Creating DNS Server with Ubuntu Linux – Primary DNS Server with Bind9

Creating Primary DNS Server with Bind9

This little tutorial will go through the steps of creating a DNS (domain name system) server on your ubuntu server machine. I recently setup a dns server to host some of my internal and public domains and found many tutorials confusing or caused problems.

For this example I will go through the steps for setting up a private domain name for a private network, the instructions will apply if you have decided to host a dns server for your domain name.

The bind9 dns server was tested on ubuntu server 8.04,8.10 and 9.04
Bind9 – Configuring Zone Files

A primary master server using Bind9 is setup to serve DNS records (groups of records referred to as zones) for a fictitious domain name which is restricted to a private network.

The first step is to boot up your ubuntu server system and ensure you have root privledges

sudo su

Once in root mode you can enter the main directory for bind9 /etc/bind

The first file you will need to modify is “named.conf.local” , this file is where we will be referencing our forward and reverse zone files for your domain names.

The below code shows the basic format for your named.conf.local file inside the /etc/bind directory. it specifies the domain which in this case is, classified it as a master server and specified the location of the file which will store all information relating to that zone.

The reverse zone file is your ip address backwards e.g ( becomes 68.170.192)

zone “” {
type master;
file “/etc/bind/”;

Reverse Zone File

zone “” {
type master;
notify no;
file “/etc/bind/db.192”;
Creating the (SOA) Start of Authority Record domain zone files contains all the regular DNS information for a (SOA) or Start of Authority Record which defines global parameters for the zone (domain).

The zone file contains many different values and its important to know what each does for future reference.

name – The ‘root name’ of the zone. Most commonly written as @ or Origin Value.

ttl – Standard TTL values apply (range 0 to 2147483647 clarified by RFC 2181). The slave (Secondary) DNS does not use the the TTL value but various parameters defined within the SOA. set by an authoritative nameserver for a particular resource record.

name-server – Any name server that will respond authoritatively for the domain.

refresh – Signed 32 bit time value in seconds. Indicates the time when the slave will try to refresh the zone from the master

retry – Signed 32 bit value in seconds. Defines the time between retries if the slave (secondary) fails to contact the master when refresh (above) has expired. Typical values would be 180 (3 minutes) to 900 (15 minutes) or higher

expiry – Signed 32 bit value in seconds. Indicates when the zone data is no longer authoritative. Used by Slave or (Secondary) servers only.

Serial – The serial value is in the format YYYYMMDDSS for example 2009101101 , year 2009 10th month 11th day serial 01, remember the serial needs to be incremented by 1 every time a change is made in order for secondary dns server/slave to registry it.

How to Set Up Virtual Hosts on Apache2 and Create a DNS Zone Using Bind9

For the duration of this tutorial, I will be describing configuration required for a Debian or Ubuntu server. Configuration is slightly different in other distributions, but the basics hold true.

Apache2 is an application that runs on a PC, enabling you to host websites from the computer. The web server can be configured for windows, but I would personally recommend using IIS on a windows web server. Apache2 is the web server of choice, when hosting websites on a Linux server.

Bind9 is an application that enables your computer to function as a DNS server. DNS enables other computers to convert a domain name into the IP address for the server. Like Apache2, Bind can be installed on Windows, but again, I would recommend that you configure Microsoft own DNS option, if you are running a Windows DNS server.

Debian is a distribution of the Linux kernel. It is one of the better choices of distribution when setting up a web server. Ubuntu is another distribution, that branched away from Debian. Ubuntu is generally used as a desktop OS, but server versions are available. With regards to installation and configuration of web and DNS, both work in the same way.
Installation of Apache2 and Bind9, and a note on Firewalls.

In order to have a functioning Web and DNS server, you first need to install the binaries. To do this, use your distributions method of application installs (e.g. apt-get on Debian and Ubuntu), or download the package from the Internet, and – if required – compile the application.

As root on a Debian server, enter the following commands, and when prompted, install the required dependencies.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install apache2
# apt-get install bind9

Now that you have a DNS server, you will need to update your /etc/resolv.conf file, and add the IP address for the server.

If your web server is running a firewall, you will also need to make sure that the HTTP (80 and 443) and DNS (53) ports are open.

You should now have a web server running Bind9 and Apache2. You can check the web server by opening an Internet browser, and typing the IP address for your server. You should see a web page saying

“It Works”

You may also want to install and configure PHP and MySQL if you wish to create dynamic, database driven websites for your server.



First thing you need to do is to check the DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem/router link status.

Power LED:

It indicates that the modem is switched on.


If DSL LED is holding stably, then the connection between DSL modem/router and ISP’s DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) server is working properly.(In some cases, depends on the type of modem, ADSL(Asymmetric Digital subscriber Line) or Link will be there which all refer to DSL only.)

Ethernet LED:

Steady light (blinking light in some modems) indicates that the Ethernet (LAN) connection with your system is working properly.

Internet LED:

Steady light (blinking light in some modems) indicates that the modem is connected with internet.

Case 1

DSL is blinking continuously/No DSL LED light

In this case, problem may be due to phone line or DSLAM port/DSL modem .


1. Remove the DSL modem phone cable (RJ11 –single line telephone cable) and connect to the modem properly, then wait for few minutes to check the DSL link status. If DSL LED is not holding stably, trace the DSL modem phone cable connected to the modem to find any damage. If any damage/ break is found, replace the cable.

2.If you are using any splitter(In case of Landline phone/Fax with broadband connection),remove the splitter and phone cable may directly be connected to the modem to check the DSL link status. If DSL LED is stable, then your splitter is faulty.

3.No fruitful result is obtained even after direct connection of phone cable(RJ11 cable), contact your service provider to rectify your problem because the problem may be due to phone line copper cable(Telephone exchange to your end) or DSLAM port.(In rare case, problem may be due to faulty phone cable(RJ11) port of your modem.)

Case 2

DSL Link status is working properly but modem is unreachable


1. Check the Ethernet LAN (RJ45) cable and its connectivity (From DSL Ethernet LAN port to your PC’s Ethernet LAN NIC port).

2. Change the Ethernet LAN port in your DSL modem and ping the modem

(For pinging, get the proper IP address of your DSL modem from the manual and go to the command prompt and execute the pinging operation.

(View the typical successful pinging on the photo capsule)

3. Change the Ethernet port in your PC if it has more than one Ethernet port and ping the modem/Connect your DSL modem to another PC or laptop and ping the modem. If successful pinging happens, the problem is due to your PC‘s faulty Ethernet NIC port.

4. If you are not able to reach DSL modem in all the above attempts, your DSL modem is faulty.

Case 3

DSL link status and LAN port connection from PC to DSL modem are functioning properly but unable to log in to DSL modem:-


1. Type the IP address of your router in the address bar of browser (older version DSL modem may not be compatible with the latest version browsers) (say your DSL Modem IP address is and then press ‘enter’-you will be directed into modem/router page by asking username and password of your modem.

2.Enter the correct username and password.(please refer to your DSL router/modem manual or its official website to get the default IP address, username and password for logging in to DSL modem)

3. If you are unable to log in to DSL modem even after having entered the correct username and password, your DSL modem is faulty.

Case 4

DSL link status and log in status are successful but unable to access the internet


You can verify/edit the existing configuration or you can delete the existing configuration and create a new one.

Verify/edit the existing configuration/Create a new connection:

1. Check/select the VPI and VCI parameters of your ISP

VPI (Virtual Path Identifier) and VCI (Virtual Circuit Identifier) which are used in ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) cell to establish a connection between DSLAM and BRAS (Broadband Remote Access Server)/BNG (Broadband Network Gateway) server of your ISP.

2. ATM Quality of Service category may preferably be UBR (Unspecified Bit Rate) without PCR (peak cell rate);If UBR with PCR is selected ,choose maximum peak cell rate.

3. Choose the correct type of internet connection of your ISP (PPPoE/PPPoA/Bridging/MER Routing)

4. Choose the option-‘Obtain IP address automatically’ on WAN ISP setting page.

5. Enable –‘NAT (Network Address Translation)’ which enables LAN/Private network hosts to access the internet and enable/add default route.

6. Enter your username & password given by your ISP correctly and Continuous type/Always on mode may be preferred for setting up your connection.

7. Go to LAN interface setup page.

Enable-‘DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server’ which will assign IP address to your hosts on LAN/Private network from the existing IP pool count.

In some modems/routers, you may need to enable the LAN physical ports.

8. DNS relay (optional)

In some DSL routers, DNS relay option will be available.

You can choose either auto-discovered DNS server option or user discovered DNS server option.

If you are selecting auto discovered DNS server option, your DSL router will depend on WAN side router of your ISP.

User discovered DNS server option eliminates dependence of your DSL router on WAN side router of your ISP. Preferably, you can set your ISP’s DNS server as your primary DNS server manually and you can set any of the following DNS servers as your secondary DNS server since it will speed up your internet connection/solve your ISP’s DNS related problems.

Google DNS servers:

Open DNS servers:

9. Save your WAN and LAN setting and reboot your DSL modem.

Typical DSL modem/router broadband configuration of BSNL ISP in India.


Type the IP address of your TP-LINK router in the browser: and press enter, you will be asked to enter the username and password of the DSL router. Enter the default username admin and default password admin and then press OK to configure the router.

Go to the interface setup menu and choose pvc2 virtual circuit which will assign VPI and VCI values as 0 and 35 automatically and status should be in active state

Select UBR in ATM QoS category (preferable)

PPPoE Connection:

WAN parameters for PPPoE configuration:

ISP Internet connection: PPPoE

ISP’s username &password 🙁 enter the correct username & password (case sensitive) provided by your


Encapsulation: PPPoE LLC

Bridge interface: Deactivated

Connection: Always On

Get IP address: Dynamic (If you are provided with a static IP address by your service provider, static IP address details may be used for configuration)

NAT: Enable

Default Route: ON/Yes and save the settings.

LAN parameters for PPPoE configuration:

DHCP server: Enable

DNS settings (optional): Auto discovered DNS server/ User discovered DNS server (IP address of DNS servers needs to be entered manually.)

Bridge Connection:

WAN parameters for Bridge configuration:

ISP Internet connection: Bridge mode

Encapsulation: Bridged LLC

Save the settings.

LAN parameters for Bridge configuration:

DHCP server: Enable

DNS settings (optional): Auto discovered DNS server/ User discovered DNS server (IP address of DNS servers needs to be entered manually.)

Go to the control panel and open Network connections folder.

Click on’ create a new connection icon’ under Network Tasks and new connection wizard setup page will be opened. Click Next, select connect to the internet option, click Next, select set up my connection manually, click Next, select connect using a broadband connection that requires a user name and password, click Next, enter the name of your ISP, click Next, enter your username and password provided by your ISP, then finally click finish to complete the connection setup.

In bridge mode, dial-up a modem is needed to connect to the internet. Unless, it is necessary to use Bridge connection (accessing internet through VPN etc),PPPoE connection is always preferred.

Sky Broadband Checker for Sky Packages

This article explains to you in detail the ways in which you can get the best deal from sky broadband by using the sky broadband checker to help you make the decision suitable for your needs.
If you have decided that you want to use Sky as your broadband service provider you need to see which packages are available in your area. The best way to do this is to use the Sky broadband checker available on the Sky website. This checker is able to tell you which packages you can get in your area and the broadband connection type they use.

The Sky Broadband Checker

One of the most important pieces of information that you get from the Sky broadband checker is the connection types available in your area. It is recommended that you use the Sky broadband checker before you look at any of the Sky packages. When you do this you are able to limit the packages you look at just to the ones available in your area. There are many consumers who do not do this and end up finding that the package they want is not available where they live. There are three connection types that you should know about:



· Fibre optic

ADSL Sky Broadband

ADSL is the most common broadband connection in the UK. This is due to the far reaching phone infrastructure created by BT. The ADSL broadband connection runs off the copper wires of the phone network. This means that 99% of home in the UK are able to get ADSL broadband, but they may not all be able to get Sky ADSL broadband.

There are two kinds of ADSL connections that you need to know about and they are ADSL and ADSL2+. The ADSL connection is the older connection and offers speeds of up to 9mb per second. However, ADSL connections have largely been overtaken by the faster ADSL2+ connection that offers speeds of up to 19mb per second. Most of the country is able to get the newer ADSL2+ connection, but you still need to verify this.

The speeds you actually get with ADSL connections are generally lower than the advertised speed. Research has shown that only 10% of ADSL2+ consumers are actually getting the 19mb per second advertised speeds. There are a number of reasons for this with the main one being that the cooper wires of the phone network were not created to carry broadband.

When the copper wires for phone services were created high-speed broadband was not available. This means that no-one thought to make cables that could carry this connection without speed degradation. The speed of the connection slows down the further the connection has to travel so consumers situated a distance from the local exchange will have slower broadband compared to people closer to the local exchange. This is not a big problem in most urban areas because you are never far from an exchange. However, older areas do suffer because there are fewer exchanges and the connection has to travel further.

Local Loop Unbundled or LLU

LLU stands for local loop unbundled and refers to technology that service providers place in the local exchange. This technology allows them to bypass the wholesale charges they would normally have to pay BT. This saving is often filtered to the consumer by lowering the monthly premiums people have to pay. When you use a broadband checker and are told that you are in an LLU area for a provider this means that the provider has this technology in your local exchange.

The broadband connection you will get outside an LLU area is an ADSL2+ connection. The only different between normal ADSL2+ and LLU is the technology that the providers use. The speeds you can get from the provider are the same as normal ADSL2+. The only difference is that you could be getting a better price for your package.

One problem that you could face if you are on an LLU network is that switching can be difficult. Switching from one LLU to another or an LLU to BT can be quite tricky and time consuming. If you need to do this you must give the provider sufficient notice of your change.

The cost of your monthly premium will also vary depending on whether you are in the Sky LLU network or not. If you are in the network area then you can get a cheaper monthly premium. Most Sky consumers outside the LLU network will have to pay a slightly higher premium.

Fibre Optic Broadband

It is very important that you use a broadband checker if you are looking at Sky fibre optic broadband. The fibre optic broadband infrastructure only reaches 60% of the country and this is when you are using BT. Sky fibre optic is limited like all fibre optic providers and you have to check if you can get this connection in your area.

Many people consider getting fibre optic broadband because of the higher speeds and the stability of the connection. The fastest fibre optic broadband in the UK is 100mb per second, but this is only offered through one service provider. If you are looking at Sky fibre optics then the fastest speeds you are able to get are up to 76mb per second. There is another package that offers speeds of up to 38mb per second and this has a lower monthly premium.

The speeds you get with fibre optics may not be the advertised speeds, but it will be closer than with ADSL. With fibre optic broadband the cables were created with high-speed data transfers in mind. This means that the connection does not degrade the further it has to travel. The connection is also more stable with a fibre optic connection.

The fibre optics offered by Sky is FTTC which means that they do not run the fibre optic cable into the house. The fibre optic cable runs to the cabinet in the street and then a copper wire is used to bring the connection into the house. This method is used by most providers because the fibre optic Infrastructure does not allow for FTTH connections. There are only two providers that are able to offer FTTH connections and one only offer this is certain areas. The inclusion of the copper wire for the last mile of cabling will cause a degradation of the connection.

Which Bin Database Checker Is The Top One For You?

A good bin database checker can save you a lot of headache when it comes to policing your transaction system and avoiding the pitfalls of fraudulent sales.
Ultimately, the responsibility on your business to be accurate is a huge one. Mistakes cost dollars and cents. Keeping up with things can be daunting without a good bin checker database company in your corner, and that’s why it is important to know: a) who the good companies are, and b) if what they offer works for the needs of your company. The only way to know for sure is to do a side by side comparison on the major factors and then weigh them against where you are lacking and what you can afford. Three reputable companies that you may wish to keep your eye on as you do this comparison shop are BinBase, BinDataSet and ExactBins. Each one has qualities that may appeal to your business, but only one will win your affection. Which will it be?


What makes BinBase preferred to its competition? It doesn’t have as many records on file as BinDataSet, but what it does have available in its cadre of 234,000 are numbers you can depend on updated at a frequent pace for an affordable price. It also has a very distinct advantage in the processes that it uses for inclusion. While many companies – even reputable ones – base their records on three to seven parameters, BinBase goes the extra mile and checks against all 11. You can rest easy knowing that if a number is in the BinBase system, it’s legitimate.


BinDataSet blows the competition out of the water on the amount of records available. The company has 352,000 as of February 2013, and that number will likely continue to grow as time marches on. To keep it all straight, BinDataSet updates four times per year and offers you an initial period of free updates with the setup of your database. The annual fee is $200 with an initial purchase price of $475. In all, this is a deep product with a very affordable ongoing maintenance price.


ExactBins is sort of the little brother of the group when it comes to records. As of February 2013, the company offered only 190,000 records, but that number is growing, and ExactBins uses six data points to verify that what they do carry is legitimate. For individuals looking to accept credit, debit, prepaid, and gift cards, this is a solid way to go.

You will definitely want to take a look at your business and your budget after you’ve comparison shopped. A final decision may ultimately depend on what is going on within your companyBusiness Management Articles, so weigh your decision carefully.

Delivery Email Features

Emails are still an efficient and effective way to communicate, but organizations are often concerned that their legitimate emails will not get through to their recipients. Due to the immense volume of spam on the Internet, many networks have setup filters to reject email that might be spam. To combat this, proactive measures to ensure emails get through to their recipients are taken and emails are not falsely identified as spam. Let’s dig into the different ways to ensure optimal email deliverability.

* Participation in whitelist programs:

Companies can participate in several whitelist programs which help ensure emails are delivered to their recipients’ in-boxes. Companies can have whitelisting agreements with AOL, Juno/Netzero, AT&T Broadband, and Comcast just to name a few.

* Staying off email blacklists:

A controversial, yet still widely used method of spam filtering is subscribing to one or more publicly available email blacklists. Blacklists contain IP addresses of companies that are known to have a record of spamming. Organizations can monitor DNS based blacklists and take proactive measures to protect their IPs from being listed.

* Publishing Sender Policy Framework (SPF) Records:

Organizations can publish Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records for not only their domain, but for the domains they may host on behalf of their customers. SPF is an open standard that fights email address forgery and makes it easier to identify spam, worms, and viruses via records in the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). Customers using their own branded domains in the From Line of their outbound emails are encouraged to publish SPF records within their own DNS servers.

* Signing email messages with DomainKeys/DKIM:

These two technologies validate a sender’s identity and ensure that an email message is unaltered in transit from sending server to receiving server. Companies can sign all email campaigns using a domain signature From Address with DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), to ensure optimal deliverability to receivers that authenticate messages based on these technologies, like Yahoo! Mail and GMail.

* Responding to each spam complaint individually:

Even though people send legitimate emails that conform to anti-spam policies doesn’t mean that recipients don’t complain. Sometimes a recipient may forget that they signed up for a particular list. You can begin with an inquiry to the person as to how the address in question ended up on the list. After obtaining the relevant information, compose a response to the complainant and carbon-copy it.

* Email server log file monitoring:

A special log file analyzer can be used to monitor email server log files for failed deliveries. This analyzer generates a daily report to network administrators, who can then determine if there are any domains rejecting emails. Sometimes domains inadvertently block email from mass mailer networks that generate too high a volume of email, even when the email isn’t spam.

* 24-hour monitoring:

Some administrators proactively monitor the email broadcast system 24 hours/day to ensure smooth delivery of their customers’ emails to their recipients. There are alerted if a customer engages in spamming or sends content that could trigger spam filters on the recipients’ side.

* The “Spam Check” Feature:

Before you click the “Send Email” button, it is recommended that you click the “Spam Check” button if available. The Spam Content Checker uses the SpamAssassin engine to “score” an email for spam content. SpamAssassin is the world’s most popular spam filtering software, and it performs over 1,200 tests on an email message. For each test that an email fails, a score is assigned. If the total score is above a certain threshold (usually 5 points) then SpamAssassin classifies the message as spam. It’s recommended that you make adjustments to your email to get the total score under 5 before you send it out to all of your recipients.

Email Address Look Up – For the Best Validation

Searching for IP addresses is now very possible thanks to the innovative new internet technologies that make the effort both simple and fast. But even as most folks glory in this capacity others groan because of the unreliability of their emails occasioned by harassers, hackers and other email haters. But the groaning is now bound to enter the extinction phase as the Email address look up has come to help validate all emails and to make it easier to curb all those unwarranted mishaps that characterizes the inability to enjoy emailing and allow for folks to enter its domain without any permission only to disturb the peace.

The email checker or look up in the process of validating emails tries to locate MX records; consequently upon locating the records connects it with specified host address to validate and keenly examine the emails. After this initial step is dispensed with, a list will then be sent of names belonging to the host’s mail exchange servers using the easier validation output. What this means is that with the lookup you can develop a system that cushions you and other people’s emails from any untoward entries while also at the same time solidifying your exchange server. All these; simply in a bid to have the best emailing service ever experienced.

For those who are wondering what the MX records are, the term stands for mail exchange record and is a reference type confined in the DNS which itself stands for Domain name system. The DNS receives forwards of the address network movement of the IP. The MX records are charged with holding host name belonging to the computer that handles the field email traffic. When for instance you send a message, the said message will create a query forwarded to the DNS to ask the MX record to give out the message recipient’s name that constitutes the portion that comes after the @. The MX record is therefore a tool to set the process of emailing going from start to finish especially as far as messaging is concerned.

Email address look up does its validation work with record speed and since in some sites it is offered free of charge, email lovers will really enjoy the whole experience. The look up output takes few seconds and soon you will get displayed the results of whether the email addresses were valid or not. You can begin the process with your personal email address before you embark on any other to experience first hand the incredible features it has.

The look up is more visible especially when a person is about to sign in a new account in yahoo, messenger and Google among other websites. The question to check the availability of a particular email address is simply a means to validating the email address. The look up is a splendid way to strengthen all email addresses so that yours is also safeguarded. Simply visit our site to get this excellent mechanism free of charge at a quality that you will truly love.

Webmasters Beware – How A Popular Ebook Saved My Website – Be Prepared For This Inevitable Disaster

About eight months ago I bought a website package on eBay for the princely sum of £2. I knew absolutely nothing about websites to the point where the sellers advertisement said that domain was “not included” and I did not even understand what a domain was all about, so I emailed the seller and asked him for more information. I never got a reply, looking back I can now well understand why. No doubt he thought that I am not going to sell anything to this idiot as he is going to be trouble with a capital T!!

Nevertheless I was about to retire and had heard stories of people making millions on the internet so I just thought that I would stick my toe in the water and see what happens, after all what’s 2 quid and who knows I might just hit the jackpot!!.

The offer was a fully functional popular ebook store with 50 ebooks and to make the offer even more attractive there was the offer of free silver hosting included for one year.

Even though the price was so low I must admit that fear and trepidation was making me wonder if I had lost control of my normal common sense approach to anything. None of us like to be conned regardless of the amount of money involved. I suppose that another nagging doubt was the fact that the seller was based in China!! Incidentally the offer also included help with setting up the website.

Anyhow I sent the guy his money and in return very speedily got my popular ebook store. Without much hassle I finally understood that I had to get a domain and that really was no problem including the DNS setup. There were a lot of files from China and the first thing was apparently to set up the database in cpanel. Seemed easy enough but something went a bit wrong somewhere so I decided to take up the offer from Mr China and asked for a bit of help. In no time I had my popular ebook store all set up with instructions how to administer my cpanel and admin pages.

I spent days studying and clicking to find just what did what.

Like all newbies I was now on the infamous internet learning curve. Ftp, html, php, list building, linking, logos, Google rankings, SEO, those people with websites will know exactly what I am talking about.

After a few months of intense study, and I mean intense, things started to come together a bit and my fledgling website was nothing like the basic layout that I started off with. I now had about 200 items displayed with the addition of popular software as well as the popular ebooks. I was quite proud of my website.

THEN!!…..One day I typed in my site url and to my horror I was looking at my basic website layout just as it was when I bought it!! Off went an email to Mr China and I was quite confident that in no time the server would have a backup of my site……Not on your Nellie…..back came the reply that it was my responsibility to undertake backups, apparently they had had a problem with their server and I suspect that I wasn’t the only casualty. That was no consolation however. Two months plus of hard work down the drain, I was as sick as a pig.

I was not going to give in, some of the files were on my computer so off I went again trying to get the website back to its former glory. To cut a long story short I was able to recover, in fact, after a lot more work I managed to get my popular ebook store ranked in Google PR3 (And rising?!?!?) Things were looking really great….Google was sending me traffic……Customers were buying my products……I’ve cracked it I thought!!


On another bright and sunny day I logged into the website and was greeted with “syntax error on line 53 unexpected }” I was surprised but not unduly concerned as I had had warnings like this before, usually after I had done some html or php addition. Previously I found the fault and repaired the code. This time was different, I had not done any alterations. And after many hours I could not find the problem. I found what I thought was line 53 but there were no} symbols anywhere in the vicinity!!

Off went another email to Mr China but this time no reply. Strange because normally he comes back to me within 24 hours. For this reason I got the feeling that this wasn’t just my problem, this was a major server problem.

Things got worse. For some unknown reason I typed my site name into Google and there was my page name OK but underneath was a warning saying something like “access to this website site might damage your computer!!! What the hell is going on!!

I clicked on the warning and was informed that there was something malicious on my website. I was totally wrecked. I certainly had not put anything like that on there. I did not know what to do next.

After a lot of thought I accessed my cpanel which fortunately had not been affected and downloaded a backup of all my files. By now I had a good idea what was wrong so I ran the whole lot through my virus checker.

Four files were infected and the nasty virus could not be healed, they had to be binned. They were major files like index.php. Now after my previous disaster I had done cpanel backups but like most things in life you tend to say to yourself I’ll do that tomorrow.

When I checked the backup it was months ago, doesn’t time fly. That would mean again doing hours and hours of work to get things back. As fate would have it I got a reply from Mr China telling me to replace all my files on the server, so he did know what had gone wrong!!

When I sent him another email asking if I could put a virus checker on my website he replied no, only the server can do that but not to worry as the IP addresses of the persons doing the damage had been banned. I thought that’s not very comforting, suppose they use another IP address!!

Anyhow, I then suddenly remembered I had read a copy of a popular ebook about this very situation and I had followed this writers advice, thank god.
I put into effect the recovery, step by step and “voila” my website was back to it’s previous state. Clean and safe.

I contacted Google and a few hours later the nasty warning was removed.

Alls well that ends well…..but if you have a website would you be able to recover a similar situation in the minimum of time? Probably not.

Every website owner should have a copy of that important popular ebook because rest assured it’s not a question of if it happens to you it’s a question of when!!

Overview of Search Engine Optimization For Beginners

Introduction – in simple terms, SEO is the process of improving the number of visitors to a website via search engines. By optimising your website with targeted specific key phrases used by your target customers, its possible for search engines rank your website more highly than similar competitive sites (that are not optimised). SEO should be viewed as a component of part of your overall professional internet marketing strategy and ethically used to improve the quality of your visitor experience, according to search engine guidelines and standards. The first step is to understand how search engines work….

Search Engine Basics – A search engine is the website that allows anybody to enter a search query for web site information from billions of web pages, files, video, images, music files. Most people have heard of Google, Yahoo, MSN but they’re also literally hundreds of other less well known specialist Search Engines also providing similar services. When you visit search engine, search results are traditionally displayed as blue links with a short description about the website. The results related directly to the users search query. Search engines evolved from the creation of large directory projects such as the DMOZ and the Yahoo Business directory. In the early to mid 1990s, search engines started using the web by crawling technology to trawl the ever increasing number of websites being developed. Today search engine results from google, yahoo and MSN also appeared in other minor search engines such as AOL. 80% of people find information on the Internet via a search engine because they are easy to use, flexible and provide a highly relevant links to the Internet.

How Do Search Engines Work? – Search engines use automated mathematical algorithms to rank and compare web pages of a similar content. The algorithms are highly complex of and rely on search bots continually trawling the Internet to an copy or ‘cache’ every webpage it visits. Search bots automatically look for specific information when visiting a web site such as the robots.txt file, sitemap.xml file, WHOIS data. They do this to find new content in microseconds and ensure their own listings presented to users are highly up to date and relevant. The data is stored by the search engine company in huge server data centres. The exact mathematical formulae of the search algoithm is jealously guarded by search engines, and so only analysis of historical data is used to make some general assumptions about how they ranking work. In addition, each engine publish some webmaster guidelines to give some general guidance about how to create a quality site and not use techniques that may get a website banned from its listings, by its moderators.

How Do Search Engines Present Relevant Results? – historically, the primary factor search engines used to rank web sites is the number of links a website has from other websites. These are known as inbound links. Over time search engines grew more popular and link farms developed to try and manipulate the results. To combat this the algorithms became more sophisticated. Today, links are less important and instead the textual relevancy of the words, paragraphs, pages and entire theme of website is critical achieving high search engine results. Search engines employ advanced anti spam factors to ensure that users are presented with the most relevant and quality results possible to reflect their search. More recently search engines are diversifying into different means of search, such as images, video, universal local search, product and price comparison as well as developing free online applications such as calendars, spreadsheets and word processing applications.

Key Phrase Analysis & Selection – the next step is to identify the keywords related to your product or service, that your target prospects are typing into search engines. Only then can begin to effectively strategise and design and optimise a website around your buyers needs and wants. Key phrase selection is the first and most important step in internet marketing. Why is this relevant?… Search engines use mathematical algorithms to compare web pages in order to rank these pages (based on a user search query). If you make incorrect assumptions (without researching) and target key phrases that don’t interest buyers, your website will fail. Conversely, if you target the right combination of keywords and phrases (before you even design your website), you will maximise your chances of higher search rankings and create an opportunity to sell. The bigger the market is for a particular product or service, the more competitive the online marketplace is for the related search terms. For instance, a quick check in Google reveals there are approximately 3.44 million search engine results for the term ‘mortgage’… yet only 0.217 million results for the phrase ‘discounted commercial mortgage quote’. In other words, the former is approximately 19 times more competitive in achieving a top search engine position than the later. By using keyword selection tools, advertisers can identify what search terms are not only popular but also how competitive they are. For instance, there are approximately 37.2 million people typing in ‘mortgage’ into all global search engines per year, yet only 0.8 million people typing in ‘commercial mortgage’. Keyword tools are invaluable in identifying a range of niche search terms that can be used to help optimise a website to achieve higher search engine rankings/ more website visitors. These tools can also produce derivates and synonyms, common spelling mistakes as well as produce a comparative competitiveness indices to see if a particular phrase is hard or easy to achieve top search listings with.

Once you have used your market knowledge and keyword tools to validate the search volumes of phrases, make a list, ranked by search volume, of your top 10 phrases. Invariably there are derivatives of your top ten target phrases. For instance, if your primary target term is ‘mortgage quote uk’, you might also identify ‘uk fixed rate mortgages’ and ‘mortgage broker uk’ as secondary phrases. Your prospects will type in hundreds of similar search queries to find a particular product or service. By creating optimised web pages with relevant content (that include these phrases), you maximise your chances of achieving increased search engine traffic. You will need to continually update the list and check your site logs and statistics and test using keyword tools. From this feedback, by checking which search phrases and entry pages were used to enter your site over time, you can easily see how successful your optimisation efforts are going. Key phrase selection should literally dictate the choice of domain naming for new sites, website design; navigational structure, unique selling points and linking strategy. Always add a couple of optional fields in your Contact Form to get feedback form your website visitors; ‘which search engine did you use to find our site?’ and ‘what search term did you use?’

Competitor Analysis – assuming you have a product or service that has some unique selling points, you need analyse your online competition so you can optimise your USP’s effectively. From an internet point of view you need analyse what other websites have achieved relative to your own website. For the first step is to identify who they are and make a list. This is simple enough by entering all of your primary and secondary key phrases into the major search engines and building up to a list. Of similar key phrases are usually bring up the same websites and you will very quickly understand what do you need to knock off the to the search engine to succeed. Updating this list on a regular basis is as important as the initial analysis. By obtaining feedback from search results you can constantly re-analyse competitors in terms of additional links or content they have added, or analyse how they have restructured and reorganised their website have to make it more search engine friendly. Review each site carefully to analyse your competitors on the following basis:-

Keyword / Keyphrase Density Analysis – make a list of your competitors keywords (as per above) to validate your own analysis.

Pagerank Checkers – seochat provide a useful tool to lookup pagerank of multiple sites, if you have a large number of competitors.

Supplemental Page Checker – use toosl to check the proportion of ‘less important, less highly ranked’ pages of ab website in Google’s ‘Supplemental Index’, versus its main index.

Search Engine Exposure – rather than visiting each of search engine individually, you can visit websites like netconcepts to provide tools to measure how many internal links a site has been able to get cashed in each major search engine.

Whois & Contact Forms – the WHOIS databases will allow you to match website owners with real world businesses that are (perhaps) using multiple sites to boost sales possibilities.

Site Age – By using WayBackMachine you can see copied of old pages of your competitors to see how they originally started years ago and then changed and improved their sites over time.

Quote Checker & Mystery Shopper – if your competitors are online quote system its very easy to compare your product price level against theirs. if they only use a contact form and telephone call back you could pretend to be a prospect requiring a quote.

Links Analysis – link building is a never ending process and never stops (because you competitors won’t). As the number of pages on your site increases you will find out sites (and in particular directories) will begin adding links to your site without your knowledge. To help achieve top rankings, you could begin to see how many quality links you need by looking at the number and type of links and ‘backlinks’ from your top 5 competitor sites. You can also use links checkers to see how many inbound links competitors have amassed since their conception by using tools such as xxx or xxxx. This is your general target for link volume to. Alternatively, you can o manually find this out type of information direct from search engines like Google by entering the following search queries:-

Choosing a Domain Name – this section summarises the issues faced when deciding what to call your new website and how to manage the domain name….

Where to Buy a Domain Name? – if you haven’t already chosen your domain name for your new website a good place to start is NetworkSolutions. This is the largest registry of of domain names on the Internet and provides a service to check domain name availability. This is a reputable company that allows you to move an existing domain name settings (DNS) freely and ensures your privacy is also protected. Some domain name resellers have used sharp practice to make it difficult for you to move your domain name in the future, between different hosting companies. They have achieved this using financial penalties, technical over complexity, call centre queues and in some cases contractual small print (that could even lose your legal right to own the domain name). In most situations, resellers of domain names are often also hosting companies whose primary interest is to sell you more hosting space which is linked to the domain name itself.

Choosing The Right Domain Name? – it is preferable to choose a name which incorporates the primary search term or phrase you are trying to achieve high rankings for. Your new domain name has to reflect what you are selling or your company vision. There has to be no confusion in the minds of the user. In particular, if it is a type of site where you want repeat business, the name site has to be easily remembered, spelt – so the shorter the better. However, virtually all single word and popular commercial key phrase ‘expressions used to register a domain names have been already purchased by other people and domain name squatters. So choosing a domain name of the is always difficult and may involve the bidding on a domain from the second user market. If this is the case of, (just like buying a second hand used car), it is important to check the history of the domain name in terms of what it was used for in the past and whether it has been banned by search engines like Google. The last thing you want is to buy a domain name from the second user market, only to find Google has banned it in the past for not conforming to search engine guidelines. It is also always sensible to look at the country extensions of domains to check whether the domain name you are seeking has already been registered and made live in other countries. People tend to sometimes assume of that all websites are a ‘.com’. Therefore, if you can find a name where you can register the ‘.com’ as well as your local country extension, you will avoid confusion. Search engines also use the country extension of a domain name in their ranking algorithms to generate search results. As search engines also have various country orientated search websites, you must ensure your domain name reflects your country (particularly if your target market lives in one geography only).

Domain Names & Search Engines – if there is not usually a valid reason why you need dozens of domain names in order to sell the same product or service, then don’t… these are known as splash sites or doorway pages and are disliked by search engines to view this as a form of spamming. If the content of each website is unique and completely different, then separating by topics or localised geographic content makes perfect sense. Just remember it takes twice as long to promote and build and manage twice as many sites. Search engines ‘search bots’ also automatically interrogate the WHOIS database to identify the owner on the website. Therefore, when you register your domain name, it is sensible to reveal your contact details on WHOIS database if you have nothing to hide.

Hosting Decisions – Hosting of a web site of is almost always overlooked by the beginners. There are thousands of hosting companies offering very cheap shared hosting space and the temptation is to just go to the easiest, quickest and cheapest option. Sometimes this attitude can destroy a web site of business. The general rule for choosing your hosting company is that you get what you pay for. Quality hosting is a critical to ensure your target market can actually access your site without it falling over every other day. Before ‘pointing’ your DNS settings to a new hosting shared server package, you must think through your technical requirements such as operating system support for database, online applications and scripts, stats, email access and the level of telephone support offered by the hosting company. To lean more about the technical issues surrounding hosting please visit our hosting section.

Writing Compelling Website Content – the most important ranking factors search engines employ is an analysis of the quality and relevance (and to a lesser extent the sheer quantity) of the text on any given webpage and collectively the website. We would recommend not over analysing a web page too much using software tools. Instead, put yourself in the mind of your prospects user and invest more time in creating an interesting, and informative, exciting and most importantly original content. Try and be obvious; you must tell the user what you think he wants to hear (based on your market research) as a users attention span when they hit your home page lasts for about 4 seconds before the click back in their browser and go on to the next one in the list. Therefore, use bullet points and simple sales messages or offers to summarise unique selling point sites. Remember, most web user skim websites until they decide they have landed on the site they want to learn more from. make sure you are also original – write in such a way that you are not or copying other web pages (or rewording). Duplicating content from other websites is a huge no no as it attracts duplication penalties from search engines or may risk having your site banned altogether. Writing content is the most difficult area of of what search engine optimisation and web design. To find out more visit out section on writing compelling content. Quantity of word count is also relevant; there is no right or wrong answer for the optimum number of words on a webpage. By analysing existing competitor web pages you’ll probably find that the average number of words ranges between 600 to to free 1000 words per page – any more and the spider may view of the page is too large and any less and the search was part of spider may view of the page as having to battle content to bother with.

Keyword Density Analysis – when targeting a certain keyword or keyphrase is essential that this appears within the text of the page at least once. If you insert this keyword or phrase too many times you run the risk that search engines view it as ‘keyword stuffing’ (which is a form of spamming). The ideal amount should by no more than three times per page. When optimizing a webpage actually this may depend on the volume of text on the page itself – the more text (words) on a page, the more times you can justifiably make reference to your key phrases. By using any number of free online tools to measure the exact percentage a keyphrase appears relative to the other words of page you can make simple judgments regarding what whether or not the page is correctly optimized. This simple principle is known as a keyword density. By analysing the keyword density of the home pages of your top 10 competitors you can establish quite quickly of what percentage of their keyphrase appears on their home page. For the lower and upper limits of this test will give you a safe range for your own home page in terms of the number of times of your primary keyphrase appears relative to the rest of the page. There is no right or wrong answer. The simplest solution is to write compelling, informative and interesting information for your web site visitors. It is important you placed your keyphrase as close as you can to the top of the page. Robots read the text from left to right starting at the top left hand regards the screen and working away its along the rows. By including your keyphrase near the top (as opposed to near the bottom of the page) you are attaching a higher keyword prominence to that phrase (relative to words that appear near the bottom of the page). To find out more visit out section on keyword density.

Design & website: Usability Good Practices – you will need to consider a range of web design issues in the context of implementing your online marketing strategy. To find out more about good design visit out section on website design. Highlights:-

What Is Domain Name Propagation?

Like any industry, the domain name and web hosting sector has its own peculiar jargon. Among the terms is “DNS propagation” or “domain name propagation”. So what is it and how do you handle it?

The term is usually used in relation to when you update the nameservers of your domain name, that is, the address of the hosting service to which it points.

When you change hosts or open a hosting account for the first time and update your domain’s nameserver details, it can take some time for the change in details to spread throughout the Internet. This timeframe is sometimes referred to as the “DNS propagation window”.

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is basically the Internet’s address book; operating quietly behind the scenes to translate human readable domain names to IP (Internet Protocol) numerical addresses and vice-versa.

After you move your web site to your new web host, there will be a period when depending on where a visitor is viewing the site from, they might see it on the new server, or the old one – and it can even bounce back and forth between the two.

How long this goes on for is unfortunately out of the hands of the registrant of the domain, the domain name registration service and the web host as it depends on when ISPs (Internet Service Providers) refresh their DNS caches; which will be at different times. In some parts of the world, it will take just minutes, in others much longer – up to 24 to 36 hours.

This is why it’s really important when you change hosting providers to keep the account and site on your previous host live for at least a few days. If it’s a forum or blog you are shifting over where user input is stored in a local database; it may be wise to turn off posting during this period to ensure new content isn’t posted to the old database.

It’s also a good idea to warn your users and customers of what is about to occur in advance – after all, things can go wrong and an uninformed customer can be a cranky one.

Additionally, continue checking your email accounts on the old server for few days; or better still, set email to forward from those accounts to another address you have access to that isn’t associated with your domain name.

So, how do you tell when DNS propagation is completed? There are many free tools available online to determine this – try running a search on Google for the term “dns propagation checker” and you’ll have a pick of dozens.

These tools simply check the IP (Internet Protocol) address associated with a hostname from various servers around the world. If all the IP’s are the same for 24 hours and it is the IP of your new account or hosting provider; then you’ll know for sure things have settled and it’s safe to close your old hosting account.