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UK webhost Astutium completes acquisition of Cyberstrider

Tue, 26th November 2013, 23:06

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

Rob Golding, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for Astutium states

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Astutium

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

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

 

PHP hosting UK

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

Tue, 26th November 2013, 19:08

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

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

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

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

 

Certified Hosting

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

 

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

 

WP Engine

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

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

WP Engine cyberhostspecial13 Special Offer

 

A Small Orange

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

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

Use TREAT13 for all ASO add-on products

CHEER13 Hybrid Plan and Dedicated Server Plans

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

 

HJ Disclaimer

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

Coupons may also be found on review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. In the right column under the related blog post section. More coupons coming shortly!

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

GoDaddy Black Friday offers and more!

Tue, 26th November 2013, 19:08

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

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

 

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

 

HJ Disclaimer

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

Coupons may also be found on review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. In the right column under the related blog post section. More coupons coming shortly!

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

Inside Scoop on A2 Hosting's Black Friday Deal

Mon, 25th November 2013, 16:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

“BF52OFF” 

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

fast hosting

 

Mandatory HJ  Disclaimer

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

Coupons may also be found on review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. In the right column under the related blog post section. Coupons are continually added!

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

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

Fri, 22nd November 2013, 10:15

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

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

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

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

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

 

Screenshot of the Velocity Central Homepage

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up to 25 off MDD secure and reliable webhosting

Nominet announces dot UK domains start next year.

Wed, 20th November 2013, 16:18

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley states

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

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

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

More information on the decision is available here.

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Total Server Solutions acquires Front Range Hosting

Mon, 18th November 2013, 12:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary Simat, CEO at Total Server Solutions states;

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

 

About Total Server Solutions:

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

Web Hosting

Webhosting Churnalism Roundup for 11/15/13

Fri, 15th November 2013, 11:16

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

 

Cyber Host Pro

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

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

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

 

Easyspace

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

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

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

 

Dropbox

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

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

 

Fraction Host Announces Launch!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Shopify

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

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

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

 

GoDaddy

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

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

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

 

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

Did these bitcoin punters ever run a webhosting firm?

Wed, 13th November 2013, 13:04

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to writing the perfect webhosting review!

Tue, 5th November 2013, 14:52

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


1. Civility trumps hostility.


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

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

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


2. Be specific!

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Stay on target.


From a review on LunarPages:

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

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

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

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

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

Arvixe wordpress hosting

Endurance International Group goes public

Mon, 28th October 2013, 14:16

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

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

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

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

About Endurance International Group

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

Endurance International brands also include: 

Dreamhost banner

100% Uptime SLA? Wow That's Incredible

Mon, 21st October 2013, 17:19

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

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

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

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

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

 

ASA hears complaint against Rackspace 

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

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

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

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

 

Servers will go down

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

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

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

 

100 percent uptime… Guaranteed

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

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

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

 

The Lumous 100% Uptime Guarantee

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

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

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

 

Rackspace 100% Network Uptime Guarantee

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

Rackspace Guarantees: 

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

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

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

 

Codero Hosting

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

Codero SLA: 

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

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

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

 

DreamHost

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

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

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

 

iWeb

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

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

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

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

 

Atlantic.net

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

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

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

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

Specific to Atlantic.Net Cloud Server

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

Specific to Atlantic.Net Managed Hosting and Dedicated Servers

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

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

 

Liquid Web 

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

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

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

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

 

Superb Internet

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

Superb Transparent SLA Terms 

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

Conclusion

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

Blippex moves from cloud to terra firma

Wed, 16th October 2013, 12:06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blippex’s new servers require complete self-management.

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

A Codeship blog provided a thoughtful retort and different perspective:

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

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

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

Which is central to the next point.

 

Blippex, ostensibly, knows what they need and their business

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

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

 

Blippex is choosing cost optimization over freedom to expand

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

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

Momentously Weird News: Media Temple gets new Go-Daddy

Tue, 15th October 2013, 20:00

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

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

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving:

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

Media Temple co-Founder Demian Sellfors:

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

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

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

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

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

But there is no change...

30% off new products now at GoDaddy!

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

Wed, 9th October 2013, 16:33

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More About the Participants and Rochen

Christopher Adams - Founder & CEO


profile picture of Chris Adams

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

 

Ben Johnson

profile picture of Ben Johnson

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

 

Tom Canavan

 

The Company 

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

 

 

Dear John Letter for 8x8 Inc Dedicated Server Clients

Tue, 8th October 2013, 15:31

Dear John/Jane

Your face lit up when I finally told you that I love you last week. To be honest, I just said it to see if it felt right. It didn't. I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but there it is:

Cloud communications and computing solutions provider 8x8 Inc is announcing it has sold its dedicated server hosting business to The IRC Company  a.k.a. Black Lotus, for $3 million in cash. The dedicated server hosting business was acquired by 8x8 in May 2010, provided managed hosting services on dedicated servers to 288 customers and generated revenue of approximately $3.8 million since the acquistion.

8x8 CEO Vik Verma explained

Income from operations for the dedicated server hosting business was approximately $251,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 and approximately $823,000 in fiscal 2013. The sale of our dedicated server hosting business will allow 8x8 to sharpen its focus on the continued innovation and on our core, cloud-based business service offerings.

Jeffrey Lyon, Founder of Black Lotus says

It is with great pride and excitement that I announce Black Lotus has acquired the managed hosting division of 8×8, Inc. We are eager to get to know our new customers and look forward to serving your critical business needs. We’ll begin by reaching out to each customer to learn about your requirements and seek opportunities to improve quality of service.

With this acquisition, Black Lotus has gained two new points of presence at Santa Clara, CA and Ashburn, VA. It is our plan to continue operating these sites and to extend the Black Lotus network nationwide. In doing so we will bring best in breed network infrastructure, additional capacity, and optional distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack protection.

Additionally, we will grow our team, diversity of knowledge, and enhance our ability to serve you quickly and effectively. (editor's note... oh great.. on the job training)

Shawn Marck, Chief Technology Officer of Black Lotus added: 

Black Lotus is looking forward to working with our new clients in supporting their needs. Our culture is driven by exceeding expectations and delivering business solutions through technology. We now have three data centers in the United States; Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia.

The transaction was signed and closed on September 30, 2013. 8x8's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) cloud hosting business is not included in this transaction. Black Lotus clients can share their experiences with others by writing a review!

About 8x8, Inc.

8x8, Inc.  empowers business conversations for more than 33,000 businesses with cloud communications services that include hosted PBX telephony, unified communications, call center software and video conferencing solutions. The company has been delivering business communications services since 2004 and has garnered a reputation for technical excellence and outstanding reliability. In 2012, 8x8 was named a market "leader" in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in North America and was recognized as the No. 1 Provider of Hosted IP Telephony by Frost & Sullivan and Synergy Research Group.

About Black Lotus Communications

Black Lotus Communications is a California based security innovator which pioneered the first commercially viable DDoS mitigation solutions in 1999, weeks after the first known DDoS attacks. These advanced solutions enhance the security posture of SMB and Enterprise clients while reducing capital expenditures, managing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving earnings and retention. Breakthrough developments at Black Lotus include the world's first DDoS protected hosting network, the first IPv6 DDoS mitigation environment, and the first highly effective Layer 7 attack mitigation strategy.

 

 

LeaseWeb gets DNS Hijacked

Mon, 7th October 2013, 15:08

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

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

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

 

screenshot of the redirected leaseweb hompage after a DNS highjack
 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Hulk Hogan Jumps Into WebHosting Fray: Hostamania

Sat, 5th October 2013, 13:31

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

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

 

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

 


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

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

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

About

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

Owning a business is awesome…except when it isn’t. Let GoDaddy help with $1/mo Web hosting!

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

Thu, 3rd October 2013, 15:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About JavaPipe

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

 

 

eCommerce Horror Stories: When eCommerce Solutions Fail

Wed, 2nd October 2013, 14:48

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

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

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

 

screen shot of defunct izzonet eCommerce platform
 

 

Izzonet – What is it, and What happened?

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

Good Intentions and a Good Start Mean Little

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

What Customers Said About The End of Izzonet

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

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

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

And another:

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

So What Really Happened to Izzonet?

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

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

What Happens if This Happens to You?

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

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

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

 

Is Fraud Protection Software Something Your eCommerce Site Should Buy?

Tue, 1st October 2013, 11:20

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

What is Fraud Protection and What Does it Do?

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

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

What Services are Out There?

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

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

Is it Worth it?

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

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

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

Beware of Scams and Empty Promises

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

Ambiguous Definition of Unlimited WebHosting

Fri, 27th September 2013, 21:12

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Small Sampling 

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

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


Company

Bandwidth Transfer

Resource Usage

Diskspace, file or inode limits

Fused

Unlimited

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

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


Allocated preset plans.

Varies with package purchased.

SiteGround


Unlimited Traffic

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

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

Unlimited

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

LogicWeb

Unlimited

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

CPU: 25%

Memory: 1GB

25 Concurrent Connections

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

HostPapa

Unlimited

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

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

Unlimited

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

No Storage not directly related to the website.

Arvixe

Unlimited

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

usage.






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

account has access to two physical CPUs

Unlimited

There is no file or inode limitations that are set.


No Storage not directly related to the website.

WestHost

Basic plan has allocated monthly limits.

Very liberal allowances but amount varies with package purchased.


Larger packages do become unlimited.

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

Allocated preset plans.

Varies with package purchased.

Heart Internet

Unlimited

Websites that allow

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

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

Unlimited

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

No Storage not directly related to the website.

InMotion Hosting

Unlimited

Bandwidth is unmetered, with no restrictions.

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

Unlimited

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


No Storage not directly related to the website.

Doteasy

Unlimited

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

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

Unlimited

No Storage not directly related to the website.


GreenGeeks

Unlimited

No set limits on bandwidth

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

Unlimited

No set limits on disk space.

Dreamhost

Unlimited

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

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

Unlimited plus 50GB

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

GoDaddy

Unlimited

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

Allocated preset plans.

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

A2 Hosting

Unlimited

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

35 concurrent HTTP connections to the server.

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


Unlimited

Maximum of 300,000 inodes

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

HostGator

Unlimited

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

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

- Run any MySQL queries longer than 15 seconds.

- Run cron entries with intervals of less than 15 minutes

Unlimited

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

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

JaguarPC


Unlimited

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


Unlimited

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

IX Web Hosting

Unlimited

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

Unlimited

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

1&1 UK

Unlimited

 

Basic plans have allocated monthly limits.

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

Network Solutions

Unlimited

 

Basic plans have preset limits.

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

HostUpon

Unlimited

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

 

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

Unlimited

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

 

 

 

Nexcess Magento Hosting banner

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

Fri, 27th September 2013, 14:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About ServInt

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

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

 

AWS Monitoring, Understanding the Tools

Wed, 25th September 2013, 18:37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

CMS platforms. There's more than just Wordpress

Sat, 21st September 2013, 12:01

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

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

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

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

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

 

Drupal

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

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

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

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

 

Joomla

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

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

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

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

 

ExpressionEngine

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RadiantCMS

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

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

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

 

SageFrame

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

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

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

 

e107

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

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

 

MODX

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

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

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

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

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

 

XOOPS

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

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

 

TYPO3

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

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

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

 

Jahia

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

Hosted using French web host Online.net

 

eZ Publish Cloud

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

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

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

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

 

OpenCms

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

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

PHP-Fusion  

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

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

 

Bitweaver

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

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

Bitweaver Friendly Hosts

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

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

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

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

Bitweaver Unfriendly Hosts 

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

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

 

Elxis

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

Hosted on a server at Hetzner

 

CMS Made Simple

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

Hosting Partners are: 

CMS Made Simple is hosted on a Linode server

 

SilverStripe

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

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

Concluding... 

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

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

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