HTML Menu Bar Which Switches to Dropdown for Mobile
For a web site to be successful it must tick several boxes. It needs an attractive design, great content, no pop-ups, not throw to many advertisements at visitors and work well on a variety of screen sizes. The last point is important as mobile devices are now the dominant platform for accessing the web. Achieving multi-screen support from a single web site saves time (no need to update the design more than once). Time is a precious resource for most people and businesses.
A web site needs to respond to the device it is being viewed on, hence the term responsive design. When a website uses a menu to allow the viewer to jump to other pages, that menu should work well on different screen sizes. This article is a responsive menu tutorial giving an example implementation of the Responsive Nav plugin. This provides a basic responsive web site menu without using any other frameworks or libraries. As the screen shrinks the menu switches from traditional horizontal to a button. The button is used to dropdown the menu on smaller screens. Continue reading
A Simple Flat File CMS Without a Database to Reduce Server Load
This article discusses reducing server load when running a Content Management System (CMS) to drive a website. The most popular CMSs, such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and DNN use a database (DB) to hold website content. One way of improving web server performance is to remove the database element. Why a flat file CMS vs database? Using a no DB CMS can reduce the memory footprint and code execution times for a page request. This can improve the performance of a web server under heavy load. A no DB CMS, also known as a flat file CMS, is particularly useful for limited resource web servers such as shared hosting plans or Virtual Private Servers (VPS). Continue reading
Running PHP to Test Websites on Windows PCs
PHP is a programming language that is popular for for adding powerful features to websites. What does PHP mean? PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page (after its inventor, Rasmus Lerdorf, wanted more features for his personal website), but now it stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (creating a recursive acronym, which programmers like). PHP is easy to set-up and run on a Windows PC using the free Microsoft WebMatrix, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building websites.
With the free WebMatrix package PHP on Windows is a single click install and allows website testing using IIS Express (the version of Microsoft Internet Information Server for Windows clients). This tutorial assumes that WebMatrix is installed and running on your Windows 7 or higher PC. If not see our article Develop a Website on Windows Using Microsoft WebMatrix to set it up and get a basic website going. Continue reading
Highly Ranked BBC Website Experiences Period of Down Time
On Saturday 19th July 2014 the BBC website, http://www.bbc.co.uk, went down. Although no web site can be 100% reliable the length of the BBC website down time was unusual. The iPlayer service was offline as well. The down time issues stretched into the Sunday 20th July, with the BBC Home Page experiencing the longest outage, continuing into Monday 21st July. Initially a generic “Error 500” server page was displayed stating:
We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network or the service or servers it is on is not currently available.
This was later replaced by a BBC home page of a much simpler design than the normal one:
Due to technical problems, we are displaying a simplified version of the BBC Homepage. We are working to restore normal service.
People accessing the BBC iPlayer service saw a message:
BBC iPlayer temporarily unavailable due to a technical problem
Reports to Downdetector for iPlayer showed iPlayer outages over that weekend. BBC News reported the problems. The @AboutTheBBC Twitter account posted regular Tweets:
Some of these were retweeted by @bbccouk and @BBCiPlayer.
BBC Website is in Top 100 of All Websites
According to Amazon’s Internet analytics company Alexa the BBC is ranked in the top 100 of all websites and is in the top 10 for the UK. A long term outage of a top ranking website is not unheard of but is uncommon enough to be news worthy. Whether it is caused by a distributed denial of service (DDOS) or another issue is unknown. Although DDOS is unlikely as apparently the BBC has a 700 Gbps connection. Furthermore a DDOS is usually mitigated within a few hours, thus it is likely to have been a technical fault or failure in updated software. Although that is just speculation and the TechAdvisor website reported that the servers had a ‘severe load’.
Two years ago lengthy BBC website down time issues were also reported in the UK press.
How to Clean Up The Web Cache and Move The Cache Folder
Normally you do not even need to think about the browser’s cache. You may not even know what the web cache does. The web cache stores some of the web pages you have visited on the PC, so that when you visit the same site it does not need to get all the data from the Internet again. Thus the web cache uses space on the hard disk.
The web cache automatically clears out old items and adds new items as the user browses. In day-to-day usage the cache operates in the background with the user not needing to worry about it. However, if the disk drive the cache is stored on runs low on space then the cache may need to be cleaned out to free some space. It can also be moved to another disk to help with disk space management. Finally it can be moved to another disk, including RAM disks, if that other disk is faster, to help improve the performance of the system.
Clear Web Cache in Internet Explorer
To clear web cache in IE open the settings and chose Internet options. On the General tab under Browsing history select the Delete button. The default options are normally OK. As a minimum Temporary Internet files and website files must be checked. Select Delete and the web cache will be cleared. A message will appear on IE when the process has finished and you can close the Internet Options dialog. It is also worth running a third party cleaner, such as Piriform’s CCleaner (Computer Cleaner), to clear more cache items that cannot be cleared while IE is open.
Move Browser Cache in Internet Explorer
Close all open programs except for IE. Clear the IE cache as above then select the Settings button. In the Web Data Settings box on the Temporary Internet Files tab select Move folder. Select a new location, preferably on a different drive. For example the folder D:\Temp was created using Windows File Explorer, D:\Temp was then selected from the Move folder button so that the new cache location became D:\Temp\Temporary Internet Files. Click OK and accept the message to confirm the move, the PC may need a restart. Read on to see how to clear and move the cache for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Continue reading