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HostJury Deadpool- End of Summer Edition

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

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

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! 

1 TB Online Hard Drive! Sign up Today for a 15 day

Getting DDoS'd. Now what.

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?

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

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.

SINGLEHOP Bigger Pipes Promo

Dedicated server provider SingleHop is extending its Bigger Pipes Promo for another week. The promo allows you to upgrade port speed to 1 Gbps and increase bandwidth to 30 TB for FREE. Well Singlehop does says that with a little more jazz... 

Turbocharge your network capacity with two incredible free upgrades. Increase port speed from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, and triple bandwidth from 10 TB to 30 TB on any Amsterdam and Phoenix dedicated servers. 

Special conditions do apply: 

  • Offer expires on 08/31/13 09/13/13 @ 5PM CST
  • Cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts
  • Amsterdam or Phoenix data centers only
  • Valid on new servers only & cannot be used for replacement servers
  • AMS & PHX Servers start @ $189/mo
  • Use promo code: J4NET
Just like the SingleHop customer bill of rights, everything is upfront and transparent. If you need a dedicated server and either the Amsterdam or Phoenix data centers work then it may be a great time to look a little closer at this SingleHop promo!

SingleHop : FREE 1 GBPS Port + 30 TB Bandwidth

 

The Bigger Pipes promo isn't the only SingleHop deal floating in cyberspace. For a limited time, SingleHop has a coupon that gives 25% off the first month invoice for all new customers.  But the offer does expire on October 1, 2013, so use it while you can! Use Coupon Code: CJSAVE25 at check-out.

Servage Coupon Codes! 30% OFF Web Hosting!

Servage has just released a new coupon campaign that provides a discount for anyone ordering web hosting for a 12 month term or longer!

Use the following coupon codes at checkout to receive your discount:
SER12 for 30% off 12 months package
SER24 for 30% off 24 months package
SER36 for 30% off 36 months package

The promotion is limited and will only run until October 5th,2013


HostMySite Announces New eCommerce Plan

HostMySite, a web hosting company offering Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Reseller web hosting, announced today that they have updated their eCommerce offerings. With improved and updated features, the new plan reinforces HostMySite’s commitment to world class support and products for small and medium sized businesses.

HostMySite customers using the ProCommerce Plan now have numerous application options. New cart options include: 

  • OpenCart
  • osCommerce
  • Magento
  • Cube Cart
  • Prestashop
  • Zen Cart 

ProCommerce plan starts at just $24 per month and includes unlimited bandwidth, 10 websites, 500 email accounts and our World Class 24x7x365 Support. More information can be found at www.hostmysite.com/ecommerce.

 

About HostMySite

HostMySite LogoHostMySite is a support driven, web hosting company based out of Newark, Delaware. Offering Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Reseller hosting, HostMySite is a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner for Networking Infrastructure Solutions and Advanced Infrastructure Solutions. The company’s front line support team consists of skilled system administrators committed to 24x7x365 support and customer service. 

HostMySite is a division of HOSTING, a leader in building and operating high performance clouds for business-critical applications.

 

The Obligatory Disclaimer 

As always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any web hosting provider. So does your web hosting company have a press release you'd like us to share with readers? Email feedback@hostjury.com

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Negative SEO. Is your website vulnerable?

Much has been written on the importance of good SEO practices such as page load speed to ensure your website is ranked highly by search engines. Negative SEO is a strategy used to decrease a website’s search engine rankings, performed by a “black hat” web master.

The whole idea behind negative SEO is to “convince” Google (or any other search engine for that matter) that the targeted website is of a lower quality than it actually is. Usually, we are talking here about an attack over a competitor’s website.

If your website has a number seven rating in Google’s search for a certain keyword, it may be actually easier to “remove” some of your competitors from Google’s ranking than to gain a higher rank for yourself by legitimate means.

Google took firm steps in discouraging negative SEO, by notifying site owners that they were identified as being part of a “link scheme” and also by updating the Penguin algorithms, in order to take out the websites that used paid links .

Now, let’s see how negative SEO really works.

The link schemes consist basically of paid links, used to manipulate the PageRank of a website and gain a higher/lower position, depending on the intention of the “perpetrator”. When it comes to negative SEO, it is obvious that the intention is to undermine the targeted website rankings.

Another tactic used to torpedo a website ranking is to hack it, deface it and make it look vulnerable/inadequate in the eyes of its regular visitors.

Some use the “review bombing” technique, which consists in creating a huge number of fictitious five star reviews on a business, thus letting the impression that they were paying for good reviews.

A more insidious method is to actually report the targeted website to Google for using “black hat” tactics. One may think that an external link attack over a competitor’s website is fairly easy to perform in order to decrease its ranking but in reality things are more complicated than that.

If you have a site with a strong domain authority, you are less vulnerable to a negative SEO campaign. Also keep in mind that legitimate businesses seldom use black hat tactics, because they are very risky and most companies are not willing to take the gamble.

Google has a number of systems which review the websites affected by such malicious actions. If you monitor the SEO factors that can be used to manipulate your rankings, like backlinks and reviews, and you fully understand the process that was used against your website, this translates into a swift recovery in case of a negative SEO attack, provided you report it to Google and prove your case in point.

The most common negative SEO tactics are as follows: 

  • Paid Linking, i.e. thousands of spammy links pointing to your site, attracting Google’s attention. You must contact Google and sort things out as soon as possible.
  • Content Snatching, that means that the perpetrator is copying your website’s content before it gets indexed by Google, and if successful, it may look like actually you’re plagiarizing the attacker. To prevent this from happening, you must keep your sitemap constantly updated and especially when publishing new content.
  • Fake Reviews are common practice in negative SEO, as I already described earlier. To get rid of the problem, you should monitor your business reviews constantly and report to Google when you notice anything fishy.
  • Site Speed : this type of attack causes latency issues when browsing the targeted website, provoked by excessive, malicious crawling, just like DDOS attacks. It can be prevented by blocking unknown IP addresses from crawling your site, but for that you must know exactly what you’re doing, i.e. you should be careful not to block Google, Yahoo or Bing, aka the “legit” ones.
  • DMCA removal request : as far as negative SEO methods go, this is the most efficient one. It works by reporting the targeted site’s backlinks as being “copyright infringement” and to be removed by the webmaster immediately. You can defend from such an attack by establishing a relationship with the websites you’re backlinking with. 

The importance of using free tools like Google Analytic or Bing Webmaster to monitor your website search rank placement can not be stressed enough. 

About the Author

profile picture of author Piergagnon CoulibalyPiergagnon Coulibaly is a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in History of Science in 2010. He has been both a programmer and technical writer for the past three years. Piergagnon's first writing job was to make the resumes of IT professionals more appealing. 

DailyRazor

SSL Certificates: What's Right for your eCommerce Venture?

So you’ve taken on the challenge of getting into the ecommerce world; you’re in the process of creating a website to vend your product and/or service; now you need to figure out how to keep the sensitive information (i.e. credit card numbers) from getting high jacked by those shaded internet types.

A certificate authority (CA) is a company that specializes in safeguarding sensitive digits by providing encryption-code layers to websites. They’re important protocols in the ecommerce world. Who doesn’t know someone that’s been a victim of identity theft or credit-card thievery?

It’s tempting to cut costs and go with a low price (or even a free) CA to provide you with SSL services (Secure Socket Layer: cryptographic protocols used to transfer secure information). You’ve made a significant investment in the startup of your website, so it’s understandable that you want to save a buck or two. However, is a cheap CA a good business decision?

Remember though, it’s important to first understand if you even need an SSL service. According to one of the latest review written on HostJury, Marc Martin states:

HostGator used to be a good hosting company until they started becoming too big … I want to have a blog using a dedicated ip [internet protocol address], but I was informed that the only way I could get one was if I used a free SSL Cert. Why would someone want an SSL on a blog?” (Why indeed. An SSL is for ecommerce not for blogs!)

“Fine,” Martin continues in his review. “I tried to SSL the WordPress Admin, but that's when I was informed that the SSL Cert. is only good for one page per URL. Stupid, really! [They] force you to use a SSL Cert that is only good for one URL!”

For those you who do want to find SSL service for your online store: it’s important to weigh your options, figure out your price range, but most of all, make sure your customers feel safe enough to plug in their debit or credit card numbers into your website.

The most secure (and incidentally the most expensive service per volume) is a Dedicated SSL. A well-known provider of dedicated SSL services is Symantec. Their dedicated SSL services start out at $399 US dollars for a year of validity, and they offer impressive server stats for high-volume clients. (although we have discussed overpriced slick marketing on SSL certs in the past)

A less expensive ecommerce services competitor to Symantec, GoDaddy, offers this service for as little as $49 for a dedicated SSL. However, Symantec’s NetSure warranties (like insurance for losses related to security breaches) are in the $1,000,000-range, whereas GoDaddy warranties guarantee only a tenth of that 7-figure number. Subscription rates can be seen as insurance premiums in the SSL business.

If you’re domain reseller, managing an umbrella of hosting and security to multiple ecommerce stores, you will want a Shared SSL service. This is a more economic option, and GoDaddy offers shared SSL service for up to five domains at an affordable $90 per year. The downside to sharing an SSL is that the umbrella company/webhost will have their company logo in the URL graphic rather than their client’s logo.

Wildcard SSL services are another important option to weigh. While the aforementioned dedicated services are considered as more secure, they’re only for single domains. Ecommerce stores that require the use of subdomains (e.g. shop.acme.com and cart.acme.com) may want to consider a wildcard service. The subscription for wildcard runs more expensive than dedicated, with GoDaddy charging about $200 per year for SSL services for a single domain with unlimited subdomains. However, going back to Symantec, that wildcard SSL subscriptions costs two grand for a one-year subscription. (You can see that the ratio is about 1:10 for subscription and security when comparing GoDaddy to Symantec.)

There are even free CAs out there, such as CAcert and StartSSL. However, they aren’t recommended for high-volume ecommerce sites, as they’re often riddled with technical glitches and don’t offer the guarantee insurance that the paid providers promise. If you’re looking into a free CA to transport your customers’ digits, you may instead want to look toward an escrow service such as PayPal, or a reseller who already has a CA subscription.

In any case, do you’re research before spending big bucks on an SSL-certificate subscription. However, if you’re taking direct credit/debit card payments or storing really sensitive data, there is merit in choosing a credible name in the SSL world.

About the Author

Al Barrus

Al Barrus is an ex-patriot from the greater Seattle area who now lives in Saltillo, Mexico, a few hours south-west of Laredo, Texas. He first started his work in writing when he enlisted in the US Army at the age of 18 in 2002, during which time he worked as a uniformed print and photo journalism soldier in Baghdad and Fallujah. After parting from his military obligations in 2007, Al attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in 2011. Later that year he moved to Mexico where he teaches English and lives happily with his wife Verenice. 

 

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OpenDyslexic – A Font For Sore Eyes

The intersection of morality and business sense can be rare indeed, but when it happens, it’s a beautiful thing- and something worth paying attention to. When we think of SEO and any given internet marketing buzzword, what we’re really talking about is visibility: how to communicate our message to as many people as possible in a fluid and meaningful way. To that end, we generally aim to cast a wider and wider net. But how often do we consider the holes in that net?

Abelardo Gonzalez is an analyst and developer who uses his private time to come up with some unique projects, and by far the most interesting is his foray into open source fonts catering to those with dyslexia. Released in 2011, this custom font has been drawing attention not just for its quality and accessibility, but for the philanthropic way it’s been developed. The terms for using OpenDyslexic in any given circumstance are merely that you credit the source.

example of opendyslexic font 

The concept behind OpenDyslexic is simple enough- by thickening certain aspects of the typeface, generally weighting the bottom, a sense of direction is added where traditional fonts indicate none. Each letter is given little details that help correct the flipping and switching that confuses dyslexic readers, setting them apart from similar structures: the q’s have a little flare at their tip, for example, while the l’s and the j’s have differently shaped curves to indicate difference. It’s a clever system- and according to the feedback found on Gonzalez’s blog, AbbieCodes, it works exceptionally well.

The second half of any font, of course, is wide functionality. While it’s admirable that OpenDyslexic tackles the core problems presented by dyslexia, a font needs to be universally applicable for it to be incorporated in anything other than personal use. On that front too OpenDyslexic succeeds. While it may lack the orderly refinement of the Helvetica generation and its progeny, OpenDyslexic is eminently readable and has a certain sense of character to its characters. It can be a little hard on the eyes in its smaller formats, but otherwise it makes a respectable addition to any font suite, while deftly disposing of the problems faced by dyslexic readers. And it’s utterly free.

Of course, not everyone is as thrilled about OpenDyslexic as its users are. Probably the most well-known is the property of Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer, himself a dyslexic, who created the font in 2008 to help overcome a particularly difficult final exam. Gonzalez’s problem with Dyslexie isn’t so much the font itself- it works fine, but rather the cost. At the time of OpenDyslexic’s release, Dyslexie cost around $60 for private use, and $445 for commercial use. Since then, it’s transitioned to a yearly model. Upon discovering OpenDyslexic, Boer sent a rather hasty cease-and-desist order to Gonzalez, which was promptly ignored.

In the years since OpenDyslexic’s release, Gonzalez has tweaked its functionality, and seen its userbase grow. Most recently, he’s secured the release of the KJV New Testament in OpenDyslexic, available to dyslexic gospel-seekers here. OpenDyslexic remains free for use with attribution, and so if you’re looking to make your website content more accessible to the estimate 15% of the population with dyslexia, your solution is only a click away.

Web Hosting

VPS Hosting: 5 Things You Should REALLY Keep In Mind When Choosing a VPS Host

Your website is going awesome. So awesome that you need more server power than a shared web host plan can provide. If you find yourself in this situation, your next web-hosting step will be a VPS or Virtual Private Server. This is simultaneously a great feeling and a frightening experience. You are happy that your website has grown so much, but are afraid that the transition to a new server will be hard and cause downtime. Unfortunately, web hosts are notoriously shady when it comes to VPS hosting.

What is VPS Hosting?

Before we get into the things you should know about VPS hosting, we thought we’d take a moment to talk about what a VPS actually is and how it’s different than a shared hosting or dedicated-server hosting plan. If you are new to the hosting game, you might not know. If you already have a good idea, then you can move on to the next section.

A Virtual Private Server is actually just one physical server, but instead of everyone being on the same server and using the same software like a shared hosting scenario, every customer has his or her own virtual server. This means that the physical server is divided into smaller parts that virtually (i.e. with software) act as if they were separate servers.

You can think of hosting servers like a swimming pool.

  • A shared hosting system is everyone in the pool together. Same water, same urine, same filtration system. Users intermingle with one another and share resources.
  • A VPS hosting system is everyone in the same pool, but the pool has been divided into smaller parts. Everyone still shares the same pool, but everyone has his or her own section, and nobody can intermingle with anyone else.
  • A Dedicated hosting system is everyone has his or her own pool. Their own water. Their own filtration systems.
Obviously, there is some technical voodoo going on in the background, but you should at least have an idea of what the differences are. Now, let’s get into the five things you should know about VPS hosting.

 

#1 Know Why You Need a VPS

Every web host on the Internet is going to try and upsell you to a VPS hosting plan. They get to offer you less virtual resources in exchange for (usually) a lot more money. They will try to tell you the virtues of having a VPS. They will do this with many trumped up features, and claims of support. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!

Only choose a VPS if you KNOW you need it. Asking a web host if you need one is like asking a car salesman if you need the extended warranty. Of course he or she will say yes, that’s how they make money.

Write down the reasons why you need a VPS. This could be: more resources like memory, bandwidth, or storage space. It might also be a hedge against future growth. Whatever the reasons, know them before you go into a hosting agreement. That way you know what you need, and what you don’t. And you won’t get talked into features you won’t need.

#2 Know What You Don’t Know

There are two kinds of VPS hosting plans: managed and unmanaged. Managed is more expensive (usually appears that way at least), and unmanaged is cheaper. At least that is what the web host wants you to think. First, let’s look at the difference, it’s actually rather simple: 

  • Managed VPS systems have management software installed on them. Things like CPanel, which offer tons of features. It also means your new virtual server is ready to go out of the box. The advantage is that you don’t have to pay for that management software extra, it’s already included.
  • Unmanaged VPS systems are exactly that. A blank server. No OS, no management software, no web server software. Nothing. Everything will need to be installed by you. If you want a web interface for server and website management (like CPanel), you’ll need to pay for it. That will pretty much eliminate any pricing benefits you received by choosing unmanaged. Unmanaged VPS systems also usually come with much less support. 

Our advice here is to know what you don’t know. Managing a VPS sever is hard. It almost always entails learning how to manage Linux and Apache. That means learning how to use the command line and root access. If you don’t know at least a little about this, but still need a VPS, then the managed VPS is the way to go.

Web hosts will try and get you with their pricing advertisements. They will only give you the prices of the servers. If you choose unmanaged there are almost always outside costs that will increase the monthly run cost. Keep that in mind.

#3 Know Your Responsibilities

Both managed and unmanaged servers will require a certain level of knowhow. Obviously unmanaged requires a ton more than managed. When you’re searching for a VPS host, know what comes with the plan. What are the responsibilities of your host? What are your responsibilities? Who manages the server updates?

Chances are, you’ll find that the web hosts place as much responsibility on you as they can. The more they take, the more it costs them. And that’s fine, as long as you know what you will need to do while you’re on that server going in. You don’t want it to be a surprise when something goes wrong.

#4 Know Your Budget and Resource Needs

VPS systems can be expanded and extended. That is one of the great things about VPS hosting. It is the reason to upgrade. It is also another way web hosts will try to upsell you. They want you to buy as much as possible.

Know how much you need before you buy. Look at previous server usage, and that will help you buy the correct amount of resources. If you don’t have access to those records (and you might not if you were on shared hosting), then you might have to make an educated guess. Buy more than you need, but not so much that you waste money. Use your head. Then make adjustments once you have the data of how much you’ve used.

Almost every reputable VPS hosting provider will allow you to scale both higher and lower when it comes to resources. They won’t make you sign a contract or lock you into a certain amount of server resources. After all, the benefit of a VPS is that you can get more resources immediately when you need them. If you find a host that tries to do that, look elsewhere.

#5 Know Your Web Host

Finally, know whom you’re doing business with. Look for a host that offers the functions you need now, and might need in the future. Look for one that will help with the transition. The more support they offer, the better.

If there are tons of statements and fine print saying that you are responsible for everything and that the host has no responsibility of support, find someone else. Do your research, look for reviews here on HostJury, and be cautious.

Conclusion

Choosing to go to a VPS is a tough decision, but as your website grows, will become a necessary one. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers. You really do get what you pay for. Hosts will try to be as cheap as possible, so know what you’re getting and how much that will cost you. Our best advice is to be prepared for any situation, that way you won’t be surprised. The more info you have on the transition, on the server, and on the host, the better off you’ll be.

Have questions or comments? Talk back in the comment section below and write a review of your web-hosting provider.

American users abandoning US web hosts wasn't even considered.

News that the NSA is sneaking around back doors in a data gathering quest really isn't that surprising. Despite the idea being the lore of offhanded comments and jokes for years, the actual acknowledgement that big brother is closely watching has shocked just about everyone. Now the fallout begins.

Ladar Levison, owner of Lavabit, the email service used by Snowden, posted on the Lavabit homepage:

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

Levison goes on say that he will fight for his constitutional rights then strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Days later the unexpected closing of the hugely popular Groklaw website, hosted on University of North Carolina servers made international headlines. Pamela Jones in her emotional thought provoking final post prefaced with a reference to Levison. “The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too”. Jones continues stating “For me, the Internet is over. Perhaps it should be over for many of us.” Although the majority would see Jones response as an over-reaction, many are reflecting on their own web surfing habits and practices.

America tech giants Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, along with numerous smaller web hosting entities have globally promoted the benefits and competitive advantage of their cloud hosting. “The disclosures of widespread Internet surveillance represents an enormous privacy risk that could tilt the balance away from these cloud-based services altogether or increase demand for local providers that are less vulnerable to U.S.-based surveillance” says Michael Geist.

Ben Werdmuller in a post titled 'Government - the last great gatekeeper - is ripe for disruption' wrote: 

Here are two things I would love for everyone to do; I'll start. The first is to publicly declare the jurisdiction in which you live, and in which your data is hosted. That way, people can make an informed decision about how to communicate with you.
 
You can do it like this: Hey, everyone! I live in California, my email is hosted by Google, I keep documents on Dropbox, and my server is hosted in Dallas, Texas. 

Kim Dotcom of Mega fame was early out the gate, musing that Iceland and its green data centers would become the destination of choice for many concerned about privacy issues. In spite of the presently limited connectivity capacity, Dotcom saw Iceland as one of few countries whose stance against overtly overreaching government intrusion could be trusted.

As in the past when some Canadian web hosts marketed their servers as a way of circumventing some aspect of the Patriot Act dealing with copyright, there are now a growing number of Canadian-based firms suggesting they are a viable alternative to their American counterparts. The concept that Canuck servers are 'uniquely Canadian' has even been perpetuated by provincial government departments responding to concerns that provincial health data could be subject to disclosure under the USA Patriot Act. A number of Canadian provinces enacted laws requiring "personal health care information be stored and accessed only in Canada." The laws required institutions and their service providers to notify the Minister if it received a foreign demand for personal information. All this ignores that Canadian data often crosses the border into the U.S. during transit, presumably allowing for the communications to be captured by the expansive surveillance infrastructure that seemingly tracks all Internet communications.

The dramatic shift in public opinion and attitudes hasn't been lost on European web hosting companies. Irish web host BlackNight Solutions in a recent post discussing Prism wrote:

What if you can’t trust the cloud or more correctly, what if you can’t trust the companies running the cloud to not handover your data to government? Are all Irish hosting companies immune from PRISM?

No. If servers are physically based in Ireland AND owned AND controlled by an Irish company then they are subject to Irish law. BUT  If the servers are physically located outside Ireland they do not have the benefits of Irish law regardless of who owns them. A server physically located in the US is subject to US law, a server physically located in the UK is subject to UK law etc., etc.

Servers (or services) running off servers physically based in Ireland (or other parts of the EU) should be covered by EU law, but if the hosting provider is US owned then you have no guarantees.

At least the BlackNight post does qualify their statement by saying their physical network is NSA and PRISM-free, but they have no way of knowing what is happening elsewhere.

Then there is Icelandic upstart Mailpile which aims to build a 'modern, fast web-mail client with user-friendly encryption and privacy features that allow you to 'store your mail on devices you control, encrypt and share or restrict access as you see fit'. It reached its fund raising goal on Indiegogo weeks early.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently estimated that the U.S. Web hosting industry could lose tens of billions of dollars in the coming years should non-U.S. users withdraw their data. The idea that an American users could begin to abandon their US web hosting providers wasn't even considered.

WestHost Web Hosting

JOHN LENNON TOOTH. An extremely odd journey.

Apparently in the mid-1960s John Lennon gave one of his extracted molars to his housekeeper for disposal. Lennon suggested she pass the tooth to her daughter, who was a big Beatles fan, and the artifact stayed in the family until November 2011, when it sold at auction for more than $30,000.

The tooth was bought by Canadian dentist Michael Zuk who then permitted his sister to use a fragment of the tooth in a clay sculpture of Lennon's likeness. Zuk is now allowing John Lennon's tooth is going under the microscope in a US lab with scientists considering ways to extract the genetic code from the fragile specimen.

 

Cloning a Beatle
 

 

Dr. Michael Zuk has launched a website and in a press release says:

I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon's DNA, very soon I hope. With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality

To potentially say I had a small part in bringing back one of Rock's greatest stars would be mind-blowing. The DNA in John Lennon's Tooth is easily worth over 2.5 Million Dollars to the right company...it actually is priceless if it means we can clone the Beatle. 

The idea may be priceless but the cost of hosting the website behind the million dollar idea isn't. Both the domain registration and website hosting of johnlennontooth.com utilizes GoDaddy.com. GTmetrix gives the website a B for performance but Zuk could likely get that to an A by enabling gzip compression on the web server. I can’t help but wonder how long the site will stay live before getting a DMCA take down notice for playing an excerpt of a John Lennon tune..

Possibly I'm wrong and the recording industry may see the money making potential of a John Lennon clone. Possibly, but somehow I doubt it!

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Ephrata Township needs a web host. Q's they should ask.

The Pennsylvania Township of Ephrata is exploring new web hosting options for its online presence after the county announced it will stop hosting local municipalities' websites. Township Manager Steve Sawyer says that Lancaster County has been provided the server that stored the data for Ephrata Township's Web site which includes ordinance and zoning info as well as basics on elected and appointed officials, meeting agendas and upcoming events or services. Beginning next year, the county will contract Kansas-based Civic Plus, a service that provides "citizen focused government web sites. Ephrata can continue hosting on the county's contract, but the  estimated costs would be about $4,000 in start-up fees, plus an annual maintenance and storage fee of $800. Township Manager Sawyer said he has begun collecting estimates from other web-hosting companies, including Web Tek, which is located in the township.

(Editor's note...  I have been to Lancaster County and it's a beautiful area... I never seen their website prior so it had no impact on planning my journey.. but it is simply ugly, horrendously ugly. It looks like it was made by someone's lazy cousin from the comfort of the sofa! HostJury does not recommend web hosting companies therefore I will not comment on Lancaster County future web hosting choices. But the present... Using  GTmetrix, I tested the performance of ephratatownship.org.  A page speed grade of 48%.. an F as in Fail)

Looking for a new web host is a rigorous process. Ephrata might be a government entity, but their web hosting needs might be similar to yours. What questions should Ephrata ask possible candidates for web-hosting? We've taken the liberty to make a few suggestions, as well as the reason why the question is important to ask.

 

Questions Ephrata Township Should Be Asking About Web Hosting

 

Q: Where is the web host located?

Ephrata is unlikely to get a lot of traffic from the United Kingdom, or Florida for that matter. They should look for a host that is in their back yard. The closer the host is to the people who will be accessing the web site, the faster and more efficient the web site will be. 

Using the HostJury search function with the keywords 'Pennsylvania web hosts' provided pages of possible web hosting companies. A very few examples presented in no particular order or preference: 

 

 

Q: What kind of technical support do they offer?

Like most governmental organizations, Ephrata is limited in budget. That means that their IT department is strapped for cash. They can’t afford a huge support team. That means that whatever host they go with has to be able to provide the server-side support that they need for a reasonable cost.

Q: Web Host allowance for traffic overloads?

While there is little fear of a traffic jam on Ephrata roads, there will likely be times when the web site experiences more traffic than what is considered normal. A lot of hosts allow for periodic spikes in server usage. Ephrata Township should ask their web-hosting candidates what happens when they need more server resources than what they are paying for.

Q: How does the web host handle scaling?

It is also likely that over time Ephrata Township will need to expand the online services they offer. That means that they will eventually need bigger and faster servers. They need to ask how easy it is to transition between server classes (known as scaling), so that when the time comes they don’t have to suffer downtime due to a transition.

Q: What is the network and server uptime average?

This may be one of the most important questions they need to ask. Web sites are only useful if they are online. Ephrata Township needs to find the host with the best reputation for being online all the time. Constant periods of downtime could be a sign of a host with some problems. Checking online reviews of said hosts is a great place to find out how many times the host has experienced long periods of downtime.

Q: What software does the web host offer?

Ephrata Township will need to make sure the software they run can function on the servers the host offers. What operating systems do they offer? If Ephrata Township wants a blog for township news, then what sort of CMS do they offer? The more software that is available straight from the host, the better it will be for the township. Having to install the software themselves could cost both time and money.

Q: How do Your Prices Compare to Other Webhosts?

Finally, the huge question. How much will it cost for the server resources needed by Ephrata Township? Are there possible hidden fees in the fine print? These are the last questions because it is the question that will decide whether all the questions that came before mean anything. Web hosting is only part of the online budget; they still need to hire a designer, a web manager, and so on. Price is very important when deciding which web host to use.

 

Conclusions

These questions are the same for almost any organization or individual who happens to be looking for a web host. There are four things that need to be taken into account: location of the audience, server capability needed, support offered, and price. For Ephrata Township, they only need local servers, so that limits the number of web hosts they should consider. They also only need a site that provides local information like zoning and information on elected officials. That means that the software and server capabilities won’t be very high; traffic will be the biggest consideration when it comes to resources. The price and support are two sides of the same coin. Ephrata Township will need a host that is available for support at an affordable price.

Choosing a web host can be difficult. The best advice we can give Ephrata Township, or anyone for that matter, is to shop around, and compare as many hosts that meet your needs as possible, then choose the best one.

JaguarPC Priority Support. When did the support become optional?

Web Hosts Screwing Low Cost Customers with Poor Support. It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that companies can be immoral. Their goal is to make as much money off of you while giving you as little as possible in return. Profit is the point of a business. Some Web hosts take that immorality and expand upon it to down right evilness. Search for a cheap web host, and even if they advertise differently, chances are the support you get from them will not be top-notch. Is that your fault or the companies?

 

False Advertising

The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies in most cases. Some hosts are known to charge clients extra for real support. Others charge extra for tech support that is outside the scope of web hosting. Some web hosting companies suggest if you need support then you should use another web host. The issue isn’t low cost hosts providing cruddy support. The real problem is hosts that advertise top-tier support then fail to deliver it.

An example is JaguarPC which claims on their website: 

  • 24/7/365 Support via Live Phone, Chat, Email, Ticket System
  • 24/7/365 Proactive Server Monitoring
  • Staff and offices onsite in the datacenter for faster turnaround
  • Detailed Support knowledge base with video tutorials, articles, and guides
  • Active community forums with management participation
  • Updated active company blog

 

JaguarPC New Priority Support Option

recent post in the JagPC blog suggests that they are the latest web host to offer a Priority Support Option:

JaguarPC is continually enhancing its services and hosting plan options to better suit the needs of all our clients. Here at JaguarPC we understand that some of our clients require additional monthly managed assistance that can exceed our standard managed service plans.

Step up to more diversified, robust and option packed first class managed services package. This additional option is specifically tailored to those clients who need more managed service choices for administrative work, the fastest possible responses times and enhanced security options through scripting and our Malware scanning features. Our customers have expressed a need for this type of service and we are now delivering.

Your needs for extra managed service administration times, an expedited ticket queue, additional monthly services and specialized service can now easily be addressed when you sign up for our Managed Plus Program.

(editor’s note.. we edited that for brevity)

Of course looking at the JaguarPC web hosting reviews you’ll find that some take exception and claim the support is anything but as good as they claim it to be.

A review left by reviewer jcn50 on HostJury:

I was working to keep this website only (after many hosting companies which I tried and posted a review of), and wanted to give a shot to JaguarPC for their past performance...

I didn't get any follow-up to my ticket within 24 hours: just to restore my CPanel backup/migration... So I gave up and asked for a refund (which I got after another 24 hours).

I think their support is just drowning; I would be scared to host anything there!

There are reports by other HostJury reviewers of their negative comments on the JaguarPC forums being deleted:

I noticed my thread that mentioned poor support is missing from Wednesday and trying to follow the link to my own thread says I don't have permission. If you don't want to see negative feedback, don't provide poor support.

Hosts want to keep advertising their excellent service record, but don’t want to suffer the consequences when they fail to deliver.

 

Protecting Yourself

JaguarPC is just an example of the problem; they are by no means the only host on the web that does this. You can find any number of hosts that advertise excellent support on their low tier plans to draw customers in, and then fail to deliver. Their goal? They want people to pay for their extra expensive and exclusive support tier or get nickeled and dimed to death paying small print & hidden fees. What can you do to prevent getting caught by one of these false advertisements?

The first rule is, remember the golden rule: You get what you pay for. The cheaper the host, the more likely it is that they will try to create extra “add-ons” to make up for the cheap hosting.

Second, if you can’t avoid choosing a low cost hosting provider, then read as many independent reviews as possible to see what problems other people have had with the low cost service. Then be prepared to do much of the troubleshooting yourself when those things go wrong.

Finally, try the host first. Use their free period to your advantage. Do NOT transfer your domains and hosting there until you are positive the host can serve your web sites well for a reasonable period of time. The last thing you want is to get everything transferred to the new host to realize that you need to find a new host. Not only will that be time consuming (and hurtful from an SEO perspective), but will also cost more money.

Have a comment or horror story? Talk back in the comment section below and write a review of your web hosting provider.

JaguarPC

Web hosting consolidation continues. Brands buying brands.

United Internet continues to drive the internationalization of its webhosting and cloud computing business. United Internet announced it has agreed a deal with the owners of Spanish web host Arsys Internet (private equity companies Carlyle Group and Mercapital as well as original shareholders)  concerning the acquisition of a 100% stake in Arsys by United Internet’s subsidiary 1&1 Internet.

Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet says:

Whereas we proved in the past that we can achieve rapid organic growth on the Spanish market, we are now expanding our presence in a second stage with the acquisition of Arsys, At the same time, we are strengthening ourselves in Spain with the addition of skilled staff, an established brand, and a large client base.

The press release goes on to say that Arsys will continue to be run by the current management team as an independent company with both the 1&1 and Arsys brands 'competing' against each other in the marketplace.  Arsys currently has 290 employees, and reports annual sales of around EUR 40 million with a gross profit of EUR 15 million. In the course of the transaction, Arsys has been valued at up to EUR 140 million (cash free / debt free) and the purchase is to be settled in cash. The transaction is expected to be completed over the next few days.

United Internet's other brands include United-Domains, Fasthosts, InterNetX, Sedo and affilinet – in addition to 1&1, GMX and WEB.DE.

 

The Other United Company 

While United Internet isn't exactly shoddy in size, it pales in comparison to it competitor from across the pond, United Web. Also known as Endurance International or EIG. (editor's note.. there are some other more creative names used to describe EIG but that's for another postUnited Web is continually increasing it grip to have a monopolized web hosting industry!

United Web's brands now are said to include: 

 

The following are other brands of United Web, some of which are not web hosting related. I've included also the web hosting brands that are reported to be EIG brands but are questionable because the web host homepage does not have the typical EIG fare such as an image of a woman with her hands on her face or some dude relaxing with his hands behind his head! (editor's note.. HostGator doesn't have the typical image either)    

  • 2slick.com
  • Homestead
  • Berry Information Systems (web hosting)
  • Host With Me Now (web hosting)
  • Southeast Web
  • YourWebHosting

 

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BurstNET data center migration goes to hell

BurstNET Technologies announced last year its expansion to its new flagship data center facility in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The new BurstNET data center would house not only their own corporate global headquarters, but also offer office space for clientele wishing to locate their own on-site techs within the facility. Located two hours west of New York City, two hours north of Philadelphia, and five hours east of Pittsburgh, the central location of the facility would enable BurstNET to compete directly with major US colocation facilities, offering similar bandwidth options/pricing to major metros, all whilst operating in the less expensive Scranton PA region. Scheduled to open to new clientele in January 2013, all that remained was for BurstNET to migrate their existing clientele base to the new data center. Easy right.. apparently not.

Server downtime can, and will happen to every web hosting company. It is the nature of the business. While frustrating for the clients, for most web hosting companies it can be an equally trying time. Scheduling downtime to migrate clients from one datacenter to another adds an additional layer of complexity that ensure Murphy’s Law will come into play. Endurance International Group (EIG) garnered quite a reputation for messing up data center migrations every time they bought another web hosting company. (BlueHost clients breathed a collective sigh of relief when they learned EIG was not migrating them). A rather comical server migration story for onlookers at least, involved a web host in LA. The plan entailed picking up the servers from one datacenter, loading them into the back of his vehicle, and racing to the new dc, hence minimizing downtime. Unforeseen.. the traffic jams that snarl LA traffic.

BurstNET is neither a private equity firm scooping up web hosting companies, nor is it a company that can fit racks of servers into the back of a car. The damage and cost for BurstNET migration to its new facility hasn’t even begun to be calculated. The nightmare saga is still ongoing.

 

The Notice:

BurstNET is currently migrating it's internal services to our new state of the art data center facility. Due to this migration you may experience a brief period of inaccessibility to the BurstNET services.

This may include: The BurstNET website, billing/ordering system, forums pages, ticket system, email, or any other services that are normally available online. Phone systems will also be impacted by this migration. If you happen to need assistance during this window, please continue trying services. You will eventually be able to get through to what you need, as things come back online.

We apologize for the inconvenience and we will make every effort to return services to normal as quickly as possible.

 

On August the 14 BurstNet posted: 

All migrations have been completed except for a handful of 100TB clients. We are currently working thru reboot tickets to catch any systems still reported down, as we as consoling each server to make sure operational. A good portion of the servers still down are due to dead power supplies or the like. We are working thru them as quickly as possible.

PS - Twitter feed is automated...we are not spending time on that instead of reboots...I assure you.

(editor’s note: the P.S. was in response to criticism of Burstnet Twitter feed tweeting adverts rather than service updates)

 

The Reality

The fallout continues to unfold. A very small sampling from around the web.

@burstnet , I reported my server being down on the morning of Aug 6th. A few days later I received the news that my hard drive had some sort of issue and that they would recover it and fix the issue. Now we are on the 15th and my server is still not working. I believe that this migration issue has overloaded the support tickets and is partly why my issue fell through the cracks and hasn't been attended to.

I am hoping that you can take a look at my ticket and help me out here. I have replied already (Aug 10th) to the support ticket but it hasn't been checked in 5 days. The ticket number is YXD-622-38997. I just received my next bill and didn't even get to use my server for almost 1/4 of my last billing cycle due to this hardware failure.

Please take a look into this for me as it's killing my business. The server may appear to work if pinged but if you try to visit any websites that are listed in the support ticket they will not load because of hard drive issue. SSh does not work, cpanel/whm does not work either.

Another Client fumed:

Down since Aug 12th and no response to the tickets or phone calls. Been a client since 2007-8 and am sure I won't buy a single new server from them ever again.

Today BurstNET posted at 3:44 AM

We are currently working feverishly to attend to any reports of services still affected by the PA data center facility migration of the last week.

Any remaining issues with services not back online are most likely related to hardware issues, network adapters/port problems, or failed power supplies.

BurstNET has been working day and night to resolve any remaining issues, with majority of staff working many overtime hours to assist our client base.

This has been a very heavy workload for our staff with this major facility migration, but it had to get done. Fortunately it is only a one time occurrence, and following such, we can get back to the same reliable and stable service/uptime that BurstNET has provided for many years now.

You will receive a response to your support ticket once your specific issue is resolved, as techs are on the data center floor continuously working to resolve such issues until all issues are completed.

We expect the majority of these issues to be resolved shortly, and thank you for your understanding and continued patience.

Regards, Shawn A.

Administration BurstNET

BurstNET has seen significant growth in its hosting business, bringing the company to nearly 40,000 dedicated and virtual private servers currently in service worldwide. Founded in 1991, BurstNET is one of the oldest web hosting operations in the industry and known as a pioneer of the Web Hosting industry, having been heavily involved in the creation of the industry standard CPanel control panel, and co-creator of the industry's first $99 dedicated server. The company operates one of the oldest and largest resale programs in the industry, servicing thousands of resellers, as the backend for many popular hosting companies.

When the migration plan began to crash and burn, many clients of BurstNET expressed publicly that the company should pause the migration and resolve the outstanding issues prior to continuing. Building BurstNET's reputation took years. It took one very poorly executed migration to tarnish it beyond recognition.

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Cloud Host Digital Ocean Raises $3.2M. Simple, Cheap & Booming

While a rolling stone doesn't gather much moss, upstart cloud hosting provider Digital Ocean hasn't had much trouble laying down roots either. With the announcement that it has raised a $3.2 million seed round with IA Ventures, with participation from CrunchFund and TechStars, Digital Ocean will be even better positioned to continue its trend of adding new subscribers, currently pegged at a rate of about 500 a day. Digital Ocean plans to use the funding to hire more marketing and engineering talent and to build out its infrastructure. 

Digital Ocean found its market niche by focusing on simplicity and keeping prices as low as $5/month for an entry-level server and has quickly grown with little external funding despite Digital Ocean need to acquire servers and bandwidth just to keep pace with the demand.

 

Price comparison of using Digital Ocean cloud hosting sevices  

Chart shows comparison of cloud hosting cost using Digital Ocean, Linode, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. 

 

Just How Big & Fast 

In June of this year Digital Ocean was reported to have 7,000 web-facing servers, up from 1,000 last December according to Netcraft. The company has accumulated more than 35,000 customers since launching in 2011.

The company has just opened its second New York data center, taking space in the Google-owned 111 Eighth Avenue Data Center. It also utilizes a dc in New Jersey, and San Francisco, as well as a significant amount of server capacity in its Amsterdam, NL location

Digital OceanCEO and co-founder Ben Uretsky is reported as saying that the company’s fast and early growth often meant it ended up in a capacity crunch and couldn’t add users as fast as it wanted to because it simply didn't have enough resources available in its data centers. Users, however, expect that their cloud hosting provider has virtually unlimited resources and that they should be able to spin up a new server whenever they want to.

 

The cracks were beginning to show 

Just recently speculators of the new Primecoin virtual currency forced DigitalOcean to stop provisioning servers (called droplets) on its cloud for new users utilizing the machines for cheap computer cycles to mine the currency. (never mind.. it’s a different story altogether!)

“Digital Ocean raised the funding at the time when they were reaching the limits of what they could achieve on their own” says Uretsky

 

Looking Forward 

Since January, Digital Ocean has almost tripled its workforce from 12 employees to over 30 today. This means the company has finally been able to move from just keeping up with growth to actually being able to develop new features for the service. Digital Ocean plans to launch private networking in its new New York data center. Also on the horizon is support for CDNs, load balancing, IPv6, usage graphs in the dashboard and more.

 

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Cloud Hosting Price War. Winners & Losers

Is the cloud the future of the Internet. Some appear to believe it is and that’s why there are a ton of different companies competing for the business of cloud users. There are two huge companies that are battling for those dollars, along with several smaller companies trying to get their services into the mainstream. The two huge companies are Amazon with their Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Rackspace with their dedicated and Open Cloud services. You also have Google and Microsoft's Windows Azure competing for a spot at the table.

 

Is There a Price War?

There have been many stories on the web talking about this “war” between the giants of cloud computing. ProfitBricks, one of the smaller companies competing for the limelight, has a piece up claiming that the price war is nothing but a sham and a PR play by the bigger players.

“But it’s not a race to the bottom. This isn’t a battle in the clouds, it’s a bit of shadow boxing among giants.”

Of course they say that in a post where they are announcing that they are cutting their own prices by 50%. So even the people saying the cloud price war is a sham are trying to better compete on price.

 

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Have a Leg Up

Rackspace and ProfitBricks may be players now, but relative to the big three, they are ants just waiting to be squashed. Even Amazon would have problems eventually if Google and Microsoft decided that the cloud was a place where they had to succeed.

That’s the point of this price war. Amazon wants to gain enough business before Google and Microsoft’s offerings become popular choices. If and when that happens, Amazon wants to be as big a player as possible, so that the other companies don’t just run them over with crazy low prices.

 

Market Share

As of right now, the biggest cloud company (storage, infrastructure) is Amazon. Google has a huge infrastructure, but is mostly used by its own services. Microsoft also has the infrastructure, but isn’t as popular as AWS. The reality is that this price war is between Google, Amazon and Microsoft, with Rackspace in the wings competing in a different way.

Comparison of AWS market share  to other players in the cloud hosting business 

The big three keep lowering their server costs in order to draw developers towards their services. Amazon, with the biggest market share, has a head start on the other two, but that could change. Both Google and Microsoft can afford to go to the insane levels when it comes to low costs. Whether they will or not, or whether Amazon will try to beat them to it, still remains to be seen.

 

Benefiting the Customer, Hurting Competition

Do these companies mean to be in a price war? Who knows? They are very interested in gaining new customers, and lowering prices is a great way to do that. The customer benefits when one of these wars is going on because prices go down across the board. The giants who can continue to supplement the lower costs with more profitable ventures push out the smaller competition, which doesn't have a huge war chest of cash to rely on.

From a developer/consumer point of view, this war is a great thing. Cheaper services, means cheaper development costs, and cheaper applications... at least in the short term!

About Matt 

Blogger, writer, and coder. Matt loves writing about technology and sports. he also enjoys coding websites, designing logos, and working with people. He has been published all around the web including on such awesome sites like ProBlogger, SiteSketch101, and Entrepreneurs Unplugged. 

 

Lunarpages answers the phone when you call them!

 

How Web Hosting Terms of Service Affect You

Not many people actually read the Terms of Service agreements they agree to on a daily basis. Terms of Service agreements are everywhere. Almost every site you use has them, including software you use, music you listen to, and much more. Nobody reads all of those contracts. There have been several examples of companies who use their terms of service (ToS) agreements to get away with some pretty invasive practices. Of those companies, many of them are web hosting providers. Providers like HostGator and Synthesis have ToS agreements that have provisions that give you very little say in what can and cannot go on your web site, and give the provider a ton of rights to your content.

 

What’s Really Going On With ToS

One of the biggest examples of terms of service sections that might make your skin crawl is this section from Synthesis web hosting ( a division of CopyBlogger): 

You acknowledge, consent, and agree that Copyblogger Media may access, preserve and disclose your account information and Content if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such access preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with legal process; (b) enforce the TOS; (c) respond to claims that any Content violates the rights of third parties; (d) respond to your requests for customer service; or (e) protect the rights, property, or personal safety of Copyblogger Media, its principals, employees, associates, affiliates, users, and the public.

One of the biggest consumer betrayals is a terms of service agreement with a section that says that contact information as well as data you store on the web host’s servers can be accessed by the host and will be given freely to almost any “official” who asks for it... or anyone else they deem worthy!

In some ToS agreements, you’ll also find places where the host reserves the right to advertise on your site and cut you out of the profits, like this example from WordPress.com’s ToS:

Advertisements. Automattic reserves the right to display advertisements on your blog unless you have purchased an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Services account.

That one goes even farther by preventing you from putting ads on your own site. That means no making money from the content you post. Now, of course, the rational argument is that they reserve that right because the service is free, and they need to make money. On the other hand, the ads they place on your site might not fit in with the content, and will essentially appear that you are endorsing those products, when you probably won’t be.

Almost all ToS agreements also have sections that say they can take down any or all of your content in the event someone else claims that that content violates their copyright. This can be a notification from one of your enemies; it doesn’t have to come from a court. Your only recourse in most of these situations is to get a lawyer and go through the courts, which could get very expensive.

 

Buyer Beware..Your Only Defense

The only thing you can do is to read the Terms of Service agreements before you sign up for any service. It will be hard because many of these agreements range anywhere from 5000 to 20,000 words, and usually is written in legalese. But actually reading it, and knowing what you agree to can keep you from being surprised when something unseemly happens later on.

Unfortunately there will be times when you need to use a service that has less than stellar terms. In those situations, you should do your best to avoid the legal mines, and keep personal information clear of their servers. 

 

 

Routine maintenance leaves Bluehost, Hostgator and many others offline

What was intended to be routine maintenance at the Endurance International datacenter has turned into a web host’s nightmare. Most, if not all  of Endurance International Group’s (EIG) brands including HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost, and HostMonster have gone offline causing a major headache for countless numbers of their clients. Some other web hosting companies such as MacHighway are also affected.

HostGator is directing clients to a forum thread that tells clients very little on the system outage. 

 

Hostgator status updates on datacenter outage
 

 

HostJury will continue to update this post. Before jumping at one of those refugee coupons being offered by other web hosting companies, potential clients may want to check out their web hosting reviews. Nothing more frustrating than moving... twice!  

Update.. 

Services should virtually all be returning to normal. This upgrade clearly did not go as planned (we realize this is an understatement), and it truly should have been transparent and seamless. We realize that apologies do not properly compensate for unexpected issues like this, however we want to thank everyone that commented to us with understanding and positive messages while we worked to resolve this. Your understanding is appreciated. 

So why is everyone still 'angry'

Maybe it's the nameservers still not resolving, or it could be the company status pages saying there are no known issues.. possibly it's their own site has just gone back down: "The server at www.bluehost.com is taking too long to respond." 

@HostGator says its phone support is experiencing outages because of volume; it's no longer updating twitter.. Apparently, @hostgator has reached its "daily tweet limit".

Update 2: EIG has started a status blog for more information. 

 

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40% off web hosting plans at Domain.com, Dotster & MyDomain

Now through Saturday, August 31, 2013, customers save 40% on all new web hosting plans. This exclusive offer (valid at Domain.comDotster, and MyDomain) can be redeemed by entering coupon code 40HOSTING at check-out!

All web hosting plans are simple to use and incredibly powerful. Install WordPress and other popular open source applications with one click, or use our popular website builder to create a fresh, new site. Our customers love our web hosting!

click image to open link. If link doesn't open because you have a ad blocker installed..click desired company here mydomain -  DOMAIN.COM -  dotster

 

*Disclaimer: LIMITED TIME OFFER. 40HOSTING coupon and offer expires August 31, 3013, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. 40HOSTING coupon is good for 40% off new Web Hosting services. No minimum purchase required. All renewals on products and services after the initial discounted period will be charged at the then current standard list price for the selected period. Coupon is not valid with new domain registrations, domain renewals, domain transfers, premium domains, custom website design, other coupons, or special pricing.

 

The HJ Disclaimer

HostJury compiles discount web hosting coupons, vouchers, promotions, and other special offerings by various web hosting companies. As always we recommend that while price may be a consideration when choosing your web host, it should only be one of the many factored into your research. Page load speeds, additional features, good communication, and a fast knowledgeable support team will always top saving a few cents per day... And as always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any web hosting providers.

Web Hosts... Got a real summer promo you want posted... (no need bothering us with the 10% off type fluff) Email us the details feedback at HostJury.com

Recent developments are accelerating Limestone Network growth

Dallas-based on-demand dedicated server provider Limestone Networks is reporting that recent company developments are accelerating growth on several fronts. In May, Limestone Networks and a California bank agreed to terms that has provides Limestone Networks with a generous infusion of cash. The financing has produced marked improvements to inventory counts, assisted with infrastructure upgrades and helped fund a number of other endeavors.

 

Limestone Network Banner
 

 

The beta version of LSN Cloud is currently in testing, with the release of the full production version expected in Q4, 2013. This platform uses KVM virtualization, 100% SSD storage and all Dual Intel Xeon E5-2640 hypervisors. Rather uniquely, the storage solution for LSN Cloud is fully distributed and is not subject to the availability of any one SAN device.

Ryan Gelobter, IT Manager for Limestone Networks stated:

Everything in our cloud has been built around superior performance and redundancy, We have been working hard and I’m excited that our clients get to experience its performance and full-feature set.

LSN clients and resellers have also been requesting access to advanced means of protecting their dedicated servers from malicious attacks and Limestone Networks will soon release their enterprise DDoS mitigation. The system that LSN is implementing offers three levels of attack filtering, catching everything from large to small attacks. With respect to this solution, Kris Anderson, Director for Limestone Networks commented, “We want only success for our clients. Having the ability to seamlessly add enterprise-grade DDoS mitigation to their services with us will allow them to grow without worrying about attacks.”

Other recent accomplishments of note for Limestone Networks are:

  • Relocated corporate to larger, more exclusive office to accommodate for expansion.
  • Promoted company materials at local, national and international conferences.
  • Sponsored the Keynote Address for HostingCon 2013.
  • Participated in GlobalSign sponsored Case Study regarding effective SSL solutions.
  • Released new line of Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 V3 based dedicated servers.

In summary, through innovation, key agreements and partnerships, Limestone Networks has reinforced their position as the premier supplier of dedicated server hosting.

Clients of Limestone Network can provide their own assessment of how the company is proforming by writing a review of LSN services! 

Need Room To Grow? 3 Great Plans