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LeaseWeb gets DNS Hijacked

Mon, 7th October 2013, 15:08

LeaseWeb is confirming in a post, that this past weekend for a short period of time some visitors to leaseweb.com were redirected to another, non-LeaseWeb IP address, after the leaseweb.com DNS was changed at the registrar. Affected users were redirected to a web page crediting a hacker group called KDMS Team for the attack.

The unauthorized name server change for leaseweb.com took place at our registrar on Saturday 5 October, around 19:00 hours CET / 1 PM EST. While the hijack was soon detected and mitigated, it took some time before our adjustments in the DNS cache were propagated across the internet. During this period the following systems and services were affected:

  • Some visitors of leaseweb.com were redirected to a non-LeaseWeb IP address
  • E-mails sent to @leaseweb.com addresses during the DNS hijack were not received by LeaseWeb
  • Domain name registration and server reinstallation via our Self Service Center was disabled

 

screenshot of the redirected leaseweb hompage after a DNS highjack
 

 

This company says the DNS hijack was quickly detected and rectified by LeaseWeb’s security department.

Although it seems to have had only superficial effects, we seriously regret this event from happening. Our security investigation so far shows that no domains other than leaseweb.com were accessed and changed. No internal systems were compromised. One of the security measures we have in place is to store customer data separately from any publicly accessible servers; we have no indication that customer data was compromised as a result of this DNS hijack.

Right now, it appears that the hijackers obtained the domain administrator password and used that information to access the registrar. We will continue to investigate this incident thoroughly and take decisive action accordingly.

Details of how exactly the hijack could have happened are not yet 100% clear although some have suggested the recently vulnerability in WHMCS billing software used by many webhosting companies.  This doesn't appear to be the case as LeaseWeb uses its billing software for its customer panel.

At LeaseWeb we take security and cybercrime prevention very seriously. By partnering with various third parties through our Community Outreach Project, we are often able to stop cybercrime in its tracks. In addition, our security teams continuously research, implement and upgrade a broad variety of security systems and protocols to prevent any attacks from doing harm. These measures go beyond technical solutions. For example, as part of our continued ISO27001 security certification maintenance, all our staff receives regular security awareness trainings.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this unfortunate event might have caused. Security will always be a battle between good and evil, with one trying to outsmart the other in whatever way possible. We will learn from this incident, intensively review our security systems and protocols, and adjust where necessary.

Some would argue 'its not if you get hacked, rather when'. The LeaseWeb post appears to suggest a social hack rather than a physical one. Either way, touche. 
 

 

 

Hulk Hogan Jumps Into WebHosting Fray: Hostamania

Sat, 5th October 2013, 13:31

GoDaddy’s attempts at transmogrification of the company image shaped by founder Bob Parsons may be having unintended consequences. Although it’s purely speculative on my part, it appears the new GoDaddy ad campaign is attempting to portrays a more wholesome image for the company which is intent on wooing the ladies that possibly felt alienated by years of sexy, scantily clad GoDaddy girls prominently featured in past advertisements. Again its only conjecture, but possibly the company execs opted for a more mature Jean-Claude Van Damme as a reflection of the more grown up, mature GoDaddy. They should have gone with a stud!

It appears those highly suspect videos of Jean-Claude Van Damme banging bongos while suspended in the most unnatural position, may have convinced another icon of the entertainment world that it 'was go time'. Hulk Hogan, with all the gusto only a professional wrestler can muster has announced that he had beaten the Iron Sheik and Andre the Giant in the ring, and now he’s taking his quest for glory to the internet.

 

Image from GoDaddy commercial shows Jean-Claude Van Damme in the cooler doing the splits while playing a flute
 Some of you might think that I’m not really planning to take over the web hosting industry. Wrong – I’m as serious as a heart attack, brother. I’m coming for you, silly hosting spokesmen – I’ve got your precious flute, and if you want it back, you’re going to have to meet me in the ring! HH

 


Hulk Hogan says “Setting up a website has never been easy, and low quality hosting companies think they can run wild and overcharge you. Those days are over - I'm stepping in to the web hosting ring, and I'm getting ready to leg drop the competition.” 

The new company Hostamania is a partnership between Hulk Hogan and Tech Assets. Tech Assets have a number of brands which include JumplineServFarm, and WebIntellects. Hostamania is expected to offer cloud hosting and domain name registration services.

While tough talk of "trading python for servers" may have some psychological impact on Hulk's opponents, a clean takedown is anything but guaranteed. Testing the Hostamania website with GTMetrix scores a solid A for speed, but the rating is sandbagged by a domain whois swerve. Hostamania.com is running on Amazon Web Services(AWS). Hulk Hosting is expected to launch later this month and Hostamania fans will be able review and share their experiences here.

About

Hostamania is a division of Tech Assets. With over 15 years in the website hosting industry, Tech Assets, Inc. hosts over 120,000 websites. Tech Assets, Inc. has offices in Columbus, Ohio; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and San Diego, Calif.

468x60 Unlimited Web Hosting

JavaPipe’s John Larsen: The Company, Java Hosting, MineCraft & More

Thu, 3rd October 2013, 15:38

JavaPipe is a well-respected company in the not inconsiderable niche of- what else, Java Hosting. We thought the readers of HostJury might just find a closer look at a company dedicated to doing a few things and doing them well. After over a decade of continuous service, JavaPipe’s John Larsen is with us to answer a few questions about the company and what makes it all tick.

Q) What brought JavaPipe together? Originally it was an animation service- was there a specific moment at which the transition to hosting solution took place?

It was organic really. We brought the company online to offer our services. Then our customers and their friends started asking us to build and host their websites. Already collocated, we met the demand. What’s really cool is we still retain customers who signed up in 2001. They’ve been with us for 13 years now.

Q) After settling on hosting solutions, how has JavaPipe progressed, historically speaking? Where do you see the company headed as of now?

It’s not that we settled on hosting. It’s that our team developed a passion for the webhosting industry and that passion continues today. Now and to the future - we will always learn, advance, and introduce innovative techniques.

For example, we continually improve our Tomcat solution. Our users share a pool of resources while operating from a dedicated Tomcat container and their own JVM space. Now we are taking it a step further and moving our Tomcat solution to the Cloud. Better. Faster. Stronger. More resilient than ever.

Q) For those not in the know, what exactly is the difference between hosting and ‘java hosting’? Any specific challenges the latter brings?

Consider JavaPipe and Java boutique. It’s one of our specialties. We’ve made it simple and streamlined. While Java hosting is available to everyone, most of our clients have developed their application in Java and require our hosting. In fact, Java is a top choice of Fortune 500 companies.

Q) A big part of your service is your DDoS mitigation. Could you tell us what makes JavaPipe’s DDoS mitigation better than its competitors?

Although competition is beneficial and can drive innovation, I'd like to highlight the value our DDoS solutions offer the customer: 

  • We are always learning, advancing, and introducing innovative techniques to mitigate DDoS attacks
  • Our network will grow with our customer base and continue to become more resilient
  • When effective, we leverage our own wholly owned DDoS mitigation hardware. We even provide tailored DDoS protection on a per customer basis and  application basis (e.g. websites, minecraft, game servers).
  • It is our goal to stay ahead of the attacks. To provide powerful protection and superior support to our customers. 

Q) At HostJury we like to look at the ups and downs of the webhosting game. What were some of the mistakes you feel the company has encountered in its thirteen years of operations?

Although the saying was known, many years ago we learned that you really do get what you pay for. We recommend that web hosting providers do not go cheap on hardware. Most likely they’ll end up paying for it later. It also helps to develop a structured maintenance schedule and tend to maintenance ahead of failure e.g. battery updates on controllers.

Q) JavaPipe currently offers services to Minecraft server hosts, from hosting to DDoS mitigation. Is Minecraft a special instance, or is gaming a direction in which the company would like to expand?

MineCraft is a popular game and increasingly prone to DDoS attacks. We’ve developed a solution that enables better performance and control. Each of our customers can manage their own protection, easily, from GuardPanel. All of their protection products are in one place, on demand. For Minecraft, our panel offers exclusive features like the ability to view a player's IP address or even ban them altogether.

Q) What would you say it takes to be successful as a web host?

Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

Q) What accomplishments has JavaPipe achieved that you are most proud of?

Two accomplishments, that are really one.
Progress: learning, advancing, and introducing innovative techniques.
Retention: providing solutions for clients that have been with us for years, and years to come.

 

About JavaPipe

JavaPipe LLC an internet business solutions company. Built by a very experienced team of Java application engineers to provide development teams with scalable and affordable Java hosting services. This has allowed us to provide our clients with the tools necessary to run Java applications on the internet.

 

 

eCommerce Horror Stories: When eCommerce Solutions Fail

Wed, 2nd October 2013, 14:48

Webhosts offering software as part of their service is not a new phenomena (think those infamous one click script installers that require more than one click). Nor are companies offering software as a service (SaS), albeit traditionally, this realm was reserved for the more enterprise level entities. Not anymore! The trend towards companies offering out of the box, ready to use software, for both business and consumers, is becoming increasing common in the marketplace. Companies like Wordpress host Automattic, who once exclusively offered pre-installed and automatically updated Wordpress installations, now compete against companies like Page.ly and WP Engine offering similar services. But no where is this trend more apparent than eCommerce platforms.

There is a growing list of companies entering this increasingly competitive 'out of the box, plug in your product, and swing open the doors' type eCommerce solutions.  With minimal effort, even the most technically challenged capitalist can cash into the uber-billions being spent by online shoppers. Often overlooked by these future magnates, is that unlike the aforementioned Wordpress, most eCommerce platforms are proprietary. In essence the merchant, at least to some degree, becomes beholden to the landlord.

Whether webhosting or eCommerce solutions, most companies start out with great intentions of being the best of the best. To often, their endings has proven catastrophic for their customers. Izzonet is an example of one such story.

 

screen shot of defunct izzonet eCommerce platform
 

 

Izzonet – What is it, and What happened?

Basically, it looks like Izzonet started off great and got a lot of attention (more on that later) from major news outlets. It was an eCommerce software provider, which provided a total solution from design to payment processing. After the great start, things started to go wrong. They stopped delivering their services to paying customers. Businesses that were already paying for the services had their data corrupted and lost. Eventually, the site shut down completely, with no announcement.

Good Intentions and a Good Start Mean Little

As we said in the previous section, Izzonet garnered a ton of positive attention when they started out. They got coverage from a lot of major news organizations, tech blogs, and financial online magazines. That turns out to have meant little to the customers who lost thousands of dollars in business and hundreds of hours of work after Izzonet went down the drain. The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter how great something starts out to be, it’s how it continues on that matters.

What Customers Said About The End of Izzonet

Obviously once Izzonet started having problems, their customers started posting their worries and complaints on the Internet. Here are just a couple to give you a sense of how frustrating this can be:

“We spent a ton of money and efforts working the website page look and feel. They told us (in the contract) that the website would be ready in 4-6 weeks. Well four weeks turned into 4 months and nothing was delivered.

In the mean time, their tools were causing our data to corrupt during imports and uploads. It was a nightmare of an experience working with Izzonet...one thing after another. Really a bunch of rookies with no real business future.” Customer from Florida [Source]

And another:

“I used the 15 day trial from Izzonet.com and loved them. I purchased a month for $99. Half way into month one got a call stating a "Deal" of $300 for 6/mos. plus one extra. So, I said $200 more and I get 7 months? They said yup, I was in! Just days after, they are gone. They haven't responded to any of my emails.” Customer from the US [Source]

So What Really Happened to Izzonet?

This is a question no one has the answer to. The company is just gone. They apparently still own the domain, but there’s no server behind it. The Twitter account was never used all that much, and other social networking profiles also have gone untended.

Maybe something tragic happened and they just didn’t know how to deal with it, or perhaps they were just crooks to begin with. No matter what the case happens to be, their customers were left holding the bag with significant money and time loss.

What Happens if This Happens to You?

For many first starting an eCommerce site, your only resources is time and money. If the software you chose happens to go out of business, or is a bit crooked, your time and money could be gone. That could mean more time and money later on repairing the damage or bankruptcy for your business. Either way, if this situation happens to you, it will be devastating.

So what can you do to protect yourself? As we've seen in webhosting  some companies are just obviously going to go out of business, there’s little you can do to prevent it. The best eCommerce sites would at least give you some warning so you could prepare. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re ready if something like Izzonet does happen to your software provider:  

  • Choose a company that has history – The longer the company has been in business, the less likely it is to fold immediately. It will also mean there will be more reviews of the company online.
  • Ask if your software provider provides a data extraction tool – Find out if there is a way to export your database off of their servers in case you ever need to go elsewhere.
  • Pay attention to the business - If something is going wrong, chances are there will be signs. Are they meeting their deadlines and keeping their promises? When you contact support, do they respond promptly and with solutions that actually help? If you suspect something is going to go wrong, get your data off fast, just in case.
  • Always, ALWAYS, have a backup of you data that isn’t software dependent. Things like inventory, product lists and prices, and customer contact info should be stored in more than one place. Don’t rely on the backups provided by your host, as they may be the one that goes under. Have your own backups that can be taken to another software vendor should something go wrong.  
Izzo net is just one example of what could possibly go wrong with your software vendor. The best way to mitigate the consequences if it should happen to your business is to make sure you are constantly aware of the state of the company you do business with.

 

Is Fraud Protection Software Something Your eCommerce Site Should Buy?

Tue, 1st October 2013, 11:20

The Internet has enabled almost anyone to start his or her own online marketplace. Not only is it fairly simple, but incredibly cheap when compared to starting an actual brick and mortar storefront. Once you have your online marketplace set up, there are a number of things you might want to consider adding to protect your business. One of the things you may be interested in adding is fraud protection software. The question is, is it worth it, and which services provide the best solution to the problem?

What is Fraud Protection and What Does it Do?

Consumers have a ton of protections against fraud, most of them with the payment vendors like PayPal and Visa. In some cases these fraud prevention/reaction services provide consumers an easy way out of paying for the products and/or services they bought from your online marketplace. Luckily there are fraud protection services (and methods) out there that will protect your business from consumer fraud. Here are a few of the service types we've found:

  • Credit Chargeback protection – These services are usually provided through the credit card companies themselves. They verify purchases before authorizing a charge reversal to the consumer. There are also third party services that offer this same protection.
  • Fraud Prediction – Something some services offer, but fail to explain in most cases. Best guess is that they monitor likely fraudulent buyers, though what happens next is unclear.
  • Device Identification – Since there aren't signatures on the Internet, really, the best way to ensure identity is through the IP address. These services monitor purchases to ensure the credit card address and IP address are from similar locations.
  • Seller Automation – Some services offer merchants the ability to automate manual purchase reviews. 

What Services are Out There?

There seem to be two major companies in this area, or at least two that you hear about most often. The first is Kount, and the second is ThreatMetrix. One thing you’ll probably notice about Kount is that it is fairly difficult to find an actual review of the service online. Searching Google for “Kount Review” simply brings up a bunch of links from the company itself. You have to go to the second page in order to find the first actual review, and that doesn't seem that relevant. As for ThreatMetrix, you do find actual reviews when you search, so at least that’s something.

There are most definitely other companies out there offering similar or different services in this area. We’ll talk a bit more about what you should watch out for while you’re researching your options.

Is it Worth it?

So this is the question, isn't it? It is the question most of the time when considering new software to protect your online business. How big a problem is online fraud? According to InternetReatailer.com, online fraud costs eCommerce sites around $3.5 billion dollars every year. That seems like a lot, but when put into comparison to the amount of total money spent online every year, it is only a small percentage. That doesn't mean, however, that online eCommerce fraud protection isn't worth it.

There are three questions you should ask yourself to find out if fraud protection is right for you.

  • How big is your company? – The bigger it is, the less likely it is that you can do on your own what the software will do for you automatically. Remember that the smaller you are, the more resource management matters. Keep your budget in mind when considering software solutions.
  • Can you do this on your own? – If you online store is small enough, there are steps you can implement to mitigate fraud without spending money on software. For example, tracking orders, getting signatures on deliveries, and collecting email and IP addresses in a database associated with credit card hashes. Those things will allow you to keep a record of all your purchases without spending money on additional software. A lot of professional eCommerce software packages provide a lot of those services with their offerings.
  • What is Your Cost vs. Threat Ratio? – This is probably difficult for you to calculate, but your CvT Ratio is simply the cost of implementing protection versus the cost of the actual fraud. As long as the threat is low, then the cost of protection is too high. On the other hand, if the threat is high, the cost won’t look so bad. You’ll have to make a judgment call on when the time is right, the CvT Ratio can help you make that call. 

Beware of Scams and Empty Promises

So as we mentioned earlier, there are many companies out there besides the two we noted above, which do this same type of thing. That means that you will have many choices on what services to buy if you choose to go this route. There are steps you should take to make sure that the company you choose isn't a scam or over promising protection.

  • Look for reviews – Not unlike webhosting, customers of that service are the best place to look for the experience the company offers. Dig deep if you can’t find reviews on the first page.
  • Look for trial offers – Companies that allow you to try the service first are way better than those that don’t. It will give you a chance to make sure the company is right for your situation.
  • Look for news articles from respectable sources – Finally, look and see if the company you’re looking at has been in the news. What sort of coverage have they gotten? Has everything been positive or negative? What does the BBB have to say about the company? 

All of those questions can help you determine if the company is on the up and up.

Conclusion

We asked a question earlier: Is Fraud Detection Worth it? We provided some questions to ask in order to answer that question. Here’s some free advice: Remember insurance. Insurance is always a pain in the rear until you need it, then you are probably glad that you had it to rely on. Fraud protection is the same thing. You pay for it hoping you never need it, but once you save enough money, it all seems worth it. The best bet then, is to find a respectable company that offers the services you want without charging a ton of money to implement it.

 

Ambiguous Definition of Unlimited WebHosting

Fri, 27th September 2013, 21:12

Unlimited can, and is, clearly defined using adjectives such as unrestricted; unconfined: boundless; infinite; That is, unless you are referencing unlimited webhosting where many owners have decided that since there are unlimited wants, stuff must be rationed somehow.

All webhosting companies have stipulated how much data users can store, and/or transfer with their hosting account. Some have chosen the refreshing candor that comes with being open and honest. They clearly define plan limits, or the lack thereof. Other companies have chosen to craft carefully worded restrictions in the terms of service (ToS) that every client agrees to when signing up.

Only companies offering 'unmetered' services (or some derivative thereof) can be considered 'Unlimited'. Every other company has limits. Often you’ll find terms such as: 

  • A large percentage of your files must be viewable on the web.
  • Files cannot exceed ### MB in size
  • Any video/audio must be created by the site owner
  • All files must be linked from webpages in your site
  • Limits on the time cron jobs can run
  • Resource usage can not exceed a percentage of the server capacity 

Indeed all these denote a limitation. Some limits ensure a hosting plan is being utilized for its intended purpose and are not necessarily deceptive. Don’t rent a studio apartment in a residential neighborhood if you intend to run a industrial warehouse.

 

A Small Sampling 

HostJury decided to dig around the terms of service, plans, and/or packages of a number of popular web hosting companies. We have endeavored to paste abbreviated snippets from each company that fairly reflects their offering and the terms of the ToS.

We encourage anyone researching a possible webhost candidate to read the complete ToS of the company (and their webhosting reviews). Plans do change, and we make no guarantee that our little chart will remain accurate. As is the HostJury custom, this list is presented in no particular order and we makes no recommendation or endorsement of any web hosting providers...


Company

Bandwidth Transfer

Resource Usage

Diskspace, file or inode limits

Fused

Unlimited

Bandwidth is unmetered, with no restrictions. Go ahead and burst.

Processes are limited to 600 seconds for execution, Memory limits vary.


Allocated preset plans.

Varies with package purchased.

SiteGround


Unlimited Traffic

Fair Use policy applies. If contents of your Space regularly generate more traffic than deemed acceptable to the detriment of other SiteGround customers, you get the email warning!  

Use of resources may not exceed that of similarly situated customers.

Unlimited

applies to use of web pages only (html, php, etc.), Backup/storage of movies, pictures or MP3 files is not permitted.

LogicWeb

Unlimited

Do not have any peak/off-peak settings nor any bandwidth limitations in place. We utilize 100Mbit ports on shared servers for optimal traffic flow.

CPU: 25%

Memory: 1GB

25 Concurrent Connections

Unlimited is literal although technically still limited by the harddrive size.

HostPapa

Unlimited

For vast majority if the web hosting service are used appropriately, visitors to website will be able to view, download, and add as much content as they wish. In certain rare circumstances, our server processing power, server memory, or anti-abuse controls could limit downloads or access from your site.

To ensure our hosting is first-class, reliable, and available to all customers within that server community, an individual customer's website usage cannot adversely affect the performance of other customers' sites.

Unlimited

Create a website as large as you like; you will not be penalized for exceeding any upper or ceiling limit...

No Storage not directly related to the website.

Arvixe

Unlimited

Reseller & VPS plans are preset limits. No restrictions on peak

usage.






No set MySQL usage. Cron jobs are restricted to 5 minutes of run time to prevent overloading. Each PersonalClass

account has access to two physical CPUs

Unlimited

There is no file or inode limitations that are set.


No Storage not directly related to the website.

WestHost

Basic plan has allocated monthly limits.

Very liberal allowances but amount varies with package purchased.


Larger packages do become unlimited.

Use of account must be reasonable and not place excessive burdens on servers. Shared services are suitable for most customers still there comes a time that website(s) are better suited to larger hosting package, which allows for more dedicated CPU and memory resources.

Allocated preset plans.

Varies with package purchased.

Heart Internet

Unlimited

Websites that allow

downloading of video, audio or other files we reserve the right to impose a bandwidth limit of 25 gigabytes per month. Non-file-distribution usage will remain unaffected by any limit imposed on downloading of video, audio or other files.

Allowed to use a maximum 5% of server's processing capacity

Unlimited

All our Hosting Service packages come with an unlimited web space allowance.

No Storage not directly related to the website.

InMotion Hosting

Unlimited

Bandwidth is unmetered, with no restrictions.

Personal & Business Class hosting are shared hosting environments. To ensure fast & reliable service to all clients, accounts that adversely affect server or network performance must correct issues or upgrade to a virtual or dedicated server

Unlimited

Does not meter disk space but the purpose of an IMH hosting account is to host web sites.


No Storage not directly related to the website.

Doteasy

Unlimited

Doteasy does not set an arbitrary limit on the amount of resources an account can use

Account found adversely affecting server performance by excessively using network bandwidth, server storage, memory or CPU resources, will be asked to consider VPS or Dedicated

Unlimited

No Storage not directly related to the website.


GreenGeeks

Unlimited

No set limits on bandwidth

Account is considered using excessive amounts of resources when it consumes 100% of 1 CPU core, and/or 1 GB Memory and/or 20 concurrent connections

Unlimited

No set limits on disk space.

Dreamhost

Unlimited

means you don’t have to worry about network transfer when your site gets popular.

If your site isn’t optimized and is causing issues pounding the CPU, hogging RAM, or doing tons of disk I/O, you may be asked to sign up for a VPS

Unlimited plus 50GB

allows 50GB of space for backups use free. The rest of your disk space may only be used by files needed for your websites directly.

GoDaddy

Unlimited

There appear to be a numerous  limits but to be truthful, there is no clear or concise way to figure them out!

Allocated preset plans.

account cannot hold more than 500,000 files and folders (Windows) or inodes (Linux)

A2 Hosting

Unlimited

"unlimited" and "unmetered" are defined by the use of resources and  may not exceed that of similarly situated customers.

35 concurrent HTTP connections to the server.

Bandwidth, connection speeds and other similar indices of capacity are maximum numbers. Consistently reaching these capacity numbers may result our need to place restrictions on your use of the Services.


Unlimited

Maximum of 300,000 inodes

No Storage not directly related to the website. No Backups of sites larger than 50 GB limited.

HostGator

Unlimited

No restrictions on how much bandwidth you may use as long as it is not against Terms Of Service.

- Use 25% or more of system resources for longer then 90 seconds.

- Run any MySQL queries longer than 15 seconds.

- Run cron entries with intervals of less than 15 minutes

Unlimited

More than 250,000 inodes on shared account may get warning.

Accounts exceeding 100 K inode are removed from backup system to avoid over-usage. Databases will still be backed up.

JaguarPC


Unlimited

Clients will not use more than 30% of  systems resource for longer than 1 minute or more than 150,000 inodes on any single account. Clients reaching or exceeding limit will be contacted to evaluate their needs and if necessary make other arrangements.


Unlimited

Accounts start with 50 GB of disk space quota. Request more via button cpanel when you have used 80% of your allowance. System automatically increase quota. You can request more every time you reach 80% usage.

IX Web Hosting

Unlimited

"Fair-Use" Resource Assignment. Any single account is entitled to utilize server resources, within reason, up to what is allotted or by what is physically available. If resources become scarce, IX Web Hosting reserves right to limit users to lower limit to preserve effectiveness of the service for all users.

Unlimited

File quota limits are enforced to ensure system operating integrity and reliability and are limited to 100,000 files on Windows plans and 300,000 files on Linux plans.

1&1 UK

Unlimited

 

Basic plans have allocated monthly limits.

Slightly larger plans are unlimited and come with 30 gb. When 75% space is used the capacity is automatically increased in 1gb increments without charge

Network Solutions

Unlimited

 

Basic plans have preset limits.

Varies with package purchased. Slightly larger plan is available with unlimited diskspace.

HostUpon

Unlimited

but then limit that stating 'HostUpon offers a generous amount of data transfer per month'

 

Considered using "Excessive amounts of resources" when it monopolies the resources available using 10% or more of system resources for longer than 60 seconds.

Unlimited

Possibly may want to reference the bandwidth and resource sections of the ToS 

 

 

 

ServInt's Christian Dawson talks family, friends, & work with i2Coalition

Fri, 27th September 2013, 14:29

ServInt is a true veteran of the hosting game- a company that can make the considerable boast of having survived the dot-com bubble and grown from the experience. With an already considerable amount of time spent on HostJury’s coveted top rated hosts list, we thought the public could do with an extended introduction to the company and its culture. And who better to give us a tour than ServInt COO, Christian Dawson.

What follows is a closer look at a hosting company with what seems to be a uniquely old-school philosophy, and some of the benefits that attitude has reaped over the years.

Q. First, could you tell us a bit about your history with ServInt? You joined the company in 1998, and weathered the dot-com bubble. Are there any particular insights this long relationship has offered?

Reed Caldwell, one of my best friends in college, started ServInt in 1995. We both attended the University of Richmond, until he surprised me and our mutual friends by telling us he was leaving to pursue his dream of starting a web hosting company for businesses. We all thought he was a little crazy, but the time was right as the commercial Internet was really starting to explode. Had he stayed in school he would have missed the boat.

I didn't join Reed until I graduated from the University of Richmond, but in most ways I've been here since the beginning.  Reed and I talked about ServInt a lot while he was in the process of getting started. I remember sitting around with him brainstorming names. I was one of the first people to go visit when he got the first office, and talked through the challenges of learning to serve his first customers and create an early reputation for ServInt.

By the time I graduated from UR, ServInt was growing fast, and I was full of ideas to contribute. In 1998 it seemed like Internet companies like ours could do no wrong. ServInt started branching off into all sorts of other areas like DSL and leased line services. By 2000 our staff had grown large and our marketing budget even larger. When the dot-com bubble burst, it hit us hard. Tech spending dried up everywhere, and we had geared up for growth that wasn't coming.

But when the burst happened, ServInt rose to the challenge. The pre-bubble ServInt lacked focus. While most companies died and went away, we decided to restructure and refocus all of our efforts on what we were best at - managed web hosting for small to medium sized enterprises. It was messy and hard and we lost friends and employees along the way, but we changed from a company that was trying to make money at a lot of things into one that was passionate about one thing. We committed to being really good at it, and zeroed in on that and that alone.

I never expected I'd stay at ServInt as long as I have, but I am SO proud of what ServInt has become that it has filled me with a passion that drives me to this day. At our heart, we are a company that helps give businesses the tools to succeed. I get to work with dreamers and entrepreneurs to help them scale their businesses and accomplish their goals. The Internet is amazing, and many of our customers are doing exciting things that are changing the world for the better. I have a real passion for empowering those people, and I try to instill that in everybody that works for ServInt.

Q. What were some of the changes you’ve made in ServInt’s culture as your role as increased in 2006 and 2009?

From very early on, Reed started using the phrase "The ServInt Family" when addressing our clients. In early messages to clients he would welcome them to The ServInt Family. I have spent a lot of time focusing on cultivating that family feeling for our clients and our employees. Reed grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and I grew up outside of Buffalo, New York. These were 'rust belt' towns without much economic opportunity. The companies that once existed in those areas were places where people built careers. Career jobs don't exist very much in those areas, but we tried to build ServInt as a place to build a career on the Internet. Over the past few years I have solidified that by creating things like corporate picnics each year and giving out 'ten year' watches. I have worked to make us a very old-school new-tech company. I have found that by treating our employees like family we can encourage them to treat our clients like family too.

In 2006 I became the Vice President of Operations, directly managing the nontechnical operations of the company.  In 2009 I became our first COO, taking over the daily operations of the organization. There was one important difference between the two roles. Prior to 2009, ServInt's tech staff was run by senior tech staff. In 2009 we acknowledged that everybody in the company was in customer support, and that top oversight for technical staff couldn't be solely technical. In the same vein, I now work far more closely with our CTO Matthew Loschert to make sure that everybody in the company, even the nontechnical people, are in tune with our technology and has a grounding in what we do. Today, working with our tech guys is one of the most rewarding things my team and I do, and I think ServInt has improved dramatically as a result. Everybody should be in customer service and everybody should know and work with the product, and at ServInt we now preach that at every level.

Q. Your company is one of the top-five rated hosts according to the users of HostJury.com. Would you chalk this high customer satisfaction up to ServInt’s extensive experience in the realm of hosting, a specific corporate philosophy, or something else entirely?

There are companies out there that use every adjective in the book to explain their web hosting support. The one I use over and over again in talking to our employees is 'helpful'. We try to be the most helpful company out there.

Since I've been managing the staff, I have spent a good amount of time focusing on our corporate culture. I've embraced a concept in Japanese business culture called 'kaizen' which means 'continual learning'. We try to do a lot of staff training - sometimes it is hard to get to all the training we want to - but we try to be better trained than our competitors. More importantly, we do a lot of internal reviews of service tickets and incidents that occur and try as best we can to learn from our mistakes. Our goal is to have a culture where if somebody screws something up we share and all learn from it and do what we can to ensure it never happens again.  Because we've been doing that for years, fewer things go wrong at ServInt than they do elsewhere. That just comes from us dealing with problems systemically and solving major issues over time. Learning is never complete, but we've fixed a lot of the problems that younger companies are still bound to have.

The idea that nothing will ever go wrong on the Internet is ridiculous. Things break and people make mistakes - but at ServInt I think we have the most empathetic, helpful staff on the Internet. We care, and we have the training and passion to solve problems and help you grow. I'd trust a problem to a ServInt tech above all others, because I know a ServInt tech will treat my website like it's my business and my livelihood and do all he or she can to make sure it stays up and fast.

Q. What are some of ServInt’s long-term goals moving forward? Is the focus growing the firm vertically, or is ServInt branching out to cover new ground?

When ServInt first started, there weren't many people selling Dedicated Servers. Shared hosting WAS the hosting field. We started giving people the power of the Dedicated Server before it even had a name. Later, we were one of the first companies to use the power of virtualization to meet the needs of business users. We, in many ways, created the enterprise VPS. ServInt has more innovation in its near future - we are working on big things.

The Cloud is changing everything. AWS is just one example of a big infrastructure innovator that is turning the infrastructure component of hosting into more of a commodity. As big companies step in to duke it out, it's going to be hard for small businesses to compete on price. That being said, we can do things those larger commodity businesses cannot - the ability to make cool tech easy for businesses, and the ability to make the Cloud accessible. Most people don't have any idea where to start. We think there'll be a continually growing market for smart people solving hard problems and answering questions in the Cloud. Service has NEVER been as important as it is now, with things getting more, not less, complex by the day. But we aren't only focused on support. We also plan on doing it on cool, industry leading tech of our own. New services are coming, and they are going to be awesome!

Q. What would you consider your greatest accomplishment thus far?

I am most proud of the fact that we have stayed true to our goals for our customers. We have avoided splitting focus or shifting it to chase profits. ServInt could have sold out a hundred times over, but we love what we do and want to do more of it. This is our career and we are passionate about it. We are in it for the long haul, and tend to attract customers who are too.

Q.In the same vein, what has been your greatest challenge- both at ServInt, and perhaps more generally in your career?

At ServInt, it's been a learning curve to figure out how to scale efficiently. It's taken us years to get to a point where we can grow quickly and stay true to our culture and goals. I think we've got the formula down these days, but that battle has been hard fought.

My own greatest challenge has been trying to give my all to ServInt while simultaneously splitting my time between my incredible family (I'm a proud dad of 2 small kids) and the trade association I helped start last year, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition.com). I love each one, and finding that work, life, volunteer balance can be hard.

Q. From reading your blog, we’ve noticed you have a sincere interest in the protection of individual privacy in the face of the growing US surveillance apparatus. Could you tell us about your history and goals in this pursuit?

The Internet is in its infancy and already it has changed the world for the better in countless ways. It needs to be protected so it can survive and thrive. Companies like ServInt build the nuts and bolts of the Internet, and most people don't even know that companies like us exist.

A couple years ago I was dealing with a customer who had his domain seized by the US federal government without due process, and it made me angry. PIPA and SOPA came along and those made me angrier still. it seemed like most government officials and offices didn't really understand the Internet, and were trying to 'fix problems' on the backs of companies like ServInt and its customers.

I thought a lot about who was out there defending the ServInts of the world and its customers. The answer was, really nobody. The Internet is built by about 35,000 companies, the majority of them businesses like ServInt and far smaller companies who are integral to driving innovation and providing the tools to keep changing the world. I helped build i2Coalition to give companies like ours a voice when it comes to how legislators and regulators deal with the Internet. Our goal is to make sure that our industry survives and thrives. Consumer protections are key to this. At the very least we need government transparency so that we truly understand what is going on. We'll keep fighting for that through i2Coalition, and others should join and do so too.

Q. Following from this, what is the role of hosting services like ServInt in this ongoing debate? Has ServInt come under fire for its moral stance on government surveillance, or its relationship to organizations like Wikileaks?

ServInt doesn't spend a lot of time preaching about what's right and what's wrong. We want to teach people and let them decide. That includes legislators, where our goal is to educate first. It is not OK for legislators to attempt to regulate the Internet without understanding how it works.

We go onto Capitol Hill regularly through i2Coalition and talk with legislators about things like the privacy and security of the Internet, but we also help provide some basic education - Internet 101 of sorts.

I don't think what ServInt believes in is all that controversial. We aren't anti-law enforcement at all, but we believe in due process. We believe in the fourth amendment and we believe that our customers deserve it. Last year we opened up a branch in Amsterdam. These days I've had a lot of customers - good customers doing good work - tell me they feel safer there. That makes me sad, but I understand. Nonetheless, my work with i2Coalition actually gives me hope for the future. I think we can use the power of our collective voice to make a difference here. We did with PIPA and SOPA, and we can again.

 

About ServInt

ServInt is a pioneering provider of high-reliability web hosting for business customers worldwide. Founded in Northern Virginia in 1995, ServInt was one of the first web hosting companies to offer a managed, dedicated server solution, and one of the original innovators in server virtualization — the cornerstone of VPS and Cloud hosting technology today. From its world-class data centers, ServInt now provides its scalable suite of VPS, dedicated and self-managed hosting options to thousands of customers in more than 60 countries.

ServInt uses multiple "Green" methodologies to serve clearly defined sustainability goals, including reducing waste, boosting energy efficiency and offsetting our carbon footprint.  

 

AWS Monitoring, Understanding the Tools

Wed, 25th September 2013, 18:37

Almost every webhost seems to be touting some form of cloud hosting services. New marketing ploys and falling prices, more reminiscent of the shared hosting marketplace, raise questions about whether you are getting what you think you are paying for in the virtual world. That nagging feeling that someone has sold more virtual slices of the pie than there is of the real pie. The way to know what you are getting is to monitor your slice. This is just good practice whether you are on a virtual environment or dedicated hardware. Otherwise, you are probably wasting resources or underserving your clients without a clue.

A quick primer on AWS virtual resources. If you purchase a service like t1.micro or m1.small some of the documentation refers to what a similar dedicated hardware resource could look like for performance estimation only. It does not mean that you are getting dedicated performance. You are buying a virtual slice that will behave similarly under normal usage by everyone that is sharing the virtual environment.

Not everyone will be using their slice normally, including you, sometimes. To understand what you are looking for, here are a couple of monitoring views to consider.

Amazon markets itself as 'a snap to set-up and our Amazon EC2/AWS monitoring tool adjusts automatically as your configurations changes. In essence, we do the work for you.' 

AWS does provides a basic monitoring tool called CloudWatch. This gives you basic status monitoring of your virtual instance for stat like average CPU utilization percentage, disk read / writes, network bytes in / out and summary counts on disk operations and statuses. Most admins are interested in CPU usage to know if they need to scale up or down on their operations. In some specialized cases, disk and network usage are the bottleneck but if you are a special case you already know what you are looking for. 

Looking closer at average CPU utilization, this may not be telling the whole story you need. Digging deeper on an instance using Linux you can access the “top” function and see a richer set of CPU utilization percentages:
 
  • User – this is your virtual instance
  • System – background functions of the hypervisor and OS
  • Interrupt – hardware interrupts beyond your control
  • Wait – time your instance spent waiting on input or output jobs to end
  • Steal – time your virtual machine spent waiting because the hardware was otherwise occupied
  • Idle – everyone is happy and there is nothing to do 

This is a view of the actual real hardware from the perspective of your virtual instance. So your instance and it is unlikely to ever get close to 100% utilization. Your instance is sharing with everyone else and will only be allow some of the processor time based on the hypervisor sharing algorithm.

So what's going on when your virtual monitor is showing at or near 100% utilization but hardware level monitor reports your instance is running at a low percentage like 30%? Remember, you only have a virtual slice that can max out if you are running a computational heavy operation.

So you have reached the limit of your slice according the hypervisor which is reported as 100% at the virtual level. Your instance now must give up some processing time and share with everyone else in the neighborhood. The hypervisor has decided your hardware allocation, 30% in this example, is the fair solution to keep everything running.

Steal is the important stat for understanding how you are getting along with the neighbors. It is the percentage of time your CPU access has been blocked because the CPU is being used for something else. This is a shared sandbox remember. It doesn't always mean that someone is taking your portion of the hardware that you are paying good money to access. It could be blocked because you have maxed out your share. It could also be blocked because someone else is pushing the boundary in another instance and it is allowed in some cases for short bursts of activity.

To confirm if it is you or the other guys when the steal is consistently running high, restart your instance on different hardware. If the steal is still running high, it is likely you need to consider bumping up your service plan to more CPU resources. If the still is not high anymore then you left a bad neighborhood and everything should be fine.

 

 

CMS platforms. There's more than just Wordpress

Sat, 21st September 2013, 12:01

Even the most tech illiterate considering a foray onto the web would soon be acquainted with the content management system (CMS) that has morphed from the blogging platform called Wordpress. Now powering ~ 50% of the websites on the internet, Wordpress not only has a vibrant open source community working to evolve and grow the software, but has also spawned a whole industry churning out website themes of every imaginable flair, and developers intent on creating plugins that makes wordpress act in ways that could only be imagined even a short while ago.

Although Wordpress itself has remained one step ahead (or maybe more), of the shadier nefarious types lurking on the net, the sheer success and popularity of this platform makes it an obvious target for malicious activity.  The websites at risk from ignored security updates, poorly coded plugins, and themes that have seen better days, grows proportionately with the number of users.

With automated bots crawling the web just looking for that open door to exploit a website, opportunities abound! Despite all the reasons why someone would choose Wordpress, there are likely hundreds of open source CMS platforms which may get less exposure, but can offer flexibility, customization, as well as more security (more secure can be a relative figurative. Less disciples embracing a CMS translates into less shady types looking for that Achilles heel).

Whether its a wordpress plugin, a theme, or the latest idea for a new CMS, without some community for further development, or a following to incite the community, many great ideas wither and die. The classic chicken and the egg analogy.

So HostJury decided to take a look at a number of content management platforms, some of which have broken the early barriers achieving the following, and the community, although not necessarily in that order. For fun we looked to see if they recommend any particular web hosts, and whether they follow their own recommendations. Enjoy!

 

Drupal

Drupal, like wordpress has a very large, active community and has evolved into a more user friendly platform with excellent support for plugins and other general questions. Drupal is more of a pure CMS rather than a blogging platform and the latest  installation comes with a ton of distributions that are pre-configured themes and modules for feature-rich web sites giving you a head start on building everything from personal blogs, online communities, media portal, online store to enterprise applications!

Drupal was the CMS of choice for many of the blogs in the HostJury post ‘Ever wonder what the Top 100 Blogs use for Hosting’, and is powering millions of websites and applications worldwide. Drupal can be installed easily using the one click script installer provided by most web hosting companies.

The Drupal community has a disclaimer stating that while they don’t endorse web hosting companies, WebHostingHubA2 HostingInMotion HostingArvixeBluehost, and GreenGeeks are listed as great choices because they go out of their way to support the Drupal community directly.  

So who does Drupal use for a web host… they have their server(s) at the Oregon Joint Graduate Schools of Engineering

 

Joomla

Joomla is designed to be easy to install and setup even if you're not an advanced user. Again most web hosting companies offer the infamous single-click install so getting a new site up and running only takes a few minutes. Joomla is highly extensible and thousands of extensions are available (most, but not all, are free)

Since Joomla is so easy to use, as a web designer or developer, you can quickly build sites for clients, then, with a minimal amount of instruction teach clients to easily manage their own sites themselves.

Joomla powers the MTV Networks Quizilla social site, the Harvard University website, the United Nations site, various restaurant chains, magazine, and bank websites, as well as countless e-Commerce websites including E-Bay.

Web hosts Joomla ranks as global sponsors are InMotion HostingArvixe, and A2 Hosting. (editors note: Interestingly Siteground, which is known to sponsor numerous Joomla events, was not included.. possibly also sponsoring those Wordpress events will get you blacklisted.. just a thought). Joomla appears to have their server(s) with colocation provider Colo4.

 

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine (EE) is a flexible CMS solution for any type of project. If you can dream it, ExpressionEngine can help you build it. That's why web professionals like EE's flexible approach. ‘We keep our hands out of your design so the only limit is your creativity’.

ExpressionEngine's renowned flexibility allows you to build websites that fulfill your needs and creative vision entirely. ExpressionEngine grows and scales in unison with your business. Designed to be extensible and easy to modify, EE sets itself apart in how clean and intuitive their user administration area is. It takes only a matter of minutes to understand the layout of the backend and to start creating content or modify the look. It’s fantastic for creating websites for less-than-savvy clients that need to use the backend without getting confused.

ExpressionEngine is packed with helpful features like the ability to have multiple sites with one installation of software. For designers, EE has a powerful templating engine that has custom global variables, custom SQL queries and a built in versioning system. Template caching, query caching and tag caching keep the site running quickly too.

ExpressionEngine says it is lovingly produced by a team of committed developers, on an open source foundation. ExpressionEngine's code base is 100% open, transparent, and extensible… but it comes with a price. The free ExpressionEngine Core is a feature-limited edition of their award winning content management platform…but everything else seems to costs: 

  • ExpressionEngine 2.7.0  costs $299
  • Want the Discussion Forum add $99
  • Multiple Site Manager Requires ExpressionEngine add another $199
  • Support will cost you anywhere from $49 to $1,999… and that’s per month
  • If you want to jump the support que and get urgent support.. that’s going to cost you $249 more … although it does looks like a one time fee! 

Nexcess, besides powering the ExpressionEngine website, is Ellis Lab's official Enterprise Hosting Partner, ‘providing a finely tuned hosting environment for your ExpressionEngine powered web sites.’ Using the Hostjury search function adds EngineHosting to the mix. (HostJury does not equate adding, with endorsing!)

 

RadiantCMS

RadiantCMS is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams and built on the Ruby framework Rails. Although the developers behind Radiant have done their best to make the software as simple and elegant as possible, with just the right amount of functionality it doesn't come with a WYSIWYG editor and relies on Textile markup to create rich HTML. Radiant also has it’s own templating language which is similar to HTML for intuitive template creation.

Radiant CMS is hosted by ‘the kind folks’ at AVLUX. The HostJury search function shows many web hosts that appear proficient in the Ruby on Rail platform including: 

A search of the hosting reviews also suggested there are some companies, trying to host Ruby sites, that should be run out of town on a rail (no pun intended!)

 

SageFrame

We’d be amiss if we never included some ASP.NET CMS...

SageFrame is a highly extensible open source CMS that helps you build your site, and builds it to perfection. It empowers you with all the essential tools required for developing custom modules, applications, templates and various-purpose websites with ease and convenience.The plug-n-play module concept employed in SageFrame offers enhanced dynamism to your site, and also holds provision for addition of new features. Moreover, by virtue of the drag and drop widget feature, and a highly configurable control panel, SageFrame imparts flexibility to your website like no other CMS

The guys (and gals) at SageFrame may recommend using Pipe Ten or Arvixe to host your SageFrame install, but they have sageframe.com on GoDaddy nameservers running on iWeb servers.

 

e107

e107 has been nominated for numerous awards and is an Advanced Content Publishing Solution for Website Pages, Documents, Menus and Links (Content Management System) powered by PHP and MySQL which gives you a totally dynamic and professional website "out of the box". It's open-source (free), easily customized and doesn't require any knowledge of programming languages in order to use it to build a web site. It is simple to use for a novice and yet powerful and flexible enough to meet the needs of professionals.

e107.org server(s) are with Dedicated Server and co-location provider PremiaNet . Although there does not appear to any official web hosting recommendations, Fused Network was #1 in the e107 search function.

 

MODX

MODX Revolution Bend it any way you want. (editor’s note.. this is one CMS that is only going to grow!)

Selected as Critic’s Choice for Best Open Source CMS of 2012, MODX is a powerful and flexible content management system that molds itself to your design. MODX is creative freedom.

MODX is sponsored by A2 Hosting (MODX Site Sponsor $2500/month for the first two to subscribe, $3000/month thereafter).

HostHero, InMotionA2 Hosting (again)WebHostingHubArvixe, and Site5 sprung for the more furgal listings, priced at $250 per month.

MODX, oh they are hosted on a server at FireHost!

 

XOOPS

XOOPS is a web application platform written in PHP for the MySQL database. Its object orientation makes it an ideal tool for developing small or large community websites, intra company and corporate portals, weblogs and much more.

Arvixe is the exclusive partner of XOOPS and is the host of their website.

 

TYPO3

TYPO3 is an enterprise-class, Open Source CMS (Content Management System), used internationally to build and manage websites of all types, from small sites for non-profits to multilingual enterprise solutions for large corporations. 

  • Open source - No license fee
  • Enterprise level - Professional system
  • Safety First - Safest open source CMS
  • Stable Core - For more than a decade
  • Scalable Architecture - Complex or simple: you decide
  • Unlimited Extendability - Catering for your needs
  • Tolerant System - Impartial to hosting systems
  • International Setup - 50+ Localizations available
  • Solid Roadmap - TYPO3 is the future
  • Active Community - Dedication worldwide
  • Safe Investment - Check your ROI! 

TYPO3 can run on most standard hosting services that offer PHP and MySQL. The TYPO3 website is hosted using Snowflake

 

Jahia

Jahia provides the most efficient and strongest Java open source content platform. But nowadays, front end is king and is named “User Experience”. Jahia aims to provide the most advanced and fastest User Experience builder, the Jahia Studio on the market to develop all your web projects: Website, Intranet, Web and mobile applications.

Hosted using French web host Online.net

 

eZ Publish Cloud

eZ Publish is used by thousands of organizations today not only as an intuitive and simple publishing tool but also as a powerful digital management solution at the center of an enterprise’s digital architecture. eZ Publish enables even the most complex integrated communication and digital information exchanges across multiple processes and systems. eZ covers the whole life cycle of your digital solutions: Create - Deliver - Optimize.

eZ Publish Cloud is a new service that we provide to our subscribers that allows them to host and run their eZ Publish projects on the Cloud without need for on-premise systems or 3rd party cloud or hosting services. Subscribers benefit then of this unique hybrid delivery model where they have full freedom to decide how they host their production websites and applications, either on their own or on our Cloud infrastructure - we take care of everything.

eZ Systems released and operate eZ Publish Cloud with the support of Ixonos, a Finland-based cloud solutions provider. Ixonos Elastic Cloud, running on top of the reliable Red Hat Cloud stack, is the solution chosen by eZ Systems to deliver a highly reliable version of eZ Publish in the cloud!

So just who does eZ Publish Cloud use for a web host - Amazon!

 

OpenCms

OpenCms is a professional, easy to use website content management system. OpenCms helps content managers worldwide to create and maintain beautiful websites fast and efficiently.The fully browser based user interface features configurable editors for structured content with well defined fields. Alternatively, content can be created using an integrated WYSIWYG editor similar to well known office applications. A sophisticated template engine enforces a site-wide corporate layout and W3C standard compliance for all content. 

It appears that OpenCms does not openly promote a web host but they use European based STRATO to host their own website.
 
 

PHP-Fusion  

PHP-Fusion, a light-weight open-source content management system (CMS). PHP-Fusion is written in PHP and MySQL and includes a simple, comprehensive administration system. The most common features you would expect to see in many other CMS packages are included in PHP-Fusion including:
  • Discussion Forum
  • Photo Galleries
  • Post News and Articles
  • Member Registration
  • Downloads 

Hosted in the Netherlands by Xl Internet Services Bv, a.k.a. CloudVPS

 

Bitweaver

Bitweaver is an open source content management system. Its speed and power are ideal for large-scale community websites and corporate applications, but it simple enough for non-technical small site users to set up and administrate.

A search on Bitweaver got me to a page that discussed web hosts along with a review of the services. The information does appear dated.

Bitweaver Friendly Hosts

  • JaguarPC - $19 (USD)  Knowledgeable, responsive support. Great features - VPS hosting provides ultimate flexibility for price.
  • 2mhost -  $36 (USD) per year. I have hosted bitweaver on this site. It supports PHP5. No problems with Installation
  • SiteGround - $60 (USD) per year. Hosted on this site. It supports PHP5. No problems with Installation
  • HostGator - $10 (USD) per month. Hosted on this site with unlimited multisites. Issues: TinyMCE and FCKEditor not showing. * see below
  • UbiquityHosting - $5 (USD) per month. I have hosted bitweaver on their shared hosting, works great. 

Also included was this tidbit which happens to be coming soon.. using a server at DreamHost...

CMS-Quebec http://www.cms-quebec.com/ offering a dedicated repertory of CMS bitweaver, Demo website, and bitweaver in the Matrix, the addition of a section (Experience feedback) will make it possible to our visitors to visualize what is done with the CMS. This new section will enable them to better choose the adapted CMS to their needs.

*As stated, this info is a little dated, and obviously before the sale of HostGator to Endurance International, as EIG also happens to own the last web host discussed by Bitweaver:

Bitweaver Unfriendly Hosts 

  • BlueHost $7USD/month Works, but barely. Issues with MySQL server and PostGRESQL server, ranging from constant errors, UTF-8 encoding, to total outages for days at a time. Avoid! 

Bitweaver is hosted on a server(s) at SunGard AS

 

Elxis

Elxis is powerful open source content management system (CMS) released for free under the GNU/GPL license. It has unique multi-lingual features, it follows W3C standards, it is secure, flexible, easy to use, and modern. The development team, Elxis Team, paid extra attention to the optimization of the CMS for the search engines and this lead to high performance of all elxis powered web sites and to high ranking in search engines results.

Hosted on a server at Hetzner

 

CMS Made Simple

CMS Made Simple is an open source ( GPL) package first released in July 2004. Its built using PHP that provides website developers with a simple, easy to use utility to allow building small-ish (dozens to hundreds of pages), semi-static websites. Typically our tool is used for corporate websites, or the website promoting a team or organization, etc. This is where we shine. There are other content management packages that specialize in building portals, or blogs, or article based content, etc. CMS Made Simple can do much of this, but it is not our area of focus.

Hosting Partners are: 

CMS Made Simple is hosted on a Linode server

 

SilverStripe

SilverStripe CMS is an open source web content management system used by governments, businesses, and non-profit organisations around the world. It is a power tool for professional web development teams, and web content authors rave about how easy it is to use.

A good looking CMS delivered by the folks down under… but hosted by RackSpace in America. 

Concluding... 

The intention of the preceding examples are not meant to be a comprehensive list of open source CMS platforms. (There are countless more being developed, forked, or envisioned. This is a post, not a book!). The  impressive growth and adoption of Wordpress can easily be correlated to the quality and design of the product. The dominance of Wordpress  provides valuable lessons for others . But an increasing numbers of detractors claim Wordpress is trying to be all things to all people suggesting the CMS marketplace is big enough to support numerous other platforms.

A final note.. so just who does Wordpress recommend for hosting:

There are thousands of web hosts out there, the vast majority of which meet the minimum requirements of WordPress and other CMS platforms. Choosing one from the crowd can be a chore. Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, your website will works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment. Choose wisely!

 

Are unmanaged servers putting your business at risk

Fri, 20th September 2013, 09:08

A recent Forbes op-ed proclaimed that ‘30,000 websites are hacked daily’. The writer discloses that the source of that number just happens to be his employer, and goes on to ask readers to share how they host their websites... for another report he's compiling.  Another headline in the Register, declares ‘8 in 10 small UK firms hacked last year - at £65k a pop: Report’. The government department hocking this report hopes its "Innovation Vouchers" incentive scheme would allow these businesses to protect their assets from the costly attacks. Sorry but I digress, and would suggest that the real motivating force is more likely the hacking cuts of government austerity rather than protecting your hind assets! 

Oh and that government report.. The 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey (ISBS). It was funded by BIS and carried out by PwC in conjunction with the Infosecurity Europe trade show". Need I say more. A classic case of Lies, damned lies, and statistics. A third report is more credible.

 

Internet Watch Foundation

The UK charity Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reports a dramatic increase in the number of web servers being hacked and used to host images of child sexual abuse. The IWF says that legal pornographic sites had also been attacked to redirect users to the illegal material.

The web servers, used by businesses for hosting their websites, are being hacked and internet users are being confronted with some of the worst images of child sexual abuse. Often the offending material is accompanied by malware the IWF said

The Internet Watch Foundation explains how in one example, a furniture website was hacked and a folder containing hundreds of child sexual abuse images was uploaded to their server. These images were of the youngest children and the most severe levels of abuse.

The folder containing criminal images isn't accessible directly from the hacked website, rather from other websites containing adult content. This technique of hacking websites also means online surfers are being tricked into seeing some of the worst images of child sexual abuse.

The IWF says it works like this: 

  • An internet user would be surfing adult content (website A).
  • Upon clicking an image or video on the adult site they would unknowingly be redirected to a folder containing the child sexual abuse images – which had been placed on the hacked website (website B).
  • The administrators of the adult site and the hacked site would not know this is happening – a third party has set up the diversion’ from one site to another and planted the folder of images. 
The IWF has received 227 reports regarding this trend over the past weeks. IWF Technical Researcher Sarah Smith said:
 
We hadn't seen significant numbers of hacked websites for around two years, and then suddenly in June we started seeing this happening more and more. It shows how someone, not looking for child sexual abuse images, can stumble across it. The original adult content the internet user is viewing is far removed from anything related to young people or children.

We've received reports from people distressed about what they've seen. Our reporters have been extremely diligent in explaining exactly what happened, enabling our analysts to retrace their steps and take action against the child sexual abuse images.

Since identifying this trend we've been tracking it and feeding into police forces and our sister Hotlines abroad. In all cases the IWF has worked with partners to remove the folder of child sexual abuse images.

While the motivation for uploading these types of images to a hidden file on a server for unwitting users to stumble upon is unknown, the concept of hacking web servers and uploading storage files is not uncommon. (editor’s note.. okay so it’s not uncommon. But come on, if it’s 30K websites a day at £65k a pop… that’s not uncommon, that’s pandemic!)

The likelihood of these or other uploaded folder then being detected during routine security scans can be dependent on a number of factors including: 

  • Whether the files are encrypted
  • The skills and thoroughness of the ‘administrator’ charged with securing an unmanaged dedicated servers or VPS. (There is a reason those system admins make the big bucks!)
  • Even servers managed by a web hosting provider is subject to the quality, due diligence, and inclusiveness of the management provided. As the web hosting reviews attest, the definition of management, and what that entails, varies widely from one web host to another. 

For various reasons including up sell marketing spin, and perceived lower cost, many businesses have opted for the unmanaged dedicated and Virtual Private Server (VPS) rather than managed plans. Despite the abundance of available resources provided by many web hosting companies that detail the ‘step by step’ procedures and processes needed to ensure the integrity of that unmanaged server, as many have unwittingly found out, being a great web host doesn't guarantee adeptness at writing troubleshooting manuals. (another editor’s note.. or maybe this time it's a gripe: Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that coders do not write these thing for newbs and the faint of heart? I often wonder whether the steps omitted are intentional!)

To learn more read: The good the bad and the ugly on VPS Hosting

The Internet Watch Foundation says more than two dozen businesses across the world had the servers they used compromised, in addition to that furniture seller.

 

LeaseWeb USA acquires hosting provider Shore.net

Thu, 19th September 2013, 17:35

LeaseWeb, one of the larger players in the hosting world, announced that it got slightly bigger when its U.S. subsidiary recently acquired Shore.Net, a hosting provider that has served customers for over 18 years and is based just north of Boston in Lynn, MA.

Over 500 customers were acquired in the transaction, substantially increasing the number of customers served by LeaseWeb USA. LeaseWeb also hired all Shore.net employees. All acquired customers have been successfully migrated from the Shore.net hosting facilities to LeaseWeb USA’s state-of-the-art data center.

LeaseWeb entered the U.S. market in January 2011 with a new subsidiary, headquartered in Manassas Virginia and its first data center. This geographic expansion enabled LeaseWeb to extend its reputation as a global provider of hosting infrastructure services to the United States and, subsequently, continue its trend of success that originated in Europe. 

William L. Schrader, CEO of LeaseWeb USA, says:

We have enjoyed substantial organic growth, exceeding 100% annually during the past 3 years. The Shore.net acquisition is an excellent match for our service offerings and ensures that we are now prepared to continue that growth rate. 

Closer look at Shore.Net

Back in 1999 (editors note: yep going way back to the beginning of the internet), Shore.Net received $500,000 from the Massachusetts Economic Stabilization Trust and the Lynn Economical Development and Industrial Corp. for the purpose of continuing its growth and hiring of highly skilled technical staff. A year later it sold out to Primus Telecommunications and became Primus Managed Hosting Solutions.

In 2009, Shore.Net was purchased back by original founder Lowell Gray’s Pea Island Computing Corp, and became the new Shore.Net (editor's note: new and improved!) which focused on colocation, server hosting services and cloud computing infrastructure supporting software professionals and their clients.

Using the Dollar Times Inflation Calculator, (hosted on BlueHost nameservers if you are curious), that 500K the good taxpayers of the state of Mass threw in to 'grow' the company would be $700,430.14 in today's dollars, or based on the 500 client figure provided by LeaseWeb, $1400.86 per client . Although we know the cost to the taxpayers, less clear is the cost to LeaseWeb USA. The terms of this transactions was not disclosed.

BurstNET Invests and Partners with Digiport in Miami

Thu, 19th September 2013, 14:24

BurstNET Technologies has expanded into Miami with their investment into the Digiport data centers. BurstNET is a leading operator of data centers in Northern Pennsylvania, and says its expansion of its presence to South Florida will meet increasing demands for services in the region.

Digiport’s Marc Billings states:

BurstNET’s , starting with owner Shawn M. Arcus, represents a perfect partner for Digiport’s Miami data center. Digiport customers now have the option to build redundant infrastructures in geographically separate data centers for their businesses. BurstNET’s infrastructure and data center management experience are a great asset to Digiport operations.

BurstNET’s capabilities will increase support services for Digiport customers, while maintaining the high touch customer relationships that Digiport has been known for since inception. New services in the Digiport facility will begin be introduced during Q4 2013, including 24/7 support, Dedicated and VPS Hosting, and Cloud Computing.

BurstNET also operates a fiber ring between the Digiport facility at 200 SE 1st Street, and other major carrier hotels in the Miami metro region, including the Miami NAP of the Americas, offering lit transport services up to 10G speeds.

Existing staff and management of Digiport will be expanding their roles in the company to include new product and business development, with BurstNET’s organization handling support, facility management, and back office responsibilities.

The Digiport Technology Center is located in downtown Miami, providing Colocation, Managed Services, Internet service and Metro Ethernet services throughout South Florida.

 

About Digiport

Since 1997 Digiport has been building and operating data centers for commercial office properties. Pioneering the industry in systems integration and technology innovation, Digiport is once again leading the market with their cutting edge in-building data centers offering corporate customers unparralled IT infrastructure and services for critical equipment housing.

 

About BurstNET

BurstNET, an INC500 Company, is a world-wide leader in Web Hosting and Internet Solutions. The privately held company, with offices in Scranton, Pennsylvania (USA), Los Angeles, California (USA) and Miami, Florida (USA), services clientele in over 100 countries around the world. BurstNET® began in 1991 as a retail firm and distributorship. Shortly after incorporating in late 1996, the company quickly made the transition to providing Internet services. BurstNET established itself in the industry prior to the explosion of the web hosting market. The company has experienced exceptional growth and currently hosts nearly 10,000 dedicated servers and co-located machines, 30,000+ Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and millions of websites.

BurstNET sale banner

Leading websites that enable IPv6 now at 12.3%

Wed, 18th September 2013, 17:31

As of September 17, 2013, the WorldIPv6Launch.org website was reporting 12.3% of the Alexa top 1000 websites are reachable over Ipv6. This is a significant gain from last fall when this reported number was below 3%. This shows progress from the World Launch day in June of 2012.

Does this mean the internet is on the way to full adoption of IPv6? Not quite so fast. A more telling adoption number is the Google IPv6 Adoption reporting. Google monitors users connections. It reports 1.94% of users are connecting with them with IPv6. This is a six-fold increase from the 0.37% one year ago but it remains a small percentage of all Google users. This is a better indication of a general adoption for IPv6 beyond the biggest content providers.

The major bottlenecks leading to the limited connection rates are in the end points of the internet. Older devices or newer devices constructed with older technology will not support IPv6 addressing. At this point, it's not a large problem with IPv4 and IPv6 running in parallel. Going forward, this can lead to a segregation of users that cannot afford technology upgrades from those that can.

Local Internet Service Providers that have not upgraded their routing and addressing technology are a large block to connections. Regardless of whether the users have enabled IPv6 on their devices or if a web server has upgraded, they can not reach each other if there is no IPv6 channel between them. Adoption at this level varies significantly from country to country with potential geographic isolation when services start to develop without backwards compatibility to IPv4.

Beyond large websites with dedicated in-house DNS management and facilities to handle the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, the bulk of smaller websites and blogs are running through various hosting companies. The industry standard management software with most hosting companies is cPanel and cPanel does not support IPv6. This is an important project for the company and the software upgrade is in progress but it has not been released yet. If the entire channel from the user to the website is compatible with IPv6, it doesn't matter until the website itself is able to provide IPv6 addressing.

The conversion to IPv6 is underway and progress is being made across all parts of the internet. Some heavy lifting are still required to ensure information is accessible for everyone.

Nirvanix may be against the wall. Some Cloud Storage Alternatives.

Wed, 18th September 2013, 13:06

In the competitive world of tech companies and web hosting, it doesn’t take long for the vultures to circle! Shortly after it was reported that Enterprise cloud storage provider Nirvanix has given customers until the end of month to find a new home for their data , Infrastructure as a Service provider Global Net Access (GNAX) announced it is ready to welcome Nirvanix customers to the fold.

A source quoted on InformationAge claims that Nirvanix has told employees that it had "gone to the wall". It instructed them to warn customers that the service will be switched off on September 30th. 

Jeff Hinkle, Global Net Access chief executive officer states in the press release:

It is an unfortunate situation for these customers that we have seen many times in this industry. Startups are great. They are the creative engines of our economy, but they are inherently risky. As a customer, it is hard to see that risk because you are receiving such a great product. That is until an announcement like this gets made. 

Okay whatever. Nirvanix isn’t a startup!

Nirvanix, which is headquartered in San Diego, was founded in 2007 after an online storage company called StreamLoad split into consumer and business units. The consumer offshoot MediaMax botched the migration onto the Nirvanix platform which resulted in customers getting one month to relocate. Since then Nirvanix has established itself as a credible cloud storage provider. In 2011, IBM signed a partnership with the company to use Nirvanix as the basis of its SmartCloud storage service.

GNAX Hinkle says "It is a sad situation for Nirvanix. We wish all their employees well. But the important thing is that their customers have a safe place to go here at GNAX.

HostJury, while trying to avoid recommending any particular companies to host your data, thought it important enough to offer alternatives suggestions to GNAX and Jeff Hinkle. (editor’s note.. honestly, we have absolutely nothing against either GNAX or Jeff Hinkle but that announcement truly comes across as quite opportunistic.. and distasteful)

It can be difficult to sort through the virtually endless cloud storage and filehosts available, so below is a list of the some of the more popular options for cloud storage services, and a comparison of their pricing and storage details. Each site generally caters to a specific niche of storage and sharing with most offering both consumer and enterprise level plans.

Box

Box banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal (Free)

1 User Free

Get 10GB secure storage

50MB file upload size

 

Starter

Shared workspace for your team or project

Min 1 - Max 10

100 GBh

        2 GB

$5/user/month

Business

Content collaboration and user management

Minimum 3

1000 GB

        5 GB

$15/user/month

Enterprise

Secure and scalable content and management

Customized

Unlimited

       5 GB

Call for Pricing

 

Carbonite

Protect your files with Carbonite Online Backup

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Home

1

Unlimited

None (Videos and files larger than 4GB must backed up manually)

$59.99/yr

Home Plus

External hard drive backup option, local backup image

1

Unlimited

None (Videos and files larger than 4GB must backed up manually)

$99.99/yr

Home Premier

Automated video backup, plus Courier Recovery Service- your files sent on an HDD

 1

Unlimited

None (Files larger than 4GB must backed up manually)

$149.99/yr

Business

Anywhere access, custom web-based dashboard for group use

Unlimited

250 GB (each additional 50GB costs $55/yr)

None

$229.99/yr

Business Premier

Enhanced server backup options.

Unlimited

500 GB (each additional 50GB costs $55/yr)

None

$599.99/yr

 

Egnyte

Online File Sharing! Share, Store and Back up File

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Office

5-24

1 TB

2.5GB

$8 per user per month (annual)

Business

25-100

2 TB

5GB

$15 per user per month (annual)

Business

Content collaboration and user management

Unlimited

3TB and up

10GB

Call for Pricing

 

Dropbox 

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Free

1

2GB+ (500MB per referral)

None

Free

Pro

1

100, 200, 500GB

None

$9.99/19.99/49.99/mo

$8.25/16.60/41.60/mo (billed annually)

Business

Unlimited

1 TB

None

$795/yr for 5 users, $125/yr for each additional user

 

JustCloud

 

There is more than a fair share of gripes about hidden fees, bad service, and slow speeds. The pricing seems deceptively good here, as does their ‘cancel anytime’ offer for their two year contracts.

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Home

1

75GB

10GB

$5.56/mo or $3.59/mo for 2-year contract  

Premium

1

250GB

10GB

$6.36/mo or $3.95/mo for 2-year contract 

Unlimited

1

Unlimited  

10GB

$7.96/mo or $5.56/mo for 2-year contract

Business 100GB       

4

100GB

10GB

$15.99/mo or $12/mo for 1-year contract

Business 250GB

4

250GB

10GB

$27.99/mo or $21/mo for 1-year contract

Business 500GB

4

500GB

10GB

$39.99/mo or $30/mo for 1-year contract

 

MediaFire

MediaFire banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Basic

Short-term storage, CAPTCHA required for downloads

1

10-50GB

200MB

Free

Pro
Additional pricing for additional features

1

100GB+

10GB

$4.99/mo 

Premium

Additional pricing for additional features,

customizable domains and branding.

100+

1TB+

10GB

$49.99

 

RapidShare

RapidShare button 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Standard 100MB transfer per day

1

10GB

300MB

Free

Standard Plus 10GB transfer per day    

1

300GB         

2GB

$10.95/ mo                

Premium 40GB transfer per day

1

700GB

Unlimited

$21.91/mo

 

ShareFile

ShareFile button 

ShareFile seems to exist specifically for corporate entities to share files with clients and customers, rather than for personal/business backup space. With that in mind, the prices per storage/bandwidth are outrageous in comparison to the other offerings we have here but it does appear to looks like a decent service- albeit slightly more expensive. You get what you pay for maybe...

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Basic

2

5GB

5Gb

$29.95

Professional       

10

10GB

10Gb

$59.95

Corporate

20+

20GB

20GB

$99.95

Enterprise

Unlimited 

Customized storage size     

100GB

Customized pricing        

 

Hightail 

HighTail banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal (Free)    

1

2GB

50MB

Free

Professional

1

Unlimited

2GB

$15.99/mo

Teams

  2-100

  Unlimited           

10Gb

$24.99/mo

Enterprise

Unlimited     

Unlimited

Customized options    

Customized quote       

 

 

SugarSync 

Try SugarSync Free! 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal 60GB

1

60GB

Unlimited

$7.49/mo OR $74.99/yr (annual billing)

Personal 100GB

1

100GB

Unlimited

$9.99/mo OR $99.99/yr (annual billing)

Personal 250GB

1

 250GB

Unlimited

$24.99/mo OR $249.99/yr (annual billing)

Business

3-10

1TB

Unlimited

3 users = $55/mo OR $550/yr (annual billing)   

 

MegaCloud

MegaCloud button 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Free                      

1                      

8GB                   

None                               

Free                                 

100GB

1

100GB

None

$9.99

200GB

1

200GB

None

$19.99

 

Users of any of these hosting provider's services are encouraged to share their experiences with others by writing a review. Price, marketing spin, or brand recognition may cause you to consider one of these or many other companies. Regardless of your reason for needing cloud storage or a file host. Choose wisely.   

Short Cut to Hosting a Website. Why not Google. Exactly, why not!

Tue, 17th September 2013, 15:38

Every business and entrepreneur needs an online presence to survive these days. If the business does not show up on a search engine or map they will only attract people that still rely on the phone book. Is it possible to create this online presence without investing in expensive IT talent? Short answer, yes.

In May 2013, Google tripled the free storage available on their Drive service from 5 GB to 15 GB. This capacity increase allows the user to store a generous number of media files on the cloud storage. The popular competitors are not as generous yet; Dropbox offer only 2 GB to start on their free plan and Amazon offers 5 GB for free. Product loyalty or history may cause different people to preferences for one provider or another. Most people would use this space to backup important items or as a mobile accessible file server.

A novel idea is to use a free cloud service account to host a personal or business website. Free is a good option considering standard website hosting companies charge monthly rates from $4 to $10 for the most basic of hosting on shared servers. What would it take for someone create this DIY project? Could anyone with a computer and an internet connection make this project happen or is this for professional technical people only? To answer, I will run through the steps for Google Drive.

For a very basic web page it is surprisingly simple according to Google's help files. Create a new folder and allow sharing on the web. Upload an HTML file to the new folder. View the file and click the toolbar preview button. The page is now visible in the browser. Copy the URL and send it to everyone. You now have a website hosted by Google.

A single page announcing that you have discovered this thing called the internet may have been enough for the 1990's not so much now. Adding advanced formatting, navigation and media files is all possible with the sufficient coding skills. These pieces are all stored as files within the shared directory that was created in step one. Maintaining the content is as easy as uploading a new file to replace the current one.

With some web formatting knowledge such as HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), it is possible to create a consistent online branding for static information. The Google Drive will support JavaScript and PHP if more dynamic actions are required. This is getting out of the realm of the amateur and will require technical help. Once again, the files are hosted on in the Drive directory and advanced website bells and whistles are possible.

The next level for most people thinking about putting content on the internet, is to use a Content Management System (CMS) like Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal. These support frameworks run most of the slick and not so slick websites on the internet. They have rich ecosystems of plugins and custom programers to create almost any website imaginable from picture libraries of cats to advanced e-Commerce experiences.

Here is where using the Drive as a free hosting service falls down. At a deeper technical layer, a CMS requires a database to store the content. Installation of a database is currently not supported by any of the free storage providers. That is the end of the line for this DIY project.

SoftCom & MyHosting have new owner

Fri, 13th September 2013, 17:44

Wholesale tech distributor Ingram Micro has acquired Toronto based web hoster SoftCom. SoftCom operates brands such as MyHosting and mail2web.com. SoftCom will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ingram Micro, and Turker Sokullu, former CEO and co-founder of SoftCom, will continue to lead the company as executive director. Further details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Alain Monie, Ingram Micro president and CEO. says:

SoftCom's expertise and proven track-record in cloud services will enhance our cloud offerings road map and aggregation platform,Today, we deliver more than 150 solutions from over 50 leading cloud vendors and with this acquisition we believe we will further improve the way our global partners and customers sell, service and procure cloud-based solutions.

This addition also gives our partners another competitive service advantage in the rapidly growing cloud market, especially with small-to-midsized businesses, and is another step forward in our strategy to better serve our customers and partners with high-value IT services and cloud-delivered solutions. We welcome SoftCom's associates, partners and customers to the Ingram Micro family and are excited by the value they will bring to our channel partners.

"Joining Ingram Micro provides SoftCom with a whole new range of exciting business opportunities," said Sokullu. "We have grown SoftCom's business by relentlessly focusing on our customers and building a culture of trust and camaraderie among employees with a passion for delivering high performance web and cloud solutions. We are excited by Ingram Micro's shared values and vision and look forward to contributing to their global growth and diversification strategy."

Well that all sounds good. Clients of myhosting can give their spin on the deal by leaving a review here.

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Web host AIT uses misleading info to sell its business plan

Fri, 13th September 2013, 00:57

Anyone shopping for a new web host has come across those 'unlimited everything' web hosting plans, and too often, many found out the hard way that someone was not quite truthful. One website, populated by the owners of various web hosting companies (editor’s note: and the audacity to claim it’s the only place to get unbiased web hosting reviews on the web.. imagine that, unbiased web hosts. ...yeah you know who you are!).... Anyway, point is these purveyors of unbiased reviews just brush ‘unlimited’ off like the client should have known better. I guess a cell phone with unlimited calling is unlimited, but the definition changes with web hosting!

Recently a disgruntled user contacted HostJury and articulated his opinion of misleading business practices by a certain web hosting company stating:

"I'd consider ~300gigs of transfer a month 'liberal', if they're offering 1tb a month of transfer and only allowing 1mbps of usage, it's impossible to use what they're selling and is in essence -- fraud." 

  • Inode limit: The account is limited to 50,000 files. If you have an ecommerce store with a few thousand products, you’ll exceed this limit in no time
  • Bandwidth restrictions: Although they state it’s unlimited, the fine print includes statements that “bandwidth has a monthly allowance”.
  • CPU restrictions: The amount of CPU resources is severely restricted (percentage, cycles, impact, etc…). Any modest amount of traffic to your blog or online store could result in your site being down or limited to the point of it being unusable.
  • File type restrictions: Rules about what type of files you can have, how they can be used, etc… all designed to limit disk space
  • Unlimited disk space, very low bandwidth limits: This is the new trend for remotely hosted e-commerce applications. They say unlimited space, but then only provide 5 GB of monthly bandwidth. You can exceed this just uploading your images. And the overages can be $10 or more per GB per month! 

 

Fraud or Reasonable Limits

All unlimited hosting companies have stipulations that limit how much data users can actually store or transfer with their hosting account. Usually in the form of carefully worded restrictions in the terms of service (ToS) that every client agrees to when signing up. (editor's note: the exception is companies offering 'unmetered'). Often you’ll find terms such as:
 
  • A large percentage of your files must be viewable on the web.
  • Files cannot exceed ### MB in size
  • Any video/audio must be created by the site owner
  • All files must be linked from webpages in your site
  • Limits on the time cron jobs can run
  • Resource usage can not exceed a percentage of the server capacity
Indeed all these denote a limitation. But some limits ensure a hosting plan is being utilized for its intended purpose and are not necessarily deceptive. Don’t rent a studio apartment in a residential neighborhood if you intend to run a industrial warehouse.
 
 

When reasonable limits become deceptive

Using the same analogy, what if you are using that unlimited hosting plan in the manner it was marketed. The following sections of ToS are edited for brevity.

 

AIT - Advanced Internet Technologies

Screenshot of AIT web hosting plans 

Quoting from the AIT Terms of Service:

AIT reserves the right to monitor and allocate network and machine resources. IP addresses are allocated per server and according to virtual server specifications. Cgi resources are allocated one per domain (a virtual host is required for each cgi-bin and is considered a virtual host). AIT in its sole discretion and upon reasonable notice to customer reserves the right to discontinue any hosting account and/or any script which causes excessive server load and/or uses excessive server and network resources. 

To protect Internet, network, and machine resources on behalf of the entire AIT customer base, no individual customer may do the following:
 
 1) Offer adult content of any kind, as determined in AIT’s sole discretion
 
2) Utilize CGI/PERL chat, JAVA chat, or any other chat scripts in a manner that adversely affects the operations or performance of other AIT customers, or of the AIT system(s) or network(s). The adverse effect of such use shall be determined by AIT in its sole discretion.
 
3) Use more than 1 MPBS throughput during peak network hours (9AM to 6PM ET). Such usage could result in penalty fees. In the event of any dispute regarding penalty fees, AIT may determine violations and fees applicable in its sole discretion. 
 

Some Final thoughts on AIT Plans 

AIT lowest plan start at 150 Gigs of diskspace and has unlimited transfer… The stipulation in the ToS limiting bandwidth usage during office hours ensures AIT clients will come nowhere close to any account limit without incurring financial ruin.
 
Although I can't be certain, it does sound like an industry first, and possibly sets a new low! Regardless, it sure sound like deceptive marketing.
 
 

Hostway Global Internet Solutions

Hostway offers unlimited transfer and a generous data allowance. Hostway smallest plan Website Starter, is said to be ideal for anyone with limited technical expertise who wants a basic website with easy-to-use tools to build and grow their online presence.

  • 50GB Diskspace
  • Unlimited Monthly Traffic
  • 200 Email Accounts
  • from $6.95/mo 

Hostway Web Hosting & Ecommerce Customer Restrictions

The following Terms of Use apply only to Hostway's Web Hosting and Ecommerce customers, and supplement the terms in sections C and D that apply to all Hostway customers:

Server Resources

Any website that uses a high amount of server resources (such as, but not limited to, CPU time, memory usage, and network resources) will be given the option to either pay additional fees (which will depend on the resources required), reduce the resources used to an acceptable level, or upgrade its service to a Managed Server plan. Hostway will be the sole arbiter of what is considered to be a high server usage level. All Web Hosting and Ecommerce accounts come with a limit of 5,000 files per account. Each block of 5,000 files after the initial 5,000 will incur an additional charge of US$9.95/month. Any Web Hosting and Ecommerce account deemed to be adversely affecting server performance or network integrity will be shut down without prior notice.

Last Modified—April 29, 2013

50 gigs in 5000 files… Each block costs $9.95 per month. Hostway’s second tier plan offers 300 gigs. Both are deceptively low and again would cause financial ruin to reach!

 

Final thought 

Is it really possible for these two web hosting companies to set the bar so low that even a snake couldn't crawl under it. It will be hard to beat!

 

 

 

Fleecing The Flock: Are Faith Based Web Hosts Taking Advantage?

Wed, 11th September 2013, 14:54

There are many web hosting companies that cater to specific demographics, ie e-Commerce, gaming, or wordpress users, so ishouldn't be surprising that there are web hosts that “specialize” in traditional web hosting services for church and religious organizations. These web hosts say they provide services that are in concert with religious and moral beliefs. There are people out there looking for hosts like this because of hosts like Go-Daddy, which does not have the best reputation when it comes to moral sensitivity. The question is, can faith based web hosting actually be a thing without becoming just another way to grub money from unsuspecting customers?

 

First, The Good Part

The idea behind these web hosts isn't a bad one. I do think they had noble intentions. There is a niche of web hosting customers out there that want to be customers of a company that doesn't engage in rude advertising and that have ToS agreements that prohibit immoral and illegal activity.

It’s what happens after they fill that niche that’s the problem. In the next three parts we’ll talk about the tainted nature of these faith based web hosts. Then we’ll talk a bit about reasonable alternatives.

 

Touting Built in Features as Extravagant Extras

All web hosts do this to a certain extent. They give you a list of features as part of a “package”, and act like they are adding all of these basic features in for you to make your package special. Of course, what they don’t tell you is that these features should be part of your package, and that it costs them nothing to add them to the service. 

For example let’s take the web host ShareFaith. First let’s look at the features on that chart at the bottom. Here are the features they claim are elusive on other web hosts:
  • Blogs
  • Gallery
  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Social Media
  • Website graphics
  • 50,000 Worship Media
  • Calendar 

Blogs are not a feature of a website. Not for any web host. They may offer one click installs of blogging software, but it isn’t a service they will provide for you, you actually install that yourself. Galleries are part of the website, not some special extravagant feature.

Then we get to the last two. Calendar? For what? And worship media? What exactly is that?

These web hosts list all of these features, hoping that you won’t notice that you should get these at any web host. They then charge you as if you are getting something more than a standard web-hosting package. More on pricing in section three.

 

Words Are Cheap… 

So what you’re getting is a web host with a basic web hosting package. They are promising on their website that their beliefs align with yours and that they don’t sanction any immoral practices on their servers. This is a statement from OurChurch.com:  

A Christian Web Host?

One more thing you may want to consider is whether the company fits with your organizations beliefs and ideals.  Are you going to be sharing server space with pornographic material?  Does the host use morally questionable advertising?  Or does the host have the same ideals and beliefs as you and have a similar mission?

Lot’s of questions there, very few answers. You get the sense that they are promising that the answers to those questions for them are the answers you want to hear. We’re not saying they aren’t moral and faithful people, and that that is the way they run their business. It probably is, and they probably are. But where’s the proof? Should you just take their word for it?

Then there’s the question of is that really worth it? Yes, maybe the price of a more moral web host is a little higher and maybe it should be. But how much of a premium is that morality worth?

 

…Their Prices Are Not 

You can probably get past both of the previous problems. All web hosts claim their packages are loaded with extravagant features that should always be included. Almost all web hosts claim things without backing them up. The problem is that faith-based web hosts are promising morality and faith-based services, and then charging a pretty penny for it.

Here are some examples:

  • OurChurch – $299 a year for domain and the premium theme they “give” you. Then at least $59 a year on top of that for hosting.
  • E-Zekiel.com – They seem cheap when you first look at it. Just $12 a month. But then, if you want more than 1 email address you have to pay more, and if you need more than a gigabyte of storage, you have to pay more. All told for 20 email addresses and 4GB of storage, you pay $64 a month. That doesn’t include the $20 startup fee.
  • ShareFaith.com – $49 a month for their “loaded” basic package. 

OurChurch is just a bit ridiculous; let’s just leave that there. E-Zekiel and ShareFaith are a bit better. But when you compare that to even the most extravagant hosting services out there they are horrendously expensive. For example, MediaTemple, which is not considered a 'budget host' offers the same features for $20 a month with no startup fee.

The question is when did being so moral and religious start costing so much more? It doesn't seem like it should cost anything more, especially when they are basically offering what you can find for $10 or less on other web hosts.

 

What To Look For In Reasonable Alternatives 

So what is a faith-based organization supposed to do? You want and need a web host that meets your standards, but you don’t want to be gouged for that morality. There are options out there. Here are some things you should look for when searching for alternatives:
  • Online reputation
  • Hosting packages
  • Pricing
  • Claims and Offers
  • Terms of Service
  • Charitable and community work 

There are a number of these that, as a religious organization, you’ll really want to look for. First is online reputation. Are they respectable in every way? Look for reviews and testimonials on sites that aren't associated with the host.

Second, read their terms of service. What sort of content do they allow on their servers. If they allow things like pornography, then pass them by. Most hosts do not allow that sort of content, and they don’t charge you extra for it.

Thirdly, many webhosting companies not only provide free or discounted hosting to charitable organization, some make substantial contributions to their communities, both financially and otherwise.

The other points will be considerations once you've made sure the hosts are reputable.

 

Conclusion 

There is nothing wrong with a specialty web host that caters to certain demographics like religious organizations. Where they go wrong is charging extra for basic services. That doesn’t seem like a moral thing to do, and isn’t that what you’re looking for? When searching for a web host for your organization online presence, don’t limit yourself to specialty web hosts. Broaden your search, because even those that don’t cater to religious organizations can still be great options.

Have comments? Talk back in the comment section below!

HostJury Deadpool- End of Summer Edition

Tue, 10th September 2013, 14:06

Bring out your dead! It’s time yet again for an installment of HostJury’s deadpool, in which we mark the tragic passing of some web hosting icons (editor's note.. maybe icons is stretching it a little). They lived long, they died fast, and they will be mourned, especially by their out-of-luck end users. Goodnight, sweet princes, and may flights of angels ping thee to thy obsolescence. 

 

image of vultures waiting in a tree

 

 

BravoHost.net

Incredible! A hosting service that’s been around since 1997 kicked the bucket just recently. To survive the dot-com bubble and then fall tragically like this- how sad.

Since 1997 BravoHosting has been a premier web hosting provider specializing in Managed Dedicated Servers, Dedicated Server Hosting, VPS Servers, and Reseller Web Hosting. At its heart, behind the servers and the switches and lines of code, BravoHosting is people. 

*was people.  Of course, the domain for bravohost.net was created in 2010, so perhaps this illustrious history is hokum. Why don’t we check with the registrant to see what the truth is… 
Whois Agent (ccdcgspyb@whoisprivacyprotect.com) 
Oh. I guess maybe that’s not going to happen. Well, according to their LinkedIn profile, BravoHosting was founded in 2006. The truth may never come out. I just hope the Harrisburg economy can handle the layoffs of BravoHosting’s purported ‘501-1000’ employees.

 

BravoHosting.net

Wait, what? We just did this one. Oops. That was BravoHost, not BravoHosting!

Guess that makes this almost an encore. It’s important to point out that BravoHosting.net is not quite dead, rather, they seem to be having some serious root-level problems, with a registrant also privacy protected. Never a good idea to trust sites like this, people! Anyway, crackers! I wonder if they were partisans from BravoHost.

URGENT ACTION required by all our clients

Published August 24, 2013 | By bhnadmin

This notice affects all customers hosted on www.bravohosting.net. As you must be aware of, we had been an unfortunate victim of a root level compromise caused due to a proxy server intrusion with cPanel incorporation.

The attack caused several altered RPMs rendering them unrecoverable and impacting the INNODB MySQL engine. At this point we have successfully managed to setup a new server and migrated all accounts on to our new server.

Here’s to you, BravoHosting.net. Don’t die just yet! Your closest competition has already kicked the bucket! Make like a tiger shark and grow strong from the bones of your fallen brother!

Welcome to Bravo Hosting

Published May 20, 2013 | By bhnadmin

We offer world class hosting from a totally secure server environment

Nevermind, you guys are probably screwed.

 

FatNetwork.net

It would seem this web hosting company has collapsed under its own weight. Which is stunning to me, because look at this description blurb.

Fat Network Internet Solutions is a privately owned, profitable Web services company. We help small and mid-sized web design houses and hosting companies offer a professionally managed hosting solution to provide to their clients. We are revolutionizing the Web hosting industry by offering multiple domain ("Reseller") packages that remain unbeatable today!

Don’t worry, Fat Network. Some revolutionaries are simply before their time. Although, really. Fat? Why not Phat Network, yo? The domain is now up for sale so now’s your chance!

 

EggYak.com

Registered by Namecheap.com, and created less than two years ago, we may have some real insight into EggYak’s untimely demise. Writes a frustrated customer on HostJury’s EggYak review page:

Eggyak was excellent when we signed up with them and then they were sold in May, 2012. Since then they have gone to hell in the proverbial hand basket. Service gradually got worse and uptime became less than dependable. 4 days ago our site went down. That's when I found out that they had disabled their chat, disconnected their phone, closed the forums, and stopped responding to tickets. It's as if they disappeared into thin air. I am not sure what the deal is with these new owners, but they seem to be complete scam artists. We have secured new hosting and will be demanding our money back for at least this month. I doubt we will ever see it, though. If you are considering them, DON'T. If you are already with them, get out as fast as you can, before what happened to us happens to you.

Our hearts go out to the aggrieved parties. Regardless, the domain is registered but the site is nowhere to be found: more importantly, as the ex-customer says, this Yak don’t talk back.

 

DripHost.com 

Seriously, with a name like DripHost, are you really surprised they fell through the cracks? Especially considering this highly literate description.

Drip Host offer web hosting for all sorts of sites from small to very large sites. Drip Host work hard to provide the best services out there!

DripHost maybe not site you trust. DripHost having also privacy protection on DripHost registrant. HostJury think DripHost set off all of red flag at once. Goodbye, DripHost!

 

Axigy.com 

In the annals of odd hosting demises, Axigy has to rank pretty high up there. In 2011, it looked like the real deal: an actual provider with a serious product. 

screenshot of  Axigy website 2011
 

In 2012, that changed. Instead we’ve got this nice placeholder page promising a new and updated Axigy: coming soon!

 

screenshot of the Axigy website in 2012
 

 

In 2013, we’re redirected, bafflingly, to what seems like some kind of Russian industrial firm. Well, comrade? Do you know what your host does in his spare time? 

screenshot of axigy website in 2013
 

 

 

HostBro 

One of the last tweets from HostBro:

Hostbro ‏@Hostbro3
Our migration is almost complete! btw our servers have doubled in performance. You can soon enjoy faster hosting from Host Bro.

HostBro today is gone, and their domain is free to be registered. We can only hope that their demise was, like, totally sick/tight, brah.

 

Kloudserve Technologies 

Yet another privacy protected registrant! There’s a pattern here, I can just feel it.

Kloudserve Technologies started as a very small webhosting company with the aim of providing an affordable but secure and reliable web hosting and domain services for the web and wap industry.After years of challenges,we can now boast as one of the best webhosting companies around with the best of modern technologies.

Perhaps they meant to say “After years of challenges, we will boast as one of the best.” Kloudserve Technologies for hosting provider of the year 2023!

 

Lifelesspeople 

Okay, seriously? Lifelesspeople? Are you guys just going to write the jokes for me? Come on.

Lifelesspeople has strived to provide the most innovative services in the industry. By continually watching their competition and challenging themselves to become better than they are now they have improved by leaps and bounds with every passing day.

Their attitude and motto, "The best has yet to come" says it all.

Registered, and now redirecting to the Against Silence Forum, I guess we have to assume the best just wasn’t in webhosting. Maybe they should get into Russian boat sales with whoever was behind Axigy.

 

MagmaHost.com 

This hosting service doesn’t appear to be doing so hot.

Magmahost are focused to provide the best possible hosting experience to Magmahost clients, unlike other web hosts Magmahost are dedicated to providing 24/7 support for all of your hosting needs… 

That’s right, 24/7 support. Can you believe that even now, with MagmaHost defunct and its servers down, you can call them directly and get up-to-the-minute support for all of your hosting needs? 

I hope you can’t believe that. Because that’s totally not true at all. Mourning your web host's demise is not fun. Need Web Hosting... Choose wisely!

PHP hosting UK

Endurance International Group files for $400 million dollar IPO

Mon, 9th September 2013, 23:55

Endurance International Group filed plans for an IPO of $400 million in stock.

Endurance International is continuing in it quest to corner the web hosting market with the partial revelation that it has struck a deal to buy (some/all)of Mumbai-based Directi Web Technology Pvt for $110 million

The Massachusetts based Endurance says in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to use proceeds from an IPO to satisfy its payment obligations at the closing of it's Directi acquisition as well as for working capital including general corporate purposes.

Endurance International claims that spending on web hosting services among small and medium-sized ventures is projected to grow by 28 percent to $96 billion between 2012 and 2015.The company also stated its revenue more than tripled to $292.2 million, while its net losses increased to $139.3 million from $44.3 million during the last three years.

Endurance has been on an acquisition spree since Endurance itself was acquired in November, 2011 by Warburg Pincus LLC and GS Capital Partners, the private-equity arm of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for roughly $975 million. 

In addition to Directi, the web hosting companies owned by Endurance on this gigantic list just continues to grow & grow:

 

Updates: We'll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Web Hosting

Caught in the Cloud: Recovering Data From A Defunct Cloud Host

Mon, 9th September 2013, 16:47

Cloud storage has a lot going for it, as any professional should be aware of. The freedom to outsource file hosting and more critically file protection has been changing the way business works for over a decade now, and this technology has trickled down to the consumer in the form of a litany of file hosting services with names like Dropbox, MediaFire, and RapidShare.

And that’s all fine and good. The security of delegating your data protection to professionals whose job it is to take care of that data is great. The problem comes when that data is put at risk from the closing of sites, whether voluntarily due to things like budget concerns, as was the case with EMC’s Atmos Online storage service, or involuntarily, as countless horrified end users found out last January, when filesharing giant MegaUpload was strung up by the feds for what they have described as its alleged laissez-faire attitude towards 'mountains of pirated content'.

What happens to your data, then, is more about the details of the service as well as the shutdown itself. Knowing where your data is stored as well as what’s stored alongside it is critical to proper protection of your content. Below is a list of some of the major types of cloud storage systems, the clientele they cater to, and the potential solutions one has in the face of an impending or shutdown shutdown of services.

 

Filesharing Services

At the top of the list comes the typical filesharing services like the aforementioned few, individual-oriented hosting solutions mostly intended for the backing up of personal data, or more likely the peer-to-peer sharing of files. The upside of course is that these services are either free or increasingly cheap, due to healthy competition for faster speeds and better service. The downside is that your beloved vacation videos are often sharing space with a thousand and one ‘vacation videos’, thinly veiled pirated material that makes these websites a common target for government takedowns.

When websites like this freeze, as they often do, there’s simply nothing you can do. Individual end-users petitioning the government for access to disparate files, often with poor documentation of what those files are, rarely meet with success. Furthermore, the example of Megaupload provides a stark reminder that the larger of service is, the shorter it can last outside of full-fledged operations. Carpathia Hosting, the web host of Mega's servers chose to dump most of the data in a shockingly short period after the fall of the company.

 

Consumer Hosting

Consumer oriented hosting (Carbonite, Mozy, Backblaze) offer a better alternative to sharing services at an increased price. There’s some value to the added expense, of course. It’s not just the added security, rather, it’s the hope that if something does go wrong there will be at least a brief period of time for users to migrate their data elsewhere. Of course, there’s no true guarantee of safety.

As users saw with the shutdown of Atmos Online, the decision to shutter the cloud can be pretty sudden, and whether the result is your data vanishing from the face of the earth or simply floating off into cyberspace, encrypted for all time, you might want to have a backup plan in case of catastrophe. For your most critical data, data that you positively cannot afford to lose, consider an added layer of protection. Most consumer hosting solutions cost somewhere between $5 and $15 a month, with pretty reasonable caps (if any) on data from single computers. Double up- one cloud evaporating could happen, two at the same time is pretty much out of the realm of possibility.

Of course, there’s always the big leagues.

 

Corporate Hosting

For the most security and the most space, the solution is enterprise-level hosting- Windows SkyDriveEgnyte, etc. The security provided by these hosts isn't just the price, rather, it’s that the fundamental nature of their services means they can’t expect their clients to grab their things and leave in a short period of time. As you might expect, corporate entities depend on these clients for their entire business model to function, which means you as a business owner or end user can reliably trust them to take care of your data regardless of their outcomes. Perhaps overkill, perhaps the smart solution for someone who can’t afford to lose their data.

 

The bottom line

The reality is that cloud storage is just a different form of web hosting and the same rules apply: 

  • You get what you pay for
  • Backups, backups, backups! 

There’s very little in the way of guarantees when it comes to the integrity of data, but redundancy is the best fail safe. In the end, it’s your data- you decide what to do with it.

 

The short list of file sharing companies

Hostjury has put together a list of file sharing companies, linked to their profile and review pages. While comprehensive, it is by no means a complete listing. As is the HostJury custom, the list is presented in no particular order and we makes no recommendation or endorsement of any web hosting providers... or in this case, file sharing companies. 

 

Think we missed one. We are sure we missed many. Let us know and we'll add it to the list! 

Getting DDoS'd. Now what.

Mon, 9th September 2013, 13:12

The acronym DDoS stands for “Distributed Denial of Service”. Basically, a DDoS attack is performed by a person which has control over a large number of different systems (hundreds/thousands also called a botnet) and that person uses them for flooding the bandwidth available to a given IP address (your server IP address, for example).

The end result of such an attack (flooding) is that your ability (the victim) to send or receive packets of data is destroyed. In other words, the flooding denies your service to the internet. A DDOS attack is performed by various methods, like overloading your bandwidth in such way that data can’t pass through, but the methods used are not actually important. The idea is that your internet connection will become useless for at least a few minutes, while the attack is underway. Obviously, it all depends on the duration of the attack.

Usually, the person performing the DDOS attack uses a rented/hacked botnet instead of having physical access to the computers used for flooding.

 

How do you know you are a victim of a DDOS attack?

Well, this is a tricky question. An absolute answer to this question is next to impossible; there is no easy way to determine if somebody is flooding you, unless your Internet connection goes down for no particular reason. Usually, in a DDOS attack you’re experiencing latency problems, not a total cut –off .

Keep in mind that certain types of businesses are the usual targets of DDOS attacks, for example gaming , hacking and porn websites. Torrent download sites and websites promoting a controversial point of view also are known for attracting unwanted attention.  Because these types of websites are prone to attacks, many web hosting companies are avoiding them like the plague. In case you’re using a web host that allows such types of clients, your business may also suffer in case of a DDOS attack against the respective web host, even if the attack is totally unrelated to you.

There are quite a few signs that could indicate a DDOS attack: 

  • If you find yourself having trouble with your internet connection while you’re competing against the same person (i.e. during an online game)/business.
  • If you’re running an online business and someone is asking you for money, saying that the attack will stop after you pay him, this could indicate almost surely a “mercenary” type of DDOS attack.
  • If you discover random internet connection problems after you clicked on a dubious link, that also may be a sign of a DDOS attack.
  • Another symptom is when you get disconnected during an online game, and your ISP is telling you (multiple times) that you’re the only one with that problem in the area. 

If you’re running your own server, the best way to determine that you’re under a DDOS attack is to familiarize yourself with the typical inbound internet traffic; a DDOS attack represents a sharp spike in it and you’ll be able to tell the difference between a surge in the number of visitors of your website(for example) and an attack.

The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it.

 

How to protect yourself from a DDOS attack?

The easiest method is to use a VPN in order to mask your real IP address. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is used to “spoof” your real IP address while surfing the internet. VPN works by putting a middle man (IP) between your internet connection and the websites you’re visiting. This is a 100% fool proof method, if someone is DDOS-ing you, it’s the middle man who takes the hit. The downside of VPNs is that they increase your network latency. There are low-latency- premium VPN services, but they will cost you.

If you’re running a server/business, you should overprovision bandwidth (though this will not stop a well coordinated DDOS) and contact your ISP immediately, as soon as you realize that you’re under attack and ask them for help.

Keep in mind that your business will be better protected against a DDOS attack if your web servers are located in a dedicated hosting center because these have a higher bandwidth than a “home based” internet business and also their staff is experienced in dealing with DDOS issues.

In case of large scale DDOS attacks, you should call an expert company, like CloudFlare or DNS Anycast. These guys are the specialists when it comes to DDOS mitigation.

Web Hosting

To build or not to build a scalable architecture?

Sun, 8th September 2013, 12:55

When we are talking about scalability, we are referring to the ability of a system or network to adapt to a growing amount of work/data, larger than it was initially designed for. This usually happens by enlarging the data storage capacity/processing power of the system by adding hardware, for example adding more hard disks on a server or an additional computer to a network.

There are two types of scaling, horizontal and vertical. If you’re adding more nodes to a system, like buying and adding additional server for hosting a website/forum/database, this is called scaling out, or horizontal scaling. Scaling up, or vertical scaling, means that you are adding hardware/resources to a single node in the system, i.e. you’re buying more hard disks or additional RAM for a server/computer in a network.

Each type of scaling comes with trade offs, for example horizontal scaling makes for an increasingly complex network, which makes maintenance harder. Scaling up has its inherent, physical limitations.

When starting up an e-Commerce website, forum or some similar business, you should keep in mind a few things. First, you don’t have to build a true scalable architecture from the start, because you don’t know how your business will evolve and what kind of problems you will encounter. You should wait until your traffic grows, along with the number of users and then you will see what type of scaling you’re after, horizontal or vertical.

When it comes to vertical scaling, you should go all the way for SSD’s instead of the old fashioned hard disks. Even if SSD are still expensive, the performance offered is totally worth the price. You will save money in the end, not to mention a significant decrease in latency and overall speed of your network. Basically, you must think about SSD as cheap RAM, not expensive hard drives.

If you choose to go for horizontal scaling, you can use a cloud based computing platform, like Amazon’s EC2. This means that you’re renting instead of buying hardware. EC2 allows you to rent virtual servers, as many as you require (and also paying only when you’re actually using them) and in the same time it provides you with maintenance and latency optimization. Another great thing about the EC2 is its high level of redundancy, which means that your data is safe, no matter what happens.

EC2 is not a magic wand, you should also be aware of these facts: 

  • The most important thing when scaling is to predict where the bottlenecks will be, before this problem is discovered by your website users.
  • Split traffic by using a proxy, basically sending slow/fast traffic in different lanes on your website
  • Wait until your website traffic grows and think about scaling when you know exactly where the problems are. Only then you will decide if you go for vertical or horizontal scaling; obviously, horizontal scaling is more expensive, so take your time and see what happens.
  • When you’re designing the app servers or databases, you should always keep in mind that you will have to add more in the future, this will help you a lot when/if you decide to go for horizontal scaling.
  • Open source software is always a good choice, because it’s free and this will help you a lot, especially when it comes to horizontal scaling; sometimes the software can cost you more than the computer itself. 

A final point to consider. Choosing a reputable, stable web hosting company at the start of your project may not only alleviate immeasurable frustration, but may also delay the need to scale higher prematurely.

Web Hosting Consolidation Continues. RedStation Acquired

Sat, 7th September 2013, 12:46

UK’s managed hosting and cloud computing provider iomart Group, better known by its subsidiaries, iomart Hosting, RapidSwitchEasyspace, and Melbourne Server Hosting, as well as some othershas added one more brand to that list. UK dedicated server and managed hosting provider RedStation has been acquired in a cash and stock deal. 

Redstation was founded 15 years ago by Lance Taylor and since 2008 he has run the company in conjunction with business partner Peter Appleton. The acquisition of Redstation means iomart now manages approximately 20,000 servers in 10 fully owned and managed data centers across the UK.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, said:

The addition of Redstation will consolidate our position as the leading player in the dedicated server market in the UK. Redstation’s customers deliver a wide variety of cloud applications and services so this acquisition further underpins iomart’s position as the main provider of the complex infrastructure required by UK businesses to support the cloud environment.

Peter Appleton, former co-owner of Redstation, said:

I’m excited that Redstation is becoming part of iomart because we’ve been on the same journey. We've both built great reputations for excellence in hosting by investing substantial amounts of money to create the best data centres and network facilities backed by the best technical support. The combination of Redstation and iomart Group will be a powerful force in the market.

Martin Groom, Managing Director of Redstation adds:

Redstation has grown to the point where we need to move to the next level, so becoming part of the leading cloud company in the UK makes perfect sense. As part of the wider iomart Group we will have access to greater resources and technical innovation and will be able to offer an even wider range of cloud services to our ever growing customer base.

Well it does sounds like they are all warm and fuzzy about the deal. Clients of iomart Hosting, Serverlove, WestCoastiomart Cloud, RapidSwitch, Easyspace, Titan Internet, Melbourne Server Hosting and RedStation can share their thoughts on the deal in the form of a web hosting review here.

Redstation has 33 employees. The final price could reach could reach £8 million or $12.4 million if certain profit thresholds materialize.