My #heweb11 Top 5

HighEdWeb LogoLast week I had the good fortune of attending the 2011 HighEdWeb Conference in Austin, TX. Like many conferences I’ve attended over the years this one focuses on web and related marketing with sessions, workshops, vendors, and everything else that comes along with them. The difference with HighEdWeb however is that instead of focusing on a broad range of techies and geeks it only focuses on those of us in higher education. This is what, for me, makes it something special.

As I return to my office I’m not about to implement 5 brand new features on our site or push our strategy in 5 new directions. The ideas I’ve taken away from this conference this year are far more valuable than any one new feature or new technology. Here’s what I’ve taken home.

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What Is The Best Way To Install A WordPress Plugin?

WordPress LogoAs anyone who is familiar with a install can tell you there are 3 primary ways to install a plugin in WordPress. You can have it download automatically by searching for it and clicking install in the WordPress back-end. You can download the zip file and upload it into WordPress by selecting “Add New” in the plugins page and the selecting “Upload.” Or, you can manually install it yourself via FTP/SSH. So is there any difference? Yes, actually there is. Here’s a breakdown of what each does and why you might want to choose one over the other. Continue Reading

FastCGI vs suPHP vs CGI vs mod_php (DSO)

PHP LogoOne question I see come up often for users setting up their own web servers involves how they run PHP. Nearly everyone I know who runs their own server has questions about this that usually fall in one of two areas. First, they have installed WordPress, Drupal, or another CMS and can’t get uploads to work within the software or, second, they are interested in making their web server more secure. The answer to both of these involves how your web server handles PHP which is known as the PHP handler.

The choices in how you run PHP may seem complicated, but they don’t have to be. Quite simply your needs will determine which you use. Here’s some information on your options and where they can best be used. Continue Reading

Shared Hosting vs VPS vs Cloud vs Dedicated Server

Which hosting should I choose?Have you shopped around for website hosting lately? Whether you’re building your first site or your 101st site there are a lot more options for hosting it than there used to be.

When I first started developing websites in the mid-90s about the only services available to the masses to host a website fell along the lines of GeoCities. They were clumsy, ugly, and really didn’t give you a whole lot of options. By 2002 website hosting finally started to come of age and offered choices like Linux or windows for about $9 a month or you could rent a whole server for substantially more.

Today there are a lot more choices. Whether you are looking to build a personal journal or the next Facebook you can start hosting it in a matter of minutes. The question now becomes which type of hosting is right for me? Generally speaking there are 4 different types of hosting today. Each of these 4 has its strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, each has its place in the world of the web. Here are the 4 main types of hosting and why (or why not) you should choose each one. Continue Reading