Tag Archives: Shared web hosting service

Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro

OpenVZ

One of the types of hosting we offer is the virtualized private server, or VPS. This three-part series will look at how two different virtualization systems, OpenVZ and Xen, compare. Note that we use OpenVZ for a number of different reasons, which we will cover briefly in the conclusion to the series, but our general assessment will look at the two platforms from various angles.

We will draw primarily from discussion by Scott Yang of HostingFu, VPS6.net via HostingDiscussion.com, and Steven from The Linux Fix. Citing general advice sources will allow us to talk openly about the subject so you can determine what virtual environment makes the most sense for you.

Shoelaces and Velcro create a similar conundrum for business people, so I’ll also cover that debate. Shoelaces, as we all know, are a terrible idea. They are constantly coming untied. Tying your shoe involves making these two loops and twisting them around each other, whether they want to be twisted or not. It’s aggressive, forceful, and complicated – very similar to punk square dancing. Velcro, though, is seen by many key influencers as a more efficient and sophisticated way to tighten your shoes.
Continue reading Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro

Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers

 

Amsterdam servercluster in its own rack

With many products and services, we have the choice to go between owning and renting. For some reason that is not true of paperclips or underwear; but it is true of houses, cars, and other large items. Servers are no exception. Because hosting can be expensive, there is a wide range of possibilities for website owners. These possibilities range from power and quality of equipment to financial relationships with equipment.

Two options for servers are colocating one or leasing one from a hosting company. The two options are more similar than they are different. In both cases, you have your own dedicated server. In both cases, you can take advantage of the datacenter expertise of the hosting service’s personnel and physical parameters (climate control, disaster recovery plans, etc.).

Deciding between these two options can be a little confusing, so let’s look at their differences to see what option might be best for you. We will look at three perspectives, from Webhostingfreaks.net, ITworld, and About Colocation. Keep in mind, a couple of these perspectives are very colocation-friendly. Colocation, though, is more complicated to set up and manage, simply because you are the owner of the equipment. You must pick out what to buy, and it is more of an investment.
Continue reading Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers

How to improve your ecommerce server security & love yourself

 

SSL

Server security is one of the first things we should consider when we get ready to go into online business, and it’s a factor of the market that should be regularly reviewed. PCI compliance is one thing, but it’s a little obtuse and complicated when we’re taking initial steps to “harden” (enhance the protections of) the server.

Also we must love ourselves. Sometimes everything looks bright and sunny. Sometimes, it looks blue (that’s not a happy color). Sometimes it looks dreary and gray. When we start seeing colors that make us want to cry, we must grab all of our stuffed animals, line them up in a row, and have them sing the Hallelujah Chorus to us (don’t worry, all stuffed animals know it by heart).

We’ll look at a number of different issues in this series: SSL, perimeter security such as firewalls, passwords, site backups, policies, authorizations, etc.. Our general overview will cover the first two parts, and then the final part will focus specifically on passwords – the simplest form of protection but also the simplest, in some ways, to penetrate.
Continue reading How to improve your ecommerce server security & love yourself

Host Review: Best Dedicated Servers Award … Plus Some Jokes

 

How to Make a Website that's Awesome - PowerPo...

Everyone makes mistakes, and one of the worst mistakes we can make in life is to forget to gloat enough when we’re given an award or accolade. At Superb Internet, we confess that we have made that mistake repeatedly by only drawing minimal attention to our various prizes. Today, we hope to rectify that error by talking about an award we were recently given for best dedicated hosting worldwide. If that does not suffice, we will be forced to talk about our other awards too.

Superb Internet offers manifold options for hosting and server maintenance, from managed to VPS, from colocation to standard shared hosting. However, this award is specifically for our dedicated server expertise. It’s not surprising to us that we are winning an award for dedication, because we love our customers for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, and all that other stuff we said to our wives that one day.

The award was given to us by Host Review for “Best Dedicated Server Package” in December as one of its annual awards, so we are the sitting holder of that title. Below, we will extrapolate on both the benefactor and recipient perspectives: why Host Review gave us the award, and why we think we are the top company in the world for that service. We will also contextualize the prize among our other accomplishments (might as well).

Additionally, we will look at some of the most exciting awards given over the years to everyday people, for achievements their friends and loved ones never before thought possible. The first such award is noted below:

Everyday Awards Spotlight #1: Derek Bukowski

At a poorly lit but well-attended awards ceremony in Conway, Arkansas, Derek Bukowski was presented an award by his wife Nancy for Picking Up Your Clothes. Specifically, the award was given for Most Improvement in that category. Nancy herself received the Best in Show prize, a further testament to her residential-organizational adroitness.

Host Review Perspective

According to Host Review, the “Best Dedicated Server Package” award is given out for “outstanding performance and value” in that area of business. Individual factors contributing to the comparison process of different hosting companies are the following:

  • cost of hosting packages
  • cutting-edge technology
  • record of uptime & reliability
  • general performance throughout the year.

Host Review was impressed particularly with the experience (16 years) and support team (winner of the Host Investigator Support Award) offered at Superb. They also were generally impressed with our lease-to-own program, allowing customers to gradually invest in dedicated server ownership.

Other elements that Host Review found compelling were our network (which they called “the very best… in the industry”), UX (user experience), and scope of available services. All in all, the award was given to acknowledge us as a “leader” (though we do sometimes like to follow, as when playing “follow the leader” with our children) in the hosting industry.

We like to think we are always getting better, and this award was in part a recognition of our improvement. We were the runner-up for the same prize in 2011.

Everyday Awards Spotlight #2: Maria Juárez

At a hotel in southern California, the Montage Laguna Beach, Maria Juárez won an award presented by her husband, serving as the chairman of a panel of extended family members and close friends. Juárez was elated to finally win the 2013 Remembering to Get the Kids Award. The award goes each year to the family member who most often remembers that the day care center down the street does not allow overnight stays.

Superb Internet Perspective

We are particularly pleased with this accomplishment because it is similar to the People’s Choice awards for entertainment. Often reviews and ratings are written and dispersed by industry professionals and expert third parties. In the case of Host Review, the awards are designated based on customer reviews. We are delighted to know that hosting clients themselves regard us so highly in the area of dedicated hosting.

When we received the honor, our Internet Marketing Manager, Richard Norwood, said that he believed we are now “finally hitting on all cylinders.” The specific factors that he highlighted are threefold:

  • outstanding technical support (all staff ITIL-certified)
  • helpful, customer-first sales department
  • creative promotions to enhance client satisfaction.

Specifically on that last bullet, Norwood mentioned our 16th Anniversary Special, allowing customers to get up to $1600 in cash gift cards in return for a $100 hosting purchase.

Everyday Awards Spotlight #3: Jim Mungin

In a restroom stall at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Jim Mungin won a prize that he has been trying to score for years. As the recipient of the Greater Midwest Lewd Foot-Tapper Grand Prize, he has won a spot in the 2013 International Foot-Tapping Pageant to be held in Rio de Janeiro in October.

Award Context & Conclusion

As stated above, we have won, well, a host of other prizes over the years. Two highlights have been our top prizes for Best Hosting Company from both FindMyHost and DedicatedServerDir.com.

We are of course pleased anytime we get an award, and we like to think that it is a sign that all our diligence and concern for our customers is not going unnoticed. If you are looking for a dedicated server, try out one of our award-winning packages today. Also, congratulations to all the Everyday Awards winners for your consistency and drive, and especially your panache.

by Kent Roberts

Recent Web Hosting Vulnerabilities

If you have a spare moment to go through your control panels and check your up-to-date status, here are some recent warnings you might want to check against:

Serious Vulnerability Warning For Parallels Plesk Issued – traxarmstrong.com


Serious Vulnerability Warning For Parallels Plesk Issued - traxarmstrong.com | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it
From traxarmstrong.com – End of April 2013

There is a serious bug in Plesk Panel one of the most widely used hosting control panel solution that contains multiple privilege escalation vulnerabilities…

This blog goes to list the specific operating version that puts you at risk of this security vulnerability. You are NOT at risk if you have Apache web server running Fast CGI (PHP, perl, python, etc.) or CGI (PHP, perl, python, etc.).

Lesson Re-learned: Backups !


Lesson Re-learned: Backups ! | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From accuweaver.com – 1 week ago

I just shot my blog in the foot, or more accurately, I didn’t follow IT 101 and back things up before making a change. I had moved my site to be completely WordPress based a while ago…

Rob Weaver goes on to explain his own experience of how he came about relying on a faultless Plesk Auto-installation. And while I couldn’t help but chuckle, I’ve also been there. He’s currently rebuilding his site from a lucky idea of downloading the html files generated from his WP Cache Plugin.

Not too long ago I made a similar mistake of failing to save website backups… I rebuilt pages from the Google Cache HTML files, and recent pages that were not indexed were (and I’m not sure how lucky this is) rebuilt from scraper site copies. Yes! Those SEO fraudsters and mimics had decided my writing had enough value to be indiscriminately copied!

 

Hackers Increasingly Target Shared Web Hosting Servers


Hackers Increasingly Target Shared Web Hosting Servers for Use in Mass Phishing Attacks | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From www.cio.com – End of April 2013

Nearly half of phishing attacks seen during the second half of 2012 involved the use of hacked shared hosting servers, APWG report says.

Mass phishing attacks are also dubbed “whaling”. They tend to rely on auto-installations of PHP databases, where the username or database label is numerically generated – and therefore more predictable for patient hacker attacks.

If you’re on a shared web hosting plan. It might be a good idea every now and again to go into PHPmyAdmin and change password access, or even the database name to make predictability of these combinations less likely.

 

by – Juliana

When to Use Shared Web Hosting vs. Acoustic Web Hosting

 

Shared hosting is a service you will see offered by virtually every hosting provider. Sharing is not always a bad idea – in fact, it’s more widely used than any other type of hosting. Part of the reason shared hosting is so popular is that it’s highly affordable. In this article, I’ll explore shared hosting in detail to help get a sense of when shared hosting does and doesn’t make sense so you can decide whether it’s the best option for your business.

Note that sharing hosting is not like sharing an intimate moment with an attractive individual you just met in a nightclub. No bodily fluids are exchanged. However, you may be more likely to catch a virus. Then again, if you don’t share, your website will be stuck inside its own server – lonely, detached, and incapable of socializing with websites its own age. Its growth will be stunted. It will make grunting noises and move in a slouching shuffle across the Information superhighway.

Shared Hosting – Basic Definition

For your site to populate on the Web, all of the information within it must exist on a server. Whenever someone visits your site, the URL they type into their address bar converts (via a DNS server) into the IP address of your server, which is then sent a request for data. To fulfill the request, your server sends out the files and pages which make up your site (with additional ones as they access internal pages).

Different types of hosting store your site information and files in different ways. You can have your own dedicated server on location at your home or business. Many businesses, though, choose to have professionals handle the hosting hardware and maintenance in a data center. One option is colocation, which means you buy your own server and house it at the data center for servicing, security, and general oversight. However, to mitigate cost, clients typically rent space on a server – on their own (dedicated hosting) or on one that also hosts other sites (shared hosting).

Shared hosting allows you access to your site’s account on a server that also contains other businesses’ personal data and files. You are granted a certain amount of bandwidth and storage room, along with access to a certain set of tools depending on which type of account you choose.

Beware of hosting providers that try to convince you to go with “acoustic” or “hard-copy” web hosting. Hosting, in all cases, requires electricity. Make sure that the server you are being offered is plugged in to a power source and that people don’t need to be mailed your website. Websites don’t require mailing. By definition, they’re available on the Internet.

Who Does What – Host Service vs. You

One thing to completely understand in a shared hosting situation is who needs to take care of what aspects of hardware and software. The server is maintained by the host. Upgrading of hardware and any software used to manage the sites – by the provider or that are available for your use through the provider – is their responsibility as well.

You manage your site. You do this via a control panel – which is an interface, essentially an online screen – that allows you to view site statistics and manage files, emails, plugins, and other site-related applications. If you are using  a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla!, the majority of your site management is typically conducted directly through the CMS. The CMS itself is hosted on the hosting server.

One WordPress plugin that you want to be sure to get is the WordPress DDoS plugin, which allows you to perform botnet attacks on other WordPress sites. This plugin is very useful is you are trying to increase your business. It allows you to use thousands of zombie PCs from around the planet for a common cause: increasing your profits (which in turn will finally make your father learn to love you).

Why Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most common form of hosting because it is inexpensive compared to the other options. There are of course advantages to other hosting solutions – such as virtual or dedicated hosting – but the majority of businesses will get adequate service within a shared environment.

Three of the basic parameters to review when you’re looking at shared hosting that should meet most of the needs of entrepreneurial or SMB sites:

Cost – Cost is typically charged per year at a discounted rate, although you can also go month by month with most services. Cost is a major advantage of sharing.

Scaling – Scaling is a major concern when you look into any hosting package. You need to make sure that you can grow as necessary without being held back by your plan. Make sure it will be easy to shift to a more sophisticated solution if your needs start to exceed the parameters of your initial choice. The least expensive shared package hosts provide will have less bandwidth, storage, and features than a more expensive one. Make sure you understand how to upgrade quickly if you are getting ready to run a marketing campaign or release a new product that could mean a big influx of traffic to your site (with potentially higher bandwidth needs, etc.).

Features – You should have access to a wide spread of features with your shared hosting account. You may, for instance, have access to one-click installation of scripts. Scripts are add-ons that give your website additional functionalities through standardized templates (again, a CMS will provide these features as well via its modules or plugins, which are specifically designed to fit the CMS).

System Administration – The host will provide system administration for your site along with the others. In other words, you will not have what’s called “root” access to the server. Instead, the deepest access you will have will be at the level of your control panel interface – such as cPanel or Plesk. If you are small, you will probably appreciate having that level of technical administration handled by an outside party. However, if you get big enough, you will want to have privileges to control the system at the level of its operating system (OS).

Compatibility – Generally speaking, standard software will work in a shared hosting environment (though you do need to make sure it fits the OS of the server).

No Skills – Because the system is managed by the host service, you don’t need to have high-level IT expertise to run a website. You can get a host and load your site without those skills. Again, if your site grows, you can always add levels of sophistication and hire tech people if needed to scale most appropriately.

Sharing is Caring – Sharing is considered one of the easiest and most efficient ways to express how much you care. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you don’t care about her or her order, explain to her that you’re sharing your server, and sharing is caring. If this doesn’t impress her, go into your room and loudly shut the door.

Sharing Doesn’t Always Fit

Sharing is not for every site. Larger sites will not find that sharing works well for them.

Here are three negatives regarding shared hosting solutions:

Site Performance – Your site should function reliably in most hosting environments until you get a higher amount of traffic than is typical. Large amounts of traffic can cause the site to become slower and less responsive. They can also incur higher overage fees if you’re on a shared plan.

Software & File Rules – You do not have control of a server in the same way if you are sharing. A shared server is a more communal environment – uptime and security of all businesses using it must be counted rather than just thinking of one client. Some functionalities you may want will not always be available.

Limited Resources – “Unlimited” does not always mean unlimited when it comes to bandwidth and space on the server. If you are drawing too much energy on the server –pulling too much of its strength on a regular basis – you will need to move to a new situation and often will be asked to upgrade by the hosting company to avoid frustrating other companies that are sharing the server with you.

Versatility – Shared hosting will not make sense if you require a great deal of custom software. The lower sophistication of shared hosting comparable to other solutions is something that will become of less interest as your business becomes more popular and you need more creative and dynamic ways to interact with your site’s visitors.

Reliability – Shared hosting is not considered as reliable as a dedicated or VPS hosting package is, for good reason. Reliability will always differ with regards to the quality of your host, of course – but the affordability of shared hosting also means your site is not as protected against the upswings in traffic or security breaches (below) that might occur with other companies on the server. Just as your site can suffer if it grows too fast when in a shared package, you will also be impacted negatively if another company on your server sees a major and sudden upswing in traffic.

Security – Anything involving hackers or malware – targeted attacks on a certain company or misuse of the system by another company – can be a threat to your site as well.

Control – You don’t have nearly as much control of your site in shared hosting as you do with other hosting options. This means that you will require the host’s help with support in ways that you would not with dedicated or VPS packages. If the support is not spectacular, your site will suffer.

Dedication – Sharing shows a profound lack of dedication. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you aren’t dedicated to her, explain to her that she’s right – you’re not dedicated to her or your server, that dedication is against company policy. If she says you should be, enter your room, crawl under your desk, and continue drafting your epic novel.

Summary & Conclusion

That should give you a basic idea of what shared hosting is, what your responsibilities are versus the responsibilities of the host, and some of the pros and cons. Shared is not a bad way to start out. Just make sure you know how to quickly shift to a higher-grade solution if your site experiences a sudden increase in traffic.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_web_hosting_service

http://www.webhostinghub.com/web-hosting-guide/what-you-should-know-about-shared-web-hosting/

http://www.hostsearch.com/q_shared.asp