Once you set up a VPS on Linode you will also need to set up email by installing a Message Transfer Agent such as Sendmail or Postfix. If you do not set up Reverse DNS however, your webserver will not be able to send out email, and if you send out an email to a gmail address gmail will send your server a message like this:
050 550-5.7.1 [2600:3c03::f03c:91ff:feb0:dac3] Our system has detected that this
050 550-5.7.1 message does not meet IPv6 sending guidelines regarding PTR r ecords
050 550-5.7.1 and authentication. Please review
050 550-5.7.1 https://support.google.com/mail/?p=ipv6_authentication_error for more
050 550 5.7.1 information. b87si2979083qkb.118 – gsmtp
Checking https://support.google.com/mail/answer/81126?p=ipv6_authentication_error&rd=1#authentication will bring you this page, which explains the error as your server not having a ‘reverse dns’, or the association of a domain name with an IP address.
To fix this on Linode, login to Manager.linode.com, and click the ‘Remote Access’ tab.
- On Public IPs, click ‘Reverse DNS’
- Enter a hostname, and once you click Look Up this page will appear, such as on mine where I want to associate my IP addresses (both ipv4 and ipv6) to the hostname ‘majortom.kaijuhost.com’.
- Click ‘YES’ to either. If you wish to add the other as well, repeat the process. Wait 24 hours for the DNS to fully spread around the ‘net.
More information here.
The Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS) requires all government agencies to host their websites on their servers and use a standardized Government Web Template. While there is a helpful User’s Manual the instructions to upload are meant for Windows users which is not applicable because the only way to upload is via CPanel. This How – To aims to help solve that issue:
- Download the gwt-drupal-3.4.3.tar.gz file meant for Drupal sites at https://github.com/iGovPhil/gwt-drupal/releases. It will be installing two items, the Government Web Template to be placed at ‘/sites/all/themes’, and a helper module to be placed at ‘/sites/all/themes’ (the User’s Manual neglected to mention this important fact for some odd reason).
- Login your CPanel and click ‘File Manager’, select ‘Web Root (public_html/www)’, and click ‘Show Hidden Files (dotfiles)’.
- Copy and extract the gwt-drupal-3.4.3.tar.gz file onto the HOME folder.
- Go into the gwt-drupal-3.4.3 directory, and right – click the ‘sites’ folder, then click COPY. On the area where it says ‘Copy File To’, enter ‘/public_html’.
- To check whether it copied, you should now be able to see the gwt_drupal_helper module at ‘public_html/sites/all/modules/gwt_drupal_helper’, and the gwt_drupal theme at ‘public_html/sites/all/themes/gwt_drupal’. Login your website and you should also be able to see the new GWT theme at http://yourwebsite.gov.ph/?q=admin/appearance and the new GWT module at http://yourwebsite.gov.ph/?q=admin/modules.
- For theming and customization instructions you may refer to the User Manual mentioned above. You may now also optionally delete the gwt-drupal-3.4.3.tar.gz file and the gwt-drupal-3.4.3 folder it created.
These instructions are for Drupal but they are likely the same for WordPress, Joomla and static files too. If you need help email me at email@example.com.
I have had people asking to put a chat function on their website. These are the questions I ask them first:
Do You Have Staff That Can Monitor This Chat Account The Whole Day?
Everyone knows it’s frustrating to call a service hotline no one answers. That would be the same situation here. It is impractical to place a person in charge of responding to this at all hours of the day. If you delegate it with someone who is already doing something else it will take up their time doing their main job and essentially give them an excuse for not doing that job properly. And if someone is deemed ‘not busy’ enough to be given this task, then that person isn’t probably suited to be talking to customers either.
Continue reading “Why Chat On Your Website Is A Bad Idea”
You have a website but no one is tasked to update its system.
This is true for websites that run Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and the like. An update may be as minor as correcting spelling errors on the code to security updates that patch a hole hackers can use to take over the site. Fortunately these systems usually send an email to its administrator when it’s needed. You just need a webmaster to be that person on top of it.
There was a big event the other day, month or year and it still isn’t on your website.
This is one of the most common situations I encounter. Owners of neglected websites often point out articles or news items on their websites that are still being headlined many months after, or have had several events pass without any mention of it on the site. Websites are great if used like a constantly updating corporate profile. When you need to impress a client all you need to do is send them links of events or projects you’ve had on your website, so if it isn’t updated then it is not doing it’s job. Writing content is obviously not a webmaster’s job, but it certainly can be arranged for a few paragraphs and a picture to be emailed to a webmaster who can just upload it for you. For more tips, read my article “Establish A Goal Beyond ‘We Now Have A Website“.
When you’ve been hacked. –
The reason why many sites are hacked isn’t necessarily because they have data worth hacking or they are specifically targeted by hackers – it’s mostly because they ‘left the door open’ or in other words are easy to hack. It’s akin to leaving your car unlocked in a public parking lot or the door to your condominium slightly ajar. No one really planned to go in there but if they want to they can – and someone eventually will. A webmaster can make keep your site updated (see #1), and make security assessments. More importantly, he can maintain backups so if the site does get hacked he is able to put it back up immediately.
People are pointing out wrong info on your website / You constantly have to correct inquiries –
This might sound like a repeat of #2, but I think if people are pointing out that, say, product information, addresses or telephone numbers on your website are not current, then that means people are relying on your website and the investment in one is worthwhile. It is therefore prudent they get the correct info as reading wrong information can annoy potential customers.
No one person on the staff is specifically tasked to maintain the content. –
The best way for a task NOT to get done or get done badly is to not assign it to anyone specifically. That way the task gets passed around and there are plenty of people to point if it fails. If hiring permanent staff just for this task is not an option then a retainer is the perfect solution.
No one knows the usernames and passwords of the website because he doesn’t work here anymore. –
This might be deemed an extension of #5 but I am pointing it out because it is so common as to be the number one reason why many websites are abandoned. Often an employee uses his own credit card to buy a domain name or hosting, therefore listing himself as its owner by default. When the time comes for either of these to be renewed suddenly he cannot be contacted since he had already left the company. This is a situation any webmaster should point out immediately as a security risk. Domain names and hosting usernames and passwords should all be in the possession of the owner, and with permission to the webmaster. No one else outside of those two needs to be involved.
There are new innovations that have come along but you are not taking advantage of them. –
Amongst the many tech catch phrases these days, ‘Mobile – friendly’ ranks amongst the most relevant. More and more people are accessing the web exclusively via their phones or tablets so much so that Google has announced their search engine is prioritizing sites that are easily read via mobile. It is logical then that going mobile – friendly will automatically give you an edge over your competition just because your site is the first to appear in a Google search. A webmaster should be able to tell you this and consult you on what to do while on the other hand, also telling you which trends aren’t relevant.
You want changes on your website but do not want to spend on a new one.
It is easy for an uninformed website owner to assume that the entire website needs to be changed when all that was needed was a system where updates would be sent to a webmaster to periodically update the old website. I know of many instances when whole websites were unnecessarily replaced by a new one only to face the same problems – ie lack of updates, no one person in charge. A webmaster can keep your site updated and fresh negating the need to overhaul the whole thing until you really need it.
You just need advice.
How secure is my website? How can I integrate Twitter, Facebook or Instagram on our website? How can I sell online? Is it a good idea to put sound and video? Am I getting my money’s worth on hosting? How hard is it to make the site mobile – friendly? These are all valid questions a website owner would want to ask but does not necessarily want to hire a security consultant or a marketing executive for. A webmaster on call should be able to answer drawing from experience so as to give the owner some information to start with.
Full disclosure: I offer retainer services and I am printing this article obviously to gain some business, but also because I feel it is important to give advice to website owners that website maintenance is not necessarily confusing or expensive, and that by applying simple procedures such as above it is possible to get the most out of your website and make it work for you.
Websites are way past the ‘because we need to impress people’ stage and potential customers are seriously looking at yours to determine whether they want to do business with you or not. Often, just keeping it updated and relevant is enough to get their attention. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From experience with clients who made websites only to leave them untouched, unloved and neglected, here is a short list of reasons why you should NOT have a website made.
#1. You Think ‘Taking Care Of A Website’ is A Job For A Techie
During a group meeting with a client CEO and various department heads present, the CEO declared his excitement about the project and his plans for putting up a Facebook and Twitter account to go along with it. He then said he was already hiring programmers aka ‘techies’ to take care of it.
Since I was the consultant in the group I went ahead and explained this was not the way to do it (the rest of his staff who were FB and Twitter users and hopefully aware this was also the wrong way to do it were too shy I suppose, to open their mouths). I did so by saying that Twitter, FB and the website will basically act as the ‘mouthpiece’ of the company and therefore this job is best served by someone with communication skills. Even more so, they may occasionally deal with client complaints and out in the open at that, so communication skills plus some managerial level experience is more appropriate.
Neither of which are skills junior techies are best known for. In fact, I would venture to say techies are the last people you would want manning the company Twitter account especially if an irate customer starts posting their issues on it.
Continue reading “3 Reasons Not To Make A Website”
Many business owners just want to establish their place in the web so that when someone Googles them they will be found. Others just want to keep their business from looking like a fly by night operation and show anyone who searches them that they are legitimate. Still others have sites done to ‘show off’ as if to tell everyone that ‘hey, we’re hi – tech, we now have a website!’.
A website is a great solution for these but if a website is not updated it will easily give the appearance of a dead company or worse, one that was set up just to look legit.
To avoid that from happening consider these:
Continue reading “Establish A Goal Beyond ‘We Now Have A Website’”