Monday, September 25, 2017

Web hosting news and updates

Web host denies services to customers in some countries, seemingly under pressure


Resello Cloud Marketplace, an international webhost based in the Netherlands and focused on re-seller web hosting model, has unilaterally decided not to provide hosting services to Iranian websites, reports Financial Tribune.  Also included in the company website are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region whose websites will go off the host from November.

Reason? 'Sanctions by the international community,' whatever that means.

Data leaks from web hosting servers are becoming routine


A major Swedish web host, Loopia, saw its servers compromised late last month. Hackers could penetrate the database of its users' identities that included personal and contact information and encrypted passwords.

Luckily, according to the web host, hosted websites were not hacked.

With such news coming quite regularly, website and blog owners need to go for secure plans and also back up their websites.

web hosting news and updates

Lack of cloud computing expertise leads to big losses to companies. IT experts are likely to be in great need.


A Rockspace report reveals that big businesses are losing over $258 million a year due to lack of cloud expertise. 71 percent of IT bosses say, their organizations have lost revenue due to this.

Most enterprises are unable to find right experts for their cloud computing needs. The areas they feel concerned about relate to cloud and overall web security, migration and native app development.

While a big majority of IT pros are in favor of using cloud services, they feel constrained in using them effectively, mostly due to lack of expertise.

Two out of five IT experts queried in the survey said, they end up spending more time in managing their organization's cloud services than initially expected - thus leading to distraction from more impactful activities.

Good news for cloud computing solution providers, experts and aspirants, isn't it?

TLD .online is now owned by over one million websites, are you game?


The .online top level domain is gaining popularity. It is reported that it has already crossed 1 million mark.

What favors this domain ending is that it is quite language neutral and goes with all types of businesses, even personal domains. With this domain, you tell the world that this is the online address of yous or your organization's or your business's.

So, if you are not able to find a meaningful and relevant domain name for your website or blog with .com ending, go for .online!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Opinions on web hosting sites, forums and blogs can mislead you!

I did a good amount of research while preparing for the present blog on web hosting. Though I had fairly good knowledge of web hosting and related technology, scouring the web for knowledge and updates was very important part of the research.

And during that, I visited a few hundred websites, including blogs, forums, Twitter accounts and chats, FB groups and G+ communities.What I have found is a lot of deliberate or inadvertent bias in opinions about web hosting providers. I share here my key observations:

In most social media spaces, there is a perceptible bias towards some particular host or service. It is no exaggeration.

In many communities there is no moderation regarding members posting their own services. In fact, that seems to be the main motivation for becoming a group member. Many such members seldom participate in discussion. When this type of posting is allowed, there is a big chance that many members are proxies of sellers of web hosting services, isn't it?

There also appears to be good deal of sincere opinions about web hosts, domain registrars, resellers etc based on one's own experience in blogs and social networks, but that may only be indicative about the service of a particular service provider. One's location, plan purchased, basic knowledge, attitude and so many factors matter when one makes his or her opinion about a service. Even the service and plans provided by the same web host may improve or deteriorate over time.So, even when the opinion is genuine, it may not be universal and it may be outdated.

One also comes across a casual rant from a frustrated user, not on a webhosting blog or forum but on that individual's own site or social account. That is likely to be more genuine, but highly biased too.

The web is full of websites comparing products and services. They are among the most visited websites. But, they are full of bias - often deliberate. Mind it, these 'professional' websites make their living out of comparisons and so must subtly guide the potential purchaser to what they want. Coming specifically to web hosting comparison sites or blog, they have one or two articles guiding about what to care for when choosing the right host. In that article, they would sometimes make you believe that you must go for a paid and expensive plan, sometimes they'd give link of only the host they prefer, or link the preferred host with a better anchor text, sometimes they'd provide free tutorial on how to use that host's services, sometimes a discount, ... There are numerous ways you are shown the path laid with gold.

Be very suspicious about endorsements on host websites about their plans and services. Don't be swayed by the carefully crafted words or the claims made by the endorsers or their celebrity status. Even if their opinions are fully genuine, you cannot compare your likely experience with theirs as they are getting a special service due to their size, long association or other reasons.

So, opinions on the web about web hosts don't matter, is it?



I didn't say so. Opinion matters but you need to be careful. Even if you find some comparing site or forum or a helpful guy in a forum highly dependable, do further research because a bad host takes all the joy out of blogging and all the earning potential from any website. It becomes worse when you buy domain name, hosting services, themes and tools from the same host.

Individual opinions matter even more than 'expert' opinions because if nothing else they tell us what types of problems users face and one should prepare oneself against these. Moreover, localized opinions can be very useful.

If you are unable to make up your mind and are in a hurry to host the website, go for a big host and buy a small hosting plan with no frills. Don't yet use the emails and exclusive tools offered by them. Keep a back up. Keenly observe the quality of service for about six months and then analyze the suitability of the host and plan vis-a-vis your needs and take a final decision.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Web hosting news and updates: host responsibility helps, Equifax data breach and industry growth trend

Responsible behavior from top web hosts makes hate speech site owner run from pillar to post!


This virulently racist guy, Andrew Anglin, is a well-known name among white supremacists. His website, Daily Stormer, is linked with racist violence across the globe. In August, the website was asked by his domain registrar, GoDaddy, to take away the site since it had posted a potentially hate inciting article on Charlottesville racial violence. A hacker group also threatened to strike the site.

Anglin moved the site briefly to Google Domains and once he was evicted by Google, he took the domain name registration as well as hosting to DreamHost. As the news of the new site, punishedstormer.com, spread, hackers started attacking DreamHost servers and then it too dropped the site.

Daily Stormer has found a supporter in the chat site Gab where Anglin wrote an article which had to be taken down under protests. Among social networks, Facebook and Twitter have removed links and accounts of the hate sites.

As of now, neither of the sites or its variants is available on the web. However, a replica site of Daily Stormer already exists in the dark web.

Equifax data leak: the worst ever?


Credit rating agency Equifax has confirmed that its data has been breached.  Though announced now, the breach is reported to have taken place between May and July 2017 by exploiting a vulnerability in its website.

Equifax keeps personal, financial and security data of its clients, and about 143 million people mostly in the US, the UK and Canada are stated to be impacted with their data going in the hands of hackers.

This may not be the biggest data leak, if you compare with Yahoo! leak in 2013 that affected a billion accounts. What makes it worse than even that big a leak is that clients' social security details, driving license number and even credit card data seem to have been leaked - and the possibility of fraud with this data is very high. The redeeming news, if you believe the company is, The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

Web hosting industry to grow 16% CAGR for next 5 years!


This report on web hosting services industry projects that growing at 16% per year for the next five years, this industry would reach the figure of $154 billion in 2022.

That makes it one of the fastest growing stable business segment. If you believe the projections, there is a lot of opportunity for small players, especially in underdeveloped markets. If so, you can expect many issues related to security and service quality before some sort of consolidation takes place in distant future.

Web hosting industry is likely to grow fast.
Web hosting industry: one of the fastest growing!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What you lose when you host the blog free on Blogger or Wordpress

This is the bare statistics about what you get with free hosting on the most popular standard blogging platforms.

Blogger

  • You can open up to 100 blogs per Google account.
  • You can have any number of posts and pages.
  • You can publish up to 50 posts in a day.
  • The blog can have up to 100 people collaborating.
  • Individual pages should not be more than 1MB in size.
  • You can have any number of pictures in your photo folders, totaling 15GB. If you have Google Plus account, photos smaller than 16MP size are not counted towards the storage limit.
  • You can put AdSense or affiliate advertisements on the blog. As on any website, no more than 3 AdSense ads can be displayed on a page. Advertisement options are available when the blog meets some criteria and that needs approval and sharing revenue with Wordpress.
  • Since Google has servers in many countries, visitors of blogspot blogs from such countries get their country suffix as the default suffix (e.g. xyz.blogspot.com visited by someone from India might show its URL as xyz.blogspot.in).
  • You can spruce up the blog through coding. You can change the HTML of the blog though 'themes' and each post through 'HTML editor'. 
  • You can add functionality in different ways through widgets.
  • You can integrate the blog with Google Plus for an extended profile and Google+ comments.
  • The blogs are highly secure against hacking and malicious attacks. All blogs under blogspot domain get HTTPS security.
Comparison between Wordpress and Blogger blogging.

Wordpress

  • You can open many blogs with one account.
  • Has sober, professional looking themes, though the choice is limited in the free plan.
  • Plugins can add functionality. However, there are very limited number of plugins with free plan.
  • Limited customization is possible in individual posts.
  • Total storage including documents and images is 3GB.
  • You cannot upload video.
  • You cannot place advertisements. Publishing paid posts, selling links and having paid reviewed is not allowed and Wordpress can suspend the account for such actions.
  • Blog may show Wordpress advertisements.
  • Wordpress blogs are behind high security and firewall protection.
  • Upgradation is possible on payment: mapping to a custom domain is possible in free and personal plans too but you need to pay for that. More customisation, removal of Wordpress branding, higher storage space, many more themes and placement of advertisements are available in premium and business plans.  
 

Should serious bloggers look at free blog hosting plans at all?


Yes and no.

- Yes, if you feel your blog is going to remain a personal or hobby blog. Go for Wordpress.com in case you want modern theme and no frills. Go for Blogger in case you want to experiment with layout, design and HTML.

- Yes, and only on Blogger, if you want not to spend much, but you can play with HTML and you want to make money by display of advertisements.

- Yes, and preferably on Wordpress.com, if you intend to shift to self hosted Wordpress blog but would like to have a hang of Wordpress environment before doing so.

- No, if you have big big ambitions from the blog. Jump directly to Wordpress self hosted blog. In fact, you could also be looking at other CMSs such as Joomla.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

As a small or medium sized blogger, should you go for Wordpress premium or Wordpress self hosted blog?

As of end 2017, Wordpress.com has the following plans:

  • Free - Completely free and you can map it to an independent domain name but at a cost. There are many themes to choose from but very few plugins There can be Wordpress ads on the blog. Storage limit is 3GB.
  • Personal - Costs $40 or so (depending upon your country) per year. You can remove Wordpress ads. Storage limit goes up to 6GB. You are given an independent domain name.
  • Premium - Costs  ~ $100 per year. In addition to personal plan, there is more storage (13GB) and a number of premium themes are available. You can put your own advertisements on the blog i.e. you can monetize it.
  • Business - This is the ultimate plan in their store and it costs around $300 per year. Beyond the premium plan, it gives you unlimited storage space, you can install third-party plugins and have your own theme, SEO tools are available and there are some more frills.
For your personal blog, you could go for the free plan with custom domain. The domain costs you $13 a year. No additional costs but you cannot post videos on the blog except embedding videos from other places such as YouTube, and the space is so less that it can get filled up soon if you happen to post many images and audio. So this plan is neither here nor there, unless you want to run your blog as a hobby blog ever.

Premium Plan is the best available option in case you want an independent domain name, a good theme, some design customization and the provision to monetize the blog. It costs you around $100 a year. If you need a premium theme, you will need to shell out money for that (and you will not be able to carry it with you in case you later host the blog on an independent server); and if you need more space, be ready to pay some more. On the face of it, this suits most small or mid level bloggers.

Now compare Wrdpress Premium plan with self-hosted blog created with Wordpress.org CMS


For having a self-hosted blog, you will have to do create a blog using Wordpress.org and host it on a web hosting server. Or, you can first hire the services of web host and create the blog after that.
Shared web hosting costs you from 25 to 60-70 dollars a year. However this low price may sometimes have some hidden costs (most often the first year price goes up on renewal after one year) and sometimes you get minor freebies (e.g. domain name registration free for one year). Wordpress.org is completely free and in most cases the web hosting company has provision of simple setting up of a Wordpress blog to the host. So the total cost comes to around $50 a year.

This self-hosting plan looks much cheaper, and you have all the freedom for customizing the blog with your own code - even giving the blog as big functionalities as the Wordpress Business Plan would give you. In addition, you have a much wider variety of themes to choose from (about 52,000 in 2017, and growing).

There are many views here. Some experts suggest that you go for a Wordpress.com plan. That will be good enough when your blog is yet growing and you will get a hang of Wordpress ecosystem. You can then think of upgrading it - which will save you from bothering about security, coding etc etc and yet give great functionality.

Wordpress plans versus wordpress CMS self hosted blogs

The other view is that you can have a free Wordpress.com blog in case you want to learn how Wordpress functions. However, you should from the very beginning go for a self hosted blog and not waste your time on Wordpress.com plans. The plans become very expensive at the upper end but can never give you as much freedom as the Wordpress CMS gives you. In addition, the Wordpress.org community is there to guide you whenever you are stuck. And of course, you can hire a techie if you want some great makeover, which you will not be able to do with a WP plan.

Yet another view  is to have a free or lower-end plan, test the waters and if you feel that the plans are not serving you well or that you are growing faster than what Wordpress.com can offer, you can migrate the blog to a host that allows Wordpress integration (all major web hosts allow that).

All these views are valid. You must decide the path based on your blogging goal, facility with technology, multi-tasking that you can handle yourself, and your investment potential.