Filed under | Posted by Gary

Essential Tools And Services For Webmasters

Over the years I’ve found and used a lot of excellent tools and resources that have helped with maintaining, testing and trouble shooting servers. This is my short list of what I consider to be the best resources for website owners and administrators. Some of the services are free and some require that you pay a monthly or annual fee.

DomainTools – This is like a swiss army knife of domain related tools and utilities. I use this mainly to research domains – there are times that I need to find out who owns a domain or who previously owned a domain. Domain tools has an excellent whois search as well as nameserver and whois history searches. It’s also worthwhile sometimes to get an idea of how many domains are sharing a server on various webhosts – particularly when diagnosing website speed issues. This is one of the statistics that DomainTools provides when you do a whois lookup.

MXToolbox – If email deliverability is important then MXToolbox is a must-have tool. This site provides monitoring of your mail server and, just as important, monitoring to check whether your email server is on any of around 150 email blacklists. Many site owners simply don’t realise that their server has been blacklisted and it can be quite costly over a period of time if you are doing business on the internet.

DNSStuff – This site provides many of the tools that some of the others do such as traceroute and whois lookups, but the main feature that sets it apart is the detailed DNS diagnostics you can view for your domain(s). The diagnostic report includes suggested alterations to tweak or fix your DNS and/or MX records.

Site Vault – Site Vault is my choice for backing up my CPanel files and databases. It doesn’t do a full CPanel account backup – CPanel has built in functionality if you want to backup mail etc. I use Site Vault for my ‘disaster recovery’. If something disastrous happens with any of my web sites I know that I have a backup of all the files and databases right at home on my hard drive. Site Vault also has a scheduler so I can set it to back up all files and db’s once a week.