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Reseller vs. Affiliate Programs

HostGator Blog -

The post Reseller vs. Affiliate Programs appeared first on HostGator Blog. If you’ve been looking for a way to make some additional cash by recommending products and services, then you’ve no doubt come across the term resellers and affiliates. At their core, these share many similarities, but the mechanics required for each are very different. If you’re a reseller, then you’re re-selling a service under your own brand name, but don’t have to worry about the fulfillment of that service. As an affiliate, you’re sending customers to businesses in exchange for a commission of the sale. If that’s a little confusing, don’t worry. Below we take an in-depth look at both reseller and affiliate programs, so you can decide which route you want to take in our reseller vs affiliate showdown.  What is a Reseller? As a reseller, you’re more or less operating a traditional business.  You purchase certain products or services and then sell them as if they were your own. Typically, you’re able to buy these at a discount and sell them at a higher price to make a profit. Let’s look at an example of how reseller hosting works: Say you want to start your own web hosting company. If you were to start completely from scratch you’d have to purchase physical servers, secure them in some form of datacenter, install server software, hire IT staff, build a website to sell hosting, hire customer support staff, and that’s just the beginning. Not only would your startup costs be extremely high, but there are so many moving pieces you have to get right, and that’s even before you get your first customer. But, if you sign up to be a hosting reseller, then you can greatly simplify the process.  When you sign up for a reseller hosting plan you can purchase hosting at bulk. Basically, it’s a lot of server space, which you can divide up however you wish. You’ll also get access to ancillary features like cPanel access, email management, dedicated support, and a lot more. Plus, all of this is white labeled, so you can brand it under your own company. There’s no way your customers would ever know that you weren’t running the servers yourself.  Common Reseller Program Use Cases There are reseller programs of all types, not just in the web hosting space. But, to continue our example, let’s look at a few different ways you can use reseller hosting: 1. Offer Additional Services If you’re a web developer, or currently run an agency, then you’re likely always on the lookout for additional professional services you can offer your clients and customers that will make their lives easier (and your business richer). For a lot of people, managing their own hosting can be a nightmare. It’s overly complex, confusing, and is a hassle.  As a developer or web agency, you can replace your customer’s current hosting company and take care of everything yourself. The hosting parent company will take care of the heavy lifting for you, handling things like: Server maintenanceUpdating server softwareEnsuring high uptimeHandling support requests This leaves you open to focus on your client and customer sites while earning a monthly recurring fee for hosting their sites.  This allows you to not only make more money per customer but also help to create recurring revenue for your business.  2. Start a New Company Another approach (which we mentioned above) is creating your own business.  You purchase reseller hosting, also known as white label hosting, and sell those services under your own brand. The parent web host will take care of all the technical tasks, leaving you open to focus on marketing and customer acquisition. If you’ve been wanting to get into the hosting game, then this is a great way to do so without having high startup costs.  If you do want to take this route, then make sure you read our guide to making money with reseller hosting, you’ll learn how to best increase your chances of success in the reseller hosting business.   3. Grow a Side Hustle Maybe you’re on the lookout for additional sources of income or want to monetize your blog? If you commonly answer tech questions from your friends or help them out with website issues, then reseller hosting might be a worthwhile investment. Instead of having to figure out multiple hosting companies, you can simply have them sign up for your hosting company and better manage their sites. Instead of paying a hosting company they’ll pay you for hosting instead. In some cases, you might even be able to offer them a better deal than what they’re getting through a hosting company.  Pros and Cons of Being a Reseller Joining a reseller program won’t be perfect for everyone. It can be a great opportunity, but not everyone will be ready for the work required to operate as a reseller successfully. Here are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages to a reseller program: Pros of Being a Reseller 1. Low Startup Costs When you start a reseller hosting business all you need to invest in is enough hosting space for your first customers and a website. There are no infrastructure costs, and you can keep your costs as low as possible until you break even.  2. Create a Scalable Business With a reseller business, you can expand your business near infinitely. In the hosting example, you can simply purchase more hosting as your needs grow. All you need to focus on is signing up more customers.  3. High-Quality Service with Less Work By partnering with a quality reseller business you’re selling their services under your name. If you partner with a company whose service you love, then you’ll be able to pass on this same quality of service.  Cons of Being a Reseller  1. You Don’t Have Complete Control As a reseller, you won’t have complete control over all aspects of your business. You can control most of the front end, but the back end service or product is all dependant on the company you align yourself with. If there are issues with the service, there won’t be much you can do about it.  2. Can’t Compete on Price Often, if you’re in the reseller business you’ll be forced to compete on something other than price. Most of the big players in the space will be able to offer cheaper prices, so you’ll have to find another way to differentiate yourself from the rest of your market.  What Is an Affiliate? If being a reseller sounds like a lot of work, then you’ll probably be better suited towards being an affiliate.  Being a reseller can be likened to being a CEO while being an affiliate is the equivalent of being in sales. In order to become an affiliate all you have to do is join an affiliate network for a product or service you love. Once you join you’ll be given a unique link with an embedded tracking code. Whenever you share this link and a person uses that link to buy a product or service, you’ll receive a commission. Affiliate marketing is a very common and effective way to earn money online. It’s relatively hands-off, all you have to do is share your link and drive new customers to the affiliate offer. Businesses create their own affiliate programs because it’s a great way to generate new qualified leads and customers. It’s a win-win for both the company and the affiliate. The company gets a new customer and the affiliate gets paid. Let’s look at a quick example: One of the most well-known and widely used affiliate programs is Amazon Associates. You join their affiliate program and you’ll have access to a unique tracking code. Then, let’s say you’re writing a blog post about the best power tools for new dads. Any time you mention a product they sell you link to that product on the Amazon store with your unique link. Whenever a customer clicks on that link, a tracking cookie will activate on their browser. For anything they purchase within that window, you’ll receive a commission of the total sale price.  The same goes for most other affiliate networks. The buyer window might differ, but the process remains the same.  If you’re interested in becoming a hosting affiliate, then there’s a great affiliate program right here at HostGator. Once you sign up as an affiliate you’ll be able to recommend high-quality hosting to your readers. Drive clicks, make sales, and receive a commission.  Finding Success as an Affiliate There are multiple paths to success as an affiliate. Whether you want to create an entire site dedicated to affiliate marketing, sell affiliate products through an email list, or simply insert affiliate links throughout your content.  Here are some of the most common paths to affiliate marketing success: 1. Creating an Affiliate Review Site Affiliate review sites are one of the most common pathways to success. This style of site is dedicated to reviewing different products or services in a certain niche. They’ll often also provide related content that answers different questions and better serves the niche as a whole. Take a look at sites like NerdWallet, Gear Patrol, and the very unique 50em (which only focuses on two products).  These sites make their income from reviewing and recommending products. When someone purchases a product or service through their affiliate link, they’ll receive a commission.  2. Selling Affiliate Products via Email Email marketing is a great way to drive traffic to an affiliate offer. By building an email list of people in a certain niche, you can recommend them products they might be interested. Email also gives you the opportunity to establish a relationship with your audience and even pre-sell certain products and services before you send them to the product or landing page.  3. Add Links to Your Content or Social If you’re not completely focused on affiliate marketing, but would like to add some additional income to your online efforts, then you can include affiliate links wherever they make sense. This could be through a link on your social media profiles or stories, on a separate resource page on your website, or even just sprinkled throughout your affiliate content whenever you mention a product or service.  Pros and Cons of Affiliate Programs Being an affiliate isn’t going to be right for everyone. It all depends on the goals of your website and what niche you’re in. Here are some of the most common advantages and disadvantages to joining an affiliate program. Pros of Being an Affiliate 1. Generate Passive Revenue When affiliate marketing is done the right way it can generate you consistent passive income. Of course, this depends on how your site is structured. But, if you have high ranking review-style content that gets consistent traffic, you can expect a certain percentage of this traffic to convert into income.  2. Easy to Get Started All you need to get started with affiliate marketing is a link. Once you have your unique tracking link you can promote this to your existing social media audience, or start to create content about the service you’re recommending on your own website.  3. Low Level of Responsibility Once you’ve referred a customer to a company, your work stops there. You don’t have to deliver on the product or service. All you have to do is sit back and wait for your commission to arrive.  Cons of Being an Affiliate Marketer: 1. Commission Only Sale Unlike running your own business, even if it’s reseller based, you don’t really have the opportunity to grow your income via upsells or other products with affiliate marketing.  Sure, you could recommend other products to your audience down the line, but right out of the gate your income might be a little limited. You’re also limited by the commision that the affiliate company is willing to pay out.  2. Sales Aren’t Guaranteed There are no guarantees in the world of affiliate marketing. Just because you sent a lead to a company doesn’t mean that person is going to follow through with the sale. While there are click-based programs that payout affiliates based on the traffic they drive, most pay out only upon confirmed sales. Reseller vs. Affiliate: Which is Right for Me? Whether you choose to become a reseller or an affiliate depends on your goals.  Do you want to create your own business offering reseller services? Or create an add-on service for your current business? Then, reseller hosting might be right for you. Do you just want to recommend products and services and receive a percentage of the sale? Then, becoming an affiliate marketer is probably the path for you. Hopefully, by now you’re leaning in one direction or the other. Whichever direction you’re leaning towards, you can make it happen with HostGator’s highly-reviewed reseller hosting services and affiliate programs. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

SSRF Attacks: Difficult to Detect But Largely Preventable

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

The security of Rackspace and our customers is of the utmost importance to us, and so, when a cybersecurity breach makes the news, we always want to put it in context, and offer recommendations when appropriate. First, a reassurance: it is possible to have a secure cloud environment, provided cloud users understand the threat landscape […] The post SSRF Attacks: Difficult to Detect But Largely Preventable appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Quick Guide to Best Practices for Data Backup

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Your data is of paramount importance. No matter whether you store sensitive customer data for your eCommerce business, or you simply have oodles of cat videos, no one wants to wake up one morning and discover that their data is gone. Due to the nature of ever-evolving online attacks, it’s impossible to guarantee that your data will never be hacked or corrupted. The only way to fully protect yourself is to regularly backup your data so you can fully recover in the event of a disaster.  Follow these six best practices from The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting® when choosing your ideal backup solution. These pointers will ensure that your data will be safe and fully recoverable. 1. Use Remote Storage A critical factor in your backup solution is remote backups. Backing up your data and storing it on the same disk as your original data can be an exercise in futility. Off-site, or at least off-server, backups will remain viable even if your central server is compromised, allowing you to recover your data entirely. Whether on a physical Dedicated or Cloud-Based server, off-site backups are crucial for real disaster recovery. Get weekly tips and tricks for securing your infrastructure sent straight to your inbox. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 2. Take Backups Frequently and Regularly Prevent the loss of your critical data by ensuring backups are taken frequently and on a regular schedule. On Fully Managed Servers, your control panel gives you the flexibility to have account-level backups on your schedule. Determining how often your data is updated can help you create a timeline of how regularly your data gets backed up. Critical data that is continuously updated will need a more frequent backup schedule. A continuous backup solution would work well in this case. Whereas more static data may only need daily/nightly or even weekly backups. Then, make sure your backup solution matches your business needs. 3. Consider Retention Span After determining the frequency, it’s also vital to consider how long you will retain each backup. Keeping every backup forever isn’t feasible due to a limited amount of space for storage. Most backup solutions offer a series of retention schedules, such as keeping hourly and daily backups for a week, weekly backups for a month, and monthly backups for a few months or even years. This type of schedule allows for having multiple, recent backups in the instance recovery is needed. Good business backup practices include retaining specific backups, such as monthly or bi-annual, for as long as possible, if not forever. Also, we recommend researching your industry’s data retention standards and requirements. HIPAA Compliant solutions or those for financial institutions will have strict requirements for backup retention. 4. Keep Backups Encrypted & Protected There are instances where it’s not enough to back up your data in an off-site location. Aside from the security of the facility holding your backups, encrypting the files is an added step in data security. Backup encryption during storage ensures that your data will be what you expect in the event you need to recover it. 5. Store Backups on RAID Arrays For a bit of extra redundancy, you should store your backups on RAID arrays. Distributing your data across two or more drives in a RAID array allows for better performance, reliability, and more extensive data sets in your backup solution. RAIDs can also help ensure your stored data gets protected from the failure of a single drive.  Redundancy, also known as high availability infrastructure, is the best way to decrease your risk of going offline and/or losing data during a disaster. 6. Stack Your Backup Solutions Because backup solutions will differ in how they treat your data, it’s best to use multiple solutions. For example, Liquid Web’s Dedicated backup solution takes backups of your entire server and stores it in a secure and remote location. Alternatively, cPanel backups only take copies of your cPanel account and can be stored either locally or remotely. Local reserves via cPanel are available for every user. cPanel backups can be especially useful for those users who have multiple accounts on one server but only need to restore one account. Due to the different benefits of both solutions, we recommend backing up both full images of your server in addition to smaller snapshots of your cPanel accounts. Stacking your backup solutions in this manner will ensure your data will be recovered as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter what kind of disaster hits Need a Backup Solution? There are many backup options to choose from depending on your server type and business needs, but these six best practices should help you choose the best solution for you, whether it be remote or cloud backup solutions. The post Quick Guide to Best Practices for Data Backup appeared first on Liquid Web.

New – Local Mocking and Testing with the Amplify CLI

Amazon Web Services Blog -

The open source Amplify Framework provides a set of libraries, user interface (UI) components, and a command line interface (CLI) that make it easier to add sophisticated cloud features to your web or mobile apps by provisioning backend resources using AWS CloudFormation. A comment I often get when talking with our customers, is that when you are adding new features or solving bugs, it is important to iterate as fast as possible, getting a quick feedback from your actions. How can we improve their development experience? Well, last week the Amplify team launched the new Predictions category, to let you quickly add machine learning capabilities to your web or mobile app. Today, they are doing it again. I am very happy to share that you can now use the Amplify CLI to mock some of the most common cloud services it provides, and test your application 100% locally! By mocking here I mean that instead of using the actual backend component, an API in the case of cloud services, a local, simplified emulation of that API is available instead. This emulation provides the basic functionality that you need for testing during development, but not the full behavior you’d get from the production service. With this new mocking capability you can test your changes quickly, without the need of provisioning or updating the cloud resources you are using at every step. In this way, you can set up unit and integration tests that can be executed rapidly, without affecting your cloud backend. Depending on the architecture of your app, you can set up automatic testing in your CI/CD pipeline without provisioning backend resources. This is really useful when editing AWS AppSync resolver mapping templates, written in Apache Velocity Template Language (VTL), which take your requests as input, and output a JSON document containing the instructions for the resolver. You can now have immediate feedback on your edits, and test if your resolvers work as expected without having to wait for a deployment for every update. For this first release, the Amplify CLI can mock locally: AppSync GraphQL APIs, including resolver mapping templates and storage backed by Amazon DynamoDB. AWS Lambda functions invoked directly or as resolvers of a GraphQL API. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets used as storage for your application. Amazon Cognito User Pool authentication for GraphQL APIs, but you need first to get a JSON Web Token (JWT) from the actual service; after that, the JWT is honored locally. API Mocking Let’s do a quick overview of what you can do. For example, let’s create a sample app that helps people store and share the location of those nice places that allow you to refill your reusable water bottle and reduce plastic waste. To install the Amplify CLI, I need Node.js (version >= 8.11.x) and npm (version >= 5.x): npm install -g @aws-amplify/cli amplify configure Amplify supports lots of different frameworks, for this example I am using React and I start with a sample app (npx requires npm >= 5.2.x): npx create-react-app refillapp cd refillapp I use the Amplify CLI to inizialize the project and add an API. The Amplify CLI are interactive, asking you questions that drive the configuration of your backend. In this case, when asked, I select to add a GraphQL API. amplify init amplify add api During the creation of the API, I edit the GraphQL schema, and define a RefillLocation in this way: type RefillLocation @model { id: ID! name: String! description: String streetAddress: String! city: String! stateProvinceOrRegion: String zipCode: String! countryCode: String! } The fields that have an exclamation mark ! at the end are mandatory. The other fields are optional, and can be omitted when creating a new object. The @model you see in the first line is a directive using GraphQL Transform to define top level object types in your API that are backed by DynamoDB and generate for you all the necessary CRUDL (create, read, update, delete, and list) queries and mutations, and the subscriptions to be notified of such mutations. Now, I would normally need to run amplify push to configure and provision the backend resources required by the project (AppSync and DynamoDB in this case). But to get a quick feedback, I use the new local mocking capability running this command: amplify mock Alternatively, I can use the amplify mock api command to specifically mock just my GraphQL API. It would be the same at this stage, but it can be handy when using more than one mocking capability at a time. The output of the mock command gives you some information on what it does, and what you can do, including the AppSync Mock endpoint: GraphQL schema compiled successfully. Edit your schema at /MyCode/refillapp/amplify/backend/api/refillapp/schema.graphql or place .graphql files in a directory at /MyCode/refillapp/amplify/backend/api/refillapp/schema Creating table RefillLocationTable locally Running GraphQL codegen ✔ Generated GraphQL operations successfully and saved at src/graphql AppSync Mock endpoint is running at http://localhost:20002 I keep the mock command running in a terminal window to get feedback of possible errors in my code. For example, when I edit a VTL template, the Amplify CLI recognizes that immediately, and generates the updated code for the resolver. In case of a mistake, I get an error from the running mock command. The AppSync Mock endpoint gives you access to: the GraphQL transformations required by your API DynamoDB Local to manage your API data locally the Amplify GraphQL Explorer, based on the open source OneGraph graphiql-explorer plugin I can now run GraphQL queries, mutations, and subscriptions locally for my API, using a web interface. For example, to create a new RefillLocation I build the mutation visually, like this: To get the list of the RefillLocation objects in a city, I build the query using the same web interface, and run it against the local DynamoDB storage: When I am confident that my data model is correct, I start building the frontend code of my app, editing the App.js file of my React app, and add functionalities that I can immediately test, thanks to local mocking. To add the Amplify Framework to my app, including the React extensions, I use Yarn: yarn add aws-amplify yarn add aws-amplify-react Now, using the Amplify Framework library, I can write code like this to run a GraphQL operation: import API, { graphqlOperation } from '@aws-amplify/api'; import { createRefillLocation } from './graphql/mutations'; const refillLocation = { name: "My Favorite Place", streetAddress: "123 Here or There", zipCode: "12345" city: "Seattle", countryCode: "US" }; await API.graphql(graphqlOperation(createRefillLocation, { input: refillLocation })); Storage Mocking I now want to add a new feature to my app, to let users upload and share pictures of a RefillLocation. To do so, I add the Storage category to the configuration of my project and select “Content” to use S3: amplify add storage Using the Amplify Framework library, I can now, straight from the browser, put, get, or remove objects from S3 using the following syntax: import Storage from '@aws-amplify/storage'; Storage.put(name, file, { level: 'public' }) .then(result => console.log(result)) .catch(err => console.log(err)); Storage.get(file, { level: 'public' }) .then(result => { console.log(result); this.setState({ imageUrl: result }); fetch(result); }) .catch(err => alert(err)); All those interactions with S3 are marked as public, because I want my users to share their pictures with each other publicly, but the Amplify Framework supports different access levels, such as private, protected, and public. You can find more information on this in the File Access Levels section of the Amplify documentation. Since S3 storage is supported by this new mocking capability, I use again amplify mock to test my whole application locally, including the backend used by my GraphQL API (AppSync and DynamoDB) and my content storage (S3). If I want to test only part of my application locally, I can use amplify mock api or amplify mock storage to have only the GraphQL API, or the S3 storage, mocked locally. Availabe Now There are lots of other features that I didn’t have time to cover in this post, the best way to learn is to be curious and get hands on! You can start using Amplify by following the get-started tutorial. Being able to mock and test your application locally can help you build and refine your ideas faster, let us know what you think in the Amplify CLI GitHub repository. — Danilo

4 Best Free WordPress Themes for Food Bloggers

HostGator Blog -

The post 4 Best Free WordPress Themes for Food Bloggers appeared first on HostGator Blog. Got a taste for food blogging? A good blog theme is a key ingredient in your food blog’s success. The right theme showcases your food posts, recipes, and photos beautifully, and it can also do more. A theme that supports WooCommerce or another e-commerce plugin for WordPress makes it easier for you to earn money from your blog. An SEO-friendly theme makes it easier for new readers to find your blog. And a theme that’s designed to be lightweight and responsive will load fast, even on mobile phones, to ensure that the people who find your blog will stick around and enjoy your content. If your current food blog theme isn’t doing all those things, it may be time to replace it with something fresher. Here are four WordPress themes we like for foodies because they serve up great features for free. Best WordPress Themes for Food Blogs Is your food blog’s theme past its expiration date? Here are four fresh, free options.   1. MH Food Magazine This food-focused child theme of MH Magazine gives you the visual equivalent of a beautifully laid out buffet, with a three-column home page that features an array of five featured post images above the fold, topped by a 4-column header with thumbnail images and post headlines. The mobile display is a single column that alternates between full-width featured images with post excerpts and smaller thumbnail images in columns or arrays. MH Food Magazine is a visually busy theme, but if you have a lot of content already in your blog archives or if you’re generating new posts at a rapid pace, this theme will let you show off a lot of it to your readers at a glance. Add the Contact Form 7 plugin, customize your widgets, or display ads with the tools in the free version. The premium version is the parent theme, MH Magazine ($49). It offers fully customizable design elements, 26 widget locations, a news ticker, and extensive support.   2. Recipe Lite Recipe Lite from SKT Themes is a Gutenberg-compatible theme that serves up a professional look with modular editing capabilities so you don’t need to code to get the look you want. Recipe Lite’s desktop display features a three-image slider banner over a row of three featured images for your posts. Category sections follow, along with a newsletter sign-up form, a recent posts image grid, and a sidebar with a bio section and social media links. The display switches to a single column for smartphones. The free version of Recipe Lite is a good-looking theme that’s well suited for bloggers who have a lot of recipes or posts to archive. The pro version ($39) adds hundreds of Google font options, color and layout options, email and Skype support, and shortcodes you can use to add photo galleries, testimonials, flipboxes, and other elements.   3. Food Recipes This image-heavy theme from Faster Themes skips the trendy slider banner in favor of a two-column desktop layout that features four images above the fold next to the sidebar. The background is customizable, so you can use an image or keep things plain to make your featured post images stand out more. Food Recipes really shines on smartphones, where its single-column, uncluttered display makes it a good choice for bloggers whose readers use their phones to display recipes while they cook. The pro version of Food Recipes ($39) adds 1-click updates, six color scheme options, super-fast page loads, WooCommerce compatibility, and Google Fonts.   4. Foodies Foodies from Indigo Themes keeps the focus on the food. The homepage displays an array of 3 or 4 columns (single column on smartphones) of featured photos that invite readers to explore your recipes and posts. The recipe image grid calls to mind the vintage photo recipe cards of the 1970s, although the theme’s tone is fresh and modern. The free version of Foodies is SEO-friendly and designed with affiliate marketing in mind. It gives you full control of theme colors, supports left-to-right language translation, and is responsive and fast-loading. Foodies Pro ($49) adds an SEO-friendly recipe post template for easy formatting, filters for sorting posts and recipes, and AJAX-powered posts that display individual recipes over the homepage or category page quickly, without taking time to refresh the whole page.     Choosing a Food Blog Theme that Suits Your Taste Most theme publishers offer a live demo view of their themes, although you may have to view them on both a computer and a smartphone to see how they’ll look on each type of device. (Some, but not all, live previews will let you choose different device display options on your computer.) If you like the way a theme looks in live previews, the next step is to download it and try it out with your own blog content on as many devices as you can access. It’s a wise move to do this with a few themes you like before you make a decision. That’s because you can’t get a true sense of how the theme will work for your food blog until you try it with your posts and photos. While you’re trying out your shortlisted themes, ask yourself how well they support your goals for your blog, how well they support the way your readers use your content, and how fast they load your content. If most of your readers follow your recipes at home on their phones, a theme that displays recipe posts clearly, without requiring multiple taps or slides, is a must. If you plan to sell subscriptions or products on your blog, your theme needs to be compatible with WooCommerce or other plugins. And every blog needs to load fast for SEO and readership. Once you pick a theme, ask your readers what they think of it and listen to their feedback. Like a recipe that needs adjusting to taste just right, your new theme may need some tweaks to keep your readers happy. Keep listening and adjusting as needed and your fans will keep coming back to see what you serve up next. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Accelerating the Value of Cloud, Anywhere: Rackspace at VMworld

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Hybrid and multi-cloud will be the hot topics of conversation at VMworld 2019, as organizations increasingly come to understand that they must be able to run applications and access data everywhere and anywhere for the best user experience and business value. That often means enabling both public and private clouds, with access to on-premise and […] The post Accelerating the Value of Cloud, Anywhere: Rackspace at VMworld appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

How To Get The Best Headshots And Professional Photos For Your Website

Liquid Web Official Blog -

As more professionals leave corporate America, opting for self-employment, freelance life, and entrepreneurship, micro business and personal brand sites are popping up left and right. While we at Liquid Web champion small business owners, we also cringe when faced with sites that have poor imagery. The quality of photos, images, and graphics on a website can either elevate a personal brand and emphasize professionalism or drag it down and make it look like amateur hour. Headshots are the most important photos on a personal brand website. Unfortunately, most small business owners don’t realize their photos are all wrong until it’s too late—until a website designer tells them their photos won’t work in the design or the design they want won’t work with the photos provided. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to receive tips on how to keep your site looking professional. Here’s the problem: In most cases, business owners hire a photographer and lets them drive the photoshoot. The photographer takes several professional headshots, crops them perfectly, and delivers a set of images that are fantastic yet limiting. While these professional headshots may work well as a social media avatar or a singular photo on a website about page, they don’t provide the flexibility needed for today’s modern personal brand sites. Five Tips To Get The Best Professional Headshots For Your Personal Brand Site Luckily, we’re sharing five things small business owners need to know before investing in professional headshots for their website. 1. Closeup And Far Away Ask your photographer for both closeup headshots and far away images.  You’ll use the closeup headshots for your social media avatars, gravatar, about page, and media features.You’ll use far away photos—photos that have context—for things like website hero images, blog images, and marketing materials. 2. All Body Parts (And Hair) Intact Ask any designer and they can tell you stories of recreating hair that was cropped out and adding missing arms to cropped closeup images to make a photo work with the website design the client wanted. Do yourself a favor and make sure some of the photos you receive from your photographer include your entire torso without any arms, shoulders, or hair cropped out. This will give your website designer more flexibility when creating your website. 3. Horizontal And Vertical Photos Ask the photographer to take both horizontal and vertical images—and when selecting the final images, be sure to select photos in both orientations. There are going to be times when podcast hosts, event organizers, and other people need a photo of you and they are going to ask for it in a square or landscape format. If you only have vertical photos, you’ll be that one person with the super zoomed-in, big face photo! Don’t be that person. 4. Photos Facing Right And Left Just as you need both horizontal and vertical headshots, you also need photos of you facing both right and left. While designers can “flip” an image to make sure you’re facing in the right direction, most people aren’t symmetrical and the flipped image won’t quite look right. When laying out content, photos of people should look at or be turned toward the most important content and having both right and left-facing photos available to your designer will improve the quality of the final product. 5. Photos Of You In Action Take a look at the websites for some of the people you know with big, successful personal brands. If you click through their website, you’ll notice that they have a mix of photo styles. They use headshots and poses photos along with a variety of photos of them in action. When working with a photographer, talk to them about getting lifestyle photos and action photos as well as professional headshots—get photos of you working, interacting with people, and getting things done. The post How To Get The Best Headshots And Professional Photos For Your Website appeared first on Liquid Web.

Googlebot evergreen rendering in our testing tools

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Today we updated most of our testing tools so they are using the evergreen Chromium renderer. This affects our testing tools like the mobile-friendly test or the URL inspection tool in Search Console. In this post we look into what this means and what went into making this update happen.The evergreen Chromium rendererAt Google I/O this year we were happy to announce the new evergreen Googlebot.At its core the update is a switch from Chrome 41 as the rendering engine to the latest stable Chromium. Googlebot is now using the latest stable Chromium to run JavaScript and render pages. We will continue to update Googlebot along with the stable Chromium, hence we call it "evergreen".A JavaScript-powered demo website staying blank in the old Googlebot but working fine in the new Googlebot.What this means for your websitesWe are very happy to bring the latest features of the web platform not only to Googlebot but to the tools that let you see what Googlebot sees as well. This means websites using ES6+, Web Components and 1000+ new web platform features are now rendered with the latest stable Chromium, both in Googlebot and our testing tools.While the previous version of the mobile-friendly test doesn't show the page content, the new version does.What the update changes in our testing toolsOur testing tools reflect how Googlebot processes your pages as closely as possible. With the update to the new Googlebot, we had to update them to use the same renderer as Googlebot.The change will affect the rendering within the following tools:Search Console's URL inspection tool Mobile-friendly testRich results testAMP testWe tested these updates and based on the feedback we have switched the tools listed previously to the new evergreen Googlebot. A lot of the feedback came from Googlers and the community. Product Experts and Google Developer Experts helped us make sure the update works well.Note: The new Googlebot still uses the same user agent as before the update. There will be more information about an update to the user agent in the near future. For now, Googlebot's user agent and the user agent used in the testing tools does not change.We are excited about this update and are looking forward to your feedback and questions on Twitter, the webmaster forum or in our webmaster office hours.Posted by Zoe Clifford, Software Engineer in the Web Rendering Service team & Martin Splitt, friendly internet fairy at Google WTA

Understanding Co-browsing: How it Solves Queries of Users in Minutes

Reseller Club Blog -

Einstein quoted “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes to define the problem and only 5 minutes to find a solution.” The above quote very much states the difficulty a customer service agent goes through a typical day. Most agents lack the necessary skills to interpret a customer’s problem, and as a result, end up giving suggestions and solutions that the customer is not looking for in the first place.  Whether the customer is interacting with your agents or with your product, in both the scenarios, the customers expect well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction.  In fact, a recent study by Accenture found that 89% of customers get exhausted because they need to repeat their issues multiple times. On the other side, the customer service agents delineate customers as – someone who doesn’t know what he/she are looking for – someone who has a vague their own needs. This different aspect of customers and customer service agents clears the void between listening to customers and identifying their true needs and expectations. It Indicates where the gap is and where improvisation are needed in service. However, when customers experience issues, they want agents to resonate with the situation they are experiencing, Visual engagement tools like Livechat, chatbot, co-browsing, video calls, webinars, live streaming on social media break this communication barrier and facilitate transparency and understanding between the customer and the Agent.  Co-browsing software empowers your agents to have real-time conversations with your customers by sharing screens – Agents can get access over the customers’ browsers and exactly see where the customer is stuck and solve the problem in one glance.  Cobrowse software a.k.a collaborative browsing ease the communication process between the user and the Agent.  The Agent can  Connect with the customer or website visitor with one click Have access over the customers’ web or mobile browser Exactly see where the customer is stuck Perform complex task on customers’ behalf Highlight sections or data field with visual cues Simultaneously work with customers on the same Web browser ( resource ) using dual cursors. Receive real-time feedback on issue resolution  Customers can Restrict the agent to see other tabs  Hide confidential and sensitive data  Highlight an element of the web resource with visual cues Ask for help anytime, anywhere due to remote support Connect with Agent without downloading any external software Communicate technical issues without the use difficult terminologies Get their problem solved in one interactive session How Co-browsing is effective in solving customer problems? Example 1: Co-browsing for Website designing Co-browsing helps in designing a website too. Suppose, a customer who wants to design a website on WordPress, so he will connect with a customer support agent.  The agent can easily help customer to understand different plugins and the usage of plugins using Live chat & Coborwse. It makes very easy to understand the process of designing a website.  Designing a website can be difficult on ownself when a customer is new to the world of technology, or even if the customer is not new it is not an easy task to design a complete website. But these visual engagement tools makes the process very easy. If need to be, the agent can access customers screen with the limited access and can show the customer how to complete a task.  Tips to Utilize Co-browsing Encourage buyers to take the next steps If they are hovering over your product for long, chances are that they comparing your product with your competitor’s product, you can show them the benefits by visually comparing the products.    2. Convert leads into paying customers  Once a visitor interacts with your service or product, the next step would be to encourage the prospect to sign up, co-browsing come in handy. Co-browsing is a quick and easy way to provide real-time assistance on how to effectively use your service and product.  Example 2: Co-browsing for Customer Support Co-browsing allows customers to connect with support agents across multiple touchpoints and allows them to  Locate mouse on the customer’s page Perform a certain action on their page  Provide remote assistance from their device. Co-browsing can be exceptionally useful in providing technical assistance, for instance, your customer can get stuck while integrating your App or software to their product: The client might not be able to follow your API  They are not able to access the document they are looking for Your implementation process might be buggy and can’t be solved without the involvement of your support agent. In the above scenarios, with co-browsing, your support agents can take hold of the customer’s web resources and guide them across your API with visual apparatus, identify the bugs and resolve it in one go – to make the third-party integrations a cakewalk for your clients. Example 3: Co-browsing in the Banking and Finance sector Taking an example of the Banking and financial sector where agents provide financial aid to customers –  their manual loan approval process was proving to be cumbersome and the customers have to go through tons of documents and forms for claiming insurance, figure out the spots that need their sign, attach the required proof, and verify it with the insurance agent. With co-browsing, the agents were able to access the customers’ document and address their queries in a single session. The security concern is also taken care of with data masking. The customers can hide confidential details from the agent by masking a particular data field. Example 4: Co-browsing in Sales An eCommerce agent can use it to escort customers through their online store, display products that customers are looking for and assist them through the check-out process. In e-commerce, collaborative browsing can also be useful to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate, – the agents can fix bugs related to the checkout process or even help customers fill complex forms to ease order placement.  Co-browsing solution is not just useful for visual interaction, but it also enables you to garner data across the user journey – you can segment customers based on behaviour, location, usage, and individual profiles to send personalized and customized messages.  In this digital era, a customer is likely to use multiple communication touchpoints to have an interaction with your brand or agent, with co-browsing, the agents can have a unified view of the conversation that takes place across the disparate systems and carries the conversation more contextually. Over to you: Rather than asking your customer to do something, Co-browsing allows you to go that extra mile by performing a task on the customer’s behalf. Co-browsing is a smart and efficient way to offer customer service as it not only aids in first contact resolution but also saves your agents time by almost 50% – This is one reason that co-browsing users achieve a 7.2% annual increase in their revenue.  Adopting new technology always helps a business to reduce human efforts, initially, it may cost a bit high, but when you will look up to the  -term advantage, it will definitely going to be beneficial and lower the costing as well. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Understanding Co-browsing: How it Solves Queries of Users in Minutes appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Rackspace’s Asia Presence Expands with Hong Kong Office

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

In Asia, the digital revolution is creating seismic change in the way industries such as retail, travel and hospitality, banking and manufacturing operate. More than ever, the potential for growth and innovation in the region demands business leaders adopt the world’s leading technologies to thrive in this increasingly complex, multi-cloud world. That’s why we’re proud […] The post Rackspace’s Asia Presence Expands with Hong Kong Office appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Vote for WP Engine in the SXSW PanelPicker

WP Engine -

Since first joining the SXSW lineup in the spring of 1994, SXSW Interactive has grown to become the premier conference for creatives, technologists, and entrepreneurs from around the world.   While the first Interactive showcase included eight panels and a few dozen speakers, today’s SXSW Interactive festival stretches across six days and is chock-full of speakers,… The post Vote for WP Engine in the SXSW PanelPicker appeared first on WP Engine.

Blogging for a Living: Earning an Income from Your Blog

The Domain.com Blog -

Blogging for a living … is it possible? Seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too, so I turned to our resident Marketing Guru, Bethany, who manages our Customer Lifecycle Marketing Program (CLM), and runs a kickass blog on the side.  Now, from 9am-5pm Bethany sits right next to me in the office, but once those office hours are over she focuses on her passion — running. Like most people, she thought it’d be nice to try and get a return on her investment in her passion, so she created a website and focuses on her blog. Her venture has paid off, literally. In addition to her regular income, her blog generates an additional revenue that continues to grow month after month. What does she know about blogging that the rest of us ought to? Person running steps. I sat down with Bethany last week to ask for her best blogging tips to help you not just start a blog, but earn an income from it, and she didn’t disappoint. Here’s what she said.  Blogging Tips to Earn an Income from Your Website and Blog Pick your niche or topic FIRST.Bethany’s blog focuses on her passion, running. Running is pretty popular so there’s a big audience for that topic. You need to make sure that your blog will have enough of an interested audience, too. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to monetize it and earn that income. So before spending your precious time blogging about the anatomy and history of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, spend time researching your options and audience size. This means doing some light keyword and search volume research. Here are 10 free tools, courtesy of Ahrefs.com, that you can use for keyword research.  Bethany’s advice: Don’t let this step paralyze you. Too much research can quickly turn into “analysis paralysis.” Give yourself a time limit and commit to making a decision within that “time box” or timeframe. This way, you can move forward with your best idea and quickly. Get the right domain name for your website and blog.Your domain name is the first thing people will see and associate with your blog and digital presence. It should be memorable and brandable. You can choose to go with the always-popular .com, the topical .blog, or any other number of SLDs (that’s the part of the domain name that comes before the .com, .net, .blog, or whatever extension you use.)Bethany’s advice: If your goal is to do this professionally and earn an income, you’ll want to choose a website builder that allows for a great deal of customization. She recommends WordPress: It’s free, it’s flexible, there are plenty of amazing free (or paid) theme options, along with tons of plugins that will help you throughout your blogging journey. Pro tip: You can purchase a domain name and WordPress hosting with Domain.com!Manage your time wisely.When you’re starting your blog, time is going to be your biggest blocker. You must use your time wisely. That’s not to say you have to do everything perfectly the first time around, it just means you have to do something instead of overthinking or wasting time on non-essential tasks.Plan your content & generally speaking, plan 1-3 months out, but be willing to pivot (just not too often). Spend less time planning and more time executing. Bethany’s advice: Pick a time-management method that works for you. Some bloggers like the Pomodoro time management method, or hybrid versions of it, but even simple time-blocking can do the trick. (She works in 20 minute “bursts” — where she sets a timer for 20 minutes and focuses on one task during that time … no social media, no checking email, etc.) Editor’s note: We can attest, Bethany knows how to get things done!Test & Learn Mentality:When you decide to start a blog to earn an income, you’re deciding to embark on a journey to become an entrepreneur. This journey requires a growth mindset and a “test and learn” approach. Oftentimes, there won’t be an obvious right way to do things. Don’t get frustrated. Instead, you’ll need to test and find out what works for you and your blog.  Bethany’s advice: Things will probably go wrong before they go right, so be patient, be persistent, and stick to it for the long haul! Person typing at computer. Ready to start your blog and earn additional income? Starting a blog has never been easier.  With a little planning, time management, and a great domain name, your blog can thrive. You’re probably not going to start off earning revenue in the six digits, but little bit by little bit your blog will grow and so will your opportunities for making money from it.  Take Bethany’s advice and choose your topic wisely, give yourself time constraints for getting things done, and learn to be ok with testing and failure. It’ll make you wiser and help you learn what’s best for your blog.  Get your domain name today and launch your blog! Any questions? Let us know in the comments.  The post Blogging for a Living: Earning an Income from Your Blog appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Feature Requests and the User Story

cPanel Blog -

…in the great state of Texas, a software company offered unto its’ subjects a Feature Request Site where they could submit their feedback about the products it worked so diligently to create and support. This site was launched in October 2012 to great fanfare and fingers flew across keyboards from across all the lands as requests were submitted. Each person was allotted votes they could use to make their greatest wishes for cPanel known, …

5 Craft CMS Plugins You Need To Know About

Nexcess Blog -

One of Craft CMS’s greatest strengths is its collection of high-quality plugins. There may not be as many Craft CMS plugins as there are WordPress plugins, but Craft’s Plugin Store, which was introduced last year with the release of Craft CMS 3, offers a satisfying range of functionality to the already feature-rich content management system.… Continue reading →

How to Add a Quick View Option to Your WooCommerce Products

DreamHost Blog -

WooCommerce is an excellent tool for creating and managing an online store. However, there are some features it doesn’t include out of the box, such as a quick view option. Considering the importance of product displays for landing sales, this is a crucial missed opportunity. The good news is that, like many such issues in WordPress, you can solve this problem without too much trouble. Using the right plugin, you can easily add a quick view option to all of your products. This makes it easier for customers to examine and purchase items – and increase your conversion rate to earn more revenue! In this post, we’ll explain the many benefits of adding a quick view display option to each of your WooCommerce products. Then we’ll share two simple steps for doing so using WooCommerce Quick View Pro. Let’s get right to it! Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest eCommerce platform.See Plans The Benefits of Including a Quick View Option for Your WooCommerce Products In online retail, a quick view display is a popup box that shows a product’s key details. This information might include one or several images, pricing, variations, and an Add to Cart button. Quick view displays are typically accessed by clicking a button or hovering over a product in a catalog or list view. For example, you might include quick views on your product category pages, so customers can see more information about individual products without having to navigate to their product pages. This feature provides several benefits to your users. For instance, since they don’t have to navigate back and forth between your product lists and individual product pages, browsing becomes a lot easier. Guests can simply open the quick view display to see a product’s details, and then continue looking through the other items on the page. Additionally, quick view displays are an ideal place to include photo galleries, zoom options, and information about product variations and add-ons. With these additions, customers can get an up-close look at the items they’re interested in from multiple angles. They can also see each of the colors or other variations an item comes in. Finally, quick view displays with an Add to Cart button simplify the purchasing process. Customers can add multiple items to their carts without having to leave your category page or product list. This enables them to continue browsing without interruption, increasing the chances that they’ll buy more products. Ultimately, adding a quick view option is beneficial to both you and your potential customers. Enhancing your product displays with this handy feature is a simple way to make your e-commerce website easier and more enjoyable to use. Related: How to Build an Awesome WooCommerce Store with the OceanWP Theme How to Add a Quick View Option to Your WooCommerce Products (In 2 Steps) With the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin, adding quick view popup boxes for each of your WooCommerce products is fast and easy. Let’s look at how to configure and use this solution in just two steps. Step 1: Download, Install, and Activate WooCommerce Quick View Pro The first thing you’ll need to do is acquire WooCommerce Quick View Pro, and add it to your WooCommerce site. It’s important to note that you must already have WooCommerce installed and activated for this quick view plugin to work. To get started, head to the developer’s website and navigate to Plugins > WooCommerce Quick View Pro. Here you’ll find information and pricing for the plugin; at this time, there isn’t a free version of this particular tool. Once you’ve purchased a license, you can download the WooCommerce Quick View Pro .zip file. You should also receive an email containing your license key. Make sure to take note of this, as you’ll need it to finish setting up the plugin. Next, make your way to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Click on Upload Plugin at the top of the screen. You can then select or drag-and-drop the .zip file containing the plugin, and hit Install Now. After the installation is complete, select the Activate button as well. Finally, with your license key in hand, access WooCommerce Quick View Pro’s settings by navigating to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Quick View. The first field available should be the one for your license key. Add your license key here, then scroll down and click on the Save changes button. You’re now ready to start using the plugin. Step 2: Configure the Plugin’s Settings to Meet Your Needs Once you’ve installed and activated WooCommerce Quick View Pro, the plugin will automatically add a quick view display option to each of your products. However, you can also customize these displays to include the information you need by visiting the plugin’s settings. First, you’ll want to decide how your customers will open the quick view displays. You can use a button, enable the quick view to open when a customer clicks on the product image or name , or both. Leaving both of these options unchecked will disable the quick view displays entirely. The two fields below the Opening the Quick View check boxes will help you customize your Quick View button with your own text. You can also choose to add or remove the button icon. Next, you’ll need to decide what information you want to include in your popups. You have the option of an image, product details, or both. If you include images, you can choose to enable a gallery-style view and zoom functionality. Quick View Pro works great as a standalone WooCommerce gallery lightbox plugin. Both of these options are useful for customers who want to see variations on a product or get a closer look at fine details such as stitching. If you choose to add product details to your quick view displays, you’ll also need to check the box for each item you wish to include. Your options are: Reviews: These can provide social proof for your merchandise. Price: An important detail for customers who are debating a purchase. Short description: It helps to highlight features that could make an item more desirable. Add to Cart button: A button makes purchasing fast and easy. Meta information: This includes extra product information such as categories, tags, and SKU codes. Once you’ve selected all the information you wish to incorporate, your quick view displays will be ready to go. You can always come back here to change these settings, and your quick view displays will be updated automatically. By default, the plugin adds your quick view displays to your category pages and other areas where customers may be browsing through several items. However, you can also incorporate them into product pages, too. Plus, all your quick view displays will be fully responsive for mobile shoppers. Quick view lightboxes like the ones you can create with WooCommerce Quick View Pro are especially helpful for giving customers a better look at your products on smaller screens. Design Your User Experience Detailed, easy-to-view product displays are essential to the success of your online store. With quick view displays, you can point out the best qualities of each of your products, simplify browsing, and speed up the purchase process. In some cases, this might even lead to an increase in sales. Are you ready to up the ante on your WooCommerce store? Consider DreamPress, our managed WordPress hosting solution. With automatic updates and strong security defenses, DreamPress takes server management off your hands so you can focus on what you do best: selling products. Learn more about plan options today. The post How to Add a Quick View Option to Your WooCommerce Products appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

We’re Growing, Come Join Us! Rackspace Partner Program Update

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Delivering Fanatical Experience for our partners is the foundation of Rackspace’s Channel strategy, and that means we’re always working on improvements and upgrades to better serve you. As we head deeper into the second half of 2019, I’m excited to share the innovative new resources we’ve been developing and invite you to join us. Leverage […] The post We’re Growing, Come Join Us! Rackspace Partner Program Update appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Hardware Firewalls: An Overview of Benefits and How They Keep You Secure

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Security is a subject that gets more and more attention every day, and rightly so! Between our ever-growing reliance on storing our data and the disclosing of major breaches by big names across the world, there are fewer terms that hold the same weight. At Liquid Web, we take this subject incredibly seriously, and offer several products to make sure we meet your security needs. Today we’ll discuss one such product whose primary function is simply keeping things secure: Hardware Firewalls. What is a Hardware Firewall? A Hardware Firewall is a physical device similar to a server that filters traffic to a computer. Instead of plugging the network cable into the server, it is connected to the firewall, positioning the firewall between the uplink and the computer. Like a standard computer with a processor, memory, and sophisticated software, these devices also employ powerful networking components (hardware and software) and force all traffic traversing that connection to be inspected by configurable rulesets which grant or deny access accordingly. Everyone who has ever used a computer can probably tell you a story about being blocked in a firewall somewhere. As good Internet citizens, we encounter firewalls all the time, usually in the form of a software firewall running on a personal laptop or workstation. Their function is surprisingly modest. They inspect traffic as it enters and leaves the computer and, based on some simple rules, either allow or deny that traffic. Some common examples of software firewalls you may be familiar with are: WindowsFirewall UFW IPTables FirewallD A Hardware Firewall is the same except it lives outside of the server. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to get more tips for securing your infrastructure sent straight to your inbox. How Do Hardware Firewalls Work? The hardware firewall is setup differently depending on your current configuration. The firewall is situated outside your server and is connected directly to your uplink. If this is a new setup, the Firewall is then connected to your server. If this will be a new setup to a production server, a maintenance window would be scheduled to handle the physical connection. Once the connection to the server is established, all traffic to and from the server goes through the firewall, forcing it to pass inspection. This allows you to have granular control over the type of traffic you’re receiving, which is incredibly important. Five Key Benefits Hardware Firewalls Provide 1. Traffic Control The ability to decide which traffic should and shouldn’t reach your server. 2. Default Rules A fully configurable list of default rules which can be applied to all traffic. 3. Port Access Granular control to tailor rules with options like allowing all traffic to your website or ensuring only you and your developer can access SSH ports or RDP. 4. Managed Equals Control On The Fly Access to a fully staffed networking team to configure, troubleshoot, or adjust controls on the fly. 5. Additional Server Resources Access to additional server resources that would otherwise be utilized. You can even disable the software firewalls from your server and rely completely on the Hardware Firewall, freeing up valuable memory and processor for the functions and services that your business needs to continue being successful. Is There Anything Else Hardware Firewalls Can Do? Of course! Along with the powerful inspection functions we already discussed, one of the other major benefits is the ability to run a VPN connection. This connection, which is also a fully managed offering, allows a whole new level of security, access, and encryption to your already secured cluster. With a managed VPN connection, you can have the security and control to grant access to the people who need secure access anywhere there’s a stable Internet connection. Are you working from home? No problem! Are you traveling? Easy! Access is at your fingertips from any location with Internet. It’s the mobility you need to stay flexible in a changing environment. Learn more about exactly what a VPN (or a VPN tunnel) is at our Knowledge Base. What if I Have More than One Server? No problem. Liquid Web is a proud Cisco shop and stocks several versions of their hardware firewall devices. These devices are also powerful enough to handle traffic from multiple servers. Further, if at some point you outgrow one, because of our multiple model offerings, we can work with you to plan out an upgrade to the hardware so your security can be scaled along with your business. We also employ a full staff of dedicated networking professionals 24/7/365 who can manage and maintain your fully managed networking infrastructure with no issues. This service includes setup, configuration, and even upkeep in the case of potential exploits that are announced to the world. Our teams are only an email or phone call away, which leaves you with peace of mind and valuable time you can use to focus on the things that matter most.  The post Hardware Firewalls: An Overview of Benefits and How They Keep You Secure appeared first on Liquid Web.

Pros and Cons of Elixir Programming

Reseller Club Blog -

Website development has undergone a rapid change in the past few years. Over the course of its evolution, different programming languages have emerged, developed and vanished.  Nowadays, website developers code in PHP, Python, Ruby, Go, and Rust as a rule. Yet, technological evolution never stops, and new programming languages emerge all the time.  One of the most interesting and advanced young programming languages used for website development is Elixir. The aim of this article is to educate you about Elixir,  its advantages, disadvantages and what this coding language with a mystical name has in store for website developers. What is Elixir? Elixir is a programming language created in 2011 by José Valim. Its author previously worked on creating Ruby on Rails, which is currently one of the top global coding languages. Roughly speaking, Elixir is an advancement of Erlang. Yet, this language is different from Ruby and Erlang in many ways. Elixir is a functional language (its flow resembles mathematical functions), created for the purpose of building scalable and maintainable web applications. This coding language leverages Erlang VM that is used for distributed and fault-tolerant systems and running low latency. To put it simply, Erlang VM perfectly supports systems that consist of many networked computers that should pass big volumes of data to each other with very small delays and work uninterruptedly if one or a few of them experience some failures.  Elixir developers work with the Phoenix framework in most cases. Phoenix borrows some of the top features of Ruby on Rails and takes them to a whole new level of performance. Thanks to Phoenix which also runs on the powerful Erlang VM, Elixir developers are able to crank up speed and maintainability without compromising quality. Benefits and Drawbacks of Elixir Over the years, Elixir developed into a dynamic language that programmers all over the world have come to love. If in 2014, there was only one conference on Elixir, in 2019 there is already a schedule of 13 big events that take place all over the globe. Moreover, the number of attendees of the two most popular conferences, ElixirConf US and ElixirConf EU, has more than tripled over these years. Now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits this coding language offers now.  Advantages of Elixir Scalability An application, built with Elixir, is executed in the frames of small isolated processes. Any information is transferred via messages. Since Elixir is built on top of Erlang, it copes with the task most languages struggle with i.e it does a lot of things at the same time.  For instance, if you have a service that aggregates many other services at the same time, you can gather all of the responses from those services simultaneously and respond quickly. Collecting responses sequentially would take much longer. Functionality Elixir makes coding web solutions easier and faster. Since Elixir is a functional language, it has no classes. There are only modules with module functions in its code. Compared to Ruby, Elixir is less abstract and simpler. Elixir forces you to deliver a simpler solution when searching for ways to get things done.  Simple is always better, as you get more places where errors can potentially occur. As a result, you get products that are easier to review and maintain. What’s more, extending, refactoring and improving products, built with Elixir, is easier compared to those built with other languages as well. Concurrency Concurrency is the ability of multiple processes to run simultaneously but. independently. In many cases, concurrency negatively influences the performance of the application. However, it is not the case with Elixir. Concurrency in Elixir is easier than one would normally expect due to the Erlang VM (BEAM).  Elixir concurrency model relies on ‘Actors’, a contained process that communicates with other processes through messaging. It all means that apps built using this programming language can handle multiple connections that should work simultaneously better than apps built using other programming languages. Interactivity Elixir allows developers to use auto-complete, debug, reload code, and format their documentation thanks to the tool like IEx. IEx is an interactive shell of Elixir. IEx provides developers with a large number of helpers that one can access by typing h() into the shell. Interactive Elixir mode allows you to type in any Elixir expression and get its results. Fault tolerance Elixir is more fault-tolerant than similar programming languages like Ruby, Java, Python, etc. When it comes to error resistance, Elixir is one of the strongest systems you can currently find. When a failure happens, Elixir supervisors come to the rescue and assist in describing how to take an action that will ensure complete recovery. United, Elixir supervisors build up a hierarchical process structure, also known as a supervision tree. A supervision tree ensures smooth performance of apps and their fault tolerance. Opportunities Being relatively new, Elixir offers a lot of opportunities for developers who master it well. With many programming languages, it happens so that the pool of talent is larger than the offering of competitive jobs.  It is not a thing with Elixir. Being relatively new, this coding language guarantees great opportunities for developers who master it skillfully. Top Elixir developers can find a lot of great opportunities to work on exciting innovative projects. Disadvantages of Elixir There is no perfect coding language so far, and Elixir is not an exception. Let’s review its major drawbacks that prevent some programmers from using it for their projects. Immature ecosystem Elixir is quite a young programming language. For this reason, Elixir ecosystem is far from being perfect and complete so far. Before you decide to build your project with Elixir, check out if there are libraries available for all the services you are going to work with. Chances are, you will have to build your own libraries in many cases. Small community Elixir’s community is small compared to the communities of long-established popular coding languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Kave, etc. Some developers still share a belief that Elixir is a niche language that will not go mainstream. Elixir has a small open source community, so getting support may be hard.  It might also be difficult for a business to find experienced and skilled Elixir developers locally. If you decide to build your next project with Elixir, you might need to outsource the development. However, this coding language is getting more traction. For example, Elixir’s official repository on GitHub has 863 contributors, ElixirWeekly (Elixir community news) is delivered to 12,000 subscribers, and the number of users signed up for Elixir on Slack is 24,478. Functionality Yes, we listed this point in advantages and now we’re again listing it here. It’s just a reverse side of a coin. While most programming languages are object-oriented, getting used to a functional coding language might be tough.  Why Should Your Business Choose Elixir? Still not sure whether Elixir is the right fit for your project or not? The following aspects clearly showcase if your company should choose Elixir for app development: For starters, all mentioned advantages justify the use of Elixir in projects This programming language has wide applicability. Developers can use Elixir in a variety of projects, especially in those that should rely on high-performance computing power (blockchain, smart contracts, machine learning, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.), because concurrency, low latency, and fault tolerance are vital for them. The Elixir ecosystem has many great projects. You can easily find inspiration for your future ones. Elixir is a relatively easy programming language to use. Its syntax is clean and understandable which makes it possible to write shorter code. Even if your current team is not familiar with it, it will not take a lot of time to learn Elixir. Final Thoughts All in all, there are several downsides to using Elixir programming language. Yet, this young coding language has too many advantages and offers potential benefits to be left out. Many developers learn Elixir to keep up with the times and technology development. Even experienced Ruby, PHP, Java, and other developers turn to Elixir in many cases.  Elixir is a good choice for many projects, where comprehensible syntax, fast performance, high stability, and error tolerance matter the most. Technological giants like Pinterest, Discord, Bleacher Report, and Moz already believed in its power and used it to take their projects to the next level. Will you? .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Pros and Cons of Elixir Programming appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

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