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The Transitive Nature of Green Value Hosting

Thu, 11th September 2014, 19:02

Customer satisfaction is our ethos! Well so goes the motto of GreenValueHosting, a two-year old hosting company with a less than stellar reputation and a relatively young team of administrators (editor's note: Green Value Hosting also goes by the alias Green Value Host, GVH, and Green Value Networks). GVH is a common sight on hosting forums and not just for their regular deals. They say no press is bad press, but read a little further and decide for yourself.

GVH over the past couple months could works as a poster child for the underbelly of the cut rate, low-end hosting industry, the world of kiddie hosts, oversold resellers reselling the oversold reselllers, and fly-by-night discount providers. The industry is there because the price is right, but, if you’re ever wondering just what you’re paying for, well, you may be surprised.

When our story begins, GVH’s reputation is already pretty banged up, to put it mildly. Often, hosts end up in our deadpool for nothing more than mediocre service aggravated by poor customer relations. GVH managed to top that recipe: combining outrageous levels of downtime with an aggressive, hostile founder in Jonathan Nguyen, a constant presence anywhere where there may be GVH naysayers.

Complaints threads on that forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon is perhaps the ultimate case study in passive-aggression, but there’s always been the question of just how independent GreenValueHost really is- and how much of their business is linked to the much more established Colocrossing.

In a sense, it’s actually difficult to summarize just what GVH did wrong- merely because there’s so much there to tell. A poorly-managed reseller program left in tatters? Check. Almost continual downtime for reasons obscured by ill-conceived nonsense like an imaginary DDoS or a hacked SolusVM? Check, check, check.

At a certain point, however, the GVH story stops looking like your classic host meltdown- your BurstNets and your VolumeDrives, and takes a sharp turn into the utterly bizarre. After an extended downtime and a typically poor response from Jonathan Nguyen, the internet was shocked (read: mildly amused) to hear of Nguyen’s impending resignation from the position of Operations Director, leaving the company he founded in the capable hands of Jaroslav Urban, a Czech warez pioneer American office manager potentially non-existent sock puppet for Nguyen to retain control while publicly stepping down.

No doubt you’ve seen companies make poor choices in selecting new leadership, but this may be the first time we’ve seen a new employee’s very existence called into question. Urban’s work in the new position did little to quell the concern over GVH’s service outages, and attempts to start a new reseller program while their old one languished and died, and for a time the question was ‘Is there even a GVH, or is it just Colocrossing now?”

It was about this time that Jon Nguyen threatened to kill himself.

And that was the odd moment where the slippery nonsense of the hosting industry had to pause for a moment, and everyone marvelled at the simple fact that all of this business, all of these clients, and sites- all depended on the services of an overtaxed 17-year old in far, far over his head.

Nguyen is fine, by the way, and nominally speaking GVH still exists. You can pretty much decide for yourself whether or not their latest new deals are worth wading into that swamp for. For our part, we don’t really know how to cap off this story. It’s not often that a piece of hosting news ends with ‘at least no children died, thankfully,’ so perhaps ending there is best.

Web Hosting

24/7 Hosting NZ finally succumbs. Domain holders in turmoil

Thu, 4th September 2014, 14:12

Recently HostJury wrote of the woes clients of Kiwi webhoster 24/7 Hosting NZ endured when company compatriots decided to take a month long hiatus. Clients were left scrambling to retrieve domain names and find alternative hosting solutions while the web hosting vultures circled.

Despite all those 24/7 reassurances to ‘resolve all issues’, 24/7 Hosting NZ is gone again and it appears the coffin is being nail shut for burial in the HostJury dead pool.

It wasn’t only the clients being placated with the double talk. After investigating consumer complaints that 24/7 Hosting was taking annual payments for renewal of domain names, then only renewing the domains for a month, as well as registering domains in the name of 24/7 Hosting NZ, rather than in the name of the person requesting the registration, the Domain Name Commission (DNC) issued a warning in May that 24/7 Hosting’s behaviour has been contrary to the .nz policies that were created to protect registrants,

Debbie Monahan, Domain Name Commissioner advised

People who have a relationship with 24/7 Hosting, or who are considering using their services in future, to beware of their activities in respect of the registration and management of .nz domain names

The warning did not extend to 24/7 hosting services as that was beyond the scope of the DNC responsibility. 24/7 Hosting poured oil on the situation when they gave an undertaking that they were now in a position to address complaints from their customers and that support ticket could be submitted via the support interface. (editor’s note.. fool me once…)

24/7 Hosting now appears to be abandoned - its website is offline and the domain is due to expire. Support emails are bouncing and authorities are unable to make contact.

The collapse comes days after an "unprecedented" sanction which will force all 24/7 Hosting customers to transfer their domains to another provider.

The "last resort step" was imposed by the Domain Name Commission on August 19 after months of regulation breaches and ongoing issues for customers, with 24/7 management becoming extremely difficult to contact.

Campbell Gardiner of the DNC says:

It's become really blindingly obvious that people are experiencing massive disruption and 24/7 Hosting appears to be doing nothing to fix things. This is very, very rare, in fact it's unprecedented… this is beyond a joke, this needs to be closed now.

24/7 customers now have until September 20 to leave the provider or face having their domain cancelled, put back on the market and available for purchase after a 90-day grace period.

Mr Gardiner said the measure is designed to "close the book" on the embattled business, which buys domain and hosting services from other companies and resells it to the end user.

It's never happened before; we've never had to take an action to require people to move away from a provider. We're ultimately acting in the best interests of the name holders.

24/7 Hosting bought thousands of domains through Voyager which, under an order from the DNC, is now working to inform all customers of the impending sanction.

24/7 Hosting NZ claimed to be one of New Zealand’s leading Web Hosting, Domain Name and Data Centre solutions providers, stating in their company profile that:

From the beginning our focus has been providing high quality products and services at affordable prices. Just because our prices are cheaper than other New Zealand companies doesn’t mean our services are budget.

Considering 24/7 Hosting NZ used erroneous contact and owner information to register domains, rather than that of the client… well good luck fixing that one. I suspect we’ll be writing more about this mess in the future as the DNC begins to cancels domains!

 

Reliable Hosting from Namecheap

Magento eCommerce: Separating Fact from Fiction

Fri, 1st August 2014, 11:58

Regardless of statistical model, the economic forecaster are all in agreement of one indicator. E-Commerce, the buying and selling of goods and services online, is only going to continue to increase expeditiously year over year. Possibly this trend has you thinking about creating your own e-commerce website.

Building an online business is a most efficient and sustainable solution when adopting the right strategy. All that is needed is a product, (goods or service), an eCommerce software platform to showcase it on, and a web host for hosting your platform. A marketing plan helps, but that’s for another day. One possible suggestion is the e-Commerce suite called Magento, which offers three different variations of its popular eCommerce platform.

Magento is one of the most trusted platforms built on open source technology and it’s the creation of Varien Inc., an American company headquartered in Los Angeles. First released in 2008 , the software was known as “Bento”. Because this name was already used by FileMaker Inc., Varien and osCommerce had to come up with a different name, so they combined Bento with Mage and came up with a new term – Magento.

Later, in 2011, Roy Rubin, the former CEO of Varien, sold the company to eBay, after accepting massive investments in Magento, in the previous year, from eBay. Shortly after the acquisition, the corporation revealed its intention to make Magento an integral part of the X.Commerce initiative.

X.commerce is the result of the collaboration between eBay, PayPal and Magento and its purpose is to allow online shop owners to sync sales. The sellers get a package with codes and documentation they need in order to understand better how to build and test their websites based on this open source platform.

 

Platforms and pricing 

 

If you’re a skilled developer who can improve it by adding new plug-in modules, then choose the Magento Community Edition (MCE) open source software. This platform was released in 2007 as a beta version and in time it received a lot of improvements. You can now download for free the 1.9.0.1 version, which is the latest update released in the mid-May.

 

Magento Enterprise Edition (MEE) emerged from Magento Community, having more functionality and features, but it costs you 15,000 dollars per year. This is the right solution for large size businesses and for this price you receive technical support (installation, configuration, usage, troubleshooting). The latest version of MEE was released two days before the new MCE update, being available as the 1.14.1.0 version.

 

Magento Go comes to the aid of small businesses that don’t want to install the software, but need web hosting. The cloud-based eCommerce was released at the beginning of February 2011 and it will be shut down next February, so the customers will be forced to transfer their stores to another hosting company. The reason behind this closure might be related to the fact that Magento Go didn’t have the new functionality found on MCE and MEE, and eBay decided that it’s better to focus more on these two products and improve them. Meanwhile, until February 1 2015, the customers will pay between 3.95 dollars per month (shared hosting) and 170 dollars per month (dedicated servers) to have their websites hosted by Magenta itself.

 

Fake Magento Speed Testing 

 

Once you have downloaded the Magento Community Edition or purchased the Magento Enterprise Edition, customized your website by adding or modifying an existing theme (PHP, HTML, CSS) and added some Magento plugins, your website is now ready to use. Or you’re already the e-Commerce whiz looking for a more experienced company that hosts Magento websites.

As expected, all the companies specialized in Magento hosting promise their customers that their websites will run very fast and to prove they are not babbling, they use Magento Speed Test to generate a speed result and then they publish it on their websites to impress their visitors.

There are companies that use fake Magento speed testing and run some automated HTTP testing tools such as Joe Dog’s “Siege” and brag about the results, and often inexperienced or naive clients are taken in and fooled by fake speed tests.  But there are also reliable and legitimate companies that offer realistic speed testing results. They’re committed to doing their best to provide rock solid hardware infrastructures for Magento websites.

 

Web Hosting Providers for Magento 

 

In 2014, a group named Magento2X, which has been working with Magento since 2008, asked its customers to vote the top three providers that offer the best ecommerce security hosting.

So, the winner was SiteGround, with a price of 3.95 dollars per month, free domain for life and free site transfer, Magento Optimized Server with Top Hardware and Network, Magento Security, Auto Backup and Auto Upgrade etc.

The second in line is Nexcess, with a price of 11.95 dollars per month, free site transfer, Magento Security Enhancements, Auto Backup, Nexcess Magento Optimization Server etc.

To host your Magento website at A2 Hosting you’ll pay 4.97 dollars per month, but you’ll receive Unlimited Disk and Bandwidth, Server Rewind Backups and Perpetual Security w/ Free HackScan etc.

A common complaint among reviews is the frustration exhibited towards web host support monkeys regurgitating the canned response that they don’t support 3rd party software. So in the coming days, HostJury will profile some of the most popular Magento web hosts, all who claim to be ‘Magento Experts’ and providing Magento support. We’ll interview these “hoster”, find out more info about the companies, and learn what makes their services superior to the other companies making similar claims with promises to host blazing fast Magento websites.

 

The Pros of Magento 

 

Magento users love the large community which has developed around Magento. It continues to grow and the support forums are a great source of information for resolving many common issues.

The application is customizable, coming with lots of cool features – product management, marketing, SEO etc., it’s available in multiple languages and most important, is open source, offering a free edition for those who are not ready to invest money to build their online stores.

You can use the built-in functionalities that come along with the script or you can install other functionalities, although you’ll be charged.

You can also incorporate more payment options to your website so your buyers can choose the right payment gateway.

Magento is mobile friendly, running perfectly on most of the smartphones or Apple devices etc. 

You have access to the records of your customers, the products and transactions made through your website and no third party is allowed to access this information.

Also, as a Magenta CE user, you get coupons and promotions every once in a while.

A major advantage is the mobility of Magento.. if your webhost starts to suck or gets consolidated into one of those mega-hosts, you can move it!

 

The Cons. Complaints against Magento 

 

It seems that some of the customers are not very pleased that Magento runs in PHP and not all of them are expert programmers, so it’s kind of difficult to use for beginners. So, if you don’t have a coding experience, don’t rush to purchase MCE.

Not everyone can afford a dedicated server and also it’s slow loading sometimes. Magento is a hog on ram that can bog down a server. A common complaint of new users is that Magento exceeds the limits imposed by many traditional hosts.

Many of the users get common errors like: “Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in ...”. A simple enough solution is just increase the execute time. Still not everybody wants to be a code monkey.

While Magento Community Edition may be free of charge, you’ll still need to pay for the hosting service, security and other fees but these are not likely to exceed the traditional costs imposed on brick and mortar entities.

Even if Magento Community Edition is free of charge, you’ll need to pay for the hosting service, security and other fees.

The MCE users don’t benefit from Customer Support, so when they have technical problems, they can express their frustrations on the forum.

There are customers that complained of software glitches and incompatibilities when they upgraded the software. Other customers found hard to implement templates.

For a Magenta Go Store, you can use 3rd party themes, but there is a list of approved themes you can choose from. Magento doesn't support third-party software.

You’ll need a powerful server with a large disk space and high memory, if you want your website to run properly, so you’ll have these options: VPS, Cloud Server or Dedicated Server, but these solution are sometimes expensive.

 

Conclusion 

 

Ecommerce business owners have many choices when it comes to shopping carts and e-Commerce platforms -- almost all of which claim to be easy to deploy and manage. Despite other platforms, like Shopify and woocommerce, gaining traction in the eCommerce marketplace, Magento continues to remain one solid option as an e-Commerce solution. The  reality however is that most business owners will eventually wind up hiring a designer and a Web developer to help them create and maintain that perfect eCommerce site.

Nexcess Magento Hosting banner

Host Europe makes bid for UK based webhost Iomart

Wed, 30th July 2014, 14:23

This past May, UK based web hosting specialist Iomart Hosting announced overall revenues had grown by 29% to reach £55.6m, with revenues from Iomart’s hosting segment growing by 40% to £44.7m.  Iomart is now confirming that it has rejected two cash takeover offers from Host Europe. Iomart said it had received cash offers on 13 June and 27 June of 275p and 285p per Iomart share, respectively.

Iomart Hosting growth has been fueled by a number of webhosting company acquistions over the years including ServerloveRapidSwitchEasyspaceTitan InternetMelbourne Server Hosting and RedStation. The Glasgow-based firm says its directors concluded that both offers undervalued the company. 

Host Europe offer domain registration, application hosting, cloud hosting and managed hosting through their own long list of brands that includes 123-regHeart InternetHost EuropeWebfusion, Domainmonster, RedCoruna, Domainbox, Donhost, and Brand Fortress. 

In a statement, Host Europe has confirmed that it had approached the web hosting firm regarding a possible cash offer of 285p per share. Host Europe has until 21 August to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Iomart, or walk away. While the deal would not make HostEurope the largest webhost, the company would certainly rival Endurance International Group (EIG) for number of hosting brands.  

Iomart currently has eight data storage centres in the UK, including Glasgow, London, Manchester and Nottingham and currently uses various brands to deliver their hosting services.  Iomart's share price was up 10.53% to 259.75 with the news.

Clients of  iomart and its hosting brands can share their thoughts on the possibility of a new master in the form of a web hosting review here.

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The Little Box Challenge & Overall User Experience

Tue, 29th July 2014, 14:15

Google and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have announced that they will be awarding one million dollars to an enterprising individual(s) creative enough to shrink a big box into a much smaller box.

The goal of the competition is to create a kW-scale inverter with the highest possible power density of at least 50 Watts per cubic inch. Anyone who knows what that means and has a healthy disregard for the perceived limits of engineering, would be a great contestant for this challenge.

Google claims that they believe inverters are becoming increasingly important to our economy and environment. They believe that a main purpose for hosting this competition is to inspire much advancement in technology that we cannot even fathom today.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a professional association committed to advancing technological innovation for the advantage of humanity. The IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) has facilitated and given direction for the development and innovation of power electronics technology for decades. The PELS will be assisting in judging the Little Box Challenge.

So basically, both Google and IEEE are hoping this contest is able to spur innovation that can tremendously reduce the size of power inverters and produce a device that is capable of converting electricity from direct current to alternating current. With these technological advancements achieved, Google and IEEE hope that smaller inverters could potentially lower costs and increase efficiency and reliability.

Applicants considering competing in the Little Box Challenge must first register their team by September 30th, 2014. For academics that are eligible, grant applications must be submitted by September 30th, 2014 as well. More information on the contest can be found at littleboxchallenge.com.

 

Not so fast. The lowdown on Overall User Experience

 

Even the less tech-savvy internet users are aware of the importance Google places on page load speeds and overall user experience. So, we have decided to run a few tests of our own on the site where the contest is announced.

The first test we ran using Domain Tools was no surprise to us. The site itself runs on Google servers located in New York. It did however; highlight the importance of tagging images that are used for visually impaired users... even more importantly how not tagging images could affect a visually impaired using screen readers. In addition, not tagging images makes search engine optimization (SEO) much more difficult as well.

domain tool report on little box challenge

While Domain Tools may be great for getting the whois on a domain, there are superior tools available to measure webpages against accessibility standards, now mandated for commercial websites in some locale.

Ignoring those legal implications for a moment, striving to ensure a website meets the minimum accessibility standards will not only provides a better overall user experience for visually impaired users but can also have repercussions on the effectiveness of those search engine bots crawling the web. (editor's note.. think SEO)

AC Checker confirmed the suspicions raised by our first test regarding accessibility:

screenshot of AC Checker test results on the Little Box Challenge website 

The WAVE web accessability tool showed similar results. 

Moving on, Google has attempted to impress upon the masses the importance of page load speed for overall user experience. Numerous studies have collaborated this notion which can be summarized in the KISSMetrics Infographic showing 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. 

Below is an image that explains the recent performance results for littleboxchallenge.com. The test was run using a tool called GTmetrix. As it shows in the image, the site seems to be somewhat mediocre when it comes to overall page speed.

GTmetrics report on the Little box challenge website

 

Lessons in life

 

So what can we all take away from this.

Not making web hosting and page load speed a priority will cost YOU in the end, and will ensure your project doesn't have the competitive edge that others in the sector do have. Additionally, that more work is needed to ensure accessibility standards continue to be incorporated into the best practices of web development.

Lessons less learned.

When offering a million dollar bounty those studies about page load speed and conversions are less applicable and that while money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.

Now Dust off the Propeller Beanie and Get to Work! 

 

django, rails, and wordpress hostingHosting for developers

 

Lumous calls it a day on their web hosting services

Tue, 29th July 2014, 01:54

Lumous was run by a small team of like-minded individuals who had a deep passion for building truly amazing products. Elastic, Highly-Available Compute Cloud to power your mobile and web applications. Delivering exceptionally consistent performance and reliability with hard resource limits, and intelligent virtual machine placement.

With a simply stated email, Lumous as a hosting service is no more.

Today I’m saddened to announce that Lumous will no longer be offering hosting services. Over the past two years, we’ve built an incredible platform from the ground up offering true high-availability, and brought an enterprise level SLA to the small teams and 1-man shops.

We will be reaching out to you individually over the next couple of days to put together a strategy to fit your needs, and to ensure a seamless, minimal downtime, migration.

For those of you using Lumous Mail or our Web Hosting services, we will be keeping some infrastructure with one of partners to maintain those services in some capacity, should you decide to stay with us. Either way, there will be a migration for your accounts.

Going forward, Lumous will exist as a software company providing products & services to other Cloud & Web Hosting companies. As many of you have already told us, our software is intuitive & easy to use – we think we can help the rest of the industry make their customer experience better as well.

We will work directly with you regarding the current billing, and any un-applied payments will be fully refunded.

We sincerely appreciate your support over the years, and I look forward to speaking with you all soon.

Thanks,

Kris & Eric

 

Web Hosting

Hivelocity's new security features. How does your webhost stack up.

Thu, 24th July 2014, 13:33

One could sometimes get the impression from glancing at the news that the hackers and trackers are spending more time on your server then you are. And for some, the fears may be real. The threats are certainly real enough. Server security should never be viewed as an afterthought.

So Bare Metal Server, Infrastructure as a Service and Cloud hosting provider, Hivelocity announcement of the introduction of several new security features within its myVelocity customer portal should be viewed as a proactive thwarting of those nefarious types.

Over the last month Hivelocity has introduced several new features to help customer ensure the security of their account. Features include 2 factor authentication, IP authentication and white-listing, a session manager and security questionnaires.

These new features are in addition to the pre-existing tools within myVelocity that allow bandwidth monitoring, service monitoring with text msg/email alerts, DNS management, a live order tracker,data center live stream, IPMI GUI and much more.

 

Session Manager

screenshot of the session manager panel

The Session Manager is shown right on the Dashboard. Featuring IP, location, and active time for every active session on your account at a glance. With one click terminate individual session or all sessions.

 

IP Protection

screenshot of the IP protection feature

The new IP Protection feature requires that all sessions from new locations (IPs) are approved via a link sent to the account holder’s email. If you manage your account from multiple locations, you will be asked to authorize each of the IP’s once. You may also manually manage the IPs authorized to access your account from the new Account Security section of myVelocity.

 

Two Factor Authorization

screenshot of the 2 factor authentication feature

In addition to these passive security features, Hivelocity also now support 2 Factor Auth. With 2 Factor Auth enabled, you must have your username, password, and your phone to access your account.

This is an opt-in feature found in the new Account Security Section of myVelocity. In a few easy steps you can setup 2 Factor Auth using your cell phone. They are suggesting Google Authenticator but you can use any other TOTP compatible system you wish (Authy, etc).

 

Three Security Questions

screenshot of the 3 question security feature

myVelocity users now have the ability to select and provide answers for the security questions which will be used when they call Hivelocity’s support telephone line. If you haven’t logged in since this feature was released, you will be required to answer 3 questions before continuing to use your account. A simple reset button is provided to select new questions or change your existing answers.

 

Pain or Real Gain

While some users may find all the new security features being implemented by Hivelocity and other various web hosts a pain that just interferes with their train of thought and impedes the flow of their work patterns, others should seriously consider why their webhost are not implementing similar measures. Knowing that your web host takes security seriously may be one of the best defenses against those nefarious hackers and tracker types.

NationBuilder, ActionKit, Salsa, & others. Hosting your non-profit.

Wed, 23rd July 2014, 18:46

People who share common interest and goals, like believing that the world is in need for social changes, often join organized community groups and try to influence all kinds of institutions and corporations, and even the politicians (editor's note: the successful influencers are called lobbyists), exposing their ideas and suggestions to them, and when the negotiations fail, they initiate petitions, boycotts etc.

The internet is full of community organizing platforms which help small or big communities grow but we’re going to compare a few of the more popular community building platforms offering the best online tools for community organizing.

 

NationBuilder

 

NationBuilder.com is a “Software as a service” platform, which is hosted on Tiggee servers, and it’s used by political candidates and organizations to build their own websites by providing them tools such as text messaging, email and social media, helping them to raise funds and track the number numbers; make calendars and mobilize supporters for educational purposes.

NationBuilder includes a 14-day free trial, free manual data imports, website themes and page types, hosted custom domain, and easy SEO control. The prices start from 19 dollars per month - 2,000 people in your database + 200 “emailable” people in your database and the most expensive plan is 999 dollars per month, and you get 500,000 people in your database + 100,000 emailable people.

In 2012, NationBuilder managed to raise 6.25 million dollars in funding after the platform was released a year before, being founded by CEO Jim Gilliam. The platform was built using Ruby on Rails and a 'Liquid' themes.

 

ActionKit

 

This company was founded in 1998, by Patrick Michael Kane, whose software was used by Facebook, Rock The Vote and even Obama for America, which registered 2.6 million voters.

ActionKit is used by small or large community groups in the U.S. (as well as elsewhere), to help spread awareness on climate change, social justice issues, gun control and disaster relief.

Pricing starts at 995 dollars per month for groups with up to 50,000 emailable supporters, but prices goes to - 2,200 dollars per month for 100,000 emailable supporters.

ActionKit.com is hosted on Linode servers.

 

Salsa Labs

 

Salsa Labs was founded in 2004, being presented to the public under this slogan "Ignite Action. Fuel Change”. This non profit online marketing platform is also SaaS and is hosted on Amazon Web Services.

The services provided by Salsa Client team are: data clean-up, webpage customization, custom reporting, campaign migration and large-scale content. You can raise funds online, knowing where the donations came from, and there will be no donation fees.

The Advocate package gives your supporters a “voice”, allowing them to write personalized messages to all kinds of political figures, or officials and legislators. Other packages are Communicate and Organize, but the pricing options at Salsa Labs depends on the configuration of the platform that you choose. Currently, it supports more than 2000 nonprofit and political organizations.

Controversy erupted in 2012 when one co-founder of Salsa Labs, April Pedersen, announced that the other co-founder and CEO Chris Lundberg was being fired due to some campaign issues.

Salsa Labs received a 5 million dollars injection of venture capital cash from Edison Ventures, a decision possibly regretted later because the organization started to appeal only to Democrats.

 

Blue State Digital

 

This firm is specialized in online fundraising, social networking, advocacy and constituency development, being founded in 2004 by the former staffers of Howard Dean. It seems Howard Dean came up with the idea of running a campaign in which the voters were engaged to raise funds, and the team found a method to do it – they built up an email list and asked people to invest 5 or 10 dollars in a grassroots organization. The campaign failed but a year later, the former staffers had a discussion with the Democratic National Committee and remade the party with Governor Dean’s 50-state strategy... Their digital strategy was used in 2008 and again in 2012 for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

The services offered by Blue State Digital include: strategy, content strategy, production, design, video, analytics, digital communications and online advertising.

You’ll pay 450 dollars per month for less than 50,000 emailable people. The price for corporations and brands starts at 1,950 dollars per month. To get 1-2.5 million emailable people, you’ll pay 6,950 dollars per month, while the price for Nonprofits Campaigns is 1,800 dollars.

 

NGP VAN

 

NGP Van is an American company that provides technology to Democratic and progressive campaigns, and other organizations, by offering their clients services such as: Fundraising and Compliance, Voter Contact, Union Organizing, New Media, SmartVAN and Social Organizing.

The software was used also in Obama’s presidential campaign in 2012, (editor's note: does anyone else see a trend developing here..)  For seven years in a row, the company has been recognized by Inc. Magazine and is currently among the 50 fastest growing companies from DC.

NGP VAN is hosted on Blackmesh servers.

 

Ning

 

The company was founded in 2005 and in 2011 was acquired by Glam Media, being an online platform used by individuals and organizations that need a custom social network/website. The appearance of the website can be customized, and you’re able to share photos, videos, to create forums or blogs, or to allow your members to “Like” the content using their Facebook accounts.

Currently, there are more than 90,000 social websites running on the Ning Platform, and what’s great about this platform is that the customers are allowed to display advertisements on their websites and monetize them (Google AsSense).

You can choose one of the three different plans:

  • Basic – with a monthly pricing of 25 dollars, 1000 members, 2 administrators and email support, with responses within 48 hours;
  • Performance – 49 dollars per month, 10,000 members, 5 administrators and email response within a day.
  • Ultimate – 99 dollars per month, 100,000 members, 10 administrators, priority email and hotline support and APIs in the near future.

We're not quite sure why but it appears the owner of Ning has listed the domain for sale.

 screenshot showing Ning.com domain is for sale

Salesforce

 

This is a global cloud computing company that was founded 15 years ago. In June 2004, it went public on the NYSE, under CRM stock symbol, raising 110 million dollars, and it’s a constituent of the S&P 500 index. In 2014, it was considered by Forbes magazine as the seventh “Best Company to Work For”.

In 2007, it was criticized for its low security level, allowing a phishing attack to compromise the contact information of its customers. Even so, there are still 20,000 nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that are using Salesforce CRM.

The plans offered by Salesforce are:

  • Contact Manager – 5 dollars/month, 5 users; Group – 25 dollars/month, 5 users;
  • Professional – 65 dollars/month;
  • Enterprise – 125 dollars/month
  • Performance – 300 dollars/month.

The Salesforce.com domain was registered with Network Solutions

Of course every community is not ready, or able to afford the pricing plans offered by the aforementioned community organizing platforms. For those looking at more modest alternative, there are numerous open source community building platforms, forum systems (also known as bulletin boards), guestbooks, and mailing list applications available. Most are free to utilize with premium services available as your community grows.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Mother Teresa

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CloudAtCost ignores clients. Gets spurned on Social Media

Fri, 18th July 2014, 13:05

A relatively recent newcomer to the cloud marketplace, Canadian hoster CloudAtCost looked to delineate itself from the others in the cloud crowd by marketing itself as different kind of provider.

What made Cloud At Cost so appealing was, unsurprisingly, their approach to discount developer hosting, offering a number of servers with limited (95%) uptime for dirt cheap prices- even giving purchasers the option to free themselves from monthly fees by buying the servers outright. As you can see in the pricing plans, Cloud At Cost made a compelling argument for non-mission-critical server space, if, and this is a big if, they manage to stick around long enough to make things worthwhile. 

CloudAtCost hosting plan prices 

There’s just one problem: Cloud At Cost’s servers seem to be imploding, and the company can’t seem to get them all working at once.

Now, one frustrated customer representing a slew of others has made waves in social media with a particularly on-point parody website: CloudAtACost.com. (editor's note... surprise surprise. CloudAtACost is hosted by.. [insert drum roll please] DreamHost). Of course, it’s worth it to discuss founder Nicholas Diotte’s experiences with the host’s support team (and 95% uptime guarantee) but maybe a taste of the site’s fan art will serve as an introduction.

CloudAtCost fan art

Hosting for Suckers.. Ouch.

So where’s the animosity coming from? Like the beleaguered Comcast customer unable to cancel his subscription, Diotte has a record of absurd encounters with Cloud At Cost’s support system, stemming from ‘extreme packet loss’ to his servers. Five days after filing a complaint, he received the all clear: problem should be gone.

And so was his server.

This outage began an almost three week process of back and forth between Diotte and his provider, most notably, without any official recognition of what in particular was going wrong with the servers, or when the problem would actually be fixed. The scope of the problem became clear on Cloud At Cost’s social media channels, which became clogged with users interrupting typical PR blasts to ask for much-needed updates on the status of their accounts.

After realizing what a nightmare the whole event was becoming, Cloud At Cost finally responded.

CloudAtCost responds to support issues 

Two thousand virtual machines to fix at up to 20 minutes a machine. Not a pretty backlog, to be sure. But that’s where we start to get into the potential how and why of Cloud At Cost’s uptime woes: excess provisioning. It’s a common story, one we recently covered for OVH, regarding their turnover blues. Hosting is growing rapaciously, and that leaves every provider with a head for business thinking of ways to slice out a larger piece of that market share. But hosting is a service-oriented business, and it’s no small task to plan for all the possibilities of expansion.

As of now, the problem remains unfixed, but the grumbling will likely subside when the backlog is burned through.

Cloud At Cost’s discount dev hosting is a story about intense conversion, clearly. But in retrospect, will it be a story of retention? Quite possibly! But not if Diotte’s experience becomes more than the exception.

And regardless of how Cloud At Cost turns out in the end, it should be a broader lesson for anyone seeking a webhost on the cheap. There’s a fantastic array of low-end providers available, and they have some pretty enticing price points. But look at a run of the mill provider with standard specifications and a decade of successful service. How much more are they going to charge you? Ten dollars a month? Thirty?

The question becomes less about ‘how much can I save on hosting’ and more about ‘how much is my time worth?’ If you lose, let’s say, ten hours a year on the headaches of bottom-end hosting, how much have you really saved in the end? Experiences like Diotte’s help us remember to watch out for the Cloud at (opportunity) cost.

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Coffitivity. Enough noise to work

Wed, 16th July 2014, 16:25

Some people need a quiet environment to work on their projects, others concentrate better in noisy spaces, such as coffee shops. It’s hard to understand how some individuals aren’t bothered by the café chatter or the sound of espresso machines when heating up and poring espresso shots. Actually, the science supports this and according to a study, 70 decibels of constant ambient sound, which is moderate, can stimulate creativity and people can focus better. Based on this study, some brilliant people came up with Coffitivity.com, which is a unique website that streams the ambient noises of coffee shops. The team consists of Justin Kauszler – Founder, Nicole Horton - Graphic Designer, Ace Callwood - Creative Director/Copy and Tommy Nicholas - Growth Hacker.

Ace Callwood was kind enough to answer some questions about Coffitivity and how this project was born and how it evolved.

HostJury: Coffitivity started not so long ago and you were inspired by some simple coffee shops. How come some people can concentrate on writing with all that fuss around them, and others prefer a quiet environment?

Ace: We find that the sounds of the coffee shop actually distract people which in turn makes them more creative. This is why those "AHA" moments tend to come to us while we're doing mindless tasks like brushing our teeth or shaving. What the science suggests is that we often focus TOO much on tasks and having a little bit of distraction (like coffee shop sounds) allows us to approach problems a little more creatively. Enter, Coffitivity.

HostJury: How long have you been working on this project? Were you afraid that your website won’t attract visitors and Coffitivity was a bad idea?

Ace: Coffitivity is just about a year and a half old. Initially we had no idea it would grow to be the site it is today. That said, we built Coffitivity as a learning experience and an opportunity to make a tool that we could use for ourselves. The intention was never a TON of traffic, so we're pleasantly surprised and more than happy with the outcome.

HostJury: How it’s like to see that all your work paid off and “because” of you, many people from all over the world can teleport themselves virtually in a coffee shop? Are you proud of the results?

Ace: It's still a little hard for us to digest how many people from different places use our site. It seems a little unreal to be honest. That said, we're thrilled with the results and are always working to make the experience better for our audience.

HostJury: Where does the name of “Coffitivity” really come from? Can coffees help people to be creative?

Ace: We combined the words "coffee" and "creativity" to form the word "Coffitivity". We think it's a great name for the site, especially give the science we refer to that says cafe sounds help creatives work better.

HostJury: Please tell our readers if it was difficult to put this idea in practice and what were the steps you took to reach your goal.

Ace: Every good idea has some level of difficulty to it. For us, we had no coding or web experience when we started, but Justin taught himself how to code and we built a website. Outside of the day to day behind learning code and getting better at designing, I'd say the biggest step in building the site was actually deciding to go. Once you get started on a really awesome project, it takes on a life of it's own. From there, the next big decision is to launch even though you think there are things to make better or redesign. That was tough for us.

HostJury: Were there any issues over time? Did you encounter any obstacles in your way?

Ace: Of course we had issues. As I mentioned, from the get go, there were hard decisions to make. Should we launch yet, is the site self explanatory, how do we get more audio? Those are all issues that face startups to some extent every day. I also think that's the fun of what we do in the startup world - every day is a new problem to solve. We start thinking about the little daily problems as puzzles to tackle. As a good team, we've gotten pretty good at solving the various puzzles.

HostJury: Did success change you in any way? Do you have regrets or you feel accomplished?

Ace: I think the "success" has been an experience none of us expected, and big experiences tend to change most people. For us, now we have people asking about the press and what it was like to build a big website. That's been interesting for the team, but at the end of the day, I think our biggest takeaway is that we're all capable of handling some of the day-to-day firefights that we've been faced with in the last year or so. It's a great feeling to know what one is capable of. Sure, we've done some things wrong and would maybe change some things here and there, but overall we're proud of what we've built and we're looking forward to the next adventures.

HostJury: What are your plans for the future?

Ace: The future of Coffitivity is exciting. We're not talking too much about it yet, but keep an eye out for some new audio, a new layout, and a few experiments that will hopefully make the experience of Coffitivity a little richer for our entire audience!

Coffitivity.com was hosted by HostGator prior to being transferred to Bluehost severs last September.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting $6.95

The Dead of Summer Deadpool

Mon, 14th July 2014, 11:52

It’s a fair midsummer’s day, and the heat is sweltering. Really makes you wish for a nice pool to hop into. But you should probably stay away from this one, especially if you need reliable hosting. June’s deadpool is fairly light, all things considered! This one goes out to the summer hosts that keep on keepin’ on through the summer heat: see you guys in the fall!

 

HostOnce

As in, once, they were a host. Not anymore! A whois lookup revealed an interesting detail- there’s a connection to xibig.com. Possibly the same company? Or maybe just the same lawyer. Alas, this mystery will probably never be solved.

 

DeluxeWebs

Since opening in 2011, brags their service description, DeluxeWebs has not stopped growing. Yeah, about that… Shame, considering the buzz around them was fairly positive! Perhaps it’s better to burn out than to fade away?

 

HostRazor

The cutting edge of hosting (see what I did there?) has a nick in the blade. Coming on the heels of an acquisition by Sago Networks, it’s pretty safe to assume that the staff of the former host have been diverted elsewhere. Hopefully their clients were forewarned!

 

ForzaHost

This brand unfortunately folded despite a stellar run, likely because its controls were a bit too complex and the market just wasn’t looking very bullish on realistic driving simulators. Wait, no, that’s the Forza videogame series. Our apologies, a HostJury research intern will be punished for this mistake.

 

ChallengeHost

Has the hosting game ever become so brutal that you just had to throw in the towel and become a fantasy football website? Well, you’re in good company. ChallengeHost is now just that. Which reminds us, HostJury is actually thinking about becoming a fansite for the German national football team. Deutschland vor! Noch ein tor!

 

DJAB Hosting

No one could have predicted that a service named after the noise you make when you accidentally touch a hot stove would’ve gone under. Absolutely no one. Thus, all they leave behind is a slew of bad press.

 

Effex Hosting

Okay, so read this description of Effex Hosting from their HJ profile page.

Effex Hosting have many years of leading experience with global businesses of all sizes and have built up an affluence of web hosting expertise that put down us a scratch above other web hosting companies in this time.
Isn’t it crazy when you can pinpoint the exact moment in a sentence when someone had a stroke? It would be irresponsible for us to assert that this is the exact reason Effex Hosting closed down, so we’ll just quietly imply it.

 

Invio Hosting

Chicago-based Invio Hosting disappeared without a peep last month, with nothing on the internet to memorialize them other than their non-rating from the BBB and their CEO’s tumblr account. So, reblog him enough and maybe you can find out where your hosting went.

 

HostApolis

When you google HostApolis, the search engine pauses to ask if you’ve lost your damned mind. “Did you mean Hostropolis?” it asks. “That’s a host that still exists.” Well, sure, but their website looks like it predates Web 2.0. “Perhaps you meant Ghostopolis? A graphic novel about a supernatural, ghost-wrangling police force?” Actually, wow. Yeah, that’s what we meant. Show us Ghostopolis.

 

HostsVault

Well, HostsVault is not quite dead, as in Monty Python parrot dead, but they’re on life support at best. It’s generally not a good sign when your webhost’s front page redirects to an empty index. Get your websites hosted somewhere else, people!

 

KESER HOSTING

KESER HOSTING is a leading provider in ALL-CAPS HOSTING OPPORTUNITIES for LOUD people of IMPORTANCE. KESER HOSTING’s UNFORTUNATE CLIENTS’ WEBSITES are also NOT GOING to SURVIVE the SUMMER. OH YEAH, BROTHER.

 

Jiffy Domains

Shortest lived of our current deadpool, Jiffy Domains has only been around for a year, setting them up perfectly for some kind of snarky comment about how they only lasted a jiffy. Seriously though, one year? Come on, show some heart.

Researching a web host for your baby. Choose wisely and read the webhost's reviews before you decide!

Arvixe wordpress hosting

Free Domain Names. The 'No Strings Attached' Deal and Steal!

Tue, 8th July 2014, 15:08

Optimal Hosting decided to do something a little out of the ordinary to celebrate the relaunch of their new website.. They are having a domain give away week. No Strings. No Catches. No Web Hosting required.

All you need to do is follow 3 simple steps to help spread the word and then claim up to 3 free domain names for the first year. Then if you’d like to keep the domains after the first year, just renew at the normal pricing. Simple yet brilliant.

Follow Optimal Hosting on Twitter: @optimalhosting then re-tweet the Tweet below to spread the word. You’ll then be redirected to a page to redeem!

Get a free domain by Following Optimal Hosting on Twitter and retweeting this tweet to spread the word. You’ll then be redirected to a page to redeem!

Want to know more.

Optimal Hosting was set up in 2012 by Robert Benwell with the sole purpose of providing a hosting platform tailored entirely for the customer, providing an around the clock 100% uptime platform with everything required for that all round personal service. Rob felt there was a lack of innovation and customer focus in the web hosting industry and that customers were not getting a good enough service. So he took the initiative to set up a service to simplify web hosting and to offer the best solutions possible.

Asked why they feel they are different, they responded

Unlike most web hosts, we own our hardware and network gear, operating from a top-tier data centre in the South of England. Our engineers consist of industry veterans who have worked with some of the largest Internet brands and businesses.

The cloud we operate is relied on daily by over 16,000 domains. Our customers expect nothing but stellar performance, lightning fast loading speeds and resiliency. We’ve cut no corners – the running of your website and business is paramount to us!

Current clients of Optimal Hosting can share their experiences with others by writing a review.

 

About
Optimal Hosting is a fast-growing startup providing cloud hosting, servers, domain names & other services since 2012. We're a friendly company operating from Shoreditch, East London with a 24 hour support team. We’ve grown rapidly – from a team of 3 to employing a team of over 20, some working from our offices in London with others based around the world.

Our ethos is customer focused – We’re committed to providing a high quality service continuously re-investing in our infrastructure, support that never misses a beat and pricing that matches our offerings.

In a very competitive market Optimal Hosting aim to go the distance to provide a fulfilling and hands on service with a dedicated team to give you, the customer, the service you deserve.

 

Disclaimer

As always, HostJury recommend that while price may be a consideration when choosing a web host, it should only be one of the many factored into your research. Page load speeds, additional features, good communication, and a fast knowledgeable support team will always top saving a few cents per day... or in this case, a few bucks! As always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any listed service providers. Web hosts are always presented in no particular order. You are encouraged to practice due diligence.. and at some point leave a review of the services provided.

Coupons may also be found on review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. Look in the right column under the related blog post section.

Web hosts wishing to participate in HostJury's deals and steals are invited to contact us by email: feedback@hostjury.com.

Cartika offers new reseller hosting packages

Mon, 2nd June 2014, 15:40

Canadian provider of managed application and reseller hosting Cartika has announced the introduction of their new premium cPanel reseller hosting packages. The company’s cPanel reseller packages, which can be hosted in both Canada and the US, are managed via Cartika’s CommandLayer control interface and offer an array of advanced hosting features for reseller web hosting.

Cartika’s cPanel reseller hosting packages use cPanel to provide an intuitive and powerful control interface for designers, developers, agencies, and other providers of web hosting services. Reseller accounts benefit from Cartika’s extensive network infrastructure, and include unlimited bandwidth per account, with access to Cartika’s geographically distributed cloud DNS, the company’s IP Anycast DNS network, and the Cartika CDN. To maximize the performance and resource efficiency of sites hosted on reseller accounts, Nginx is used for serving static content, while a reverse proxy to Apache is used for dynamic content.

Cartika’s cPanel solutions are based on CloudLinux and CageFS, which together create a shared hosting environment with rigorous account isolation and easily managed resource allocation. Backups are managed via Bacula4Hosts, which gives cPanel users access to 15 restore points covering all data, including files, databases, and email. Accounts also include inbound and outbound anti-spam email filtering from SpamExperts and real-time anti-malware monitoring.

Cartika CEO Andrew Rouchotas says

We’re always conscious that reseller hosting users are entrusting their client’s business critical web hosting needs to us. That’s a responsibility we take seriously. Our reseller hosting plans offer the highest levels of control, reliability, and security. And because they’re built on Cartika’s advanced hosting platform and take advantage of our extensive US, Canadian, and international infrastructure, our cPanel reseller accounts provide unbeatable performance.

Cartika’s cPanel plans are hosted on enterprise-grade servers with dual Quad Core Intel Xeon E5520 processors, between 96 GB and 128 GB of RAM, and eight 600 GB SAS drives in a hardware RAID 10 configuration with battery backup unit. All servers have redundant power and bandwidth connections. Prices start at $25 per month.

About Cartika

Founded in Toronto in May 2000, Cartika Inc has established itself as a leader in Application Hosting and advanced clustering technologies. Cartika offers a wide array of infrastructure services, complemented by extensive management solutions and clustering technologies. For more information, visit http://www.hostjury.com/reviews/Cartika+Hosting

Kiwi Webhoster 24/7 offers lame apology after month long hiatus

Tue, 27th May 2014, 15:52

And they are back. Well somebody is anyway! AWOL Kiwi webhoster 24/7 Hosting NZ has returned from a month long hiatus that left clients scrambling to retrieve domain names and find alternative hosting solutions while the web hosting vultures circled. 24/7 finally contacted its customers claiming to be “resolving all issues”.

The embattled company insists on Facebook  that it is working to respond to support request, posting:

“Valued customers, please review our e-mail to you this morning and know that we are working to resolve all issues. Some contact methods are still not working. If you have a support request, please ensure that you have submitted it through ttps://support.247hosting.co.nz/clientarea.php.”

It appears 24/7 management, whose whereabouts has alluded customers for a month, first order of business may have been to delete all the soliciting comment spam on its social media pages including the testimonials pertaining to other webhosting competitors.

“To any of our customers wishing to move: please research your new provider carefully. We understand your decision, but we do NOT have any knowledge of affiliation with any of the companies which have solicited on this Facebook page or on our Twitter.”

For some the resurrection isn’t enough, with disgruntled customer continuing to post comments like the “Damage is done guys, I’ve shifted and no way would I trust you to come back.” and another “I rely heavily on hosting to run my business (aka make money and feed my family) if you guys are going under, can you give me the best heads up possible?”

According to 24/7 Hosting NZ, who have suddenly become very interactive with their customers, the company

“understands” the troubles of its users, and claims its 24/7 support email is now up and operating. Unfortunately for some customers our services have been lacking and our communication has been null.

Leading up to this latest lapse in service, some were already expressing dissatisfaction with the direction 24/7 was heading:

“Absolutely useless support,” wrote Andrew Stephen, on the company’s official Facebook page months ago. “They expired my domain 9 months before it was due then won’t respond to my open support ticket, my repeated phone calls, email or via Facebook or twitter.

“When I logged the original call their site said 27 minutes to respond, it’s been over 4 hours and I’ve heard nothing.”

Tony Duffy posted about the struggling company writing:

“BEWARE SCAM! These guys are scammers. Taken our clubs money and never reply to emails or calls. You’ve already been on fair go in 2011 and still up to your old tricks.”

Kylie Vernon wrote: “Horrific customer service – have tried to get in touch 7 TIMES via email and facebook and absolutely NO replies. All I wanted to do was start re using your service.”

That reference to ‘Fair Go’ by Duffy was a damning TVNZ Fair Go report in July 2011,  that claimed 24/7 Hosting NZ has had a history of ripping off the public, with the investigation claiming the company was even guilty of ripping off another hosting company’s website.

“And there’s something very odd about the 247Hosting website design,”speculated reporter Gordon Harcourt at the time. “It’s astonishingly similar to that of TMDHosting.com, a company based in Delaware USA. I contacted them and they say their design has been “stolen”.”

Harcourt also raised questions on ownership of 247Hosting.

“Is run by Caleb Finlay - or is it Caleb Carrington? Both names appear on Companies Office records, and we think they are the same guy, but via his lawyer it was claimed Caleb Carrington is the father. Then the story was it's a legal name change. I've tried to clarify that, but with no success.”

Now in 2014, Interestingly enough, the mysterious 24/7 FB poster is stating:

To those asking for accountability: as we have replaced the support team to work through existing support enquiries, we do not wish to subject them to personal attacks in such a passionate environment. As such, all social media/mass mail correspondence will not feature names of employees. Thank you for your understanding.

The 24/7 FB poster also responded to a comment stated:

We are very sorry to all of our customers and are working as hard as we can to make up for time lost. As mentioned, management, like our service team, is changing. We will be making announcements on new management later this week.

Given the questionable history of 24/7, its arguable just how many of the estimated 2500 clients affected by this fiasco still have any misplaced sense of economic patriotism. Scepticism maybe but allegiance.. less so.

Hostjury will be amongst the many eagerly anticipating the ‘coming clean’ announcements later this week. 24/7 clients, past and present, can share their experiences by writing a review.

HostPapa Australia 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Domain Registry is Capitalism with a Big C. How it affects your venture

Wed, 21st May 2014, 16:10

A followup to an earlier story on the new top-level domains available- we found an interesting question floating around the web that basically questions: why are domain registration so expensive? ICANN, the non-profit responsible with coordinating the global DNS, only charges 18 cents for any given domain. But the price for, say, a typical .com address is about $10.

Suck it up. It’s only ten bucks!

While the annual fee paid for ‘renting’ that domain may pale in comparison to the ransoms paid in domain auctions, or to those pesky domain squatters to initially acquire a web address, many businesses today are forced to expend small fortunes registering and renewing domain names to protect their brands. Not only are businesses peremptorily registering the dot com, dot org and dot net, but also anything else that is remotely close, along with every conceivable misspelled typo.  

As an example, Poor Webhosts are compelled not only to register the domain poorwebhosts.com, net, org, biz, along with a country specific domain ie dot us, but also to prevent a competitor from creating brand confusion, a prudent entrepreneur would register pourwebhost dot com, biz, etc. Then you need the poorwebhosting and poorhost.. then there are typo squatters so .. well you get the point. Brand protection is an expensive proposition.

So where is that money going?

The truth of that matter is that there’s a fairly interesting process going on beneath the registrar you go to for a domain name. Your $10- or $25, or $50 (editor's note: maybe hundreds.. or even thousands) as it may be with some of the newer, more inventive TLDs, is really just a big money pie, and there’s both a rhyme and a reason to the way that pie is divided.

So there’s the little ICANN fee right there, almost half of the equally small processing fee. It turns out, not much of the pie ends up going to your registrar in the first place, regardless of who they may be. The majority of that money is going straight to VeriSign- not the registrar, but the registry beneath it all.

Your registrar has its work cut out for it. First off, in order to become a registrar, you need a business with cash reserves, all of the capabilities online and ready to go, and at least five employees. Furthermore, competition is healthy. ICANN has a list of countless registrars, and none of them have real control over the market. So that healthy slab of the pie is being shaped by market forces, just as the rest of the small fees make sense in context. It’s VeriSign’s Pac-Man sized slice that boggles the mind, and if it seems excessively large to you, join the club.

You see, VeriSign is the registry- they’re in control of both the .com and .net domains. It’s a monopoly in the purest sense of the word, due to a lack of appreciation for the massive importance of domain registry back in the 90s, followed by some fumbled legal back-and-forth with ICANN. The monopoly VeriSign enjoys over the biggest TLDs on the entire internet means that for years, they’ve been able to hike up prices on .com registration, earning them an enormous war chest- we’re talking upwards of a billion dollars in yearly revenue, here.

ICANN (and consumers) won a real victory in 2012, in which VeriSign was forced to stop increasing the price of .com registry until 2018. But .net and .name still belong to VeriSign, and are set to balloon in price during that time, guaranteeing growth for the already bloated VeriSign anyway.

It’s possible that, with the last vestiges of control over the internet being relinquished by the US government, VeriSign will lose their long-enjoyed monopoly over the .com registry, and that would certain cause prices to fluctuate from competition. Along with those thousands of new TLD extensions entering the market are now alternative to the dot nets.

Regardless who you pay, You will pay

Which takes us back to Poor Webhosts. Some of these new TLD extensions are nothing more than ridiculous money grabs. Brand protection by registering multiple domains has become prohibitively expensive. It may now be cheaper to hire a lawyer, register a trademark, and enforce that mark with every clown attempting to cash in on your brand. Stealing your business, or your cash, it's the cost of doing business.

 

UK Hoster M247 acquires another competitor: UKWSD

Tue, 20th May 2014, 13:20

UK based webhost M247 is touting that it has completed the acquisition of 'UK Web Solutions Direct' (UKWSD), for what is said to be an undisclosed seven-figure sum. The all cash deal will see M247 taking over ongoing Web Hosting service agreements for in excess of 15,000 websites and allows the existing owners of UKWSD to pursue and focus on their other interests, following a period of transition.

This is the ninth acquisition for M247 over the past 10 years and represents a continuation of the company’s strategy of consolidating the UK’s highly fragmented web hosting market. (editor’s note.. a strategy shared by a number of companies.. eg: United Internet, Endurance International, and so on. Monopolies are great for companies.. not so good for consumers! ). UKWSD customers can look forwards to enjoying the benefits of M247’s experience, support team and infrastructure as well as access to the wide range of M247 products and services.

M247 Managing Director, David Buckle, says:

I’m delighted to welcome UKWSD customers to the M247 family. The team at M247 are looking forward to getting to know them and are already standing by to continue providing the very highest levels of customer support that they’ve come to expect from UKWSD.

UKWSD Director, Paul Ridge adds:

Having known and worked closely with the team at M247 over the past decade we’re confident that our valued customers are in the very best possible hands and can look forward to many more years of the trouble-free service they’re used to with UKWSD.

While that all seem fine and dandy, a quick glance at the price points of the various hosting plan offered by the two webhosts suggest a discrepancy that may not go over well with the owners of those 15,000 websites. HJ is reaching out to M247 for more details. It will also give us a chance to find out how M247 sponsorship of Joe Girling is working out!

About the Companies

M247 is a leading provider of Internet infrastructure services in Europe and operates two state-of-the-art datacentres on Trafford Park in Manchester as well as an extensive high-capacity European backbone network spanning Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, Prague, Budapest and Bucharest. M247 is a fast growing privately owned company run by the original founding directors. The company has over 10 years’ experience of designing, deploying and managing complex Web Hosting platforms for some of the world’s largest website.

UKWSD has been providing a premium UK web hosting service since 2001. As their reputation has grown so has the customer base with the majority of our new customers coming through recommendations.

PHP hosting UK

eApps and 4T Networks merger: Same Philosophy. Stronger Team

Mon, 19th May 2014, 16:47

eApps and 4T Networks turned heads recently with their merger, resulting in a much more robust eApps taking on the clientele and ongoing projects of 4T. We wanted to get a little insight into the merger, and see what it meant for the trajectory of the two companies. So we sat down with Richard Lingsch, President of eApps, and got to know a little bit about the two companies, and how they plan to move forward.

HJ: What led up to the merger? Was there a particular shared quality that made eApps and 4T Networks compatible?

Richard Lingsch: eApps and 4T Networks have a long standing relationship. Both companies have a data center presence in the same facility in Atlanta and have collaborated on projects over the years. Both companies share the same philosophies in terms of delivering high quality services and going above and beyond the call of duty for customers. We knew that combining our services would be a good fit, but more importantly knew that combining our personnel would result in a much stronger team.

HJ: eApps has always appeared to be an enterprise-oriented service. Now combined with 4T Networks, is eApps an option for smaller developers, or is it still focused on serving larger-scale outfits?

Richard Lingsch: Actually both companies server a wide range of customers, from developers to enterprise customers. The eApps Cloud service has a very low entry level price, less than $15 per month for a virtual cloud server, and serves over 5,000 customers in more than 125 countries. 4T Networks offers VPS hosting for the lot to medium market and a VMware service that is geared toward Enterprise customers. Our plan is twofold. First, we will continue to position the eApps OnApp based Cloud service for a world-wide base of developers, SMBs and organizations seeking a semi-managed service at a lower price point than a RackSpace or similar provider. Second, we will leverage our VMware service to serve more customers seeking a complete, well supported, Enterprise grade VMware environment, again with a value proposition that is much more favorable than what is offered by the large service providers.

HJ: What does 4T Networks bring to the future of eApps?

Richard Lingsch: A stronger team and the VMware Enterprise grade service.

HJ: Will the 4T Networks brand continue to operate, or will its customers be rolled into eApps directly?

Richard Lingsch: The company will continue under the eApps brand.

HJ: The press release discusses 4T Network’s promising Create-a-Cloud service. How will the new eApps use this service to grow as a business?

Richard Lingsch: Create-a-Cloud was developed by eApps and is a registered trademark of eApps Hosting. 4T Networks customers that are not on the VMware service will have the opportunity to take advantage of the eApps Cloud service, using the Create-A-Cloud tools. eApps, with the assistance of 4T Networks staff is currently in the process of improving the Create-A-Cloud service to make it easier to use, and with even more predictable pricing. Our products and services group is also working on new ways to leverage the Create-A-Cloud concept, to simplify the use of the Cloud service even further, make it easier to install and use middle-ware application services, while at the same time offering more sophisticated tools for resource planning and management and enhanced security.

HJ: What is the timeframe on the merger? How are things progressing for both companies?

Richard Lingsch: The merger has been completed, we are now one entity called eApps Hosting. The integration of our network and administrative systems is proceeding well and with great care so as to minimize impact on our customers.

About eApps

Since 1996, eApps Hosting has evolved into a premier provider of application hosting services. The company's staff are experts on some of the most widely used applications, which are delivered and managed using a powerful web based administration interface. Our technical expertise initially focused on Java Application Servers (Tomcat, GlassFish, JBoss, Liferay Portal) for web applications, and relational databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL). Over the years our technical skills have expanded to cover other leading programming technologies and frameworks including PHP with Zend Framework, Ruby on Rails, and Groovy and Grails. We also provide support for widely used Content Management System (CMS) applications, including Joomla!, WordPress, and Drupal.

Crazy Domains offers $100 credit for losing client's data

Mon, 19th May 2014, 12:54

Australian web host Crazy Domains has a crazy vision of " Providing simple, innovative and affordable online products and services that change lives", all for a crazy low prices that start at $2.39. Crazy Domains is now offering a relatively small number of customers $100 to compensate for losing their web hosting data. (editor's note.. that's crazy!)

Crazy Domains, which is owned by Dubai business Dreamscape Networks, has sent out an email stating that “due to an unforseen incident in a storage upgrade the data from your hosting account has unfortunately been irretrievably lost”.

18 out of a possible 100 Australian clients using the particular server were affected by the incident and Crazy Domains is in the process of re-allocating their data to a new storage system with "enhanced" capabilities.

While data backup remains the responsibility of the customer with hosting services, the company’s engineers had been working tirelessly and around the clock with the storage vendors to try and recover this data.

However, I am sorry to say in this instance the relevant backups were also damaged, and I regret that our engineers have not been successful in their efforts to restore the lost data.

It’s never easy to say sorry, or to break bad news, but it’s our policy to always be upfront and honest with you.

While some may suggest that offering $100 for losing all the data is an insult, clients with a backup are likely rubbing their hands in glee! The reality is that few webhosts (if any) don't explicatively state in their terms of service that offsite back up of data is the responsibility of clients. Depending on the webhost, Service Level Agreements (SLA) wll also provide varying amounts of compensation for any downtime but is usually limited to a month of free service. Historically many webhosts have offered a free year of service as a goodwill gesture. Crazy Domains offer of a $100 credit (considering their plan pricing) is quite generous.

The moral of the story: clients are responsible for their own data backups. The reality: most people don't take their responsibility seriously! 

 

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Death is life's way of telling you you're fired. The Deadpool

Wed, 7th May 2014, 10:47

Time for another deadpool already! 2014 marches on, and not everyone has been able to keep up. April was a relatively light month… What's that adage, April showers bring May flowers! Could be a sign that the webhost mortality rate is on the decline. Probably not, all things considered.

 

CubicWebs

Notice on CubicWebs homepage says the company is going out of business  

You know, as much fun as we poke at hosts that go bust, we have to take a minute to appreciate the way CubicWebs has handled it. After clear signs of danger to come, they stopped taking on new customers, sent out notices well in advance of closing, and now they’ve finally gone. Hats off for going out with dignity.

 

SmackHunt

Tips for new hosting providers: try to pick a name for your service that isn’t a euphemism for ‘heroin search’. Most of the slack will be picked up by sister provider HorseFind, we hear. Customers are apparently really addicted.

 

HostPany

“HostPany will save you big and teach you things over the competition.” Well sign me up! They also promise a FREE ebook that teaches how to make a living online! Holy crap, what a deal! I wonder if they can connect us to some Nigerian princes who need to move money around. Guess we’ll never know.

 

Broadline Networks

Broadline went out of business, we can assume, for wasting a perfectly good name for a phone dating service. “Hello, welcome to Broadline. What type of broad can we connect you to today?” Nobody better steal that idea. We’ll sue the crap out of you.

 

TronicHost

TWO letters. TWO measly letters away from all the chronic jokes we could cram into one deadpool, all for a company that folded right around 4/20. Thanks for nothing, TronicHost. Tell you what, this is one tough job sometimes.

 

FiberVolt

Quiet on Twitter, quiet on Facebook. These guys melted into the ether without a peep. From their service description: “The hosting market is over-saturated with companies appearing and disappearing everyday.” And how!

 

Enotchnetworks

For quite some time these guys have been taking a pounding on that forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased hosting reviews on the web jargon.  Structural problems can topple even a relatively old host, and it seems like the attrition finally got to these guys.

 

Apple Domains

Oh my gosh, Apple went out of business? How?! They just won their court case against Samsung and everything, how could they h… oh. Apple Domains.in. Ohhhh India. That’s not the same fruit at all.

 

HostDoes

A host is as a host does, and right now this host doesn’t resolve, so you should probably get your services elsewhere.

 

Barak Hosting

Oh sure, just go and close on us right when we need hosting services. That’s totally fine. Thanks, Obama.

 

Looking for a new webhost. Choose wisely and read the reviews! 

Web Hosting

Live Chat Anyone; GoDaddy ditches email support.

Tue, 6th May 2014, 18:01

Although GoDaddy has made tremendous strides to enhance their image, it's safe to say they're not the world’s most beloved host. GoDaddy is like the McDonald’s of hosting. Totally ubiquitous, massively over-marketed, and with a product that generally satisfies consumers with as basic as service as they can manage.

Because there’s safety in numbers, right? GoDaddy, being one of the largest players in the game, at the very least offers all the benefits of highly funded, totally established webhosting… right? Well, not so fast. As of last month, and completely without notice to their customers, GoDaddy dropped a feature one might expect to be standard for any hosting provider: email support.

Using Twitter and other forms of direct communication with its client base, GoDaddy confirmed that email support had been phased out in favor of “better support options, such as Live Chat.” It’s a mindboggling decision, to be sure. Anyone with any familiarity with live chat support will know that it doesn’t always quite cut it when it comes to the complex issues relevant to hosting support. While email provides clear, easily accessed archives of discussion, chat relies on active participation and web browsers to work. (editor's thought.. how often has a support request been sent while running out the door.. or hitting the hay?)

The worst problem with chat, of course, is that it puts the burden on the customer. We made three attempts to contact GoDaddy via their chat feature. The first, chat was inexplicably unavailable. With no email support, we’d have to hope in that case that whatever the problem was could be resolved via the phone. The second, our estimated wait was an astonishing 50 minutes. Patiently, we awaited a support representative, who… never came. An hour passed, and we disconnected without hearing back. The third time we decided to wait until sometime late, hoping that avoiding peak hours would offer the opportunity for quicker support. We were told to brace for a brief eight minute wait, which seems pretty reasonable until you realize that’s for 1AM in the morning. Minutes ticked by, and then… Our estimated wait time is eight minutes. Okay, so that’s not that bad, something got gummed up, we can wait another… Our estimated wait time is ten minutes.

Ultimately, we never received any support from GoDaddy, despite waiting for an absolutely excessive amount of time. The consequence is that for many users, this isn’t just a removal of email support, it’s a removal of any and all support that isn’t phone-based. And the telephone support that is offered warns of regular half hour waiting period before support can be received.

The bottom line is that there is rarely a benefit in removing features, especially something as basic and critical as email support. Customers shouldn’t be expected to make time for GoDaddy- a service-oriented provider should make time for its customers. At least give clients a pay to play option!

The importance of GoDaddy means there could be far wider consequences for this feature removal than just the GoDaddy site itself. MediaTemple, for example, was recently acquired by GoDaddy. The question has to be asked, what does this mean for the future of email support there, also?

We've contacted Media Temple (mt) (editor's note.. Nick should have used the live chat!) to get their take on the matter.

30% off new products now at GoDaddy!

Did Automattic just sell its soul

Mon, 5th May 2014, 19:22

Writing on his blog MA.TT, Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic (the company behind Wordpress) leads off the post with “I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M”. Matt continues that it’s the first investment into the company since 2008.

Not long ago Matt wrote that “Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.”

So in January after eight years at the helm of Automattic, Toni Schneider and Matt Mullenweg switched roles, allowing Schneider to focus on Automattic’s new products, while Mullenweg would oversee the running of the company. At the time Matt stated it was more ceremonial as their roles had always been fluid. What a difference a few months make!

 
 
The 100-day plan
 
Now Matt ‘admits’ that he may have been hasty with some of those aforementioned quotes:  
 
I was wrong, but I didn't realize it until I took on the CEO role in January. Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also our cash position wasn't going to be terribly strong especially after a number of infrastructure and product investments this and last year.
 
So part of my 100-day plan as CEO was to figure out what new funding could look like and we found a great set of partners who believe in our vision for how the web should be and how we can scale into the opportunity ahead of us, though it ended up taking 110 days until the first close. (Our other main areas of focus have been improving mobile, a new version of WP.com, and Jetpack.) 
 
The round of financing was led by Deven Parekh of Insight Venture, as well as some new investors that included Chris Sacca and Endurance, (editor’s note.. Endurance is the mega-host Endurance International Group.. owner of webhosting brands everywhere!), and a ‘special vehicle’ made up of long time backers True Ventures and the existing secondary investors from last year, Tiger and Iconiq. (There is a second close soon so this list might change a bit.)

 

Crystal Ball Time

 

Matt Mullenweg states:

WordPress is in a market as competitive as it has ever been, especially on the proprietary and closed side. He believes WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. (editors note: I’m sure some Drupal fans somewhere would disagree)

Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing. But a majority of the web isn’t on an open platform yet, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. 

 

Back to it!

Despite some wannabe wordpress competitors like Weebly, Squarespace, and Medium raising some serious cash, wordpress still continues to power, more or less, 25% of the websites on the internet. While Matt Mullenweg is undoubtedly a purist in his quest to ensure an open web, (as are the countless evangelists of the wp platform), it remains to be seen whether the investors and shareholders surrounding the company he has built from the ground share that same vision…

(the editor ponders one last time: One of the webhosting company’s recommended by Wordpress is BlueHost. Possibly that will change now Mega-host Endurance International Group owns a piece of the Automattic pie. )

“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?”

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

 

Despite the hard times Dayana Host keeps it classy

Mon, 5th May 2014, 12:10

Canadian webhoster Dayana Host’s company profile claimed that ‘they have always strived to be the best and the most cost efficient at providing the internet community with premium web hosting and outstanding customer care’. Dayana Host offered budget web hosting as well as premium plans.

Screenshot of the Dayana Host website 

The reason for the past tense in the prior paragraph is that as of May 30, 2014, Dayana Host will close the doors.. and unplug the servers! The notice displayed on the company website homepage shares some of the reasons

For the past 11 years, we served hosting services to our loyal clients and did our best to keep the service going, up to date and supported. However, due to financial situations we are unable to continue the service. Production of all hosting services of Dayana Host has already stopped. We keep all the accounts active and working until Friday, May 30th, 2014 11:59 PM PDT and then all hosting services will be shut down, that includes Reseller Accounts, Business Accounts, Personal Accounts and all Say5 and Unlimited Plans.

In past 6 month, we tried very hard to find a new home for all the accounts, although some companies/individuals offered us some beyond expectation deals, but we decided to not take them simply because we do not want to jeopardize billing information and priceless site contents of thousands of clients who trusted us for the past decade. We do not have affiliation or experience with any provider; therefore we cannot recommend any of them.

The notice reassures clients that even though the company itself will cease operation, domain registration will remain active for at least 3 years so clients can renew or transfer the domain to another registrar. Although Dayana Host is not able to provide refunds on paid service, they are offering full refunds to any client making a payment in the last 30 days. 

The people at Dayana Host offer clients one last piece of advice that’s hard to argue with:
 
Please take your time to research new hosting providers and select the one who can meet your technical and financial requirements. 

Finding and migrating to a new webhost does have its potential pitfalls. Call us bias but we like to think HostJury is a good place to start!

When any company closes it is easy to overlook the emotional effects on the compatriots who have more often than not, poured their lives into building and running the entity. It is well documented the numerous times webhost just close the doors with no notice to clients, often with no way to retrieve their data let alone domains. In a dark moment Dayana Host has kept it both classy and professional. Hats off to that!

Web Hosting

Fused’s ‘Learn to Code’ Initiative.

Fri, 2nd May 2014, 17:08

Much like the cell phone industry, webhosting companies are infamous for regurgitating an endless parade of repackaged same old same old hoopla, hoping to lure away some penny pinching Monty Burns type from the competition, or maybe just catch some unsuspecting refugee fleeing from one of their other brands.

So when Fused Network started offering a $100 account credit to any Fused customer who completes either the PHP or CSS/HTML courses at Codeacademy, we had to take a closer look, if only to alleviate the tedium of predictability we suffer on a daily basis.

We sat down with Fused CEO and founder David McKendrick to get his perspective on why this is such a good idea, and the increasing importance of coding literacy today and in the future. Also keep in mind that whether you’re a Fused member or not, Codeacademy offers free coding lessons for a number of applications and languages. It’s never too late to start learning!

 

HJ: Please tell us a bit about Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative.

 

David J: I came up with the idea after I completed the PHP course on codecademy myself; It wasn't long before I got extremely excited over the newfound skillset I was wielding almost immediately to make my life easier.

Over the past number of years, I was personally spending an increasing amount of my time finding developers for various projects at Fused. Not being intimate with coding firsthand for the past few decades really limited me, even in hiring. The truth is that as the internet and technology continues to become even more predominate in our lives, learning to code only becomes more & more relevant.

The insight it can offer someone in just our everyday lives is astounding, and, not to sound cliche, but it truly does open up a world of possibilities. To put that in more relatable terms: It's like knowing how to fix a car might come in handy when you're car shopping, or on the side of the road with a busted fuse; Being familiar with housing construction (& even basic remodeling) while you're in the search to select a home for your family, or, fixing that pesky leak that keeps you awake at night. That very knowledge gives you an immense amount of power in avoiding pitfalls with a leaky roof, or, helping you launch the next facebook.

Imagine being able to look at some new project in your own daily work from that new perspective. Knowing how to code is almost like a sixth sense, and if you don't know how to already: Learn! :)

 

HJ: You’re offering $200 in credit to any users who complete Codecademy’s PHP and HTML/CSS courses. We’re willing to bet that the end result of that process is worth more than $200 per user. Are we right? How does widespread programming literacy benefit Fused as a business?

 

David J: It would be of an immense value, but, part of the reasoning is sincerely just to get our clientbase to try new things. Knowing firsthand that many of them wrangle with their websites constantly, I can see value in each of them getting a better idea of how the internals of them work. I can go back to that car example -- if you're a driver, knowing how to change your tire, oil, and windshield wipers could save you an awful lot of hassle. And, it puts things in perspective -- you might have a better idea whether a project is feasible, or, at least how much work is required to get something operational.

A client might suddenly put down the idea to try to build another facebook in three days, but, they could instead build some tool or code snippet that's extremely relevant for their industry (or clients), helping separate them from your competition. Knowing how to code opens up a massive realm of possibilities, and, I want them to see that.

 

HJ: There’s an ever-increasing integration of software into our daily lives, but so far it doesn’t seem like there’s a truly concerted effort to make programming more than an elective in secondary education. To what extent is that even sustainable?

 

David J: That might hold true today in most respects, but, I'm seeing constant iniatives outside & inside schools that seem to acknowledge just how relevant it is for the next generation to know some of these firsthand. There's a number just here in Chattanooga, where we recently moved Fused (An unrelated note: For their fantastic gigabit internet to every household -- think google fiber, but, on a county-wide scale). The last generation got to pave a technological runway for the next generation to take off, and there is honestly no time more exciting than now.

An example of external organizations taking the initiative: Our local library here in Chattanooga offers free access to great resources for coding, like treehouse, another website dedicated to learning to code: All with just a library card. While the local school system might sorely lack the ample resources, the local community seems to be taking the helm and making up for any slack and I've seen that firsthand in many communities and cities.

 

HJ: If someone is hesitating on becoming code literate, it’s not unreasonable to suspect it’s because they don’t see the application that such literacy could have in their daily lives. What would you tell them to spark that desire to learn?

 

David J: In the same way that knowing how to cook, or paint, or pickup a hammer & nail and build something, gives you insight into what you're eating, or the potential of an empty room, or, that next fun home project, simply adds unlimited possibilities to your daily life. Imagine being able to see every new problem as a potential project, and a fun way to expand your horizons from a technological perspective. With greatest sincerity, I urge everyone to give it a few hours of their time. Hold off on that television show, here's something you can learn from your couch that'll change your life.

 

HJ: Do you have any larger plans to leverage Fused as an entity towards better programming literacy for all?

 

David J: I think just being a good citizen on the internet involves making sure education is a key role in our organization. I know that as someone with a small team working for me, making sure that they continue to expand their skillset, horizons & possibilities to give them a huge advantage, in their careers and in their own lives. I sincerely hope every client takes us up on our offer, and, like I did not more than a week ago, learns to code.

 

Conclusion

A code monkey is defined in the Urban dictionary as an affectionate term for a specific kind of underpaid, overworked (often by volition), increasingly underappreciated indentured servant, otherwise known as a Software Programmer. While the Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative is not likely to change that, it may at least give site owners a greater appreciation of the contributions made by the developers and programmers around us. 

 

About Fused  

Fused is a leading provider of web hosting offering first class support, uptime & performance for personal & business clients in over 65 countries around the world.
Bootstrapped and cashflow positive since day one. We still have our very first client and although our offerings & team have changed slightly over the years we've continued to strive to ensure every client is thoroughly satisfied.
Fused has a goal of partnering with each and every client as though they're investors in us & we in them. We truly wish to see each and every one of our clients succeed & we take every opportunity available to assist.

 

Hackers Blackmail Web Host AlfaNet

Mon, 28th April 2014, 21:24

The Rex Mundi hackers twitter feed is almost humorous in a twisted sort of way. Recently they tweeted a job offer for one firm after claiming to have hacked into the company’s servers. Talk about rubbing salt in open wounds! 

JOB OFFER: Habeas.be is looking for an IT sec expert (m/f). Competitive salary and benefits. Extremely URGENT!

eSecurity Planet is reporting that the group’s latest exploit has targeted the Belgian Web hosting company AlfaNet. (editor's note: with numerous variants of AlfaNet on the interwebs, HJ would like to clarify this one is using the domain http://www.alfahosting.be).

The hackers claim to have stolen AlfaNet’s client data and are threatening to publish the entire customer database if a ransom of 15,000 Euros wasn't paid by the end of the day on April 25, 2014.

To prove that they had the data, the hackers have published a list of databases and tables, along with samples of customer data, including name, e-mail addresses, phone number, address, VAT number, login and hashed password.

"Alfanet has two more days to pay us 15,000 Euros," the hackers wrote at the time. "Unfortunately, so far, they did not reply to our emails. We hope that they will decide to protect their customers before the deadlines expires on Friday evening. If no money is received on Friday evening, we will post their entire database and we will directly attack some of their customers."

On April 25, they published a list of approximately 12,000 customers' names, writing,

"We have decided to give them an additional 24 hours to do the right thing and protect their customers. Below are the names of all of the people whose data is in our possession. If Alfa Hosting still has not agreed to meet our demands by tomorrow evening, we will publish their contact data, login and passwords."

As no further information had been released. HostJury has reached out to Alfanet for comment but we’re not holding our breath.

 

Web Hosting

Sacre.blue! Government of Quebec loses dispute over Quebec.com

Fri, 25th April 2014, 17:20

In an interesting bit of hosting-related case law, the government of Quebec has lost a naming dispute over the relatively easy to remember Quebec.com, failing to convince the court that the squatters currently parked on the domain (they’ve turned it into an unspectacular sponsored search list) nabbed it from them in ‘bad faith’, meaning with the intent to deceive users into thinking they represented the government, or that it constitutes ‘reverse domain hijacking’, citing an earlier case which established that merely typing the name of a place into one’s browser does not constitute an expectation that what they’ll find will be official.

It’s pretty embarrassing for the government of Quebec, of course, but it sounds like the right decision. Top level domains like .coms are increasingly barren for newcomers of all kinds. The crowding of the most popular TLDs impacts more than just provincial governments, and many of these competing interests have been around for a long, long time- the decision cited a failure on the part of Quebec’s government to raise a complaint in the last 15 years.

But never fear, digital Quebecois! On the heels of this decision comes the launch of a whole lot of new top level domains!You can find a list of what’s now available right here. There are some interesting extensions available.

Of course, one of the more interesting aspects of new TLDs is their ability to be appended into phrases that are appealingly easy to think of. There are very few notable websites from Libya, but .ly is such an effective domain extension that just about every word you can string together with the extension has been snapped up already. There’s nothing quite that compact in the new offerings, but there’s more than a few interesting options.

There’s quite a few trade-specific options: .education, .florist, .builders, that sort of thing. Trademark owners might want to take these options seriously: there’s currently a grace period where you can get in before the public if this applies to you. .guru and .cheap sound like the future of a lot of advertisement portals. No doubt an enterprising summer host will take the opportunity to create the ultimate doppleganger by registering name.cheap. We’re taking bets on how long until we’ve got that one in a deadpool article.

Some of the options are a little off kilter… we’re not sure what to do with .sexy, but we can imagine people will figure out something. Some lucky travel site is going to claim bon.voyage, which seems like the only reason that TLD even exists. .ninja doesn’t seem very practical, but at least it’s more interesting than .lighting.

Anyway, hopefully these new options will soften the blow for the good people of Quebec. After all, Quebec.today sounds like a pretty upbeat address for a website. Or Quebec.buzz.

One thing is for sure: the provincial government of Quebec, and anyone else who wants to take advantage of all these new TLDs, should probably not wait 15 years to try to claim one.

iWeb Technologies Inc.