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Talking shop with Hivelocity Director of Operations Steven Eschweiler

Thu, 30th January 2014, 17:42

Hivelocity is a long-running company with a stellar reputation, one earned over years of focusing on one thing: solid dedicated server hosting, so with the recent announcement of Steven Eschweiler’s promotion to Director of Operations, we thought we’d take the opportunity to pick his brains for a look into what it takes to build a brand and keep it spotless- as well as seeing what’s in the future for a company with a real focus on its customer service.

Q. You've been with Hivelocity from the very beginning. What’s been the most rewarding element of starting and growing a brand?

Steven: We started Hivelocity with 5 guys in a basement and 2 cabinets of Cobalt Raq 3 servers...remember those? Here we are 12 years later with our own 25,000 sq ft data center, thousands of physical servers, thousands more virtual servers and 50 employees. When you are self-funded and organically grow like we have the rewarding events over the course of a decade plus are many. Our brand over the years has grown to stand for incredible customer service & support, impeccable reliability, and an exceptional user experience. None of these brand elements would be possible without the incredible team we have been fortunate enough to assemble. We have gone from 5 guys in a basement to 50 of the most talented and dedicated individuals in the industry.

Q. How has the hosting industry changed most radically from your first day to today? Are there any trends you think are interesting moving forward?

Steven: The industry as a whole has matured a lot over the years. Companies that were start ups along with us are now a piece of IBM. You don't get much more mature than IBM. Since hosting and servers has pretty much become a commodity we are all trying to find ways to differentiate ourselves from each other. Data centers and hosting companies are investing a lot in development and creating new software that more easily enables customers to find success. A successful customer is a growing customer and that is what we all want after all. The days of just offering power and pipe are over. People want solutions that envelope all of their needs today and provide a scalable roadmap for tomorrow.

Q. Your realm at Hivelocity has centered on solid customer service. Is there a particular philosophy that you've brought to this endeavor, or a more general corporate philosophy you uphold?

Steven: There is one core philosophy I ask our team to keep in mind with everything we do. "Provide a unique customer experience that is exceptional at every interaction, every time." When your goal is to create an exceptional user experience, every facet of service has to be included; uptime, ticket responses, technician expertise, our data center tour...everything has to be consistently superior. Our video tour, the live order tracker, the custom server pics we send, are all part of the Hivelocity experience. We want our customers to walk away from every interaction saying "wow, that was really cool."

Q. Your new position is Director of Operations. What are some of the new challenges you expect this role to bring? New opportunities?

Steven: I see our challenges and opportunities as very much the same thing. We are a technology company and as any IT company will tell you, technology changes fast. If you aren't nimble and quick to evolve, you find yourself selling something nobody wants. Likewise, if you are nimble and able to adapt you will find yourself at the cutting edge with products people are just realizing they want and need. Today, cloud and virtualized solutions with high-availability and scale are what the market demands. Every day we work towards broadening that segment of our product offerings.

Q. As General Manager, you introduced the Hivelocity Experience program, which streamlined the way the service was delivered to consumers and even included them in the setup process. We found the customer inclusion to be particularly novel: how important is this aspect of the service to Hivelocity, and do you have any future plans to ramp up customer participation even further?

Steven: Our customers are like family to us and when you have something great going on, you involve your family. Transparency and involving our customers to whatever level they want, is paramount to our brand and success. So to answer your question, we have only scratched the surface of what we have planned regarding customer inclusion and continuing to create that unique user experience I touched on previously.

Q. On a more personal note, tell us about your history and how it led you to hosting, and to Hivelocity in particular.

Steven: I was close friends with the founders of Hivelocity from the time we were teenagers. After graduating from the Florida State University with a BS in Business Administration and a major in Marketing, I took a horrible job working for a big US bank. Sometimes you learn the most by watching bad practices in action. Luckily, I was able to leave that position and walk away with a realization that if given the opportunity I would make sure whatever product I had control of offering was done with the customer's greatest interests in mind. My next position was working with a managed service provider here in Tampa. This position helped reinforce my IT aspirations and one day my old friends called up just as they were about to start Hivelocity. Their needs fit my strengths and the rest is history.

Q. What would you say is one big failure you've endured during your career, and what did you learn from it?

Steven:  We have not always had our own data center. Over the years we have gone from having a closet, to renting suites and cages within other data centers to finally building out our own facility. At each stage of our growth we have been able to say, okay what did we do wrong last time and how can we do it better this time around. An easy example of this is wire management. 10 years ago wire management was not something we spent much time on. It doesn't take long to realize if you don't take pride in your wire management you end up with a cabling nightmare. The next time we scaled up our operation we made sure that during the migration we wired everything perfectly. If you were to tour our data center today you would immediately take notice that miles of cables are incredibly managed.

Q. Finally, do you have any advice for the young graduates getting into the industry?

Steven: What you read in a book and what you learn on the job are 2 very different things. I have had applicants with all the certifications and accolades one can garner not be able to pass our tests during the interview process. The books are great for building a foundation but there is nothing like managing your own servers and getting your hands dirty with real life issues.

About Steven Eschweiler

Profile picture of Steven Eschweiler at the data center

Steven Eschweiler was recently named Director of Operations at Hivelocity after previously holding the position of General Manager where he was responsible for operations, marketing and product development.  Steve committed much of his efforts to making Hivelocity a premium solutions provider with a laser focus on customer service. Eschweiler has been with the company since its inception in 2002. 

About Hivelocity

Since the beginning in 2001, Hivelocity have backed their responsive e-business solutions with a robust infrastructure, the best customer service and superior technical support. A common misconception about the technology industry is “it’s all machines”. That is not Hivelocity’s approach. Although their state of the art data center and infrastructure are second to none, Hivelocity is successful because they are committed to exceptional customer service and unparalleled 24×7 Impressive Support. Because Hivelocity take support and client services so seriously, thousands of business across the globe have entrusted Hivelocity with their data. Hivelocity boasts and guarantees 99.9% network uptime which they fulfill year after year after year.

Endurance completes Directi deal: ResellerClub & BigRock now EIG Brands

Wed, 29th January 2014, 18:00

The consolidation in the webhosting industry continues with Endurance International Group (EIG) announcing that it has completed the $110 million deal struck last September to buy Mumbai-based Directi Web Technology Pvt Ltd. As part of the deal, Endurance International has acquired the web hosting entities ResellerClub and BigRock. The deal also included WebHosting.Info and LogicBoxes. 

Hari Ravichandran, CEO, Endurance, says:

We believe this acquisition represents an opportunity for Endurance to expand its footprint and positions us for further growth. Directi has managed to build a blue chip organisation without losing their entrepreneurial spirit, and the Endurance team also intends to learn from Directi’s approach to developing new markets.

The more we learned about Directi, the more impressed we became. Their approach to recruitment is highly selective, particularly for developers and is similar to that of major sports figures here in the United States. They have managed to build a blue chip organization without losing their entrepreneurial spirit. And in fact, the Endurance team intends to learn from Directi’s approach to developing new markets. 

Directi was formed in 1998 by Bhavin Turakhia along with his brother Divyank to develop mass-market web products with more than 25 product offerings. The combined product portfolio of various Directi businesses included communication and collaboration apps, social networking software, instant messaging, context analysis engines, anti-spam and antivirus solutions, large-scale billing and provisioning platforms, monetizing web traffic solutions, online ad solutions and web hosting control panels.
 
Directi has retained a number of its brands and products including instant messenger Talk.to; PW (professional web) registry; online advertising solutions for publishers Media.net, Skenzo and Domainadvertising.com; ongoing coding contest CodeChef; and Radix FZC, a top-level domain name registry business. Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO of Directi, is expected to be actively involved in the integration of the brands Directi shed into EIG.

 

More about the brands. 

ResellersClub: Founded in 1998, ResellerClub provides a full range of Web Presence products & services to Web Hosts, Web Designers, Technology Consultants and Domain Resellers worldwide. ResellerClub is a industry's leading provider of full-range products and services that enable them to become a one-stop shop for web presence products online. ResellerClub product suite includes Domain Registration, Web and Email Hosting, SSL Certificates and Website Design which enables our Resellers to cater to the entire Web Presence market.

BigRock: Powers over 100,000 websites worldwide, making BigRock one of the most reliable hosting providers globally. BigRock offer Affordable Web Hosting for personal websites, Business Hosting for small business websites, and Professional Hosting for large enterprises. BigRock Hosting plan gives you Unlimited Disk-Space, Unlimited Bandwidth and Unlimited Email Accounts. Our Web Hosting Plan comes with a free cPanel with Fantastico Control Panel and gives you access to over 50 Free applications such as Wordpress Blogs, Photo albums, Shopping Carts, Chat, Social Networking and more. 
 
LogicBoxes: A business automation technology and consulting solutions provider focused on serving larger companies including registries, registrars, ISPs, telcos and some of the world’s leading web hosts. The LogicBoxes platform currently claims to be serving over 100 registrars in more than 35 countries around the world and manages through its registrar base approximately 3.75 million domains. One of them is EIG earlier acquisition HostGator. (editor's note: EIG will likely add its approximately 25 other brands to that list)

 

WebHosting.Info: Provides statistics and research data about the web services industry. Tracks over 35,000 web hosting companies worldwide.

Web Hosting

Nexcess upgrades hardware on Magento server cluster plans

Tue, 28th January 2014, 20:39

Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento eCommerce hosting and Magento Platinum Hosting Partner, has announced that its powerful Magento server cluster plans will benefit from an substantial hardware upgrade. Responsiveness is of particular importance to eCommerce retailers, because faster sites have proven to provide increased sales.

Nexcess Magento server clusters are designed to provide the highly optimized and responsive hosting solution required by high-traffic eCommerce stores. As part of the company’s ongoing effort to ensure that eCommerce clients are able to leverage the performance and reliability of the most up-to-date server technology, the company has significantly upgraded the hardware on its Magento MCE-SIP clusters.

All cluster plans that were previously using Dell PowerEdge R410 servers with Westmere-based Intel Xeon processors on web application servers, database servers, and file servers have been upgraded to Dell PowerEdge R420 servers that take advantage of Intel’s newer Sandy Bridge processor architecture.

Chris Wells, President and CEO of Nexcess says:

As a company we’re dedicated to helping our eCommerce clients maintain performance that’s well ahead of their competition, In combination with our highly optimized software stack, these hardware upgrades ensure Nexcess’ Magento server clusters continue to be the best choice for high-traffic enterprise eCommerce stores.

Nexcess Magento eCommerce clusters are highly scalable and are designed to allow for modular expansion. Clients are able to scale out clusters with additional web application servers, databases servers, file servers, payment bridge servers, load, and staging / development servers, among others. All clusters also include generous data usage allocations and CDN data usage.

The new specs are presently available to all new clients but Nexcess says they will work with existing clients who are experiencing performance problems and could benefit from an upgrade to the latest hardware.

About Nexcess

Nexcess is a Southfield, Michigan-based managed hosting company founded in 2000, with wholly-owned data centers located in Dearborn, Michigan and Southfield, Michigan. Nexcess offers a variety of hosting services ranging from entry-level packages to custom clustered/complex hosting configurations, with an emphasis on mission-critical hosting for high-profile eCommerce web sites. 

Nexcess Magento Hosting banner

 

Russell Wilson Passing Academy vs Peyton's Payback Foundation

Thu, 23rd January 2014, 16:16

The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be something special. Between the rising star the Seahawks have found in Russell Wilson and the inimitable Peyton Manning and his Broncos, it’s a fascinating clash of new vs. old. What comes out on top- the Manning dynasty, or the best damn corner in the league, is yet to be seen.

No, in case you’re wondering, HostJury is not opening up a sporting branch. But we did think it would be a novel idea to approach the big game and its star quarterbacks through the websites they run. Obviously many pro athlete participate in charity and community outreach, Wilson and Manning being no exception. Each has an online presence around these ventures. But the way the websites are designed and hosted reveals some pretty interesting disparities. See which one you’d rather pass your cash to with HostJury’s own Super Bowl match up.

Russell Wilson Passing Academy

Russell Wilson Passing Academy 

Now here’s a website with class- just look at that tasteful leather backdrop. Russell Wilson Passing Academy is a traveling program that sets up football camps for youth aged 8-17, teaching them not only the fundamentals of the game, and introducing them to various positions and techniques, but also looks to “promote the mental and physical development of youth, with the goal of encouraging kids to develop high character and moral standards, a sense of competitiveness and fair play, a respect for authority, service to others, and a love of God, family, and country.” Patriotic! If your family is anywhere near the locations listed in the FAQ, it might be a good way to introduce them to the game, or to brush up on their skills if they already have them.

As for the website, there’s a lot to brag about. It’s expertly put together, very stylishly designed, and according to GTMetrix, it gets top marks in terms of composition and pageload speed. What makes this website work is that despite a lot of graphics and data put together in one place, much of the interactive content is scaled down, which means there’s less applets that need loading. For an event or a charity, there’s really no need to inundate the page with a thousand little boxes. Keeping the information clear and up front is better in terms of design and better in terms of server load. Web hosting for RWPA is done by GoDaddy, which despite its checkered ratings on HostJury, seems to be working really well here.

So how does Peyton stack up?

Peyback Foundation

Peyton Manning Peyback Foundation 

The Peyback Foundation is a much broader charity that directs a sizeable amount of funds to youth organizations in Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida. Peyback, and thus Peyton himself, partners with organizations to impact underprivileged and at-risk communities through outreach, summer camps, foster care and boys and girls clubs. Now that’s a goal that’s fitting for one of the best quarterbacks of all time. You can get involved by sending a donation, or if you know of a deserving organization, by contacting the Peyback Foundation and letting them know the focus of the group.

While the goal is admirable, in terms of composition, the website needs some work. In fact, we see a lot of the exact problems Russell Wilson’s website manages to avoid. Peyback uses Wordpress, but the downside to that accessibility for the designer seems to be a ton of requests that are jockeying to load… all for a page that’s oddly sparse. The less than stellar webhosting is provided by the Rackspace cloud! Maybe Peyton should use some of that Manning gold to revamp the website a bit and write a review asking why his webhosting doesn't stack up with Wilson's choice. Possibly GoDaddy's toned down 2014 Super Bowl adverts will seal the deal.

So in this match up, youth trumps experience! Based on our highly scientific method, HostJury is ready to call the Super Bowl for the Seattle Seahawks, 27-21. You can all feel free to place your bets. In the site’s long history, we've never made a single bad Super Bowl prediction.

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The Evolution of GoDaddy

Sat, 18th January 2014, 14:04

Recently GoDaddy announced that they were revamping their Linux Web hosting lineup with the addition of cPanel and its integrated Web hosting management software. At the time GoDaddy said customers were benefiting from a new Web hosting architecture that provided a fast and reliable experience and new Web hosting plans, which enable customers to find a solution that meets their specific needs.

GoDaddy Product Manager Web Hosting Ben Gabler said that “After studying the market and our customer needs, we went to work with cPanel and CloudLinux to create an optimized solution that provides a market-leading customer experience. GoDaddy is focused on bringing the best and most reliable services to our customers around the world".

GoDaddy has continued to evolve its product lineup and has announced a number of changes.. good or bad may depend on the perspective of the user.

Ruby on Rails

There isn't much to say on this change other than effective January 23 2014, GoDaddy shared hosting accounts will no longer support Ruby. Perplexing when one considers that managing Ruby on Rails Applications are incorporated into cPanel.

GoDaddy to offer Microsoft Office 365

GoDaddy and Microsoft Corp. have teamed up in a strategic partnership to offer Office 365 as GoDaddy’s exclusive core business-class email and productivity service for small-business customers.

Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of Business Applications, GoDaddy says:

Combining our small-business expertise together with Microsoft’s productivity offerings opens new doors for small businesses to easily get the tools they need to get more done in their day. We've created a simple way to attach Office 365 to a domain name, helping small-business owners look professional and work anywhere, making the business of running their business easier.”

The strategic agreement between Microsoft and GoDaddy provides small businesses with seamless access to professional email connected to their domain names, cloud storage and a full suite of Microsoft productivity solutions. As part of the agreement, Microsoft created a unique offering of domain-based email and storage especially built with GoDaddy’s very small businesses in mind.

Office 365 offers business-class email, shared calendars, instant messaging, online conferencing and access to the most up-to-date documents. These capabilities are delivered as a cloud service available to users wherever they are, online or offline and across a variety of devices, offering access to the most up-to-date versions of the files and tools they need to get things done. Unlike some offerings designed for consumers or small businesses, Office 365 includes built-in security features that help deflect malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats. (editor's note: it's a good thing too .. you'll see why further below

Office 365 from GoDaddy is currently available in the U.S. and Canada and will expand globally within the next three months.

GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting

GoDaddy is launching a new Web hosting platform dedicated to optimizing WordPress content-management system. The new WordPress experience enables customers to focus on content creation, while GoDaddy handles the technical details of managing a Web hosting account including server setup, security, daily backups and performance optimization.

GoDaddy Director of Hosting Product Management Bill Watt says:

GoDaddy is committed to supporting the WordPress community with one of the fastest, most secure and reliable hosting platforms. The team created a product that is easy-to-use and is robust and scalable as an enterprise-level service. GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting costs a fraction of other competitors prices and is backed by award-winning, around-the-clock customer service which makes this a great choice for anyone looking to get their website up and running.

GoDaddy is officially launching the product at WordCamp Phoenix and participants of the event have been able to test out the product leading up to the event, in order to give feedback directly to the engineers and designers.

Tom King, Waste Management Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman adds:

GoDaddy’s WordPress solution has really taken the Waste Management Phoenix Open website to the next level. We have had flawless performance since we started using the service. Our tournament is just around the corner and we completely trust GoDaddy to help us deliver a fast and reliable website, regardless of how many spikes in traffic we get.

Not so fast Tom.. Speed matters and Hostjury likes to know how fast, is fast.

GTmetrix uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow to grade a site's performance and provides actionable recommendations to fix issues. Since studies have shown that users leave a site if it hasn't loaded in 4 seconds we decided to put Tom King’s perception of a fast and reliable website to the test. While using GTmetrix wouldn't pass the threshold required for a scientific study, (many variables can affect pageload speed), the tool is quick, simple, and convenient.

Our first test on wmphoenixopen.com http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopen.com/HrVG81MK produced an A although that YSlow grade of C was less than stellar. The 4.13 second page load speed may raise some googlebot eyebrows.

GTmetrix report on the pageload spead of the website wm phoenix open 

Possibly a second try...http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopen.com/0pimXWJq returned similar results and that third test… we are excluding and putting down to Friday afternoon traffic on the west coast! 

Over the years many people (editor’s first thought: think those MediaTemple types) have claimed that GoDaddy’s servers are congested and oversold. We checked and were quite surprised to see 361 domains hosted on the server. (The editor must point out: a domain does not equal a website. Many sites could have numerous parked domains pointing to a main domain. Secondly, 361 domains is not in and of itself, a crowded oversold server).

We noticed the domain wmphoenixopenbetasite.com on the server so we ran GTmetrix on that domain. The YSlow grade came in slightly faster with a 73% but the pageload speed was substantially faster (relatively speaking) loading in 3.60 seconds. http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopenbetasite.com/pUrqurrl. A second test produced similar results. To be fair, we ran one more test on Tom King’s wmphoenixopen.com when web traffic would be minimal and the page load speed did drop to 3.42 seconds. This is a fully loaded website with lots going on. So Tom, we’re giving it a pass.

Normally we wouldn’t take the time to scroll down the list or types of domains on a server. Today we did only because of the next heading.

Amazon top malware-host ahead of GoDaddy

A report released by security firm Solutionary reveals that Amazon was the top global malware hosting provider coming in with a 16 percent share, followed closely by GoDaddy ranking second with a 14 percent market share.

On a positive note for GoDaddy, the report found the ease of website creation, low cost and speed of deployment allows malware producers to create and remove malware serving websites quickly, easily and cost effectively, allowing them to infect millions of computers and vast numbers of enterprise systems… awesome.

GoDaddy evolution from a hormone driven budget webhost and domain registrar into a serious contender in the business marketplace continues to gain momentum. While its offerings will likely never appeal to the more ardent hardcore tech evangelists, (editor’s note: there is an adage about never saying never), a global study commissioned by Microsoft estimates if the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and 125 million worldwide adopted the latest in IT tools, it could potentially boost their revenues by a combined $770 billion and create more than 6 million jobs.

About GoDaddy

GoDaddy now serves more than 12 million paying customers worldwide and is the largest Web hosting and domain name registrar on the planet. GoDaddy leverages its award-winning talent and personalized approach to help small business owners create their digital identity, build websites and grow online.

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The shady whois on NodeKi imminent demise

Fri, 17th January 2014, 18:51

Not so long ago, a glowing article appeared on the wpmudev blog extolling a new webhosting outfit that was going to revolutionize the industry for wordpress users.

What if you could pay for hosting once and never have to worry about it again for the rest of your life? No monthly or yearly bills, no contracts to renew, nothing to worry about except building your websites. Sound interesting?

NodeKi: A New WordPress Hosting Company

NodeKi is a new WordPress hosting company that offers a unique pricing structure, which includes Lifetime Hosting plans…. yada yada yada

Way back in 2012 when Sarah was hyping this radical new concept being pitched by Nodeki, (editor’s hint: the one where you get something for almost nothing), pricing started at $39 USD. But you'd have to hurry because prices were going up ten bucks on April 1st.

As with any ponzi style business plan, the prices continued to climb until NodeKi founder and CEO Jonathan Tittle sold and relinquished the reins of his lifetime optimized wordpress hosting venture. Now those fledging magnates are telling clients that as of February 1st, 2014, the revolution is over, and they need to find a new webhosting provider... oh and by the way, there’s no refunds on those lifetime managed wordpress hosting plans

Dear Sir/Madam,

As of February 1st, 2014, NodeKi will permanently be going out of business. We want to inform you in advance that the NodeKi lifetime plans and server will cease to exist on February 1st of 2014.

Unfortunately, the “Lifetime” plans were not a sustainable business model. We can’t continue paying for servers, software, bandwidth and support if there’s no incoming money to cover these costs. It’s not remotely possible to provide any product “for life” that has recurring costs associated with it. The Lifetime plans were not something that the existing management implemented, sold, or received money for. Due to this reason and the “no refund” policy at purchase, we are not able to offer refunds. This is not something that is open to debate.

LIMITED support (password resets and MINOR server related issues) will be provided on a best effort basis up until the shutdown time. We have provided a two week timeframe so that you can move your domains and websites to a new provider.

Thank you for your support in the previous years.

Ouch… maybe the management should at least offer a 'thanks for the money' to clients!

Whois on NodeKi Management

Back in 2011, Jonathan Tittle registered the NodeKi domain using the following information:

Jonathan Tittle
1004 E. Watauga Ave
#109 Johnson City, TN, USA
37601
Phone: (423)598-2692
Email Address: jtittle@pressed.in

(Editor’s note: pressed.in still redirects to NodeKi.com)

Then in January of 2012, the whois information changed to:

NodeKi
Tabitha Buchanan
1004 E. Watauga Ave
#109 Johnson City, TN, USA
37601
Phone:(423)598-2692
Email Address: hello@nodeki.com

Again in December 2012 the domain contact reverted to Jonathan Tittle, same address but different phone number: (423)741-6116.

In May of 2013, a thread shopping a block of clients appeared on that forum frequented by those partisan webhosts purveying the only unbiased hosting reviews on the web jargon. The original poster Breakfree, hailing from Johnson City, TN, claimed “the reason for the sale is that we're simply looking to exit from the hosting industry so that we can focus on our other businesses

It is noteworthy that none of the clients being offered were on lifetime plans. Responding publicly to questions, Breakfree stated:

Only clients are mentioned in the thread above, and that's what we're looking to sell. We do have other clients and the brand, but we'd be looking at slightly more for everything if that is of primary interest to the buyer. The primary sale is of the 21 clients mentioned above.

One of the respondents was IQBreck aka Breck Burgess. Way back in 2003, Burgess was the owner of InterQuad Communications. It is purported that Interquad was sold to ServerCentral in 2005, although the domain records suggest a change was made in 2006. But not to ServerCentral, rather to WingSix which is part of the UK2 Group. In 2009, it appears the domain was transferred to Hosting Services Inc. and then back to UK2 in 2010. In December of 2012, the domain reverted back to where this all started, Breck Burgess. In January of 2013 the privacy whois was enabled to hide the domain owner.

In May of 2013 the NodeKi nameservers switched to Interquad, the domain registrar changed to NetEarth, and the domain whois privacy was enabled.. always a bad sign with a web hosting company. It also appears the NodeKi about page was never updated to reflect the changes… especially that part about “the most transparent and hands-on management teams in our industry”.

Other domains owned by Breck Burgess

Interquad.net and dot com is owned by a Breck Burgess
nexuscast.com is owned by a Breck Burgess
MyShoutServer.com is owned by a Breck Burgess
Verushost.com
prismavps.com
LOADEDSERVERS.NET

Are there more.. likely but I got tired looking. If your webhost’s domain whois privacy is enabled and the snail mail contact information isn’t clearly spelt out on their website… find a webhost to transfer your data for you... most will handle it for free.

Meanwhile it appears our lady friend Sarah scooped us on the breaking story of NodeKi impending demise… how fitting. The Reg put it best: Agreeing to a "lifetime" deal does not normally refer to your lifetime - it's all about the sustainability of the biz and its eventual death warrant, which in this instance was signed by NodeKi.

Choose wisely and read the reviews!

Is Ghost just a blogging platform marauding as a webhost?

Wed, 15th January 2014, 15:47

Blogging services and content management systems are great, right? Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and the like are the perfect marriage of form and functionality- godsends for the end user: writers, bloggers, e-marketers, anyone with the desire to publish web content on their own terms.

Thus far, the one crucial step beyond actually learning to operate the system is, of course, finding a suitable host. If you're reading this article, chances are you know something the depth of the hosting world- maybe daunting to some, but endless in its opportunities for any who care to look, including hosts with an eye towards these services, like HostPapaArvixeSitegroundHostGatorA2 HostingWP EngineMDDHosting ... The list is endless.

But it does seem a logical progression of the consolidating, streamlining forces of progress to try and cut out the middleman, taking the middle ground of customizable but user oriented services and inching them ever closer to the public by wrapping hosting up in the mix: enter Ghost.org, the trendy not-for-profit that turned heads with its successful six-figure Kickstarter campaign.

Now, with a few months passing since their successful launch in October, Ghost is launching the hosted version of their platform, and the end result is worth taking a look at.

Ghost describes itself as entirely oriented on publishing, and there's something to be said for the style and ease of access provided by their blogging-hosting combination. But there's a number of pitfalls to hosting that have to be avoided, and ultimately raise the question... Is it all worth it?

1. Hosting is not easy- or cheap.

If dedication to making the best blogging platform available is Ghost's goal, incorporating hosting is an odd choice. Despite partnerships with Fused Network and SingleHop (as well as Site5) one can expect that keeping their ever-expanding hosting operation under control will be a major priority for Ghost's ambitious creators. This in a niche which is growing at a breakneck pace- Ghost may be off to a head start, but how long will that last?

2. Ghost's hosting is... Adequate. Their prices? Less so.

We checked the domain whois to see where Ghost hosts their website and found cloudflare nameservers which masks where the domain is actually hosted. They used Vidahost when Ghost.org became active (domain was first registered in 2005 by a nameless domain squatter)

2013-06-23 Sedoparking.com to Vidahost.co.uk

2013-08-06 Transfer Vidahost.co.uk to Vidahost.com

2013-11-27 Transfer Vidahost.com to Cloudflare.com

A simple speedtest of Ghost's new servers reveals that what you're getting is not that bad, but it's certainly not cutting edge, and if you're willing to pick and choose you can probably find a service better optimized for your needs.

A speed test of ghost.org using GTmetrix.. The results, although adequate, are nothing special: http://gtmetrix.com/reports/ghost.org/e22X8PfJ. One could question (and you should) whether that page load time of 4.02 seconds is going to impress the google bots! 

Not so terrible, until you consider Ghost's prices: forget bandwidth, you're paying for pageviews, and that's something that should make prospective customers more than a little uneasy: sudden success, even with intelligently decentralized, embedded content can take you to a class of service you're not ready to pay for... Leaving you wishing you hadn't stuck with the proprietary option.

Perhaps, in time, like Wordpress, Ghost will evolve into a full on content management system, with it's complimenting hosting service to make it just right for the boutique website/blog with no setup hassles. But for a company that prides itself in being 'just a blogging service', Ghost sure is piling on the functionality. Maybe it will turn out to be the perfect recipe to attract casual bloggers in droves: or maybe there's something to the maxim 'Jack of all trades, master of none.'

Arvixe wordpress hosting

HiVelocity giving away 10GB of cloud storage with every server Free

Wed, 15th January 2014, 14:30

Infrastructure services and hosting provider HiVelocity is now including an additional 10GB of free cloud storage with every new server. While each server is provided 10GB of free storage, there will be options for customers to choose up to 2TB of cloud storage per server they have with Hivelocity. One of the interesting details in this announcement is that the free storage is not dispersed on a per client basis, rather on a per server basis. Customers with numerous servers will have multiple free storage plans provided to them. 

Barry Stetler, Hivelocity’s Development & Operations Leader speaking about the additional feature says:

We are always looking for new ways to reward our customers and improve our service. Obviously some free storage on the cloud gives our customers an avenue for backing up data and peace of mind. I think the simplicity myVelocity offers in setting up and managing the storage will be just as rewarding to our customers as the fact it is free.

Over the last year Hivelocity has introduced several free services available to customers within their myVelocity portal. From managing DNS, creating A records, remote reboots and now free storage.

Hivelocity customers are empowered to manage their online presence as much as they like. Alternatively, Hivelocity has made a name for itself by offering an exceptional level of customer service and support giving customers the option of having Hivelocity experts handle things instead. Existing clients can expect to receive instructions on activating and managing their storage using Hivelocity’s custom built myVelocity portal incrementally throughout January.

About HiVelocity 

Founded in 2001, Hivelocity provides dedicated server, VPS and Cloud hosting services to customers from over 135 countries worldwide. Their state-of-the-art data center was upgraded in 2010 with brand new generator, UPS, batteries and 200 tons of computer room AC. Because they buy server hardware direct from Dell and Supermicro, they are able to provide extremely reliable servers at a great value. With our flexible options in hardware, software and bandwidth, we are able to service a wide range of businesses. Hivelocity’s servers are utilized by tens of thousands of businesses every day. Some of the common uses for our servers include; online gaming, web site hosting, virtualization, cloud computing, credit card processing, video and audio streaming, rendering, software development, email, data storage, VOIP and much more.
 
HiVelocity offer 24/7/365 tech support with live reps on site every minute of every day to service the thousands of customers they maintain from all over the world. Hivelocity has over 100 Gbps of fiber optic connection to the internet with multiple tier 1 carriers. Hivelocity is privately held and carries zero debt so you can be sure our industry longevity is as solid as our network.
 

Spiral Hosting acquires Australian webhost SpeedySparrow

Tue, 14th January 2014, 00:57

Spiral Hosting, one of Ireland’s largest cloud computing and web-hosting company just got a little bigger with the announcement that it has acquired a foot hold in the land down under with the purchase of Australian webhost SpeedySparrow.

Speaking about the announcement, Peter Armstrong, director of the Irish HSP explained:

Spiral Hosting are delighted to announce the acquisition of SpeedySparrow. This acquisition allows us to expand and invest in our operations in Australia. It represents a significant investment in our webhosting infrastructure, customer service and technical support.

SpeedySparrow is a first-class webhosting provider that is in many ways similar to Spiral Hosting. It has an excellent reputation of offering friendly personal support that will go the extra mile for customers.

The new merged company will result in improvements for all Spiral Hosting and SpeedySparrow customers. Our top three objectives are excellent servers, fast support and most importantly happy customers. The SpeedySparrow team will be joining Spiral Hosting. We’ll be taking the best of both businesses and continuing to build our hosting services, cloud infrastructure and 24/7 support. 

Based in Melbourne and Victoria, Speedy Sparrow has been trading for over six years with a reputation for delivering a high-quality service backed by first-rate customer support.

Spiral Hosting has a large Irish and expanded into the American hosting market after acquiring the webhosting division of Eideashop in May 2010. Spiral Hosting then went on to acquire Adventure Host in 2011. Spiral Hosting is headquartered in Ireland with offices in the UK and USA.

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

DreamHost's $30M financing deal. Great for them but what about you!

Mon, 13th January 2014, 13:41

If you followed the hosting world through 2013, you've probably noticed a common theme cropping up again and again: consolidation, consolidation, and more consolidation. Endurance International Group(EIG)Host Europe GroupIBM acquiring Softlayer, and in general the market moved towards the ever-growing giants and away from the small-team start ups that have characterized a lot of the industry for years.

DH Capital, an investment banking firm serving companies in the Internet infrastructure, communications, and SaaS sectors, is pleased to announce it served as exclusive financial advisor to DreamHost, LLC, (“DreamHost”), a global leader in Web hosting and cloud services, on its recently completed $30,000,000 credit facilities from Goldman Sachs Bank USA.

The new financing, which is structured as a $25 million term loan and $5 million revolver, will go towards buying back the stake of one of the Company’s founders, paying down equipment financing, and making cash available for growth and working capital. 

Well, the end of 2013 was no exception, and in December, investment banking firm DH Capital announced the completion of a $30M financing deal between Goldman Sachs and DreamHost LLC, notable for being one of the few remaining small-scale firms to retain a focus on developers, instead of merely serving as a budget alternative for lightweight consumers. The money secured by the deal "will go towards buying back the stake of one of the Company’s founders, paying down equipment financing, and making cash available for growth and working capital," according to a press release, and it's that first bit that we'll focus on first.

HostJury has always been skeptical of consolidation, not least because of the often precipitous dip in service after brands with stellar reputations are acquired by larger conglomerates, but it's always been hard to put into words just exactly how this process works. One can assume that the infrastructure of these operations are still intact, and will only grow with the influx of working capital and big brand support. But perhaps the reason is as simple as the first sentence of the quote: the stake of the company founder.

DreamHost, for example, has grown organically towards the end of development oriented services, their service suite reflects this. In a sense, this is what differentiates them from their competitors, not market share or profit margin. But while a influential stake from Goldman Sachs will no doubt leverage this reputation in the future, it seems unlikely that its interests are solidly within the realm of experimentation and principled purpose. Goldman Sachs makes money. Bottom line.

DreamHost, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, offers a full suite of hosting and cloud services including Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Dedicated Server Hosting, Domain Name Registration, the cloud storage service DreamObjects, the cloud computing service DreamCompute, and the managed WordPress service DreamPress. 

So, here we start to get a better picture of the problems of consolidation: the exchange of purpose for profit. This is not unique to hosting, of course, it's practically a law of business, but it affects hosting uniquely. DreamHost's suite of products is mentioned in the press release: an impressive list of content that will be 'expanded upon' with the new capital, but to what end? To our knowledge, no DreamHost customers have been clamoring for an influx of new features or services- it seems unlikely that the new interests at play will work towards serving the loyal niche that DreamHost has worked so well for.

Consolidation, of course, doesn't have to be a bad thing, and there's nothing inherently wrong with casting a wider net with a service that's already proven successful in serving those it appeals to. There are a lot of ways this financing deal could utterly disprove our generalized unease with consolidation as it relates to DreamHost- but it really is a singular battle in a much larger war. How small operations will continue to thrive and compete in a deepening pond of big brands is something we'll continue to cover as 2014 unfolds.

Dreamhost banner

Certified Hosting BOGO Time Deals

Thu, 9th January 2014, 21:31

It's BOGO Time at Certified Hosting!

So just why is it called BOGO Time... well we haven't got a clue either but for a limited time buy any hosting term and get the same hosting term for FREE! 

Buy 1 month, get 1 month = 2 Months of Hosting!
Buy 3 months, get 3 months = 6 Months of Hosting!
Buy 6 months, get 6 months = 1 YEAR of Hosting!
Buy 1 year, get 1 year. 2 YEARS of Hosting & FREE Domain
Buy 2 years, get 2 years. 4 YEARS of Hosting & FREE Domain
Buy 3 years, get 3 years. 6 YEARS of Hosting & FREE Domain
 

Remember to enter the BOGO code when you check out. The promotion is available on any shared unlimited web hosting plan.
DORK - GEEK - NERD

Certified Hosting will transfer your data and files to your new hosting account for FREE. As if that isn't enough, Certified Hosting has some more JANUARY 2014 PROMOS. Maybe somebody should tell these guys that Christmas was last month. 

Dedicated Servers - 75% OFF First Invoice: Promo Code: SUCCESS
Reseller Hosting - 20% OFF: Promo Code 2014
Shared Dedicated Hosting - 20% OFF: Promo Code 2014 

Enter the promo code at checkout.

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. Discount coupons are added regularly!

Webhosts and websurfers alike are welcome to send us the details on any promos, 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.

Netrouting merges xenEurope business operations

Thu, 9th January 2014, 18:12

Netrouting, a provider of web hosting and Internet service solutions has announced the merger of two separate business divisions — Netrouting and xenEurope. Since acquiring xenEuope in 2008, it has quickly grown to become a leader in European Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting with expanded locations in the United States. This merger effectively integrates the business functions of both divisions under the Netrouting brand to capitalize on the natural synergies between each operation.

Savvas Bout, CEO of Netrouting said:

We are excited to combine these two companies to better service our clients. This new organizational structure is necessary to streamline our business processes and continue the same level of customer service they have grown to expect”. Bout continues, “We wish to extend a warm welcome to the xenEurope family in joining with Netrouting and they can always count on us to deliver the same quality hosting experience they know and trust”.

We are pleased to announce that the integration has been successfully completed without interruption or downtime. (editor’s note.. I would hope so. Netrouting already provided the hosting services for xenEurope!) 

A recent post written by Netrouting sale director Ray Womack in the company blog acknowledges the importance of support:

 

You have a lot of choices when it comes where to host your website or application. There’s a million other places you can buy the exact same servers we sell, and if you search, you can find them sometimes cheaper. We know this. So how do we compete, how we set ourselves apart, and how do we even survive? It’s the support, stupid. (editor’s note.. ‘stupid’ only sounds harsh when taken out of the context of the whole post)

We should shift our focus to selling service, not servers. Our commitment to support should run marrow-deep and be ingrained in the very DNA and fiber of everything we do. We should seek to tap the hoster’s basic instinct and primal desire for support.

Even though the hosting industry is ever-changing, the one thing that always remains true is support sells. Quite simply, no company has ever struggled, lost customers, or gone out of business because their support was too good.

Netrouting clients can share with others just how well the company is doing at ‘selling service, not servers’ by writing a review on HostJury.

About Netrouting

Headquartered in The Netherlands, Netrouting is a global Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a premier provider of web hosting and data services solutions. Since 2007, we have consistently delivered reliable, scalable, and secure products by utilizing first-class connectivity and industry leading equipment. With networking and data center operations in Spijkenisse, Miami, and Stockholm, our clients realize low-latency services at cost-effective pricing.

 

Announcing the new and improved LogicWeb

Thu, 9th January 2014, 17:49

In other churnalism news, LogicWeb has announced a number of changes aimed at improving the company's web hosting, security, and superior optimizations for data and IT infrastructure.

The first enhancement is the company's move to the new Data I/O data center in Edison, New Jersey. Data I/O is the largest data center in the New York City metropolitan area.

Chad Abizied, owner and operator of LogicWeb says:

Unlike many of the web hosting companies in the market, LogicWeb operates within its own networking and hardware infrastructure at the Data I/O facility. We are not a reseller of other web hosting companies. We focus on quality, not 'budget' services.

LogicWeb also announced the acquisition of a large Legacy Block of /14 IPv4 addresses (/14 is 262,000 IPs or 1,024 C classes). (Editor’s note: Okay with available IPv4 addresses dwindling in number, LogicWeb securing more may be great for its clients but I thought we were suppose to be moving to IPv6 already)

LogicWeb is also upgrading their Virtual Private Server (VPS) product offerings. Similar to dedicated server, VPS provides a more affordable alternative. LogicWeb's now include a free 25GB backup vault, added XEN PV and KVM virtualization options, as well as an added Windows VPS options in addition to the current Linux VPS plans.

In addition to web hosting and VPS hosting, LogicWeb also provides cloud hosting and reseller hosting, domain registrations, managed dedicated servers, Linux, and Windows dedicated servers, and software installation. LogicWeb provides a 90-day guarantee on all reseller web hosting, cpanel web hosting, and VPS hosting services.

"Our customers are satisfied with our proven quality and web hosting credibility," said Abizeid. Clients of LogicWeb can share their thoughts by writing a review of the new and improved LogicWeb.

About LogicWeb, Inc.

Chad Abizeid's LogicWeb, Inc., has been surpassing customer expectations for 10 years with smarter web hosting services that focused on quality over quantity – all at a reasonable price. LogicWeb provides both Linux and Windows web hosting with self-management and managed options.

LogicWeb Hosting

Total Server Solutions acquires Hands-On Web Hosting

Thu, 9th January 2014, 15:56

Total Server Solutions has announced the acquisition of Hands-On Web Hosting. This marks an influx of new talent as well as an increased number of accounts under the technical management of Total Server Solutions.

Hands-On has been in operation since 1999 have grown to become a leader in providing hosted services ranging from shared hosting packages, cloud based hosting, virtual & dedicated servers, and e-commerce hosting. It is expected that the products and services offered by Hands-On will merge with what is offered by Total Server Solutions. This process will result in a wider array of options to existing and new customers at Total Server Solutions. The product options and levels of service provided by Hands-On staff members aligned well with Total Server Solutions operational capabilities and provides services to customers. As part of this acquisition, members of the Hands-On staff are joining forces with the technicians at Total Server Solutions.

Emerson Nogueira, COO at Total Server Solutions states:

This acquisition is about more than simply acquiring a competing company. The influx of expertise from Hands-On provides a great boost to our already top-notch technical team here at Total Server Solutions. The result of the incoming technicians is an increased pool of talent which our customers can draw upon."

In addition to bringing new product offerings and additional technical personnel, this acquisition provides existing customers of Hands-On with access to the world-class infrastructure and facilities of the Total Server Solutions family of brands.

Ryan DiRocco, CTO at Total Server Solutions adds:

We are working closely with existing customers of Hands-On to migrate their accounts, data, and entire servers on to equipment and facilities on the Total Server Solutions network. In the majority of cases this will result in significant upgrades to the server specifications of customer equipment.

This is the second acquisition Total Server Solutions has completed within the past three months. In November of 2013, Front Range Hosting was acquired and is currently in the process of transitioning into the Total Server Solutions line up. As with Front Range Hosting, Hands-On provides not just an increase in customer base, but an increase in technical staffing.

Gary Simat, CEO at Total Server Solutions states:

Providing outstanding service to our existing customers as well as to customers of business we acquire is key to our long term success. We believe that we provide one of the best customer experiences in the hosted services industry and we know what with our team standing behind them, our customers will succeed.

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.

Web Hosting

Astutium announces the acquisition of not one but three WebHosts

Thu, 2nd January 2014, 16:43

With the buzz of New Years celebrations still ringing, 2014 promises to be another kick-ass year for keyword stuffed press releases from webhosting firm touting everything including the kitchen sink. Early out the gate is European Business and Enterprise Web Host Astutium which kicked off its new year by announcing the completion of the acquisition and integration of not one but three Greek Web Hosting firms: Ultranet Web Solutions, HostGreece, and UFastHost. All three webhosting providers specialize in providing local clients (editor’s note: I assuming very local as we’ve never heard of any of these companies) with cPanel based web hosting, email, dns services and .GR domain registrations.

Rob Golding, Head of M+A’s for Astutium says:

We are really excited to have completed our latest strategic acquisitions. Astutium have extend our domain registration services by becoming a directly accredited .GR domain registrar, and immediately added more than a thousand .gr, .com.gr, .net.gr and .edu.gr registrants.

Following a comprehensive review and analysis of the existing hosting platforms, the company migrated all the existing services to new Hardware on the Astutium multihomed network, so clients gained the benefits of fully redundant high-performance connectivity and dual-stacked IPv4-IPv6 connectivity.

The Ultranet and HostGreece brands primarily served local business websites, so were a perfect fit for Astutium, kickstarting our growth in Greece with hundreds of SMEs and end users, and look forward to working them and many more clients from the region over the coming years.

The completed integration grants users access to ‘Unified’ – the online Astutium Client Portal – allowing for realtime management of web hosting accounts, domain registrations, virtual private/dedicated servers, dedicated servers, colocation and cloud servers hosting 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, and domains managed by a registrar handling over 200 gTLDs and ccTLDs.

There you have it folks… the first churnalism of 2014. Have a Happy New Years!

About Astutium

Since 1996 the team behind Astutium.com 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 – find out more about us at http://www.hostjury.com/reviews/astutium+ltd

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

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. 

 

 

Softsys Hosting

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. 

Switch to Stable Host

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.