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Archive for the ‘Web Sites’ Category

Is 2016 the Year to Stop Bundling Javascript and CSS?

Posted by robkraft on December 13, 2015

If you don’t stop bundling your javascript and CSS in 2016, you will probably do so in 2017 or 2018 and the reason for this is the implementation of HTTP2. HTTP2 is a new spec to replace HTTP and requires changes in both browsers and the web servers they connect to. Once each side of the communication supports HTTP2, the improved communications can begin using the new spec. Going into 2016, most major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge support it; but I am not sure about IE11.

HTTP2 is not a rewrite of HTTP, but an alteration of a few features. One of the most notable is the ability for the browser to bundle multiple requests together to send them to the server. This is why developers should consider ending the use of bundling javascript and CSS on the server, as it may provide worse performance to clients running HTTP2. For a good podcast about the impact of HTTP2, I recommend show 1224 of .Net Rocks: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/?show=1224

Developers should keep the following in mind regarding HTTP2:

  • Bundling of javascript and CSS may provide worse performance than not bundling for clients using HTTP2.
  • Communications that are not using HTTP2 will still benefit from bundling.
  • Some browsers, notably Chrome and Firefox, may only support HTTP2 when the connection uses TLS/SSL.
  • Proxies in between the client and the server that don’t support HTTP2 may also affect the improvements HTTP2 would otherwise provide.

For a little more about the spec, I recommend this concise post from Akamai: https://http2.akamai.com/. And don’t overlook their awesome demo example of the improvements HTTP2 can provide: https://http2.akamai.com/demo.

Posted in Coding, Dev Environment, I.T., Uncategorized, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How I Figured Out Why I Could Not Get To My WebSite Hosted at Arvixe.com, But Others Could

Posted by robkraft on April 19, 2014

I encountered an unusual problem last night when I attempted to view one of my web sites (http://www.KraftSoftware.com).  I could not get to the web site.  Fiddler showed me a 502 response.  My site is hosted at arvixe.com and I use the name cp.violet.arvixe.com to connect to and manage my web site, but I also could not even connect to cp.violet.arvixe.com.  I scanned twitter for arvixe but found no one else complaining about outages.  Maybe others had not realized the problem yet.  Fortunately I was able to get to support.arvixe.com to chat with a technician.  He said there was no problem, that both sites were accessible and ended our chat.  That did not please me.  I opened a chat with a better technician at arvixe.

He told me that they could access the site, and we bounced some ideas back and forth.  I sent him the result of my traceroute, then I went to bed.

Tracing route to stats.violet.arvixe.com [198.252.79.4]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.1.1
2    36 ms    28 ms    30 ms  cpe-65-28-0-1.kc.res.rr.com [65.28.0.1]
3    16 ms    15 ms    12 ms  tge7-2.lesmmo11-cer1.kc.rr.com [65.28.16.138]
4    13 ms    17 ms    13 ms  tge0-9-0-7.ksczmogn01r.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.246]
5    39 ms    27 ms    27 ms  ae30.dllatxl3-cr01.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.0]
6    28 ms    27 ms    27 ms  107.14.19.92
7    25 ms    24 ms    24 ms  ae-3-0.pr0.dfw10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.209]
8    24 ms    50 ms    34 ms  po21.bbr02.eq01.dal01.networklayer.com [66.109.9.222]
9    29 ms    28 ms    24 ms  ae5.dar01.sr01.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.18.215]
10    24 ms     *       52 ms  po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143]
11     *        *        *     Request timed out.
12     *        *        *     Request timed out.
13     *        *        *     Request timed out.
14     *        *        *     Request timed out.
15     *        *        *     Request timed out.
16     *        *        *     Request timed out.
17     *        *        *     Request timed out.
18     *        *        *     Request timed out.
19     *        *        *     Request timed out.
20     *        *        *     Request timed out.
21     *        *        *     Request timed out.
22     *        *        *     Request timed out.
23     *        *        *     Request timed out.
24     *        *        *     Request timed out.
25     *        *        *     Request timed out.
26     *        *        *     Request timed out.
27     *        *        *     Request timed out.
28     *        *        *     Request timed out.
29     *        *        *     Request timed out.
30     *        *        *     Request timed out.

Trace complete.

The next morning an Arvixe tech had sent me an email asking me for my IP address.   I supplied it to them 6 hours ago but have not heard another response from them yet.  So I started doing some more research.

After disabling the wireless on my phone (so that my phone would not be going to the Internet over the same connection as my home PC), I went to my web site and it was working from my phone.  I then went to www.pingwebsite.com and pinged my server web IP (192.252.79.4) and only 4 of the 10 hosts were able to get a response.

I emails to ‘admin@dnstinations.com’ and ‘dnsadmin@us.ibm.com’ because they were the apparent owners of the last node the tracert reached successfully (po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143] ).  It is a Saturday, and I have no response from them yet.

I then considered that my IP address had been blacklisted.  I went to http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check and entered my IP Address for my server 198.252.79.4 and it showed that my site was blacklisted by two spamhaus.org servers, but not by any of the other 60 servers on the list.  One of the links from this site took me directly to the reason for the block by spamhaus.org at http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/query/SBL213271. This document told me that a site named primus.com.mk was being blocked as a spammer.  The IP address for that site was the same as my site IP address (www.KraftSoftware.com).  So apparently my site, and all of my sites hosted at arvixe.com, have the misfortune of being on the same server as a spammer.

At this time I think there is nothing I can do except to ask Arvixe.com to move my sites to a different server and IP Address, or for me to move my sites to a different web hosting provider.  And of course I asked Arvixe.com to shut down primus.com.mk and get my IP address off of the blacklist.

At the moment, I am just waiting for their response.

UPDATE AND RESOLUTION:

So I was wrong about the blacklist being the cause of my site not working.  The blacklist just blocks emails, not web sites.  The problem was that my home security system was sending so many pictures to store on my site that it triggered a DDOS response and was blocked.  I have changed my security camera to send fewer pictures and will hope it doesn’t happen again.

Posted in I.T., Online Resources, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to Fix 2013 Internet Explorer Search Redirect to DNSSearch.rr.com

Posted by robkraft on January 13, 2014

For the last month I’ve been tolerating the redirect that Kansas City Time Warner slipped into my “Search with Bing” searches in Internet Explorer, but I found the fix is simple.

Go to http://dnssearch.rr.com/prefs.php and select the disable option and click “Save Setting”.

I believe this is just another dirty trick Time Warner realized that could sneak into innocent user settings and that most users won’t be able to figure out how to get rid of their search engine.

So, if you find that your search engine recently started redirecting to DNSSearch.rr.com, try the fix above to resolve it and get back to a legitimate search engine.

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Internet Explorer 10 is now the Best Browser in the Market

Posted by robkraft on March 2, 2013

I am loving the speed of the recently released Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7.  It is noticeably faster than Chrome.  It also has no problem rendering video and other content on sites that IE9 struggles with.

A few other minor improvements are nice such as the little ‘x’ added to every text box to allow you to clear the field and the icon for viewing your password that appears in every password protected field.  This is a long overdue security enhancement.  A lot of users choose simple passwords primarily because they struggle typing complex passwords when they cannot see what they have typed.

Text fields and some fonts render a little differently in IE10 than in IE9.  I don’t think they look better, but I think they probably render a little faster.  Once again, IE10 appears to be all about speed!

Posted in Free tools, Home Tech, I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Use www.test-ipv6.com to see if you can browse IPV6 web sites. IPV6 Day is June 6, 2012!

Posted by robkraft on June 5, 2012

Tomorrow is June 6th, 2012, and that means it is world wide IPV6 day!  Hooray!  Yippee!  Hurrah!

But what does that mean to you?  Probably not much.  Hopefully not much.  For most of the world it will be as uneventful as Y2K and all those dates that already passed on which the world was supposed to end.  But for the major entities responsible for keeping our Internet alive and functioning it means they are flipping a switch to begin support IPV6 addresses in addition to the traditional IPV4 addresses.  And they are doing this because the Internet is running out of IPV4 addresses.

As stated, this does not affect anyone, at least not immediately.  But soon we will really run out of IPV4 addresses and someone will have to start using IPV6 addresses, and only IPV6 addresses to put their web site on the Internet.  Only web browsers capable of communicating with IPV6 will be able to go to those web sites.  Computers running older software like Windows 95 won’t be able to go to IPV6 only web sites.  Neither will computers going through old network equipment that doesn’t support IPV6.  Can you get to IPV6 web sites from your browser on your computer?  You can find out by going to www.test-ipv6.com.

Posted in Free tools, I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Online spreadsheets, the best of Excel and Google combined in www.EditGrid.com

Posted by robkraft on April 15, 2012

I like Excel.  Excel is a great tool when I am the only person working on the information, but when I want to collaborate on a spreadsheet, I often reach out to Google Docs.  The advantage of Google Docs online is that several people can update the same spreadsheets at the same time.  My team uses several Google spreadsheets to manage tasks, but it lacks the feel of Excel.  But recently I discovered what may be the best of both worlds.

http://www.EditGrid.com

EditGrid looks a lot like Excel (so much like Excel that I’m a little concerned they will get shut down at some point).  It is online and free.  There is a version you can pay for with more features, but I have just started using the trial version and haven’t looked into what the paid version adds that I may desire.

EditGrid provides me the following features I wanted in an online spreadsheet:

  • Multiple users can edit the document at the same time
  • I could upload a document from Excel as my starting point
  • I can restrict allowing edits by requiring a password to do so
  • It does not require my fellow collaborators to have a @live account, @gmail account, or any other specific type of account
  • It is free
  • It looks great and works pretty well

If you have a @live.com account (a Microsoft account), then you can create and share Excel documents online via your skydrive account.  The sharing options are a little more limited than the free options EditGrid provides, but they are sufficient.  The only thing not to like about the free sharing of Excel documents via skydrive, is the requirement for the @live.com account.

No matter what online spreadsheet you use, you should back it up regularly if the content is important to you.  Our google sheets are important to us and we back them up weekly.  We once had a problem (years ago) that required us to scrap the current sheet, and replace it from a backup.  We also have had a few occasions where the document was inaccessible, which is a risk for any online information.

Finally, I don’t recommend any of these products if your data needs a lot of security/protection.

But I do recommend you give EditGrid a try if you are in the market for a free online spreadsheet.

Posted in Free tools, I.T., Web Sites | 1 Comment »

Gomez.com provides a nice set of free tools for analyzing your web sites

Posted by robkraft on March 23, 2012

I just discovered the free web site analysis and testing tools available from http://www.gomez.com. I recommend you check them out at http://www.gomez.com/resources/instant-test-center/ if you are looking for any of the following:

  • How fast is your site across two different browsers?
  • How fast is your site compared to other sites?
  • How well does your site render on different mobile devices?
  • How well does your site perform under a heavier load/lots of users?
  • How good does your site look on mobile browsers?
  • How fast is your site on mobile devices?

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Use MailChimp for a great free mailing list

Posted by robkraft on February 22, 2011

I have maintained a few mailing lists for some non-profit organizations for the last ten years using a .Net program I wrote.  I was proud of my little program and the features I provided, but I recently discovered MailChimp.com and am now using it instead.

With MailChimp I can send 12,000 emails per month for free.  I can upload a list of existing email addresses from an Excel spreadsheet.  I get feedback and statistics about who has opened the email, when it was opened, and where it was opened from. They also provide dozens of email templates to make your emails look great!

If you manage small email lists and are using your own excel spreadsheets, or just a blob of emails you send to from within outlook, you owe it to yourself to take a few minutes and get to know MailChimp.com.

Posted in Free tools, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Don’t allow Flash to be used as a cookie to track your activity

Posted by robkraft on January 11, 2011

I am less and less inclined to allow 3rd party web sites track my Internet activities for use in targeted ads or other reasons.  While dirty techniques like the evercookie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evercookie) make it very difficult to prevent tracking cookies (which is why I considered it dirty – it is intentionally trying to thwart my will to prevent cookies); a few steps can be taken against those who don’t resort to the evercookie to track your activities.

1) Don’t allow 3rd party vendors to use Flash to track your activities.  If you find the folder containing your “flash” cookies, which are stored separately from your browser cookies and thus not cleared when you delete files in your browser, you may be surprised to see the large number of sites already using Flash cookies to track you.  You can disable the storage by going to the global storage settings at this URL  http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager.html and unchecking “Allow third-party…”.

2) Another thing I suggest is that you don’t automatically accept browser cookies.  You may find this a little annoying the first few weeks as you are prompted for each cookie.  You will discover that some sites you visit have as many as ten different cookie providers on the site all tracking different (or the same) aspects of your activities.  In Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options, Privacy tab, click on the Advanced button, and choose to override automatic cookie handling; prompt for both 3rd party and first party cookies, and automatically allow session cookies.  When you go to a site such as www.google.com and you see requests for cookies to other sites like advertising.com, check the never ask again checkbox and select NO.

Posted in I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Redirect to www.webhost4life.com/firewall.htm

Posted by robkraft on February 8, 2010

If you attempt to access a web site that exists on the web host webhost4life.com, and that web site has the SecurityGuard firewall set to High (the default), you may get blocked and redirected this page http://www.webhost4life.com/firewall.htm
This does not occur for all users, but only for those that have a large UserAgent. The UserAgent is the information that your browser sends to every web site when connecting to let the web site use that data to potentially customize what is sent to you and to track data about who is connecting to the site.
If you want to see what is in your user agent, just go to http://whatsmyuseragent.com.
There are two ways I know of to get this to work. One is to have the owner of the web site change the SecurityGuard setting to Medium. I have done this on one of my sites I host on webhost4life. The security risk is really quite small for most sites. The other fix is to uninstall some software from your computer so that your useragent is smaller. Unfortunately there is really not much you can uninstall that affects your user agent.
You might also try a different browser. I noticed that I can access sights blocked by SecurityGuard using Firefox instead of IE because FireFox, in my case, sends a much smaller UserAgent.

Posted in Web Sites | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »