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Website Uptime Monitors Review – Choosing the Right One

For my sins, I work part-time for other hosting companies, and one of the most common misunderstandings I encounter is when someone will swear blind their website is down when the truth is that their ISP is just suffering some temporary routing problems.

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, and degrees of ability and understanding of how the internet works, and the more savy website owners now use some form of website monitoring to make sure that us naughty dishonest web hosting companies are playing our part in their success.

Some folks spend more on the website monitoring than the hundred quid a year they are prepared to spend on the website hosting itself – hosting that enables their business to rake in a small fortune (but that’ a rant for another day!). So read on to understand more about uptime and availability. Read More…

Google Malware Warnings are Bad for Business

In fact, it’s probably fairer to say that having your site pulled from Google’s index because of Malware is not just bad for you, it’s bad for everyone. Malware is software that has been installed in your website code that is intended to infringe people’s privacy, commit identity theft/fraud or to infect their computer with a virus or trojan. Hackers spend every waking hour working on ways to sneak their software into your website, and if google finds out, this is what you can expect (click on the image to see the next page that Google will give you):

So, if you have a website for your business, and you care about whether that website is going to be available in the next 24hrs, you really must read on! Read More…

Cubecart Error – Warning: htmlentities() expects parameter 2

Just a quick note for those people who upgraded to Cubecart 4.3.9, and started to experience horrible page titles containing things like:

Warning: ¬†htmlentities() expects parameter 2 to be long, string given in /home/user/public_html/admin/sources/products/index.inc.php on line 949 etc…

There is a bug fix published by Cubecart but it isn’t terribly helpful. The problem is indeed on line 949 of /admin/sources/products/index.inc.php which should read (once corrected) as follows:

<td align="left"><input name="prod_metatitle" type="text" size="35" class="textbox" value="<?php if(isset($results[0]['prod_metatitle'])) echo htmlentities($results[0]['prod_metatitle'],ENT_QUOTES,'UTF-8'); ?>" /></td>

Read More…

Search engine friendly URLs using apache mod_rewrite

As promised, here is a brief technical overview of how to get those nice search friendly URLs using Apache mod_rewrite and .htaccess files. I have already discussed why human readable URLs are a good idea, but it really should be obvious to anyone who has a basic understanding of the way Google views page URLs when calculating page rank.

What are we trying to achieve?

We are going to take the example of a fictitious website that has a database driven catalogue. We will assume for a moment, that the page that handles the navigation of the catalogue is /catalog.php and that it accepts a category and a page number parameter. So, for example, a typical URL might be:

/catalog.php?cat=34&page=2

This would show page 2 of the results for products in the category with id=34. This is a pretty common situation. Read More…

Why search engine friendly URLs are important

URLs to avoid - part 1One aspect of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which is still lacking on many websites, especially ecommerce sites, is whether or not your URLs are search engine friendly.

Search engines like to read real words in association with your content. If you have a database driven website, and you have URLs like this:

http://www.yoursite.com/index.php?id=654&cat=21&etc…

Then you are missing a trick. Google might index your cryptographically named pages, but you can squeeze an extra SEO boost by using search engine friendly URLs. Search engine friendly URLs are the ones you see every day on the internet that you can actually read. For example:

http://www.yoursite.com/dogfood/pedigreechum

This makes like much easier for search engines, and even for people to guess the URL if they don’t know it already. If you are looking for dog food, then /index.php?cat=21 doesn’t really trip off the tongue as easily as /dogfood does it? Read More…

PHP 301 Redirection – Web forwarding done right

HTTP RedirectionPHP 301 Redirection

Redirection is usually better done via .htaccess files, but in case your hosting provider doesn’t support this method, then you can achieve simple redirection on a per-page basis using PHP. This is the method I am going to discuss in this article.

When to use redirection

Lets’s say you had a page that was quite popular, but it had to move to a different place in your website. It is listed in google, and you don’t want to loose out by the page being unavailable after you delete the old one. Rather than just keeping the old page, and putting a message on it saying “this page has moved” (yuk!) – it would be much nicer if we could tell google (the the rest of the world) that your page has permanently moved. Read More…