installs, etc love this type of hosting.

I’m all about simplifying the server admin experience. I’ve done all the server install stuff and it’s a fun experience and cool to make stuff work. However, at the end of the day with all the above options I’m not sure I’ll buy another server again. So, I guess I’m an all web application kind of guy.

User Experience Design

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I just got finished reading this article about user experience design and what should and shouldn’t be the claims of someone who does user experience design. It’s a fascinating read for anyone that is working to design webpages.

When I tell people that I work on websites for a living, it’s regularly followed with some referral to someone who wants a website created. It always makes me laugh a little inside. I really don’t like doing websites for other people. I’ve occasionally done them, but they’re definitely the exception and not the rule. What’s funny is that most people don’t realize the different ways to make money on the internet.

So, yes, I am a web designer and I do create websites, but I mostly like to create my own websites. Why? That sounds like a good future post. I’ll save it for then. Although, one aspect of that answer has to do with user experience design.

To create a usable website it’s not a one time shot. Unfortunately, far too many people make this mistake. The key to building a usable website and one that becomes very popular is to constantly be building, modifying, tweaking, adding, improving, etc etc etc the website. Plus, all of these changes and additions are done as you fanatically evaluate the results of the changes you made.

Notice the use of the terms fanatic and constant. If I’m working on someone else’s website, it’s MUCH MUCH harder to be fanatic about their project and constantly changing what needs to be changed. However, I’m in love with my own projects and so the hours just pass and I barely realize where they’ve gone. This passion and love of the work is what makes for a great user experience design.

That’s not to say that there aren’t other people that can work on other people’s projects and enjoy it. There are people out there. However, the best user experience designers are the ones that are completely passionate about a project. If there’s no passion, you might as well go outsource a freelance web designer on eLance to create you a website. They’re great (and inexpensive) at creating websites, but it takes real passion to create a meaningful user experience.