The Hosting News

WikiLeaks C.I.A. Dump May Suggest Futile Cybersecurity

The Wikileaks disclosure from last week shows the harsh reality that IT professionals have not secured the U.S. Government all that well. It has been cracked and left wide open for quite some time now. Several hundred million lines of code were laid out by Wikileaks showing the sensitivity of the C.I.A. when it comes to hacking into many electronic devices, smart TVs, computers and smartphones. A large portion of the code has been redacted by Wikileaks due to ethics review. However, this code could be released at any time, which could show the details of the weaponized exploits at any time. Read the full story here.

A Few Things You Can’t Learn About Web Hosting from Wikipedia

Whether you’re using web hosting for a blog, website or another type of project, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the business. You can have great headlines, excellent images, perfect infographics and wonderful content, but yet still be lacking. Often, when bloggers and website owners first get started, they overlook what’s really important with web hosting. They take a Wikipedia type of approach and just provide the basics. There’s more to it than just choosing the cheapest company you can find. Have you ever tried to read an article and clicked on the link from Facebook, Twitter or a Google search only to wait for what seems like forever? Maybe the site with the article doesn’t even load or the images show up broken. Guess what, this could be your site and there’s a good chance it’s your hosting company. Yes, you can do some things to help your website load faster, but your hosting will make a bigger difference than you might think. Even big-box hosting companies will try to tell you to do certain things, but are they really telling you the truth? What is Web Hosting? While the definition Wikipedia provides of web hosting is rather good, it’s also pretty basic. They define web hosting as: “A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center.” This is very basic and to the point. As the core services all hosting companies provide, this definition does work, but it doesn’t tell you the ins and outs. It doesn’t tell you why one company is different from another or why you can’t just choose any old hosting company. Qualities of a Good Web Host A good web hosting company will provide certain qualities, which will help to separate it from the competition. There are many very good choices and some not so good choices. Not so good hosting companies don’t give you the same speed. They tend to provide slow server access, which will cause the data transfer to move slowing. For the end user, it’s the, “I clicked on an article and never read it because it’s still trying to load,” scenario. Here are some of the qualities to look for in a good web hosting company. A Website Speed Guarantee Not all web hosting companies will provide a site speed guarantee. Some will put it in writing and will tell you their servers will load up to 20x faster with a certain package or something of that nature. Don’t expect to get this guarantee in the cheapest shared hosting packages, however. Usually, you will need an upgraded shared hosting package or VPS hosting to get site speed guarantees. Excellent Reliability There is no sense in choosing a hosting company if they will not provide you with a site that will work almost always, if not always. You need incredible server uptime and 99.9% may be the industry normal, but getting 99.99% makes a world of difference. That extra 0.09% could be the difference between 100 people seeing your site this month and 100 people seeing a blank page or error page. Of course, this number could be higher if you get a ton of traffic. In fact, just 0.05% downtime in a year equals two entire days. User-Friendly Interface It may not be the most important item on the list, but all good web hosting companies provide an easy-to-use interface for users. It should allow you to add new domains easily, check your resource usage, schedule backups and set up things, such as WordPress quickly. Support Technical support is a huge way hosting companies compete today. Good web hosting companies provides 24/7 support with multiple options, such as email, live chat, phone and even social media. They should also provide a knowledgebase or FAQ page for common issues you may be able to fix yourself. Should you Worry about the Price? If you’re new to web hosting, you may think choosing the cheapest of the hosting companies offering unlimited everything is the best way to go. After all, if they all offer the same thing, why not go with the lowest price? While more expensive doesn’t always equate to better in the hosting industry, cheaper can be a problem, too. Often, inexpensive hosting will cut costs by not providing full 24/7 support or they only offer online chat for support with no option to call someone. They may also update their servers less often, which can cause issues. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great hosting. You can get excellent shared hosting for $3 per month or less, but make sure you check out the company first. Some of the things to look for with budget hosting companies, which should be red flags include: Overloaded Servers Limits on MySQL Database Access Hidden Costs Unnecessary Software Recommendations Blacklisted IPs Making the Right Hosting Choice It may seem impossible to choose the right hosting company. Bloggers and small businesses should always start with a good shared hosting package, unless they predict large amounts of traffic early on. You can test the support by contacting them and seeing how fast they respond. This can often tell you quite a bit about a hosting company. Make sure you do your due diligence and be aware of negative and fake reviews. If you want to use reviews to help make your hosting decision, look for longer reviews with pros, cons and actual customer experiences. Keep in mind, just about every good hosting company will have some negative reviews, as you cannot please everybody. Take all of this into consideration and make sure you choose a hosting company willing to help you move your blog or website to the next level. You can even take advantage of a free trial to test them out before making a long-term commitment.

Google Adds 3 Cloud Data Center Locations in Enterprise Cloud Expansion

Google has named three additional locations for cloud data centers that are part of its push to expand the reach of its enterprise cloud services with more physical infrastructure. The expansion has run up a tally of several billion so far. Google is building more physical infrastructure to compete with Amazon and Microsoft, it’s biggest competitors in the space. Google’s VP of Technical Infrastructure, Urs Holzle, spoke about the expansion plans at the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco on Thursday. Holzle focused on the company’s hardware innovation and cost controls. Other Google executives focused on the new collaboration, security, and developer tools rolling out. Read more here.

SUSE Acquires HPE’s OpenStack, Cloud Foundry

SUSE, a well-known Linux vendor, announced back in November that it would be acquiring HPE’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry assets in order to increase its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. The deal is now finalized and several HPE employees are moving to SUSE, including: Jim Meyer, VP of Engineering, Infrastructure as a Service Jeff Hobbs, Director of Engineering HPE also announced that SUSE is now its preferred partner for OpenStack and Cloud Foundry. “The completion of this acquisition is one more important step in SUSE’s ongoing growth and expansion strategy. We’re excited to welcome the many new team members into our organization and incorporate these great technologies into our portfolio. Our customers and partners will immediately benefit from the increased depth, breadth and value this brings to our enterprise-focused software-defined infrastructure solutions.” Nils Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE Read more here.

GoDaddy Suffers DNS Issue & Resolved it

Last week, GoDaddy suffered a DNS disruption due to an unidentified technical issue. This affected websites and account access for many users. The issue was resolved later on the same day, but GoDaddy did state that some users within the EU region would experience some issues, still. This came right after a disruption to Amazon’s S3 Storage Services. The issue was discovered quickly and resolved within the day by GoDaddy. They reported later that it was a DDoS attack on some of the DNS servers, which caused issues for about six hours. Read the full story here.

Report Shows Federal Government Employees Not Aware of Cloud Computing Impact

A recent report showed that 40% of federal government employees don’t know if the effect of cloud computing has been negative or positive on their agency or department. This report came from Deloitte and looked at the major issues faced with government departments adopting cloud services and data center consolidation. Less than 25% of those responding to the survey said they believe cloud computing has been positive for their organization. The study surveyed 328 government employees from 30 different agencies and departments. Read the full story here.

$465 Million in Cloud Services Donated by Microsoft in 2016

During 2016, Microsoft made quite a bit of progress towards the goal of donating $1 billion in cloud services to researchers and non-profits. Just last year, they donated a total of $465 million to 71,000 organizations. The goal for Microsoft is to reach $1 billion over three years. Along with donating cloud services, the company has helped remote schools gain internet connectivity, along with health clinics and community centers across 11 countries. They have also help to expand computer science education in 225 high schools in the United States. Read the full story here.

HPE’s $1 Billion Nimble Acquisition Increase Storage Offerings

Nimble Storage, a predictive flash storage company, was recently acquired by HPE in a plan to increase the storage offerings of its mid-range and entry level customers. A Tuesday announcement said the $1 billion acquisition will likely include an additional payout of around $200 million in unvested equity awards for Nimble. Hybrid-flash and all-flash storage products will now be alongside HPE’s entry-level MSA and StoreVirtual solutions, as well as it’s higher end 3PAR storage solution. The flash storage market alone is expected to grow by around $4 billion by 2020 up to $20 billion. HPE’s recent revenue declines will appreciate this expected boost. Read more here.

Top Cloud Providers Plan More Submarine Cables

As the cloud continues to gather more users and more data, global bandwidth needs are increasing steadily alongside. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon – the hyper-scale cloud platforms – are getting more involved in intercontinental submarine cable technology by financing the submarine cable projects for cable builders who have the technology. Occasionally, the companies will act as cable project investors or owners. Google and Facebook recently invested in the construction of the Pacific Light Cable Network, which will connect Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Microsoft and Facebook invested in the MAREA cable as well, which will connect Spain to Virginia. Read more here.

Wix Chairman Believe Rally Isn’t Over Yet tripled its business over the past year and the company’s chairman believes they are “nowhere near” finished. The first profits for the company were recorded last quarter after being in business for 11 years. Wix relies on a “freemium” model allowing customers to use free products and upgrade as they see fit for better packages and features. Chairman Mark Tluszcz believes the company should have one billion users, but they have heavy competition from companies, such as Weebly and Squarespace. Read the full story here.

WordPress Users Get Help from WP Engine with Upgrading to PHP 7

WP Engine recently announced they will help WordPress users with the adoption of PHP 7. They will be offering this environment for all of their customers, along with the PHP 7 Compatibility Checker plugin, which they launched a couple months ago. The upgrade process is pretty easy, according to WP Engine and will be seamless for all their customers. They have already gone through extensive testing to ensure all of their customers have an easy path for adopting PHP 7. Read the full story here.

All IT Hardware Vendors Hit by Fatal Clock

Cisco was hit by the clock signal flaw, which has been catastrophic, but it has been shown they are not alone. This fatal clock destroys IT Gear and has impacted other products, such as HPE, Dell, Synology, Juniper Systems and others. HPE confirmed it, just as other vendors did, recently as the faulty clock component would start to fail after 18 months of use. This will cause the equipment to no longer boot up and it will become unrecoverable. HPE also announced this problem comes from the Intel Atom C200-series processors, also known as Rangeley or Avoton. This points to a much broader issue than originally expected as this chipset is used by many manufacturers. Read the full story here.

Smaller ISPs Not Bound by Net Neutrality Transparency Rules after FCC Vote

For ISPs with less than 250K subscribers, they no longer have to comply with the transparency rules from the 2015 Title II net neutrality order. This came after the FCC voted to adopt a new order last week. Carriers with fewer than 100K subscribers already didn’t have to comply with these rules, but now the commission has changed things again. It’s expected that the FCC will roll back the entire Title II Orders before it expires in 2020. Read the full story here.

Shifting to Smaller Size Creates Struggles for HPE’s Whitman

The rising costs of supplies and aggressive cloud competition has made it difficult for HPE’s Meg Whitman to create a more efficient corporate-technology provider. The announcement came on Thursday that the company has missed the analysts’ estimates and projections for three quarters in a row. Whitman stated she pushed some executives to hard, but also stated some things were out of her control. The big problem is the competition from companies, such as Amazon and Microsoft. They are growing fast and HPE is getting smaller to become more nimble, but it’s not panning out as expected. Read the full story here.

More than 1,000 Sites Compromised by Cloudflare Bug

A security hole was found in the HTML parser used by Cloudflare, which was injecting extra code instead of just parsing HTML. Sometimes, the data injected was HTTP cookies, passwords, authentication tokens or other sensitive information. It leaked private information making is a very serious issue. Nearly any site using Cloudflare’s proxy service could have been impacted, which is rather broad. It was a very quickly mitigated attack and done within about seven hours. Read the full story here.

What Does Your About Page Need?

Having a strong about page on your website may be the difference between converting visitors and losing them to the competition. Most about pages are very boring, but they shouldn’t be. This is your story and should be interesting enough to make people want to read it. If you’re one of the many that has just thrown up an old picture of your staff and a few short lines about the company, you’ve completely neglected your about page. This page can be transformed into one of the most powerful customer engagement tools on your website. It needs to build confidence for visitors and tell them what you stand for. With the right effort, you can turn your about page into a conversion creator instead of a boring page causing visitors to sigh. Here are some of the most important components you should incorporate into your about page. Mission or Mission Statement If you don’t have a mission or a mission statement for your company, that’s an entirely different blog post. Every business needs a mission. You need to know what you’re working for and what your purpose is or you won’t know where you’re headed. A mission statement is one that will answer the following: Who are we? Why do we exist as a business? Where are we headed? What problem do we solve? Your mission statement should have nothing to do with profits or revenue. Instead, it should define the journey your company is on to improve, help or add value to something. The revenue will come, if you have a strong mission and you follow it. Your mission statement also communicates to your online audience what you stand for. It tells your audience who you are as a business and why you’re even in business. Team or Staff Putting faces with names and a face with your company is incredibly powerful. People like to know there are real humans behind the company and not just automated robots running things. You want to include a picture of your team or staff, along with a brief bio of who they are and what they do. Company Story Were you founded in a dorm room? Did you bootstrap it by starting with nearly no money? What caused your company to be born? Your company’s story, while it may seem ordinary to you, it has plenty of power with your visitors. It’s important to present you story in a compelling way for customers to learn more about you. If you’re not a skilled writer, give a professional writer the facts about how you started and let them run with it. You’ll want to include details about key employees, influencers and customers within your story. Anybody that helped shape what your company has become today, put them in the story and thank them along the way. Personality Clear your about page of all the professional jargon immediately! You want to write as if you were talking to someone about your company and let the personality of your company shine through. Your about page doesn’t need to sound like it’s wearing a three-piece suit, unless that’s your personality. If you’re a high energy person, use plenty of color and make sure your about page shows this off. It should match the tone of your company, whether casual, professional, high energy, colorful or any other. Social Media Info Where else should visitors look for ways to connect with you on social media than your about page? All of your handles should be found here and it should be easy for visitors to connect with you through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and all other social media sites you use. Contact Info You may have a separate page for contact info, but it should also be found on your about page. Make it as easy on your visitors as possible to find your information and get in contact with you as soon as they want. Include your phone number, any online chat options, email forms and even your physical address with a map. Reviews When a visitor really wants to learn about a company, they want reviews from real people. Including reviews on your about page is a powerful way to make it stand out and draw attention. You can do this very easily with the right tools and plugins on your website. It’s even better if you have specific experts in the industry trusting you and willing to put a review on your site. If you want to make your about page work for you instead of just remaining as a boring page, incorporate all of the above. Your page should tell a story, create trust and give visitors a much better sense of who you and your company are and why you exist.

Latest Chips from Intel Used by Google in Data Centers First

Recently, Google announced upgrading servers in cloud data centers to the Intel Xeon processors in five specific regions. This project is codenamed Skylake and they are claiming to be the first cloud provider to do this. Amazon announced it would be making the upgrade in early 2017, as well. Microsoft hasn’t made announcements yet, but it’s expected the data centers will be upgrades soon. This specific processor allows for higher performance workloads, such as genomic research, data analytics, scientific modeling, 3D rendering and engineering simulations. Read the full story here.

How to Crete a Great Website on a Budget

Having a good website is necessary anymore. If you’re website looks like it was designed on a budget it will not keep the attention of your visitors. However, you can design a professional website on a budget without feeling like you have to spend thousands of dollars. There are ways to create a beautiful website with plenty of function and professional graphics without breaking the bank. This would have been harder a few years ago, but web design has become easier. Here is how you can create an excellent website on a tight budget. Set and Understand your Goals It starts with your goals. Setting goals for what you want your website to look like and how you want it to function is step #1. Once you get through setting your goals, you will need to move forward to achieving those goals. Take time to look at other websites in your industry and figure out what you like about them. Find those websites with similar goals as your own and try to pull inspiration for your own goals. Websites don’t have to have the same goals and the design will not always fit with the goals, if they are poorly designed. Keep this in mind as you look into the competition and try to better define your own goals. Understand Your Complete Budget When you know what you’re going to spend on your website, you’ll be able to move forward with ease. Make sure you plan for website hosting and for a domain name. Your website hosting will depend on how much traffic you plan to attract, the type of site you will put up and a few other factors. Make sure you compare VPS, shared and dedicated hosting before setting your budget. You may also want to consider the purchase of a premium theme for a WordPress website or a site on another type of CMS. Sometimes, a premium theme is all you really need to make the function and look of your site more professional. Consider a DIY Website While you need to make sure your website looks great, it may be cheapest to do the design yourself. If this is the way you plan to go, look for a hosting company with a good website builder as a part of the package. You can also use WordPress to build a beautiful website if you choose the right theme. Hire a Skilled Student There are several skilled students out there you can hire to design your website without charging you the same amount as a professional designer will charge. This will cost more than the DIY method, but it will also cost you far less than hiring a professional design company. Hire a Professional While hiring a professional designer is usually the least cost-effective method of getting a website designed, sometimes it does fit within your budget. If you’re upfront about what you’re willing to spend, you may find a company or designer willing to work with you. It’s important to vet potential designers before you make the final decision, however. Having a good website today is a must for just about any business. You need an online presence in order to compete in just about every industry. Set your goals, look at your budget and consider which options work best for you.

Microsoft and US Air Force Extend Partnership

By the end of 2017, the United States Air Force will have moved more email accounts to cloud-based solutions provided by Microsoft. This is due to the extension of the partnership between the two, which happened recently. Microsoft provides cloud-based solutions to the Air Force including Office 365, One Drive cloud storage, SharePoint and other solutions. Last month, 68,000 users from Halloman Air Force Base in New Mexico moved to the cloud and nine more bases followed shortly after. The US Air Force has about 310,000 members and 70,000 reserves. It’s expected that all users will be moved to the cloud and most will be done by the end of the year. Read the full story here.

Hostway Now HIPAA Accredited

Recently, Hostway Services Inc., a managed hosting provider, announced they have become HIPAA accredited. HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is legislation providing data security and privacy provisions for those in charge of medical data. Hostway has now shown their commitment to providing secure and trusted services for those in need of HIPAA-compliance solutions. Hostway is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and offers web hosting, along with email services. They also offer more advanced solutions, such as managed servers, private clouds and hybrid cloud hosting. About 500,000 customers use Hostway services today. The company went through many independent audits before recently achieving HIPAA compliance. Read the full story here.


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