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Domains Hosting

What is web hosting and how does it work?

What is web hosting?

Web hosting (in layman’s terms) is the service of providing storage space for a website or application on a server on the internet. Once your website is made available on the internet, it can be accessed by other computers connected to the internet.

 is the service of providing storage space for a website or application on a server on the What is web hosting and how does it work?

How web hosting works:

Web hosts are companies that rent out their services and technologies to host websites on the internet. Once the hosting company hosts your website, users can access it by typing in your web address (domain name) in their web browser. When they do this, their computer connects to the server your website is hosted on. The server in turn serves (sends the files you have stored on the storage to display) the website to your web visitor in their web browser.

 

How to choose the right web hosting package:

There are several web hosting options available. To know which one would be right for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

What kind of website do you plan to host online- a blog, an ecommerce portal, a news website, etc as this will determine how much web traffic you expect and how robust the infrastructure required to host your website, should be.

  • What are the goals of your website? How fast do you see yourself expanding online business?
  • How much hand-holding do you need?

 

Your answers will determine how much you need of the following:

  • Storage space
  • Bandwidth
  • Control–is it important that you have root control of your server?
  • Cost–how much are you either willing to spend or need to spend?

 

How to know which web hosting provider to partner with?

Investigate their performance or claims in the following area:

  1. Uptime-Do they guarantee at least a 99% uptime? Where are their servers located?
  2. Years in the industry-One way to determine their credibility
  3. Customers-How many customers do they serve? In what locations do they have a presence?
  4. Online reviews and testimonials-These should give you a more factual idea of the company’s reputation
  5. Support-Does the company offer 24X7 support with trained personnel to assist you?
  6. Related products-Select a web hosting company that offers you other related web service products such as security, email and backup services. Getting it all in one place could reduce the time coordinating with different providers
  7. Security considerations
  8. Backup services
  9. Mobile Access– Can you access your control panel from a device on the go?

What are the web hosting options available?

There are several ways to host your website:

1.Shared Hosting:

If you have a blog or a small business that is just starting out, Shared Hosting is a good option to start with. It’s the most affordable hosting option available as your server space is shared by other websites. It’s simple and easy-to-use. On the other hand, because you share space and resources with multiple other websites on the same server, an overload with another website will cause your website to slow down. You have minimal control over the server.

2.WordPress Hosting:

If you have a WordPress blog or website, it is recommended that you purchase a WordPress hosting package as it is specifically optimized to cater to your WordPress website.

3.Reseller Hosting:

If you want to get into the hosting business, purchasing Reseller Hosting enables you to rent out or re-sell the same hosting services provided by the parent hosting company. With Reseller Hosting, you can also upsell every other web service offered by the parent web host.

4.Dedicated Hosting:

Dedicated hosting gives you complete/administrative control of your server with full root access. You can choose to install any software you wish to.

5.VPS hosting:

You can think of VPS hosting as a higher, stronger more advanced form of shared hosting. While you do share a server with other websites, you are assigned resources that are not shared with the other properties. If you cannot afford a dedicated server, VPS is the way to go.

 

We hope we’ve given you a basic understanding of what web hosting is and how it works. We at ResellerClub have been serving over 200,000 web professionals for over 10 years with several web hosting services and allied products. Give us a try!

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Hosting

How to use cPanel to Create a Website

As a web pro, one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel. cPanel is a popular web-based dashboard that helps you with many administrative tasks. In this article, we’ll see how to use cPanel to create a website in some simple steps.

What is cPanel?

cPanel is a web-based graphical control panel that helps you create websites and manage your web hosting account. It has a simple setup and features. We at ResellerClub also help our customers manage their products with cPanel, which comes with Dedicated Server Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Shared Hosting and Reseller Hosting.

Features of cPanel

  1. Highly Secure:

    This is one of the most important features of any product or software. cPanel provides utmost security and is protected by password-protected directories, SSL/TLS, GnuPG Key and IP address denial.

  2. Easy File Management:

    cPanel helps in monitoring your customer’s website for optimal disk space usage, editing and taking a backup of folders and files, making the work of the user easier.

  3. Safe Server Management:

    cPanel also provides easy server management that’s available to Dedicated and VPS servers through command line scripts. They help maintain and resolve issues with the servers like performing system backup, automating account suspensions, restarting the server through SSH, restoring an account and more.(try adding these as bullet points same for the other points)

  4. Powerful Email:

    cPanel can be used to create & manage multiple email accounts, forwarders and autoresponders as well as access email through clients such as RoundCube etc. It also helps block spam and creates filters to help enable this.

How to use cPanel to Create a Website:

There are two ways to create your website using cPanel:

  1. You can use cPanel’s File Manager to see the files on your root server and upload files from there.
  2. The second is to create your website on a CMS such as WordPress using cPanel. We’ve covered this earlier on our blog and you can read it here.

In this blog post, we’ll be covering the first method, using cPanel to create a website.

Step I: Domain Name Registration and Hosting

Step I involves choosing the right domain name for your website. This is very essential as your domain name is your first identity to a potential customer. When registering your domain name, I would recommend two things if you have the following websites:

  1. Personal Website: You can unleash your creativity when it comes to personal domain names. However, be thoughtful when doing so. Having a food website with the name travelogue.com can be misleading and you may have difficulty with customer retention.
  2. Business Website: Choosing the right domain name for a business website ensures effective branding and marketing for your website. When selecting your domain, ensure that it truly represents your company.

To host your website, there are several web hosting services available like WordPress Hosting, Shared Hosting, Cloud Hosting and more. In the example here, I chose Cloud Hosting to host this website using cPanel. You can go to your cPanel by clicking on ‘Manage Hosting’ in your control panel

 one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel How to use cPanel to Create a Website

Step II: Open cPanel File Manager

  1. Once you login to your cPanel account, click on ‘File Manager’ in the Files section. one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel How to use cPanel to Create a Website
  2. Once you click File Manager, the following window will open with several folders. From here you can directly upload or create new files. Click on public_html folder and you will find another folder inside it.
  3. Since this is our demo account the folder is empty. We’ll be creating our own file in the folder inside public_html and name it as index.php one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel How to use cPanel to Create a Website
  4. Now click on ‘Create New File’ and a message will pop up confirming your edit. Click on ‘edit’ and a blank window editor will open. Here is where you code. For our simplicity, we’ve simply written the most basic PHP code. one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel How to use cPanel to Create a Website

     one of the things you need to manage your business website effectively is a control panel How to use cPanel to Create a Website

  5. Next, click ‘Save Changes’ and reload your Domain Name URL to see the changes. Since I’ve done this using the demo account, the changes won’t be reflected.

Conclusion:

On completion of the above steps, you will have successfully created your website. You can now customize it as you wish. We hope this demo helped you understand how to use cPanel to create and edit a website.

If you would like to share some tips or would like more tutorials from us, leave us a comment below and we will definitely do a post on that.

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Domains Hosting

How to host a domain / website on your own?

If you’re a developer/blogger who is tech-savvy and just plain adventurous, you might feel confident enough to host a domain/website on your own. That’s right, in your basement (if you live in a part of the world where most people have one) or maybe just in your own bedroom. If you think a hosting company like us wouldn’t even want to broach the topic with you–you’re mistaken! We are as geeky as some of you are and appreciate those with a taste of adventure.

If you’re in the group which isn’t sure exactly how to host a domain or website on your own, let’s explore this:

 you might feel confident enough to host a domain How to host a domain / website on your own?

A few steps on how to host your domain or website:

1.Register a domain name

There are several websites that could choose to register your domain name. You will also realise once you visit a good domain registration website is that a domain with a .COM extension is not your only option.

2.Code your website

If you’re in a hurry, you could customize an existing template from WordPress. If you have more time on your hands or are determined to code your website from scratch, using PHP is a good way to go-considering WordPress is largely built on PHP.

3.Find out what your IP address is

4.Point your domain name to the IP address of your computer

Get a static IP address to your machine within your network. A static IP address is an IP unchanging number that identifies your machine within the network. Your router stands between your machine and the rest of the internet. Give your router the IP address for which you are opening up the port to be accessible by the rest of the internet.

5.Find out if your ISP supports hosting

You may have issues here based on your bandwidth quota 😉 You don’t want to find out that your internet connection has been suspended because of one harmless experiment!

6.Ensure your computer at home can support hosting

The machine you decide to host your domain/website on will have to be running 24X7 and will need to be kept cool to avoid overheating and crashes.

7.Ensure your computer is secured

Make sure you have the latest updates to your OS and security features

8.Download the AMP software

AMP is the shortened version of the Apache, Mysql, PHP web stack. Here’s one you could try if you’re a Windows user. It’s called WampServer.

9.Follow the installation instructions in the link above

10.Copy your website’s source code into the WampServer root folder

11.Start your AMP server

Your website will now be live!

 

Reasons to host your own domain/website:

Good reasons:

  • For learning and fun!

    It is a good experience and introduces you to a whole new world. You could dive from hosting to programming to web design and the world is your oyster. Another reason you learn a lot is that by hosting a domain/website you are free to make whatever system changes you like.

Not-so-great reasons:

  • You have an idea and just want to test it out:

    A risky move. If this idea involves a sample group of customers–first impressions are of utmost importance. A self-hosted website (as cool as it was settling it up) is unlikely to do justice.

  • You think hosting is expensive:

    This is a huge myth. There are several web hosting options available starting from as low as $ 0.49/month at ResellerClub. Plus, the benefits outweigh the cost as a good hosting package can provide services that you really can’t match at home like security, backups, etc

 

So, finally-here’s where you may face some bumps:

  • Uptime

    Your computer needs to stay on at all times. If your computer reboots, shuts down, is hacked or has no power connection, your website will be unavailable.

  • Performance and visitor experience

    Even if you have a high-speed connection from your ISP, it will not be near enough to match the speed a good hosting company can provide. Considering the stats on how long visitors wait for a website to load (less than 3 seconds), self-hosting is not a good idea for a serious website.

  • Security

    There are numerous potential security threats to websites and the machines they are hosted on-including yourself. You could corrupt or delete essential files with fatal consequences. With regards to online threats, you’ll need everything from security certificates, firewalls and malware removers to be completely secure. These are all paid services and you might as well get a good deal with a hosting company.

  • You will not be able to host high traffic websites

    The bandwidth your ISP provides you will definitely not come close to what you will require with a website with a lot of visitor traffic. Only with a hosting company can you get the right deal to match your website requirements.

  • You will dedicate almost all your time to your website

    This would involve monitoring your website, maintaining your machine’s hardware and ensuring your server software is up-to-date.

  • You will need to pay huge electricity bills

    As we mentioned before, your machine will need to be running 24X7.

 

Like we said at the beginning, this is no reason to discourage you. Try it out. Those who have can guarantee that the learning is immense. Once you’re done with your experiment, try hosting your website with a good hosting provider. You can just sit back, relax and focus your energies on just scaling up your web business.

 

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Marketing

How to Turn Down Customer Requests Courteously

On our social media, we often joke about how many changes we as developers & designers receive from clients with the hashtag #webdesignerproblems.

 we often joke about how many changes we as developers  How to Turn Down Customer Requests Courteously

Funny as it may be, in real life, it can be frustrating to have to re-do images or implement the client’s changes because he’s either unsure of what he wants or is over ambitious or simply, hard to please.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to turn down such requests politely (this applies to any type of customer request).

Genuinely listen to your customer’s request

First off, hear your customer out. Hearing him out lets your customer know he’s valued and important. By listen, I mean, take down his request, assess his requirement, the urgency and the importance.

Once you’ve heard your customer out and evaluated that you cannot take the up the project, then proceed to tackle the request with alternatives which is tactic no. 2.

Try an alternative

Instead of saying an outright “no” which could seem rude, find a way to turn down a request in a positive manner. You can do this by asking the customer or client a few questions like:

  • Why do you want to do this?
  • What resolution are you expecting?

Asking questions like these convey to your customer that you’re trying your best to work things out. Surprisingly, sometimes the client may think he needs one thing but could actually need something else. In the meantime, look for alternative solutions instead of his exact outcome. Ask yourself what work around you can find.

Explain what you can do

In other words, be honest. Now, yes you don’t have to oblige every request you get (that’s the point of this article) but again, instead of a “no”, explain to your client why you can’t take up his request.

Explaining it to him lets him understand you’ve considered his request but unfortunately, can’t provide the exact outcome that he’s expecting due to time or bandwidth constraints. Explaining helps maintain the rapport you have with the customer while still being realistic about your work.

Make sure your rejection email is clear

Sometimes it’s hard to convey a good-intentioned message on email as email doesn’t carry tone (Fun fact, Fox Type is a web app that actually analyzes how polite or rude your message is).

While rejecting customer requests on email, make sure:

  • You thank the customer for his request
  • Make sure you’re clear about declining the request
  • Mention what you can do
  • Reaffirm your answer at the end

Let me give you a real-life example. We accept good quality guest posts on the ResellerClub blog and a lot of requests that do come to me are from experienced writers with above average content. Now, sometimes a writer (who has already published a guest article on our blog) requests to publish more than 1 article. In this case, I politely email them something that goes like this:

Hey xyz,

Thank you for writing in to me. Your first article has been performing well on our blog. Many congratulations!

Thank you for your interest to publish a second piece of content on our blog. Unfortunately, since we just posted an article in your name, it will be a while till we publish one again because we want to give other writers a chance too.

We do value your partnership and will reach out to you if we do decide to publish content in your name again. Have a great day!

Cheers.

 

Acknowledge your existing relationship, build rapport

Let him know you’ve heard his request before you say no. Proceed to explain your reason for declining his request.

Assure him you’ll revisit his request in the future

 

Conclusion

 

I hope I’ve managed to give you some direction with rejecting requests politely. Pro tip: Pick and choose which ones to reject. It’s OK to reject customer requests in these scenarios:

  • Too many / unreasonable changes from the client
  • Lack of bandwidth/ resources to take up a new client
  • Beyond discussed scope of work (In this case, I suggest pitching this as an ‘upgrade’ at an additional fee)
  • Breach of a policy, non-compete

Addressing the ‘unlimited’

Many brands and companies offer ‘unlimited’ services which almost always will have soft limits and is still subject to an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). If you’re going to be providing  an ‘unlimited’ service, ensure you communicate this to your customers so tackle multiple or unreasonable requests.

Let us know in the comments section if you’ve got more tips.

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Hosting

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Configure a Firewall in Linux

So before we start with the steps involved to configure a firewall in Linux, first let’s make sure we understand what a firewall is and how it works.

So before we start with the steps involved to configure a firewall in Linux A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Configure a Firewall in Linux

Understanding what a firewall is and how it works:

A firewall is a program that surrounds the interface between a private network and the rest of the big and (usually) bad internet. You can think of the firewall as a gateway. It follows pre-configured rules that allow certain traffic to pass through from the internet to the private network and blocks those that are unwanted and potentially harmful.

Why do I need to configure a firewall for my Linux machine? Isn’t it the safer than most other server OSs?

If you have a Linux machine, you are guaranteed a certain level of security by default, courtesy the amazing Linux developer community. Linux systems are generally immune to a majority of viruses and other threats that many other operating systems succumb to. But with the increase in the volume, variety and intensity of cyber threats today, configuring a Linux firewall is quite a necessity.

 

A step-by-step guide on how to configure firewall in Linux:

Step 1 : Beef-up basic Linux security:

While this blog is titled to address firewall configuration, the first step is to ensure that the firewall has all the support it needs with a 100% secure Linux machine. To do this, ensure you have all the latest security updates installed for your version of Linux.

Step 2: Decide how you want to protect your server:

While Iptables is generally where the linux community looks to configure a firewall, there are easier options available that are also free for use. Here are some that we would recommend:

1.ClearOS:

-ClearOS is extremely easy-to-use. It is suitable those who prefer an easy-to-follow UI AND also for geeks who would like to talk to it through the command-line interface

Post a 10-minute installation time, you are asked to reboot and are given all the information and support  required to manage your firewall as easily as possible

2.OPNsense:

-OPNsense offers several advanced features not usually found in free firewalls like ‘forward caching proxy’ and ‘intrusion detection’.

-It supports the use of OpenVPN. To know how useful OpenVPN is, read more here

-It uses an Inline Intrusion Prevention System which is a powerful form of Deep Packet Inspection. Here, instead of just blocking an IP address or port, the firewall inspects individual data packets or connections and stops them before they reach the sender if found malicious

3.ConfigServer Firewall (CSF):

-CSF is an advanced firewall suite for Linux systems has the Login Failure Daemon (LFD) process that regularly scans for failed login attempts (or “Brute-force attacks”) on your Server and takes action against the offending IP Addresses very quickly

-CSF can be managed through the Command Line Interface and its front-end is accessible by the root account through cPanel, DirectAdmin and Webmin which makes configuring and managing the firewall very simple

 

IPTABLES:

Understand Iptables and how it works:

The Linux kernel has the capacity to filter incoming and outgoing packages with a filtering tool known as ‘Iptables’. The Iptables tool is in charge of deciding which packages can come in and go out based on the rules it is configured to follow.

First, how to configure the firewall manually:

Working with iptables manually can be complicated. We have a quick fix at the bottom of our section you can try. Read on for more.

Step 1: Retrieve the Iptables firewall:

Iptables is pre-installed on almost every Linux distribution. You can use this command to retrieve the package:

sudo apt-get install iptables

Step 2: Discover what Iptables is already configured to do by default:

Run the iptable L command

Step 3: You can decide to modify the existing rules or instead start afresh:

To start afresh, run this command

iptables-F

Step 4: Decide which firewall ports to close:

First block all lines of attack by running the following commands:

 Block XMAS Packets: iptables -A INPUT -p tcp –tcp-flags ALL ALL -j DROP

Block null packets: iptables -A INPUT -p tcp –tcp-flags ALL NONE -j DROP

Block syn-flood packets: iptables -A INPUT -p tcp ! –syn -m state –state NEW -j DROP

Step 5: Decide which firewall ports to leave open:

Here are some ports you could decide to leave open:

For outgoing connections:

  • 80/tcp for HTTP
  • 53/udp for DNS
  • 443/tcp for HTTPS (secured HTTP)
  • 21/tcp for FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
  • 465/tcp for SMTP (send emails)
  • 25/tcp for Insecure SMTP
  • 22/tcp for SSH (secure connection from computer to computer)
  • 993/tcp&udp for IMAP (receive emails)
  • 143/tcp&udp for Insecure IMAP
  • 9418/tcp for GIT (version control system)

For Incoming connections:

  • 993/tcp&udp for IMAP (receive emails)
  • 143/tcp&udp for Insecure IMAP
  • 110/tcp for POP3 (old way to receive emails)
  • 22/tcp for SSH (secure connection from computer to computer)
  • 9418/tcp for GIT (version control system)

Step 6: Save your firewall configuration

Type the following command to save the settings you’ve configured and restart your firewall:

iptables -L -n

iptables-save | sudo tee /etc/sysconfig/iptables

service iptables restart

 

Tools to assist you with the iptables configuration:

If this is too complicated for you, you can use tools such as fwbuilder or UFW. Here, we will run you through the UFW Uncomplicated Firewall.

The UFW is a front-end for iptables that makes configuring the firewall easier while working with iptables.

Step 1: Type this command into the terminal to install UFW:

# apt-get install ufw

Step 2: Next, enable the firewall:

# ufw enable

Step 3: enable the default settings.

# ufw default deny incoming

# ufw default allow outgoing

This will deny all incoming connections. To specify which ones to allow – do the following:

Step 4: To allow specific connections. For example, SSH-

# ufw allow ssh

Step 5: ensure the firewall is saved:

# ufw status verbose

  • Rules may be deleted with the following command:

# ufw delete allow ssh

There! Hope we’ve made this process an easy-to-follow guide for you to configure firewall in Linux.

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Uncategorized

How To Install WordPress Locally

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally, let us begin with what it means to install something locally. A local installation means to perform a software installation on your local computer. As simple as that. Every time an installer program is opened, you need to select its destination. On opening it, you will be given a choice of saving it either in the hard disk or the directory. Now, if you choose to install it on the external hard drive, it will still be taken as a local install only for the reason that it is performed on your local computer. But if you want to install it on WordPress hosting instead, click here.

What are the advantages of installing WordPress locally?

Installing WordPress locally is as much a delight for a businessman as for a techie. After choosing a WordPress hosting for your website, if you plan to perform install operation for WordPress locally, you will have the following advantages over others:

1. Faster response and speed time for page loading

2. Easy access to work results

3. Easy to restart the server in case of an error

4. Option to check your work multiple times before putting it live

Before installing WordPress locally, allow us to give you a brief overview of the stages that are involved while carrying out this operation. Also, ensure that you have at least PHP version 4.3+ and MySQL database server version 4+.

The stages to install WordPress locally are as follows:

1. Downloading and installing a WAMP/XAMPP server

2. WAMP/XAMPP activation

3. Downloading and Installing WordPress

4. Configurations

5. Filling out your details

1. Downloading and Installing a WAMP/XAMPP server

As a PC user, installing a WAMP (Windows Apache MySQL and PHP) server or a XAMPP (Cross-platform Apache MySQL PHP and Pearl) is a must. These servers give you ample of space. In case you don’t have either, download and install them before you go ahead.

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

 

2. Activating WAMP / XAMPP

After installing WAMP/ XAMPP activate the server by clicking on the control panel application. Here you can see Apache and MySQL options.The green mark next to them indicates that it is running properly. The process is the same for WAMP as well.

3. Downloading and Installing WordPress

Once XAMPP/WAMP is set on your system, install WordPress from wordpress.org for its latest version. After installing the same, go to the location where you have downloaded WordPress and follow these steps:

Step 1– Go to the file location and copy ‘Wordpress’ zip file. Right click on it and select extract here. Create a new folder and rename it according to your convenience to store the extracted files.

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

Step 2– Double-click on your browser and type ‘localhost/phpmyadmin’ inside your address bar. After pressing enter, it will show the following:

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

Step 3– In order to create your own database, select the database for your WordPress and click on the ‘create’ option to use it.

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

 

Step 4- Type ‘localhost’ inside your browser after finishing step 3 and select the folder that you had created. On finishing this action you will be pushed to the create configurations file page.

4. Configurations

Click on the ‘create configuration file’ button followed by ‘lets go’. Now you are very close to putting your WordPress website on local hosting. This is what you will see after you reach the configurations page:

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

5. Fill in database connection and your own details

Database connection details include database name, username, password, database host and table prefix. Keep the database name same as your WordPress and the username should remain as root since it is a default for MySQL. Leave the other fields as they are. In case you have not used a password earlier leave it as it is as well.

Before starting off with how to install WordPress locally How To Install WordPress Locally

Other details like your email, name, and password can be filled. Once this is done, click on install WordPress and you are all set.

Installing WordPress locally is easy. You can also do the same for MAC. Just a word of caution: there is a difference between the installing the same for MAC and for XAMPP/ WAMP. Do go stepwise and if you face any difficulties while doing the same, let us know by asking about it in the comments section below. We will make sure your doubts and errors get rectified.

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Design

Empathy in web design: The What, the How and the Why

If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you’ve probably noticed my obvious love for Psychology and my constant endeavour to highlight the psychology in other areas like marketing, development, testing etc. The more I’ve explored these areas, the more you’ve read about it on the ResellerClub blog 🙂

This time, I’ve been drawn to empathy in design.

ve probably noticed my obvious love for Psychology and my constant endeavour to highlight  Empathy in web design: The What, the How and the Why

What is empathy in design?

Empathy, in the way we know it, is the understanding of another’s emotions. Empathy in web design is a design centric approach to paying attention to the user’s feelings towards a product. It’s understanding what the user really feels and thinks about your product. The focus is on user’s needs, – feelings, experiences & outcomes. This also includes difficulties they may face, how long they take to reach a desired goal, ease of navigation etc.

Why is empathy necessary?

Empathy helps:

  • Increase open-mindedness
  • Reduce bias
  • Collaborate with other research participants and
  • Accept & validate your own observations

Empathy helps improve user experience through observation and analysis of the user’s experience of your product. You can greatly improve the designs you create if you empathize, giving you an edge over competitors.

How should you empathize?

The process of empathizing in design follows certain steps:

Step 1: Observe: Take time to observe the users of your product in their natural environment. While you’re observing, keep in mind the things to record like:

  • Ease of use of the product
  • Usability of the product
  • How long the user takes to reach his/her desired goal
  • Problems the user faces
  • Methods & approaches
  • Alternative solutions

Let’s take an example where you are the user, I am the designer, developer, tester. Say, I gave you a website like Canva and asked you to create an invitation for a brunch party you were to host, I’d observe things like:

  • If the navigation was easy enough to guide you to the templates for the invitations
  • If you are able to upload images of your choice
  • If the ‘crop photo’ option was easy to locate
  • If you satisfactorily created an invite you liked

Step 2: Capture Data: Observation brings us to step 2 of the process which is capturing data or recording your observations. This could be through audio or video recordings or even simply, notepad records. The purpose of this step is only to capture data and not to analyse just yet.

Continuing with the Canva example, here I as the developer would capture data like:

  • Were the template options too many?
  • Was it causing you confusion?
  • Time taken to find the ‘Upload image’ button
  • Time it took you to successfully create an invite

Step 3: Analyse: In this step, analyze the data you collected in step 2. This step is important to understand the user’s needs, emotions & pain points. Take time to see problems from all perspectives and not rely entirely from yours alone. This step is the most crucial in empathy.

With the data I captured in Step 2, I’d analyse in the following manner:

I notice it took you 20 seconds to find the ‘Upload image’ option. It could be that the option is either not visible, cluttered with other buttons or the icon I’ve used does not convey an action of ‘upload’.

I’d also look at my data and analyse other problem areas. These questions might help:

  • How does the problem encountered affect the user?
  • Do other users face the same issue?
  • What needs to change to avoid this issue?
  • How does this issue affect our goal?

Step 4: Brainstorm for solutions: Brainstorming is a free-flowing exercise of tossing about ideas and solutions in a given setting with a given group. This step follows the ‘Analysis’ step where the empathizing takes place. The idea is now that you’ve empathized, look for solutions to address the user’s pain points.

Now that I’ve identified your pain point with the ‘Upload image’ button, I’d brainstorm with possible solutions to make the button more prominent by:

Changing the colour of the button to make it stand out

Changing the icon

Placing the button away from other buttons

Step 5: Execute: Now that you’ve got the solutions, it’s time to put it into test. This step involves bringing the ideas from the previous step into action. The previously discussed solutions are put to the test. According to Leonard and Rayport (in Spark Innovation Through Empathic Design), there are three distinctive reasons for conducting prototype testing in an empathic design approach:

  • clarification of the core concept of the product for the development team
  • enabling the team to share the current design with those who do not work in the functions covered by that particular team
  • the potential for further improvements once tested with real consumers and following discussions with the target users

Once I’ve figured my solutions to the problem, I execute the action plan I decided in Step 4. I run it past some more users to identify if the time taken to find the ‘Upload images’ button reduced. If so, I’ve successfully managed to identify, capture, analyse, brainstorm & come up with an empathetic solution for your problem.

Conclusion: Is Empathy Enough?

But is empathy enough? Empathy along with design thinking is being touted as one of the key characteristics that sets designers apart. There’s no doubt the two are important but empathy is only one  step in the greater design process.

Empathy could lead to flawed design is if used as the only guideline. This is because, empathy based only on a few users’ experiences of the product or in an unnatural environment could give you results that might not be applicable for other users. It’s important to have your point of view as well. Probably get other researchers involved as well.

The best type of designs combine the understanding of a user’s needs within a particular context & with an opinionated viewpoint.

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Why is Firebase the best Mobile Backend-as-a-Service

In today’s day and age words like ‘mobile application’ and ‘cloud’ are creating quite a stir. Each day there is some new application in the market with the aim of delivering the best performance to their users. Mobile backend services help achieve this by building a better infrastructure.

What is BaaS?

These days most mobile applications need a backend that’s connected to the internet. BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) is the service that helps enable that, helping you manage the centralized database and allowing your users to share content via the cloud. BaaS provides the backend for mobile applications, an API, and tools for various programming languages to integrate with their application backend. As opposed to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) that is targeted to end users, BaaS is targeted at developers.

Also scaling apps is difficult as and when your audience grows, to do this effectively, you need a backend. Earlier backends needed to be developed from scratch but owing to technological advancements, you can now directly integrate them into your application. In this post, we’ll be exploring various backend service platforms and how to choose the best amongst them.

Types of BaaS for Mobile Apps

There are two types of Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) namely Consumer BaaS and Enterprise BaaS.

Consumer BaaS: This focuses more on lightweight applications and games.

Enterprise BaaS: This focuses more on mobilizing sensitive and critical business data.

When it comes to different BaaS services, there are several leading solutions like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kinvey, Google Firebase and Apple CloudKit.

Why Firebase?

Firebase was an independent service before being acquired and launched by Google as a part of 2016 UI. Firebase aims to help web developers in building better apps and thereby helping them grow in their business, by taking care of the backend of the applications. Here are some features that help in determining why Firebase is the best BaaS available:.

  1. Platform: Firebase provides a real-time database platform that writes events as and when it occurs. It also provides database management API.
  2. Front-End: Firebase runs on Angular, Ember, Vue.js and React on the front end.
  3. Hosting: It includes features like custom domains for free, Global CDN, Users, DB and Auto-provisioned SSL certificates.
  4. Clean Dashboard: A strong design is another feature of Firebase, the dashboard is clean and lists all the features on the left sidebar.
  5. Analytics: Firebase has a free and built-in Analytics for all Firebase apps, which allows developers to see how ad campaigns are performing, log events to track username and age, view active users in your application etc.

Pros and Cons of Firebase

 

Pros

Cons

  • Requires minimal setup and easy access to data, files and more.

  • Firebase is neither open source nor can you host your data.

  • It is real time having a robust API and provides user side high security.

  • As Firebase uses JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and a NoSQL database and hence the format for storing is entirely different to that of SQL.

  • Requires no server-side infrastructure to power apps with data.

  • Has very limited indexing and developers need to build the indexes manually.

Conclusion              

With features like Cloud Messaging, Remote Config, and a Real-Time Database, Firebase scores points. Choosing the right BaaS is crucial and it comes down to what your project requires. Go through features of all the available services, features and platforms before deciding which you wish to use.                                                                                

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How to get Gen Z to Read your Blog

Generation Z – Who are they?

Even though there’s some debate on where exactly the line that separates Generation Z from Millennials lies, the most common consensus I found is the year 1995. Anyone born during or after the mid-90s to the early 2000s is the new young generation, whose older members are just now entering the workforce.

With these youngsters moving in and overtaking Millennials, companies are scrambling to understand them and figure out the correct strategies to communicate with them.

The most significant and unique aspect that defines these individuals is the fact that they are the first real “digital natives,” meaning that they were born into and grew up in a world of mobile devices, instant messaging, apps and social media. Gen Zers have never known a world without Internet access and having that at their fingertips everywhere they go means that they don’t distinguish between online and offline channels as much as the generations before them.

They are reported to have $44 billion in purchasing power, making them the new demographic to target for companies and businesses alike. To engage with Gen Zers and appeal to this new generation, companies will have to undergo a pretty big makeover in their marketing strategies as research indicates that Generation Z is nothing like their Millennial big brothers and sisters.

How can your blog appeal to Generation Z?

  • Transparent and consistent branding: According to the Monster Multi-Generational Survey, Gen Zers appreciate authenticity in a company. Especially considering the transparency of the digital age and the unparallelled savviness this new generation possesses when it comes to technology, you have to make sure that your company goals, mission, and brand are consistent across all platforms and reflects in everything you do.
  • Promote content where they are: Thanks to a helpful infographic by Adweek, we know that nearly all of Gen Zers use YouTube and half of them “can’t live without it”. This other one Immersive says that 73% of them use a social media app and, on average, they spend 9 hours a day consuming media. The name of the game is social media, especially YouTube and Snapchat. Another interesting tidbit found on Adweek’s contribution is that Gen Zers trust influencers more than they do “mainstream” celebrities and they’re very open to branded content as long as it’s disclosed beforehand.

  • Make your blog accessible across multiple devices and platforms: Generation Z are by far, the most mobile generation, with 75% of them preferring their mobile phone or smartphone as their device of choice. At least according to IBM’s Uniquely Generation Z report, Gen Zers aged 19-21 make up the majority of smartphone users, while younger Gen Zers have access to a desktop computer or laptop.

  • Guest posting: An oldie but a goodie, guest posting is a great content marketing strategy especially in the case of engaging the new generation. Who better than an actual Gen Zer to get other Gen Zers to read your company blog? They know what their generation likes, how to attract their attention and they will write it in their language, assuring that the message comes across loud and clear. Another reason to have a Gen Zer write for your company blog is that they want to be engaged with a brand. More than any other generation before them, they are open to sharing their opinions. In IBM’s Generation Z report, 42% said that they would participate in a product review. Gen Zers do want to be engaging in conversations with businesses; it would be wise if you let them do so.

  • Change your language: Gen Zers are not the most patient of media consumers, in fact, they’re attention span is only 8 seconds long, so you have to be fast in getting to the point you want to communicate if you’re going to get your message across. They’re even more visual than their predecessors if you can believe it. Unlike their Millennial counterparts who preferred to text, Gen Zers communicate mainly with images and emoticons. They’re also master multitaskers, changing their focus from one screen to another and you will have to work hard to be granted even an ounce of their attention. To catch a Gen Zer’s eye and keep them engaged, a right way to start is changing up your layout. Make it more dynamic, throw in some videos and images, and avoid huge blocks of texts at all costs. Generation Z remembers 80% of what they see and only 10% of what they read so you have to get to the point and most of all, be creative and original.

Takeaways

Generation Z is coming. Right now, they’re just entering the workforce but by 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers. This means that brands and companies will have to make an effort to understand and appeal to these individuals, as they did with Millennials, if they wish to succeed and stay in business in the next decade.

When you’re trying trying to attract Gen Zers to your company blog, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that these digital natives know the power of technology and the Internet. This means that companies must remember to keep their branding consistent, make their content available across all the platforms Gen Zers utilize (mostly mobile devices), and change their language to suit them. Gen Zers are visual creatures with a highly effective 8 second filter of information; if you want to get your message across you have to make sure you change the way you communicate.

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How to enable SSH in Ubuntu Linux

SSH or secure shell service in Ubuntu allows a safe remote access while logging in. It also allows other network communications within an organization. To understand how to enable SSH in Ubuntu and Linux and use it like a pro, let us first understand what is SSH, how important it is and how we can enable it in Ubuntu and Linux.

What is SSH?

SSH is Secure Shell Service, a secure way or channel to access your hosting remotely. By using SSH, we are able to sift through our hosting file structure. By using SSH you can perform a list of tasks. Some of them include:

  • Live monitoring of log-files
  • Enabling or disabling services for VPS or Dedicated customers
  • Installing software to your account
  • Managing MySQL databases

Advantages of Installing SSH:

  • Allows tunneling of protocols like FTP
  • Allowing encryption of data so that malicious attackers are kept at bay
  • Protecting IP source routing from malicious users
  • Avoids DNS spoofing

How to enable SSH in Ubuntu and Linux

Ubuntu is a Linux OS that is available for community and professional support. Enabling SSH in

Ubuntu will provide remote access login along with other network communications. In order to enable SSH in Ubuntu, follow these steps:

  1. Open terminal with Ctrl+Alt+Del

    Log into the Ubuntu server and run command studo apt-get install open ssh-server

    Once OpenSSH server is installed, make a copy of the default SSH configuration to restore your backup.

  2. Configuration of SSHAfter installing SSH, you can enable the configuration by changing default port for security

    reasons by disabling the “root” user login.In Order to update the default SSH port, open the SSH configuration file by running this command:

    sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_configIncase you don’t have nano ( text editor installed) run:sudo apt-get install nano -yAfter opening the file, find and change the following line from:

    # Port 22 ( if it is your default or whichever may be in your case)

    to

    Port 1337 (You can use a port number of your choice)

    Press Ctrl + W to save and close the file, then Y and press Enter to run.

    Now, restart SSH after some time and run this command:

    sudo service ssh restart

    With this you are all set to go. You can run SSH into your server by opening the terminal and using your user-id and password.

How to enable SSH in Linux

In order to enable SSH in Linux, follow these two simple steps:

  1. Start by ensuring these configuration files to affirmative: Configuration file /etc/ssh/sshd_config are set to yes:a) StrictModesb) Pubkey Authentication
  2. Put SSH server daemon in running mode

    In order to ensure that the SSH server is up and running in your Linux system, run the following commands:$ /sbin/service sshd status (to check if it is running)Incase the SSH server daemon sshd is not running, you can enable the daemon by-$ /sbin/service sshd start (to enable the daemon)

In this manner, you will easily be enable SSH in Ubuntu and Linux. Hope these tips were helpful. Incase you have any doubts or feedback for us, feel free to comment. We will make sure that we resolve them for you.

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