16
Sep 08

Fantastic-o!

Fantastico De Luxe



Fantastico is just how the name implies – it’s fantastic! Fantastico De Luxe, developed by Netenberg, is an auto installer software will allows you to install various scripts easily through cPanel. Installing scripts may be a tedious job for the novice web master. Fantastico allows you to install more than 40 open source (free) software applications with minimum hassle. No technical knowledge Continue reading →


08
Sep 08

Preview: Google Chrome

Google Chrome



It has been a week since Google’s much hyped “Chrome” browser was launched as a beta version. It has already claimed to have grabbed more than 1% of the global browser market. It created a record of sort by taking over 1% share of the global market within four days of its launch. Continue reading →


02
Sep 08

Introduction to suPHP



suPHP



Many of you may be aware that SharkSpace is now implementing suPHP on shared hosting servers, which was announced here recently. Through this blog, we will try to explain to you what suPHP is about and how it is beneficial for everyone.



Securing a shared hosting server is a challenging task as it has to be secured from outside and from inside a website. Vulnerable scripts or incorrect permissions can cause compromises from inside a server. PHP has built-in features to help, but ultimately it’s the wrong place to address the problem. Apache has built-in features too, Continue reading →


26
Aug 08

Fun with .htaccess

.htaccess



In a web server, the server’s configuration file normally defines the settings that files and directories in your account follows. However these settings can be customized to an extend by yourself using simple text files called .htaccess. When properly congfirued, .htaccess file can allow you to ,etc. Each line in a .htaccess file is called a directive. Directives are applied to the directory the .htaccess file resides in and any subdirectories within that directory. So if it is placed in the public_html directory, all the files and directories in your account will be affected.



Creating a .htaccess file:



You can create a .htaccess file using any text editor like Notepad (Windows), TextEdit (Mac), vi (Linux), etc.. To create one, open your text editor, enter a few directives and save the file as .htaccess (with the period). If your editor won’t let you save the file as .htaccess, name it htaccess.txt instead. You can rename it after you’ve uploaded it to your server. When uploading the .htaccess file to your server, make sure that it is uploaded in ASCII mode. Some FTP clients may not show the file as files with names that begin with a period are normally considered as hidden files. So you will have to change the settings in your FTP client in that case. If there is an existing .htaccess file, you can just edit it with the required directives.



Even though most of the tweaks can be done using cPanel which uses .htaccess file, a basic understanding of various directives used in .htacess file will give you more control. We will cover some useful stuff that we can achieve using a .htaccess file in this blog:



1) Redirect Traffic:



You can redirect all visitors or certain visitors only based on their IP address, etc.



order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from 72.10.20.30

ErrorDocument 403 /page.html

allow from all



Replace 72.10.20.30 with your IP address. Also replace page.html with the name of the page you want visitors to see.



2) Custom Error Pages:



The web server normally displays a 404 error when it receives a request for an non existant page. You can replace the server’s default error page with one of your own that explains the error in plain language and links visitors to your home page. Here’s how to use your own page:



ErrorDocument 404 /404.html



Replace 404.html with the name of the page you want visitors to see.



3) Redirect Moved pages:



When you move your pages to a new location, the URLs in the index of search engines will not get updated and you will loose traffic when visitors land in the old URL. You can use a 301 redirect to automatically send to the new page when they try to access the old one:



Redirect 301 /old.html http://yoursite.com/new.html



Using a 301 redirect also ensures the page doesn’t lose its search engine ranking.



4) Prevent Directory Browsing:



When there’s no index page in a directory, visitors can look and see what’s inside. This may be insecure as you are exposing hidden content to the public. Some servers are configured to prevent directory browsing like this. If yours isn’t, here’s how to set it up:



Options All -Indexes



5) User Friendly URLs



This one is a bit tricky, but very useful and helps in Search Engine Optimization as well.



For example, your page is at the location:



http://www.domain.com/html/new/contact.html



When it comes to URLs, as long as the meaning is clear, shorter is always better for your visitor and a search bot, like: http://www.domain.com/contact



With htaccess and an Apache module called mod_rewrite, you can set up URLs however you want. Your server can show the contents of “/html/new/contact.html” whenever anyone visits “http://domain.com/contact”. Here are a few examples:



RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^contact/$ /html/new/contact.html [L]



These are some of the basic tweaks that you can achive using a .htaccess file. You can find many advanced directives here.




18
Aug 08

SEO: Getting Listed in Google


SEO


Your new business or personal/community web site is finally up and running. But how do you attract visitors now to your website? The first step towards announcing your website to the World Wide Web is to get listed in Search Engines. Majority of the traffic to a website is through Search Engines. Google is one of the most popular Search Engines and we will give you a few tips on how to get listed in Google and increase the traffic to your website.


1) Add your URL to Google:


The first step to get listed for any website is by manually submitting your URL with Google. Visit: http://www.google.com/addurl/ and submit your website details. Google does not guarentee that your website will be listed, but you can improve your chances of getting listed by following the protocols outlined by Google. You can follow these protocols when designing your website to increase search engine friendliness.


You can also try submitting your URL at DMOZ The Open Directory which Google uses for classifying websites. This is a directory that is managed by volunteers that act as “category editors.” To list your site, simply go to the most appropriate category for your web site, then drill down to the relevant subcategory and select the “Add URL” link at the top of that category’s page.


The time required for the Google bot to start crawling your website will vary though you can expect it to start within a week or two.


2) Increase PageRank


Google uses PageRank algorithm for ranking websites. This is Google’s description of PageRank:

“ PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important”.


Hence it is important that your website should have links from and to other websites. The more number of links, the better PageRank for your website which means more traffic to your website! You can start writing articles and submit them to the article submission sites. All of the article sites (the good ones at least) allow you to include a section called “About the Author” or “Author Resource”. It’s here that you can include a link back to your site.


3) Sitemaps


Sitemaps help visitors to navigate between pages and also helps search engine bot to index very easily. Generate a sitemap and keep it updated so that Search Engines will be able to index your website efficiently. There are many Sitemap generators available. You can find a good list of Sitemap generators here.


4) Search Engine Friendly design


When designing your website, make sure that it is search engine friendlt. Meta description is an important component for on-page SEO. Google only consider 155 characters from Meta description. So it’s important to write a unique Meta description within 155 characters using keywords. Images make articles and pages attractive to visitors. More over images are also indexed different search engines. Using relevant keywords in the image ALT tags help Search Engines to recognize images and index them according to the ALT tags. Title tag is very important. Title should not be too long. For Google, 70 characters are enough. Descriptive titles have maximum clickthoughs.


5) Content is King


The most important factor for driving more visitors to your website and maintaining them is to keep your content updated regularly. This would naturally keep Google Bots busy as well as they will index more pages from your website. The more you update the content within your site, the more value it earns. it It takes more than simply having content on your site to bring visitors back to your site time after time. It takes quality content that is updated regularly.

Google and other search engines have a very simple goal with their search results: to provide the most relevant results to those who perform a search. It is important that your web pages are optimized for search engines if you want to get high search engine rankings. A combination of optimized web pages and high link popularity leads to high rankings on search engines like Google.


12
Aug 08

The Art of Troubleshooting Thyself!


Trace Route


SharkSpace often receives tickets from our clients who claim that their website is not accessible. However, most of the time it turns out that the issue is actually at the client’s side itself. So in this blog we try to help you to run some self diagnostic tests which will equip you to figure out whether the issue is at your side before opening a support ticket.


Note: It is recommended that you subscribe to the “SharkSpace Server and Network Announcements” forum so that you will get notified whenever there is an ongoing server/network related issue. SharkSpace staff will post a report when any issue is detected by our 24/7 monitoring system. If you do not find any new topic after a few minutes, please go through the following steps to check whether the issue is at your side:



1) Check using third party monitoring services:


There are several website monitoring services available that can check whether your website is up or not. Most of them can also check it from multiple locations across the world. Some of the services that allows free website monitoring checks are:


http://www.alertra.com/spotcheck.php


http://www.hyperspin.com/en/quicktest.php


http://www.watchmouse.com/en/checkit.php


http://www.siteuptime.com/users/quickcheck.php


If the third party monitoring services are also reporting your website as down, please open a Support Ticket in our Help Desk. However, if they are reporting your website as “UP”, the issue is likely at your side itself. Let us see how we can further troubleshoot the issue at your side.


2) Traceroute:


The next step to diagnose the issue is to run a Traceroute command from your PC to your domain name. Trace route is a network utility that traces the path taken by your network to reach a host. It shows all nodes the packet travels from sender to destination (also reffered as “hops” in the network), the domains if available, IP addresses and the amount of time in milliseconds that took the reach that specific host. To run a traceroute command, you can do the following steps:


a) Assuming that you are using a Windows PC, click Start > Run


b) Type: cmd (and Press Enter)


c) Type the traceroute command at the prompt: tracert yourdomain.com (and press Enter)


d) Wait for a few seconds for the traceroute command to complete. Once the traceroute is completed, it will show “Trace Route Complete”.


e) To copy the trace route result, right click the Command Prompt window and click on “Mark”. Now drag and select the result to highlight it and press Enter to copy it.


Paste and Save this information in a text file which you can attach when submitting a Support Ticket later.


* If the trace route shows a “Unable to Resolve Host” message, it is likely to be a DNS issue at your side. You may be having a DNS cache or your ISP’s DNS server aren’t updated yet. In such cases, you can try flushing your DNS cache or you can use third party DNS addresses from OpenDNS, etc. to resolve this issue.


* If the trace route result shows “Request Time Out” within your ISP’s network range, it is likely that your ISP is having issues and you may have to contact them regarding this issue along with the traceroute result.


* If the trace route result shows “Request Time Out” towards the end (just before reaching the server), it is likely that your PC’s IP Address is blocked in the server’s firewall. Please open a Support Ticket in our Help Desk to get your IP unblocked from the firewall along with the trace route result and your IP address.


The above troubleshooting tests will help you find and resolve issues at your side quickly without the need for contacting us through the Help Desk. If there is an ongoing issue reported at our side, then it will be posted in the forum. In such cases, please do not open a Help Desk ticket as it would delay our efforts to bring back the server online since we will have to attend to your ticket at the same time. Please refresh the forum topic page or subscribe to the topic to receive an email notification when there is an update.



05
Aug 08

RoundCube: Towards a better webmail experience!

We hope everyone had noticed that RoundCube is available among the options in your webmail interface. RoundCube is a pretty slick webmail client and has been requested a lot in the past. After about two years of development, the first stable release of RoundCube was announced in early 2008. Since the script has matured into a stable product, cPanel integrated RoundCube into its webmail interface along with SquirrelMail and Horde. SharkSpace had introduced RoundCube webmail in all our servers earlier.
Roundcube uses AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) to provide a quick, responsive user interface which mimics that of many desktop email clients. The use of AJAX makes tasks like folder manipulation, message searching and spell checking a lot easier. It provides a much more application-style interface for webmail, featuring double-click to view, drag-and-drop to move. RoundCube has a “Mac” type look and the icons were designed by Stephen Horlander and Kevin Gerich of Mozilla.org

   If Roundcube had a built in feed reader and calendar, it would be better, but for an email reader, we think they are doing some good work. We haven’t come across any bugs or issues with RoundCube yet, if you bump into any issues please do let us know by submitting a ticket in our Help Desk and we will be happy to review it!
Some of the features of RoundCube webmail includes:
  • PHP- and (Postgresql-MySQL-Sqlite)-based
  • Multilingual capabilities
  • Full support for MIME and HTML messages
  • Compose messages with attachments
  • IMAP Support
  • Multiple sender identities
  • Basic address book
  • Find-as-you-type address book integration
  • Forwarding messages with attachments
  • Create or remove custom message folders
  • Built-in caching for fast mailbox access
  • Support for external SMTP server
  • Advanced user interface
  • Unlimited users and messages
  • Complete customization with skins
RoundCube is now in version 0.2 and there are new features being developed. The upcoming features include:
  • Richtext/HTML composing
  • Message filters and rules
  • Contact groups
  • Auto-detection of client language and timezone
  • Selectable folder for outgoing mails
  • Managing nested folders/collapsable folders list
  • Full featured address book based on VCard standard
  • Import/export functions
  • Support for GPG/PGP encryption
  • Threaded message listing
  • Plug-in API for flexible exensions
Here are some common FAQ for RoundCube webmail:

Q: How do I log in to the new RoundCube Webmail client?
A: You can login directly to your webmail (domain.com/webmail) and select the RoundCube icon.

Q: How do I setup a Signature in RoundCube Webmail client?
A: To setup a Signature, please navigate to Personal Settings > Identities > New identity.

Q: Is there a way to change the number of messages displayed on one page?
A: To do so, please navigate to Personal Settings > Preferences.

Q: Is there a way to import existing rules from another mail application (such as Microsoft Entourage, Outlook, Outlook Express, etc.)?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to import the existing rules from other applications. We hope this feature will be implemented soon.

Q: How do I delete all messages in RoundCube Webmail client?
A: To delete all messages at once using the RoundCube Webmail client, please select a folder and apply the “Empty” action from the bottom of the left frame.

Q: Is there an automated way to clean my Trash folder?
A: Unfortunately, this option is not available at the moment. We hope this feature will be implemented soon as well.

Q: What does the “Compact” action do?
A: The “Compact” action supposed to permanently delete messages marked as Deleted. Since in our installation messages are being deleted right away, the “Compact” action does not do anything.

Q: How do I create a new folder in RoundCube Webmail client?
A: To create a new folder, please navigate to Personal Settings > Folders tab.
An alternative for SquirrelMail (too simple?) and Horde (too complex?) was missing until recently and we feel that gap has been filled up by RoundCube!

22
Jul 08

Rules for startups by successful business man Mark Cuban

I came across a very interesting article written by Mark Cuban regarding company startups. It provides some valuable information and everyone thinking about starting a company should read this article first: http://www.blogmaverick.com/2008/03/09/my-rules-for-startups/


The part I agree with most is:


“1. Don’t start a company unless its an obsession and something you love.”


20
Jul 08

What is Link Juice?

SEO
Search Engine Optimization has opened up newer varieties of terms, which are applicable to different websites to help them become popular and therefore increase the number of hits. One of them is Link Juice. Greg Boser in his site Web Guerilla coined the term.


The trendy name attracted a lot of people. The scientific term is actually known as ‘pass through ratio’. But Continue reading →


19
Jul 08

CentOS 5 i386 – The CentOS-5.2 i386 Live CD is released

Centos
The CentOS development team released the CentOS 5.2 i386 live cd. The cd can be used for a work station or a rescue disk.


It includes the following packages:


Workstation Packages


openoffice.org 2.3.0
firefox 3.0
thunderbird 2.0.0
pidgin 2.3.1
scribus 1.3.3.2
xchat 2.6.6
k3b 0.12.17
gimp 2.2.13


Rescue CD Packages


memtest86+-1.65
Full set of LVM and RAID command line tools
QTParted
Nmap and NMapFE
traceroute
samba-3.0.28 with cifs kernel support to connect to Windows file shares
System Log Viewer
GUI Hardware Device Manager


It is available at: https://projects.centos.org/trac/livecd/