So, now your website is built in some nice CMS like Joomla or Wordpress.
You have somebody who knows how to use the CMS to enter new content into the site.
Maybe that person, or another, even knows how to add a menu item, change where
something shows on the page, etc through the cms.
Wow! We are rollin'! Look at our website grow! New pages every day!
CMSs are easy! Right? ... right? ....
Wellll ... there are a few more things needed to keep that cms machine
running smoothly. And a person who knows how to do them.
Now we are back in the engine room ....
where we find a little-known person called the
web administrator, and sometimes we also need the skills of a
Few people are even aware of this —
which is how it should be!
Because when all is working nicely, nobody knows it is there.
What does a cms admin do?
does a cms admin need to have — or be willing to learn?
Take care of the website in the CMS.
Making changes in the stylesheet and template when little (or big!)
design fixes are requested, or content/menu changes that are outside of
the standard cms functions.
Examples: Tibetan font size, changing menu location.
Make any changes needed in any custom cms extension.
Some php programming knowledge, the more the better.
Take care of the CMS program itself.
Configure the cms for the website, and for the back-end users.
Upgrade the cms.
(If an upgrade was just adding features, not that big a deal —
most cms upgrade releases are made because of security problems.)
Choose and install new cms extensions ("modules", "plug-ins, etc.)
Upgrade cms extensions (plug-ins, etc.)
A lot of the cool things on a cms website are things
added after the install. Someone needs to know how
to manage those, upgrade if needed, install others if needed
Put the website back together if only part of it is
damaged — accidentally by an editor or the cms itself,
or: hacked from outside.
Reinstall the entire website, if the worst should happen!
Knowledge of how the cms works in the back-end, including the
structure of the database.
Finding and installing upgrades and extensions.
Take care of the Database
All your website content is actually in another program, called a database
Do backups (Daily, weekly, monthly)
How much of your website are you willing to lose? one days' work?
one week's work? The database needs to be backed up
as often as you are willing to lose data!
"Repairing" database (As needed)
A database is like a little machine, needs watching over and tuning sometimes.
MySQL skills and administration.
Do website Backups
Some files on the site are installed plug-ins, custom code,
language files, template files. They are not part of the original
cms installation, and need to be replaced if the cms is reinstalled.
They need to be backed up in case of editing error or outright loss of files.
The sysadmin needs to know which ones need backing up,
where they are in the cms system, how to get them,
and, where to keep them and how to restore them!
FTP/SFTP, knowledge of how the cms is built.
Take care of the web server
Well actually, your hosting company is probably doing that.
But your website probably has a control panel (usually "cPanel")
where you can do a lot of things:
managing ftp users, viewing statistics and server logs, some configuration of the server,
and much more.
Setting up ftp user if people need to upload files outside of the CMS.
Keeping an eye on the error logs for files not found, security issues.
Apache configuration, for any special things needed for the site
Educating the web team on using the cPanel, site statistics, and
apache web server configuration;
familiarity with cPanel, AWstats, and other programs in the cPanel.
With members of the web team:
Where backups are kept, and instructions on restoring.
How to best use the cms, new features.
With possible successor:
Anything can happen. If someone else has to take over,
will they know how to follow up on your hard work?
With web hosting company:
About any technical hosting problems, database problems, etc.
Therefore, writing up documentation (preferably as web pages, accessible
easily to everyone).
Writing, talking, people skills.
Web technologies are changing monthly, even weekly.
For a sysadmin to take good care of your website,
they need to be surfing the web just as often,
to stay up-to-date.
Forums and website of the CMS being used.
Forums and websites of the CMS plugins being used.
Hosting company forums.
Web security websites and forums.
Reading, searching and browsing the web.
How to ask questions, how to analyse information.
Wah! This is too much stuff!
Most of you reading this, are making websites in some way connected
with the Tibetan cause.
The old way of wars and weapons for fixing differences,
is being replaced in our new world with communication.
A lot of that communication is happening through the web.
You as a web writer, web coder, web techie, are a soldier in this new way.
If it was the old way, you wouldn't be relying on foreign volunteers.
You would have your own trained staff (soldiers).
You would be keeping your big guns maintained,
your self physically fit, your team educated, trained, and practising every day
— and much much more.
Does the Tibetan cause, in this new way, deserve any less?
All content not copyright by anyone else is
copyright © 2003–2009 James Walker.
License for use is the GNU Free Documentation License.
here in the
at the Free Software Foundation,