Monday, January 31, 2011

Linux Hosting features

Every web site on the internet is hosted on a web server that is managed through the use of an operating system, similar to how you control your computer through the operating system. This aspect of web hosting is quite often overlooked, and a lot of novice webmasters don’t even know what kind of operating system their hosting plan uses. Nowadays, if you don’t know what operating system your hosting plan uses, there is a very good chance that it runs on Linux. This is because the Linux operating system is the default choice for nearly every web hosting provider.
The cheapest and most reliable web hosting plans usually have Linux as their operating system because it is a free open source software that is easy to service and install. However, Linux wasn’t always so convenient or popular, and at one point it was only used by corporations with IT departments and in-house residents. Over the years, Linux developed into many flavors that are friendly to even the most novice user. The following are some of the most cited reasons for using Linux hosting instead of Windows.

Open Source Compatibility

As an open source software, Linux is compatible with virtually any programming platform other than those that are native to Windows or Microsoft technology. Some of the programming languages that Linux is compatible with that are incredibly popular are the three Ps -  PHP, Perl and Python. Since the operating system is open source, new programming languages can be developed around the Linux base to ensure future compatibility, and existing languages can be amended to accommodate the Linux software. This allows hosting companies to provide instant support and continue expanding their technological capabilities within an open source platform. With a Windows server, hosting companies have to wait on updates from Microsoft, and they cannot add custom developments to the operating system.
Stability and Security

Surprisingly, even though the operating system is free, it is generally much more reliable than the Windows operating system because anyone can perform maintenance on the software without waiting for the operating systems manufacturer. This makes Linux a stable solution that can be maintained by anyone with the knowledge and willpower to do so. Linux is also one of the most secure operating systems, which is another reason why so many people use it for web hosting in an industry which security is of the utmost concern. The Linux operating system effectively keeps your web site free from worms, intrusion and third party viruses that can compromise the safety of your online business. This reliable protection minimizes downtime and keeps your site up and running without any problems more than 99.9 percent of the time.
Limited Limitations

The Linux operating system is not without its limitations however, as it is not compatible with some Microsoft based software that are commonly used by bigger businesses. For example, Microsoft Sharepoint could not be installed on a Linux server without virtualization software. Fortunately, if you’re experienced enough, you can install a visualization software and urn Windows within the Linux operating system, completely eliminating such limitations. Thus, there are very few limitations within the Linux operating system, and it is easy to see why it has progressed from a private to a public solution in the past two decades.

Some Crucial Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Plan

With new web hosting businesses being born every day, and the web hosting industry (one of most competitive industries in the world) expanding at a rapid rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sift through the mountains of advertising material and sales pages effectively. Fortunately, if you use the right set of criteria in the proper order of operations, choosing the right web hosting plan or provider can still be a relatively simple process.
Knowing which aspects of web hosting plans are most important can help you save time when comparing the most essential attributes and features of each plan. The following four crucial aspects should be considered when examining any prospect of a web hosting provider or plan.
Web Hosting Platform

First and foremost, it is important to decide whether you need access to a web server that utilizes the Linux/UNIX operating system or the Windows operating system. This decision should be based on your individual website needs and the development technology you use(d) to design and create your web pages. Websites that are developed using Microsoft technologies such as ASP and VB will require access to a Windows server to function, while the majority of other open-source programming technologies such as PHP, Python, and Perl can function optimally on Linux-based operating systems.
Web Hosting Features

After deciding which web hosting platform would be most suitable, it’s best to begin comparing the most essential features between each plan. Some of the most important features to compare include the amount of disk space, bandwidth, databases, e-mail accounts, and domains allowed with each plan. As mentioned, it is also important to consider which programming languages and platforms the web hosting plan is compatible with. It is also important to look for features such as uptime and money back guarantees, as well as server redundancy and scheduled server backups.
Plan Affordability

After establishing your web hosting needs and narrowing the list of prospective plans, it’s time to begin comparing the prices of each plan. Unfortunately, the majority of novice webmasters choose to carry out these steps in the opposite order, choosing a plan based on price rather than establishing their server needs and comparing features and platforms first. If you want to ensure optimal performance and the highest rate of success for your websites, then you should never choose a web hosting provider based on price alone. Only begin comparing the prices of similarly sized plans after you have narrowed your list based on the two aforementioned aspects.
Customer Service and Support

Most people overlook the importance of having access to responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable customer service. That is, until something malfunctions and suddenly your websites are off-line or all of the pages are loading slowly. When this happens, you’ll need access to 24-hour support that is competent enough to handle any administrative tasks, regardless of what time of day or night it is. Thus, it is best to test the responsiveness of each web hosting provider’s customer support staff by calling them at random times and seeing how long it takes, and in which way they answer all of your inquiries.

why Content Management Systems affect Web Designers?

Content Management Systems (CMS) are growing extensively around the internet. They allow a vast amount of storage with the addition of tremendous functionality and customization. CMS is the next step in separating design from structure. The system began with cascading style sheets (CSS) and advanced further as a result of XML. In the years ahead billions of dollars are expected to be spent on the implementation of CMS into businesses.
Excellent Customization
A CMS are available in small or large and simple or complicated depending on business need. The price runs from very expensive (in the millions) to free with open-source CMS. Regardless, they are all based on the idea that content management allows web designers to focus on design. In the meantime, subject professionals built in a completely separate environment. The server then acquires the content, inserts it into a template and transfers it to the user.
CMS Workflow
The typical content management workflow by a web design consists of a designer creating something in whatever environment they feel comfortable with. Once the wrinkles are ironed out, it is sent to the server. If there are issues, notes are sent back in the content management environment. Concurrently, on the content side, the same process occurs. In the end, there are strict controls to prevent issues and ensure it goes to the server.
Web Designers and Content Experts
Designers are given the freedom to specialize within the content management environment. As content professionals add websites in a WYSIWYG platform, designers do what they do best: design. Content experts can add the content in a simplified manner, not using FrontPage or other website creation programs.
The good news for designers is content management systems remove most of the non-design tasks found in the standard process. Designers spend their time building templates building templates for various parts of the website. Due to the template-based environment of a CMS, changes can be made and seen by end-users almost instantly. All changes go through the typical workflow process and end in a publishing.
Content Management Systems were built to make everyone’s lives easier. Designers and content experts now have the ability to focus on their specialization and not have to concern themselves with non-value added tasks. This increases productivity while releasing various websites in a timely fashion. As content management systems become easier to use, the result will be an improved experience by the end user

CMS is Essential for Doing Online Business in the 21st Century

Whatever your market niche, a content management system, more commonly referred to as a CMS, is an essential tool for your online business.  While there are seemingly infinite choices when it comes to selecting a CMS, each offers the ability to simplify the task of managing the daily operations surrounding your website.  The top five industry and user favorite CMS systems include: eZPublish, Joomla!, Drupal, and Movable Type.
Understanding CMS Software
The overall concept of a CMS is to provide for a system which separates design from content, yet function cohesively to publish both creations together.  A reputable CMS should bring four core functions to your online venture: Content creation, content management, publishing and presentation.  Within each of these four categories is the ability for storage, organization, creation, publication and development.  Although typically used for blogs, a CMS proves to be just as useful for developing and maintaining websites, e-commerce, as well as marketing a product or service.  Most CMSs are an Open Source software system that’s based on PHP and requires a MySQL database.
Many online business owners opt for a CMS because of the ease and convenience it offers when developing or updating a website or blog.  In fact, users aren’t necessarily required to be proficient, or even understand, HTML coding or other advanced programming languages.  CMS content may be viewed as online news and entertainment articles, instruction manuals, how-to guides, and informative brochures in a wide array of formats including web content, e-documents, as well as data, media, audio and video files.
Benefits of a CMS
Besides making the task of managing a website much less complicated, a CMS also offer other valuable benefits.  One such perk is offering built-in applications such as blogs, contact management, databases, forums, calendars, mail forms, newsletters, search engine, product management and a site map for easier navigation.
Security is another benefit of utilizing a CMS.  The basic security features include: login history, content approval, e-mail verification, SSL compatibility and session management just to name a few.  Commerce capabilities are another huge CMS advantage.  Those seeking an e-commerce venture appreciate features such as affiliate tracking, shopping carts, wish lists, inventory management and pluggable sales’ transaction data information.  Finally, support is yet another benefit of using a CMS.  The power players in the CMS industry understand with the fluidity of code being updated, users must have quick access to dependable support options. As a user, you can expect to find readily available online manuals, commercial support and training, online assistance, professional hosting, and the developer community.
While the complete list of benefits far out cedes our scope here, regardless of the CMS you opt to use to make life simpler, you can be confident that a CMS is essential for doing business in the 21st century!

Increase your available swap space with a swap file In linux

You've finally configured every aspect of your Linux system. All of your devices function, and everything is configured just the way you like it. At least you think so, until you start running out of memory when you have and lots of browser tabs open simultaneously. You realize you should have specified a larger swap partition during your install. Does this mean you have to install again from scratch? Happily, no. Here's how to set up some extra swap space on one of your existing partitions.

There's always more than one way to maintain your Linux system. Instead of creating a swap file, you could instead resize and or reshuffle your partitions with parted or its graphical front end QtParted. However, resizing your partitions is a much more severe change than simply adding a file to one of them.

To start off, see how much swap space you already have. At a command line, type swapon -s (you might need to prepend /sbin/ if you're not root). The command should produce a message that looks something like this:

Filename    Type        Size    Used    Priority
/dev/hda2   partition   128044  92472  -1

The numbers under "Size" and "Used" are in kilobytes. Uh oh. On this system we've used about 92MB of our measly 128MB swap partition -- and we're not even running yet. We need an auxiliary swap file.

Let's figure out where to put it. Running df -m (short for "disk free") from a command line should produce output something like this:

Filesystem  1M-blocks  Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda1       11443  6191      5252  55% /

The -m switch we used provided us with output in megabytes. Under the "Available" column we have approximately 5GB of free space on our root partition. Let's steal 512MB of that for our auxiliary swap file. You might want more or less, depending on your memory needs, how much swap space you already have available, and how much free disk space you have. The general rule of thumb for swap size is that your total available swap space should be around double your RAM size. If you have additional partitions, and one of those is a better candidate than the / partition, feel free to use it instead.

You may have heard before that "everything's a file in Unix and Linux." Device files (like our /dev/hda1 partition) are a special type of file. What we're about to do is create a plain-jane, non-special file, prepare it for swapification, and then tell Linux to use it when it runs out of space on its regular swap device (file).

A brief word of warning. Back up your important data before proceeding. If you carefully follow the steps below you should be fine, but it's always better to be safe.

In order to create our supplementary swap file, we're going to use the dd (data dump) command. You'll need to become root to perform the next few steps. In a regular terminal type su - and enter your root password. When you're ready, carefully type:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/extraswap bs=1M count=512

replacing 512 with the number of megabytes you want in your auxiliary swap file. if= and of= are short for infile and outfile. The /dev/zero device file will give us zeroes to be written to the output file. If you want this file on a different partition, say your /var partition, you would replace /extraswap with /var/extraswap.

Now we have a file the size we want on disk, and we can prepare it for use as a swap partition. We'll use the mkswap command to make our file swap-consumable for the Linux kernel. Again as root, carefully type:

mkswap /extraswap

To turn on our swap file, we run swapon /extraswap. Now when we run swapon -s we should see our existing swap partition and our new swapfile. Also, the free command should show an increase in total swap space.

But we're still not done yet. If we reboot our machine now, our new swapfile won't be active, and we'll have to run swapon /extraswap again. In order to make things more permanent, we'll need to edit our /etc/fstab file.

First, make a copy of the file. (You'll see why shortly.) Something like this should do the trick:

cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.mybackup

Now open /etc/fstab in your favorite text editor and find a line about your swapfile that looks something like this:

/dev/hda2    none   swap   sw   0   0

You'll need another line like that underneath it pointing to your new swap file. Replace the first column with the location of your new swap file. For our example, the new line should look like this:

/extraswap   none   swap   sw   0   0

Save the file. Mistaken changes to /etc/fstab could render your system unbootable, so just to make sure you didn't accidently change anything else in /etc/fstab, run diff /etc/fstab.mybackup /etc/fstab to check for differences. That should output only the single line you added, with a ">" sign in front of it. If you see anything else in diff's output, edit /etc/fstab again, fix it, and run the above diff command again.

Congratulations! You should now have more swap space than you did before.

Was this an ideal solution? Hardly. Linux nuts would call this a "dirty hack." When swapping with your new auxiliary swap file your system will be working a little harder than when it's swapping to a dedicated swap partition. In order to access the swapfile, the Linux kernel will have to first talk to the filesystem that the swapfile is on before it can get the information it wants from the swapfile itself. When swapping directly to a partition, the kernel doesn't have to take this extra step.

In practical terms, there's a minimal performance hit from this extra step. By the time you've run out of RAM and are beginning to swap, you're already suffering a massive performance hit. After your original swap partition is full and you're spilling into your auxiliary swap file, your system should be suffering badly enough that the added performance hit will be completely imperceptible.

In order to avoid this sort of problem entirely with your next install, using Linux's Logical Volume Manger is probably a good idea, and there are other Linux memory management techniques. Of course the ideal solution is to just install additional RAM.

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Firewall CSF Configuration Linux

Now – login to your cPanel server’s WHM as root and go to the bottom left menu. If already logged in then reload the page. In Plugins – you will see:  ConfigServer Security&Firewall

The firewall is STOPPED by default – it is not running. We need to configured it, and then take it out of Test Mode.

Click on Firewall Configuration

ETH_DEVICE =: Set this to eth+

TCP_IN/TCP_OUT/UDP_IN/UDP_OUT = : These are the ports you want to leave open for your server to operate. If you change the default SSH port make sure to add it here. Also add any other services you might have running such as Shoutcast or game servers. By default most of the ports used should already be configured.

MONOLITHIC_KERNEL = : 0 Only change this to 1 if your firewall will not start – otherwise leave it as it.

LF_DSHIELD = 0: Change this option to 86400. This is an automatic updated list of known attacking IPs. Enabling this will stop them from being able to connect to your server.

Spam Protection Alerts
If you want to add some spam protection, CSF can help. Look in the configuraiton for the following:

LF_SCRIPT_ALERT = 0 change this to 1. This will send an email alert to the system administrator when the limit configured below is reached within an hour.

LF_SCRIPT_LIMIT = 100 change this to 250. This will alert you when any scripts sends out 250 email messages in an hour.

Configuration Complete – Almost
Scroll down to the bottom and click on Change to save the settings. Then click Restart csf+lfd

how to uninstall the csf?

ust run the uninstall script located at /etc/csf/ directory

The process is very simple you can remove by following command
in ssh  with Root Login

sh /etc/csf/

How to install CSF Firewall on Linux server?

You can install CSF [ConfigServer Firewall] on Linux server using below mentioned steps via SSH:

    1) Login to SSH as a root user.
    2) Execute below mentioned commands:

        rm -fv csf.tgz (It will remove any existing csf.tgz file)
        tar -xzf csf.tgz
        cd csf

    You will be able to see ConfigServer Firewall listed under Plugins option of WHM. You can easily configure your firewall settings from there. You can also configure CSF and lfd directly from SSH in /etc/csf/*

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Facebook offers peek at incoming malware attacks

VANCOUVER — The malware gang behind the Koobface malware attacks on social networks raked in about $35,000 a week ($1.8 million a year) in 2009, according to Facebook security researcher Nick Bilogorskiy.
During a keynote address at the Virus Bulletin 2010 conference here, Bilogorskiy said the Koobface gang controls a massive botnet that’s “in a perpetual state of development” and combines clever social engineering — and technological — techniques to make money from the sale of fake security software (scareware).
Bilogorskiy offered a peek into some of the malicious activity squirming through the world’s most popular social network, stressing that the company has set up a dedicated security response team to monitor and block incoming malware attacks.
While the activity of the Koobface gang dominated his presentation, Bilogorskiy said Facebook is a target of many different threats — from rogue apps to clickjacking to Nigerian 419 advance fee scams.
Most things that deliver value have risks.  Those risks need to be managed, not avoided,” Bilogorskiy said.
He said a dedicated team of Facebook staffers look for malicious apps but acknowledged that some slip through the cracks.
Bilogorskiy said the emergence of Nigerian (advance fee) fraud on Facebook was a turning point that proved that scammers were quickly adapting to find new victims.  He said the Nigerian scammers were stealing Facebook accounts and using the site’s live chat utility to chat with the victim’s friends and ask for money transfers.
“They’re usually stuck in London.  Lost their phone. Lost their wallet.  It’s human versus human.  Users get too jaded to be fooled so the scammers adapt. It’s all about good social engineering,” he added.
“These [Nigerian/419] are one of the top threats facing us.  We spend significant resources dealing with it.”
Bilogorskiy said Facebook’s security team is investing in several counter-measures to identify and block malicious threat, noting that these defenses are “invisible” to end users.  ”You only see a very small percentage of the attacks that are attempted on Facebook users,” he added.
The company has a global moderation team (in the USA and Dublin, Ireland) that’s monitoring user feedback on security and is experimenting with new ideas to fight phishing attacks that hijack Facebook usernames and passwords.
For example, Facebook can spot logins from suspicious places and ask for additional information before the login in permitted.  ”We’ll confirm your identity via cell phone and allow you to review recent logins and reset your passwords,” he explained.
The company is also testing a “social authentication” feature that displays photographs of friends and asks the user to identify the persons tagged in the photographs.  ”It’s not perfect but we’re still testing and tweaking to improve effectiveness,” Bilogorskiy said.
Also read this article by Paul Roberts, who interviewed Bilogorskiy after his Virus Bulletin presentation.

ASP .NET Web Hosting

ASP.NET is a web application development technology created by Microsoft.  Unlike PHP, Python and Perl, it is not a language, but a framework that provides developers with a great deal of flexibility.
Based on ASP (Active Server Pages) and Microsoft’s .NET Framework, it is currently used by millions of developers, webmasters and corporations around the world.  ASP.NET has a wide range of purposes and can be efficiently used to create everything from a small website to dynamic, robust web applications.  Due to its popularity, ASP.NET has become one of the most highly sought after offerings on the web hosting market.
Being that ASP.NET is so unique, one must focus on a special set of requirements to obtain a complete solution and make the most of it.
.NET Framework 3.5
The .NET Framework 2.0 is out and version 3.5 is in.  The latest version offers many new features and improvements over its predecessors, making it quite valuable to savvy developers.  .NET Framework 3.5 offers the powerful combination of ASP.NET AJAX , which offers the ability to create highly personalized, interactive web applications that deliver an optimal experience in virtually all the major browsers.
.NET Framework 3.5 also fully supports Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft’s awarding developer product, which has many new great features in its own right.  If you want to maximize the potential of an ASP.NET hosting solution, the latest version of the .NET Framework must be provided.
Windows Server 2008
ASP.NET has been out for some time, however, you will get the best performance when pairing the latest version of this framework with the latest version of the Windows operating system, which is Windows Server 2008.  Although Windows Server 2003 is still on the market, 2008 is far more secure and reliable. This will guarantee a better overall performance for your web applications and hosting environment.

Technical Experience

You want to do business with a knowledgeable company regardless of the type of service, yet this is especially true with ASP.NET hosting.  As we mentioned, this technology is very unique, and even differs significantly from ASP.  There are critical changes in the core API, changes in Visual Basics, structural changes, security related changes and much more.
Running a server equipped with ASP.NET and its associated technologies requires the dedicated maintenance of certified .NET experts.  For this reason, you need to ensure that you find a company which specializes in ASP.NET hosting, rather than one that simply offers it as a niche service on the side.
ASP.NET and Windows hosting in general is one of the most powerful solutions you will find on the market.  The platform is largely supported by software vendors and compatible with the most essential web technologies.  Because it is so different and has so many specific requirements, ASP.NET hosting tends to best suited for developers and users with special needs.  Therefore, finding the right solution is all about determining your needs and finding a reliable service provider that can fulfill them.

Datacenter virtualization vs. the cloud

I got a press release this morning from VMware that was touting the adoption of of vSphere as the virtualization technology of choice for the SMB user. Included in the press release, as usual,  were a few brief customer stories and the expected quotes from VMware executives and their business partners. The purpose of the release, I’m sure, was to raise my awareness of the success of vSphere in the SMB space, but what it actually achieved was to simply make me say “Wow. This really does seem to justify the adoption of cloud services by the SMB rather than investing in their own servers and virtualization.”
VMware lead with the concerns of a 175 employee business that had an outage that caused the loss of email and document management services for a few hours. These would seem to be two services that are leading the way in cloud-based SaaS delivery. Granted, the business at hand is a law firm, and their needs to be a rather serious look at the security and privacy controls in data being handled by a cloud service.
The SMB market is the sweet spot for the cloud services provider. There is that point where service flexibility becomes important but is continually a frustration because the cost of in-house IT. The cost benefit analysis also becomes somewhat complex; it relatively easy to factor the cost of utilizing SaaS versus hiring a large IT staff, but there is always the point where the monthly cost of the service exceeds the upfront costs of implementing a similar solution internally.
This is where the often un-factored in benefit of a SaaS provider can really shine.  Most providers are going to realize that they need to maximize their competitive advantage by staying at the edge of technology; they will be the first to rollout the newest apps, be aggressive about testing and certifying new versions before deployment, and due to the size of their infrastructures, have the ear of the software developers when potential problems need to be fixed or product improvements implemented.
The value of this can be hard to show on a spreadsheet, but consider even this simple point; software vendors react much more quickly to the concerns of a customer with 10,000 seats than they do to a customer with 100 seats. And the SaaS provider is that large scale customer who demands, and gets, the quick response and support from the vendors of the software that they deploy.

VPS Hosting vs. Dedicated Server

Shared hosting is just not suitable for the needs of many website owners.  These are individuals and businesses who cannot afford to endure the security, stability and performance issues that have been known to come along with this environment.  Those with more demanding needs are often best suited for a dedicated server or virtual private server, more commonly known as VPS.
So what’s the difference and how do you choose between the two?  First, you need to make sure your goals are clearly defined.  What do you plan to accomplish with your website?  Will it simply be a static site full of articles or photos?  If so, you may not need a VPS or dedicated server at all.  Besides, most sites are hosted on a shared server, so this is certainly an option you want to keep open.  However, if your plans stem far beyond this, then it may be time to consider a more robust solution.  Once you have established this, making a decision becomes much easier.
Key Shared Qualities
A dedicated server and VPS share many common qualities.  Both give you a tremendous level of control when it comes to customizing your hosting environment.  For example, you typically have root access to the server, which allows you to perform various configurations, install custom software applications, and reboot the system.  These are luxuries you do not get in the shared hosting environment.
A dedicated and virtual private server also provide you with a fixed amount of resources, the former can just give you considerably more.  RAM, disk space, bandwidth and other resources are made exclusive to you, unlike in the shared hosting arrangement where they are shared with other users.  This factor makes these two types of web hosting very similar in terms of performance as each are far more stable than sharing hosting.
Key Differences
Before making a decision, you should know a little more about virtual private servers.
A VPS essentially resides on the same hardware as other virtual servers.  It is not a physical server, but a virtual entity that is simulated within the physical hardware using specialized virtualization software.  Thus, even though a VPS often looks and feels like a standalone dedicated server, it is actually running on a shared server.
The unique quality of virtualization technology is that the software isolates these virtual containers into their own separate compartments, making it so that they have no impact on one another.
The obvious drawback to a virtual private server is that it offers a smaller amount of critical hardware resources.  This is because there are divided amongst a number of other partitions on the  physical machine.  As far as choosing goes, these resources should be one of the major decision drivers.  Look at this way – a VPS hosting package may offer about 512 MB of RAM, but a dedicated server can provide up to 2 GB and often more.  This is a tremendous difference that can have an impact on many of your services and processes.
When it comes to scalability, performance, security and overall reliability, a dedicated server is the clear cut winner.  This type of hosting is ideal for large content-rich community sites, high traffic e-commerce applications, or any site that involves mission-critical operations.  These are website owners who cannot afford to suffer from the potential issues a VPS hosting environment presents.  On the other hand, if your web presence has yet to grow to the point where it warrants an entire server, going virtual could be the solution that provides a happy medium.  Once your site grows in popularity and attracts more visitors, you can then migrate over to a dedicated server to meet that demand.
Price Factor
A VPS hosting plan is often considerably cheaper than leasing a dedicated server, with some packages costing as low as $20.00.  When factoring in that it can provide many of the same benefits, you could say it really delivers great value. Virtual private servers are a big hit among software developers because it gives them a more reliable environment to run their applications while small business enjoy the added dose of power they lacked in their shared hosting environment.  For large companies however, price isn’t a primary concern, as they require the most reliable solution possible.
These factors should all be considered when choosing between VPS and dedicated hosting.  Taking them into account will help to ensure a smoother deployment of whatever type of server you decide on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Web hosting control panel: cPanel vs Plesk

If you have experience with website hosting, you should know that there are various types of control panels out there. You might also notice that cPanel and Plesk are the major players in this field. In this article, we are going to have a deeper look into hosting control panel software; as well as check out the pros and cons of cPanel and Plesk.

About cPanel

Initially released in year 1996, cPanel has been around for a very long time and the web hosting control panel is extremely popular among shared hosting users. The software is originally designed by J. Nicholas Koston; and it’s now managed by cPanel Inc. in Houston, Texas. The software supports a wide range of Unix based OS including CentOS, Red Hat Linux, as well as FreeBSD.
More details:

About Plesk

Plesk, on the other hand, was released back in year 2003. The company is originally a product of SWsoft (after SWsoft acquired Plesk Inc.) but it’s now shipped under Parallels Inc; and the infamous Plesk is rebranded as Parallels Plesk Panel. Unlike cPanel, Plesk supports both Windows and Unix based operating system. Parallels Plesk Panel for Unix support Debian, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat Linux; while Parallels Plesk Panel for Windows support Windows Server 2003 and 2008.
More details:

Comparing cPanel and Plesk software

What’s good about cPanel?
Popular – cPanel is the most well-liked hosting control panel at this time of writing. Most end users (people who are using the web hosting services) prefer cPanel as the GUI is much simpler to use than any other hosting control panel.
Easy to use, shorter learning curve – cPanel tends to be easiest to learn and use among all hosting control panel. And this is not only true for the end users – even some hosting providers agreed that cPanel is easier to operate.
What’s good about Plesk?
Wide OS Supports – As said, Plesk support both Windows and Unix based OS. This give great convenience to hosting providers as they can implement the same control panel software on both Windows and Unix hosting package.
Support advance features – Parallels Plesk Panel support a lot of advance features that are not available with other control panel software. For example the Plesk has better clustering support and provides comprehensive built-in SiteBuilder software. Nevertheless, these advance features actually made Plesk hard to use and thus not welcomed by most starters.

Other providers in hosting control panel

Besides Plesk and cPanel, you might want to check out: Gnupanel, DirectAdmin, Hsphere, ehcp, Webmin, as well as IxAdmin. Just in case you need a control panel other than Plesk and cPanel, check out DirectAdmin. We find DirectAdmin is the easiest to use and it’s extremely stable due to its simplicity.

How do I fix 'Error 403 Access Forbidden'?


You are unable to access normal web pages and are greeted with the error message Error 403 ? Access Forbidden / Access Denied.


This is caused by having incorrectly specified a proxy server in your Internet Explorer settings.


To resolve this problem if using a broadband connection, you should remove the specified proxy from Internet Options by following these steps:

  1. Click on Start
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Control Panel
  4. Double click on Internet Options
  5. Click on the Connection Tab
  6. Click the LAN Settings button and take the tick out of use proxy server.
  7. Click OK
If you are using a variant of Windows XP and cannot see a proxy specified in the Lan Settings, you may have to tick the checkbox (to use a proxy) and then access the Advanced button and remove advanced proxy entries. Once this has been undertaken, please untick the use proxy server box and close all Internet Explorer windows.

Netscape users should click on Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Proxies. Ensure that you have selected a Direct connection to the Internet.

If you are using a dial-up connection, then each setting specified is specific to that connection. This is the process to specify/remove proxy settings on a dial-up connection.
  1. Click on Start
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Control Panel
  4. Double click on Internet Options
  5. Click on the Connection Tab
  6. Click on the dial up connection that you want to apply the settings to
  7. Click the Settings button on the right
  8. You can now click on Use a Proxy server and specify or remove the IP and Port used.
  9. Click OK. Click OK

More Information

If this does not resolve the issue, it is likely that you may be attempting to access a page which requires authentication. It is also possible, but not particularly likely, that there is a fault with the proxy (either transparent or one you have specified) which is causing this error. This can be checked by trying a different proxy and seeing if that one works.

We would recommend all businesses protect their online identity.

You can order Domain Privacy on any .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz or .name domain name. To order now simply visit the add-ons section of your customer control panel. If you are a new customer  click here.

How do I sign up for domain privacy protection?

Domain privacy is available not only at signup but can be added to any of your existing domains at any time. Simply contact usto add domain privacy protection. This Privacy Protection Service absolutely FREE of cost for our clients!
If you have any questions about how to add domain privacy or how it works please feel free to contact us 24/7 and one of our representatives would be happy to assist you.

Why do I need domain privacy protection?

Privacy protection substitute's generic information in place of the details associated with the domain registrant (you). If your domain has privacy protection services then your personal contact details will not be displayed in the public WHOIS database. Domain privacy helps protect you primarily against spammers or identity thieves who would use your personal information for personal gain or unsolicited purposes.

What is domain privacy protection?

What is domain privacy protection?
Simply put, this is a service provided by versionnext and many registrars to protect the domain owner's personal information. This protects the registrant from having their personal contact information displayed to the public. Whenever you register a domain your contact information associated with that domain is displayed in the WHOIS database.

Domain Privacy

After weeks of relentless searches and constant brainstorms you finally found the perfect domain name. Yes, you believe this is the "one", the domain of the century, the crown jewel, and the rarest of finds. It was hidden away deep off the coast in the forest of .com's perfectly preserved under mountains of creative word combinations waiting for you to give it the breath of life. You quickly go to to register your additional domain all the while looking over your shoulder making sure that no one attempts to steal your newly found treasure. Once registered you tuck it safely inside your horde of domains. You are waiting for the perfect economic weather to launch your domain off the port of obscurity and direct its course into the deep waters of hosting. The only problem is that in your excitement to charter new waters you forgot to protect yourself from pirates. Yes, there are scammers, spammers, fraudsters, hackers, thieves, and trolls out there that want to steal and plunder upon your treasured .com. You soon realize that without provocation you are under attack because you failed to protect yourself by adding domain privacy.

Plesk mail delivery issues to domain with disabled mail

OS: CentOS 5.4
CP: Plesk 9.3
MTA: Postfix
Plesk appears to have a bug in it where if you disable a domain mail function Plesk leaves various entries in the postfix mailertables.  For example, domain has mail disabled on it, but, Plesk leaves entries in the following mail tables used by postfix:
This is a big problem when the domain has mail hosted else where and they want to send emails to the domain via web forms on the site.  This is a very common requirement especially when the sites has contact, enquiry and sales forms sending emails to the domain.
There shouldn’t be any local entries in the mailer tables so that the mail server looks up the MX record of the domain and sends the email to the remote mail server.
This bug has been prsent for a few months now and even Parallels paid support hasn’t been able to grasp the problem:
Not only that, what is the deal with the other random entries for the domain such as: root, postmaster, drweb and anonymous.  Some are part of recommended email addresses RFC (rfc2142), however, it still breaks what we need/what to do.
Not sure at the moment if this bug only affects Postfix.  Will be testing qmail shortly.
UPDATE 25/03/2010:
Found a work around for this.
strings virtual.db | grep
Went into the Plesk control panel for the domain and checked the the domains email was disabled under mail preferences… it was.
“Mail to nonexistent user” did not have any options selected which was a bit strange.  Possibly was not selected due to migrating site from Plesk 8.x.
  • Enabled mail for the domain
  • Selected “Forward to address” and then changed it to “Reject mail to nonexistent user”
    (One or the other will probably work)
At this point the virtual.db entries disappeared.  It was still gone once mail for the domain was disabled again.
Then, to get rid of the individual aliases such as: drweb, root, postmaster, anonymous
Add new mail accounts (doesn’t need to be mailbox) for each alias and then delete them again.  This appears to remove the entries from the virtual.db file.  To make removing them all slightly faster you can create one mail account and add the rest as aliases and just delete the mail account.

Installing WordPress On A Plesk Server

nstalling WordPress 2.7.1 On Plesk

For most people out there in the blogosphere with their own  self hosted WordPress Blog, they use the Cpanel Server. Installing a WordPress Blog on Cpanel is as easy as pressing the install button and is very simple to do. However, there are quite a few who are using a Plesk Server and if you wanted WordPress installed, it was usually a case of getting a geeky friend to do it for you, especially when you had already messed it up and it needed fixing quickly.
I have produced a video of how to  Install WordPress on Plesk, although I want to write something of a transcript to make the process even easier for you at home. First things first though, so enjoy the video and I’ll see you under it in a few minutes

Plesk Control Panel

  • You need to login to your Plesk Control Panel where your domain has already been set up before hand. From here you will have to choose the Database icon and add new Database.
  • Once you have added a new DB you can assign it a name, or use the one that automatically appears there.
  • Select the add new user icon and once done, assign a name of the DB user.
  • You will now have to assign a Password to the Database User.

Download WordPress

  • Head on over to and save the latest version to your local hard drive in a new folder.
  • Navigate to where you saved the file, and unpack the Zip file to the same directory.

Editing The WordPress Configuration File

  • Open up wp-config-sample.php in a text editor such as notepad, and you will have to now change and insert the Database values you made earlier. This means Database name, Database User Name, and the Password as well.
  • Save the file as wp-config.php and remember to save the file as ‘all file types’ and not a s a text file.

    FTP Your WordPress Files To The Server

  • Using Filezilla or similar, connect to your server with your FTP login and in the local view navigate to where you unpacked all the WordPress files.
  • In the remote view, navigate to httpdocs (or possibly public_html) and then move the entire contents of the wordpress folder across to that directory.
  • This will take several minutes, as there is about 500 or so files that need to be uploaded.

installing WordPress

  • Through your web browser like Firefox, type in your URL where you installed WordPress ( and if everything worked you will come to a welcome to WordPress page.
  • Enter your Blog’s Title and your email address and click the make blog visible on Google (you do want to be found right) and then press install WordPress.
  • Success. WordPress has been installed and your username and password will appear. These will be emailed to you instantly too.
  • From here, you can log in via the button, and every time after you can do so from
So that’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and you now have the knowledge to be able to install WordPress on Plesk for yourself instead of finding the nearest geek (no offence to the geeks).

Apache Server Performance Optimization

Squeezing the most performance out of your Apache server can make difference in how your Web site functions and the impression it makes. Even fractions of a second matter, especially on dynamic sites. This article looks primarily at configuration and installation, two areas where you have the most control.

Measuring and Improving Apache Server Performance

Apache was designed to be as fast as possible. It's easy, with a fairly low-powered machine, to completely saturate a low-end Internet link with little effort. However, as sites become more complex and the bandwidth needs of different connection types increase, getting the best performance out of an Apache installation and Web sites becomes more important.
Enhancing performance means nothing if the changes achieved are only minor gains. Spending hours or even days finely tuning a server for just a few percentage points is a waste of time. The first step, therefore, is to determine how fast the server is running and its general performance level so you can work out how to improve performance and measure the changes.
This is not the first time we've discussed Apache testing (see Staying Out of Deep Water: Performance Testing Using HTTPD-Test's Flood). As was noted previously, determining which parts of your Web application are causing the problem — particularly identifying whether it's Apache or the application environment you are using with dynamic sites — can be difficult. Identifying problems in dynamic applications is beyond the scope of this article, but we will look at ways to generally improve the speed of Apache and how it interacts with other components to support a Web site.

Apache Server Host Hardware

The machine and operating system environment on which Apache is running have the most effect. Obviously, an old 386-based PC will not have the same performance as a new P4 or dual-processor model, but you can make other improvements. Avoiding, for the moment, hardware changes, the biggest thing you can do is ensure Apache is running on a dedicated server. Coexistence with other applications will affect Web server performance.
In most situations, but particularly with static sites, the amount of RAM is a critical factor because it will affect how much information Apache can cache. The more information that can be cached, the less Apache has to rely on the comparatively slow process of opening and reading from a file on disk. If the site relies mostly on static files, consider using the mod_cache; if plenty of RAM is available, consider mod_mem_cache.
The former caches information to disk, which makes a significant difference if the site relies on mod_include to build up a page as it caches the final version. With mod_mem_cache, the information is stored in the memory heap shared by all the Apache processes.
Using a fast disk or, better still, a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) solution in one of the striping modes (e.g.,RAID 0, 0+1, 5, 10, or 50) will improve the overall speed of access to files served.
Note, however, if you do go down any of these routes, a hardware, rather than software solution is the best option.
Finally, in terms of hardware, CPU power can have an impact on dynamic sites with the additional overhead of executing an application for each page accessed. Heavily dynamic pages have a higher CPU requirement.

Apache Server Host Environment

Regardless of operating system, the following optimization principles apply:
  • Keep other background applications to a minimum. If you are really serious about performance, this should even include some background processes that some would consider vital. For example, in Unix, switch off NFS, any printing services, and even sendmail if it's not needed. Under Windows, use the System control panel to optimize the system for applications and system cache, and optimize the system for performance. Make sure, of course, any required applications or services, like MySQL are still running.
  • Avoid using the system. If you start compiling applications, editing files, or otherwise employing the machine, you'll reduce its Web serving performance. If you must edit components or install software, build or edit the components on another machine and copy them over.
  • Keep your system up to date. Although a good idea just from a security point of view, software patches and updates can make significant improvements to network and I/O performance.

The Apache Server Application

Then, of course, there is the Apache application itself.
First, ensure it is built correctly with only the modules and extensions required for your Web sites. This means, for example, you can ignore the rewriting module if it's not required. The main benefit of this is a reduction in memory overhead, but a very good side benefit is that you can't accidentally enable these options and therefore reduce server performance.

Static vs. Dynamic

Flexibility is the primary concern of most Apache administrators, but flexibility has a cost. Using Dynamically loaded modules within Apache is a convenience, but using them can result in a performance hit, as the code is loaded when the module is required. Dynamic modules also have the advantage of helping keep memory requirements down.
To build in static mode, use the configure script and specify the modules you want, but don't specify them as shared (e.g., use --enable-rewrite not --enable-rewrite=shared, or use the shared option --enable-so.

Module Configuration

If you are using a static configuration of Apache, choose the modules you wish to incorporate with care. Using static mode comes at a price — the more modules, the more memory you use. Thus, a forked multi-processing module can have a significant effect on the machine's memory requirements.
Note that some items are automatically included, so you'll need to explicitly enable and disable needed modules. Also remember to include any third-party modules (e.g., authentication, PHP, or mod_perl), the Web service requires. Use configure --help to get a list of the available options.

Apache Server Configuration

Once your environment is set up and your Apache application optimized, it's time to start looking at the configuration file for further optimization tricks. A good way to start is by simply cleaning up the file so directives are limited to a few hundred, which is achieved by simply removing the comments. Beyond this, it becomes a case of removing unnecessary elements or those that fail to provide any appreciable benefit.

Simplifying the Configuration File

The first step to optimization should be the simplification of the configuration file. It will not have any direct improvement on performance, but it will make the configuration file easier to use and therefore make you less likely to miss a directive or component that needs modifying.
If you are doing any kind of optimization, start with one of the default-supplied configuration files. They are usually available in the Apache configuration directory as httpd.conf.orig or httpd-std.conf. Don't be tempted to use the high performance-std.conf file; in the long term it's not really as useful as you would think once you start adding vast quantities of additional configuration information. On the other hand, if a very fast static Web server is the goal, this is probably the easiest way to get things up and running.
If you know your Apache configuration directives, or are willing to look at the documentation, the quickest and most effective step is to remove all comments from the configuration file, as they often detract from the actual directives. You can also remove references to MPM systems not in use on the chosen platform.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fix Internal Server Error When Accessing Easy Apache in cPanel WebHosting Manager

When trying to access Easy::Apache in cPanel WebHosting Manager (WHM) or EasyApache script on the server, an Internal Server Error may occur. The following error details may be displayed.
Internal Server Error
Premature end of script headers: usr/local/cpanel/whostmgr/docroot/cgi/ Please check / usr / local / cpanel / logs / error_log for the exact error.

Opening up the error_log, the following errors are recorded:
Acme::Spork version v0.0.8 required–this is only version v0.0.7 at /var/cpanel/perl/easy/Cpanel/Easy/Utils/ line 14.
BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at /var/cpanel/perl/easy/Cpanel/Easy/Utils/ line 14.
Compilation failed in require at (eval 28) line 3.
…propagated at /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.8/ line 85.
at (eval 26) line 3
at /var/cpanel/perl/easy/Cpanel/ line 15
BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at /var/cpanel/perl/easy/Cpanel/ line 15.
Compilation failed in require at (eval 16) line 3.
…propagated at /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.8/ line 85.
BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at /var/cpanel/perl/easy/Cpanel/Easy/ line 8.
Compilation failed in require at /usr/local/cpanel/whostmgr/docroot/cgi/ line 67.
The cPanel Easy Apache utility appears broken due to incorrect Acme::Spork perl script. In order to fix the Internet Server Error when trying to get into Easy Apache, just run or execute the following script to get all perl modules checked, and in the process fix the Acme::Spork.
Alternatively, it’s possible to reinstall just Acme::Spork on the server, by following steps below to enter the commands accordingly.
# cpan
cpan> install Acme::Spork
A long list of output will follow……
cpan> reload cpan
cpan> quit
Once fixed, Easy Apache will start working immediately, and webmaster or system administrator can access the Easy Apache module again.

[warn] NameVirtualHost Error

When start Apache web server or restart the HTTPD service on web host, the following warning message may appears on console or error log, even though Apache HTTP service can still startup and running fine without error.
[warn] NameVirtualHost   Luckily the message is just a warning message and does not affect the functionality of web server, and hence the websites hosted on the server can still be served properly. The possible cause for this problem’s symptom is incorrect use of NameVirtualHost. When the server, dedicated or virtual private server web host, has only one IP address, websites are hosted by Apache via name based virtual hosting. In this case, there should be only one NameVirtualHost been defined. For example,
NameVirtualHost *:80
<VirtualHost *:80>
servername host
serverPath /public_html/
DocumentRoot /public_html/
The name of one or more virtual hosts (websites’ domain name) is defined by “servername” directive. So if you have more than one websites hosted on a single IP address, you will have one NameVirtualHost declaration and many VirtualHost sections to configure those domains.
Beside, try at best to use IPs or * for the NameVirtualHost and <VirtualHost> directives. In some cases, where the website is assigned a dedicated IP address where only one virtual host is declared, the NameVirtualHost can even be dropped.
For more example on how VirtualHost supposed to be setup, visit Apache 2.2 documentation or Apache 1.3 documentation (more common version of Apache used currently as most control panel such as cPanel comes with this, although  t’s going to be upgraded in cPanel 11).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cannot Find Name or IP Address

If a query fails because you get the response Non-existent domain from Nslookup or the response Unknown host from Ping, the DNS server did not find the name or IP address that you are looking up. Use the following process, shown in Figure 6.36, to help troubleshoot the problem:
  1. Check that the client and server computers have a valid IP configuration.
    To check IP configuration, type ipconfig /all at the command prompt. In the command-line output, verify the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.
  2. Check that the server is working properly. For more information about verifying that the server is working properly, see "Checking the DNS Server for Problems" later in this chapter.
  3. Check whether the DNS server is authoritative for the name that is being looked up.
    If the DNS server is authoritative for the name that is being looked up, you probably have a problem with authoritative data. For more information about checking for problems with authoritative data, see "Checking for Problems with Authoritative Data" later in this chapter.
    – Or –
    If the DNS server is not authoritative for the name that is being looked up, proceed to the next step.
  4. Query for the name by using Nslookup. At the command prompt, type the following:
    Nslookup < query address > < IP address of server >
    where IP address of server is the IP address of the server that you queried originally, and query address is the name or IP address you are attempting to resolve. If you get the message "Server failed" or "Request to server timed out," you probably have a problem involving a broken delegation. For more information about problems with broken delegations, see "Checking for Recursion Problems" later in this chapter.
    – Or –
    If you get an incorrect answer or the message "Non-existent domain," proceed to the next step.
  5. Flush the resolver cache. At the command prompt, type the following:
    Nslookup < query address > < IP address of server >
    where IP address of server is the IP address of the server that you queried originally, and query address is the name or IP address you are attempting to resolve. If the answer is correct, the problem was a stale cache entry, and your problem is solved.
    – Or –
    If the answer is still not correct, you probably have a problem with authoritative data. For more information about problems with authoritative data, see "Checking for Problems with Authoritative Data" later in this chapter.

Plesk is blocking control panel due to "invalid license key" error after changing time/date on the server.

After time/date adjustment on the Server-> System Time page in Plesk CP, access to Plesk is  blocked with the following license error:

Error: The license key is invalid. In order to use the control panel, please, obtain and install a new fully featured license key. Your license key has expired. To continue using your control panel, purchase a non-expiring commercial license.


Clock adjustment settings on Server -> System Time page show year as YYYY+1, where YYYY - is the current year. So if Plesk admin user wants to change only minutes or timezone of the server he has to change year setting also, and if he does not, then  license would be reported as expired because of data on the server be set to the next year.


Check data on the server using the 'date' command. If you find that current time is set to next year, please change system time back on the server with the command:

# date --set='-1 year'

This problem will be fixed in further Plesk versions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Understanding the Benefits of CMS

Creating static websites and changing the content can be difficult and time consuming. A Content Management System or CMS can be used to make this much easier. CMS systems have become increasingly popular because they make it very simple to adjust the contents on your site without needing to change the code or other settings, nor do they require that the webmaster possess coding related knowledge.
What is a CMS?
A CMS is also known as a Content Management System. This is a very popular piece of software which can be installed on your website. Common examples include Joomla, Microsoft SharePoint, WordPress.
Change Content Without Changing Code
CMS are very useful for websites because it makes it possible for anyone to edit the content. Not everyone who wants a website will be able to edit the code themselves. By using a CMS it’s possible to allow anyone to easily change the information on the website
Simply changing a small spelling error or piece of information would normally involve changing the website offline and then uploading the files again via FTP This is very time consuming. It’s much faster and easier if you change the details utilizing a CMS package, as there is no need to re-upload the site files once again.
You may also perform modifications without waiting for a web developer to make the changes you request at additional fees.
Designing a CMS might initially be slightly more expensive than a static website. However, actually maintaining it will be much cheaper. You will not require any special skills to maintain the website.
Better Control
Another reason why CMS software is very popular is because it gives people much better control over websites. It’s easy to write content and then save this as a draft. Additionally it possible to control who can write and who can approve content. It also ensures that all content is approved before being posted on your website.
Growth and Expansion

CMS makes it simple to keep track of all the pages on your website regardless of how many you add. This means that you can minimize the risk of any errors affecting your website. Source

The 4 D’s of Purchasing a Web Host Plan

Whether you’re a seasoned professional with an expanding online business or an entrepreneur launching an e-commerce venture, understanding your web hosting needs is essential for success.  There are numerous factors to take into consideration before opting to agree to the terms of a web host’s contract, however, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when assessing your web needs.
Do Your Research
As any successful businessperson can testify, doing your homework is the fundamental foundation to making wise business decisions.  Before deciding on a final web hosting service, read both industry and personal reviews for a collective unbiased opinion.  Also, perform a quick search for a Wiki company profile entry.   Once you’ve narrowed your choices, thoroughly browse the web host’s website, review basic tutorials provided and make mental notes of customer service support options available when troubleshooting issues arise.  The cliché is true; time is money.  Perhaps no more evident when your website is down for only a couple of hours – valuable resources are quickly swindled!
Understanding the product or service you provide to customers is important, however, it’s also essential to identify with your web host in order to efficiently accommodate visitors’ needs.  When shopping for a web hosting package, select an option that offers the tools you need without all the unnecessary add-ons tagged with a ridiculously expensive price tag.   If your site is dependent upon blogging, forums, or virtually every Web application in demand, ensure your web hosting package offers a sufficient number of available databases.  Many entrepreneurs soon discover creative juices are stifled and expansion capabilities are thwarted once reading the small print to find the standard server packages usually doesn’t include more than five databases.
Domain Names
Another similar issue is a limit on domain names available on a shared server.  Although perhaps not a large obstacle if you’re launching a new website or testing the waters in a specific market niche, however, chances are your domains will be maxed out once you decide to demonstrate your company’s flexibility attempting to use a standard shared server plan.   When browsing for an effective web host, opt for one with at least 20 domains.  Ideally, the more you can add, the better!
Developer Support
After doing your homework, you should be able to determine if a specific web host offers advanced developer support to keep your website ahead of the fierce competition in today’s global economy.   Long since the days of FrontPage extensions, advancements in developer tools seem to currently travel at the speed of light.  With that in mind, you should never settle for a web host plan that offers less than the following developer tools:  PHP, MySQL, CGI, .htaccess and Python.
A little time initially invested into assessing your web host’s needs proves to be a worthwhile return on investment!

Why Hosting Companies are No Longer Offering eCommerce Hosting Plans

Although hosting types like VPS and dedicated hosting are amongst the most commonly used by online businesses, many online storefront owners have utilized eCommerce hosting in the past because it provided features that were specifically designed for online retail business. For example, eCommerce hosting plans often advertised the inclusion of shopping cart and payment processing utilities that made it easier for your customers to place orders, and gave you the ability to accept a wide range of payment types for greater profits.
If you’ve recently been shopping around online for an eCommerce hosting solution, then you’ve probably noticed that virtually all hosting providers have stopped offering what are known as ‘eCommerce’ hosting plans, and instead are now providing ‘business class’ plans instead. This industry change has come as a surprise to some, and has caused confusion in others. The following information attempts to explain why hosting companies are no longer offering eCommerce hosting plans, and what is replacing eCommerce hosting. source

Marketing Mindset
In actuality eCommerce hosting plans, as they were called, were actually geared towards novice webmasters that needed an all-in-one solution for their online storefront aspirations. However,as major booms in the hosting market have declined slightly, and hosting companies have amassed a more steady and experienced client base, many people have stop purchasing eCommerce hosting plans. In essence, all of the features offered with eCommerce hosting plans can also now be found in business class, VPS and dedicated hosting plans. These features include shopping carts, payment processing capabilities, SSL certificates and store builders, all of which are being offered with conventional premium hosting plans. In fact, there is no discernible difference between eCommerce hosting plans and business class plans.
Concept of Competition

One of the reasons why few are offering eCommerce hosting plans anymore is because of the concept of competition. When one hosting provider makes a change to their marketing and sales material, it is not uncommon to see all of the other major players in the industry follow suite. This is because hosting companies have to maintain certain similarities in order to compete. The term eCommerce is not as appealing to some as the term ‘business class’, hence the change. Likewise, when a company changes their prices, their competitor must also change their pricing in order to compete on an even level. It is not clear which company decided to eliminate eCommerce hosting plans first, but it is evident that the change was initiated by one pioneering hosting provider at the top of the chain, which inspired the competition to do the same.
The New eCommerce Hosting
Since web hosting providers realize that the majority of webmasters are actually engaging in eCommerce, it became counter-intuitive to market eCommerce plans, which appeared as gimmicks to the trained eye. As more people began to notice the benefits of dedicated and VPS hosting, it became obvious that eCommerce hosting was simply a hyped up version of shared hosting with a few added features. Now, since eCommerce hosting plans are no longer being marketed by the major companies, business owners are turning to more powerful solutions like cloud VPS and dedicated hosting.

ThinkGrid and MigrationWiz Partner to Accelerate Cloud Adoption

CoreSite Realty Corporation (NYSE: COR), a national provider of powerful, network-rich data centers, and CENX, Inc., operator of the world’s first and most connected Carrier Ethernet Exchanges, today announced the execution of an agreement enabling CENX to offer its Carrier Ethernet Exchange services in CoreSite data centers. The agreement supports CENX expansion to new markets, including the Bay Area, Boston, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC as well as additional data centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. The increased data center presence readies CENX for immediate growth, with some industry analysts projecting the Carrier Ethernet market to hit $40 billion by 2014. CoreSite’s data center offering creates an efficient, reliable deliverable to Exchange members with a single data center provider to uphold service level agreements and uptime guarantees. CoreSite data centers are SAS 70 certified, with 99.999% uptime posted across the portfolio since its inception Source Read More

A Detailed Look at Reseller Web Hosting

Everyone who wants a website on the internet needs to have a web host. The large number of potential customers has made web hosting a very profitable business. However, launching your own hosting company is normally very difficult. To set up a hosting company from scratch you would need to purchase your own servers and maintain them. A simpler option has evolved in reseller web hosting.
Reseller Hosting
There is a much easier way of offering hosting services to your customers. The easiest way of doing this is to sign up for a reseller hosting account. Reseller accounts can host multiple domains and websites on a single server.
By registering a reseller hosting account it is possible to sell hosting space without owning servers yourself. It is also possible to make money from this method and it’s much easier than setting up your own hosting company.
Reseller Control Panel
Most reseller hosting accounts include an internet based control panel. This makes it very easy to create new accounts and make adjustments to the settings of your hosting account. The most popular control panel used for reseller hosting is WHM as this integrates nicely with cPanel.
The reseller control panel is slightly more complicated than a basic hosting control panel. The business reseller control panel needs to be used to create new users, suspend accounts, back up all the sites on the server and install new updated services.
Finding Reseller Hosting Accounts
If you are interested in a reseller hosting account then you will need to take your time and choose carefully. Your reseller hosting account will be part of your business. This means that you will need to make ensure that it offers everything you need for the lowest price possible.
Important things to look out for include the following:

  • Reliability – It’s essential that you can offer a reliable service to your customers. Look out for a service with an uptime guarantee.
  • Cost – It is possible to find reseller hosting packages in a variety of different price brackets.  Choose one which offers everything you need.  Avoid the very cheap services on eBay though because these are normally very unreliable.
  • Automation – Some of the better hosting accounts allow you to automate the process of signing up new customers.  This is very useful since your customers do not need to wait to use their account. WHMCS can be used with WHM hosting packages; this is worth looking for from your reseller hosting company because a separate license is very expensive.
Reseller hosting accounts can be utilized as a good way of starting a hosting business from scratch. When your business expands it’s then possible to purchase your own hardware and servers so you can continue to offer more services.  Source

Microsoft Offers New Version of IIS Web Server for Free

Microsoft ( announced last week that it has started shipping its new IIS Express 7.5 Web server for free. It is shipped as part of the January Web Release, which also includes ASP.NET, MVC3, WebMatrix, NuGet and Orchard.
Since WebMatrix's launch last week, Web hosting provider Codero announced its support for the tool on Tuesday and TemplateMonster released its Razor templates Monday for WebMatrix as well.
"We think IIS Express combines the ease of use of the ASP.Net Web Server (aka Cassini) currently built-into Visual Studio today with the full power of IIS," Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in the Microsoft Developer Divison said in a blog post.
Guthrie says Microsoft's IIS Express 7.5 is optimized for developer scenarios and is compatible with both ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC project types.
IIS 7.5 enables a full Web server feature set but is less than 5MB download and is easily installed, according to Guthrie. It can be distributed as-is and since this is enabled by the licensing agreement, special approval is not needed.
IIS 7.5 works on Windows XP or higher and does not require an administrator account to run/debug applications from Visual Studio. It can be installed side-by-side with the full IIS Web server as well as the ASP.NET Development Server and supports the same extensibility model and web.config file settings that IIS 7x support.
Since its IIS Express Beta 3, Microsoft has added support for nine languages (other than English) and has made several bug fixes. Source thewhir

Monday, January 17, 2011

Content Management Systems in Major Corporations

Content managements systems are taking over the business world. Content management systems look to accomplish many goals in the corporate world including:
  • Faster updates for web pages
  • Maintain standardization rules
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Provide web access to web page content owners
  • Creates accountability within the organization
To remain competitive in business, updates with new content, security patches and new features needs to be uploaded quickly with no issues. Content management systems help facilitates this within web pages. Content owners have the ability to make direct changes, completely bypassing a work order. Within many systems, the requestor can send a request through a tool for approval by the content owner.
Content management systems function by using a template. Therefore, specific areas of web pages cannot be changed by the content owner. Since these changes cannot be made, this standardizes the look and feel of all web pages on a specific site. If the content owner(s) could make changes, it may not fit with any other sites in the network thus looking unprofessional.
Additionally, a content management system features an easy-to-use graphical user interface. For instance, WordPress makes creating a website so easy, anyone that is able to turn on a computer can create content. As content management systems evolve, the technology becomes easier to use.
In most major companies, web developers do not write content for web pages. They create a format that is web ready while content owners create the information to fill in that format. Using a content management system, the content owner has the ability to access different areas of the site to publish the content they have created. For instance, directly onto a website or a staging server.
Finally, these systems can create user accounts with specific permissions which results in tracking and thus accountability. Therefore, only certain sections can be edited by certain individuals. All changes made to the system are tracked so the responsible party can be identified. Also, there are many change management tools that will allow the administrator to back out any errors.
Most major corporations feature their information on some type of content management system which streamlines content creation. Since they are easy to navigate and it is easy to create and publish content, most organizations opt for their implementation. Although there is always a group of information technology professionals monitoring the system, content management tools systems practically run themselves.

Microsoft’s New Developments

On October 29th, 2010 at the Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference, Microsoft unveiled a presentation denoting how developers now have the ability to create rich device experiences in the cloud. This event was broadcast live across the web to more than 20,000 developers simultaneously at 200 Personal Developer Conferences across the globe.
The Keynote Address
The keynote address from CEO Steve Ballmer and Server and Tools Business President Bob Muglia showcased how Microsoft is continuing to advance their platforms of the PC, mobile devices and cloud computing. With the recent releases of Windows 7, Windows Azure, Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer 9, they were able to focus on these platforms specifically. The plans for Microsoft are to combine the Web, phone and the cloud.
Building Momentum
Since Windows Azure became commercially available this year, Microsoft has seen an explosion of 20,000 applications. In combination with the RenderMan application, Microsoft presented how they can utilize Windows Azure to improve computer cycle efficiency through scaling. In turn, this will further develop project performance and decrease costs.
Other Conference Highlights
Microsoft also highlighted that over 70 partners that represent more than two-thirds of all active web traffic are utilizing Internet Explorer 9 and HTML 5. Internet Explorer 9 first launched in September 2010 and there have already been an amazing 10 million downloads.
Microsoft also informed the crowd that numerous companies will be utilizing Window Phone 7. Additionally, the Windows Phone marketplace is slated to launch more than 1,000 games and applications that fully utilize the power of the phone. The marketplace opens September 7th for user’s to upload and download applications.
Windows Azure
Windows Azure is one of the latest developments from Microsoft that helps developers build new types of business applications, commercial offerings and web applications. The software package provides many vital services that allow them to focus on applications, not the infrastructure, operating system and tools. The functions offered by Windows Azure are known as “Platform as a Service” (PaaS).
These fantastic releases from Microsoft are sure to revolutionize the software industry once again. Windows phones in the past have been mediocre at best. However, it appears as if executive management is looking to put much more backing into Windows Phone 7 to make it a front-runner in the mobile handheld device industry. Either way, Microsoft will continue to prosper with these innovative and performance enhancing products.

Hosting Controller Offers Free Linux Control Panel License

Web hosting software developer Hosting Controller ( announced on Monday it will offer free one-year licenses of its Linux based control panel HCnix.
The new promotion, valid for all new and existing customers, gives hosting providers the opportunity to acquire a free license key for one year to offer Linux hosting services with automation.
HCnix is a Linux based Web hosting automation control panel which lets Web host manage multiple Web, mail, database and DNS servers on different GNU/Linux distributions within a cluster.
Developed from the ground up, HCnix uses Linux technologies to provide the greatest flexibility. The software is designed to be used in a distributed server environment as an independent Linux control panel. Source Read More

Go Daddy Shuts Down Pakistani Website over CIA Outing

Web hosting provider Go Daddy ( ordered the removal of a controversial article that included the name of a former CIA agent in Pakistan.
In the first week of January, Go Daddy presented PakNationalists with an ultimatum, threatening the webmasters that they "either remove the content" or they would move their website to another Web host in 48 hours.
Go Daddy warned the Pakistanian website in an email that the "decision [to remove the content] is final, and is not up for debate."
The article discussed the potential court case against former CIA Islamabad station chief Jonathan Banks, who was accused of being behind the allegedly illegal drone attacks on areas of Pakistan.
The article was removed on January 5th but can still be viewed courtesy of the Google cache.
Since Banks was allegedly in Pakistan on a business visa he does not have diplomatic immunity from prosecution. The CIA reportedly pulled Banks from Islamabad after he received death threats.
Although the story was picked up by many large media outlets around the world, including several US websites, Go Daddy only ordered the Pakistanian site to take down the article.
"We inquired as to who could have made this complaint," said Gulpari Nazish Mehsud, a volunteer with PakNationalists. "The US company won't give us a name, but it doesn't take a genius to guess who is making the complaint." Source

VeriSign Releases Another New Safety Measure

VeriSign and RatePoint have teamed up to develop the SafeSender Email Program. This allows RatePoint customers to improve click-through rates, build better relationships with customers and ultimately increase profits by adding the VeriSign Trust Logo to all customer correspondence. The seal verifies that customers can buy, trade, browse and now communicate under a secure umbrella.
To add the VeriSign seal to communications, customers can subscribe to the VeriSign SSL Certificate. For users, the logo can appear in emails, social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and on website signup tools. This is a huge advantage for those currently using RatePoint.
During the pilot program, five participants displayed the VeriSign logo within their email campaigns. The presence of the trust seal resulted in a greater number of visits to the customers’ sites. This, in turn, produces much higher revenues.
Customer concern of scams and fraud groups that steal pertinent information is growing. Therefore online trust of vendors is diminishing. Those that display the VeriSign Trust Seal are improving customer’s trust in that online business. This is reassuring to those worried about clicking on the wrong link and losing important information.
This new collaboration gives RatePoint’s customer campaigns and their business a much more measurable edge. The goal of this partnership is to improve email list signups, strengthen overall trust and increase open rates.
The new VeriSign Trust Seal within the SafeSender Email Program will further boost profits within both business entities integrity. Organizations displaying the logo will be recognized as willing to stand up for independent verification by daily scans to ensure no spyware, malware or viruses encompass the email. In today’s shaky economy, this is a major reassurance to customers.
The VeriSign Trust Seal is a breath of fresh air for many companies looking to hold a competitive edge in their respective market. Although VeriSign has been a leader in internet trust and has held a seal of authority in the market, they are continuing to expand their coverage and grab a hold of their industry.
As more businesses continue to subscribe to their features, customers will slowly gain trust for internet vendors. This is an excellent method for stimulating the global internet buying community to shop online as opposed to a land-based store. All businesses should register to display the VeriSign logo on their page as it will help them attract and retain customers which equates to profit.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What is Cloud Web Hosting and Will it Work for Me?

There is a bit of a buzz surrounding cloud web hosting these days and if you are researching various hosting options, you will certainly run across this term. But, there are only a handful of web hosts currently offering this solution, thus although it is a rather popular option it is also fairly new so your choices in web host are a tad limited.
As this solution gains in popularity, though, it is likely more and more hosts will start offering this as an option. This will benefit the customer by giving them more choices in companies to utilize, but it will also reduce the price for it with the increased competition in the market.
What is Cloud Web Hosting?
Cloud webhosting is hosting that uses the resources of several clustered servers. Basically, this means that your website uses the virtual resources of several servers to accommodate all the aspects of hosting your site. The load is balanced, security is taken care of and hardware resources are available virtually so they can be used when needed. The cluster of servers is the cloud.
Who can Benefit From Cloud Web Hosting?
Cloud hosting is often a solution for web sites that have outgrown the resources of their existing shared hosting provider. If a web site is extremely popular and causes a strain on the resources supplied by a shared server, you may need to find another solution. Often this solution is dedicated hosting where your site resides on its own server. The problem with dedicated hosting, though, is that it is both significantly more expensive and requires a certain level of IT know-how. With cloud hosting, you can have many of the advantages to dedicated hosting without most of the challenges.
Scalability: With Cloud Web Hosting you can Access Resources you Need as you Grow
One of the primary advantages to cloud web hosting is its scalability. Visualize a group of clouds. Your website is being run in these clouds but it suddenly gets busy. You can gather more clouds around your site to help support it so your users see no degradation of services. However, if you no longer need the additional clouds you can let them float away. Sites that have spikes in resource use can benefit from this option.
Example: Joe owns a website that specializes in downloadable Christmas projects for children. Coloring templates, origami tree ornaments, story ideas and craft projects are all available for use during the Christmas season. Of course, his website is open all year round but he only has a busy season starting in late November, falling off in January. Once the holiday season starts Joe sees an increase in traffic. Near the second week in December his site is visited so often and items are downloaded continuously causing a strain on his shared host’s server. His account is suspended and he has to scramble to get his site back up and running on a dedicated machine.
Joe now experiences downtime affecting his customers all for one small portion of the year where he experiences heavy traffic. With cloud hosting, though, he can increase his site’s available resources and use what he needs. When his traffic decreases again in January, he can release those resources and run his site efficiently on only what he needs.
Immediacy: On Demand use for Additional Services Helps you When you need it
When you need additional resources you do not have time to wait for customer service to assist you by increasing your bandwidth allotment if needed. If you really have a spike in resources then you risk having your site suspended for causing degradation in services to other sites on your shared server. You may experience down time or slowness on your site caused by the increased traffic. But with cloud web hosting you can increase your available resources immediately, when you need it. This can save you a lot of stress and may even save some customers because the process is seamless. Customers or users on your site will not see any change.
Savings: With Cloud Web Hosting you Only pay for what you use, Saving you a lot of Money
It used to be that when you outgrew your shared hosting environment that your only other option was to move to dedicated hosting. However, this cost a lot of money. For the web site that did not need all the resources available on a dedicated server or did not need them all the time such as in the example of Joe above, the money spent was wasted on unused services. However, with cloud hosting what you pay for is the resources you use. When you no longer need them you release them and you are no longer charged for them.
Scalability, immediacy and savings allow you to efficiently run your website. You can grow and shrink the available resources per your needs. You can get what you need when you need it and you only pay for what you use. This allows you to concentrate on what you know best – running your website. You won’t have to worry about your hosting solution.