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  Information Page: Website Control Panels

Control Panels For Websites

What is a control panel for?

Control panels are elements of websites not viewable on the Internet that allow the website owner/administrator to alter content on the website or perform some other functionality in the course of administration of that website.

Types of control Panels

Some of the most common control panels are those that perform content management tasks by allowing the updating / addition / deletion of products in a database driven E-Commerce, E-Business type of website.

Another common type may be provided by your web host, allowing you to add e-mail addresses, attach a database or set passwords in relation to your web hosting account. If you host your website with ic-webs.com, then such a control panel is an option that can be purchased upon registration with us.

Online versus offline content management control panels

When ic-webs.com provides you with a content management control panel for administration of your website, it can be of one of two flavours - either online (i.e. resides on your webs server), or offline (i.e. resides on your computer).

With an online control panel, you need to access the control panel via a secure administration area at your web server (i.e. the place where your web site files are hosted), and any changes you make will be instantaneous. Any new images you have created will also need to be uploaded to your server.

With an offline control panel, a full copy of your website plus the administration area is actually stored on your computer. There are many advantages to this kind of system. Firstly, if you make any changes you can view the results first before transfering the new files to the web server. This means that if you make any mistakes - it isn't going to effect what people can actually see on your website. Secondly, as it runs on your own computer much more functionality can be integrated and it is possble to perform actions that may not be allowed (because for example, security policies) on the server itself.

As a real world example of where an offline control panel can benefit - visit Gamesindoors.co.uk. This website has quite a large product range and text that the owner can alter through their content management system, yet all of the pages on the website - apart from the shopping basket are standard HTML web pages in stead of specialist scriping languages such as ASP or PHP (that are required when communicating with databases in a database driven system). Because the pages are standard HTML, the pages load much faster, and no database is required on the web server. Also, all the links on the website - even to the products and product information - have real textual based names that have meaning to search engines. Thirdly, because every page is a real HTML page, as opposed to a template that information from a database is placed into - every page is available to search engines for indexing. The only requirement after creation of the new pages is to upload them to the server along with any new images. All of this functionality (and more) is a characteristic of the customers offline control panel.

There is far more functionality that can be built into an offline control panel, and it is often possible to incorporate specific solutions to facilitate specialist tasks that customers would like performed in aid of their business. It should be noted though that offline control panels can only be run on Windows® based operating systems of type 98SE II, 2000, or XP Professional.

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