Customize Applications – Web Content Management Systems

Need help with Web Content Management Systems? Need a new application or support for an existing one? Perhaps you want a Joomla website, Mantis help desk, WordPress Blog (like this one) or Zen shopping cart.

If you don’t have the time or technical expertise to setup these applications Downs Consulting can guide you through it or set it up for you.

We charge by the hour so you pay for only the help you need.

Cost & Installation

The aforementioned applications are free so there’s no initial cost but setup can be tedious for the less technical savvy. Some applications may require subscriptions and specific hardware.

GoDaddy hosting plans make the installation & upgrading of common applications painless once you find the procedure. Other hosts have similar procedures.

If you want to host on an unmanaged server then you may need to find the procedure from the vendor. If you want an application on a managed server then support will likely help if not install the application.

Design

Some applications like WordPress offer a ton of templates & plug-ins to make your application look nice and perform specialized tasks like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This blog utilizes a free template and a few useful plug-ins.

Our sample Zen Cart utilizes a customized template while the Joomla  site is pretty much plain vanilla. It took considerable time to find the photos and re-size them for the Zen Cart. Free templates for Zen Cart are not as common as WordPress but there are some nice ones that are responsive like the one we used.

Web Content Management Systems

Many of these products use Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS or WCMS). WCMS allow users to make changes to their application design without knowing HTML.

The User Interface (UI) for these applications tend towards the simplistic but you may need technical help to get started.

SSL Certificate – New or Renewal

Periodically we have to update or add a SSL certificate for customers. Depending upon your hosting plan you may be responsible for the installation and/or key generation.

We will concentrate on single domain certificates in this post but there are wildcard certificates available for companies that use lots of sub-domains.

It’s easier if your email is on the Admin Email contact  of the domain. My recommendation is to get this done 1st or you will be waiting on emails to someone else at various stages of the process. Here’s GoDaddy’s guide for updating domain contact information.

Buying SSL Certificate or Renewal

If you need a new SSL you can find them on the Internet for as little as $5/year.  Be sure to check with your host to ensure the cheap SSLs can be installed on your host.

If your SSL is up for renewal you need to renew the SSL or go through the entire procedure for new SSL. It’s easier to renew.

Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

Once you have purchased a SSL or renewal you will need to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from your server or utilize an existing one if the server has not changed. Here’s a link to GoDaddy’s CSR generation & SSL Installation page. This request has to be approved by the domain Admin Email contact so this goes much faster if that’s you.

Download & Install the SSL Certificate

Once your CSR is approved you will be able to download the SSL certificate. If you have access to the server you may install yourself. Otherwise you will need to send the certificate to the host & let them install.

Here’s GoDaddy’s SSL installation procedure for Plesk as an example. Your installation procedure will depend on the server and your access. Likewise the hosting plan (managed or unmanaged) will determine the amount of assistance you will receive.

Managed Hosting

In managed hosting you get a lot of help in these matters. They may do the installation for you or  guide you through the process.

Unmanaged Hosting

Unmanaged hosting is the cheapest but it typically means you are on your own when installing certificates or troubleshooting. If you have a virtual private server (VPS) or physical server then you have the ability to install certificates via a control panel or SSH. For this sort of hosting you can purchase certificates wherever you like and install yourself. Most of these hosts offer little support but you may find videos that apply to your specific needs.  There will be instructions that come with the certificate but you will need to know what sort of control panel you use and/or your web server software.

If you don’t have access to the server certificates then it’s up to your host to install them and they may require you to buy directly from them.  This may seem expensive but you won’t have to do much of the work.

Control Panels

Two common control panels are cPanel & Parallels Plesk Panel.

Web Servers

Most web servers run use a version  of Linux and use apache as the web server. These servers support PHP, Perl, Python,  CGI scripting and  MySQL database.  Typically these hosts use a cPanel control panel.

Windows Servers  use  Windows Server Operating systems and IIS. Windows Web Servers support  ASP &  ASP.NET. typically the servers run Plesk control panels.

Why Customized Software Setup Never Works As Planned

Customized Software Setup

Ever wonder why your customized software setup never works as planned?

The 5-minute install takes all day or it doesn’t work at all.

Sometimes it’s best to consult with experts to take the stress out of that project you want.

We can assist with Customized Software Setup. We will find a solution or customize existing software.

Downs Consulting can assist with whatever software you may need help with. We work with custom software, as well as, “off the shelf” products.

Maybe you need help with WordPress website, an application like a help desk or a custom Excel spreadsheet with macros.

Mantis Help Desk is free but the setup can be intimidating.

The actual setup varies depending on your host. Typically servers have the application in your Control Panel.

If the installation fails then you have to dig deeper. In some case, the solution requires your host to work out the kinks.

Need WordPress or some other software setup? We will work with your

Customized Software Setup

host or find you a new one that supports your application.

It’s best to decide what applications you want to run before you pick a host. Some applications may require a Windows or Cold Fusion server while most will work just fine on a Linux server.

The Help Desk – Bug Tracker is very powerful and useful for communication between your customers and/or your employees working on various projects. Security is built-in so folks have the privileges to deal with their aspects of the project while administrators have full control.

Your software not mentioned here? Don’t worry Downs Consulting has experience in all sorts of applications. Email or call and we will review your needs.

There is no charge for an evaluation so why take the chance that your project will not turn out the way you planned?