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Amazon's moves into China. Offers new Geostriction Service

Mon, 23rd December 2013, 17:27

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been implementing a new feature that allows users to select border restrictions on the content given out from its cloud services. Cloud Front, the content distribution service from AWS, now has an option to only allow certain countries or a bunch of countries to access your content. This is to ensure that there is no unwanted access to those files by any rogue nation, and can be cloaked in privacy. With this service, you can also choose the places that Cloud Front will be willingly able to deliver the goods. The end choice of the delivery of the products will rest in your hands.

Amazon Web Services also made the news this past week with the announcement that it will be launching a limited preview of its service in China. This is to tackle the growing popularity of Alibaba and its partner networks in the world's most populated country. Prior to this announcement, people in China wanting to use AWS were forced to use AWS servers from other regions like Europe, South America, etc. With the introduction of this service in China, and collaborating with local networks already located there, AWS is going to go one up over its competition.

AWS Geostriction service will be highly beneficial to users that would like to restrict their content to specific regions. User will also have the ability to create a custom 403 page, explaining to the end user on the unavailability of the product in their country. The best feature about this service is that it is free. No need to apply for third party geo-filtering services, and end up paying a bountiful amount to them.

Geolocation,geo-filtering, geo-blocking, or geo-ip-filtering software,(whatever you want to call it) has provided companies a simple way of complying with legal prohibitions dealing with certain countries (ie Iran or North Korea). But it's popularity extends much further. Under development since the late nineties, the first patents for Geolocation were granted in 2004. The technology has gained wide spread adoption in multiple industries, including e-commerce, banking, media, education, travel, hospitality, entertainment, health care, online gaming and in law enforcement, for preventing online fraud, complying with regulations, managing digital rights and serving targeted marketing with content and pricing. Additionally, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission(FCC) has proposed that geolocation software might be leveraged to support 9-1-1 location determination for voip applications.

 

Geofiltering: How to Alienate Business Customers Without Really Trying

While filtering locations may serve a purpose in targeted marketing or complying with legal requirements, as anyone who has ever tried to watch a legally acquired DVD with a region code that differs from the one on your DVD player, there is always a chance you will alienate the market that will float your boat in the coming years. Historically speaking, when users in a global marketplace try to access your product and get that customized 403 page.. they could just look elsewhere. Then again, where there is a will there’s a way. Geo-dodging has become easier than ever. But that article is for another day.. or maybe another website!

 

What Geolocation Isn't

While some enterprising types may possibly see geolocation as a medium to circumvent American laws, it should be noted that companies with an America foothold, (even in the most remote sense) are considered subject to American law. All data hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their servers anywhere in the world is subject to American laws including those copyright laws in the land of America.

Hostway acquisition is all about growth.

Tue, 17th December 2013, 17:12

Private investment firm Littlejohn & Co has announced the acquisition of Hostway Corporation. Hostway, a global leader in Web hosting, brings proven Web presence management to over 400,000 500,000 customers worldwide. Hostway's services, designed for personal users, small and medium businesses and enterprises, include domain name registration, Web hosting, Ecommerce Web hosting, Web design, online marketing, email, dedicated servers and colocation…. yada yada yada 

Hostway President John Martis states in the press release: 

We are extremely pleased to partner with Littlejohn and gain access to additional resources to help us grow our managed, cloud and web hosting businesses. The Littlejohn Team has deep experience growing businesses across a variety of industries and can help us further differentiate our offerings and build on our customer base. 

Martis then writes on the Hostway company blog:

 

Valued Hostway customers, I write to you with exciting news about the future of Hostway.

Private investment firm Littlejohn & Co. has become the majority investor in Hostway Corporation, and joins us in our continuing objective to provide world-class, hosted IT solutions to a broad customer and partner base. Hostway’s management team will immediately begin to put their investment to work for you.

As decision-makers at businesses of all sizes, you will understand the importance of adaptation to the growth potential of any company. Hostway views this transition as an immense opportunity to create an unparalleled user experience, while continuing to improve and reinforce all of our current services. Our new partners at Littlejohn & Co. will enable us to aim higher than previously possible. We owe this opportunity to further grow Hostway to you – our customers and partners. Our relationships with you contributed greatly to Littlejohn & Co.’s decision to invest so heavily in Hostway’s future. 

 

Change is good… right  

 

The blog post states that clients will experience no change to the flexible, scalable and affordable solutions they already receive from Hostway. Data and hardware will not be moved. Support and account contacts are the same. That Hostway's goals in this regard remain unchanged: still striving to offer tailored customer solutions through a broad portfolio of managed, cloud, web and email hosting services, and support them as efficiently as anyone in the business. And that the client's needs inform their every decision and influence each step forward.

 

So if nothing changes, why the announcement? 

Hostway John Morris points out that …

Littlejohn & Co. is a private investment firm focused on investing in companies that can benefit from operational and strategic support as they confront change in their industry, operations or ownership. Since 1995, Littlejohn & Co. has invested over $2 billion in 30 companies in a variety of industries and has helped these businesses achieve their growth objectives. They have significant experience investing in and professionalizing founder-owned businesses. Hostway represents a significant investment for Littlejohn, and they will work closely with us to significantly grow the company.

First and foremost, growth: Hostway’s operations, product offerings, sales and marketing efforts will expand and upgrade. As Morris says ”Hostway clients have no one to thank but themselves for this opportunity to further grow… for you” (editors note.. okay so that wasn’t an exact quote rather a collection!)

Hostway has created a page to answer any further questions about the transition FAQ, and one question in particular stood out from the rest: What will happen to Hostway executives that founded the company?

The Answer) Most will remain active supporters and shareholders within Hostway moving forward. Many have been offered and accepted positions on the Hostway Board of Directors. Most but not all..

Michael Kaplan, Managing Director of Littlejohn & Co. said:

Tremendous demand for traditional outsourced IT solutions and emerging demand for Software and Platform as a Service is fueling the growth of the hosting industry. Hostway serves as a great platform to capitalize on this opportunity due to its unique hosting platform, world class customer service and robust data center infrastructure. We look forward to working with Hostway's management to accelerate growth by continued investment in Hostway's technology platform, enhancing its sales and marketing efforts and selectively making acquisitions targeted at enhancing the customer experience.   

This acquisition is all about growth. Valued Hostway customers.. Growth in the webhosting industry can mean many thing and it's not always good! Littlejohn will serve as an active shareholder and board of directors in support of the Company's plan to capitalize on the tremendous demand for hosted IT solutions.

About Hostway

Hostway delivers customized Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Cloud solutions, a robust suite of web presence and web optimization solutions, hosted exchange and a variety of other value-added applications and services in customizable managed, shared, cloud or hybrid environments. 

 

 

Your website sucks so lets blame your webhost!

Mon, 16th December 2013, 21:58

Unless you've been living under rock for the past few months, you've probably been acquainted with the unmitigated disaster that was the Healthcare.gov rollout. Over the course of these excruciating months, just about everything has been used to explain the collapse of the project: most recently, the discussion has focused on hosting.

HostJury tries to remain neutral and allow users to critique the webhosts but occasionally we are known to make observations (editor's note: okay so define occasional). So there's evidence that Hewlett-Packard dropped the ball when it came to their readiness for the surge of new visitors. But is that really the key issue here?

There are any number of things that can go wrong in the course of creating and maintaining a website. It's easy enough to blame your woes on a poor host, but you have to understand that sometimes, when your website sucks- it might just be your fault. Let's look at some of the ways Healthcare.gov failed independent of its host.

1. No cohesion

Two blind men are are in a room with an elephant. "It's a snake!' says the first man, touching the trunk. "No, it's a tree," says the second, hands around one of the legs. The elephant ends up stomping them in the next midterm elections.

One of the central problems with Healthcare.gov is that it was created piece by piece, with little or no communication from one contractor to the next. This is rarely a good way to put together any sort of project, much less a complicated site at the very heart of a key policy initiative. The whole is more than the sum of all its parts. When you put together any site that intends to do more than one thing, it's critical that you get all the features working AND working together.

2. How Not to Save Face

Not all of the problems in website design are structural- its unquestionable that one of the failings of the Healthcare.gov website was simply a failure to communicate. Henry Chau's July emails reveal an entirely justified terror at the project's fortitude, and yet the very day after airing those concerns, Chau appeared in front of Congress, under oath, to say that things were going well.

It's far too simplistic to blame Chau primarily, of course. The entire situation reeks of expectations trumping the truth. If your website is a project that involves the delegation of tasks, it's incredibly important that the people you're working for feel entirely comfortable with their errors. Websites are fragile things. You should expect them to break over and over again before they truly work. The inability or the unwillingness to admit systematic issues with the website turned what could've been a mildly embarrassing delay into a defining mistake of an entire presidency.

3. On Checking Your Work

A deadline is a wonderful thing, of course, for keeping projects in line. No one could imagine doing without them, but the example of Healthcare.gov should clue observers in to a simple fact: lack of adequate time for testing is just as good as planning to fail. When things go wrong, it's easy to blame something nebulous, especially when you haven't put in the hours necessary to find out what the problems are on your end.

In summary, before you think of blaming your webhost, consider the structural areas in which your own website design might have flaws. And before it gets to that point, go about your projects in a way that accepts criticism, that budgets itself time for improvement, and that has a clear avenue of oversight, so that all the pieces fit in with one another.

Webhost Death Pool. A Holiday Tradition

Mon, 16th December 2013, 17:01

With Al Gore's global warming taking a hiatus and Christmas just days away, we figured it was a good time to take take a break from shoveling snow and check out some yuletide traditions.

No one has their Christmas more steeped in ritual than Finnish families. After all, Finland does boast that it's the home country of Santa Claus.... contrary to what those people in Greenland say. The festivities start with a morning sauna. Then there is the traditional breakfast before heading out to the town’s declaration of Christmas peace at noon. Sounds good so far. After lunch, the house is cleaned and the tree is decorated. But then things get a little grim when the kids are bundled up and the family marches out to the graveyard at 6 ‘o clock. In a practice that mirrors the Latino Day of the Dead, Finns visit dead family members to leave candles and reflect. This way, every family member gets to partake in the Christmas festivities...

Some Lithuanians get into the Christmas spirit by preparing a special dish assigned to the souls of dead ancestors. Kûèia (either a stew or a loaf of bread depending where you live) is carried three times around the house before being placed on the table. The eldest family member goes outside to invite "the souls of the ancestors, the cold, the wind and bees to eat together". Being a family feast, everyone is expected to participate in it. Sometimes a glass of beer is set in the place where the dead member used to sit....

The Irish like to get together and have a reading of “The Dead”. The short story from James Joyce’s collection “Dubliners” tells the tale of a group of Dubliners gathered together for a Christmas celebration of the banality and magic in life and death. The tale has rather become like an Irish version of “The Christmas Carol”. A tale of reflection on the past, present and future of Ireland!

Poles apart from the aforementioned customs, HostJury prefers to see off those dearly departed (webhosts that is), by writing deadpool posts...Unlike Dickens's Christmas Carol, we have little hope of a transformation as experienced by Ebeneezer Scrooge. In fact, we have no expectations at all. Without further adieu, the thrilling conclusion to the two-part November deadpool.

Hostbig.net

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so what does that say about Hostbig.com, the very much alive predecessor to this late Indian knockoff? We can be fairly certain that the original is better, mainly because a casual search for Hostbig.net reveals a treasure trove of hosting horror stories.

I'm sure the loss is devastating to the unrelated Hostbig.com. They got such good free publicity out of the deal, you know?

Holdfire Network

Holdfire? With endless service complaints, a big fat F from the BBB and now a complete collapse of services? Looks like somebody finally pulled the trigger.

ProtoIP

'Not all hosting providers are created equal,' boasts the defunct page for this impossible to google company. We at HostJury hold these truths to be self-evident. As for me, I regret that I have but one article to make fun of this hosting company.

Hagio Host

A hagiography is a quasi-historical biography on the lives of saints. It retells their miracles, their theological positions, and their virtues. A biography of HagioHost sounds something like this: they gave a few years of mediocre proxy hosting before selling out to MellowHost. Amen. I get that this Francis guy is progressive, but are we really expecting canonization here?

Godolph Hosting

This little known service was named for none other than Godolph Hitler, Adolf's older, surprisingly good natured brother. Much like the man himself, we have to appreciate Godolph's complete lack of participation in any form of imperial conquest or ethnic cleansing, but, like their namesake, it just wasn't enough to save them.

Elixir Hosting

The tragic story of this hosting service? They spilled the elixir all over their servers. Talk about killing two birds with one stone, except the birds are like, your livelihood, or something. I don't know. This analogy got away from me.

CloudBeast

CloudBeast? Really? What a sweet name for a company. At HostJury, we like to remind all of our readers that the number one rule for choosing a hosting service is: the best hosts sound like they can beat the crap out of all the other hosts. Clearly, there was a bigger fish.

BE Servers

To be or not to be? That was the question. The answer is a 403 page on their defunct website.

Unlimited Megabytes

Much like unlimited power, unlimited authority and unlimited breadsticks, the sheer excess is what corrupted this once noble site into obsolescence. If I were a talk radio host, I'm sure I could relate this to the inevitable moral decay of American society. No more Unlimited Megabytes?! Thanks, Obama.

GateHost

'Tired of numerous server outages or bad customer support?' asks GateHost's hook. 'We offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee...' Until now! In the words of a learned scholar, '60% of the time, it works every time.'

SysHosts

We're pretty much convinced that '99.9% uptime!' is literally code for 'we are going to die within the year' at this point.

Looking for a new webhost. Read the reviews and choose wisely!

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Websmart addresses SQL Injection Vulnerability

Thu, 5th December 2013, 17:17

Sam Bowne has been teaching computer networking and security classes at City College of San Francisco since 2000. Browne, along with his students, have been identifying and notifying administrators of vulnerable websites for several years now. The high-profile companies, universities, and government agencies contacted about vulnerabilities were polite and thankful. Browne, along with his students have also contacted hundreds of small businesses to warn them of SQL injection vulnerabilities, and although most have ignored the notifications, all respondents were friendly and grateful.

Despite the fact many companies pay bounties for receiving similar types of information, it would appear that one particular tech company has taken great exception to Sam Browne and his horde of websurfing vigilantes shining a light on a SQL injection vulnerability. 

While perusing a pastebin dump of SQLi-vulnerable websites, Sam Browne noted the "Web Site by Websmart Inc." in the footer of one page and wondered if other sites from this same developer were vulnerable. Finding more, Browne sent notifications to the administrators of eleven vulnerable sites, and to the developer… Websmart

 

The email that incensed Websmart

Sent on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2013

To: info@websmartconsulting.com

Re: Insecurity of Websites from Websmart, Inc.

Hello:

I am Sam Bowne, an instructor in Computer Networking and Information Technology at City College San Francisco.

I am writing this to inform Websmart, Inc. and several of its customers, of a critical security vulnerability in many of Websmart's websites. In particular, all these sites are vulnerable to SQL injection: (editor note: I’ve redacted the website email addresses and url’s.. not because I should rather it keeps my post shorter!)

I tested 14 Websmart websites, and 11 of them were vulnerable. Google found over 100,000 pages made by Websmart, Inc., so this is an enormous problem affecting many businesses and customers. These are all SQL Injection vulnerabilities, which make it trivial for any amateur hacker to steal your data, and often allow a hacker complete control of your servers.

Because of the number of websites affected, I don't think I can ignore this. This is by far the most important security problem I have ever discovered. So, please reply to this message and let me know what you intend to do. If I get no reply by October 12, 2013, I will pursue more drastic remedies, such as contacting news media.

The technical details of the problem, suggested fixes, and the method I used to find it are in the Appendix. Please contact me to let me know what you intend to do about this. If you have any questions, I would be happy to address them.
Thank you,
Sam Bowne
sbowne@ccsf.edu
Website: samsclass.info

------------------

Browne also included an APPENDIX to the email detailing exactly why he was examining Websmart websites, his initial test results, as well as potential solutions to alleviate the exploit vulnerability. Hostjury encourages readers to visit Sam Bowne webpage to read in greater details the contents of this appendix as well as other details we have excluded for the sake of brevity. 

 

Owen Smart Responds

Mr Bowne

I appreciate your observations and information, and we will look into this. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Of course this is something we are concerned about.

I do not appreciate you taking the liberty of contacting my clients directly. This is highly unprofessional. I do not appreciate your 'ultimatum" - nor your scare tactics that no doubt will have an impact our customers. I am very tempted to notify your superiors of this misconduct.... you have no right or authority here. You could very well damage my business with this . If that happens you will be hearing from our lawyer.

Any further correspondence on this matter may be directed to me and me alone. Like I said, I appreciate your information.... I really do, but contacting my customers directly is way out of line and I believe well outside of your mandate with your employer.

Thank you.
Owen Smart
President Websmart Inc.

After some soul searching that included contacting media outlets and a security firm, Sam Browne responded to Owen Smart

Mr. Smart:

I'm happy that you responded so quickly to my vulnerability report, and I'm sorry if I came across as threatening in any way -- it was not my intention. However, I think we got off on the wrong foot and I'd like to move forward with what we both want, which is to get these issues addressed as quickly as possible.

As far as informing your customers, I felt it was reasonable, given the fact that they have active vulnerabilities that could be impacting their own businesses and were in more direct risk of attack than your company.

Let's move forward cooperatively and work to get these issues resolved. As I mentioned, I'm happy to answer any questions you have about the vulnerabilities, and I'd be willing to test the fixes if that would help.

Looking forward to working with you cooperatively.

--Sam 

 

Websmart gets nasty

Owen Smart's Second Response to Sam Bowne... and his employer City College of San Francisco 

Dear Mr Bowne

Someone has been emailing my clients and myself, essentially interfering in my business - claiming to be you. Please see the email below. I want to confirm whether this is legitimate and if this is really coming from you Sam Bowne. As this has been highly unprofessional, I sincerely hope it is just a bad prank.
Please advise.
Thank you
Owen R. Smart
President, Websmart Inc. 

 

Owen Smart's Email to a CCSF Department Chair

From: Owen Smart Date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013
Subject: Sam Bowne
To: REDACTED
Hello REDACTED

I understand you are the Department Chair for COMPUTER NETWORKING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT at City College of San Francisco? Would you be the supervisor or authority for Mr. Sam Bowne?
I need to speak/email someone at the college to file a complaint regarding Mr. Bowne's conduct as it pertains to our business, since he is using the college's name as part of his activities.

Please advise.
Thank you
Owen R. Smart President, Websmart Inc.

 

So what's next

Rather than address the vulnerabilities raised by Sam Bowne, Websmart president Owen Smart choose instead to shoot the messenger… or at least that is the presumption conjured up by these email exchanges.

Browne’s first email disclosure did have some effect--three of the eleven sites were fixed within a few days, although the remaining eight were still vulnerable as of Oct 15, 2013, which is consistent with Browne’s previous experience--a small fraction of sites notified about SQL injections do fix them, and very few of them reply to the notice.

Some readers may agree with Owen Smart that contacting Websmart's clients was unacceptable. That Websmart should have been given the opportunity to address the vulnerabilities. A valid point except as Sam Bowne establishes, this vulnerability was not new at all! The whole matter was published in 2010.

From: http://1337day.com/download/13244
Material's title: Websmart XSS/SQL Injection Vulnerability
Category: web applications
Platform: php

========================================
Websmart XSS/SQL Injection Vulnerability
========================================

__ __
.----..--.--.| |--..-----..----.| |.-----..-----.
| __|| | || _ || -__|| _|| || _ || _ |
|____||___ ||_____||_____||__| |__||_____||___ |
|_____| |_____|

####################################################
# websmart SQL Injection Vulnerability [ Multiple Vulnerabilities ]

####################################################
# Vendor: http://www.websmartconsulting.com/
# Discovered by : cyberlog
# Site : Sekuritionline.net
# Channel : #SekuritiOnline [ Now Just My Bot ]

# Dork : " Web Site by Websmart Inc Or Visit http://www.websmartconsulting.com/portfolio.php "

# Exploit : [site]/page.php?PageID= [SQL Injection]
[site]/news_item.php?NewsID= [SQL Injection]
[site]/display.php?PhotoID= [SQL Injection]
[site]/portfolio_profile.php?ClientID= [SQL Injection]
[site]/news_item.php?NewsID= [SQL Injection]
[site]/photogallery_full.php?ImageTypeID= [SQL Injection]

[site]/gallery_album.php?category= [SQL Injection]

# XSS/HTML Injection : [site]/page.php?PageID=XSS

# Thanks : r0073r,adhietslank, k1n9k0ng, cr4wl3r,cah_gemblunkz,
jayoes,thesims,setiawan,irvian,EA_Angel,BlueSpy,SoEy,A-technique,Jantap,KiLL,blindboy,sukam,
SarifJedul,wiro gendeng,Letjen,ridho_bugs,Ryan Kabrutz,Mathews,aurel666,Inoef,dbanie,

# special to Mama Sri Rahayu, Member& Staff Sekuritonline, C0li a.k.a antisecurity [ pinjem script perl-na ] ,
# Hiroyuki Doni thanks to create New design SO T-shirt P
# Inj3ct0r Now Brothers with Sekuritionline

####################################################
# Demo:
# http://localhost/display.php?PhotoID=[SQL Injection]
# http://localhost/display.php?PhotoID=cyberlog bukan hacker
####################################################

We never die !!!! indonesian Underground Community
!!!!! anjing buat oknum Pemerintah yang suka nilep uang rakyat !!!
!!!!! anjing juga buat admin site indon3sia yang merasa sok h3bat, dikasih tahu ada hole malah nyolot !!!!!

KacrUt I h@te U [ jika kau tidak mau aku katakan LOv3 ]
Give me NOCAN Brothers
am nt hacker just Lik3 Syst3m S3curity

.-----..-----.| |--..--.--..----.|__|| |_ |__|.-----..-----.| ||__|.-----..-----.
|__ --|| -__|| < | | || _|| || _|| || _ || || || || || -__|
|_____||_____||__|__||_____||__| |__||____||__||_____||__|__||__||__||__|__||_____|

# 1337day.com @ http://1337day.com/

 

Conclusion.. well not really.

Sam Bowne has concluded that the developer doesn't care that his products are defective, and neither does his customers. And since, apparently, none of them has gotten hacked yet, they will continue to blissfully imagine that security is not important. Bowne also concluded that the press doesn't care. This is not a new, sexy exploit; just an old stupid problem no one has bothered to clean up yet, like gum on the sidewalk.

HostJury respectfully disagrees with Sam’s conclusion. Browne’s first email disclosure did have some effect--three of the eleven sites were fixed within a few days. Considering Websmart business model, (not the one that ignores threats and vulnerabilities rather the other one managing websites on a client's behalf), there is no way to ascertain if those original emails sent by Browne actually went to clients, or just forwarded to the administrator of a website (aka Websmart), or better yet, the spam folder!

HostJury has contacted Owen R. Smart President, Websmart Inc. for comment and will update the post accordingly...

 

Owen Smart Responds to HostJury 

Hi David!

Thank you for your note and I appreciate you asking.

To be perfectly honest with you, I have been personally horrified with Mr Browne's aggressive and arrogant conduct. I did thank him for pointing out the security issues, and yes we are looking at them and dealing with them as we can. As I had indicated in my email to him, it is of concern and is being looked after.

But instead of being okay with that and moving on Mr Browne has continued to aggressively threaten myself and my clients. I wish to point out that Websmart does not work for Mister Browne and I am not accountable to him.

Mr Browne's threats and ultimatums to myself and then to my clients is, well, threatening and I don't like being threatened. I do not have an issue with him pointing out the vulnerabilities, I do have an issue with his conduct. I had attempted to contact his supervisor by phone and by email to complain about this conduct, but I never received a response from the college.

Mr Browne has posted confidential emails from me,(one he never responded to and I have not heard from him again) without my permission, not to mention an email to his supervisor which was not sent to him, but somehow ended up on his website. Those are both serious breaches of privacy.

Two reporters ignored his requests and rightly so, and a third questioned his ethics and I agree. Coming from a media background myself, I would have told him the same thing.

For someone of his standing and credentials to behave like this is disturbing and using his position to give himself credibility, and that institution allowing such conduct, is disturbing to me, and an abuse of his position at the college. He has emailed my clients again and essentially lied to them.

I believe Mr. Browne is very passionate about security, and that's great - we need people like that - we are all passionate about something. However this approach is just plain wrong.

Mr Browne claims on his page that we have built 100 000 websites and he sees my company as some big threat. He is under some illusion that we are a big corporation out to rip off the world. Truth is, this is a small one-man operation with less than 100 clients and we only host our own clients, and they all know me pretty well. At best, MAYBE we've produced 500 hundred web sites in just under 20 years.

He claims we knew about these security issues for years and did nothing. Again, simply not true. I was not aware of these earlier posts he talks about.

My customers for the most part have trashed his email on their own. They too are horrified by his conduct, in fact most of them thought it was spam. My clients are calling him things like "a nut job", "whack job", crazy", and have advised me to not communicate with him at all.

At no time have I discounted the security concerns, I have them myself - and like I said to you, David, they are being addressed in an on-going basis and I appreciate knowing about them. If they were as serious as he claims, then I would have assumed the sites would have all been hacked and defaced by now.. and they have been live to the web for years... and still running.

For Mr Browne to go on and publicly defame myself and my company, calling me a thug, a criminal, a bully and not wanting to do anything about it, as he has told my clients, is just plain wrong. To me, Mr Browne's credibility is in question - facts are in error, conduct, breaches of privacy etc. He has jumped to conclusions and assumptions not based on fact.

Mr Browne is coming across as a bully. He has been labelled as one online. I am sure I have grounds for some serious legal action against the College and Mr. Browne personally - but that is really not something I want to pursue - but I do not like bullies or threats.

Thank you again David for trying to find out the rest of the story and not just going by what Mr Browne claims on his site - you may want to rethink the story, totally up to you on that one... Feel free to use my comments above, provided they are within context. (editors note:This response has been added in its entirety minus Owen's contact information) 

Conclusion.. maybe

Sam Bowne does have a noble calling even if at times it's a thankless one. Security on the web affects us all and issues need to be addressed as they arise. Still, a little nice goes a long way!

 

About Sam Bowne

Sam Bowne has given talks at DEFCON, BayThreat, LayerOne, Toorcon, and lightning talks at HOPE on Ethical Hacking, and taught classes and seminars at many other schools and teaching conferences.

He has a B.S. in Physics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Physics from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

 

About Websmart

Web sites require dedicated effort to consistently update content, graphics, photos and answer site-related emails. For those not familiar with the technology, tools or even the language this can easily become a difficult, time consuming task. Let the experts at Websmart take care of those housekeeping details quickly and efficiently, freeing up valuable staff time for other duties. This will help ensure your web site is kept current both in its information and its contact within the Web World.

No computer program can replace what a live person can do. Nor can it provide the information, experience and creativity that is so often necessary in the quickly changing environment of the Internet. With our affordable and hassle-free Webmaster Support Packages, Websmart becomes your on-call Webmaster. Renewable annually, Support Packages are an economical way to update your web site and sustain your Internet presence. 

Endurance International Group (EIG) reports earnings

Thu, 5th December 2013, 14:34

Endurance International Group (EIG), the company which has consolidated many of the most well known hosting brands including BluehostFatCowHomesteadHostGatorA Small OrangeiPage and iPowerhas reported its first financial results for the third quarter ending September 30, 2013.

The mothership of webhosting companies reported its revenue has increased by 59 percent to $132.9 million compared to $83.4 million for the same period last year,  EIG expects year end revenues of around $525 million.

Hari Ravichandran, CEO and Founder of EIG commented on the results:

We're excited to report great results for the third quarter, our first as a public company. We demonstrated strong organic revenue growth while increasing adjusted EBITDA and unlevered free cash flow. Our company's strategy is based on two simple principles: adding more high quality subscribers to our platform and then selling our subscribers more value added solutions. During the quarter, we added over 70,000 new subscribers, bringing our year to date net new additions to 217,000. Further, we continued to increase our average revenue per subscriber (ARPS), which grew to $13.14 for the quarter.

(editor's note.. that's an average of $3.28 per month. So how much are you paying for your webhosting?)

While EIG highlighted that monthly recurring revenue (MRR) retention rate remained at 99%, consistent with their MRR retention rate for the second quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2012, it is unknown what effect, if any, recent data center outages will have on that number in the year end report. The outages affected untold thousands of EIG’s clients. EIG has spent over $87 million on the sales and marketing budget so far this year.

A list of known EIG webhosting brands can be found here

 

Third Quarter Highlights 

  • Revenue increased 59% to $132.9 million compared to $83.4 million for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 36% to $50.3 million compared to $37.1 million for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Net loss was $27.0 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $27.7 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Unlevered free cash flow (UFCF) increased 48% to $43.1 million, compared to $29.2 million for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Total subscribers were approximately 3.440 million as of September 30, 2013, a sequential increase of approximately 70,000 from 3.370 million as of June 30, 2013, and a year-over-year increase of approximately 326,000 from 3.114 million as of September 30, 2012.
  • ARPS was $13.14 for the third quarter of 2013, representing a sequential increase of $0.13 from $13.01 for the second quarter of 2013, and a year-over-year increase of $0.19 from $12.95 for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) retention rate remained at 99%, consistent with our MRR retention rate for the second quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2012.

 

Recent Developments

The company completed its initial public offering in October 2013, pursuant to which it sold 21,051,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $12.00 per share, raising gross proceeds of $252.6 million. On November 25, 2013, Endurance completed a refinancing of its bank debt. Using proceeds from its initial public offering, cash on hand and incremental first lien facilities, the company repaid its $315 million second lien term loan and secured a lower effective interest rate. Following the transaction, the company's outstanding bank debt is $1,050 million. As compared with the bifurcated term loan facility in place at September 30, 2013, the new single tranche of first lien debt is expected to lower the company's annualized term loan interest expense by over $35 million, based on the current loan balance and new interest rates. 

About EIG

Endurance International Group is a leading provider of cloud-based platform solutions designed to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed online.    Less than 20 years old, Endurance serves over 3.4 million subscribers through a family of brands that includes Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com, FatCow, iPower and iPage. Endurance is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, has a presence in Asia and the Americas, and employs approximately 2,500 people. Endurance provides a comprehensive suite of over 150 products and services that includes web presence and mobile sites, email and e-commerce solutions, as well as more advanced offerings, such as SEO services, scalable computing, security, storage and backup, online marketing and productivity solutions.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting $6.95

 

Google's Cloud & Compute Engine

Wed, 4th December 2013, 18:23

Google Cloud Platform gives developers the flexibility to architect applications with both managed and unmanaged services that run on Google’s infrastructure. We’ve been working to improve the developer experience across our services to meet the standards our own engineers would expect here at Google”.

With that opening volley, Google announced that the invitation only developer preview of its compute engine is now open to John Q. Public at large, along with the introduction of new instances, slashed prices, and broadened Linux support for its cloud.

Today, Google Compute Engine is Generally Available (GA), offering virtual machines that are performant, scalable, reliable, and offer industry-leading security features like encryption of data at rest. Compute Engine is available with 24/7 support and a 99.95% monthly SLA for your mission-critical workloads. We are also introducing several new features and lower prices for persistent disks and popular compute instances.

During the preview, Compute Engine supported only two of the most popular Linux distributions, Debian and Centos, customized with a Google-built kernel. This gave developers a familiar environment to build on, but some software required specific kernels or loadable modules (e.g. some file systems), and were not supported. Supposedly you can now run any out-of-the-box Linux distribution including SELinux and CoreOS, as well as any kernel or software you like, including Docker, FOG, xfs and aufs. Google also announcing support for SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in Limited Preview) and FreeBSD.

Google also says developers have asked for instances with even greater computational power and memory for applications that range from silicon simulation to running high-scale NoSQL databases. In response, Google is launching three new instance types in Limited Preview with up to 16 cores and 104 gigabytes of RAM. They are available in the familiar standard, high-memory and high-CPU shapes.

 

Faster and cheaper.

Google is also upping the ante on faster, cheaper Persistent Disks along with lower cost

Building highly scalable and reliable applications starts with using the right storage. Our Persistent Disk service offers you strong, consistent performance along with much higher durability than local disks. 

Today we’re lowering the price of Persistent Disk by 60% per Gigabyte and dropping I/O charges so that you get a predictable, low price for your block storage device. I/O available to a volume scales linearly with size, and the largest Persistent Disk volumes have up to 700% higher peak I/O capability.
 
Google also lowered prices on their new 16-core instances Compute Engine instances by 10% in all regions. 

Google's competitiveness here reflects the architecture of the company's overall cloud, which maybe a good proposition for thrifty developers, providing more RAM-per-dollar, a few reliable processors, and blazing fast flash storage. This compares with Amazon, which fields some of these capabilities but also sells a broader range of high-CPU, high-network, and other SKUs.

 

Transparent maintenance with live migration & auto restart

Taking a lesson from what has become the industry standard for the progressive ‘traditional’ webhosting entities, Google has now implemented transparent maintenance.

We have found that regular maintenance of hardware and software infrastructure is critical to operating with a high level of reliability, security and performance. We’re introducing transparent maintenance that combines software and data center innovations with live migration technology to perform proactive maintenance while your virtual machines keep running. You now get all the benefits of regular updates and proactive maintenance without the downtime and reboots typically required. Furthermore, in the event of a failure, we automatically restart your VMs and get them back online in minutes. We’ve already rolled out this feature to our US zones, with others to follow in the coming months.

Along with the announced, Google did the obligatory showcase of some high profile customers and partners using Compute Engine, and even included a couple of testimonies from users.. Google says Snapchat, Cooladata, Mendelics, Evite and Wix have built complex systems on Compute Engine and partners like SaltStack, Wowza, Rightcsale, Qubole, Red Hat, SUSE, and Scalr have joined their Cloud Platform Partner Program, with new integrations using Compute Engine. 

“We find that Compute Engine scales quickly, allowing us to easily meet the flow of new sequencing requests… Compute Engine has helped us scale with our demands and has been a key component to helping our physicians diagnose and cure genetic diseases in Brazil and around the world.” 
- David Schlesinger, CEO of Mendelics
 
"Google Cloud Platform provides the most consistent performance we’ve ever seen. Every VM, every disk, performs exactly as we expect it to and gave us the ability to build fast, low-latency applications." 
- Sebastian Stadil, CEO of Scalr 

This announcement means that "the big three" clouds of Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are all now in general availability for core compute services. This will lead to a new phase of competition among these companies to win enterprise accounts, and should hopefully lead to further price cuts in the future.

 

The future of webhosting? 

Some disagree are not so convinced. As one commentator noted:

Amazon has been absurdly priced for MANY MANY YEARS now, again it comes down to the architectural flaws in how the system was designed (they couldn't do a better job at the time because their technology sucked, and they're so far down that suck road now that it's really really difficult to change gears at this stage).

But wait.. Google has the same model.. HP cloud is the same model.. Rackspace Openstack cloud is the same model!! Openstack in general (last I was briefed on it anyway) adopts that same broken model (again because the technology isn't good enough to do it right). The likes of VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV etc got the model right, it's just complicated to scale to very high levels. So these public cloud players take the shortcut, of massive compromise on features, availability, and capacity utilization in exchange for massive scale == large costs for the VAST VAST majority of applications.

You're basically reversing a efficiency trend in IT that has been going on for the past 8-10 years and going back to 90s era provisioning strategies, at least from an IaaS perspective. PaaS, and SaaS are provisioned and billed with different models and those can make sense at large scale operations for customers(obviously both of those have their own limitations). the IaaS technology the public cloud folks are making available is just absolutely terrible by contrast.

Google says it’s looking forward to this next step for Google Cloud Platform as they continue to help developers and businesses everywhere benefit from Google’s technical and operational expertise.

Regardless of your perspective, the competition is pretty sweet though based on Google past track record it may be short lived. It could possibly all disappears a year from now.

 

Lumous: A small group of like minded individuals offering Cloud Hosting

Thu, 28th November 2013, 17:07

Lumous, a relatively new startup in the world of Cloud Hosting, describes itself as a ‘small group of like minded individuals’, and at HostJury, we like to think that means something. In an industry increasingly driven towards massive acquisitions and conglomerated webhosting titans of tech, the flexibility and creativity of smaller teams is something to appreciate. We spoke with Kris to learn a little bit more about Lumous, and what they bring to the table.

Q) On its website, Lumous is described as a company dedicated to
building ‘truly amazing products.’ At first glance, there’s a pretty impressive suite of products available for such a new company. Could you
 give us an overview of what’s on offer with Lumous?

Kris) Our core service is our Compute Instance – this is a KVM virtual machine that runs within a highly-available (HA) cloud. That means if a server goes down, the compute instance is booted up immediately on another server. In cases of planned maintenance, we are able to move a customer’s compute instance while it’s still running (i.e. not requiring a reboot). The rest of our products our built on top of our own compute cloud – Our shared web hosting service, simply called Web Hosting, is made up of lots of relatively small Compute Instances, and the same goes for our email service Lumous Mail.

Our CDN & DNS services are built around OnApp’s federated cloud. I would say the most important offering that we have, which happens to be free, is our included full management services from our engineering team. That team is made up of developers and system operations specialists. We can really do anything: Design/Deploy advanced replicated databases, or even backport a patch from Drupal to fix an immediate site issue.

Q) Tell us a bit about the history of Lumous. Did it arise from an earlier enterprise or is it a new creation entirely?

Kris) Lumous is a brand new entity that was formed in June 2012. The Hosting & Cloud Industry as a whole seems to be undergoing a massive consolidation effort, and we saw an opportunity for a hands-on provider like ourselves to be successful.

Q) And you yourself? What got you into hosting, and how did that leadyou to Lumous?

Kris) I got my start as a freelance developer building web apps, primarily in ruby. In the early days trying to deploy a ruby app, let alone make it scale or be fast, was quite difficult. This was long before Heroku or Ruby Passenger, so this forced me learn that side of development – which now they call DevOps.

From there, I spent some time at an Enterprise Managed Service Provider working with startups and large organizations to design their production environments. This was a fascinating job, because each customer had a completely different stack and a completely different use case. This diversity forced me to not just learn, but become an expert in, everything from MySQL/Postgres, to Hadoop, MongoDB, Node.js, nginx, you name it. And the scale of some of these deployments was simply mind blowing – we would expose race conditions that no normal user would ever see.

The biggest thing I took away from that experience was understanding the value of mature software. While there are a lot of really cool new products out there, and we use quite a few internally, knowing when and how to use them is absolutely critical to a successful deployment.

Q) We like to get a feel for the internals of the companies we profile. Tell us about the human landscape of Lumous, and how you’d
 characterize its corporate philosophy.

Kris) Currently we’re a small team of developers & engineers – we have no marketing or sales department, and the same people who build new features, and maintain our infrastructure fulfill each support ticket.

You may think that would be difficult to scale, but because our team is so knowledgeable and is able to spot potential issues early, we’re able to cut the number of support requests down to a fraction of what normal hosting providers deal with. I fully expect us to have a sales and marketing department at some point, but I always want the customer interaction to be without engineers; I really think that sets us apart.

Q) Looking forward, the growth and expansion of the world of hosting
is something we’re intimately concerned with. What direction do you see the industry heading in?

For “Cloud” providers like us, who have really commoditized cpu/memory/storage (we may package it different and add other services, but that’s really all we’re doing) – we’re going to see:

  • Better hardware & higher uptimes
  • Lower prices
  • Better tools for managing instances, and deployment processes 

This leads into questions 6… 

Q) For low-end providers, and cheap shared hosting, we’re running into a situation where a lot of the major players in the market are now consolidating into a few big players (the EIG, GoDaddy, United, etc). Historically, in any market, this leads to:
1. Degradation in quality of services, both in hardware and in support
2. Higher, or at least stagnated, prices
In the same vein, what are your thoughts about the consolidation of brands by the big names of hosting, companies like Endurance 
International and GoDaddy? How important is Lumous’ independence? 
 

Kris) Generally, less competition in a marketplace hurts the consumer. I completely understand why an organization like EIG is consuming smaller providers, they saw where their industry was going: super low margins with high capital expenditures to keep up with their customer’s increase in resource consumption. For Lumous, we’ve set some pretty strong principles for not only how interact with our customer, but also how we plan to grow. Those principles are what separate us from the competition.

Q) What are some of your greatest successes, at Lumous or elsewhere?

Kris) At this point yes, I think Lumous will be my greatest success, but one and a half years in is a bit too soon to classify it…

Q) On that note, could you share with us a particular failure that
you feel you learned from? What did it teach you?

Kris) In college, I built a software application for Universities and Colleges. The product worked great and we had well known schools buy it (years later, many still use it…). But ultimately it failed, not because the product didn’t do what it was suppose to, and not because there wasn’t a market for it, but because I didn’t fully understand the industry and what it takes to go through the RFP and sales process.

Q) Finally, what’s on the horizon for Lumous, short term and long?

Kris) We have a really cool new product coming out next month, plus a bunch of new features for our existing product suite.

This new product is intended to make it easier & faster for users to get their apps online with a dedicated virtual machine, and sits somewhere between a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and a cloud virtual machine.

A little more about Lumous

Based in beautiful Portland, Oregon, Lumous is run by a small team of like-minded individuals who have 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.

More Webhosting Discounts for Thanksgiving. The competition gets fierce!

Wed, 27th November 2013, 23:17

With the Christmas holiday season fast approaching, saving some cash can’t be a bad thing! So HostJury is continuing to dish up all the best of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting specials we can find including these from MediaTemple, Cirtex, HostV, and HostGator. Saving some cash just got easier!

 

MediaTemple(mt)

MediaTemple(mt) is offering 75% off on all new hosting plan signups, valid for the first month of any Grid, DV Managed, or DV Developer up to level 3. Okay so that is pretty sweet.  So the promotion kicks off Wednesday, November 27 at 3:00pm PST, and ends Monday, December 2 at 9:00pm PST. No promo code necessary. Click banner to open link in new tab.

 

Cirtex & HostV

CIRTEX and it's dedicated server brand HostV will be doing some HUGE Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Just what constitutes HUGE! People should check the website on the actual day for HUGE discount and savings. Click banner to open link in new tab.

 

CIRTEX

HOSTGIVING - shared, reseller on all terms (first invoice)
BIZSALE - business hosting (first invoice) 

 

HostV

DEDISALE - dedicated plans  (first invoice)

 

Click banner to open link in new tab. Coupon codes will be active for only 24 hours on those two days: Black Friday 11/28/2013 and Cyber Monday 12/2/2013 EST.Use the coupon codes at checkout.

 

HostGator

HostGator's motto is 'We eat up the competition' so it's no surprise that they're out to clean up the webhosting swamp again this year.

HostGator kicks off Black Friday with 75% OFF all new hosting packages and $1.95 domains! The sale begins at 12:00AM Central Time, Friday, November 29th. Their 'flash sale' will run for 1 hour (ends at 1AM Central Time) and then reverts to 60% off all new hosting and $4.50 domains (still a pretty incredible deal).

HostGator will then run limited time, 75% OFF flash sales throughout the day and all weekend. The great part is that HostGator is actually sharing the times for the flash sales (all flash sales are the same offer - 75% off all new hosting packages and $1.95 domains).

Flash sale times (all times are Central Time):

  • Friday 12AM - 1AM
  • Friday 9AM - 11AM
  • Friday 9PM - 11PM
  • Saturday 12PM - 1PM
  • Sunday 8PM - 9PM
  • Monday 12AM - 1AM
  • Monday 10AM - 12AM
  • Monday 10PM - 11:59PM

Some conditions do apply (New accounts & new domains only. No you can't cancel your existing account and transfer the data to the new discounted account. But you can be an existing client and set up a new account!)  The promotions runs the entire weekend (Friday, November 29th through Monday December 2nd at 11:59PM Central time).

 

HJ 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 providers. 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. In the right column under the related blog post section. More coupons coming shortly!

Webhosts and websurfers alike are welcome to send us the details on any Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials .. or webhosting coupons and we’ll get them posted (don’t even bother sending that fluffy 10% off stuff) Email the details to: reply@hostjury.com.

Final Curtain Call For Some Webhosting Acts. Take One

Wed, 27th November 2013, 14:39

Ah, it’s that magical time of year. Families gathering together as the seasons change, the growing chill in the air, that festering smell of rotten hosts and the lingering noise of nonsensical excuses fading with the color of the trees… It’s time for the deadpool! This month so many hosts have bit the dust we’re going to have to split the article in two- so follow us as we pay tribute to the first to die out in the cold this year.

 

Generation-Host

This provider shut down with a sad farewell to its users.

Dear Client,

It is with regret that we announce that Generation-Host is ceasing operations effective immediately. Due to the failure of key business partners, we are no longer able to provide further service to our clients.

All cloud customers are currently offline due to the above complications. All Teamspeak, Shared and Dedicated clients will continue to receive service until September 1st 2013. We suggest all Shared Hosting clients immediately generate and download a backup of accounts.

We thank you for your patronage and apologize for the inconvenience this will cause.

Ah, if we had a dime for every time the ‘failure of key business partners’ brought down a hosting service, we could probably keep a lot of those business partners in the black. But on a serious note, everyone outside Generation-Host’s Cloud Service got, at the very least, a warning that the servers were about to vanish, and for that, we salute them.

 

ShardHosting

Another grim death notice appeared in the inboxes of ShardHosting clients this month.

Due to recent unexpected trading circumstances Shard Hosting Solutions LTD has ceased trading with immediate effect. We urge all clients to take a backup of their data immediately as we cannot guarantee how long services will operate for before being disconnected by our upstream suppliers.

If you feel you are a creditor and owed money by the company please contact:

PHILIP LAWRENCE email:- philip.lawrence@baverstocks.com

Baverstocks Limited Dickens House, 3-7 Guithavon St, Witham CM8 1BJ

What a kind and reasonable way to dip out of hosting, eh? Unfortunately, according to some reports, the VPN was down within minutes after the notice was received. Well… I guess a little notice kind of counts for something... right? And there’s the question of whether the refunds will ever come or not. Them’s the breaks for the ShardHosted.

 

eChristian Web Hosting

Finally, a heavenly host with a firm moral center! At HostJury we've been saying for years that all hosting services should be firmly centered on Christ. As the LORD said in Ephesians 2:23, “Thou shalt not run out on thine customers like a total jackass.” I’m paraphrasing.

But unbelievably, this service has been doing some very unchristian things: it’s never a good sign when googling your company brings back your Better Business Bureau page as the second result.

Now they’re dead, and despite the name, a resurrection seems highly unlikely.

 

Cloudee.eu

Now this is a curious one: Cloudee’s webpage shows that they’re not accepting new customers and links to Superhost, but assures that present clients won’t lose their data or service. A+ for effort, but given the fate of some of the data with these other hosts, if I was a Cloudee client I would be migrating my site veree, veree quicklee.

 

Powrhost

Powrhost seemed to be in trouble for making a lot of promises they couldn’t keep- forced ads, unexpected downtime and poor service all around. Now it seems someone has pulled the plug on their powr. Vry sd 

 

PromptSpace

PromptSpace is one of those weird instances of a host vanishing not just from a business sense. These poor bastards are gone. Like, put their face on a milk carton gone. One can only assume the same is true for all that data they were managing. This song is for you guys, wherever you may be…

 

MrHoste 

Can’t find much on this demised service, but come on. What were you expecting from a dude who can’t even spell the word Host? Maybe we’re projecting, though. It’s possible the data was stored in the back of a quaint old British alehouse. Which would probably explain how it went defunct. 

 

NetOn9

NetOn9’s WHT ad topic begins with the telling phrase: ‘You get what you pay for.’ Which is hilarious, because in this case, you really don’t. Next!

 

Othello Tech

We saved the best for last. The story of the demise of Othello Tech is a heart wrenching tale. The administrator, a wealthy Italian with ties to the military, was tricked by a trusted underling into believing that his wife had been unfaithful! Driven mad with rage, he smothered her in her sleep, and then, when his folly was revealed, he maimed the man who betrayed him and committed suicide with a dagger.

What’s that? You’re saying that’s just the plot to the play Othello and not the webhosting company? Get out of here.. Who’s running this Hosting News site anyway - you or us? Seriously tho, unlike Othello Tech, a performance of William Shakespeare play Othello is easily accessed!

Researching a webhost? Read the reviews and choose wisely! 

UK webhost Astutium completes acquisition of Cyberstrider

Tue, 26th November 2013, 23:06

UK business and enterprise web hosting provider Astutium has announced the completed acquisition and integration of Cyberstrider – a host specializing in providing cPanel based webhosting to business.

Rob Golding, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for Astutium states

We are excited to have completed the takeover of Cyberstrider. The brand has a long history of website hosting and domain registration, having been around since the ’90s and brings over thousand local SMEs and Entrepreneurs. I’m very pleased to welcome all these new clients to the ever growing Astutium family.

“Cyberstrider clients now have the advantages of dealing directly with an ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar, and our 24/7 in-house support team”

After careful planning the company integrated the existing Cyberstrider services directly onto the Astutium London Docklands network, so clients gained the benefits of fully redundant high-performance connectivity and the immediate availability of dual-stacked IPv4-IPv6 connectivity.

The completed integration grants users access to ‘Unified’ – the online Astutium Client Portal – allowing for realtime management of web hosting accounts, domain registrations, vps, dedicated servers, colocation and cloud-servers from one single location.

All clients now have the assurance that their emails and websites are online at a host with a 17+ year proven track record of uptime and quality in-house support.

The Cyberstrider domain and brand has been integrated into Astutium. It will be interesting to hear how the former Cyberstrider clients adjust to a webhost that isn't using cPanel.     

About Astutium

Since 1996 the team behind Astutium have been on a mission to help individuals and businesses succeed online. Astutium take pride in offering a complete range of reliable and affordable services, backed up by in-house 24/7 technical support and using the latest technologies.

Customers in over 150 countries now rely on Astutium’s easy-to-use online tools for domain registration, web hosting, 1-click software installs, virtual private/dedicate servers, colocation and cloud services to power more than 100,000 websites – including individuals, bloggers, publishers, creatives, business of all sizes and web hosts

 

PHP hosting UK

Certified Hosting, ASO, WP Engine Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Tue, 26th November 2013, 19:08

Black Friday, that traditional after Thanksgiving full contact sport shopping bonanza has seen workers trampled to death, and crazed shoppers shooting at each other over last year’s must have toy. This Friday people will once again jeopardize life and limb indulging that need to touch and feel before buying. Others will forgo the push and shove, adopting instead a more leisurely position, possibly on the living room sofa, but always within reach of that day old turkey and pumpkin pie!

As the year over year statistics demonstrate, people’s propensity to buy online is only increasing, with estimates of another record breaking year with $1.1 billion being spent on Thanksgiving, $1.6 billion on Black Friday, and $2.3 billion on Cyber Monday.

You can almost hear those eCommerce site groaning under the load…. or is that their customers bemoaning the page load speeds. Regardless, there will be plenty of time to critique the websites and their service providers come Webhosting Review Tuesday.

Till then HostJury will continue to dish up all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting specials we can find.

 

Certified Hosting

Speaking of dishing up, Certified Hosting is having a 24 HOUR BLACK FRIDAY SALE beginning on Friday Nov 29th at 12:00am PST. Various Spec Dedicated Servers are being offered for $25 for the first month and includes 25 TB Bandwidth . Use Promo Code: 25SERVER when checking out.

 

Free Setup & Free Transfer
All Servers Recur at Regular Monthly Rate
Cannot replace an existing CH Server
Add ons recur at Regular Monthly Rate
30 Day Cancellation Notice Required
Offer available to new and existing clients
No Refunds, Offer Expires 11/30/2013 12:00AM PST

 

WP Engine

Sign up for an annual plan and get 4 free months of hosting! Just use the special offer code “cyberhostspecial13” when checking out (sans the quotes)

Offer valid 11/29/13 to 12/02/13 - Be sure to sign up by the end of Cyber Monday!

WP Engine cyberhostspecial13 Special Offer

 

A Small Orange

A Small Orange is offering a HUGE Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, not only on their web hosting plans, but also on add-ons for those two days. ASO wants to give you a heads up on what the coupon codes will be for these promotions so here they are!

Use GOBBLE13 for A Small Orange shared, business, and Reseller Hosting Plans (applied to first invoice but is good for all billing cycles)

Use TREAT13 for all ASO add-on products

CHEER13 Hybrid Plan and Dedicated Server Plans

The coupon codes will be active for 24 hours on these two days only: 11/28/2013 and 12/22013 EST

 

HJ 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 providers. 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. In the right column under the related blog post section. More coupons coming shortly!

Webhosts and websurfers alike are welcome to send us the details on any Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials .. or webhosting coupons and we’ll get them posted (don’t even bother sending that fluffy 10% off stuff) Email the details of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering to: reply@hostjury.com.

GoDaddy Black Friday offers and more!

Tue, 26th November 2013, 19:08

HostJury continues to dish up all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting specials we can find and as expected GoDaddy is offering some great incentives.

It's that time of the year when GoDaddy roll out the best deals of the year. It's go time at GoDaddy and they're featuring 35%* off new products, including domains, hosting, website builders and everything else you need to GO. This offer is good through November 30.

 

Find your customers online! 32% off new products at GoDaddy! 

 

HJ 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 providers. 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. In the right column under the related blog post section. More coupons coming shortly!

Webhosts and websurfers alike are welcome to send us the details on any Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials .. or webhosting coupons and we’ll get them posted (don’t even bother sending that fluffy 10% off stuff) Email the details of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering to: reply@hostjury.com.

Inside Scoop on A2 Hosting's Black Friday Deal

Mon, 25th November 2013, 16:47

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday mere days away, webhosts everywhere are burning down the datacenters to bring you the hottest deals ever…

Well that probably does sound better when I say it in my head, but webhosting is a very competitive industry and at no time is that more evident than the end of year holiday season. (no I’m not being politically correct. It just too early to say Christmas!)

So along with the turkey, we’re dishing up all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting specials we can find starting with this one from A2 Hosting.

Three years ago, A2 Hosting ran their largest discount ever for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (50% off). Two years ago they went one better.. literally, offering 51% off. Last year they offered diddly squat and the results were pretty predictable.

So this year A2 is back and offering their largest discount ever; 52% off! It's valid on all hosting packages (except the Cloud VPS). Okay so that 52% off was pretty predictable!

To get the coupon code from A2, you've got to follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or follow on Google+. (you can also subscribe to their newsletter) But HostJury is just giving the coupon code away! (although not required, once you’re a client you could write a webhosting review of A2 services here). The coupon to use for 52% off all webhosting plans is…

“BF52OFF” 

Use coupon code at checkout minus those quotation marks. Not valid for the Cloud VPS plans. Unlike the turkey this deal is limited and only runs from November 27 through December 2, 2013. Click image below to open A2 homepage in new tab.

fast hosting

 

Mandatory HJ  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 providers. 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. In the right column under the related blog post section. Coupons are continually added!

Webhosts and websurfers alike are welcome to send us the details on any Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials .. or webhosting coupons and we’ll get them posted (don’t even bother sending that fluffy 10% off stuff) Email the details to: reply@hostjury.com.

Velocity Central, Hosting in Houston, and a whole lot of questions!

Fri, 22nd November 2013, 10:15

When webhosting services go down, the aftermath is always messy. At HostJury we spend a lot of time discussing the finer points of the technical side of webhosting, the business and infrastructure that goes into spreading our data across the globe. What that misses is the more human side of hosting: the challenges, mistakes and losses that are a key part of the anatomy of a downed webhosting provider. Today we’re looking at just such a provider: Velocity Central.

Active for several years, Velocity Central maintained a decent reputation, alongside its owner, James Grunshaw. That changed around May of this year, when several disgruntled users took to that forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon, WebHostingTalk, along with Velocity Central's HostJury review page to vent their frustrations.

After a little confusion over the still functional Velocity Servers, the topics became Velocity Central total lack of support, which users realized, had been addressed by Mr. Grunshaw himself in another thread.

And that was the end of that story- web hosting provider hits hiccup, loses customers, makes profuse apology and tries to woo them back. At least, the end for a time. Months later, a more pressing problem hit the clients of Velocity Central. Their sites were gone. Vanished. With, according to the discussion here, absolutely no response to any and all support tickets.

The furor grew until the Velocity Central website changed to something a bit more explicitly related to the troubles at hand: a blank white page with a shocking message.

 

Screenshot of the Velocity Central Homepage

 

You read correctly: A grand jury subpoena! A Homeland Security takedown! This was a stark claim to make, and didn't sit well with many of Velocity Central’s old clients. The focus of the anger is on Mr. Grunshaw himself, with the assertion that after VC ran into trouble, he abandoned it for his more successful enterprise Hosting in Houston. So what happened?

HostJury contacted James Grunshaw himself first, and after a little soothing (following a curt demand that we not write the article at all) he graciously expanded on his story.

“OK, Velocity Central was issued a grand jury subpoena. The problem was there was a site on the network that was of interest to the Homeland Security, who contact me about it and set out the terms from there. I can't tell you the site, nor can I give any further information on the outcome. The terms stated that I should not be informing my customers of this and they basically told me to shut up shop to prevent any accidental leaking of information.

Because Hosting in Houston is a separate company, it doesn't involve any of it's actions. Hardware had been turned over to Homeland Security Agents so they could search for the files on the website in question. When they did this, obviously everything went down.”

The obvious response was to ask for evidence, of course. Here’s the reply.

“Unfortunately, I can't verify anything. As many have asked on Web hosting talk for me to publish the subpoena, unfortunately I can't do that. I'm as much in the dark about this entire thing. The thing you have to understand about Homeland Security is they are brutal. Whatever they were investigating must have been big enough to attract their attention. I complied with them, and as much as I want to turn information over to the public to enhance my business and clear my name, I just cant. I do not want to end up in court, so no matter how badly it harms me, I just have to respect the law.

As soon as things can be made public, I would be more than happy to share everything.

Because Velocity Central was a small company, this wiped us out. Had this happened to a large company, they would simply pull backups for customers and put them on a new server. It probably happens all the time. I'll be honest, I thought someone was winding me up when I first was contacted. The entire situation is just too strange for me to even begin to understand.”

At HostJury, we like to give individuals the benefit of the doubt. It’s not totally unreasonable, of course, that a situation like this could occur. And while it is all a bit too cloak-and-dagger for our tastes, who knows! Maybe something terrible has happened, and everyone is up in arms against the wrong man.

To that end, we contacted the DHS. From there, we were directed to ICE, which, with its cybercrimes division, is responsible for this sort of thing.

Unsurprisingly, we were unable to get them to confirm or deny the investigation itself, but more importantly, they warned us that schemes in which an administrator or owner uses threat of the DHS as an excuse for running out on a project or service is all too common.

That theory could certainly be dispelled by Mr. Grunshaw providing us a copy of the subpoena he himself publicized, but up till now we haven’t received another response from him.

So here’s where the investigation stands: the DHS (ICE, more specifically) raises a lot of doubts about Mr. Grunshaw’s claims. We do eagerly await the forthcoming publication of his subpoena letter, and will be sure to post it as soon as it’s received.

The upshot of all this, for the end user, is that backups really are king. Even established services, like the years-old Velocity Central, can vanish quite suddenly- whether due to human error or government intervention. The truth of the matter won’t mean much to those who lost their data- which is why the best solution is the one with redundancies.

Reader feedback is encouraged! Are you a client who lost data in the Velocity Central shutdown? A legal expert who can make sense of the alleged secret grand jury subpoena? The domestic terrorist currently on the run from ICE? Drop us a line or post in the comments with your thoughts!

Up to 25 off MDD secure and reliable webhosting

Nominet announces dot UK domains start next year.

Wed, 20th November 2013, 16:18

Nominet has approved a plan to offer dot uk domain registrations starting next summer. The shorter, simpler ‘yourdomain,uk’ domains will be available for the first time alongside ‘yourdomain.co.uk’, ‘yourdomain.org.uk’ and so on. This represents the biggest modification of the .uk namespace since it began.

Over ten million existing .uk customers will have first dibbs on the shorter equivalent of their current domain, with five years to decide whether they want to use it in addition to, or instead of the domain they already have. In the small proportion of instances where there could be competition – e.g. where one person holds example.co.uk and another holds example.org.uk – the shorter domain will be offered to the .co.uk registrant first.

It was originally proposed that current registrants would only have a six month window to claim the shorter domain but the time was extended to a five-year free reservation period to allow businesses taking up the new domain to do so at a time that coincides with when they next change signage or stationary.

Unique domains that have not been registered prior (e.g. one that does not have an equivalent name already registered as a .co.uk or a .org.uk) will be available on a first-come, first served basis from launch.

The wholesale price for the new domains will be £3.50 per year for single year registrations and £2.50 per year for multi-year registrations. This is the same price as a current co.uk domain, ensuring the cost of a domain name will remain a very small proportional cost. All Nominet’s existing domains (.co.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and sch.uk) will continue to run as normal.

The move brings the UK in line with other large country-code registries, like Germany’s .de or France’s .fr. A recent Nominet survey of UK business decision makers found that 72% thought direct ‘example.uk’ registrations should be an option, while only 2% thought they shouldn't.

Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley states

The .uk namespace is one of the most popular and trusted available and we’re committed to ensuring it stays up-to-date and relevant, We’re excited to offer the option of a shorter, snappier domain name that we believe will appeal to both our existing customers and the businesses and bloggers of tomorrow.”

Nominet is planning a major program of communication and outreach with its customers to ensure people are aware of the changes, and intends to announce a definitive launch date by February 2014.

The news is part of a broader program of work announced by Nominet today. The company is committed to driving innovation, enhancing security and improving standards in the .uk namespace, in the face of a rapidly changing internet landscape. The international domain name market is set to become more liberalized and competitive, with the introduction of over 1,000 new suffixes becoming available in the next year.

More information on the decision is available here.

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Total Server Solutions acquires Front Range Hosting

Mon, 18th November 2013, 12:38

Total Server Solutions has announced that they have acquired Front Range Hosting, a leader in cloud hosting solutions and virtual private servers. Total Server Solutions and Front Range Hosting will bring together their industry leading technologies to bring customers more hosting options.

The acquisition of Front Range Hosting expands the product lineup available to customers of Total Server Solutions and its family of brands. Up until now, Total Server Solutions has not provided cloud hosting products, instead focusing on their core strengths of offering fully managed servers utilizing powerful hardware and extensive technical experience. By bringing Front Range Hosting into the Total Server Solutions family of brands, high performance, cloud based VPS solutions will become available. Historically, all of the cloud based VPS options offered by Front Range Hosting have utilized solid state storage (SSD) hardware to provide high performance and low power usage. This practice will be continued and expanded within Total Server Solutions.

Corey Touchet, of Front Range Hosting will join Total Server Solutions in the capacity of Cloud Engineer. He states;

I started Front Range Hosting to provide people with an easy way to gain access to high performance cloud and VPS hosting. Joining forces with Total Server Solutions resulted in an easy path to both provide my existing customers with the infrastructure and technical benefits of a larger company. It allowed me to join my technical talents with a group of like minded, passionate technologists.

Products offered by Front Range Hosting will initially be integrated into the WIRESIX brand of Total Server Solutions. WIRESIX is aimed towards budget conscious dedicated server customers who do not require system management and who generally have a substantial understanding of system administration practices. The cloud and VPS options sold by Front Range Hosting will fill a gap in the WIRESIX product line. Over time, these services will be branched out into fully managed cloud and VPS options to transition into the Total Server Solutions brand.

Editor’s note: Trying to follow the breadcrumb trail of Endurance International Group (EIG) as they acquire, consolidate, absorb, wait, then resurrect dead webhosting brands again, is beyond the time constraints of the average consumer. Heck, it’s confusing enough for us. While not quite as baffling, around the turn of the century, WireSix was operating under the name "Eurospeed" which was initially a shared hosting company. Then in August 2003 in an attempt to more accurately convey the services offered, "Eurospeed" was rebranded to "ES-hosting". Apparently, ES-hosting experienced such tremendous growth that in June, 2004 WireSix, Inc. was incorporated from ES-Hosting. A case of arrested development: get successful and cease to exist. Go figure..  Back to the churnalism.

Gary Simat, CEO at Total Server Solutions states;

The cloud hosting sector is not something we have concentrated on in the past. But, over the past several years we've seen substantial growth throughout the industry in cloud hosting. As our core competencies involve complete servers and system management services, we felt that bringing in an existing cloud hosting solution and staff that know the systems inside and out would be a prudent way forward. We've worked with Mr. Touchet in the past and have grown to respect his skills and integrity. We knew he and his company would be a great fit that could benefit from our infrastructure and skills while we could simultaneously benefit from his skills. This acquisition is a positive event in the history of both Front Range Hosting and Total Server Solutions.

 

About Total Server Solutions:

Total Server Solutions was founded in 2005 with the goal of providing unsurpassed support and technical services to the web hosting community. *Total Server Solutions provides fully managed dedicated servers, system management, and a full contingent of monitoring services. The Total Server Solutions family of brands includes colocation services provided through COLO@ as well as a full range of industry leading e-commerce solutions through the EWD Hosting brand.

Webhosting Churnalism Roundup for 11/15/13

Fri, 15th November 2013, 11:16

HostJury aims to make those press releases interesting! Read on... 

 

Cyber Host Pro

The Liverpool based webhosting firm CYBERHostPro announced it has won the 2013 Merseyside Independent Business Award for Best Technology Business. Every year Merseyside hosts their very own little prestigious events that see small independent businesses being awarded recognition for their exceptional services.

The press release states the leading UK hosting company was delighted to have been nominated for this year’s 2013 award which saw over 100 nominations.

The competition was fierce, and it was difficult for the panel of judges to pick a winner from the significant number of nominations made. However, Cyber Host Pro was judged to be clear winner, and they dedicated their win to the hard work of its staff.

 

Easyspace

Easyspace, one of the UK’s largest domain name registrars and web hosting companies, has announced a 25% discount for customers buying the most popular domain for businesses in the UK and  customers who buy a .co.uk domain name before midnight on 24 November 2013 will be entitled to 25% off web hosting for two years. The promo code UKHOST25 must be used at checkout.

According to Nominet, the registry for .UK domain names, research shows that 4 in 5 people searching online in the UK prefer .co.uk websites.

Editors note: So despite Nominet’s own research, they continue to promote the ill-thought-out unwanted money-grab dot UK extension primarily as a knee jerk reaction to the "dilution" of TLD namespaces from the impending 1500 new tlds, combined with the lack of control over the existing second level of .uk… just saying :)

 

Dropbox

Dropbox introduced their Dropbox for Business to help companies work smarter. Then they discovered a new challenge for businesses and users. On one hand, people wanted to access their personal stuff at work; meanwhile, IT admins wanted to keep company data separate and free of personal files. (editor’s note: It may be the employees significant others who are wary of those micro managing boss types snooping around those personal snapshots!.. back to the Churnalism) Both needs were real, but people had to choose between two Dropboxes.

So Dropbox thought about this from scratch and designed a solution they’re excited to share: connecting your personal Dropbox to your Dropbox for Business account. This’ll give you a personal Dropbox and a work Dropbox on all of your devices so you’ll never have to choose between them. It’ll be like having your house keys and your work keycard on the same keychain. Once you connect your Dropboxes, you’ll be able to get to both Dropbox folders from the same Files tab. Dropbox is all about making sure your stuff goes where it’s supposed to!

 

Fraction Host Announces Launch!

There’s a new kid on the block. Technology and web enthusiast Justin Drago has announced the launch of his new company, Fraction Host

Fraction Host will be offering US and UK Shared and Reseller hosting at the launch of the website. Along with those services will include WHMCS licenses, (editor's note.. WHMCS has more holes than the Titanic) WH domain registrations, domain transfers and etc. Shortly after, Fraction Host will introduce VPS and Dedicated services in the US only.

Owner Justin Drago plans to offer Quality Web Hosting services at a fraction of the competitors price. The goal Fraction Host wants to provide is the same quality hardware with round the clock support.

Fraction Host will introduce a rewards program along with the launch of their website. Paying monthly bills, ordering new services and many other things will count toward our Fractional Point System. Rewards include free domains, web hosting, electronics and much more!

(Editor’s note.. Justin made his announcement about Quality Web Hosting services at a fraction of the competitor's price on the forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon.. how fitting)

 

Shopify

Shopify was all excited announcing that gift cards are now available for all Professional and Unlimited plan users. Shopify think their merchants are going to love this new functionality - especially during holiday shopping seasons.

Gift cards provide a flexible way for customers to purchase a gift for someone from your store, making it easy for them to share the love for your brand while also maintaining full freedom of choice for the recipient. They also help you increase your sales and make your store look more professional.

Editor’s thoughts.. a recent report (no I don’t have a link, I make this stuff up as I go), suggested that both business and the environment reap huge rewards from gift cards purchases. As a large percentage of the cards are never redeemed, it a cash cow for businesses and results in less stuff in landfills. A win win for everyone!

 

GoDaddy

GoDaddy started accepting paid pre-registrations for four new top level domain names: .uno, .menu, .build, .luxury. While many registrars have offered some sort of pre-reservation or pre-registration service that did not require any firm commitment by the customer, GoDaddy is the first major registrar to actually charge an upfront fee. And the fees are steep with prices up to $1,200 each

Prices to pre-register each domain vary widely by top level domain. Each domain offers “pre-registration” and “priority pre-registration”. More than one person can make either type of pre-registration, and if that’s the case then the domain will go to auction…

Editor’s advice: You may want to rush out and protect your brand… by hiring a lawyer. There are 1496 more of these TLD in the pipeline!

 

© 2013 HostJury All Rights Reserved (plus a few extra "rights" that don't even really exist) Violators will be drawn and quartered. Void where prohibited. Prohibited where void. Offer not available in NJ, HI or and all Lunar territories. Be kind, please rewind. No animals were hurt writing this post. No refunds and/or exchanges. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Go Leafs! Author not responsible for any physical and/or psychological damage resulting from misuse of this article. 

Did these bitcoin punters ever run a webhosting firm?

Wed, 13th November 2013, 13:04

In what could be a textbook example of a shoddy webhosting firm torn straight from the pages (or maybe cesspool) of the Hostjury deadpool, Chinese users of bitcoin trading platform GBL were shocked when they found access to the service was suddenly inaccessible.

The unexplained closure on October 26 led to the disappearance of all staff, as well as the investors' 25 million yuan (approximately $4.07 million USD, £2,568,675, or 3,032,109.30€ ... regardless the currency, that is a lot of chump change!). The company behind GBL officially registered with the Hong Kong authorities on June 10 although it did not obtain a license to operate financial services. The company address listed on the IFC website appears to be a false (we've heard that one before).

GBL, whose domain — btc-gbl.com — was just registered on May 9 has been a questionable entity from the outset. The company's website was comprised of a patchwork of information, cut and pasted from other companies websites (editor's note.. maybe we need links to webhosts that have done that!). Questions were raised in online forums by seasoned bitcoin traders but the warnings were brushed aside as GBL flooded the Chinese online community with its promotional messages and launched campaigns promising fee waivers to attract new users (moans).

Some have suggested that GBL may have manipulated its share of the futures market for bitcoin. With the loopholes in futures trading becoming more obvious, GBL then announced it was closing the market in mid-September, a move seen as a sign the service was shifting to a model similar to major players in the market.

Some users did heed the warning signs, such as GBL's issuance of its stocks to users from mid-September, as well as a longer processing time and a cap on cashing Bitcoin since early October. The lucky ones pulled out early. The not so lucky can take solace joining a growing list of users filing a police report.

The domain btc-gbl.com was registered using ICANN register SHANGHAI MEICHENG TECHNOLOGY INFORMATION DEVELOPMENT CO. and the website was hosted on a server with SoftLayer.

Whether you are in the market for bitcoins, or researching a new webhost, choose wisely and pay attention to what others are saying!

Tips to writing the perfect webhosting review!

Tue, 5th November 2013, 14:52

HostJury’s review section is an important part of the website. After all, reporting the news only goes so far. The best way to get a perspective on a hosting solution is to see what its customers think. To that end, we always appreciate your thoughts on the companies that work for you, and the ones that don’t.
But, as with all community-driven content, there are some informal rules of conduct that will make your contributions much more valuable to others. Below is a list of the top three rules that will prepare you to gather your thoughts and make the biggest possible impact with your additions.


1. Civility trumps hostility.


Let’s take a look at the intro of a negative review about (often maligned) provider 
Mochahost.

“Garbage. You search garbage on "www.Wikipedia.org" and you have mochahost as the poster child for this word.”

For starters, this is simply inaccurate. Searching Garbage on Wikipedia actually takes you to the page for 90s alt-rock sensation Garbage. More importantly, it doesn’t really tell us anything about your experience with Mochahost. We understand that your experience was poor, but that’s communicated well enough by the star system. The point of writing a review is to pinpoint the positive and negative aspects of your experience. Which leads us to point number 2:


2. Be specific!

An excerpt from a very well-written review of Fused Network’s highly-rated services:

“In the past when we started to race to our bandwidth limits, (a mute issue now they are unmetered) the guys not only warned us of the path we were on, they took the time to discuss our options one on one in simple terms, they are real people, and real nice people.

The Fused control panels are the best I've seen. If I can work my way around them with ease I'm sure you can! The services and tools they provide are plentiful and leave you a bit spoiled for choice (not a bad thing).”

Clear, direct, and specific. This tells you what the site offers and why that’s so great.

The more precise your review is, the more powerful and authentic it will become. At their best, reviews impart critical insight into the totality of your experience with a company. (At their worst, they include a lot of anatomical references) This is what makes them so useful. Take the reader through the important bits of your perspective. Don’t just think about what you want to say, consider what you’d like to know if you were considering this company for yourself.

It can be very difficult to write in this way. After all, you’re generally reviewing because of a direct encounter with the company/provider, but you’re trying to write for someone who, ostensibly, has absolutely no clue what they’re like. Keep that in mind when you write your review, and the finished product will be a lot more useful to everyone.


3. Stay on target.


From a review on LunarPages:

“If they check these user opinion websites to see what people are writing about them you would think they would make right and offer a decent web hosting service. Heck I even saw one blog totally dedicated to how much Lunarpages suck...and now I see why.”

This is tangentially related, sure, but what does it tell us about your experience? What are we learning here? Other than that there’s a very angry blogger out there with a little too much time on his hands.

Often reviews sort of morph into more general discussion about issues that extend beyond your experience and how it translates to the experiences of others. This is a mistake. Ranting and raving lends itself to a weak, hard to follow review.

Stick to what really matters in a review. What you expected, what you received, and what you recommend others do in a similar position.

Of course, you don’t have to follow any of these rules. Sometimes you just have to rant, and sometimes, well, sometimes you just can’t control the nasty. That’s fine. But the key to writing anything is that you have to know the rules- and then you can break them.

Arvixe wordpress hosting

Endurance International Group goes public

Mon, 28th October 2013, 14:16

Endurance International Group (EIG), better known for its webhosting brands which include Domain.comiPageFatCow, Homestead, BluehostHostGatorA Small OrangeiPowerDotster, as well as a host of others is Massachusetts’ newest public company.  Endurance raised $252 million selling 21 million shares at $12, well below its target $14 to $16 price that the company had originally proposed. EIG goal was to raise $400 million in the IPO, and indeed, in its first full day of trading Friday the stock turned in a tepid performance closing Friday at $11.25 on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Endurance revenues have grown from $87.8 million in 2010 to $292.2 million last year but the company has yet to earn a profit posting a $139.3 million loss last year.

The SEC filing does provides some interesting insights in the world of high finance webhosting firms. Recently Endurance International Group struck a deal to buy Mumbai-based Directi Web Technology Pvt for $110 million. According to the the SEC filing by Endurance, it entered into a master-share purchase agreement to acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Directi Web Technology from Directi Technology Holdings Inc, for an amount estimated to be between $100 million and $110 million in cash or, at the election of the seller, a combination of cash and shares of its common stock, subject to conditions. Directi provides web presence solutions to SMBs in various countries, including India, the US, Turkey, China, Russia and Indonesia. The acquisition is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Endurance has paid $5 million to Directi Holdings, which will be credited against the purchase price and will be refunded if the acquisition does not close for specified reasons. Under the agreement, Endurance will pay around half of the total price in cash at the closing of the acquisition (after factoring out the $5 million it paid initially). It will also issue a promissory note to Directi Holdings for the balance due with the note maturing on April 15, 2014. At maturity, it will be obligated to pay an amount equal to the greater of the original principal amount of the promissory note or the annualized revenues associated with the Directi business for specified periods.

About Endurance International Group

A leading provider of cloud-based solutions, Endurance helps small and medium-sized business owners establish, manage and grow their businesses by harnessing the power and promise of the web. Less than 20 years old, Endurance serves approximately 3.4 million subscribers through a family of brands that includes Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com, FatCow, iPower and iPage. Endurance is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, has a presence in Asia and the Americas, and employs approximately 2,500 people.

Endurance International brands also include: 

Dreamhost banner

100% Uptime SLA? Wow That's Incredible

Mon, 21st October 2013, 17:19

An error message trumpeting that the website for Fluffy the Persian Feline’s Latest Trick is temporarily unavailable can be frustrating for the blog owner. A similar message for an e-Commerce or business website could be perceived as a reflection of the business entity, or worse, a driver of traffic to a competitor's website. Regardless of your perspective, everyone understands server uptime is important.

Lumous is the latest to join a growing list of webhosting providers offering 100% Uptime Guarantees. Effective immediately, both new and existing Lumous clients will be covered under their new 100% uptime SLA.

If your virtual machine, email account, or web hosting account becomes unavailable due to a failure in our platform or network for any amount of time, you will receive account credits for that period. 

Yet even among webhosts, offers of 100% uptime guarantees quickly draw ire and skepticism. From one forum populated by webhosting company owners (editor’s note: not the forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon): 

  • 100% Uptime Guarantee is a marketing tactic in the same realms as offering an "Unlimited" amount of disk space. And, when you look at it, the amount of legal 'waffle' surrounding it shows exactly how convoluted it is as an offer.
  • then again, people - as have I - use "Unlimited" disk space hosting, so if you can get away with it in your legal disclaimers; I don't see why it should be all-that frowned upon as a marketing idea
  • It's frowned upon because it's lying. Imagine if somebody sold you a product that was advertised to do something but in the fine print you find out it doesn't actually do it. I won't get into an argument with you here, but your AUP is a perfect example of why "unlimited" providers are looked down upon.  

 

ASA hears complaint against Rackspace 

A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by an unnamed party regarding a sponsored search advert which described Rackspace as “The World Leader in Cloud Computing & Hosting" and promised a "100% Uptime Guarantee”. The complainant claimed the advert was misleading as it was not possible to guarantee 100% uptime for a webhosting service.

Pointing to to its service level agreement (SLA), Rackspace stated that if it failed to ensure 100% uptime, clients would be entitled to compensation proportionate to the downtime they had experienced.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand that the claim ‘100% Uptime Guarantee’ meant they would be compensated if the Rackspace Cloud network was unavailable...and concluded the claim ... was not misleading.

In its adjudication, the ASA said: “We investigated the ad under the Committees of Advertising Practice Code ... but did not find a breach.”

 

Servers will go down

Planning and quality equipment can minimize server downtime, but even then, some amount of downtime is an inevitable reality. A webhost promising 99.8% uptime is allowing themselves 16 hours a year of downtime. Each point 1% of downtime equals over 8 hours a year.

Almost all reputable webhosting companies offer a service level agreement (SLA) with their hosting packages. Not unlike ‘unlimited webhosting plans’ the details in the fine print of the ToS, AuP, and now the SLA, set out (or exclude) various conditions and/or stipulations that may need to be met to qualify for a credit. Also similar to the unlimited analogy is, that some webhosts are quite clear and concise, while others waffle around in the terminology: 

  • Network Uptime (editor’s note: Most datacenters have network connections with numerous providers. Aside from a broken router or switch (quickly hot-swapped) or a bad network cable or card, the network connection is always going to be up…)
  • Must be externally verifiable
  • Must submit request for credit
  • Time calculated from submission of trouble ticket
  • Not responsible for third party actions (the car accident down the street taking out the power pole or maybe the fiber getting severed passing a nearby construction site)
  • Excludes reloading operating systems, applications, and rebuilding RAID arrays, software or programs on server etc etc etc. 

 

100 percent uptime… Guaranteed

HostJury has randomly picked (see below) a number of webhost offering 100% uptime SLA for our comparison. HostJury has endeavored to paste abbreviated snippets from each company that fairly reflects their offering, and the terms of the SLA. The webhosts order was deterined by their search rank. 

HostJury encourages anyone researching a possible webhost to read the complete SLA of the webhost (and their webhosting reviews). Plans do change, and we make no guarantee that the information or our little chart below will remain accurate. As is the HostJury custom, we makes no recommendation or endorsement of any web hosting providers...

Editor’s note for those inclined to question the ethical review for soundness and bias: Randomly = web search using the keywords ‘100% uptime guarantee’. HJ used the webhost listed on the first page of search results. Site5 also showed up in results but I have no clue why as they do not offer a 100% uptime guarantee… So while HJ excluded Site5 from our little 'study, we did consider contacting Ben to find out who he is using for SEO. HJ included Lumous as their offer precipitated this post. 

 

The Lumous 100% Uptime Guarantee

If your site, virtual machine, or email is down as a result of a platform or network failure, we will credit you a percentage of your bill based on how long you're down.

HostJury sought clarification from Lumous whether the SLA credit was automatic or required a request. Within a few minutes we received a response:

We would do that automatically. We feel the burden of notification and fulfillment of SLA violations and payouts should be on the provider, not the customer. Sincerely, Kris

 

Rackspace 100% Network Uptime Guarantee

Your business depends on reliable uptime. That's why we've designed and built our network for solid reliability—and backed it with our 100% Network Uptime Guarantee.

Rackspace Guarantees: 

  • Network will be available 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance or a credit of 5% of the monthly fee for each 30 minutes of downtime, up to 100% of the monthly fee for the affected server.
  • Critical infrastructure systems, including power and HVAC, will be available 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance else A credit of 5% of the monthly fee for each 30 minutes of downtime, up to 100% of the monthly fee for the affected server.
  • Functioning of all hardware components and replacement of any failed component at no cost to the customer. A credit of 5% of the monthly fee per additional hour of downtime, up to 100% of the monthly fee for the affected server. 

HostJury also sought clarification from Rackspace whether the SLA credit was automatic or required a request…. and Joshua never let us down:

As far as credit for downtime, this would need to be requested by the customer. 

 

Codero Hosting

Codero created our aggressive 100% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) for all of our dedicated servers.

Codero SLA: 

  • Your hardware will be functioning 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance
  • Power and HVAC systems will be functioning 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance
  • Network uptime will be 100% in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance 

If network failure causes your server to be down for more than a half hour you will receive a refund on your next bill*. If you experience downtime for one of the reasons listed above you will receive a 5% credit for each half hour of downtime you experience applied to your next month's bill (up to 100% of the total monthly bill).

HostJury also sought clarification from Codero whether the SLA credit was applied automatically, or required a request…. and we’re still waiting!

 

DreamHost

DreamHost has a solid commitment to providing you with the very best web hosting service we can – that’s why we can offer you a straightforward and rock-solid 100% Uptime Guarantee!

If your web site, databases, email, FTP, SSH or webmail is unusable as a result of a failure in our systems and for reasons other than previously announced scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on your part, we’ll credit your next invoice with 1 day hosting free for each 1 hour (or fraction thereof) of service interruption; up to 10% of your next pre-paid hosting renewal fee.

We begin assessing credit from the time you open a support ticket to report the problem. That’s all there is to it – no arguments, no hassle, no pages of fine print.

 

iWeb

iWeb guarantees 100% network uptime and electrical power supply of its datacenter for all subscribers. If an outage should happen, iWeb will compensate its clients with a credit equivalent to one day of service for the first 15 minutes of unavailability and a credit of one day of service for each of the following hours. The credit can be claimed up to the monthly amount paid for the service.

Unavailability is defined by failed PING commands to the IP address of the server hosting your web site. This unavailability must be directly caused by problems in the connection linking iWeb Technologies Inc. to the Internet and must be verifiable from multiple external Internet hosts.

This unavailability must be caused by problems directly related to the datacenter's electrical supply or to your server or bay's power supply.

All reclamations concerning this guarantee must be done using the “Credit Claims” form located in iWeb's "Customer Hub" section of iWeb's site. All requests must be made within seven (7) days following the end of the month in question. Reclamations must include the starting time of the unavailability, the time when services came back to normal and at least 3 "traceroute" commands taken during the unavailability. Any incomplete reclamation form will be discarded. The request will be processed within 10 to 15 days following its reception.

 

Atlantic.net

Atlantic.Net offers Industry Leading Service Levels backed by a 100% Uptime Guarantee. Atlantic.Net guarantees that all critical infrastructure components will be available 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance. 

  • Network: Atlantic.Net guarantees the network will be available 100% of the time in a given month—excluding scheduled maintenance. If it takes us more than 30 minutes to resolve the network issue from the time the trouble ticket is opened, Atlantic.Net will refund the customer 5% of the monthly fee for each additional 30 minutes of downtime (up to 100% of customer’s monthly fee for the specific equipment affected). 

Network uptime includes functioning of all network infrastructure such as routers, switches and cabling, but does not include software and services running on your server. Network downtime exists when your server is unable to transmit and receive data and Atlantic.Net records such failure in the Atlantic.Net trouble ticket system. Network Downtime is measured from the time a trouble ticket is opened. 

  • Hardware: Atlantic.Net guarantees all hardware components in your server and will replace any failed components at no cost to you. Once Atlantic.Net determines the cause of the problem, hardware replacement will commence. If it takes us more than one hour to replace the faulty hardware from the time the cause is determined, Atlantic.Net will refund 5% of the monthly fee per additional hour of downtime (up to 100% of your monthly fee for the specific server affected).
  • Infrastructure Atlantic.Net guarantees that all critical infrastructure components including power supplied to your server and HVAC, will be available 100% for the time in a given month excluding scheduled maintenance. If it takes us more than 30 minutes to resolve the infrastructure issue from the time the trouble ticket is opened, Atlantic.Net will refund 5% of the monthly fee per additional 30 minutes of downtime (up to 100% of your monthly fee for the specific server affected). Critical infrastructure includes functioning of all power, HVAC, and cabling. Infrastructure downtime exists when your server is shut down due to power or cooling issues and is measured from the time a trouble ticket is opened. 

Specific to Atlantic.Net Cloud Server

SLA Credits: SLA credits will not be issued if the downtime occurred due to scheduled maintenance, if the downtime occurred due to misuse of the Atlantic.Net Cloud Platform, or if you are in breach of any services agreement with Atlantic.Net, until such breach has been resolved. To receive an SLA credit, you must contact Atlantic.Net support within thirty (30) days after the end of the downtime, detailing how your use of the specified Atlantic.Net Cloud Service was adversely affected. This Service Level Guarantee is your sole and exclusive remedy in the event that the Atlantic.Net Cloud Platform is unavailable.

Specific to Atlantic.Net Managed Hosting and Dedicated Servers

Hardware: Excludes reloading operating systems, applications, and rebuilding RAID arrays. If Customer blocks or otherwise prevents Atlantic.Net’s hardware monitoring systems from monitoring the Customer’s affected server, Customer will not be eligible for a hardware related SLA refund.

Infrastructure: does not include the power supplies on customers’ servers.

 

Liquid Web 

Liquid Web provides an industry leading Service Level Agreement (SLA) to our Dedicated Server and VPS customers which includes: 

  • 30 minute Hardware Replacement guarantee: DOES NOT (emphesis mine) include the time required to rebuilding web accounts from backups, cloning hard drives, reloading the operating system, reloading and configuring applications, or rebuilding RAID arrays. 
  • 100% Network Up-time guarantee: Denial of Service" or other form of disabling attack against your Dedicated Server or major portions of our network, Liquid Web will do everything in its power to stop the attack, but cannot guarantee a resolution time. 
  • 30 minute initial response guarantee 

Liquid Web’s fully-managed and core-managed customers are covered by three types of initial response time guarantees: 

The Help Desk Initial Response Time Guarantee (30 Minutes)
 
That means that when you submit a trouble ticket via our help desk system you are guaranteed a response from a Heroic Support® technician within thirty minutes. If Liquid Web fails to respond within thirty minutes, you will be credited 10 times the amount of time exceeding our SLA commitment. That means that if your ticket goes 1 hour past our stated initial response time guarantee, your account will receive a 10 hour hosting credit.
 
Phone Answer Time Guarantee (59 Seconds)
 
We guarantee that a live Heroic Support Agent will answer your phone call within 59 seconds from the time you select the department you wish to speak with. If Liquid Web fails to respond within fifty nine (59) seconds, you will be credited 10 times the amount of time exceeding our SLA commitment. That means that if your phone call goes 6 minutes past our stated initial response time guarantee, your account will receive a 1 hour hosting credit.
 
LiveChat Initial Response Time Guarantee (59 Seconds)
 
We guarantee to have a live Heroic Support Agent answer your LiveChat within 59 seconds after selecting the department and accurately completing the pre-chat survey questions. If Liquid Web fails to respond within fifty nine (59) seconds, you will be credited 10 times the amount of time exceeding our SLA commitment. That means that if your LiveChat goes 6 minutes past our stated initial response time guarantee, your account will receive a 1 hour hosting credit. 
 
In the event that Liquid Web does not meet this SLA, Dedicated Hosting clients will become eligible to request compensation for downtime reported by service monitoring logs. If Liquid Web is or is not directly responsible for causing the downtime, the customer will receive a credit for 10 times ( 1,000% ) the actual amount of downtime. This means that if your server is unreachable for 1 hour (beyond the 0.0% allowed), you will receive 10 hours of credit.
 
All requests for compensation must be received within 5 business days of the incident in question. The amount of compensation may not exceed the customer’s monthly recurring charge. This SLA does not apply for any month that the customer has been in breach of Liquid Web Terms of Service or if the account is in default of payment.

 

Superb Internet

Whether you choose our shared hosting or our dedicated server plans, we guarantee our performance. There's absolutely no risk, because we own our network, our data centers, our IP backbones - the entire network infrastructure is under our control, coast to coast. We have customers throughout the world, and they all get the same superior level of service, leading-edge equipment, reliable performance, and speed.

Superb Transparent SLA Terms 

  • Should there ever be downtime, you get one full day of credit for each hour of downtime.
  • We guarantee zero packet loss from us to our Tier 1 Backbone Providers and Peers. If anything unexpected occurs, you get one day of credit for each 1% of packet loss.
  • Premium transit clients get double credit - two days of credit for each hour.
  • If any of our equipment goes down due to malfunction, we guarantee a replacement unit will be live within two hours. Should Additional Time be Required, You Get a Full Day of Credit for Each Additional Two Hours.
  • Should service not be rendered according to the guaranteed SLA terms, up to 100% of applicable fees on your monthly bill will be credited.
  • Data is measured per consecutive 30-day period.
  • In the highly unlikely event that over any consecutive 30-day period, any one of these events occurs - network downtime exceeds 1% (7 hours), or packet loss from us to Tier 1 providers exceeds 5%, or latency from us to local Tier 1 providers exceeds 20 ms, or a server repair causes more than 24 hours of downtime - you can terminate service immediately at no cost.
HostJury sought clarification from Superb whether the SLA credit was applied automatically, or required a request…. Once we submitted the request, a message appeared that an answer would be forthcoming within 24 hours. There was an email address provided for a quicker response but we'll just update the post!
 

Conclusion

With the infinite number of variables in webhosting, downtime is an inevitable fact. As has been seen just in recent weeks, even the most conscientious host, with layers of protection, can not prepare for every possible scenario. Whether a company offers 100% uptime guarantee, 99.98, or none at all is little consolation when your website is down.  At the end of the day a webhosting company that is focused on providing good support, and fast servers, at a fair price, will provide less frustration, and more peace of mind than getting your monthly hosting fee as a SLA credit every month. Choose wisely! 
 
Just a little editor’s note to those business tycoon types losing thousands of dollars when their website goes offline for a few minutes... if you are losing 
thousands of dollars, you may want to consider paying more than $3.95 a month for your webhosting!

Blippex moves from cloud to terra firma

Wed, 16th October 2013, 12:06

When we think of the cloud, we tend to think of it as a next step. Migrating to cloud might be one of the most common phrases in business this decade. The goal of any given business is growth, of course, and the opportunities provided by the cloud hosting are only growing more appealing. But today we’re going to look at a company that’s moving in another direction: down from the cloud. What are the benefits? And could it be time for your company to come back to earth?

Blippex is a search engine with an evolved purpose: trying to understand just how the end user responds to its search results by monitoring the amount of time they spend on each link. It’s a novel concept, and it’s met with a lot of success. Recently, they’ve switched from AWS S3 to their own dedicated servers at webhosting provider OVH.

Explaining the migration in a recent blog post, Blippex stated;

AWS is great for a startup, you think you need to put the cache-server on a extra machine? Test it with a few mouse clicks! Need storage? great, use S3 for unlimited storage!

And at the first glance it looks quite cheap. A Web Server for $40 something? Nice! And you can backup it very easy with a mouse click while running, great!

But after some time you realize that you have to pay for everything extra: traffic, bigger disks, etc. And the basic servers are not really fast for databases because Amazon wants you to use their databases! Which is completely ok and their databases are great too, but for a small startup this gets quite expensive fast.

The bottom line they concluded is that their new servers from OVH cost about 4.4 times less, while offering enhanced speed and better privacy. Now, taking that at face value, this seems like a no brainer. And it’s quite possible that this was the perfect move for Blippex. But let’s dissect all the factors and see what’s in the guts of the change.

 

Blippex’s new servers require complete self-management.

This cannot be overstated. Managing, administrating, updating, licensing and securing are entirely up to the end users, in this case Blippex. It’s not just that this demands a further investment of time and expense, but that not all companies are prepared for full control over their own data infrastructure. The myriad options available to startups today have partially mystified the complicated nature of managing one’s own servers.

A Codeship blog provided a thoughtful retort and different perspective:

Blippex’s blog post didn’t mention that the team behind blippex has been working on their former company, Archify, for a few years. The technology behind Archify evolved into what is currently blippex. At this point they know and understand their infrastructure needs. Thus a self managed hosting became an option but would probably have been hard to do before when building the infrastructure.

Not everyone agreed with the Codeship retort as shown by this comment:

Let me get this straight-- you're saying that if you create a layer of automation on top of AWS, then it becomes usable and fast. Except, you can create a layer of automation on top of any number of other hosting services-- all of which offer you better price/performance than AWS. Many of which can give you the agility to do what you want, without having to learn (and be locked into) a bunch of proprietary amazon APIs.

Which is central to the next point.

 

Blippex, ostensibly, knows what they need and their business

AWS is really great and I can tell everyone use it when you start! But when you know what you are doing think about alternatives. This could be moving it to other cloud providers like RackspaceLinode or Digital Ocean or move it to your own server as we did. Of course, there are also downsides when moving it to your server, more system administration, you have to build your own firewall, take care of security & backup, etc. But quite often, once you have set this up, you get better performance for a lower price. The biggest downside is not to be able to start new servers just with a mouse click

Again, it’s not just that Blippex is aware of their current needs and has the IT support necessary to manage their own data, it’s that through a long period of gestation they've grasped an awareness of how their business and product will grow. As they concede in their original article, the hardest thing about moving away from AWS is losing the freedom to create new servers with the click of a button. This is really central to AWS’ value to startups. Data storage and hosting is truly reduced to usage, rather than the physical capacity of one’s real-world servers. Even with their knowledge, the move from AWS could be a dangerous one for Blippex. A sudden takeoff is something that’s easy to handle with the flexibility of AWS, and much less so with their cheaper dedicated servers. And that’s what brings us to the final point.

 

Blippex is choosing cost optimization over freedom to expand

That’s not to say such a move is a mistake, but it’s one that should be realized for what it is, and considered very, very carefully. The point Blippex makes is a valid one. For their new investment they’re saving the cost of a new office.

But what’s the opportunity cost? Flexibility, like so many other intangible qualities, often has a value that’s only clear in retrospect. No one should accuse Blippex of not knowing how to run their own business, of course. But in considering emulation of their example, always remember that comparing something tangible, like dollars per month, with something intangible, like flexibility and scalability, the concrete and immediate option can be deceptive.

Momentously Weird News: Media Temple gets new Go-Daddy

Tue, 15th October 2013, 20:00

In what is sure to go down as 2013 oddest coupling of sorts, GoDaddy has acquired Los Angeles-based technical and developer friendly webhost Media Temple (mt) for an undisclosed price. Although the two companies will continue to operate independently, the strategic acquisition provides GoDaddy with direct access to Media Temple’s hosting gurus, who will share knowledge and insight on how GoDaddy can better serve Web professionals and developers. GoDaddy provides scale and investment for (mt) to accelerate its growth and further expand internationally.

GoDaddy new management team under Blake Irving has been working feverishly for months to transform GoDaddy from a cheap tacky turbocharged hormone driven webhosting company, best known for GoDaddy girls, racing cars, cheap domains, SSL certificates, and webhosting into… well pretty much the same with slightly less emphasis on the ladies.

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving:

The people at Media Temple ‘get’ Web pros and developers … that alone is a tremendous asset for us. While we gain Media Temple’s insight, we also reach a more technical audience than GoDaddy has served historically. Having done our homework with a deep customer segmentation, we understand there are vastly different needs on the customer continuum between a small business and a developer. We love that (mt) pursues their business their own way and we’re committed to make sure that continues under the (mt) brand.

Media Temple co-Founder Demian Sellfors:

When I co-founded Media Temple in 1998, I saw an industry that wasn’t meeting the needs of web designers all that well. At one extreme, there was expensive and overly-complex dedicated hosting that required customers to over-build their solutions. At the other extreme, there was incredibly cheap “unlimited” hosting that was untrustworthy and lacked class and transparency. At neither end was there a company truly qualified to understand and partner with the creative community.

Thanks to incredible customers like you, our model worked out. We’ve doubled-down on designers and have created a new platform to help people push the outer limits of the web. Now with 225 employees, Media Temple serves 125,000 customers making up more than 1.5 million websites in over 100 countries. We are proud to be one of Los Angeles’ original startups, repeatedly recognized as one of the best places to work in the city — and one of the fastest-growing companies in the world.

In what can only be seen as an attempt to reassure clients, a MediaTemple blog post stated a number of times that no changes are expected because of the acquisition. So many times in fact, we were curious enough to count just how many times Media Temple(mt) made that assurance in one short blog post: 

  • Though neither GoDaddy’s brand nor operations are being integrated into ours...
  • No, we keep operating independently the commitment to maintain (mt)’s independent operations is what sealed the deal for us….
  • It doesn’t. (mt) and GoDaddy continue to operate independently, so it’s ‘business as usual. 
  • No. Since we continue to operate as a separate company,...
  • No. (mt) and GoDaddy’s systems continue to operate independently, which means GoDaddy discounts can’t be used with our services and vice versa….
  • No third-party vendors will ever have access to it, which has always been our practice.
  • Your hosting is still be served out of our data centers. We have no plans to migrate your services at this time. 

With the acquisition now consummated, they claim it’s back to work! Russell P. Reeder will continue to run MediaTemple. Demian Sellfors will be shifting his focus to other projects. John Carey, (mt)’s other co-founder and CFO, is also transitioning out of (mt) as part of the acquisition.

But there is no change...

30% off new products now at GoDaddy!

Rochen Hosting. Sharing what's right, what's new, & what can be better!

Wed, 9th October 2013, 16:33

Rochen Performance Hosting is another long-standing webhosting solution, having been founded in July of 2000. Since then, they’ve diversified, delving into the realm of content management systems like Joomla and Wordpress. We wanted to take a look at the inner workings of a company with a niche such as this, as well as offer the top staff of the company an opportunity to explore and respond to some of the persistent questions that have followed their support team and its sometimes contentious relationships with customers. Their answers might just be illuminating.

 

Q) Rochen has a fairly long history. What’s the origin story of the company, and who were the key players? How has Rochen most significantly changed and grown as time has passed?

Chris Adams: Rochen originally started over 10 years ago as a web design company that provided hosting services to our clients. We quickly discovered that we were much better at hosting than the design side of things and decided to focus on that full time. We started by renting a couple of dedicated servers and grew from there. In 2006 we took the decision to begin buying and managing our own hardware. Today we have hundreds of Rochen owned and managed servers deployed in co-location facilities in both the US and UK. Our focus is very much on being a "go to" services company for small to medium sizes businesses.

 

Q) How has the continuing rise of content management systems most affected the company?

Ben Johnson: CMS's have always been a part of our business, a big part; it’s tough to say exactly how it has affected us since it’s a major part of what we’ve done from the start.

It has provided some unique opportunities to tune our platform and create our own in-house tools (Joomla! Utilities) to assist customers.  By having an intimate understanding of Joomla!, we have been able to bring this tool, at no cost, to our customers.

Joomla utilities helps our customers with Migration to Rochen from any other host, conduct full installations, and provides a single view of all Joomla! instances for our reseller customers. To round it out, it has a wealth of security features in in it as well.

 

Q)  On that note, what are the key challenges facing a hosting provider with a focus in CMS like Joomla and Wordpress? 

Ben Johnson: Security! CMS’ by their community driven nature, are on a rapid release cycle. These releases often contain a security patch or update. Many times the general consumer doesn't follow the same update/patch cycle as the CMS project itself. In other words, they are left exposed to the hacker elements.

This is definitely complicated by the fact that most major CMS platforms have vibrant 3rd-party extension and theme communities. We've implemented a number of solutions to minimize the risk for our clients, including our commercial Web Application Firewall solution that focuses on negating most exploits as soon as they're publicly available. It also prevents a number of more generic attacks, which are commonly used when a public exploit isn't available.

 

Q) What are some of the company’s failures? How has Rochen changed and grown in the face of these?

Chris Adams: I wouldn't say necessarily failures, but we have learned a lot regarding the infrastructure side of things over the years. One example would be when we moved into our original data center space in the US we opted for 110V power and it didn't provide the power density we needed to grow redundantly even in a 42U rack. Today all of our racks are a custom 50U design with multiple 208V circuits served from redundant A+B power infrastructure. They key thing to take away here is "redundancy" as that's what we focus a lot of our time on – everything from power and network connectivity upwards.

 

Q) On the other hand, what are Rochen’s greatest successes? What is the Rochen team proudest of having accomplished?

Chris Adams: I am extremely proud of our Rochen Vault managed backup service and the tight integration it has with our customer control panel. Our launching in multiple global data centers was also a big step for us. I think our greatest success with our new upcoming offering is yet to come though. 

 

Q) Describe, if you will, the company culture of Rochen. Is there a certain structure or philosophy you feel contributes to Rochen’s success?

Chris Adams: Rochen has a fairly flat operating structure. We have four main operational groups that are managed by talented leaders reporting directly to myself. These groups are Support, Systems Engineering, Sales & Marketing and the Enterprise Solutions Group. Our culture at Rochen is very much one of openness, honesty and getting the job done. One way we build our culture is through our annual company retreat. Last year this was held in Napa Valley, CA and in previous years has been held in Las Vegas, NV.

 

Q) Rochen’s reviews on HostJury speak highly of its hosting capabilities. However, a trend we've noticed both on HostJury and elsewhere is the impression that Rochen’s customer support team is difficult to work with, and at times, hostile. Has this been an area of concern for Rochen’s support department?

Tom Canavan: This is one of the most important questions, I believe, that HostJury has asked us in this interview. Most often we hear customer service complaints in the case of abuse tickets, an example of abuse being an account hosting a phishing page or launching a malicious attack against other websites.

Security is of the upmost importance to us, so our policies have been very rigid and our responses direct in these cases. Unfortunately, this can lead to a breakdown in communications between our customers and staff. It is obviously frustrating and stressful for any customer when an issue like this arises.

While we must protect the integrity of our infrastructure and our other customers’ websites, we recognize we can do a better job in supporting those who have been hacked or are under attack. Our support team has recently taken steps to improve our customers’ perception by changing a few of our methods by which we handle abuse cases.

 

Q) What has Rochen done in recent times to change or maintain its customer support?

Tom Canavan: Very recently, (October 2013), we have made a number of significant changes in an effort to improve the customer experience in this area. These are in the process of being rolled out. As a concrete example, where an individual email account has been compromised we will simply lock that email account as opposed to the overall hosting account as we have in the past.

Rochen is always looking at how customers perceive service. Customer satisfaction is not only a concern for our support department; it has the full attention of all of our executive management. Lastly we encourage our customers to rate each support transaction (available in the ticket) and provide us the feedback we need to know how we can do better.

Abuse cases are always a challenging area for hosting providers. We continue to work to improve the customer experience in this area while not compromising security.

 

Q) There are many hosting solutions available on the market today. Could you tell us what truly sets Rochen apart from its competitors- what makes it the solution to choose?

Ben Johnson: Our relationship with the Joomla project. Valuable and professional extra’s like Joomla Utilities, our Rochen vault backups, our commercial Web Application Firewall, and a solid technical and development team. We monitor hundreds of data points on all of our servers and networking gear. This is vital to our uptime as well as our clients. For instance, if a hard drive is in a degraded [failing] state we’re alerted and our 24x7x365 data center staff takes immediate actions to ensure our customers websites and hardware stays up and running.

In addition, we have spent a great deal of time architecting the best solution for speed. We strive for the best performance possible without hindering clients. 

 

Q) What’s in the future for Rochen? Where is the firm headed- towards vertical growth, or is it branching out to encompass new features and new opportunities?

Tom Canavan: Rochen has been around a long time, and as you may know, we are the official host for the Joomla.org project. Our roots are in the open source communities and we continue to expand into the communities we serve.

In regards to our vertical growth in the CMS market, we have a new set of hosting services on our roadmap designed to better serve the open source communities of Joomla!, WordPress, Drupal and Magento.

Branching out however is on our roadmap as well.  We have been in development for about two years on a new Enterprise Hosting Service, targeted at the Small and Medium businesses that fall between 1 and 999 employees.  While we can’t divulge all the product details yet, we can say we worked very closely with one of our partners (VMWare® ) on the development of this new offering.

The new hosting service will allow those who need a more enterprise grade of service, a new degree of capability, uptime and, scalability. This type of solution was only previously available at a very high investment in capitol costs as well as the need for a strong technical team.

To meet this demand, we have founded a new division within Rochen, called the Enterprise Solutions Group. The mission of this group is to serve the needs and demands of the Small and Medium enterprise clients.  Everyone in this group has an extensive background in the Enterprise IT and Enterprise business space as well as a deep understanding of the needs of this type of customers' business problems.

 

More About the Participants and Rochen

Christopher Adams - Founder & CEO


profile picture of Chris Adams

As a veteran of the web hosting industry, Chris serves as Rochen's Chief Executive Officer, a role he has held since founding the company. He is responsible for the overall day-to-day management of all functions within the business including sales, customer support and operations. Rochen is net cash flow positive, debt free and is currently doubling revenues every year. Chris credits Rochen's phenomenal success to the precision focus it places on customer support and investing in the best possible infrastructure. He took a critical decision early on that Rochen would never outsource support and would own and manage all of its infrastructure instead of simply renting servers from a larger data center. 

 

Ben Johnson

profile picture of Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is quite literally a guru when it comes to server management and he holds many industry recognised qualifications including the prestigious Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification. Ben has over a decade of systems engineering experience behind him. He is directly responsible for ensuring that Rochen's servers are kept secure and continue humming along smoothly. Most recently Ben has been involved in planning for the launch of our private data center suite in Dallas, TX keeping redundancy in mind at every stage. Ben lives in the beautiful city of Kelowna in BC, Canada with his wife Natasha. 

 

Tom Canavan

 

The Company 

Through nearly 10 years of experience in the hosting industry we have learnt what works and what does not. Rochen wants our customers to be able to leverage on our significant expertise. Moreover, we are a company that is completely debt free and net cash flow positive. We understand that in these exceptional economic times customers are looking for a financially stable provider with a proven track record.