Category Archives: VPS

Four Cloud-Based Services: PaaS vs. IaaS vs. SaaS vs. Precipitation


IBM Cloud Computing

Let’s look at the basic categories of cloud-based services – PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS. These acronyms stand for Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Software as a Service. What’s with the “as a service” lingo? Well, similar to with hosting, you’re accessing these services from a remote server. Your platform, your infrastructure, or individual pieces of software – that you’re using via your network or an individual PC or device – can be running in a remote location rather than directly at your location or on the server at your data center or hosting company.

Below we’ll dig into exactly what these different types of hosting services provide and what, if any of them, might be right for you or your business. I’m referencing articles from VentureBeat by Sean LudwigWikipedia, and Network World by Jeff Caruso.

Alongside the various “as a service” models, precipitation is also provided by clouds. Forms of precipitation include rain, snow, sleet, and hail. This service is not a good choice during picnics or parades.

What is the Cloud?

Cloud is a way to pull everything together onto central servers – providing a service through those servers – rather than running off your own PC or host machine. The term “cloud,” though, has been somewhat misunderstood and made more complicated than it actually is: it’s been turned into this concept for sort of an abstract universe accessible via the Internet. That is in part marketing language, trying to make us think of certain services as ethereal or dreamy. Sean describes the cloud succinctly – as a metaphor for the Internet. That’s more apt: it’s simply different services that are provided via the Internet that used to be provided directly on networks or PCs.

Cloud is not something that was invented but something that was defined and refined – framing the Internet in a certain way. (As Sean points out, any company with an Internet-based focus for any aspect of its business is a cloud company in a sense.) New technologies, however, have developed to support a more cloud-based approach – and these services have certainly become much more prevalent and popular in the last few years.

The different layers of the cloud are the different types of services that are provided – again, these layers, like the cloud, are a way of organizing information, not something that was invented. The layers are the various “as a service” models: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS (and actually more of these types of terms are used, though not in as common of usage).

There are many reasons to dislike and distrust the cloud. With its precipitation capacity, the cloud can ruin your picnic, for example. IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are much less likely to ruin your picnic. In this sense, the cloud is like fire ants. It doesn’t  care about you. It’s selfish. It’s like that ex-boyfriend you spent years trying to get your sister away from before he moved to Pierre, South Dakota, to work in his cousin’s sign shop.

Layer 1: SaaS (Top Layer of the Cloud)

SaaS or Software as a Service means that you have access to software that has been installed “in the cloud.” In this scenario, you are only controlling variables within the software itself. You do not have any administrative control over the infrastructure or platform. Because you are accessing the software via the Internet (as it resides on another company’s servers), you do not need to maintain the software yourself. There are, of course, security concerns related to cloud-based software – because rather than having the software installed on your own devices or on the servers of a host company that you trust, you are putting all your data directly into the Internet and storing it on the cloud company’s servers.

Cloud applications – those operating as SaaS – are more scalable than other types of applications are, per Wikipedia. Using a variety of VPSs (virtual private servers) to complete a task via cloning can make it easier to spread out the load across a number of different servers, finding resources where they are available. So that the load does not become excessively heavy on one VPS, a load balancer is used. Anyone who’s accessing the software does not see that back-end aspect, but it allows a heavier volume of traffic without interruptions in data flow.

A cloud application can be multitenant (think of a multitenant home). Having more than one “tenant” company use the same VPS at one time also can allow for a greater number of people to be using the software at one time.

Generally when you use a cloud application, you will pay for a month or year at a time for each user within your network – and then you can change your number of users throughout that period. This is one of the things that people especially like about SaaS, and cloud services generally, is its adaptability: you can quickly and efficiently expand or retract your usage of the service. It doesn’t have a set size in the same way that non-cloud offerings do (which are not as immediately easy to adjust for size).

Here are a few samples of subcategories of software as a service, per Wikipedia:

  • desktop as a service
  • test environment as a service
  • communication as a service
  • business process as a service


Sample SaaS providers:

  • Google Apps
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • GT Nexus
  • Casengo

Here are a few things you want to do before a cloud becomes angry and starts to dump stuff all over the place:

  • Close your windows and blinds, and hide under your table in case there is thunder.
  • Get your snow shovel and go outside so that you’re ready to clear your walkways as soon as the precipitation falls. This makes the cloud feel powerless.
  • Put on your raincoat and get ready to do your “It’s Raining Men” routine for the other soldiers, who love musical theater as much as you do.

Layer 2: IaaS (Bottom Layer of the Cloud)

IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service means you’re using virtual machines (VM’s), otherwise known as virtual private servers (VPS’s). This service allows you full control of the environment in which your applications exist – just not at the level of the hardware itself. No need, then, to support and maintain servers. Everything is virtualized, but you have full control.

IaaS means that you can install whatever applications you want on your system. A cloud service provider (CSP) provides whatever bandwidth or other resources you need but doesn’t set any other guidelines. With virtualization, your network is separated from other networks that might be running on the same server – and from the hard drives as well – protecting all parties involved both regarding security and speed/stability of the network.

Amazon and IBM are examples of companies that provide this service. Jeff specifically addresses the importance of picking out a quality CSP when using cloud services at this deep of a level. The article he references on that subject is here.

Ways to know if the cloud is going to precipitate on your parade:

  • You hear a rumbling sound in the distance.
  • Lightning strikes one of the floats, and it falls over to the side. That’s the float you helped build for the nonprofit dog-racing track, and it makes you very upset to see how heartless the cloud is being right now.
  • The clown’s and beauty queen’s makeup are both running. The beauty queen looks more concerned for some reason. The clown got second place in the beauty pageant, so she doesn’t feel like she has anything to hide.

Layer 3: PaaS (Middle Layer of the Cloud)

In between software and infrastructure you have the platform – also known as middleware (additionally the term given to tableware that is made out of a combination of plastic and metal). If you use a CSP to provide your platform, you can develop your network at that level. In other words, you don’t have to worry about managing the whole infrastructure, but you have wider freedom and mutability than you do just at the level of using cloud-based software.

The platform that the CSP offers, per Wikipedia, typically includes the database, server, operating system, and programming language execution environment.

Development and deployment of applications via platform as a service can involve virtual machines and virtual OSs. Use of the cloud at the level of the platform cuts down on hardware costs and make it easier for a bunch of different users from various locations to access the same code and content as it develops. Per Jeff, here are a few of the basic categories of PaaS tools:

  • Storage
  • Security
  • Application development
  • Application management
  • Application hosting
  • Application design

A few of the most prominent CSP’s for platform as a service:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google App Engine
  • Salesforce
  • Engine Yard

What you should do if the cloud starts precipitating on your entire network:

  • Turn off all the electricity in the building.
  • Call the CEO – even if it is the middle of the night. Tell him to get to the office immediately, and to bring his galoshes.
  • Install a roof on your company. Many companies have not discovered the value of a roof. Sunlight is nice, but it is not worth the threat of precipitation that can arrive from an angry cloud.

Summary & Conclusion

So again, we can think of the cloud, simplistically, as the Internet or as the realm of Internet-based services. The cloud is typically divided into layers that basically describe the degree of administrative control a cloud client has over the environment within which they are working.

Software as a service (SaaS) – the top layer – is simply a web-based application. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – the bottom layer – gives you control over virtual private servers, which means you can install whatever applications you like and have significant freedoms but must handle administration yourself. Platform as a service (PaaS) – the middle layer – is sometimes referred to as middleware. This level can be used for development of applications without the need to maintain infrastructure.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Your Highest Converting Hosting Keywords Result in Fraud

Have you ever found a keyword converting so well that it makes your mouth water? One so juicy that you tell your boss about it, hoping for a pat on the back? Well, I found this keyword, only to discover that I am converting scammers, fraudsters and cheaters! What is this keyword that all hosting CEOs are going to ask their PPC Specialists to avoid?

Ok, now that I made you wait, that keyword is… “Instant VPS”. If you do not know what VPS is, please read What is VPS Hosting before you continue.

But not just Instant VPS, anything associated with it: Instant Windows VPS, Instant Virtual Private Hosting, VPS Hosting Fast Setup, and Instant VPS Hosting, etc. etc.



As illustrated above, “VPS Instant Activation” converts at 50%, “Instant Windows VPS” at 33%, “VPS Instant Setup”, 16.67% and “+VPS +Instant” (my favorite) converted 14 times at 11.11%!

For those that do not know how to get this data, please see my detailed instructions below on how to find exact match keyword conversion data from AdWords.

Although in my head I was imagining buying my first yacht, my gut told me this data was unrealistic. I should have listened to my instincts, but instead, I “liked” the idea of converting at an average rate of 13%. Who wouldn’t?! Well, after a couple months converting between 450%, my billing department told me they were having an increasing fraudulent signup problem.

Yes, fraudulent signups in hosting is not big news, but this time it was escalating.

At first I figured it wasn’t me – someone else caused it or perhaps it was even affiliate fraud. I don’t screw up: I studied Economics! That feeling faded within two or three hours of me getting knee-deep in data.

How did I know that the “Instant” keyword resulted in fraud orders?

When I took the conversion unique identifier from Google Analytics’s ecommerce tracking and matched it with the orders in our database, what I found was shocking: orders converted via “Instant VPS” turned out to be causing the chargebacks. Moreover, when I investigated my Per Visit Value within Google Analytics, I noticed something abnormal. I was getting $8-$200 per click in revenue from “Instant VPS” keywords. Who wouldn’t enjoy getting $8-$200 of revenue per visit for a product that has an average CPC of $8.This means that we would get $8-$200 per month for the life of the account. The average lifetime customer value is $300-$2000! Starting to make sense? It’s printing money, if it was true. What did I learn? Always trust your gut.



(If you would like detailed instructions about how I got this data, check the end of the post)

Before I was 100% sure that a keyword I was targeting was increasing fraudulent orders, I needed to figure out if anything else was stoking the fire. Could a poorly defined cancellation policy for our 30Day Money Back Guarantee have caused the problem? Or perhaps it was outdated fraud detection?

Since paying $1.50 per transaction to get the latest fraud protection was not sustainable, we implemented a simple policy call every client. This served multiple purposes, for not only could it improve customer service and satisfaction, it had the potential to stop fraud.

That was the tipping point that confirmed “Instant VPS” was causing the fraud. This is because 90% of the calls made to “Instant VPS” signups resulted in speaking to a little old lady who didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. Explaining VPS to everyday business owners is one thing. Clarifying what a VPS hosting solution does to a 50 year old lady that just got home from a doctor’s appointment is overwhelming.

So I began using negative keywords for Instant Setup, as well as 3D Secure. For online marketers that do not know what 3D Secure is, it is the Verified by VISA protocol developed by VISA to provide an extra layer of security. After the credit card details are entered, the customer is redirected to their bank to answer predefined questions about their identity. I must concede that as someone that cares deeply about conversion rates, I did fight this. Finally, after a month of negative keywords and 3D Secure, our billing department wasn’t approving fraudulent orders and our company saw a significant decline in chargebacks from VPS.

Why share this information with the public?

Maybe it was the angel sitting on my shoulder saying, “you should spread the word that these keywords result in fraudulent conversions.” Or, was it the devil on the other shoulder saying, “you should write a post explaining how well the keywords convert and other hosting companies will spend their entire budget on “Instant VPS”. Then you can then get a higher ROI on other keywords.” In the end, it was neither. I spent two months of my life dealing with scoundrels, scammers and spammers. I just wanted revenge.

Why do scammers target Instant VPS?

VPS hosting traditionally has a high fraud rate. This is because some bad customers signup for a VPS with the sole intent to use it to spam, host malware, or for botnet controllers. In fact, around 30% of all VPS orders are in fact fraud. When you add “Instant VPS” you’re looking at a fraud rate of 50%.

These creeps love the fact that they can go from one company to another using different stolen credit cards to get free service and run their scams. They do not talk to their victims on the phone like I do. These are real people. These are people living on Social Security. These are your parents. It’s sick. The hosting company, in order to protect IPs and their network, will eventually find these mischief-makers and shut them down. This is another reason why it is paramount to have an abuse team.

After the account is suspended, the hosting company gets a chargeback and the person they stole the card from doesn’t pay a dime. Everyone wins but the hosting company. That’s how the spammers think. It’s not always the case. Some of the older people go months without knowing.

What’s worse is that it can be like WhackaMole. You shut them down, but they have 30 other credit cards and fake identities ready. They won’t even move to another hosting company. They will just continue scamming you until you wise up.

Again, make sure you have an abuse department. As you now see, it’s even the marketing department’s responsibility to cross-reference campaigns with cancellations. If you do this, you should see some red flags. I did.

More keywords that cause fraud

If you sell Dedicated Servers, VPS, Cloud or Web Hosting, you should also be aware of other keywords that lead to fraud orders. Do your homework and determine how your conversions are billing. Ask questions like:

● What is the average lifetime value for the keywords you are using?

● Are the customers coming in from specific keywords ending up as chargebacks?

● What is the average value of a customer for the keywords you are using? (Hint, go to Google Analytics for that.)

(I would love to tell you about “good” keywords that convert really well, but my boss would kill me

for sharing.) Tweet this article or find me on Facebook and I will tell you more.

How do I fight fraudulent signups?

( was vital in helping me put this together.)

Stop Instant Setup

Some will argue that people want instant gratification. They do not want to wait for a 24 hour setup. Therefore, a keyword like “Instant Setup” should convert well. I feel, however, there is a high probability those people actively searching for “Instant Setup” have a corrupt motive behind their purchase. Sure, you may leave some conversions on the table. Why invite the scammers in the door? Not all hosting companies have a sophisticated abuse department, especially if you’re a reseller. I would suggest not letting the thieves even have a chance to see your hand. Once they are in the door, you’re going to start getting calls from your merchant account threatening to increase rates.

3D Secure

As much as I would like to fight 3DSecure because it has a reputation of hurting conversions, I must concede that 3DSecure did have a positive impact fighting my fraudulent signups; they also took a large portion of the chargeback liability off our shoulders. Therefore, I recommend it if you’re already having a chargeback and fraudulent signup problem. Now, I did see my conversion rate decline. Instead of complaining that my billing department was killing my conversion rates, I researched ways to optimizing for higher conversion rates. Ok, I cannot lie. I complained. In fact, I still take a jab every now and then.

Confirm Identity

At Superb Internet, we require all customers to chat or talk to our staff. This improves customer service as well as helping identify likely spammers. We also require everyone to pass a phone verification that tells our system that the person ordering has provided us with a real phone number.

Blacklist Abusive Customers

It is very important to have a database full of blacklisted IPs, Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Emails. Without this list, I am afraid you shouldn’t be selling hosting as you will be scammed 24/7.

Terms of Service and Strong Chargeback Return Policy

If you have a 10, 20 or 30Day Money Back Guarantee, be sure to explain it clearly. Don’t make it hard to cancel the service this is bad business and may actually keep you from getting a good customer. Also, your TOS needs to be clearly defined and easy to understand. I know. I get it. Everyone wants to be an attorney and make a fancy sounding Terms-of-Service. The only thing you are doing with this is hurting your brand, as there will be loud complaints in forums all over the Internet with YOUR company name.

Monitor Your Network

If you don’t ensure that your customers are not abusing your network, you may find yourself out of business. gives a good example of this in their article How Hosting Providers Can Battle Fraudulent Signups.

In it, they say, “spammers and malware hosts frequently use a VPN to forward traffic from their permanent, backend locations on your server to botnet or snowshoe spam cannons or web proxies on a compromised server. They use stolen personal data obtained from an infected computer, or even the computer itself, to sign up.” The key is to monitor your network to see if there are traffic connections or relationships with known blackhat VPN nodes. This can detect abusers faster and will decrease chargebacks.

Use Customer IP Address Verification and Spamhaus DROP/EDROP to Filter Bad Traffic

Make sure you are checking the IPs against many blocklists. Be sure to read Spamhaus for more information about this. I also encourage hosting companies to use Spamhaus DROP/EDROP to filter bad traffic. Make sure the problem doesn’t come back by denying all traffic from or to those listed IP addresses.

Spamhaus DROP list:

● Spamhaus EDROP list:

● Spamhaus DROP/EDROP listing policy:

● Spamhaus BGP feed (BGPf):

More advice from has more advice for stopping fraud orders. For example, limiting your customers to a certain geotargeted area until you have a department to fight abuse, and limiting your billing cycles to shorter terms for customers outside of that comfort zone. Scanned copies of passports, Ids, and a physical address can also help.

In conclusion:

Hosting is a very competitive niche. Everybody wants a high conversion rate. However, I encourage hosting PPC Specialists to be responsible and think like a business owner, instead presenting colorful conversion data from AdWords. The hosting company CEOs will respect you for it. I guess the idiom “Don’t put the cart before the horse” would apply. Whether the paid search is done inhouse or by an agency, hopefully, this article can act as some type of deterrent from so called experts getting credit by converting fraudulent orders. Hopefully this article will be part of the solution, demonstrating once again that pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.

I would like to continue this by asking some questions from the web:

Are there keywords that you know of that result in fraud orders? Has anyone else implemented Verified by VISA (3D Secure) What happened to your conversion rate?

The process of find the exact match conversion rates in Google AdWords:

Above I displayed my AdWords conversion data for “Instant VPS”. I am sure you already know how to get exact match keywords from AdWords; however, read further if you didn’t. Make sure view your keyword data for. Then click the keywords tab. Click all keywords and you’re there.

The process of finding keyword specific conversion data in Google Analytics:

Make sure you have Ecommerce Tracking setup. Under the Ecommerce heading, select Overview. Then click Source/ Medium. Choose Google/ Organic. Now click Secondary dimension. Under dropdown Traffic Sources, select Keyword. I searched for “Instant”.

by Richard Norwood

Managed VPS

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What is “Managed Services?” These are add-ons services that will enhance your VPS hosting solution with Superb Internet. It means you will have our expert ITIL certified staff there to help with maintenance of your hosting plan. We offer the following managed services for our VPS plans:

  1. Patches and updates (Linux and Windows)
  2. OS Hardening (Linux and Windows)
  3. Proactive Monitoring (Linux and Windows)
  4. Managed Backup (Windows only)
  5. Backup Options (Linux only)

For details check out our VPS pages and a 20% discount on all new VPS plans.


Top Five Reasons for Superb VPS

There are many hosting options online. However, not all are created equal. Many are resellers, which mean they are selling you someone else’s product. Now this is all well in good, if you don’t have any issue with your service. But it is good to know where you support is coming from.

So before I get to the list, I want to clarify a couple of things. Virtual Private Servers (VPS) is similar to shared and dedicated hosting, but not the same. In a shared hosting environment, you are sharing the resources (RAM, Processors, Disk Space, IP address, Bandwidth, etc.) of a dedicated server. Depending on the setup of the environment and the server, you could be sharing with 100s or 1000s of sites. Now do you want to share your birthday cake with that many people? VPS is a great alternative to purchasing your own dedicated server because you are not getting the costs associated with your own “dedicated” resources that you get with a server. With VPS, you get your slice of server – meaning you have your resources guaranteed. With Superb VPS plans, you can share your resources with as many 50 other sites to as few as eight. This allows for rapid growth and scalability.

Now the Top Five Reasons…

1. Burstable to Double Guaranteed RAM

One of the major advantages of a VPS hosting solution is the access to Burstable RAM. Each plan is design to meet the needs of client, providing guaranteed resources, but the access to Burstable RAM will allow for you to handle the unexpected. Each plan is set to double up your RAM when available up to 24GB of RAM.

2. Unlimited Technical Assistance

To make your first month a piece of cake (2nd cake reference, one more and I win a prize) we offer unlimited access to our technical staff. We know that this is the time when most customers need the most help, so we are there to answer any question you have from hardware to migration. We can even do the work for you with our support credits.

3. Your Choice of Discount

We offer 20% off upfront or three months free. It all depends on how you like to save money.

4. Top of the line Hardware & Network

We use Intel Dual Xeon 5620 Servers for our VPS platform with Raid 10 hardware, and connect it with our extensive IP backbone. Plus, our network is backed up with an industry leading 100% Network Uptime SLA.

5. Customized to Fit

From the size of our plans to billing options we allow you to build a hosting solution that fits your needs. We also offer a number of managed services from backup to proactive monitoring. You pick want you want, and we deliver. When you are ready to upgrade, we make it as simple with a few clicks from myCP®.

When consider VPS, make sure to compare before you buy. I have highlighted five reasons, but can promise you that when you choose Superb Internet, you will find more like Fantastic Reseller option, Full Root Access, Company-Owned equipment and much more.


Do I need VPS?

How do you really know if you need to upgrade to VPS? Most people think that their shared hosting solution will do the job, but often fail to read the fine print. If you are looking to expand your business, drive more traffic to your site or plan to host a large amount of media then there is a good chance that you will violate the terms of service with your shared hosting provider and should consider upgrading.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you upgrade to a VPS Hosting solution.

Do I have multiple sites? (,, XYZForums, etc)

Shared Hosting will allow for subdomains, but not multiple sites. VPS hosting will provide ample disk space for all your emails, data and sites, and will have the RAM and CPU to handle significantly more data and traffic.

Are you expanding your business?

Expansion usually comes with more business. A shared hosting environment severely limits your traffic, data and processing power; whereas, VPS allows for flexible resources. So if you are running a sale or have a popular app, you will have the resources you need to meet the sudden increase in demand. Just think all the sales Target lost when they launched their Missoni line, and the increased traffic crashed their site.

What kind of content will your site host?

When upgrading your site from basic HTML to dynamic content make sure you have the enough resources (CPU, RAM and Space) included in your hosting plan. Dynamic content will absorb your resources like a sponge. So if you are entry level shared hosting package, it is safe to assume your resources will get cut off. Most VPS hosting plans, even entry level, will accommodate dynamic content.

Is your site loading and running slow?

When speed is becoming an issue, then you are probably getting throttled by your hosting provider. Just like with smart phones owners using too much data and getting choked out by the service provider, web host attempt to keep things fair for all the sites on your specific server. VPS hosting will provide you with guaranteed and burstable RAM to help optimize your site for speed.

Do you need security and backup?

A major limitation of running a business from a shared hosting platform is the ability to ensure your data is backed up and safe. With VPS hosting, you have the option with many providers to add on any number of managed services. This provides you the peace of mind that shared hosting often lacks.

When looking to upgrade from Shared Hosting to VPS Hosting, make sure you find the package that best fits your needs. Check out our current VPS promotion, 3 Months FREE VPS with all plans.

Simple Comparison Chart

Shared VPS Dedicated
Shared RAM, Disk Space, and CPU Dedicated RAM and Disk Space, Shared CPU Dedicated RAM, Disk Space and CPU
NO Server Level Customization Server Level Customization Allowed Server level Customization Allowed
All Server level Software Pre-Installed Server Level Software (OS, cPanel, LAMP) pre-installation varies by provider Server Level Software (OS, cPanel, LAMP) pre-installation varies by provider
Full Customer Support Typically Provided Support Levels Vary By Provider Support Levels Vary By Provider
$ $$ $$$

chart from

What is VPS?

The best explanation of VPS I have ever been given was through an analogy. It should help you understand the basics.

Shared Hosting


Shared Hosting (also known as Web Hosting) is the Public Bus of the hosting industry. You will get to where you need to go, but the selected route might not be your ideal path. Plus, you will have to make all the stops along the way to pick up other riders. Shared Hosting has you share the overall resource of a server with a large number of clients. Since you share the server, you share the costs. Shared Hosting is ideal for low maintenance sites that don’t except high unmanageable traffic.

Dedicated HostingDedicated Hosting would be equivalent owning your own Car. You are able to get to Point A to Point B at your convenience. However, you are also responsible for gas and maintenance. Dedicated servers provide you all the resources of a server to use at your discretion. However, you are also responsible for all the maintenance and cost associated with ownership. Dedicated Hosting is ideal for businesses that need to be able to control and fully customize their servers to meet the demands of this company.

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) would be the Vanpool in this analogy. With a vanpool, a select number of participants share all the resource and cost of the van. This allows for efficient transportation without the inconvenience of a method like a bus. VPS is often the step between Shared and Dedicated Hosting because it offers many of the benefits of Dedicated without the limitations of Shared Hosting.