Friday, 31 August 2018

File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Web Hosting, Hosting Reviews, Hosting Guides

Introduction


In current times if you want to transfer a file to a friend, you can just attach it in an email and send it off. With high speed bandwidth being so cheap and plentiful to the home user, transferring a file in this manner is usually more than adequate. What if you needed to transfer the file to someone immediately; there could be no delays, it has to be fast, and the files you are transferring may be very large. In a scenario like this, email will most likely not be adequate. This is because most email providers limit the size of your mailbox on their servers, the size of attachments you may receive, and that there is no guarantee when you send email how long it will take for the recipient to receive it or if it will even get there. This is where FTP comes in.

What is FTP


FTP stands for the File transfer protocol and is used to transfer files between an FTP server and another computer. In the past, FTP was much more common than it is today and was the dominant file transfer mechanism on the Internet. If you needed to transfer files between two computers, you would use FTP to do so. FTP is still very popular today when a service requires that a lot of files be hosted for other to people to download. FTP also tends to be faster than other contemporary methods of transferring files because it was designed to do so.

Even more important, FTP support Automatic Resume. This means that if you are downloading the latest new game demo that is over 600 megs, and for some reason the download stops in the middle of the transfer, the ftp client will attempt to on the next download of the same file, to continue from where you left off. This feature can save you a huge amount of time but is generally only found in specialized FTP client software and not in your browser software.

How to Connect to an FTP Server


There are two approaches to allowing users to connect to an FTP Server. The first is to make it so anyone can log in anonymously, otherwise known as anonymous FTP, or you can assign user names and passwords to people that they must use to log in to the server.

The two most common ways to connect to an FTP server is with your Web Browser or with a FTP client such as FileZilla. To connect to a FTP server with your browser you would prefix the hostname you are connecting to with the ftp:// protocol statement. For example, ftp://www.want2host.com. It would then try to connect anonymously. If the server you are trying to connect to requires a username and password, you can do so in the following format:

ftp://username:password@ftp.somedomain.com

It is recommended when you do connect with a username and a password that you do not put the password in as well, otherwise it will show up in your browser's history. Instead do this:

ftp://username@ftp.somedomain.com

This way your browser will prompt you for a password and you do not have to worry about it being stored in your history list, which can potentially be a security risk.

The other method is to use a FTP client that is designed specifically to connect to FTP servers. These types of software are generally the best as they have been streamlined for speed and support a lot of the advanced features like automatic resume. You should browse through the list of FTP Clients and find one you like.

How to Transfer Files


Whether you are connected to an FTP server via your web browser or an FTP client, you will be presented with a list of folders and documents that have files you can download to your computer. If you are using a web browser, you will click on the file you would like to download and it will prompt you to save it or open it. Unless you really know what it is you are downloading, you should save it to a directory that you will know how to find later, and open it from there.

If you are using an FTP Client, you will be presented a list of the files that you can download. You should first specify where you would like downloads to save to, and then you can double click on the file to start the download. When you are done downloading, you can shut the FTP client and open the file from where it was stored.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Cloud hosting services provide hosting for websites on virtual servers. These servers pull their computing resources from an extensive underlying network of physical web servers.

Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting Guides, Web Hosting, Hosting Reviews

On principle, cloud hosting can be compared to traditional utilities like gas and electricity as it follows a utility model of computing where it is available as a service rather than a product. Clients can, therefore, tap into the services as much as they need. This, however, depends on their websites’ demand, but they are only allowed to pay for the resources they use.

Cloud hosting exists as an alternative of hosting websites on single servers which can either be shared or dedicated servers. It can also be considered as an extension of the concept of clustered hosting, which requires websites to be hosted on multiple servers.

The network of servers used in cloud hosting is vast and comprises of servers pulled from different data centers which are located in various locations.

While many in the IT industry agree that cloud hosting is the future of web infrastructure, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud hosting.

Advantages

Flexibility


Cloud hosting is best for businesses with changing bandwidth demands. With cloud hosting, you can easily scale up your usage as your needs increase and cut back again when the demand reduces. This level of flexibility can give businesses using cloud hosting a very big advantage over their competitors.

Cost efficient


Cloud hosting reduces the high costs of owning the infrastructure to host your website. You are only required to pay for the resources you use, and therefore you don’t waste money on unwanted resources. Additionally, its setup and management are very easy.

Automatic access to the latest technology


Most cloud hosting providers usually focus on a particular area of expertise, and this means that they can always access the most recent technology in their industry. This allows you to enjoy the latest technologies without even incurring any additional costs.

Cloud hosting allows you to benefit from the latest developments in software and hardware, and these are usually managed by a team of experienced engineers.

Additionally, cloud hosting service providers ensure that your system is always updated by continuously installing software updates and security patches.

Disadvantages

Vulnerability to cyber-attacks


With cloud hosting, you can be access almost everything from the internet. Actually, anything with an internet connection is not secured, and even the biggest organizations can suffer severe attacks and security breaches.

Possible downtime


This is one the worst disadvantages of cloud hosting. No cloud hosting service provider, even the well-known, can avoid this. Cloud hosting relies on a network of servers which entirely depend on the internet to function. This means that if there is any challenge with the internet connections, users will have problems in accessing this service.

Speed


Cloud servers are usually accessed over the internet, and the speed of your connection to the internet determines the speed of your connection to the server. Access to your own servers is controlled by the cloud hosting service provider.

This cannot be a problem so long as you have a reliable and fast internet connection. However, slow internet connections usually lead to low speed, and this can make you become very frustrated with the cloud-hosted server.

Hosting plan becoming more expensive than expected


Cloud hosting is very cost efficient. However, at times it has some hidden costs which come into light when the deal has already been closed. This means that users are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to cater for these expenses. This, in turn, makes the hosting plan more expensive than expected.

Problems not being solved quickly


Hosting your website in the cloud makes everything to run smoothly, and this means that your cloud hosting service providers are very efficient. However, cloud hosting doesn’t mean that your problems will always be solved. At times you can still experience the challenges, you had before adopting the cloud and this can cost your business dearly.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Cloud Hosting, Hosting Guides, Hosting Learning, Web Hosting

There are some common misconceptions about the distinction between cloud-based and cloud-hosted applications, particularly when it comes to PPM software. Many people confuse these two terms or use them synonymously – which is inaccurate. When thinking about the business impact of an application and the long term effects of going with one model over the other, it is important to understand the difference and base the decision on business needs.

Let’s first start by defining cloud-based (native) and cloud-hosted.

Cloud-based (native):


Cloud-based or cloud-native applications are designed and deployed specifically for cloud environments. These applications are hosted in a true cloud infrastructure (like Amazon Web Services) and delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) nature. They are designed to take advantage of the promises of cloud computing:

◈ Implementation times are much shorter as no additional hardware or software installation is required – customer access occurs almost “instantaneously” without delays

◈ Shared code base enables quicker, faster upgrades (all customers are upgraded at once since it is single instance / multi-tenant with a single upgrade event from the vendor)

◈ Seamless, dynamic expansion of computing resources to scale with usage and/or users

Cloud-hosted:


A cloud-hosted environment is generally the “on-premise” software hosted on dedicated server(s) managed by the vendor on behalf of the customer. These are effectively on-premise applications that are available remotely. Contrary to cloud-based applications, cloud-hosted applications are generally not designed to be hosted as multi-tenant instances and can come with several challenges:

◈ Initial implementation times are longer due to server setup, software installation, and customization

◈ Upgrades are manual and specific to each server (not all customers are upgraded simultaneously), causing customers to be “stuck” or “locked-in” to older versions of the product while they wait for the vendor

◈ Expansion may require the purchase and setup of additional hardware (servers) because software is hosted on dedicated servers by the vendor

While on the surface cloud-based and cloud-hosted might sound similar, they are very different.  Cloud-hosted models do not offer the full advantages of cloud computing.

Why Cloud-based?


Cloud-based has a shared instance hosted in the cloud with multiple tenants. This is why research firms, like Gartner, have broken their research into cloud-based and cloud-hosted to distinguish the different deployment methods. You can access the Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services” report to see those vendors that are specifically cloud-native.

Innotas is and always has been 100% cloud-based. We believe this model enables us to better serve our customers and provides more long-term returns on investment (ROI). One of our core differentiators is our ability to get our organizations up and running in 90 days – demonstrating quick time to value, of which would not be possible if our deployment was on-premise or hybrid. Additionally, this approach extends reach and increases adoption through mobile accessibility and cross browser compatibility – without software installation.

Are There Security Concerns?


Historically, companies have worried about security concerns by storing all their data in the cloud. At Innotas, we take security very seriously, both within the system and against external threats through authentication, authorization and network security layers. Our production services are hosted within Amazon AWS data centers and infrastructure, which utilize the highest electronic surveillance and multi-factor access control systems monitored 24×7 by security guards. You can find a list of all the security measures put in place by AWS cloud infrastructure in the AWS Security docket.

Some researchers argue that cloud-based deployment is actually more secure than on-premise because network providers spend much more time to put security measures in place than organizations can do themselves. The author further proves the point by noting that there are fewer data access points in cloud-based applications and they can be locked down much easier, while many of the security threats that have been infamous as of late came from internal attacks.

In the end, we always recommend deciding cloud-based or on-premise first. Once you have decided which deployment method is better for your business, then you can determine a vendor fit. But trying to research vendors before you know your preferred model can be overwhelming. The best way to see which deployment model is best, focus on your organizational goals. If deployment time, accessibility or setup costs are a factor for you, then a cloud-based solution is the right fit.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Dedicated Server, WordPress Hosting, Web Hosting Guides, Web Hosting Tips

Choosing the best dedicated server for WordPress is essential for your business. It doesn’t need to be daunting task. We’ve compiled a great list of frequently asked questions to make this an easier decision.

What Is a Dedicated Server?


A dedicated server is one that is totally assigned to your software and website. This means that the server resources—including its memory and computational power—belong to you. It also means that any problems your server has can be diagnosed and repaired immediately. With a dedicated server, all power and control are in your hands.

What Is a Shared Server?


A shared server is an inexpensive option which comes with trade-offs. You share space and resources with other customers using that server. This means that if your website or other websites on the server see a sudden spike in popularity and traffic, it could overwhelm the server and bring down your website during a peak time. One popular post or event can be enough to upset the balance of a shared server. In addition, you share security with other members on that server. If another user’s site gets attacked, your site may also be vulnerable.

Shouldn’t I Host My Site Where I Bought the Domain Name?


You may see hosting plans advertised by the same company where you bought your domain name, but it’s absolutely not a requirement to stick with them for your hosting. In fact, it’s common practice to buy a domain name from one company (the “domain registrar”) and buy hosting from another. Your domain name is yours; where you park it is up to you.

What Should I Look for to Find the Best Dedicated Server for WordPress?


Here are some tips to help you find the right option.

Support

You want a server that offers WordPress-specific support, automatic backups, 24/7 access, and timely turnaround for any support tickets.

Ease of Use

It should be easy to build your site and customize it the way you need to. Transitions for those leaving their former hosting providers should be easy, as well. A great dedicated server provider will offer free migration services.

Storage

You want a server that can accommodate your needs in both bandwidth and SSD storage. It should also scale to fit your needs. Look for solutions that can make upgrade transitions easy and painless. You’ll want one that won’t charge setup fees for upgrades and can take place within one business day.

SSL Certification

SSL Certification is necessary for any website that is monetized through e-commerce. Your dedicated server company should have SSL Certification solutions to meet your needs.

Speed

The speed and performance of your website affects its search engine rankings. Slow loading pages, image upload delays, frozen animations, and more can cause visitors to immediately click away.

Security

A dedicated server adds an additional layer of security for your site. This protects your customers’ information, financial information, and user experience.

Backups

You want a provider that will backup your site’s content on a regular basis. This prevents catastrophic failures—such as complete loss of content, customer information, and more.

Uptime Guarantees

If your site is down, your business suffers. Downtime can shake the confidence of your customers and your reputation will suffer. You want a server that can guarantee 100% uptime for their clients.

A dedicated server for WordPress has many benefits for your website and your business. Your website deserves to be handled with care and consideration. Your company and your online reputation rely on your server being secure and reliable.

The power is now in your court to select the best dedicated server for WordPress meets your needs. Our custom solutions are built to fit your budget and performance requirements.

Monday, 20 August 2018

In order to have a functioning website, you’re going to need some kind of web hosting. The hosting you choose will depend on your unique needs as a website owner. You’re probably wondering what style of hosting is right for you and have been considering cloud hosting vs. web hosting.

Cloud Hosting, Web Hosting, Hosting Learning, Hosting Guides

The goal of this post is to clear up the confusion between these two types of hosting. Below we look at the differences between cloud hosting and web hosting, so you can decide what style of hosting is going to be best for your website.

What Is Web Hosting?


Web hosting is a more general term that refers to where and how you’ll host your website’s files. Essentially, your web host is where all of your website’s files will be stored. At the core, your website is a bundle of files that are sitting on a host somewhere. When a user types in your domain name the browser downloads those files from your web host and displays them.

With standard web hosting, you’ll be storing your site’s files on a single server. The type of server environment you choose will depend upon the size of your website, how much traffic you receive, and your level of technical expertise.

The most common types of hosting you’ll come across are:

◈ Shared: This is the most popular style of hosting and also the cheapest. With shared hosting, a single server is partitioned and you’re renting a slice of that server along with dozens or hundreds of other sites. Shared hosting is best suited for beginners who want to get their first sites online as fast as possible.

◈ Dedicated: With this style of hosting you have an entire server allotted to your website. This gives you complete control over your server environment along with great performance. However, dedicated hosting is much more expensive and will require some technical knowledge to setup and maintain properly.

◈ VPS: With a VPS server, you’re still utilizing a shared server environment, but you’re running a virtualized server on top of it. You’ll have an allotted amount of space, CPU usage, memory and more, which can lead to improved loading times and site performance. VPS is a great step up from a shared hosting environment.

◈ Managed: With managed hosting, you get access to a higher performing server that’s managed and optimized for you. Typically, it’ll be optimized for a certain type of website, like WordPress managed hosting. Managed hosting can be more expensive, but you’re essentially letting a team of experts to run and manage your server for you.

The final type of hosting you’ll come across in your search is cloud hosting, which we’ll get into below.  As you’ll soon learn cloud hosting is an entirely different type of hosting that blends both shared and dedicated hosting together.

What Is Cloud Hosting?


With cloud hosting, you aren’t renting space on a single physical server. Essentially, all of your server hardware is virtual. It’s a fairly new style of hosting that’s been growing in popularity in recent years.

Cloud hosting offers you unlimited resource expansion, which is great to have if you have a fast-growing site. Your site will also be shielded from malfunctioning servers, as your site can be switched to another server if it’s underperforming.

Cloud hosting rocks for a few different reasons:

◈ The pricing is flexible and you only pay for what you use. So, if you’re having a very high traffic month you can quickly scale up your resources. Then, if traffic drops again you just scale your needs down again. With cloud hosting, you’re never stuck paying for server resources you don’t use.

◈ It’s super scalable. If your site’s traffic is up and down, then you need a host that can work with you. If a shared host won’t cut it, but a dedicated or managed host provides too high of server resources, then cloud hosting can be the right fit for your needs.

◈ It has incredible uptime and performance. If you’re experiencing issues causing sluggish performance and loading speeds, then your site will just be switched to a higher performing server.

How to Choose the Best Hosting Option for Your Needs


With all of the hosting types available it can be difficult to make the right decision. When you’re trying to decide between cloud vs. web hosting, think about what kind of things you’ll want from your host.

For example, if you’re a complete beginner who wants their site online as fast as possible, then shared hosting could work for you. But, if you have a very high traffic website and you don’t want to think twice about managing your own server, then consider a managed host.

But, if you want something more flexible that’s cost-effective and can grow with your site, then cloud hosting is an option worth considering.

Friday, 17 August 2018

It is recommended that all businesses have a web presence; and for you to have that, you need to have your own web page up and running. It is acceptable and in the norm to have a Facebook page but at some point, you still need your own page to have creative freedom and to facilitate online shopping.

Shared Hosting, Free Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, VPS Hosting

You will come across different web page requirements, such as getting a team to design the site itself, coordinating with billing gateways and testing the security of the site. All of these will be moot if you do not have a reliable and dependable web hosting service.

Shared Web Hosting


What is Shared Web Hosting?

This type of web hosting service means that your site, where your information is stored and where your applications are running, SHARE resources with other clients. Think of it as your apartment units housed in the same building.

You take up your own designated space in the server and perform your duties within that confined space. Want2Host is a popular shared hosting platform and they provide a training series as well.

As the name suggests, you will be sharing the bandwidth, Internet connection and memory of the host machine with other fellow customers.

Choose Shared Hosting if you…

◈ Prefer to start small since shared hosting services are the cheapest type of web hosting service you can see in the market today.

◈ Are not picky about sharing resources with other customers

◈ Do not know how to set up your own server and need a host ASAP

Disadvantages of Shared Hosting

◈ Does not give you control on what you can run (what operating system) on your server.

◈ Your site MAY suffer the consequences of sharing the resources with other customers and may lead to performance issues.

◈ May not give you the most dependable and stable server performance since it is dependent on so many transactions within the server.

Dedicated Web Hosting


What is Dedicated Web Hosting?

This type of web hosting, as the name suggests, means that you are NOT sharing the server with any other customer. You have that machine to your own disposal. You are the lone occupant. Think of it as a free standing house in a village. You have the freedom to install whatever you want and you can access the root of the server.

There are dedicated servers that are unmanaged (you are in full control of everything that happens in it, no tech support is on call for you) and there are the managed ones (someone does the set up and tweaks for you).

Choose Dedicated Hosting if you…

◈ Prefer being in 100% control of the content and the applications within the server.

◈ Know how to set up, maintain and develop additional applications in your server, for example, a load balancer.

◈ Do not want to compromise the performance of the site by sharing it with multiple other sites.

Disadvantages of Dedicated Hosting

◈ Expensive! Since you are occupying and maintaining the server on your own, there’s no one else to split the maintenance cost with. Think of spending around $200 per month for this type of hosting package.

◈ High maintenance especially for those getting the unmanaged type of hosting machines.

Cloud Hosting


What is Cloud Hosting?

A new type of hosting package is called Cloud Hosting. This means that you don’t have one specific machine to act as your server. Your site is hosted across several other machines that have a load balancer shared between them. This means that in the event that one of the host machines goes down, the load is redistributed to other available machines.

Why choose Cloud Hosting?

◈ Pay only for the resources that you use and occupy – no flat fee whether you use the service or not (compared to dedicated hosting packages)

◈ Can be expensive or can be relatively cheaper than dedicated hosting packages

◈ Perfect for colocation requirements

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

◈ Can be sensitive to security issues since your data is constantly moving from one server to the other.

◈ May not give you as much control as you want in a dedicated server set up since you have to consider the minimum requirement across all servers sharing the load.

VPS Hosting


What is VPS Hosting?

Virtual Private Server or sometimes called Virtual Dedicated Servers are somewhere in between cloud hosting, dedicated servers and shared servers. In a VPS setup, you can lessen the expenses of running a dedicated server since you are still using one server but can compartmentalize it to act as multiple shared hosting servers.

You can set up with your own preferred operating system and can individually restart the compartments once you’ve set them up.

Why choose VPS Hosting?

◈ Perfect for those who can manage their sites independently

◈ More cost effective than cloud hosting and dedicated server set ups

◈ Allows you to be more in control of the allocation of resources

Disadvantages of VPS Hosting

◈ Can still be more costly especially compared to shared hosting packages

◈ Can be high maintenance and requires well-trained staff to maintain the set up.

It all depends on what you can maintain, what you can afford and what your site really needs. It is best to spend on reliable servers if your site requires on-time updates and billing. If you require extra security and will be handling sensitive information, then by all means spend on the more robust solution for your product.

Monday, 13 August 2018

As one of the most popular programming languages in the world, Java is capable of some pretty amazing things. Your favorite Android apps, online desktop games like Minecraft, and hundreds of thousands of e-commerce applications are all built with Java code. But none of these Java apps would be possible without some form of Java hosting.

Java Servlet Hosting, Java Apps, Web Hosting, Hosting Guides, Hosting Learning

Java hosting depends on a combination of different Java programs working together to transfer data between a server and a client. One of these essential programs is a server-side technology called a Java servlet. How do you host your app using servlets, and how can Java servlet hosting improve the way that users view and interact with your Java app?

What is a Java Servlet?


A Java servlet is a smaller program within a server (think as piglet is to pig, servlet is to server) that extends its capabilities and responds to requests from a web browser in order to generate dynamic web content.

Java servlets are the Java-equivalent of PHP and ASP.NET technologies. But while they perform the same basic server-side functions, only servlets are compatible with the Java programming language.

There are two main types of Java servlets – generic servlets (sometimes referred to as basic servlets) and HTTP servlets. Generic servlets are independent of any specific protocol, while HTTP servlets are specific to a particular HTTP protocol. Today, generic servlets are rare – you’ll primarily be using HTTP servlets to host your Java app.

How do Java Servlets Work?


Servlets are like the middleman between the client and the host server. When you or another user want to use the Java application you’ve built and hosted on the web, a request is sent from the client’s browser to the hosting server. A Java servlet translates the request so that it can be executed and then sent back to the client.

The Benefits of Using Java Servlets


Now that you know what Java servlets are and how they work, how can using them benefit your Java app? What makes Java servlets better for your business than other dynamic server-side programs like Common Gateway Interface (CGI)?

◈ Performance: Your Java app will run faster with the help of Java servlets because they’re able to process multiple requests simultaneously, while CGI can only handle one request at a time.

◈ Portability: Because Java servlets are written entirely in Java code, they’re entirely platform independent. That means that it’s easy to switch between operating systems without having to change a thing, saving you a considerable amount of time and frustration.

◈ Security: Because Java servlets are a server-side technology, they inherit the protections of the host server. While this depends largely on the hosting provider that you choose, it’s still far more secure than anything client-side.

What is a Java Servlet Container?


Java servlets are just one of the many programs that make up a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and they can’t be deployed without the help of a Java servlet container.

A Java servlet container is a program responsible for the creation, execution, and destruction of Java servlets. The container provides an environment for servlets to run in and interacts with them to handle user requests.

Apache Tomcat is easily the most popular servlet container used by developers to host Java applications. Since its initial release in 1999, the free open-source program has been downloaded more than 10 million times, and remains a Java hosting staple to this day.

Some of the key benefits of using Apache Tomcat to host servlets are:

◈ Reliability: Because it’s open-source, Tomcat is constantly being tweaked and perfected by developers. More than a decade of these performance updates has made Tomcat the most reliable web container available.
◈ Lightweight: Tomcat is an incredibly lightweight application, meaning it takes up less server memory and runs quickly.

The Life Cycle of a Java Servlet


Java servlets and web containers like Apache Tomcat work together to respond to a web browser’s request to view dynamic Java content like your application. The basic life cycle of a Java servlet is as follows:

1. A request is sent from the client web browser and received by the Java web container.
2. The server loads the proper servlet class.
3. The servlet instance is created by the web container.
4. The servlet is initialized by the web container using the init() method. Servlets only need to be initialized once.
5. Once initialized, the service() method is invoked by the web container. The service() method is invoked each time the servlet is requested – if a servlet has already been loaded, instanced, and initialized, this becomes the new first step.
6. When the servlet is no longer needed, it’s removed by the web container using the destroy() method.

So why does knowing any of this matter?

Understanding how these Java programs work is important when it comes to choosing the best Java servlet hosting provider. Knowing more about the technology behind your Java app can give you a clearer idea of the quality of different hosting services and save you from falling victim to scams and false promises.

How to Find Java Servlet Hosting For Your Java App


Now that you know how Java servlets and web containers work, how do you find a good hosting service that supports Java servlet hosting? As you’ve just learned, Java hosting is a fairly complex process compared to traditional hosting, so finding a Java hosting provider that meets even the basic requirements can be tricky.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Managed hosting is an IT provisioning model in which a service provider leases dedicated servers and associated hardware to a single customer and manages those systems on the customer's behalf.

Managed Hosting, Dedicated Server Hosting, Web Hosting, Hosting Learning

Dedicated hosting is an Internet hosting option in which an organization leases an entire server, which is often housed in a data center. The host not only provides the server equipment, but may also provide administration and other services. This is considered a more flexible arrangement for the client because unlike in shared server arrangements, it gives the organization total control over the server, its software and security systems. In some cases, a dedicated server can be less expensive.

Dedicated hosting is also known as a dedicated server or managed hosting service.

Looking for a hosting plan? In your search, you may be made to choose between sharing a server’s resources versus renting an entire server to host your website. If you believe that your website will consume more resources than what a typical shared hosting environment can provide, then you need to get dedicated server hosting. Once you have gone beyond this point in your hunt, the question that you will now need to answer is whether you will just stick to the traditional unmanaged dedicated hosting or will you have the web hosting service provider take care of your account for you.

What management entails


Those who have their websites hosted in a shared server may never come across the term “management” ever. It only covers hosting types like VPS, semi-dedicated, dedicated server, or cloud hosting. With shared hosting, it is a given that the host is in charge of managing the server. For this particular article, the focus will be on managed or unmanaged dedicated hosting. With managed hosting, it is as if you have an entire team of technical support personnel on call to address each and every issue that you have regarding your hosting. Because of the significant price difference, this becomes the basis for deciding which kind of dedicated hosting to get. Unfortunately, as many find out, a decision based solely on price can result to more expenses in the future.

The difference between the two


Because you are getting dedicated hosting either way, the features you will get are similar. Basically, you get a whole server, and the corresponding resources, for hosting your website, or websites if you plan on building many. The main differences between managed and unmanaged hosting are:

◈ Other than coding assistance, every other aspect of your hosting gets covered by the web host in a managed hosting plan. This means all the tasks, whether routine or emergency, related to the operating and maintenance of the server, control panel, operating system, down to the applications needed, are all managed by the host. Even monitoring and automated backup will be done for you.

◈ As for unmanaged hosting, you will be left on your own devices. Other than the regular customer assistance, no other routine support will be extended to you by the service provider. If you want to upgrade or install anything, you will have to do it by yourself. The server is “virtually” yours to control and maintain. With this type of dedicated hosting, even the server software and the control panel won’t be provided.

Weighing the pros and cons of unmanaged and managed server hosting


Looking at the differences above, one would think, “Why even consider getting unmanaged hosting?” It sounds so tedious and complicated. But, there are some web developers who require absolute control over their machine in order to work. Plus, it is cheaper by a huge margin. So if you need the freedom and are well versed in server maintenance and operation, then unmanaged hosting may be perfect for you. On the flip side, if you are unable to even install a simple control panel or struggle to choose the right tools for developing your website, then you may have to shoulder the extra expense and get managed hosting. This takes less time and expertise.

Which option is right?


There is no cut-and-dried formula for selecting the type of dedicated server hosting. There are, however, questions that can lead you to the answer.

1. Can your company afford any downtime should a software problem occur?

2. Is your web developer capable of using security patches?

3. Do you absolutely require unfettered access?

If the answer is yes, then you should opt for unmanaged hosting. The amount you will save will go a long way in improving your website. If you still cannot decide between the two, or need the assistance but cannot afford managed hosting, there are hosting service providers that offer hybrid solutions.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The domain name industry is extremely active and competitive, which makes it no surprise that so many people are becoming involved in buying and selling domain names on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation online concerning the value and selling process of domain names.

Buying and Selling Domain Names, Web Hosting, Hosting Guides

If you're interested in profiting from one of the fastest growing industries in the world, then it's important to have the facts on domaineering. 

Types of Domain Speculation


Domain speculation is the art of judging the value of buying and selling domain names. For many individuals and businesses, this practice has become a full-time profitable job.

There are currently two main types of domain speculators: those that buy domains, build sites around them, and then flip the domain and accompanying website, and then there are those that buy and sell domain names without web sites attached. While both can be very lucrative businesses, the second type is much easier for novices to learn, and as such, shall be the topic of discussion for this article.

How to Obtain Valuable Domain Names


Buying a domain name is simple, however, finding one that will actually yield a profit is much more difficult. There are a myriad of factors that determine the value of a domain name, but the major factors are memorability and keyword/SEO optimization.

One of the best ways to obtain a valuable domain that is already search engine optimized is to purchase existing domains via auction sites.  This strategy can be beneficial mainly in two ways.  Firstly, any domain that has already been purchased was probably already researched for potential benefits.  Secondly and more importantly, the second benefit is that many recently expired domains still retain some of the search engine optimization attributes that were built up by the previous owner. For example, a recently expired domain name may still have active backlinks on the web, and the page rank of the domain could still be high, giving the purchaser instant SEO gratification with minimal effort.

Using keyword research tools is another great way to find out which domains could prove to be valuable, as many webmasters use such tools when deciding which domains to buy. If you can obtain a domain name that contains a popular keyword, then you can easily find a buyer in most cases.

Selling the Domain Name


Acquiring what you believe may be a valuable domain name is the easiest part of the equation.  Finding the right  buyer is much more difficult. Using auction sites and forums is perhaps the best way to find qualified buyers that are interested in your domain, and using auctions will take some of the stress away from establishing the value of a domain name yourself.

If your domain name is related to a particular niche, then you may find success by advertising in forums that are related to that niche. Simply placing a link in the signature of your posts can tremendously speed up the selling process. While it may be possible to find prospective webmasters on niche-specific forums, it is generally better to advertise on webmaster forums, where there is a high volume of potential customers.

Most auction sites will be heavy with competition, and many of the domains for sale also include a full pre-constructed web site that may already be generating a profit. Before listing your domain for sale, it is important to ensure that you're not stepping into a market that is saturated with full website and domain packages.

Domain Name Squatting and Volume Selling


Unfortunately, most domain names take at least a couple of months to sell, especially without an attached website. Thus, there is no need to become discouraged if your domain name does not sell immediately. Most people make the mistake of quitting their domain speculation endeavor after waiting for several months to sell without success. In reality, domain name squatting can be just as profitable, and it is a valid form of long term investing.

Consider, for example, the domain name hammocks.com. How much was this domain name worth in 1995 vs. 2010?  For the domaineer with patience, hammocks.com sold in 2010 for $700,000, surely a significantly higher amount than it would have secured in the 1990s.

Instead of focusing on one domain name to sell quickly, try selling large volumes of domain names over longer periods of time. While this may require a more substantial investment, it will also return a greater profit in the long term. Remember, if you follow the basic principles of domain name speculation, there is good chance that your domain names will sell eventually. 

Monday, 6 August 2018

WordPress powers millions of websites around the world. This popular site builder and content management system is free to download and install in hosting environments of all kinds, but for users looking to take full advantage of its many features and functions, hosting packages dedicated exclusively to WordPress can be an efficient, secure alternative to standard web hosting options.

Web Hosting Plans: Many Options, Many Platforms


Because WordPress is a free and open source platform that anyone can use, it is included among the many site-building platforms and applications offered in general web hosting packages of all kinds. General web hosting companies also offer customer support for a variety of other site builders, and the support they provide must be able to accommodate issues related to all of these.

WordPress Hosting , Web Hosting, Web Hosting Guides

Basic web hosting is typically some form of shared hosting, in which multiple sites, often in the thousands, share space on a single server owned and maintained by the hosting provider. In this environment, a WordPress site is simply one of many types of sites on that shared server. All sites on that server must draw on the server’s common resources, such as memory and bandwidth.

Providers of this kind of web hosting plans are responsible for maintaining servers, which includes installing general security features and keeping them updated. Because so many sites co-exist in that situation, they can become vulnerable to malware and other security issues connected to neighboring sites.

As sites evolve, they may outgrow the limitations of their basic web hosting plan, which can limit the size and scope of sites being hosted and terminate their hosting account if they become too large or too busy for the shared server’s resources to accommodate. In that kind of situation, site owners may turn to more customizable and scalable hosting options.

These can include virtual private server (VPS) hosting – a hybrid of basic shared web hosting and dedicated web hosting. VPS hosting packages use virtualization technology to partition a shared server into separate, dedicated spaces so that each site in a VPS environment can be independently installed and managed with its own allotment of server resources.

For large, high traffic sites, or those with complex security needs, dedicated hosting packages provide each user with a single, dedicated server that is not shared with other sites. This strategy makes sure all resources are allotted to a single site and users have the freedom to manage the site in any way they wish, with round the clock technical support and managed service packages available as well.

All these hosting options allow users to install and run a WordPress site if they wish, but the services and support they provide are not designed to accommodate WordPress-specific issues related to performance and security. WordPress hosting in all its forms can provide customer support and services uniquely optimized for the platform.

WordPress Hosting: A Targeted Solution


While general web hosting providers include support for WordPress as one of many options available to users, that support is not tailored to the specific features of the WordPress platform, and it may not offer the solutions that dedicated users of WordPress need in order to maximize performance. WordPress hosting options take into account the unique features of WordPress and design hosting environments accordingly, at varying levels of service and pricing.

WordPress hosting options cover the same spectrum of hosting solutions as general web hosting services do, but targeted only to WordPress, so that WordPress users at every stage of a site’s development can find a hosting plan to fit evolving needs.

Choosing WordPress or Web Hosting


Many general hosting providers offer a WordPress-only option along with their basic service plans, though not all of them provide equivalent support for the platform. These plans typically provide for shared space on a server dedicated specifically to WordPress sites, so that server resources and software are configured only for WordPress.

In this kind of environment, fewer sites can be hosted on a single server so that server resources can be allocated with greater efficiency. That also allows for more stability in the hosting environment, since it is less likely that a surge in traffic on one site will cause downtime and slowdowns on other nearby sites on the server.

Hosting companies offering VPS hosting either as part of general hosting or as a dedicated server may also include a WordPress hosting option. In this kind of situation, WordPress sites can share space on a virtually partitioned server dedicated to supporting the platform, which allows users the control and scalability of VPS hosting with optimization for the specific features and demands of WordPress. Users can opt for self-managed plans with the support of the host’s WordPress trained technical staff or a variety of managed plans that leave some or all management functions to the provider.

Dedicated hosting providers may also offer a WordPress hosting option, with single-client servers that are optimized to run WordPress more efficiently and securely. Dedicated hosting packages can range from self-managed to fully managed options, including support for all WordPress related issues provided by technical support staff with expertise specifically in troubleshooting platform-related issues.

In all its forms, WordPress hosting can support security features designed to address vulnerabilities that are unique to WordPress. Because hosting providers know exactly what platform is being used for all sites on the server, it is easier and faster to install and upgrade security features that provide maximum protection, both globally and for individual WordPress installs. With just one platform to manage, support staff and customer representatives can provide in-depth answers and solutions for WordPress related problems, without the need to be reasonably well versed in different platforms and services.

Who Needs WordPress Hosting?


As its popularity attests, WordPress was designed for users of all kinds, from skilled developers to those with little or no experience. It can be installed in just about every hosting environment, and, for many sites, especially smaller, low traffic ones, its basic features like plugins and an easy control panel can be managed within all those general hosting models. For WordPress users who want to utilize the full potential of WordPress, hosting packages dedicated to the platform can help these sites to run more efficiently and elegantly.

Because it can provide more flexibility for customizing and extending the features of WordPress, this kind of hosting in all its forms can also appeal to users with WordPress developer experience. However, with managed WordPress hosting, even users without that kind of expertise can get the full functionality of WordPress in a secure, flexible environment.

WordPress-specific hosting plans are typically more expensive than general web hosting services that include WordPress as an option, but these solutions can offer more of the support and security users want in order to get the most out of WordPress. For users of all levels, both general and WordPress focused web hosting can make the features and functions of the world’s most popular site building platform available to anyone, for any kind of site.

Friday, 3 August 2018

I’ve addressed different options to host the code for your ecommerce site. In “Don’t Self-host an Ecommerce Store,” I addressed the risk and expense of owning and managing web servers. In “Cloud Hosting the Best Option for Stores That Own Code,” I reviewed the advantages, including flexibility and low cost, of metered outsourcing.

Ecommerce Platforms, Web Hosting, Hosting Guides, Hosting Learning

There’s one negative aspect of those options, however: They require you to own the code that runs your ecommerce site. That can be a distraction from your core business of selling products and services, especially for smaller organizations.

Thus another option is to outsource not just your hosting but also the code. This is what an ecommerce platform does. It runs, updates, and improves the software that powers your store — typically in a software-as-a-service environment, wherein the provider charges a monthly fee to use its platform.

The rest of this article will not advocate one platform over another. There are hundreds of them. I have my favorites and if you’re in the space for more than four seconds, you’ll encounter other people’s favorites, too.

Instead, I’ll provide a broad overview of ecommerce platforms and how using them compares to running your own servers.

Benefits of Hosted Platforms


◈ No hosting or server worries. The first, most oblivious benefit with a platform is that you avoid servers and hosting. You would presumably pick a plan with your platform based on the size and overall activity of your store. But you don’t need to worry about servers and how much power they need. The platform does this all for you.

◈ Limited security risks. Similarly, a platform will take care of most security concerns. This might sound minor. But when a single security glitch can cost millions in damages and potentially threaten your entire organization, having security taken care of is a major benefit.
Depending on the platform, you might need to handle some security updates yourself, such as those for custom code. This is a small risk, though, versus being responsible for an entire set of servers.

◈ Many features. Platforms are usually full of features. Once you sign up you can start using all of them. This is a nice contrast to entirely custom systems wherein you might wait months or years to develop new features.

◈ Easy scalability. Since the platform company is running the code, it also accommodates traffic spikes and the general scaling up of capacity when needed. More capacity may require an upgrade to the plan, but that’s simple compared to figuring out how to add additional servers.

For example, in the recent Black Friday 2018 weekend, an ecommerce site that I manage experienced four-times the normal traffic. The site was using a large, hosted platform. It took roughly 30 minutes and a few clicks to upgrade the account to handle the extra traffic.

Disadvantages of Hosted Platforms


◈ Limitations on custom features. The primary disadvantage of a hosted ecommerce platform is the limitation of custom features. All platforms add features over time. But if you need a custom or non-standard enhancement, you will likely have a difficult time in convincing the platform to add it. Sometimes platform may add, say, 80 percent of what you need — but you still need the remaining 20 percent before you can take advantage of it.

One workaround of the custom-feature limitation is the use of application programming interfaces. Sometimes APIs will provide the capability to add the custom features you need. Even if you need to rent a server just for that custom feature, it’s better than having to run an entire custom store.

◈ Higher cost, maybe. The cost of using third-party platforms sometimes appears higher than self-hosting. That’s because the cost of the platform is all-encompassing — hosting, software development, customer service, and profit for the platform owner. Moreover, platform fees include a lot of indirect costs (and headaches) that you might be missing.

◈ Non-standard stores. An ecommerce platform might not be a good fit if your store has a non-standard business model — such as exclusively flash sales or it’s entirely a marketplace of buyers and sellers.

◈ Heavy reliance on customer support. Using a third-party platform means you will likely rely on its customer support personnel. Even if you are assigned dedicated staff, you’ll still have to depend on their expertise. Thus, before migrating to an ecommerce platform, contact its support department. Learn how it responds to requests.

How to Choose


Given the wide variety of platforms, it’s useful to have a list of simple criteria. A platform could make sense for your business if any of the following are true.

◈ Getting started. A platform is typically a huge help for new merchants. You might outgrow it later, but you can learn a lot in the early days.

◈ No developers. A platform can help avoid hiring or retaining web developers, which can be expensive.

◈ Irregular traffic. This could be from media appearances or events. Platforms can typically absorb traffic spikes easier than self-hosted solutions.

On the other hand, a platform would not likely be a good fit if the following are true.

◈ Custom code. Platforms offer uniform, custom code. If you need to customize much of that code, it could create problems. Many platforms, however, can accommodate custom front-end code, such as JavaScript.

◈ Non-standard business model. You could ask a platform to accommodate your model, but it might cost too much and take too much effort.

It can be difficult to migrate away from a third-party platform, but it is possible. As long as you can access your store’s data, you likely can take it anywhere.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Introduction


When using the Internet most people connect to web sites, ftp servers or other Internet servers by connecting to a domain name, as in www.want2host.com. Internet applications, though, do not communicate via domain names, but rather using IP addresses, such as 192.168.1.1. Therefore when you type a domain name in your program that you wish to connect to, your application must first convert it to an IP address that it will use to connect to.

Domain Name Resolution, Web Hosting, Hosting Guides

The way these hostnames are resolved to their mapped IP address is called Domain Name Resolution. On almost all operating systems whether they be Apple, Linux, Unix, Netware, or Windows the majority of resolutions from domain names to IP addresses are done through a procedure called DNS.

Domain Name Resolutions


As discussed above, Domain Name Resolution is the task of converting domain names to their corresponding IP address. This is all done behind the scenes and is rarely noticed by the user. When you enter a domain name in an application that uses the Internet, the application will issue a command to have the operating system convert the domain name into its IP address, and then connect to that IP address to perform whatever operation it is trying to do.

The way the operating system resolves the domain name is based upon its configuration. For almost all operating systems the default order for Domain Name resolution is as follows:

1. Hosts File - There is a file called the HOSTS file that you can use to convert domain names to IP addresses. Entries in the HOSTS file override any mappings that would be resolved via a DNS server.

2. Domain Name System - This is the system used on the Internet for converting domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. Your operating system will connect to the DNS server configured on your computer and have that server return to you the IP address for the domain name you queried it with.

3. Netbios - This only applies to Windows machines and will only be used to map names to IP addresses if all previous methods failed. This method will attempt to map the netbios name you are trying to connect to with an IP address.

It is possible though to change the order that your operating system uses when doing Domain Name Resolution. We will discuss these methods for the Windows and Unix/Linux operating systems below.

Domain Name Resolution on Windows

Windows by default uses the above order for Domain Name Resolution. This can be changed though by changing certain registry keys. There registry keys are:

Registry Key                                    Description

DnsPriority      Which corresponds to using the Domain Name System
LocalPriority      This refers to the local name of the computer
HostsPriority      This is the HOSTS file
NetbtPriority      This is using Netbios name mapping

You assign to these keys a priority based upon values ranging between -32768 and 32767. The lower the number you assign to the entry, the higher the priority for that particular resolution provider.

For example, examine the priorities assigned to the values below:

DnsPriority = 30
LocalPriority = 200
HostsPriority = 75
NetbtPriority = 100

What this will do is change the Domain Name Resolution order to the following sequence:

1. Domain Name System
2. Hosts file
3. Netbios Mappings
4. The Local Computer Name

As you can see I have changed the default order of how Windows will do domain name resolution and the value that had the lowest number had the highest priority when doing domain name resolution.

The location for the above registry subkey's can be found under these registry keys:

Windows 95/98/ME HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSTCP\ServiceProvider
Windows NT, 2000, XP HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\ServiceProvider

NOTE: For Windows 95/98/ME if the key does not exist, you must create it. In order for these keys to work with NT 4.0, you need to install Service Pack 4.

Domain Name Resolution on Linux and Unix

Unix and Linux have a similar default Domain Name Resolution order as Windows. The operating system will first check its /etc/hosts file and if it does not find an entry for the queried domain, it will then query its configured DNS servers.

The order in which server resolves domain names can be changed by editing the /etc/host.conf file. This file determines the order that the operating system uses to resolve domain names. The line that we are concerned with is the one that looks like:

order hosts, bind

This tells the operating system to first check the hosts file, and if that fails, to use DNS, otherwise known as bind which is the name of the software used to make DNS requests.

You can change the order the operating system uses, by changing the order line. For example if we wanted to make it so it queried DNS first and the hosts file second we would change the line to read:

order bind, hosts

Currently the valid values you can place after order is hosts, bind, or nis. NIS stands for the Network Information Service and will not be covered by this article.

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