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CMS platforms. There's more than just Wordpress

Sat, 21st September 2013, 12:01

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

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

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

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

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

 

Drupal

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

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

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

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

 

Joomla

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

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

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

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

 

ExpressionEngine

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RadiantCMS

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

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

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

 

SageFrame

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

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

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

 

e107

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

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

 

MODX

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

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

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

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

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

 

XOOPS

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

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

 

TYPO3

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

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

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

 

Jahia

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

Hosted using French web host Online.net

 

eZ Publish Cloud

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

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

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

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

 

OpenCms

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

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

PHP-Fusion  

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

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

 

Bitweaver

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

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

Bitweaver Friendly Hosts

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

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

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

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

Bitweaver Unfriendly Hosts 

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

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

 

Elxis

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

Hosted on a server at Hetzner

 

CMS Made Simple

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

Hosting Partners are: 

CMS Made Simple is hosted on a Linode server

 

SilverStripe

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

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

Concluding... 

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

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

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

 

Are unmanaged servers putting your business at risk

Fri, 20th September 2013, 09:08

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

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

 

Internet Watch Foundation

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

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

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

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

The IWF says it works like this: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LeaseWeb USA acquires hosting provider Shore.net

Thu, 19th September 2013, 17:35

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

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

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

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

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

Closer look at Shore.Net

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

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

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

BurstNET Invests and Partners with Digiport in Miami

Thu, 19th September 2013, 14:24

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

Digiport’s Marc Billings states:

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Digiport

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

 

About BurstNET

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

Leading websites that enable IPv6 now at 12.3%

Wed, 18th September 2013, 17:31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed, 18th September 2013, 13:06

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

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

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

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

Okay whatever. Nirvanix isn’t a startup!

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

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

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

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

Box

Box banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal (Free)

1 User Free

Get 10GB secure storage

50MB file upload size

 

Starter

Shared workspace for your team or project

Min 1 - Max 10

100 GBh

        2 GB

$5/user/month

Business

Content collaboration and user management

Minimum 3

1000 GB

        5 GB

$15/user/month

Enterprise

Secure and scalable content and management

Customized

Unlimited

       5 GB

Call for Pricing

 

Carbonite

Protect your files with Carbonite Online Backup

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Home

1

Unlimited

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

$59.99/yr

Home Plus

External hard drive backup option, local backup image

1

Unlimited

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

$99.99/yr

Home Premier

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

 1

Unlimited

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

$149.99/yr

Business

Anywhere access, custom web-based dashboard for group use

Unlimited

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

None

$229.99/yr

Business Premier

Enhanced server backup options.

Unlimited

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

None

$599.99/yr

 

Egnyte

Online File Sharing! Share, Store and Back up File

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Office

5-24

1 TB

2.5GB

$8 per user per month (annual)

Business

25-100

2 TB

5GB

$15 per user per month (annual)

Business

Content collaboration and user management

Unlimited

3TB and up

10GB

Call for Pricing

 

Dropbox 

 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Free

1

2GB+ (500MB per referral)

None

Free

Pro

1

100, 200, 500GB

None

$9.99/19.99/49.99/mo

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

Business

Unlimited

1 TB

None

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

 

JustCloud

 

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

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Home

1

75GB

10GB

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

Premium

1

250GB

10GB

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

Unlimited

1

Unlimited  

10GB

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

Business 100GB       

4

100GB

10GB

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

Business 250GB

4

250GB

10GB

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

Business 500GB

4

500GB

10GB

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

 

MediaFire

MediaFire banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Basic

Short-term storage, CAPTCHA required for downloads

1

10-50GB

200MB

Free

Pro
Additional pricing for additional features

1

100GB+

10GB

$4.99/mo 

Premium

Additional pricing for additional features,

customizable domains and branding.

100+

1TB+

10GB

$49.99

 

RapidShare

RapidShare button 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Standard 100MB transfer per day

1

10GB

300MB

Free

Standard Plus 10GB transfer per day    

1

300GB         

2GB

$10.95/ mo                

Premium 40GB transfer per day

1

700GB

Unlimited

$21.91/mo

 

ShareFile

ShareFile button 

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

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Basic

2

5GB

5Gb

$29.95

Professional       

10

10GB

10Gb

$59.95

Corporate

20+

20GB

20GB

$99.95

Enterprise

Unlimited 

Customized storage size     

100GB

Customized pricing        

 

Hightail 

HighTail banner 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal (Free)    

1

2GB

50MB

Free

Professional

1

Unlimited

2GB

$15.99/mo

Teams

  2-100

  Unlimited           

10Gb

$24.99/mo

Enterprise

Unlimited     

Unlimited

Customized options    

Customized quote       

 

 

SugarSync 

Try SugarSync Free! 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Personal 60GB

1

60GB

Unlimited

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

Personal 100GB

1

100GB

Unlimited

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

Personal 250GB

1

 250GB

Unlimited

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

Business

3-10

1TB

Unlimited

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

 

MegaCloud

MegaCloud button 

Plan Type

Users

Storage

Upload Limits

Price

Free                      

1                      

8GB                   

None                               

Free                                 

100GB

1

100GB

None

$9.99

200GB

1

200GB

None

$19.99

 

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

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

Tue, 17th September 2013, 15:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SoftCom & MyHosting have new owner

Fri, 13th September 2013, 17:44

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

Alain Monie, Ingram Micro president and CEO. says:

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

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

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

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

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Web host AIT uses misleading info to sell its business plan

Fri, 13th September 2013, 00:57

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

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

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

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

 

Fraud or Reasonable Limits

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

When reasonable limits become deceptive

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

 

AIT - Advanced Internet Technologies

Screenshot of AIT web hosting plans 

Quoting from the AIT Terms of Service:

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

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

Some Final thoughts on AIT Plans 

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

Hostway Global Internet Solutions

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

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

Hostway Web Hosting & Ecommerce Customer Restrictions

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

Server Resources

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

Last Modified—April 29, 2013

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

 

Final thought 

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

 

 

 

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

Wed, 11th September 2013, 14:54

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

 

First, The Good Part

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

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

 

Touting Built in Features as Extravagant Extras

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

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

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

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

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

 

Words Are Cheap… 

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

A Christian Web Host?

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

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

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

 

…Their Prices Are Not 

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

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

 

What To Look For In Reasonable Alternatives 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion 

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

Have comments? Talk back in the comment section below!

HostJury Deadpool- End of Summer Edition

Tue, 10th September 2013, 14:06

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

 

image of vultures waiting in a tree

 

 

BravoHost.net

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

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

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

 

BravoHosting.net

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

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

URGENT ACTION required by all our clients

Published August 24, 2013 | By bhnadmin

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

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

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

Welcome to Bravo Hosting

Published May 20, 2013 | By bhnadmin

We offer world class hosting from a totally secure server environment

Nevermind, you guys are probably screwed.

 

FatNetwork.net

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

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

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

 

EggYak.com

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

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

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

 

DripHost.com 

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

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

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

 

Axigy.com 

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

screenshot of  Axigy website 2011
 

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

 

screenshot of the Axigy website in 2012
 

 

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

screenshot of axigy website in 2013
 

 

 

HostBro 

One of the last tweets from HostBro:

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

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

 

Kloudserve Technologies 

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

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

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

 

Lifelesspeople 

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

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

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

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

 

MagmaHost.com 

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

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

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

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

PHP hosting UK

Endurance International Group files for $400 million dollar IPO

Mon, 9th September 2013, 23:55

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Web Hosting

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

Mon, 9th September 2013, 16:47

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

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

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

 

Filesharing Services

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

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

 

Consumer Hosting

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

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

Of course, there’s always the big leagues.

 

Corporate Hosting

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

 

The bottom line

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

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

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

 

The short list of file sharing companies

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

 

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

Getting DDoS'd. Now what.

Mon, 9th September 2013, 13:12

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to protect yourself from a DDOS attack?

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

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

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

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

Web Hosting

To build or not to build a scalable architecture?

Sun, 8th September 2013, 12:55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Web Hosting Consolidation Continues. RedStation Acquired

Sat, 7th September 2013, 12:46

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

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

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, said:

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

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

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

Martin Groom, Managing Director of Redstation adds:

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

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

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

Servage Coupon Codes! 30% OFF Web Hosting!

Fri, 6th September 2013, 17:22

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

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

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


HostMySite Announces New eCommerce Plan

Fri, 6th September 2013, 16:08

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

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

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

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

 

About HostMySite

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

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

 

The Obligatory Disclaimer 

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

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Negative SEO. Is your website vulnerable?

Fri, 6th September 2013, 10:05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most common negative SEO tactics are as follows: 

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

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

About the Author

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

DailyRazor

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

Fri, 6th September 2013, 00:50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

Al Barrus

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

 

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OpenDyslexic – A Font For Sore Eyes

Tue, 3rd September 2013, 16:26

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

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

example of opendyslexic font 

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

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

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

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

Web Hosting

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

Fri, 30th August 2013, 22:15

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

What is VPS Hosting?

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

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

You can think of hosting servers like a swimming pool.

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

 

#1 Know Why You Need a VPS

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

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

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

#2 Know What You Don’t Know

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

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

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

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

#3 Know Your Responsibilities

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

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

#4 Know Your Budget and Resource Needs

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

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

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

#5 Know Your Web Host

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Sat, 24th August 2013, 16:03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JOHN LENNON TOOTH. An extremely odd journey.

Wed, 21st August 2013, 21:28

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

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

 

Cloning a Beatle
 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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