19 Oct

Introduction to Web Server Software

As we all know web server is known to host websites, run enterprise applications, act as a data storage or make it a gaming server. In short, web server are computers that helps with the online content accessibility through web.

Web server can be referred as both hardware and software.

  • Hardware (Computer) –  it is used to host web applications and
  • Software (computer application) – to deliver the requested online content to end user.

Here we will talk about various web servers as far as software part is concern.

Choosing a web server software is not an easy task, considering compatibility factor among software and hardware (physical/virtual server) for best performance and efficiency. As per the budget and need of the application server, buyers faces many problems in selection of suitable web server software to run on their dedicated server.

How you can choose a perfect web server to operate your website? Which factors you should check? Before that, let’s get an introduction of all major web servers:

Apache, Microsoft IIS, NGINX, LiteSpeed and Google Web Server are the major web servers. According to Netcraft, a site that monitors Web server activity worldwide, in October 2014 over 385 million Web servers were running Apache or 37.46% of all Web servers running Apache. IIS ranks second with over 345 million Web sites, or 33.38% of the market (obtained from http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2014/10/10/october-2014-web-server-survey.html).

Open source such as Apache, NGINX, LiteSpeed etc. and for website with ASP.NET code, Microsoft IIS is only option.

 

1) Apache

The #1 HTTP Server on the Internet! It is project of Apache HTTP Server with a goal to provide secure HTTP server for all the modern operating systems. As it is Open Source, it is available free of cost with no licensing fees. Homepage link is http://httpd.apache.org.

  • Advantages:

– Feature-full and stable.

– Fully Customized due to modular structures.

– High security (normally vulnerabilities are attacked on Windows based server)

– Strong Support from User community.

– Operates on Linux, UNIX, Windows MacOS and others.

 

  • Disadvantages:

– Process-based server: Each new connection needs a new thread, incurring enormous overhead.

 

2) Microsoft IIS

Microsoft IIS comes second after Apache in usage of web server application all around the world.  Internet Information Server (IIS) is very advanced web server created by Microsoft to work within Windows Environment. Page: http://www.iis.net

Operating Systems package includes the IIS just like IIS7 with Windows Server 2008, IIS6 with Windows Server 2003. It is bundled free with windows OS.

  • Advantages:

– Created by Microsoft to work within Windows Environment.

– Complete access to .NET framework & various ASPX scripts

– Supports PHP in most recent Windows releases.

– Installation makes easy with GUI interface.

– Compatible with other Microsoft services

– IIS Performance Monitoring tools are good.

– Microsoft IIS Tech Support team is excellent with accurate response capability.

– Includes good crash protection system.

 

  • Disadvantages:

– Not fully customized web server.

– Less Stability than other open source web servers.

– Expensive than other open source web server

– Comparatively less secure.

 

3) NGINX

It is an open-source HTTP Web server including IMAP and POP server. Home Page of NGINX is http://wiki.nginx.org/Main and it is totally free for usage.

  • Advantages:

– High Performance, speed and excellent reverse-proxy server with caching.

– It is an event-based server with minimal memory resource usage.

– Highly recommended for websites running on a VPS.

– Support well on Linux, UNIX, Windows and MacOS and Windows Server 2003

 

4) LiteSpeed

One of the fastest growing web servers in the industry. Home Page of LiteSpeed: http://www.litespeedtech.com/products/litespeed-web-server/overview

  • Advantages:

– Lightweight web server

– Fastest among the other web servers.

– Event Driven Architecture.

– Apache compatibility.

– Built for high traffic websites and servers (ISP and data centres)

– Support well on FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X.

 

5) Lighttpd

Open Source Lightweight web servers that is distributed with the FreeBSD OS. Homepage is www.lighttpd.net.

  • Advantages:

– Event-driven architecture

– High performance of Ajax Applications.

– Best for Ajax Web application design model supportive websites.

– Minimal resources needed

– Many popular Web 2.0 sites using this web server.

– Support well on Unix, Linux, Microsoft Windows OS

 

Whether you need an advanced and full-featured web hosting with all the latest versions of essential server software installed, consider Softsys Hosting.

With our standard unmanaged windows VPS or more sophisticated and flexible Softsys windows cloud VPS, you’re provided with full root level access and will be able to install any software and applications you may require.

15 Oct

How to protect Windows IIS server from SSLv3 POODLE bug

As a quick fix to protect your Windows server machines from the latest SSLv3 POODLE bug, please follow below steps on your Windows Server machine – these steps essentially disable the vulnerable SSLv3 protocol:

1) Open registry editor and navigate to

HKey_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\ SCHANNEL\Protocols

2) You will likely see an entry with SSL 2.0 key already created. You will need to create another key named SSL 3.0 alongside it. Thereafter create a sub-key named Server inside SSL 3.0 and inside it create a DWORD named Enabled and set its value to 0.

Your screen should look like below:

windows-poodle-fix

3) Create similar entry (Server -> Enabled -> 0) for SSL 2.0 as well.

Below are quick commands to perform above steps:

rem -- SSLv2
reg add "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\SSL 2.0\Server" /v Enabled /t REG_DWORD /d 0x00000000
rem -- SSLv3
reg add "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\SSL 3.0\Server" /v Enabled /t REG_DWORD /d 0x00000000

4) Reboot the server to apply new settings.

14 Oct

Web Hosting Factors That Affect SEO Rankings

SEO is a continuous process to be incorporated in your promotional activities to succeed online. Creating and making website online is like ‘Wow, I got a website and now I will start getting orders’. Sure, you are on right path for online success but there is an unanswered critical question – is it just a website or a SEO friendly website? There is a major difference between ‘a website’ and ‘SEO Friendly website’. Your website must be highly optimized with various On-Page factors and several web hosting factors. Search Engine displays list of websites with “nice look and feel” design and relevant information that the end user is asking for. Apart from improper on-page factors, web hosting issues can affect the search engine rankings too. As we all know, your website will have higher chances to receive traffic / clicks if it has higher keyword ranking in search engines.

So, let’s have a look on various factors of web hosting affecting SEO of your website.

1)      Wrong TLD

Normally, internet users search on search engines for their requirements or just enter brand name with .com web address (if they are aware of it). Other local country TLD are same as .com in their territory. As far as .com address is concerned, most of the easily remembered names (or two words until and unless it’s unique) are taken, which leads to the fact that website owners have to search something else for their domain name or consider another website extension.

For a remedy, another web extension .co was considered for TLD but it does not work well. Many website owners suffered badly after making it their primary web extension. When any user opens a domain name with .com extension and not .co extension (primary web domain), they were taken to some other parked domains or any other website. This can just harm the reputation of the firm and potentially lose a customer.

Using local TLD domains for businesses from all around the world will again harm your online marketing strategy as search engines will consider your target market is just local country.

2)      Shared hosting

Malware Infection is dangerous for any website as it can harm your website as per its characteristic. Many businesses are hugely dependent on internet and in that case if website is not live, it can affect the revenue number plus reputation. In shared hosting, your website is shared with other websites in a web server and any of the website might get infected with any small or large malware, which can affect others too.

Web Hosting companies’ keeps their servers, totally safe and secured from various malwares but even giving their best, it is not possible to avoid such incidents. Even if one of the client website might get infected by unwanted malwares, it may spread rapidly among others since they are sharing same resources in a web server. In this case, website might stop showing online or may be with warning to visitor computer like “This computer is infected with malware” in search engines results. This way, your website reputation may blow off along with the negative search engine ranking. In any way, Google or other search engines may penalize your website by removing from their database and remove the keyword ranking to protect their visitors.

3)      Database connection failures

Are you familiar with messages like “Internal server error” or “Database connection failed”? Of course, this happens on internet often when there is some database connection failure due to huge request of the same webpage from database at peak time or simply there is no database connection established.

This situation is truly irritating for any visitor and it might happen that they will either not visit your website again and / or they will not recommend to others – they may give negative reviews to their friends/relative/business partners. In summary, you are losing visitors to the website and meanwhile when this website is unavailable, it is noticed by search engines and your keyword ranking is also affected for showing error messages instead of website.

4)      Downtime

Your website should be accessible to any user around the world on 24/7 basis – 365 days a year. If your website is not up or in case there is any maintenance scheduled on the server, you should notify your website visitors by placing a webpage clarifying the same with specified time duration. Same thing applies for search engines, there is possibility of web crawlers visiting your website anytime for any latest update (if any) on the website.

During this time if visitor/ search engines detects non-availability of your website, it will imply on web performance, reputation and keyword ranking. If visitor sees no website, they will go away and search something else and from point of view of search engines, they will see no-website-seen which may penalize the website by negative keyword rank or de-indexing the website (if takes few days). Interestingly, when your website is up again after downtime, you think keyword ranking will be back again automatically? The answer is No! – Your website was punished and ranked below the competitors on the basis of several factors like relevancy, trust, etc.

Mostly web hosting companies guarantees for best uptime out of 100% and they give their best to keep this number by keeping their software’s up-to-date and highly secured from various threats along with enterprise class server/hosting environment setup.

5)      Slow site speed

Slow site speed is one of the factor used by Search Engines to determine keyword ranking.

The loading time of website depends on the webpage size, usage of large sized images, unwanted JavaScripts, third party tools, social media widgets, geographic location, server side resources etc. If your server is stormed with too many webpage request, web server will show error and ask to try again. While in shared hosting, there are limited CPU resources, this can stop process of certain requests and it leads visitors to leave the website and search something else. You can consider using CDN service for fetching static content like Javascript, images, css, etc as it will help immensely in speeding up your website.

6)      Server Location

Server location is important to avoid web latency factor. Website loading time is crucial factor in determining ranking and if a visitor from US opens a website hosted in US location, it will open quickly than from a website hosted in Singapore or Australia!

Also Search Engines use to give preference to the visitors search phrases from the same country where server is located.

7)      IP Address

If your website is hosted with shared hosting server, all the website hosted will be using same IP address. Search Engines use to lookout for the IP address while determining Keyword ranking. If the same IP address is used for any suspicious work or over-promotional work or spamming, there is a possibility that your website may be treated for same and get penalized.

8)      Compatibility for programming language used

Working in Restriction is not going to be fruitful. Whichever web hosting service you prefer, depending on the operating system, the right programming language need to be selected. This will help in incorporating best features in your website. Going for web hosting service which does not support your programming language will cost you to hire a resource or make you learn itself. Time and money will be wasted so make sure the programming language is compatible.

9)       No proper setup of 301 redirection (when moving site from old location to new location)

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect, passing certain link juice to the new redirected page. 301 response code instructs the browsers and search engine bots that this webpage has been moved permanently to another location.

Implementing 301 redirection will pass all the ranking power from old location to new locations to avoid any negative keyword ranking. Old webpage is ranked for certain keywords in search engines and if in case you are willing to redesign website with same domain name, it will lots of time to work from scratch and gain the positions on search engines. Using 301 redirect techniques will save your time and money.

Improper setup of 301 redirection can make your website promotional work start from zero and any link juice earn with old webpage will be gone.

 

I hope the above information helps you in improving your website rankings and overcoming the short falls. If you are looking for SEO friendly host with reliable and fast hosting services, you can consider  Softsys Hosting. Our cloud VPS hosting plans provide 100% uptime with unique auto failover features and Softsys Dedicated Servers will provide you with exceptional performance + security with dedicated resources.