Category Archives: Tutorial

Link Canonicalization – Explained

If you are someone that has spent any amount of time on the Internet, then you might have noticed that some websites always contain “www” in their URL and then there are some that are fading away from that trend, and do not contain the “www” in the URL. However, how do you do this? Is it simple? Is it a good thing to do or does it just look nice? Well, sit down and let me explain a few things.

First off, Continue reading

Social Networks Promotion: The Good and The Bad

Most of you are aware of the huge potential a Social Network campaign has, but there are also many things that could go wrong with those campaigns. First of all, Social Networks are different than forums and blogs. They are a constant stream of information: news, personal statuses, shared links, funny videos, cat’s and a whole lot more. To give you an idea of a comparison you can make in regards to it, is that your link can be compared to a fish in the sea; that is a single link can be overwhelmed by everything that is there in an individual network. But that’s not the only problem, your visitors from Social Networks may only visit your site once and never come back again.

To stand out on Social Networks, you need to have that something that people are interested in. Therefore for a successful Social Network promotion there are a few important key factors:

  1. Account Popularity
  2. Research and Targeted Audience
  3. Site Content

Account Popularity

We all start off with 0 friends or followers, but to be successful in promoting our site we need to find more followers/friends/subscribers. Nothing makes you look crazy other than by talking to yourself online, therefore you need build up your “fan base”. There are many different ways to do such things, and it all depends of the Social Network that you want to focus on.

YouTube Usually funny videos or how to videos are popular.
FacebookFan Page like exchanges may help you out a lot.
TwitterUsing the correct hashtags with an appropriate message.
TumblrRebloging, liking and posting things that certain audiences likes (anime/artistic/hipster/feminism).
RedditSmart interaction on the shares of other users, and good link shares from your part.
Google+I am not really sure about this but I guess adding people in your circles that have the same interests as yourself.

With a certain popularity online you will reach more users, which equals to more potential visitors and which that in the end means more potential returning visitors for your site.

Research and Targeted Audience

Imagine each Social Network as a person. Tumblr for example likes anime, managas, cute things and discussions about feminism. Tumblrs user base is mostly made of 13-20 year old people who share the things that they like. The key to promote on Tumblr, is seeing what your site genre is and then posting pictures that might get re-blogged, while adding your link in the midst of each post you make.

As I said, imagine Social Networks as people.

I have this information about social networks that might help you:

YouTube Funny videos, Gaming videos, How To videos. If you are good at making such videos you will get quite a few visits to your site, plus you could earn some money along side the video postings on YouTube
FacebookThings that could be shared here, are quotes and and other such things. With that, you would need to also attach your link in the description or add a watermark to the picture, which may help with branding your site there.
TwitterBeing part of a hashtag like #GamerGate, #feminism, #BlackLifeMatter and #micropoetry, are some of the things that could get your link some views.
Tumblr –  Anime reviews, Manga reviews, poetry, fan fiction, drawings, cute things, artistic things, debates about feminism, funny things, all of which could be added to Tumblr.
RedditSome links that can help you gain views, are links that help people out, are news related, motivation related posts, debates, manga and anime reviews, awesome product links, and how to links.

The key is to find good ideas of which links on your site you could post, and the appropriate time that you could post the link. You may fail a few times – it happens to everyone- and you will succeed a few times too!

Social Networks are really unpredictable when it comes to link popularity. An example of this was an article I wrote on my blog, in which I decided to shared it on Reddit. I didn’t expect too much from it really, but when I woke up the following morning, I fount my site was down due to bandwidth overuse. An article that I thought wouldn’t get any attention broke my site. That’s the power of social networks.

Site Content

The first two parts are pretty easy, the internet is huge and I am sure you could work your way up in the popularity ranking, but of course comes the most important part that all sites need to help drive success: Content!

It doesn’t matter what your site is about, so long as it helps your visitor satisfy his hunger for information. The content of your site will make or break a visitor, when they are deciding whether or not they want to come back and visit your site again, or if it will be forgotten. Plus you might not be the first to write or post about a certain topic, but if you explain it better than someone else or the visitor finds one of your articles or topics more interesting or appealing, he will keep coming back for more.

Create a site that members want to come back to, that’s the first thing and the most important part of a successful site. It can’t be stressed enough how important content is! I am sure you have read a few more guides about sites/forums/blogs and found in a large number of those guides, the phrases “work hard” or “content is king”, is somewhere in the text.  Nothing else beats hard work and consistency. If your content is improving and you publish it on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, you are the right track.

After the content is built, all you have to do is then show it to a number of people on Social Networks, who are waiting eagerly for quality content to be posted, and you may be the one who will provide it to them!

What should you do to succeed? Well that’s easy, in which this article is about, is that hard work is what you need to succeed! A combination of providing fresh content, with appropriate advertising on various Social Networking sites will help you succeed.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide to Social Networking Promotion. If this has some positive feedback I will continue my explanation of promoting your site on Social Networks, by going deeper and explaining each and every Social Network in their own individual article.

Stay Awake,
TheSolkotovic(Shole)

Securing SSH login on your VPS/ Dedicated Server.

 

Malicious hackers are keen to gain access to your server. Powerful dedicated/ virtual servers, which are always on, form an important part of the hackers botnet arsenal. These botnets are used by the hackers for tasks ranging from bitcoin mining to the more malicious sending of Spam and engaging in Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Fortunately it isn’t all that difficult to prevent the bot scanners from gaining access to your server. Protecting my new hobbie project’s dedicated server took me less than 5 minutes.

What we are going to do is: create a sudo user, disable root login, and change the servers SSH port. This guide is intended for an Ubuntu/ Debian system, although commands can easily be found for CentOS and the like.

Small tip: You can paste anything into putty using the “right click” on your mouse.

    1. Login to SSH, using a program such as Putty, with your root login details.
    2. Create a new user (e.g. replace “username” with admin57 without quotes) with the command:                     #  sudo adduser “username”                                                                                                                                       You will be prompted for a password. Ensure that it is secure and that you take note of it.
    3. Give this user sudo permissions: # sudo adduser “username” sudo
    4. Using an editor (vi or nano) open up /etc/ssh/sshd_config e.g. with the command:                                        # nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    5. Near the top of the file, you should see Port 22 listed. Use the arrow keys to get to the text and change 22 to a random port number e.g. 7654. Note this down.
    6. Find (Ctrl W if you are using Nano) “PermitRootLogin Yes” and change it to “PermitRootLogin no”.
    7. Save and exit the editor (Ctrl X if you are using nano).
    8. Run the command: #service ssh restart

To gain access to your server, login to SSH as the new user (remember you also changed the port!). Then type “su” without quotes and press enter. Then enter your root password and you will gain root access.

Tutorial: Deploying your Forum on a VPS

A Virtual Private Server is the next step above shared web hosting for any website. If a website on a shared host is running slowly due to high volume traffic, or is having issues with its hosting provider due to maxing out limits such as bandwidth or disk space, then a VPS is a very good option to consider. This guide walks you through the details on how to launch your forum on a VPS server. The assumption which I am making is that you are using a web host which uses a cPanel control panel. If you are not, the process is a bit more difficult, and beyond the scope of this article. However, most web hosts do use cPanel, so this tutorial will apply to  most of the readers of this blog.


Part 1: Evaluate

The first question which you must ask yourself before moving to a VPS is this: is it a good idea? A VPS server is not cheap. Leasing one can add up to about 40 dollars per month. However, if you have multiple sites, this is a very good idea, because you get full control over everything, and you only have one bill to pay. Finally, you do not require much technical expertise to get everything running. Here is an approximation of how much this may cost you.

Web Hosting: $20.00 /month (From DigitalOcean)

cPanel/WHM License: $20.00 /month

Total: $40.00 /month.

This gets you 2GB of RAM (which is enough), 40GB of disk space (30 GB in practical terms, because the VPS has overhead which takes up some of the disk space), and 3 whopping terabytes of bandwidth. There are other providers, but most of them have similar pricing.

You can decrease this bill in two ways. First, you can buy a year-long cPanel/WHM license, which costs $16 per month, but you have to pay upfront. Second, you can buy a cheaper VPS instance, such as the DigitalOcean 1GB instance for $10. That makes the bill $26 per month. However, I have not tried the DigitalOcean 1GB instance for cPanel. In theory it will work, but it may not have enough RAM to work well enough to run cPanel/WHM at full performance.


Part 2: Create the VPS

I am going to provide instructions for this step in the form of a step-by-step procedure. Here are the instructions.

1. Visit the following URL and create an account: https://cloud.digitalocean.com/registrations/new

2. Enter your credit card as billing information.

3. Click the “Create Droplet” button on the DigitalOcean control panel.

4. Select the $20 or $10 plan. Your choice. I recommend $20.

5. Select the region for your VPS. This doesn’t really matter. Whichever one is closest to your member base, or yourself, is best.

6. If you want, check “Enable Backups,” but you will be charged extra.

7. Under “Select Image” choose CentOS, and then version 6.5 x64. DO NOT choose a more recent version of the OS. It will not work if you do.

8. Do not add an SSH key, unless you know how to. That is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

9. Click “Create Droplet” and wait a little while.

After you finish step 9, you are done with this part of the tutorial! Next, you will need to install the VPS.


Part 3: Install the VPS

1. Go to the following URL: https://cloud.digitalocean.com/droplets

2. Under “IP Address,” find the droplet you just created, and copy the IP to your clipboard. For example, let’s say your IP address is 127.0.0.1.

3. If  window machines (see step 4 for Mac or Linux):

  • Download PuTTY: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
  • Run putty.exe, which you downloaded in the previous bullet point.
  • Paste in the IP address from step 2 into “Host name (or IP Address)”
  • Click “Open,” then “Yes.”
  • When a command prompt appears and asks “Log in as” type “root”
  • Wait for a few moments. It will then ask for a password. Enter whatever password you entered when creating the instance.

4. On a Mac or Linux machine (alternative to step 3):

  • Open up the terminal. On a linux machine, you should know how to do this. On a mac, enter the Launchpad, then type “Terminal,” and click the only option that pops up.
  • Into the terminal, type “ssh root@127.0.0.1”. Make sure to substitute whatever your new VPS server’s IP address is instead of 127.0.0.1.
  • Wait for a moment, then type in “yes” when it asks you to verify the fingerprint. Don’t worry about checking it.
  • Type in the password you entered when creating the VPS in the previous part of this tutorial.
  • You are now logged in!

5. type in:   yum install wget

6. Wait for a moment. You may have to type in “Y” to accept the installation.

7. Type in:  wget http://httpupdate.cpanel.net/latest

8. Type in:  chmod +x ./latest

9. Type in:  ./latest

10. Wait for about thirty minutes. Do not close the connection.

11. You are now done! Visit the following URL to install WHM via their GUI:  http://127.0.0.1/whm .

12. The default options which WHM provides will all work. For nameservers, enter ns1.yourdomain.com, and ns2.yourdomain.com.

Now your VPS is set up! It’s time to transfer your site over to it!


Part 4: Transfer your Site

The following steps should be done fairly quickly, and in the dead of night, while your members are not online, and your board is set to “offline.” If you don’t do that, then content posted while you are going through the steps will be lost.

1.  On your old host, go into cPanel, then Backups -> Download a Full Website Backup -> Generate Backup

2. Wait for the backup to be created, then click the link which appears under “Download a Full Website Backup” to download it to your machine. This may take a while.

3. On your new VPS server, log in to WHM by going to http://127.0.0.1/whm (where 127.0.0.1 is the server’s IP address).

4. On the left sidebar, type into the search bar “backup” then select “Restore a Full Backup/cpmove File” from the left sidebar.

5. Scroll down to “Settings” and select “Restore with File.” Select the file you just downloaded from your other server.

6. Do not change the other default options. Click “Restore,” wait for a long while for your browser to upload the file, then for it to be updated.

7. In the search bar mentioned in step 4, type in “basic.”

8. Select “Basic cPanel and WHM Settings.”

9. Scroll down to the bottom. For each “Nameserver ___” field that isn’t empty, click “Add an A entry for this nameserver.”

10. Go to your DNS control panel provided to your by your domain registrar (Godaddy, etc).

11. Simple solution: Set your nameservers to the DNS servers provided by your registrar (they should have an option for that. If you never changed the nameservers, then this is already the case). Add the following A records:

  • yourdomain.com  ->  127.0.0.1
  • *.yourdomain.com   ->   127.0.0.1

For some registrars, you should enter @ instead of yourdomain.com, and * instead of *.yourdomain.com.

Wait for a few hours for the change to propagate.

12. More complex solution: Add glue records for “ns1.yourdomain.com” and “ns2.yourdomain.com” which point towards you VPS’ IP. Then, set your nameservers to ns1.yourdomain.com and ns2.yourdomain.com. If you don’t know how to do this, your registrar’s support department will. Wait a while your your DNS propegates (will take several hours).

13. While DNS is propagating, check the status by typing your domain name into http://www.intodns.com/ . If it pops up any red errors, then fix them (or contact your registrar’s support department). Don’t worry about yellow errors.

14. Make sure to switch your board back to “online.”


Conclusion

You’re done!

This tutorial explained how to convert your forum which is now hosting on a cPanel web host to a VPS. We hope you found it useful!

Addon Domains – The Walkthrough

Addon Domains and How to Use Them


Many seasoned webmasters may already know what an addon domain is, but others do not. This article walks through how to set up add on domains, and how to make the most of this incredibly useful feature. Let’s get started!

 

What is an Addon Domain?

An addon domain is a fully independent domain that is created from within your hosting control panel, mainly cPanel. They are used if you are looking to host multiple websites sharing the same server, but they are treated as separate websites of their own. You can have your primary domain tied to your hosting account, just like normal. Using addon domains, you can host additional domains from your account, if allowed by your hosting provider. Now, I know it’s easier to follow images, so let’s show you how to actually make them!

 

Step 1: Requirements

Before we start, you will need the following already in place:

  • A current hosting plan with a hosting company
  • The ability to have addon domains. Some hosting companies don’t allow this for some plans, so check first!.
  • The domain that you will want to add to the hosting account; make sure it’s registered!
  • Name server information for your hosting. This is normally found two ways:
    • Located in the bottom left portion of cPanel
    • In the welcoming email that your hosting may have sent to you when you first started with them

 

Step 2: Configuring Addon Domains in cPanel

First, log in to cPanel, which is provided by most quality web hosts.

Next, navigate to “Addon Domains” under “Domains,” as shown below.

View post on imgur.com

Once there, type in your domain name, a folder to place it in, and FTP access information.

View post on imgur.com

Now, we need to upload content to our newly created domain so it can actually work! To do this, we are going to use the File Manager that comes with cPanel. You can use FTP, but to make things easier for this guide, we’re sticking to the manager that is given to us. From the cPanel index:

View post on imgur.com

When asked what directory to open, choose the “Web Root”. This will allow you to see your new directory you just made, in this case, Example.com. After your directory loads, look for the site you just made. It will be a folder that has the name of that the addon domain you made. In my case, this is what mine looks like:

View post on imgur.com

This is where you can upload all of your content to your new website. Go ahead and upload the files now. Give it some time, it could take a bit. If you use FTP, it may go quicker, but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Step 3: Setting up the DNS

Before you can actually start using your new site, you will first need to point it to your hosting. Remember above when I pointed out that you will need to know your name servers? Well, this is where that information plays a part in the setup. Don’t worry, this information is normally easy to obtain. You could find this information in the following way:

  • Can be found in your cPanel (unless your web host has modified cPanel and removed it)
  • In the welcoming email your hosting provider sent you
  • Try using http://dnscheck.pingdom.com/ and enter your domain
  • If all else fails, open a support ticket with your web hosting provider.

Once you know this your name servers, head over to your domain registrar and update the DNS name servers. After updating the DNS, you should allow some time for the new information to update around the Internet. tHis may take up to about 12 hours. After this is done, try heading over to your new website and it should work!

I hope this guide has helped you in some kind of way. I use addon domains regularly, because they allow me to make the most out of my hosting, which is always a good thing. Good luck with your websites and if you need any help with this guide, feel free to send me a PM on ForumPromotion.

Making your Theme Shine Part 2: Customizing your Forum

In the previous installment of this series, you learned how to customize your forum’s header. Using the MyBB default theme, we made a significant change which made the website look less like a default MyBB site, and more like a unique website which has had some serious effort put into it. This tutorial expands on the work from the previous tutorial, describing how to edit the main body of your forum, and how to really make it shine. Continue reading

Naming Your Forum

This article has been awarded “Editor’s Choice” by Twisted Fairytale for its originality and helpful content.


Coming up with a good name for your website or forum is very important. A good name could mean the difference between a website which is successful, and one that it not. When you are going through the process of selecting a name, there are proven techniques which are designed to come up with as many names for your website as possible, and then eliminate the names which you do not like.

Before examining the method for coming up with a good website name, you need to come up with a list of requirements which you have for a name to be a “good name.”

Requirements for a Good Website Name

This list is fairly subjective, so feel free to use your own list of requirements. It is important, though, that you understand your own personal list of requirements for a good website name. Here is the list that I recommend.

1. The .com or .org domain must be available

I recommend only registering .coms or .orgs, because of the infrequency at which .net domains are typically used. If you tell someone you know in person to visit yourwebsite.net, they are as likely as not to type in yourwebsite.com instead, and go to one of your competitors. If you would like to use a .club domain, or even a .net, though, that is your choice.

2. The name must be short and to the point.

Long names are hard to remember, so it is best to keep away from them. Usually a name is a combination of two english language words: ForumPromotion, CreateSpace, DigitalPoint, StackOverflow, etc, etc. Most of the domain names for single english words have been taken, such as Amazon.com and Hover.com, so looking into those names may be a waste of time. Names which are composed of three words are usually too long, unless one of the words is “the” (such as TheAdminZone.com). Also, a name can be a misspelling of a real english language word, such as Google, which is a misspelling of Googol. In summary, there are three types of good, short names: One word names, two word names, and one word misspelled names.

3. The name must be pronounceable by yourself

This is very important. If the name is a tongue twister, which is common for two word names, then it is not a good names. You need to be able to say it. Also, if you have a speech impediment and cannot pronounce a particular name with good clarity, it is best not to use that name (you are the website’s founder, so you will be saying the name a lot).

Method for Generating a Lot of Website Names

This technique is known as brainstorming. It is seen by experts as one of the best ways to come up with a large number of names in a short period of time. It requires only a piece of paper (or a text editor), and a pencil (or a pen, or a keyboard). You can turn on some music if that helps your creativity flow, but that is purely a matter of personal preference.

What you will need to do is write down a list. A very, very long list. It is imperative that you keep writing until you have a lot of names written down. It is also crucial that you do not take a break from writing these names down. Do not check whether a domain name is available, and do not stop to consider whether a name is a good one. Just write down names.

Here is what you will need to do:

Step #1: Write down your keywords

Write down a list of “keywords” which apply to your website. For example, if you have a debate forum, then those keywords would be: “Debate, Policy, News, Politics, Washington, etc,”

Step #2: Expand your list of keywords

Find a thesaurus, such as the one from reference.com, and type each of your keywords into the thesaurus. Add any good synonyms to your list of keywords.

Step #3: Write down two word combination names

Start making a second list. This is a list of potential names. Keep writing down possible variations on your keywords until you can’t think of any more. The best way to convey how you should do this is by example. Again, using a debate forum as an example, here is a list of possible names which is right off the top of my head.

DebateForum
DebateCentral
DebateZone
DebateSpot
PolicyForum
PolicyZone
PolicyNews
NewsSpot
PolicyPlace
PolicyBoard

Here are a few different formats which you can use in coming up with new items for your list.

(keyword)(place)          example: DebateSpot
(keyword)(activity)      example: DebateTalk
(verb)(keyword)            example: ThinkDebate
(keyword)(keyword)    example: PolicyNews

Step #4: Write down misspellings of keywords.

Start by taking your list of keywords and removing vowels from each. Remember, a vowel is one of: A E I O U. You can also try replacing one vowel with a different vowel, because several of them sound pretty similar when pronounced. Also, if you think of other misspellings, write those too. Here is an example, again using a debate forum. Note that if you don’t like “Web 2.0” names, then you can skip this step.

plicy
policie
policee
dbate
debte
debat
debt
deb8
debayte
washingtn
washingtun
washingtin

Most of the names you will come up with will not be good, but if you keep writing for long enough, there will be good names in your list. The key is sorting through them.

Method for Selected a “Good” Website Name From a List of Possibilities

Now that you have a three lists of names, combine them into a single list.Taking the lists I mentioned above, that list would be:

Debate
Policy

DebateForum
DebateCentral
DebateZone

plicy
policie
policee

Every item in this long list of names is a potential name, but since brainstorming is a very spontaneous process, 90% of these names will be, to be completely honest, awful. You need to weed out the bad names. This is done by applying your list of name requirements to your long list of possible names. Here is the process which I recommend. You can use a different process, but that is your choice.

1. Use a Bulk Domain Name Availability Checker

This process will usually weed out more than half of your candidates. Go to the Godaddy Bulk Domain Name Availability Checker, type in your really long list of candidates, select which TLDs you are interested in, and press the submit button. The list of domains which Godaddy returns should be your new list of candidates.

2. Go through each existing name and roll it around in your mind.

For each name in your list, stop for a moment and ask yourself: is this a good name? If it’s a bad name, remove it. It comes down to a matter of personal preference.

3. Try Pronouncing each remaining name.

Say the name aloud. If it’s a tongue twister, remove it.

4. For each remaining name, google it.

Google the name to make sure that it’s not being used by someone who is likely to sue you. This is particularly important if you are making a product. Less so for a website.

5. Do a Patent & Trademark Search.

This is not required, but generally a good idea. Go to the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office, or the trademark office in your country (or maybe both!) and type in the name into their trademark search system, both with and without the TLD in it. If you find a trademark, then seriously consider whether using this name is worth the risk of legal action. If not, then the name is good.

The list of names which you have remaining after this process are all good names. You can pick the one which you like the most, or one of them randomly. It doesn’t matter, since each has fit your own personal criteria.

This process of coming up with names is a good one, and will produce a long list of potential names which you can use for your website.