This page describes technical details about this site.
The website was created by Dr J G T Jones (Graham) who is responsible for all technical issues. The website is hosted on a virtual private server (VPS) rented by Graham from Memset who charge normal commercial rates for the facilities provided. To reduce costs the VPS is maintained by Graham who has also written many thousand lines of PHP script that generate the content. Use has been made of free Open Source software including Linux (Debian), Apache, PHP, MySQL, Webmin, WinSCP and PuTTY and thanks are offered to the many individuals who have contributed to these software packages.
The website does not include any paid for advertising which might detract from users' enjoyment of the content and impose additional workload on the VPS.
As consequence of these technical choices, the hosted websites are extremely fast, rated faster than around 95% of websites tested.
This website is a not for profit Community project, funded and supported by the members of the Henley-on-Thames Archaeological and Historical Group who, with some external contributors, were expected to provide the content. In practise, almost all content has been created by Ruth Gibson (Newsletters and Building Reports, Anthony Lynch (Lecture Programme, Reviews) and Graham (more or less everything else, including scanning Journals, Booklets, Building Reports etc., as well as editing recent editions of the Journal).
Graham left Henley in November 2016 and now lives in Canford Cliffs between Bournemouth and Poole. He continues to maintain the VPS and host the website until the Group can make other arrangements, but no longer contributes any content.As a consequence, apart from lectures and newsletters, the website stagnates
Please email any comments or queries about technical issues.
For legal information please see the Legal Notice and Copyright pages.
Accessing this website
Some members say that they have difficulty in access the website because they make errors in typing the long name and it does not show in searches. It would be good if a simple search for say "henley history" would bring up our Group in top spot, but that is not easy, for reasons given later.
It is easy to arrange to display the website home page by typing a single character in the browser address bar.
- Firstly use a modern browser. If you are still using netscape or an early version of internet explorer, then change to the latest browser such as Firefox or Chrome if you are using a PC or Safari if you have an apple. Old browsers will not display the website in the style intended and do not have the facilities to ensure easy browsing.
- Click on this link.
- Bookmark the page, or declare it as a favourite. The terminology varies with the specific browser, but in doing so you are telling the browser that this is a website you wish to return to in the future.
- When you want to return to the website, start typing in the browser address bar. When you do this the browser will list your favourites or frequently visited websites that match the characters entered. Do not start typing "hen..." as this will list all the other henley websites, such as Henley Standard, Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Festival, that you might have visited visited. Try typing "archae.." This should display a list including our website.
- Click on the name of the website.
The more you visit the website, the higher the website will appear in the list. In time, just typing the single letter "a" will be sufficient to display our website at the top of the list.
Returning to the failure to find the website by searching for "henley history".
Our website is a tiny speck in the internet universe. Also it is new. Search engines have been indexing web pages for many years and store them in a vast database together with the index terms. When you enter a search string like "henley history" the search engine searches the index for matching terms and then selects by a complex algorithm the web pages it believes you will want to visit. Note the use of "you" in the previous sentence. The search engines use different algorithms. Google, which is used for around 80% of searches in the UK remembers which websites you have selected from the list of search results matching previous search terms and builds up a view of the types of website you visit. So the search results are different for each personal search using the same terms.
Search engines also rank each web page match to the search terms. The ranking algorithm is not publicised, but the following factors are significant:
- Following a search many links are displayed that, when you click on them, Google is able to get advertising revenue.
- A web page ranking is related to the number of links to that page that appear in other websites. Our website has very few such links and the one given in the list of Community Groups on the Henley College website was incorrect when last checked.
- A web page ranking increases if it is selected from those listed by a search.
Getting a web page to the top of the list returned by a search is part science, part art that has spawned a new industry: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). We even have a company called The Screaming Frog in the Greys Road carpark.
We can achieve a high ranking by
- Ensuring that our website contains unique high quality articles.
- Arranging for websites to include links to our own.
- Deliberately searching for terms such as "henley history", "henley archaeology" "the bull henley" and then finding and clicking our own website to persuade Google and other search engines that people want to visit our website. If every member entered 10 sets of search terms and found and visited our site, our ranking would improve. So, have a go, and play with Google, Yahoo etc.
If anyone still has difficulty accessing our website, Graham will be pleased to help.