Why Paid Hosting is Superior to Free Hosting

Posted at June 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm by admin

If you’re thinking about starting a website, you’ll need to decide what type of hosting service you need.  There are many different options to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantages.  To narrow it down for the purposes of this article, however, the two main categories are free hosting and paid hosting.  As the name implies, free hosting doesn’t charge you, the customer, for their services.  Paid hosting, on the other hand, require you to pay a set amount each month.

At first glance you might be thinking that free hosting is the obvious choice, however, that is not necessary the case.  As you might expect, there is a catch.  After all, webhosting can’t be given away by a company if they want to stay in business.

Problems with Free Hosting Companies

There are many different types of hosting companies that offer their services free of charge.  Rather than charging their customers directly, they make money through advertising or other methods.  This type of hosting is sufficient for certain projects, but it also comes with a variety of different problems, including the following:

  • Disruptive Advertising – Almost all free hosting companies make money by displaying advertisements on your site.  Since they are not concerned with the actual users visiting your page, they often use disruptive ads that make the user experience almost unbearable.  So, for example, if you use a free host, visitors to your website may see nothing but advertisements when your site loads, and your content will only be displayed if the visitors scroll down.
  • Limited Advertising Options – Another concern is that since the hosting company is displaying ads on your site, they typically don’t allow you to run your own ads.  If you’re hoping to make money off of your page, you will be severely limited in your monetization options if you choose to go with a free hosting company.
  • Increased Downtime – Companies that don’t charge for web hosting often have to do all they can to keep their costs down, which typically translates into increased down time.  Since their customers are not paying for the service, they have virtually no leverage when attempting to get better service.
  • Slow Site Speeds – Similar to the increased down time, sites that are hosted on free hosting accounts typically respond far slower than with paid options.
  • Long Domain Names – Most free webhosting services don’t allow you to use your own domain name. Instead, you’ll get something like YourSite.FreeWebHosting.com.  This type of domain is extremely difficult to remember, and does not sound professional at all.
  • Limited Storage & Bandwidth – In order to ensure they can make a profit through advertising, free hosting companies put a variety of limitations on each account. This typically comes in the form of restrictions on the amount of disk space you can use, and how much bandwidth per month you are allocated.
  • File Type Limitations – Another way these hosting companies limit the resources that are being used is by blocking certain file types that take up a lot of system resources.  Things like videos and flash files are often not permitted.

It is important to keep in mind that free hosting companies don’t typically have all of these shortcomings.  They may even actively advertise the fact that, for example, they offer unlimited bandwidth (or any other feature) to their customers.  When you look into it further, however, you’ll find that they never account for all of the above mentioned issues.

Benefits of Paid Hosting

Paid web hosting services typically don’t have any of the restrictions or problems associated with them.  In addition to simply overcoming the short falls of free web hosting, however, a good hosting company, like InterServer, provides customers with a variety of additional benefits:

  • Exceptional Customer Support – When people are paying for a service, they demand the best customer support possible.  Paid web hosting company’s offer 24/7 technical support to respond to any site problems immediately.
  • Advanced Monitoring – In order to make sure all their paying customers are happy, web hosting companies use advanced software to monitor the status of all their hardware and websites.  This allows them to identify problems and fix them, often before there is any impact to the accessibility of the sites.
  • Upgradeability – You can start out on a very inexpensive web hosting plan, and if the site gets too popular, you can upgrade to a faster, more powerful solution to ensure your site is always ready to meet the needs of your visitors.
  • Professional Appearance – There are never any ads or other intrusive things added to your website when you use a paid host.  The only thing your customers will see is what you put up on your website, which helps to ensure you have a professional appearance.
  • Latest Hardware & Software – Paid hosting companies have to keep their hardware and software up to date with the latest advancements or their customers will move to another company.
  • Advanced Security – Paid hosting companies are also committed to keeping all the sites on their system safe from hackers, DDOS attacks and other security problems.  With this in mind, paid web hosting packages typically include a variety of advanced security features built right in.

Still Very Affordable

There is really no debate that paid hosting is far superior to free hosting, but is it really worth the money?  The fact is, even paid hosting packages are extremely affordable.  The vast majority of sites, especially when they are new, can operate flawlessly on a hosting plan that costs just a few dollars per month.  For example, here at InterServer, you can get industry leading hosting for just $4.95 per month with no long term contract.  If you choose to pay up front for a longer period of time, that price drops down as low as $3.96 per month.

With prices this low, there is really no reason to put up with all the problems associated with free hosting, or to turn down the many great benefits you’ll get from a paid host.  So, when you’re ready to get your website up and running, be sure you go with paid hosting.  You’ll be glad you did.

OpenSSL Security Bug

Posted at April 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm by admin

OpenSSL exploit and vulnerability has recently been discovered.  It is highly recommended that servers running the vulnerable version of OpenSSL (1.0.1 and 1.0.2beta) are upgraded immediately.


https://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt

OpenSSL Security Advisory [07 Apr 2014]
========================================
TLS heartbeat read overrun (CVE-2014-0160)
==========================================
A missing bounds check in the handling of the TLS heartbeat extension can be
used to reveal up to 64k of memory to a connected client or server.
Only 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta releases of OpenSSL are affected including
1.0.1f and 1.0.2-beta1.
Thanks for Neel Mehta of Google Security for discovering this bug and to
Adam Langley <agl@chromium.org> and Bodo Moeller <bmoeller@acm.org> for
preparing the fix.
Affected users should upgrade to OpenSSL 1.0.1g. Users unable to immediately
upgrade can alternatively recompile OpenSSL with -DOPENSSL_NO_HEARTBEATS.
1.0.2 will be fixed in 1.0.2-beta2.

Introduction to SSL / Secure Certificate

Posted at March 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm by admin

lock greenIntroduction to SSL / Secure Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and is a set of cryptographic protocols commonly used for  encrypting the data being sent between a server and a user visiting a website.  While most websites don’t require this advanced security, it is essential for others.  The following introduction to SLL and Secure Certificates will help determine whether or not you require this type of security, and show how you can obtain it.

What is Required

In order to use SSL, you will need to acquire a SSL Certificate (AKA a Secure Certificate) and have it installed on your server.  If you are an Interserver client, our technical staff can help with this installation.  In addition, you’ll need a dedicated IP address.  Finally, visitors to your website will need to use a modern web browser that supports SSL.  Virtually all browsers today do support it, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

What is it Used For?

This technology is most often used for websites that want the ability to accept credit card payments directly on the website.  All credit card companies require any site directly accepting these payments to have this type of advanced security *Note that you can have third party processors like PayPal on your site without the use of SSL.  SSL is also a requirement for a website to become PCI compliant, which is important for some specific types of companies.

The other reason some website owners want to use SSL is because they have confidential information stored on their website, which should only be accessed by authorized users.  The SSL can help protect usernames and passwords from being compromised, so the data on the website is much safer.

Types of Security Certificates

When looking into adding SSL to your website, you’ll have several different options to choose from.  Each type of security certificate is designed for different types of businesses.  If you need assistance choosing the right certificate for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our technical support team.  The following are the different options to consider:

  • Shared Certificates – These certificates are not registered to a single domain or company name, and are shared between many sites, typically based on the hosting company.  The advantage is that you don’t have to pay to get the certificate yourself, as you’re just part of a group that is sharing it.  The disadvantage is these certificates often trigger browser security pages, and you normally can’t access the SSL technology from your main domain name.  This is a good option if you want the added security just for yourself, but not the general public users of your page.
  • Domain Validated Certificate – This type of certificate is registered to your specific domain name.  This is commonly used for accepting credit card payments and validating usernames and passwords.  This provides excellent security for any individual website.
  • Company Validated Certificate – This option is similar to the domain validated certificate, except it is tied to the company rather than just the domain.  This can provide some added benefits, but does require additional documentation concerning the company applying for the certificate.
  • Extended Validation Certificates – These certificates actually provide added checks and validations to combat fraud.  This higher level of security is required for certain businesses that have financial transactions or host highly sensitive data.
  • Wildcard Certificates – This option provides the security certificate for a main domain name, plus all subdomains that have the same second level domain name.  If, for example, you run a lot of ‘how to’ sites with domains such as, ‘auto.howto.com’ ‘home.howto.com’ and so on, this would be the best option if you need SSL.

Getting a Security Certificate

If you decide that your site or company requires a security certificate, the first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to our support team and open a ticket.  Explain that you would like to get a security certificate installed on your server.  Our technical support team will work with you to ensure your hosting package meets all the requirements, and if it doesn’t, we’ll help you get everything setup the way it needs to be.  In many cases, our technical teams can also help you through the process of obtaining a security certificate as well.

Keep in mind; this is an advanced security technology that is not required for most general websites.  If you’re not sure whether or not you need one, don’t hesitate to ask.  We can discuss your specific situation and help you make the right decision about SSL.

 

 

Cloud Computing: Predictions for 2014

Posted at February 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm by admin

Future of cloud computingIn the previous year, the cloud industry hit a major milestone. As clearly indicated by the substantial surge in users and slew of cloud service providers and vendors now available, cloud computing went from being a buzzword to a highly feasible infrastructure widely implemented by large enterprises and small business alike. 2013 also revealed how susceptible cloud users are in terms of security. This year, the cloud industry is definitely going to aim to change that.

What will 2014 hold for the cloud computing? Here are a few predictions:

Greater Emphasis on Data Privacy

The famous NSA scandal in the U.S. coupled with new data-privacy regulations in the EU has turned data protection into a hot button issue. Reportedly, there are countless companies out there that have amplified their drives into new cloud-based services in the wake of the data security scandal. While some see it as a reason to be infuriated, others see it as an opportunity.

Service Providers Finally Seem to Wake Up to the Huge Demand for Cloud

It has been revealed by a survey carried by IBA that the strategic importance of cloud computing to decision makers, like CMOs, CEOs, HR, procurement and Finance executives, is poised to increase from 34% to 72% – leaping over their IT competitors at 58%. Since the public cloud spending is expected to augment over time, more service providers are going to understand the need to enter the market quickly.  Demand for cloud computing is likely to accelerate this year since enterprises and other small businesses have started to move production workload to the cloud. Therefore, cloud-service-providers have to create offerings that distinguish against Google and AWS to become attractive to the customers.

More Mobile Usage

The mobile era seems to have arrived, and the cloud is most definitely playing a very significant role in its progression. It does not end with tablets and smartphones. Cloud computing is going to extend to wearable technology and serve as an important platform that aids social and mobile interactions.

More Emphasis on Customer Retention

Since cloud computing has started to become more widely adopted with new, innovative solutions offered by a huge number of companies, cloud computing providers will face stiffer competition in 2014. Therefore, a greater emphasis on the retention of end customers will be required.

More Collaboration

Online collaboration is very closely related to mobile cloud computing. Workers, in the recent times, are geographically diverse. Thus, collaborative cloud computing is expected to become increasingly embedded in different business processes.

Cloud computing will continue to grow, prompting countless opportunities for businesses. Who will lead the way? Well, we can’t predict that! Only time will tell.

Interserver Ranks on Entrepreneur.com’s Top 100 .Net Sites

Posted at February 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm by admin

nettop1 nettop2Entrepreneur.com, the website of the very popular Entrepreneur Magazine, has recently teamed up with .net (powered by Verisign) to create a list of the top 100 domains with the .net extension.  We are proud to announce that Interserver.net was ranked #76 out of the millions of .net sites.  The list was made up of all different categories of .net domains including huge gaming sites like battle.net, government run sites like korea.net and many others.

The Methodology

The rankings for this prestigious list were determined by a custom formula created by Entrepreneur.com, which factored in things like total traffic, social influence and community voting.  They began by getting a list of the top-ranked sites from Alexa.com, which ranks virtually all the websites on the Internet based on traffic and other factors.  They then allowed visitors to Entrepreneur.com to nominate their favorite .net sites for consideration.

Once this data was compiled, they factored in the social influence of each site using the Klout.com score.  Finally, they allowed their visitors to rank their favorite 10 sites, and factored that into the total ranking.   Each of the top 100 was given a cumulative score based on all of these factors.  This is one of the most in depth rankings of .net sites ever.

How we Ranked

Interserver took 76th place in this list, which is something we are very proud of.  At the time of the rankings we had 3900 Facebook Likes, a Klout Score of 26 and an Alexa Rank of 20105.  While these are excellent numbers for any web hosting company, they alone could not have competed with some of the more widely visited sites on the Internet.  This means that we must have scored very well with the votes of visitors to the Entrepreneur.com site, which is the most important factor from our point of view.

We work hard to provide exceptional web hosting services to all of our customers, many of whom are entrepreneurs.  Making it on this list is an important recognition of the fact that we provide Entrepreneurs with industry leading services.  We’d like to thank Entrepreneur.com, .net (powered by Verisign) and most of all, all of the people who nominated or voted for Interserver.net for this exciting recognition.