Web administration is one of the most important, but overlooked aspects of Web development. If you don't have a good Web administrator keeping your Web site running, well, you won't have a Web site. But what does a Web administrator do?
For many people the first and often only time they interact with their Web administrator is when they get an account on the system. Accounts are not simply magically created from scratch or because the computer knew that you needed one, instead, someone needs to enter in information about you so that your account can be created. This is generally a system administrator for the Web site.
But this is only one tiny part of what Web administration entails. In fact, creating user accounts is usually automated and the sysadmin only looks at them when something breaks rather than at every account. If you happen to know that your accounts are created manually, be sure to thank your administrator for creating the account. It may be a relatively simple task for him or her to do, but acknowledging the work your administrators do for you can go a long way when you need their help on something bigger.
Security is probably the most important part of Web administration. If your Web server is not secure it can become a source for hackers to use to either attack your customers directly or turn it into a zombie sending out spam messages in every spare second or other even more malicious things. If you don't pay attention to security, be sure that the hackers are paying attention to your site. Every time a domain changes hands, hackers get that information and start probing that domain for security holes. The hackers have robots that scan servers automatically for vulnerabilities.
The Web server is actually a program running on a server machine. Web administrators keep that server running smoothly. They keep it up-to-date with the latest patches and make sure that the Web pages that it displays are actually displaying. If you don't have a Web server, you don't have a Web page.
There are many types of Web applications that rely on server-side software to work. Web administrators install and maintain all these programs and many more:
Analyzing the log files of your Web server is very important if you're going to find out how to improve your Web site. Web administrators will make sure that the Web logs are stored and rotated so that they don't take over all the space on the server.
Once you have a lot of content on the Web site, having a content management system is essential. And maintaining a Web content management system is a big administrative challenge.
Why Not Consider Web Administration as a Career
It may not seem as "glamorous" as a Web designer or developer, but Web administrators are critical to keeping a good Web site going. I for one am extremely grateful to the Web administrators I work with on a regular basis. It's a hard job they have, but I couldn't live without them. Robert, Digger, Steven, and Matt, you guys ROCK!!!