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A philosophy

Why we don't use multi-tenant web resource management services.

There are plenty of services available to help people quickly establish an online presence through a website. Notable examples include GoDaddy, Wix and Wordpress, to name just a few. These kinds of services provide a very effective and cheap way of setting up a website. They are cost-effective because you select a template then just add your content in the form of words and images.

What happens, though, if you want to do something a bit different to what the template provides, or if you decide you don't want to use the service anymore and wish to move your website elsewhere? Multi-tenant web resource management means your content is trapped within the confines of the service and you have no ownership of the template which acts as an 'engine', driving how your site is displayed.

Security is another factor to consider. Undoubtedly web resource management services can put common, strong security controls in place but the shared nature and central rendering of the services means that you have no idea how good the security is and a breach can have significant and far-reaching consequences for all tenants of the service.

If, like us, you prefer to have control and ownership over your website, read on to learn more.

 

Features of our website packages

We use professional graphic designers to create pleasing web layouts. Websites are coded using the latest standards to create responsive pages that fit all screen sizes.

 
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Desgin

Profesional graphic design

Your own or stock images

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Development

Robust web coding standards

Responsive code

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Hosting

European web servers

Fast and reliable

Registration

Before setting up a website you need to make sure you have ownership of your domain name, have set up an admin email account and obtained site certificates.

You may have already completed some or all of these steps; if not, we can help you through the process or conduct them on your behalf. We will always make sure the control of your critical domain credentials stays with you so you can keep them safe and we will keep an encrypted copy if you need us to.

Registering for a domain is the first thing you'll need to do. The domain for the website you're viewing now is genusone.co.uk. Domains are held by registrars so you'll need an account with a registrar to create one but we can register and manage a domain for you if you wish.

Once you have a domain, you can create an email account but you'll need somewhere to host that account, as explained in the hosting section below. You'll need to configure you domain nameservers so that your emails and website traffic can be sent to the right places.

Whilst it's not always necessary to use transport layer security (TLS) on your website, you'll find that most people will expect you to do so and you'll likely get better results from search engines if you do. Certificate authorities will need to verify ownership of your domain and may require special text entries in your domain nameservers or verification that you own a particular mail account within the domain.

We can conduct these registration tasks as part of our service to you.

Hosting

All websites need to be served from a computer server which is perpetually running.

Website hosting consumes a vast amount of energy and there are trade-offs between efficiency and security. You could - if you really wanted to - host your website on a physical machine that you own and manage but we would strongly advise against this! Conversely, the multi-tenant web resource management services that we previously discussed will most likely store your web content in vast databases and retrieve and compose it into a web page as needed. This approach can be highly efficient but there are also some sensible approaches between these two extremes.

One step up from multi-tenant web resource management is a multi-tenant virtual server. Many web hosting companies offer this kind of service. A high-powered physical server will run multiple virtual computers within it. A hosting company will grant each website a managed portion of one of the virtual servers so you will be sharing a machine with a lot of other websites in this scenario.

You could also rent an entire virtual server from a hosting company and run your website (or more likely, multiple sites) from your own dedicated virtual machine.

In addition to need a home for your website, you'll need somewhere to host your emails. For most companies, a good approach is to use an email hosting service but there are other options which may suit individual organisations better.

Design

The Genus One website has been designed by ourselves but for our clients we always use a professional graphic designer.

Engineers can put together all the nuts and bolts of a website but you need an artist to make it look its best. A website needs to be built around your company brand so if you don't yet have a brand, that is where our designers will start. A website brand includes logos, fonts, and colours as well as a guide to the impression and message it aims to convey.

Once your brand is established, the structural and visual design of the website can begin, driven by the requirements you have for it. The structure is an important consideration since it defines how the site will appear on different sized viewing media. A website needs to work responsively, i.e. it needs to respond appropriately to render itself correctly on any sized desktop, laptop, tablet or phone screen.

Another important aspect of a site is its page layout. Typically a site will comprise multiple pages or be a single-page layout with multiple vertical sections. The latter is ideally suited to phones and tablets where viewers can navigate using swipe and scroll controls. Our site is actually a blend of these two structures: the menu at the very top takes you to discrete pages but within these pages there are multiple vertical sections.

Web Applications

A website on its own is a static presentation. If you need a site to be dynamic and offer a functioning service to your customers, you'll need a web application.

Web applications provide a myriad of services but they all need a robust, scalable engine to run interactive software on a server. For security, it's almost always best to run the core software services on a separate server to the one that displays and delivers the front-facing website. You may find that other web application developers don't do this but separation is an important principle of information security.

For our back-end services, our current preferred choice is Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) but we can work with other core service frameworks if you have a preference for something different in your applications. On the front-side of a web application it is usually necessary to run some code within a client web browser in order to provide user-interface features and Javascript is now regarded as the standard tool for this work.

Where possible we try to avoid over-use of third party components. Unfortunately, the proliferation of third party components and plug-ins has resulted in a situation where code becomes heavily bloated and highly susceptible to security compromises. Rather than bolting-in third party library code just to gain the benefit of one particular function or feature, it is often better to write a bespoke solution to the problem in question.

Testing is a crucial part of any software development and whereas a website can be fairly easily checked across a range of different browsers, a web application needs to be subjected to a full set of system and qualification tests to check it meets requirements and contains no known bugs. Additionally, we conduct vulnerability tests against our web applications to check for security issues.