Hosting Websites I Build

So like pretty much every web developer, I offer a service whereby the websites I build are hosted on my preferred webhost, on my VDS. A plethora or benefits are gained from this.

It’s quick – I don’t need to bugger around finding logins, calling support lines in other countries and other time wasting tasks. I know all the details I need to to create a new site and can get a new domain up and running in minutes, rather than hours sometimes.

The preferred host is reliable and compatible with the code I write. As I use the amazing Laravel 4 PHP Framework whenever possible I like to use PHP 5.4 as a minimum now. I know my chosen host offers this. The need to call up a host to plead them to make the leap of faith from PHP 4.0 to 5.4, or give me “elevated” access to upload files outside the web root (which is exactly what modern frameworks enforce, for good reason too, ahem).
I can also easily stage sites on a sub domain in a few seconds, again, great for letting clients preview sites before going live.

Continue reading

Image Resizing Pain & Ecommerce

Here’s a quick rant about my previous week. After completing an ecommerce store with the amazing Opencart I’m now getting bombarded with questions about images from the client.

After advising the client that uploading roughly a 1000px by 1000px image (the product detail page makes use of the excellent Cloud Zoom …) will create the best looking products and later uploading several products to show how perfect the said images look, I got an email saying “the site currently isn’t working and images not being re-sized”. I died inside a little, as Opencart has automatic image sizing built in, by default. Also, yet again, why is me who receives the all encompassing, deliberately vague problems. Why do some clients have to be so consistently cryptic when describing issues? I wouldn;t walk into a garage and say “my car isn’t working”, I’d be specific as possible, to help the mechanic troubleshoot and fix the problem at hand. Anyway, moving swiftly onwards …

Continue reading

A Painful Client Experience – Lessons Learnt

After close to two years I’ve completed a stupidly painful client ecommerce website. This whole experience turned into a classic saga, including lots of scope creep. The purpose of this post is to highlight some of these errors and hopefully help others.

Originally, when I took on the client (I coin him “Jim” from now on …) I wasn’t overly busy, so needed the work and project. Before anything work had been done I’d made my first mistake – the job, which was an ecommerce website, was quoted out several hundred pounds lower than normal, to match a similar quote the client had.  I’d worked out the cost for the job and knew fairly accurately how many hours the job was going to take and originally quoted accordingly. For the amount of work the client wanted the original price was very competitive and I should have stuck to that price from the get go. Instead, the client was able to talk us down on price. Before the project had even started, a precedent was set. In retrospect, I should have never ever lowered the price at the request of the client as I’d been good and worked out the amount of hours required beforehand.

Continue reading

Clients who know everything :)

D6E7WC2KUS97 One of the situations that annoys the hell out of, above a lot of things are the so called, “know it all” customers. The most dangerous type of customer, who has a tiny bit of passing knowledge on a subject, or even worse, knows someone (everyone of them seems to have a “friend”, “relative” or mystical third party nowadays …) who apparently knows about the issue at hand.

Continue reading