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How to troubleshoot a slow computer network?

Troubleshoot Network - Ping
Pinging Google

Your network is slow. What do you do to make it faster?
The answer is not simple and the reason for your slow network could be a lot of things. You have to take a step by step approach and isolate the bottleneck. Once you isolate the point of failure it is easier to find the problem.

Many times a packet sniffer will help you find the problem faster. A good free packet sniffer is Wireshark. Another packet sniffer is Microsoft Network Monitor.

Here is a list of Windows-based network tools that can help you troubleshoot almost any problem in a Computer Network:
Ping – a network utility to test if a computer is up and reachable or not. Ping uses the ICMP protocol to send echo requests.
Nmap – a port scanner. You need a port scanner to enumerate open ports and live IP addresses.
Tracert – a utility that traces the path of a network packet enumerating all of the routers that it passes through.
Wireshark – a packet sniffer.
Netstat – a utility that enumerates all the open ports on the local computer.
Ipconfig – a utility to list or modify the properties of a network adapter.
Netsh – a powerful Windows utility to modify various network properties. It is a scripting utility that basically controls every aspect of the Network on a Windows computer.
One of the cool usages of the netsh is to reset the TCP/IP stack to the defaults without the need to uninstall and reinstall the TCP/IP protocol as we needed with the older OSs.
Route – enables the view and manipulation of routing.
Nslookup – a name resolution utility. Very useful to check DNS servers and validity of name records.
Arp – a utility that allows you to get information about MAC address to IP address resolution.
Getmac – Provides the MAC address and lists associated network protocols for all network cards for a local or remote computer.
Getname – displays the computer name.
PathPing – Combines the functions of Traceroute and Ping, very powerful tool.
Net services commands – Performs a broad range of network tasks such as Network mapping, authentication, controls services, etc…

If you are not sure how to use these tools read the Help or from the command line, (all of these are command line tools), issue the command with the help option, for instance: “pathping /?”. This will give you a list of other valid options.  

This article is part of a five posts series regarding Network Troubleshooting.

  1. How to troubleshoot a slow computer network?
  2. Troubleshoot a Slow Network – The entire Network is Slow
  3. Troubleshoot a Slow Network – Slow Server
  4. Troubleshoot a Slow Computer Network – Only One Computer on the Network is Slow
  5. Troubleshoot a Slow Computer Network – Your Computer is Slow and Not the Network

Email Marketing – How to Avoid being placed on Spamming Lists

Filtering unsolicited email messages or SPAM is a very important issue for everybody. Companies, Internet Service Providers and Email Providers are spending more and more resources to become effective to blocking Unsolicited Emails. They will blacklist anyone who will try to send SPAM and they will stop delivering emails from sources known as spammers.
At the same time, Internet Marketing has become an important business component for most of the Companies and Email Marketing is essential for many businesses. How can a company deliver its messages to clients and not get on spam-lists? This post will try to give you some guidance on how to avoid being placed on spam lists.

Rules to avoid being placed on Spamming Lists

User related rules

  • Check the subject line of your email. Do not leave the subject line blank, have a long string of "Re:" or "Fwd:”, or use many exclamation or question marks or use all capital letters.
  • Avoid blacklisted and spammy words in your subject line and message body. Common words blacklisted at different spam filters include pornographic terms, pharmaceutical terms, "free", "money", "mortgage", and "cash."
  • Avoid adding many attachments, using only images or including a long list of URLs in the body of your email message.
  • Reduce the number of identical emails you are sending at one time. Try sending your emails in smaller batches if you have many different people who need to receive the same email.
  • Ask your email recipients to add you to their email program address book or white-list.
  • If you suspect your computer has been infected by a virus or Trojan or any other form of Malware, contact the IT Department immediately.
  • Do not use the Company’s email for personal use. Personal use includes but is not limited to:
    • Electronic Communication for personal use
    • Chain email letters – the distribution of chain letters is strictly interdicted using the corporate email. Chain emails are emails that ask or encourage you to forward the message to other people. Chain letters can include information about new viruses most of the times – hoaxes, promises of good luck, religious messages, request for help, etc…
    • Subscribing to newsletters or email lists is not allowed using the corporate email address. By subscribing to such services, you expose your account and Your Company email server to SPAM.
  • DO NOT send Unsolicited Email.

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How to avoiding the Spam Lists for the Email Administrator

  • Use and maintain SPF policies. This will help other servers to determine any rogue sender that will try to spoof email addresses in your domain. Remember, maintaining the SPF record is mandatory. If you forget to update the SPF record when an infrastructure change, (such as a new SMTP server), is made other SMTP server will treat the new server as a possible SPAMMER and will flag legitimate email as SPAM.
  • If your Marketing Department is using a new email Marketing Company, don’t forget to update the SPF records, (if they are using your regular addresses).
  • Ideally, the Email Marketing Campaigns should be conducted under a different domain name, or a sub-domain. Example: yourcompany.com is your main domain and you are using admin@yourcompany.com as email addresses and marketing. Yourcompany.com is your Email Marketing Domain Name and your address will be admin@marketing.yourcompany.com.
  • If your users use pop clients to connect to the server make sure you configure a submit port on your server (587), or install a certificate on your server and instruct users to use SSL for sending emails. This will avoid keeping the port 25 open for email clients. This should be open to servers only.
  • Block port 25 for outbound traffic on your company’s firewall. This way even if your computers get infected with a Trojan they will not be able to send messages.
  • The use of a good Anti-Malware is mandatory.
  • Write and distribute policies in the company, this document could be a good start.

How to Avoid the Spam-Lists for the Marketing Department

  • Do not send unsolicited emails – sending an email to someone who unsubscribed or never subscribed is the most serious SPAM offense.
  • Do not use Outlook or any other email client to manage mass emailing. Marketers, sometimes, have the impression that the usage of such email clients for their campaigns, give them more control over the Mass Emailing. But in fact there is no way to manage opt-outs, you will use your own infrastructure for sending mass-emailing which is not good, and you can easily send duplicate messages to your recipients or not send at all.
  • Do not use mass-emailing solutions for your email blasts. Your public IP address will be flagged as SPAMMER.
  • For Mass Emailing, use Companies that are specialized in Email Marketing. They are setup so they minimize the risk to be flagged as SPAMMERS, the applications are feature rich, with tracking options, and give the recipients the opportunity to opt-out if they choose to.
  • If you, still want to use in house mass emailing make sure you insert an unsubscribe address in your email.
  • To make sure your email does not get in the Junk Mailbox, avoid using too many links in your email, and use as little space as possible for images.
  • Do not send too many emails at once, even if the email is perfectly conceived, sending too many emails in a short period could trigger the SPAM filters, and your email will be blocked.

Internet Business – How to choose your First Web Hosting Company

The Internet Business is a business model that can be started with a minimum of investment. Your work, talent and favourable circumstances can be enough to help you start an Internet business.

If you already have an idea and you planned everything about your product and site’s content you need to start your business. At first you need to minimize the costs and investments in order to diminish risks. If the business will not take off as expected the loss will be minimal and you can try another idea. Read this article about successful business ideas.

The minimum for an Internet business is a domain name, (this is not 100% required but strongly recommended) and a Web Server. A web server can be your own equipment or hosted server. Hosting companies will sell various types of hosting services ranging from a dedicated server with one or more dedicated IP addresses to shared hardware.

A good web hosting package will contain support for application development platforms such as PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, etc… access to a database server and a Control Panel that offers to customers an easy way to manage their website.

As a starter the minimal package will be perfect for you, you can always switch to a dedicated server if shared services can’t accommodate your growing traffic.
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When you choose your first web hosting look these features even if you don’t think you are going to need them; as your business grows you will certainly need it.

  • Disk space – this should not be a problem, as most of the companies will give you plenty of space or even unlimited space.
  • Technical support – you need good technical support that you can rely on if something happens. 24/7 support is desired so you don’t have to wait the next day to fix your website.
  • Email support, auto-responders, mail forwarding will be great marketing tools.
  • FTP is a definite requirement, SSH connection could be needed, Control Panel is an excellent tool for administration you should choose a package that provides it.
  • Multiple domains and sub-domains will help you pay for a minimal single package while testing various domain names.
  • Up-time is a measure of reliability of a web site. 99.5% or more is a good up-time.
  • Web-site speed – can be determined by a series of factors of which the important ones when picking your hosting company are: the Internet Connection Speed of your host, the number of customers that share a server, the resources taken by the other customers that share the server with your web-site, the capability to partition hardware so that CPU and IO are equally shared between customers, (some companies use a CPU throttling mechanism).
  • Support to database, PHP, ASP or ColdFusion and Perl.
  • Price is very important, at least at this stage, but don’t go for the cheapes just because of the price. All the previous aspects are more important.
  • Try to go local, the language barrier, the time-zone sometimes make a difference. Also it will be faster for your clients to access a local provider than a server located on another continent.

It is important that you focus more on the content of the website and running the business and not on developing the website and learning PHP or ASP. That’s why you have to look for a Control Panel that contains the ability to install a CMS, (Content Management System), such as Drupal or Joomla or even WordPress.

Following is a list with some of the most popular Web Hosting providers:

HOSTMONSTER – The best Web Hosting
Host Gator
Blue Host – Best Web Hosting Plan! 300 GB Space, 3,000 GB Bandwidth – only $6.95/mo!
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Host your Web site with FatCow!
InMotion Affordable Hosting – More Info
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Just Host hosting for $4.95/mo, Unlimited disk space and bandwidth plus FREE domain
Save 20% on Web.com web creation/web hosting products using code TWC287
Business VPS – Virtual Server Hosting from Myhosting.com
iPower Dedicated Servers
1&1 Internet Ltd – UK
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Get everything you need for a great web site with Yahoo! Web Hosting – 25% off
Aplus.Net – Special offer: Business hosting from $4.98!
Lunarpages.com – Get a website from $4.95/month + Unlimited Emails, Storage & $700 Free Bonus Software – Limited Time Offer!

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