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29 Aug 21:54

Cloud Hosting & CDN Services for Web Developers – Best of

by Jake Rocheleau

Working online provides a host of solutions for managing your files. Cloud computing has allowed for large virtual server farms to span the globe via direct Internet access and file downloads. This cloud environment has created a method for delivering files more quickly and effortlessly than with standard physical servers.

By using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), webmasters have the option of storing alternate static files on servers worldwide. Then packet requests are sent to users based on their locations, so files can be loaded much quicker. Similarly you may store files in the cloud and share them with your friends or colleagues. This solution of virtualized servers in the cloud has provided a means for accessing files easier than ever before.

I would like to use this article as a look into some of the more popular CDN and cloud sharing applications. Small businesses and even freelancers can benefit tremendously by keeping a local backup of files along with copies in the cloud as needed. This provides the option of working from any computer with access to data that would otherwise be impossible.

Recommended Reading: 10 Important Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Web Host

Why Use Content Delivery Networks?

I should preface this list by saying that CDNs are not for everybody.

High-traffic websites and web applications would however notice a tremendous benefit in latency because of download speeds and performance. When you have visitors from all over the world, physical servers are limited to data transfers from a local connection.

The purpose of a delivery network is to deliver your static files (CSS, JS, Images) from the most convenient server farm based on the user’s location. So you may have people accessing your American-hosted website from Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America. Each of them could be served much quicker through a geographically-based cloud network.

A CDN can also be tied onto a particular domain or subdomain of your own website. This gives the illusion of hosting files on an alternate server which is also handy for backups. Any premium CDN will charge a hefty fee for their services, but some networks are very cheap or even free to take out for a test drive.

The Best CDN Web Services

I have put together a compilation of 7 outstanding Content Delivery Networks which provide exceptional service all around. Some are more expensive than others and some networks have much broader coverage than others. But this process is all about filling your specific needs for hosting solutions in the cloud.

1. CloudFlare

The CloudFlare network is actually quite expansive if you check out their regional map. I really like their service because CloudFlare is one of the few providers to offer a free plan. Also their servers cover the globe in many densely populated hotspots. Check out their plans & pricing page to see all the options you have available.

CloudFlare CDN Network hosting map servers

Anybody who is just getting interested in CDNs should try the free plan and get a better understanding. The backend system can be a little confusing until you have spent time working with a service provider. CloudFlare also boasts an incredible amount of security and support for detailed issues. I would call this one of the best “learning grounds” to get your feet wet.

But even though newcomers are just learning the ropes, more professional plans can offer plenty of beneficial features as well. It is worth noting that nobody will jump into a service paying money if they can try it out for free! CloudFlare does not charge based on bandwidth, but instead by a monthly fee and limited data caps. It’s a huge marketing bonus to the company and it gives interested clients a chance to gauge their potential without much risk.

2. CacheFly

I haven’t done much testing with CacheFly’s CDN but I can give credit to the name recognition and plenty of top-tier clients. CacheFly is serving files for companies which include Cartoon Network, Microsoft, Bandai-Namco, and Adobe. CacheFly as a company has been around since early 2002 and has one solid track record for hosting files in the cloud.

CacheFly CDN Cloud Network homepage website layout

One interesting point on their homepage is the guided video tour which explains a bit about Content Delivery Networks. If you are still fuzzy on the concept I recommend watching the clip. It’s about 2-3 minutes long and provides a great explanation of what CacheFly can do.

The biggest issue I have with CacheFly is their distorted levels of pricing. You are paying close to $100/month on their simplest plan for only 256GB data transfer. This equates to about .25TB monthly before you would hit excess transfer charges. If you aren’t receiving enormous levels of traffic to your website or to website media (images, video) then CacheFly is probably worth waiting to put off for later.

3. Windows Azure

Microsoft, in my opinion, has always been on the fence with some really great & really bad software releases in the past two decades. But I would argue Windows Azure is one fascinating new launch which has a lot of potential in the realm of cloud hosting.

Windows Azure CDN cloud hosting homepage plans

You can sign up for a free 90-day trial which offers all the basics for cloud users. This plan comes with 10 possible websites, 35GB of storage and 20GB CDN bandwidth. For anybody seriously considering CDN cloud hosting you should really give Azure a shot. Even before going onto a paid plan it’s worthwhile for testing purposes.

Azure CDN Cost pricing calculator webapp screenshot

How Azure will stack up against other CDNs I can’t really say. It is still very new, but for webmasters Azure offers a lot of extra functionality like SQL database storage. If you have specific needs for your website try their price calculator to get an average cost estimate. You may be surprised with how economical Microsoft’s CDN will stack up compared with alternatives.

4. NetDNA

If you know that your website drives a lot of traffic and you need a seriously fast & stable delivery network, go with NetDNA. I have never been more impressed with a company who is willing to work directly with clients and solve specific bandwidth problems on their website infrastructure.

Some of their top client case studies include Template Monster, Sitepoint, and BuySellAds. These are big-name Internet companies which solely rely on NetDNA to deliver content across the globe. Their content is protected by SSL and may include rich media such as HD 720p/1080p video.

NetDNA Content Delivery Network homepage layout

It’s also interesting if you check out their pricing chart you will notice that data is charged differently based on location. The cost get can very pricey when you are running multiple websites with an international audience. But webmasters who need a specific service may be interested in NetDNA’s other brands. CloudCache actually works off the MaxCDN network and runs as a partner with NetDNA.

HDDN.com HD Video Streaming CDN cloud hosting 720p 1080p MP4

Alternatively HDDN is a video storage and streaming network geared towards HD video. Websites which need to host tutorials or online videos may consider this service a lot more valuable than a typical CDN. There is more information in the pricing plans which give a solid breakdown of data usage. Spend some time working out numbers if you need to stream rich media files and see if the prices are worth paying to handle large bursts of traffic.

5. MaxCDN

The MaxCDN cloud hosting/CDN service is actually part of the greater NetDNA network. This is one of their smaller brands which is the perfect solution for small-to-medium sized businesses. This is especially true with blogs or online magazines which are displaying a lot of unique content on a single webpage.

Why I love MaxCDN so much is their flexible pay-as-you-go pricing plan which starts at $40 for 1TB of data. If you aren’t familiar with units of data transfer 1TB is just about 1000GB (which is huge). Any small business or new startup can hold onto this limit for a very long time without going over. But MaxCDN is very handy in that your account will receive a warning message when your limit is getting close.

MaxCDN hosting cloud delivery network tour pricing and plans

After the initial 1TB of data is used you would be paying $70 for each additional Terabyte added. There are no time limits for when the data caps would run out, so you can hold onto this storage for as long as needed. This is one of the best CDNs for somebody who knows they want good quality but don’t have a lot of money to deal with overage fees and complicated monthly plans.

6. Google App Engine

Possibly the greatest advantage to using Google’s App Engine is that you can get disk space and file hosting through Google for absolutely free! Developers can sign up for a new application account and determine how much space is required for their app. Google is one of the more notorious tech companies in the world and holds a very strong reputation for security.

Google also has a lot of money to shell out for hardware and data centers. This means you can count on Google to serve your files through a tremendous network of server farms. You should understand that although Google offers a free plan, their CDN is at least 10x more powerful than those limitations. So if you have the money it would be worthwhile to pay for their more premium services.

Google App Engine homepage for web developers CDN storage

When scouring the web recently I found a tutorial for setting up App Engine and how to create your first online CDN repository. This is an excellent step-by-step guide for newcomers who are not yet familiar with Google’s interface. There is some interaction with the command prompt but the whole process isn’t very difficult and actually fairly easy to replicate if you have the guide.

Cloud Hosting by Google for Businesses Startups Mobile Website Case Studies

Also the App Engine interface is more of a solution for cloud-based storage in general. The most conclusive solution would be a CDN but it can host many of your core website files as well. There is a limit on the amount of disk space/bandwidth you may use, but Google has one of the best platforms for storing your website files in the cloud.

7. Rackspace

The Rackspace website is mostly filled with hosting plans for server space. But surprisingly they have broken into the business of public cloud CDN hosting partnered with the Akami Network. This delivery network is huge and gives your files a direct connection to almost anywhere in the entire world. There are multiple locations found all around the United States and Europe, along with Asia, Australia, and South America.

Public Cloud CDN Files Hosting by Rackspace Akami Network

Now one alternatively interesting tidbit of info is that Rackspace has their own Cloud Files API which is public for any programmers to build with. You can upload large sets of files to the cloud by programming your own interface. This could be a desktop application or even a website application based on PHP or another common backend language.

When talking about pricing the storage & streaming charges are superbly reasonable. Any files stored in the cloud on server HDDs will cost $0.10/GB per month as long as your account is active. Then for all bandwidth used in a month Rackspace charges an additional $0.18/GB. If you are hosting reasonably sized files you could get away with paying $5-10 monthly for a huge performance boost.

Sharing Files in the Cloud

For this last segment I have composed a mini-showcase of alternative file sharing websites. These are all cloud-based solutions where you can upload files to the Internet and then share links with your friends or coworkers. All these services offer a free account plan to new users for sharing files with as many people as you’d like.

These file storage services can also double as a private cloud host for your own personal files. It can be annoying to find room for hosting backups and important documents, let alone keep them with you everywhere. But paying for a premium account with a website like RapidShare or MediaFire guarantees access to your files from any computer with an Internet connection.

4Shared

4Shared cloud file hosting homepage

MediaFire

MediaFire home page file uploads website design

FileFactory

File Factory cloud hosting file sharing layout

CloudApp

Get CloudApp OSX and Windows homepage

HotFile

Upload file sharing hosting website layout

BitShare

BitShare.com website layout design upload file sharing

Uploading

Uploading website layout file sharing design

Dropbox

Internet cloud hosting file storage Dropbox.com homepage

DepositFiles

Free file hosting storage cloud downloads

RapidShare

Rapid Share file sharing website layout design

YouSendIt

You Send It file sharing website layout cloud hosting

SendSpace

SendSpace cloud hosting file sharing website CDN

GigaSize

GigaSize.com file hosting upload website sharing

Rapid Gator

Personal private cloud hosting Rapidgator.net website layout

TurboBit

TurboBit.net file sharing cloud hosting storage

Hitfile

HitFile.com CDN cloud storage file sharing

Netload

Simple clean affiliate file hosting cloud storage Netload.in

Ziddu

Ziddu world's leading images file storage cloud hosting services

Final Thoughts

Everybody will have a different purpose for working within the cloud. We all work with varying types of data and will thus need to shift focus accordingly. But I would argue that any project or business venture will notice benefits by working with cloud hosting techniques.

This article should provide a solid overview of CDNs and cloud file distribution in general. It is my hope that newer web developers will take the time to research this topic and learn more about file storage and cloud server infrastructure. Additionally if you have any suggestions or thoughts on the post feel free to share with us in the discussion area.


    


29 Aug 16:54

Twitter Bootstrap - evolution of performance over the last 2 years

17 Aug 21:34

Apple opens graphics card replacement program for some mid-2011 iMacs (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)

Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:
Apple opens graphics card replacement program for some mid-2011 iMacs  —  Apple has opened up one of its rare replacement programs for the graphics card in some mid-2011 iMac configurations, according to a notice issued to Apple Support employees.  The iMac in question is the model released …

27 Jun 14:57

Cómo convertir archivos entre formatos por Internet

by José María López

Con la cantidad de formatos disponibles en hoy en día para documentos, archivos comprimidos, fotografías, vídeos y canciones, es normal que en algun momento te hayas encontrado con algún formato díscolo que se resiste a ser reproducido o abierto por tu ordenador, reproductor portátil o teléfono móvil. Hace poco te hemos recomendado visores de archivos, alguno de ellos online, que sirven para abrir cualquier archivo. Sin embargo, si lo que quieres es que ese fichero esté disponible en un formato concreto,necesitas un conversor. Buscando la solución más rápida y accesible, hemos recopilado una lista de conversores de archivos online para que utilices desde cualquier navegador sin problemas.

conversores de archivos online

Los conversores de archivos online, como Hey!Watch o Media.io, tienen varias ventajas en común: son accesibles desde cualquier navegador, son compatibles con un rango muy amplio de formatos de archivo y el resultado, por lo general, es muy bueno.

CloudConvert

conversores de archivos online

Con soporte para más de 130 formatos diferentes, CloudConvert es uno de los conversores de archivos online más reciente. Se encuentra en fase beta, aunque su funcionamiento es impecable. Puedes elegir entre uno o más archivos de tu disco duro u hospedados en Dropbox o Google Drive. Al convertirlos, tienes la posibilidad de enviarlos de forma automática por correo electrónico o a tus cuentas de Dropbox o Google Drive, sin que tengas que esperar a que termine la conversión. Otro detalle a su favor es que es compatible con navegadores móviles, por lo que podrás convertir archivos desde tu teléfono inteligente sin problemas y directamente en la nube. Entre los formatos compatibles, encontrarás vídeos, libros electrónicos, imágenes, documentos, ficheros CAD y canciones.

Online Convert

conversores de archivos online

En segundo lugar, todo un veterano de los conversores de archivos online. Online Convert no destaca mucho por su aspecto, y está repleto de publicidad, pero ofrece cuanto necesitas para convertir audios, vídeos, imágenes, documentos, libros electrónicos y archivos en general, además de crear códigos Hash conforme a distintos estándares. Para usarlo, eliges el tipo de formato al que quieres convertir un archivo, y lo subes o indicas la URL donde está disponible. En poco tiempo tendrás disponible el archivo convertido, que se descargará automáticamente a tu ordenador. Los archivos se almacenan durante 24 horas, por si quieres volverlo a descargar. Aunque ofrece muchos formatos compatibles, es especialmente útil con contenido multimedia, ya que los documentos se le atragantan un poco.

DocsPal

conversores de archivos online

Hace poco hemos hablado de DocsPal, que ofrece dos funciones: conversor y visor de archivos. En el caso de la conversión, permite subir el fichero o añadir la URL. El siguiente paso es elegir el formato original y el de conversión, y para terminar, hacer clic en "Conver" o marcar la opción "Send a download link to my email address" para recibir el enlace de descarga del archivo cuando esté convertido. Así no tendrás que esperar, aunque el proceso suele ser relativamente rápido. También se encuentra en fase Beta, pero su calidad es muy buena.

Zamzar

conversores de archivos online

En el caso de Zamzar, tienes la posibilidad de subir hasta 100 MB de forma gratuita y sin registro. Si te registras, la cuota sube a 200 MB o 400 MB, dependiendo de si la cuenta es Basic ($7 / 5,37 €) o Pro ($16 / 12,29 €). Como en los anteriores conversores de archivos online, es compatible con formatos de imagen, sonido, documentos, vídeos y archivos comprimidos, entre otros. Al terminar la conversión, recibirás el enlace de descarga en la cuenta de correo electrónico que hayas configurado previamente.

Fileminx

conversores de archivos online

Para terminar, Fileminx. El proceso de conversión es el habitual: seleccionas el archivo desde tu ordenador o desde Internet, el formato de guardado, y en poco tiempo se realizará la conversión. Destaca su sistema en forma de asistente paso a paso, que resalta los formatos compatibles con iconos indicando los más populares y los disponibles. Y como curiosidad, como fondo en cada sección serás obsequiado con un dibujo de una chica al estilo pin-up.

Además de estos servicios, hay muchos más conversores de archivos online disponibles, algunos especializados en formatos multimedia y otros más genéricos, como los que hemos visto. Difícilmente puedo decirte cuál es mejor que otros, pues depende del formato con el que trabajes. En cualquier caso, todos ofrecen soporte para los formatos estándar e indican claramente los pasos a seguir, con más o menos publicidad de por medio.

La entrada Cómo convertir archivos entre formatos por Internet aparece primero en Bitelia.



14 May 16:30

Confirmado: Windows Blue será llamado ‘Windows 8.1′ y será actualización gratuita

by Oscar Gutiérrez

Windows

Entre tantas noticias de BlackBerry y Nokia con Windows Phone, Microsoft también quiso ganarse los titulares de los medios, por lo que han confirmado que la próxima actualización de su sistema operativo para PC’s y tablets se llamará Windows 8.1, dejando el ‘Blue’ definitivamente. La actualización será de forma gratuita para los usuarios de Windows 8. 

Tami Reller, CFO del área de Windows, confirmó que la próxima actualización se llamará «Windows 8.1» y esta actualización llegará de forma gratuita a los usuarios actuales de Windows 8 y estará disponible en la Windows Store.

Microsoft lanzará la primera versión pública de Windows 8.1 el 26 de Junio del año en curso, que hará empalme con el evento Build que la compañía tiene preparado para esas fechas. Esta nueva versión 8.1 estará disponible para Windows RT y Windows 8. Seguramente veremos varias novedades en esta nueva versión, y una de éstas será el regreso del extrañado botón ‘Inicio’.

Enlace: Microsoft

08 May 21:10

CSS Zen Garden turns 10 and the source is now open on GitHub

by Adam Stacoviak

If you started a project like CSS Zen Garden today, it would be natural to put the source code on GitHub and ask for contributions via pull request. However, CSS Zen Garden just turned 10, so its life spans beyond that of Git and GitHub for that matter.

So, needless to say, it’s a big deal for Dave Shea to move the codebase to GitHub and follow suit with what we now think is a norm, which is open projects and social coding.

CSS Zen Garden is 10 years old

If you’d like to add a modern CSS Zen Garden design to the mix, fork, branch and submit a pull request! If you’re new to Git and GitHub, and you’re not sure what to do – either learn git (do this!) or use the traditional submission form at mezzoblue.com/zengarden/submit.

Sadly my submission from WAY BACK IN THE DAY was never added as an official design, but can be seen (un-styled) here. I still have the CSS for that so maybe one day I can work it out with Dave to update the CSS src URL for my submission.

Check out the source and fork it on GitHub. Or head to csszengarden.com to see the original design and learn more.

The post CSS Zen Garden turns 10 and the source is now open on GitHub appeared first on The Changelog.

08 May 21:10

I'm Leah Busque, Founder of TaskRabbit, and This Is How I Work

by Tessa Miller

We all have stuff on our to-do lists that we're either too busy to finish, or let's be honest—we just don't feel like doing. That's where TaskRabbit comes in. We've talked about it before as one of our favorite services for automating your most annoying errands and outsourcing your chores. Whether it's getting groceries, putting together furniture, or picking up a Craigslist purchase, TaskRabbit's network of reliable do-ers will take it off your hands. (They can also do virtual projects like vacation booking and resume proofreading.) We caught up with Leah Busque, the woman behind the magic of TaskRabbit, to find how she stays so productive.

Read more...

    


05 Apr 15:17

Apple registra patente de funcionalidad similar a Street View de Google

by Oscar Gutiérrez

iOS-6-Google-Maps

No es un secreto que los mapas de Apple necesitan varios aspectos a mejorar, y otros más por incluir; principalmente para poder cortar la brecha que existe – en cuanto a funcionalidad – con su principal competidor, Google Maps. Apple Insider ha encontrado evidencia de lo que parece un intento por acortar la brecha; al parecer Apple está buscando la implementación de un servicio propio similar a lo que conocemos con Street View de Google. 

La patente se ha registrado como «3D Position Tracking for Panoramic Imagery Navigation», y describe una aplicación que saca provecho de los sensores incluidos en el iPad y iPhone para mostrar imágenes panorámicas en 3D de navegación.

13.04.04-Pano-1

Para manejar Street View de Google, el usuario se posiciona en una burbuja que le permitirá visualizar su alrededor en un margen de 360º; para esto, el usuario debe desplazarse, con ayuda de un mouse o pantalla touchscreen, en la pantalla. Lo que Apple pretende hacer con su servicio similar es hacer uso del giroscopio, cámaras y acelerómetro del dispositivo para mostrar la toma 360º.

La funcionalidad parece sonar bien, pero así como esto, cuando Apple nos presentó sus mapas durante el año pasado, también sonaba muy bien la idea; lo que resta es esperar a que sea presentado y que la funcionalidad sea de alta calidad. De cualquier forma suena bien y podría ser que durante el WWDC ’13 veamos algo relacionado a los mapas.

Enlace e imagen de patente: Apple Insider