Category: Uncategorized

Is the Googlebot getting lazy?

After spending a finishing off a new site, installing & configuring servers etc, the SEO ‘expert’ comes along with a list of things that need to be done.

Create a robots.txt

Even though it can see everything we create one?

Add ‘ping’ support

This seems useful and is utilised by most wordpress blogs.  The idea is, you add a new article/news post etc and notify a few sources letting them know to crawl for new content.  I can see the benefit of this if you want to see your pages appearing instantly, however…surely the search engine will come to find it on its own. The more you update, the more frequent a crawler visits.

Create a sitemap.xml file

What now?  I’ve known about sitemap files for a while and since the beginning this seems really pointless.

Create a big list of URLs on your website – so google doesn’t have to?  I am aware that sitemap files, apparantly, do not affect a search engines ability to crawl your site…but how long before it does.

According to wikipedia;

Sitemaps are particularly beneficial on websites where:

  • some areas of the website are not available through the browsable interface, or
  • webmasters use rich Ajax, Silverlight, or Flash content that is not normally processed by search engines.

If content isn’t browsable on your website, surely you don’t want it publicly visible or indexed anyway…and if you do, why is it not somewhere within your navigation?  If it can’t be found by person browsing your site, google shouldn’t see it either.

Ajax/Flash/Silverlight….these are all easily sorted as well, I personally don’t see what the problem is.

Anyways, that’s my rant over.

Standalone DNS server – Almost there

A while ago I mentioned a Standalone DNS server.  Stuff got in the way and it got set back.

Well, its almost done.  Just needs some final testing, a quick import of the current records and we’re set to go.

Argh….The Cloud

Cloud/VPS hosting is great, except when its not.  The idea is, you have dedicated hardware to take over if something fails and on smaller installations, is quite a bit cheaper.

I have been using it for a over 12 months and for the most part its been fine. There have been a few occasions where there has been a bit of downtime, but it was early days…..except today there has been some quite serious downtime.

A power outage takes down a large chunk of machines, both primary and backup machines.  Not much of a problem I hear you say…WRONG.

A conventional server

If a power outage takes out a datacenter, once its back remote start, manually pressing up to 42 buttons per rack boots servers, or servers that just reboot when power is back (this will be most I’d guess), a couple of minutes later everyone’s server us running with minimal issue.

The Cloud

When a VPS cloud is affected the process is very different.  The main servers are booted, the disk servers are booted at which point not a single “client” server has started.  Now we go through the large queue of servers starting them, good luck if your at the end, up to 4 hours it seems to recover from this one.

Is the Cloud worth it?

This is a difficult question to answer.  The cloud can handle multiple failures at the same time (or at least its meant to) however due to the many number of components, the chance of something failing is far greater.  Having your own machine, if your down due to a hardware fault…that’s it..your down.

I still like the Cloud scenario, almost instant deployment of new servers & more CPU than you are often going to get in a standalone box.  It really does depend on what your system requirements are.  I’m hosting a game server in the cloud.  It would cost me the same, if not more, to just get a game server from a game server provider – without the flexibility I have now, but a lot more to host 1 game server on the cheapest dedicated server you could fine.

Some of the 3 website “breaking” due to the iPhone

As has happened already this year, the iPhone 4 is breaking websites.  Three have not managed to escape this.

An SMS & E-mail was sent out recently to several/all? of the “register interest” folk which has in turn caused a lot of traffic to the main 3 website.  3 have done a very good job of separating parts of their site so a lot still works without problem.

O2 & Orange have dedicated websites, on different domains just to handle the iPhone, this should mean they have kept downtime to a minimum.  O2 have also announced no online ordering until at least the end of July.

This is a very good example of what to do when expect BIG product releases.

  • Static websites perform very well, so remove the PHP
  • Setup a sub-domain with a site dedicated to this release
  • Plan ahead. Similar to 3, get different elements of your sites separated permanently, worst case scenario, only a small part goes down.

The Django & MooTools tutorials I promised.

No, they are not here yet, and I havn’t forgotten.  With Django 1.2 being out shortly I decided to redo parts of the site to reflect changes in the framework, some of which were mentioned in a previous post.  I would also like to review all of the new features, some changes and remove anything which will be Deprecated shortly.

I also stated the tutorials would cover MooTools.  Due to the fact I need to learn how to use jQuery in the fairly near future, I’ve decided I will use this for starting.  Granted the tutorials may not be the best, but will be far easier for beginners to understand, being one myself.  I will probably write the same things in MooTools over time as it is (at the moment) still my framework of choice.