12 Sep

Adoption Of Improved Cloud Solutions Determines Business Success

Cloud based IT solutions have long been the domain of big corporations and enterprise-level integrations. Smaller, tech savvy organizations began adopting cloud services a number of years ago, yet it almost appeared to be a fad disappearing from the business landscape. However, over the last 3 years, cloud computing has seen a resurgence within the small and medium enterprise space.

As the technology matures, experts and business owners alike are finding that the ability to establish a competitive advantage through cloud-based services far outweighs the potential risk or pain of transition. In fact, 56% of cloud users say that their organization has a competitive advantage as a result of using cloud services as reported in research from the Cloud Industry Forum.

Mission critical business software such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management or Software Development Platforms are installed faster, serviced better, enjoy reduced operational cost and scale much easier with varying business needs.

How can cloud computing positively impact your bottom line? Hosting experts perform these services for a large customer base which means you have dedicated resources with better economies of scale.

Cloud Solutions For Business

Reduce Operational Costs

Struggling with budget constraints and increasing costs within your IT department? Moving your operations to the cloud helps reduce capital expenditures and increase profitability. This means your business has the funds necessary to re-invest and boost innovation.

Taking advantage of cloud computing and storage offers small and medium businesses economies of scale so your IT environment can grow with you. No need for a massive upfront investment in equipment and infrastructure that can paralyze growth. Instead, reduce your spending on software and skilled employees by partnering with a cloud hosting provider that can manage your environment as you grow.

Increase Efficiency – Scale Better

Align your company operations and increase efficiency through cloud-based automation and process management. Setting up workflows, templates, and rules that deploy automatically allows your staff to spend their time most effectively and shortens the time frame from conception to implementation.

The bottom line? You don’t have to invest in new hardware for a temporary increase in sales or commit to infrastructure that you only need for a short time. Your team doesn’t need to waste time with mundane administrative and maintenance tasks. You have the agility you need to adjust on the fly.

When your IT operations are optimized through a cloud solutions partner, you free up employees to focus on strategic tasks to serve your customers better.

Improve Productivity + Mobility

Empower your team with cloud-based connectivity and collaboration tools. In today’s world, teams are often spread across miles and time zones making it difficult to move projects forward without the proper infrastructure. Through cloud services, you can make sure your team stays connected with each other and your clients around the world.

According to the Telework Research Network employees working at home use 60 percent of the time they would have spent commuting actually doing work. AT&T says that it gets five hours more work per week from its home workers than those in the office.

If increasing your company’s mobility has been a priority that you’ve avoided due to the complications it presents, cloud services may be the perfect fit to move the initiative forward.

Speed To Market 

With cloud services, IT provisioning no longer takes weeks to organize. You can have systems set up within a matter of hours which gives you the resources you need, whenever you need them. This dynamic scalability ultimately means you have flexibility in bringing new products and services to market. That flexibility means you can compete more confidently and effectively.

 

SoftSys Review

This is the best hosting provider I have found. The support is always quick and helpful. They actually help you troubleshoot issues instead of just redirecting you to their FAQ. I have never noticed any downtime. Control panel is simple to use and not clogged up with advertisements. I have switched all my sites to Softsys and would recommend it to everyone.

— Mark R

17 Aug

What Major Hosting Options To Consider When Launching Your Web Store?

After doing months of planning & research, lots of code work & testing, you’re finally ready to launch your online store. At this stage, you might have a question in your mind – is standard shared hosting plan sufficient to host eCommerce website, or do I need something special?

Web hosting is probably the foundation brick of every web store, so it’s better to invest time and money you need upfront to ensure that you’ve got a solution that’s going to work with you for now and also in future.

You really don’t have to worry much when you’re planning to use hosted solutions like BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify. It’s because these hosted solutions use their own Cloud and therefore most of the heavy lifting are being taken care of by themselves.

Web Store Hosting

But if you’re planning to host your own online store, then assessment and selection of web hosting options is critical. Redundant web hosting is a vital factor to ensure your customers would have a super smooth and responsive online shopping experience. What hosting options are you going to choose for your online store? Here are some factors to take into consideration.

Select A Hosting Plan With Sufficient Disk Space And Bandwidth Limits

As we know that, web hosting services store files that build your online store and serve those files for viewing by those who visit website. Needless to mention that your eCommerce site will have hundreds of products, images, videos and a customer database.

Therefore, you’ll need a hosting plan with enough disk space to store all of this, and enough bandwidth for your customers to access your products, including copy, images and other resources.

Hosting Online Store On Shared Hosting

No one wants to spend more money than necessary, and hence shared hosting is the prime choice for most of the websites. Though, shared hosting isn‘t always the best option for an eCommerce store. Mostly, it’s suitable only if you are likely to have limited products, limited traffic and are looking for area specific audience without any plans of expansion. Secondly, if you’re just a startup, then shared hosting would make a lot more sense.

If you happen to choose a shared plan, choose a reliable shared hosting provider that can offer you a good response and round-the-clock customer support. It would be a plus if your web host offers PCI compliant shared plans because many online banks and payment processors require that your hosting is PCI compliant. The PCI compliant shared plans offer a safe and stable environment for your online venture.

Online Store And VPS Hosting

If you’re planning to add a number of products and soon you expect a huge traffic boost then it’s recommended that you opt for a VPS upfront. It is an ideal and more affordable alternative to more expensive dedicated servers while more secure and robust compared to the cheap shared hosting option.

With VPS hosting, you can scale up your hosting resources in no time, at the same time your store will have an isolated and secure hosting environment eliminating the risk of being affected by a bad neighbor as you experience in shared hosting.

The benefits of VPS over shared hosting arise from the fact that the resources are isolated and pre-allocated. For example, other users on same node are misbehaving: this will have little to no impact on your VPS. It does not matter what anyone else is doing on another VPS hosted on the same node – you are guaranteed that your speed and performance won’t be affected.

If you’re alloted with 2 CPUs, then you’ll always have those two CPU’s available to your operations. Similarly, the amount of RAM and disk space you’ve purchased will always be available for your operations, regardless of what else is happening on the physical machine. In a nutshell, your resources are dedicated exclusively to your web store.

Furthermore, if you possess server management skills, you might need root access to install some programs which is impossible with shared hosting. VPS has always been our suggestion for a serious ecommerce startup. Shared hosting is an adequate environment for testing not for production.

Choose the VPS provider that is in business for more than 5 years and capable to offer you longer billing cycles, so you don’t have to switch to a new provider midstream. The good news is that VPS comes in as a happy compromise. VPS initial costs can be as low as $15-$20 per month and you can upgrade it later when your requirements grow.

Ecommerce Store

Dedicated Server Hosting For Online Store

While VPS is an upfront step in the correct direction, and perhaps sufficient solution for relatively smaller storefronts that are just starting out, it’s really a dedicated server that’s probably the best option when it comes to ecommerce sites specifically. If you expect exponential growth in near future (as every business owner hopes) you might as well skip straight to the hosting solution you’re going to eventually need anyway.

Dedicated server hosting is undoubtedly more expensive option compared to sharing and VPS. But when your website is the main driver of your business, dedicated server’s additional

resources are critical for your success. If you’ve ever experienced a slow running ecommerce website hosted on shared or VPS, you’ll see that switching is like getting a supercharge when it comes to loading time, bandwidth, and handling high traffic loads.

In the eCommerce world, shopping cart abandonment is a real issue that can be fixed with more advanced hosting option. Because, approximately 18% of carts abandonment are due to slow loading times, which might cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales.

15 Jul

5 Popular Web Hosting Add-Ons That Will Improve Your Website Performance

When you’re online, you are probably competing with lots of websites within the same niche. If your website does not outperform rival websites, this may have a large impact on traffic, conversions, and hence revenue.

Website performance is one of the vital factors and should not be underestimated. If you don’t believe us, better believe Akamai, a leading CDN provider. According to Akamai, 47% of people expect a web page to load in under 2 seconds, and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 or more seconds to load. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most popular web hosting add-ons that will take your website performance to the next level.

CDN Services

CDN, Content Delivery Network

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a cluster of geographically distributed servers that deliver the static content (images, CSS, Libraries and JavaScript files) quickly to visitors from the nearest server. In more simple words, when visitors browse your site, CDN chooses the nearest server to deliver static content used in the website. Thus, this ensures swift page loads and enhanced user experience.

A soon as you enable the CDN on your website, CDN copies your static contents to geographically dispersed edge servers, and website load is divided among them. Ultimately, your website is highly available to your visitors. CDN is extremely useful for websites with heavy graphics and videos, but struggling with loading speeds.

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

Malware is no imaginary problem, especially for the popular CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Hundreds of new virus definitions are spread daily across the Internet and antivirus labs have to detect them and find solutions. This malware can completely compromise the security of your site or erase sensitive data. So, it is essential to have a good antivirus software to detect & remove viruses before they harm your system.

With traditional hosting service, you get a basic malware scanner that scans the entire home directory of your hosting space, identify the malicious code and quarantine it. If you want to proactively protect your website then you should consider using a more professional solution like SiteLock, Sucuri Security, Wordfence Security, etc. This software periodically scans your website and notifies you of any issues. Some include a Web Application Firewall (WAF) which monitors your site constantly and looks for the top known threats like Cross Scripting (XSS), Injections, and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).

Upgrade to SSD Hosting

This is not essentially an add-on to existing hosting, but indeed a hosting upgrade. SSD(Solid State Drive) is the latest computer storage device. The traditional hard drives are effectively mechanical devices, whereas SSDs are completely electronic as there are no moving parts to have to deal with the data. Data is just sent (written) electronically to the storage space or retrieved (read). Therefore, SSDs are significantly faster & more reliable than their SATA or even SAS predecessors.

To measure the speed of a hard drive, a metric called IOPS (Input/Output) is used. It is defined as the speed at which data can be written to or read from the disk. The higher the IOPS, the faster the disk. If IOPS is used as a benchmark then the speed of traditional hard drives like SATA is around 180 IOPS. Whereas the speed of SSD drives is measured between 4,600 to 15,500 depending on disk capacity.

In summary, with SSD hosting, you get the highest performance, faster database queries, faster caching which indeed is the formula for more traffic, more sales, and more revenue. If you have an existing hosting plan, then by upgrading it to SSD hosting, you’re going to see instant performance gains.

Offsite Backups

Server Backup

For frequently updating sites, offsite backups are vital. When your site is hacked, the first thing you would do is to revert to a previous clean version of your website. What if you don’t have a clean, recent backup of your site, probably you’ll be losing information. If you have malware-free backups of your site then restoring would be much easier and quicker process.

A professional automated backup service takes regular ‘snapshots’ of your data. It also allows you to restore the data from different restore points rather than having to use available old backups. With paid backup services, your backups will be sitting on a secure remote server so when the entire server is hacked, you can easily restore it from the offsite backup.

Managed DNS Services

You get only basic functionalities with free DNS services provided by a domain registrar or your own hosted DNS server. All queries will be resolved from a single physical location that makes your site vulnerable to the single point of failure. Thanks to paid DNS services, mostly managed  DNS servers are cloud-based, which gives you a layer of redundancy.

Now suppose a visitor far from your DNS server is trying to access your website, the DNS response can take a while to reach them. With paid service, all zones will be synchronized across all points of presence (POPs) simultaneously.

For more advanced functions and enterprise-class performance, it makes sense to opt for a managed DNS provider, because “Free” DNS services are not built for efficiency and performance. Managed DNS services give you highest uptime, DNS performance, speed, and redundancy.

13 Jun

How To Ensure That You Choose Secure Web Hosting?

The Internet is full of exciting web hosting offers, all having their own set of features and pricing options. The main reason behind varying prices is the cost of latest hardware, server maintenance, and security. Some web hosting providers can offer hosting services at dirt cheap prices because they keep using outdated server hardware with no to little maintenance following poor security standards. That being said it’s important for you to choose the most secure web hosting available.

Web Hosting & Server Security

 

When you think of website security, the recent security breaches of major companies would come to your mind. Your site might not be that large, but whether large or small, secure web hosting environment is equally important for all. In this post, we’ll cover some key security features to look for in a prospective web hosting company.

Backups And Restore Points

While you look for web hosting services, a redundant backup is a mission-critical security feature you should check for. Simply, you can ask a potential web host about their backup/restore policy, backups retention, available backup set, etc.

Here are some of the questions you can shoot to a sales guy — How frequently backups are being taken, daily, weekly, or monthly? How many backup sets are available on any given point of time? How many backup restorations are allowed? Will the support reps help you restore your site from backup files? Do you provide account level backups or file/directory level backups?

Many web hosting providers include the daily backup service with the hosting plan, taking backup of your data on the daily basis. Whereas some web hosts offer weekly and monthly backups for free, but daily backup as an add-on service. Obviously, daily backups are the best option which allows you to restore the latest version of your website in case of data corruption or any other form of data loss.

An option of “manual backup” option is also offered, whereby you can take the backup yourself every time you have something updated on the website. It’s important to go through all the backup conditions before purchasing the hosting service. It would be good if backups are taken on secure offsite location rather in the server itself so you can always have trusted repository for the latest copies of data.

Antivirus And Malware Scanning & Removal

When sites are online, in a way there are exposed to online threats like hacks, malware, PHP shells, backdoors, spyware, viruses, and whatnot. There are fair chances your site also could get infected if sufficient security measures not taken by your web hosting provider. Sometimes, websites got hacked because of poor code, bugs, script/plugin loopholes or software vulnerability.

While you choose  web host, you should understand which protective actions they will perform to protect the site from these threats.  Ask the sales guy if their hosting server is installed with anti-malware, anti-virus software? Does the server run regular scans on the web files? Can customer run the scan itself from the control panel? In case your account is infected, can support help in identifying and removing the malware?

Most of the hosts provide real-time malware protection that can detect and quarantine the threat as soon as it is uploaded to hosting space. Real-time scanning keeps the sites secure and helps prevent site from being blacklisted in search engines.

High Uptime And Disaster Recovery

Uptime can be defined as the time a website stays online. Select a web hosting provider that can provide you with at least 99.9% (43 minutes and 12 seconds per 30 days) uptime or better. Note that a small outage is fine as long as you are just a start-up without many visitors. Typically, when web hosts fail to keep uptime promise, they pay you reimbursement for the downtime. Some host claim providing 100% uptime, which is not true in most cases.

Additionally, web servers must be equipped with the redundancy to protect against downtime caused by hardware, networking or power failures. In this setup, each device, server hardware, server cooling equipment, power supply matrix and networking devices run in pairs, with each one ready to take over the full load in case the other one fails.

Firewalls And DDoS Protection

Firewall & DDoS Prevention

 

Mostly of big and lucrative sites become the target of DDoS attacks. Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks take place when a huge amount of traffic is sent to your site using cumulative resources of a number of zombie computers (online hacked systems). When this attack happens it renders the site useless to visitors. DDoS attacks can be prevented if web server is equipped with the hardware firewall at the edge of the network. However, there are limits to how well a firewall stops DDoS attacks.

Can your provider give you full DDoS protection? If yes what’s the capacity? Is it a hardware firewall or software firewall? At what stage will the network monitoring staff will inform you of potential problems that might affect your website?

If your web host offers all the features mentioned in this post, then you’re probably in good hands and they’re taking your network security seriously.

31 Mar

Is Cloud Hosting An Ideal Choice For Websites With Increasing Resource Requirements?

In recent years, the term “Cloud Hosting” has created lots of buzz in the web hosting industry. If you know a little bit of a web hosting, you might have come across this term many times. Thanks to its increased popularity, more and more web hosts have started offering this hosting solution. This has not only benefited the customers by giving them a wide web host choices, but it has also reduced the cloud cost with the increased competition in the market.

softsys cloud virtual servers

What Is Cloud Hosting?

The term “Cloud Hosting” is commonly used to refer multiple clustered servers that are being used to serve all the aspects of hosting your site. That means, your website will utilize the virtual resources of several connected servers instead of using one single powerful machine.

Thus, the server load is balanced and adequate hosting resources are available in the pool so they can be used whenever needed. This distributed nature of the cloud hosting makes it easy to scale up or scale down as required and hence resource bottleneck is almost never an issue since more computing power can be added on demand.

Who Can Benefit From Cloud Web Hosting?

What if your website becomes extremely popular overnight, and it starts putting a strain on the resources supplied by your shared plan. Well, definitely you’ll need a better solution that can accommodate the growing resource requirements of your site. That’s where cloud hosting comes into play.

Now, suppose you are not hosted under cloud environment, your account will get suspended immediately, and you’ll have to scramble to get your site back up and running on a next higher hosting solution as soon as possible.

On a second thought, you may think of a dedicated hosting where your website resides on its own dedicated environment. The problem with a dedicated hosting is that it’s far more expensive than your traditional shared hosting, and it demands a certain level of web hosting skills. Whereas with cloud hosting, you can overcome most of the challenges that come with the shared and dedicated hosting options.

Now suppose, your website is hosted in the cloud environment, and it starts receiving heavy traffic suddenly. Instantly, you are allocated with the more resources so your users see no degradation of services. When you no longer need these additional resources, you can release them easily. Thus, websites with heavy traffic or websites which are anticipating the resource usage spikes can benefit from this hosting option.

softsys cloud dedicated servers

Scalability

Scalability is one of the primary advantages cloud hosting, that means you can spin up additional resource almost instantly as you grow. When your site requires additional resources like processing, bandwidth or private memory – you don’t have to contact the support to assist you in increasing the resources. With cloud web hosting you can increase your available resources immediately and importantly when you need them most. This resource allocation process is seamless and your visitors on your site will never see any change.

Pay For What You Use

Most of cloud hosting services run on the “pay for what you use” model, this can actually save you a lot of money. Earlier it used to be the case, when you outgrow shared hosting package then your only other option was to move to a dedicated hosting.

A dedicated hosting is indeed a powerful option to host a website, but it cost you more. Eventually, you will end up paying for the dedicated resources that you don’t utilize.Thus, 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.

Highest Data Security & Availability

The resources of a cloud server are available from a number of physical machines, rather than being served from a single physical machine. Thus, cloud hosting users get benefits of an extensive server redundancy. This ensures that potential outages of server components affect neither the data security nor the availability of the provided resources.

Each of the cloud components is running with its redundant component, this makes the cloud very tolerant of faults. Apart from that cloud hosting providers are constantly working to safeguard their data security in accordance with national and international legislation.

05 Mar

7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Hosting Provider

Over the last 10 years, web hosting has evolved dramatically and with it, the providers that are available to you. From huge corporations like Google and Amazon to smaller boutique providers, the options can seem endless. So, how do you differentiate to determine what is better for you and your business? Ask yourself these questions:

How much support will you need?

Consider the level of support that you’ll likely need to set up and manage your IT environment. Some hosting providers offer full managed hosting services and a customer support department that is there to assist with any issues while some providers are more hands-off. If you’re pretty tech-savvy, you might focus on other criteria to determine the best fit for you. However, if IT is a bit out of your expertise, look for a provider with a dedicated team to help you manage your business’ digital assets.

How important is your server security?

Of course, security is important for every business, but there are some instances when it’s truly the most important aspect of your IT environment. Do you collect credit card information? Store medical records? Manage sensitive data? In those cases, finding a hosting provider who is known for their security measures and can offer the peace of mind you need is paramount. Alternatively, if you’re running a blog or business site that doesn’t collect user information, a security breach would not be as detrimental.

What is your budget for hosting?

While budget is likely relative to the functionality you need from your hosting provider, make sure to outline what you are able to spend on a monthly basis. Consider what services you can outsource to the right hosting provider as well! For example, if you currently contract an IT maintenance company, you may be able to replace that expense with the right web hosting provider.

Do you plan to scale up in the future?

What are your plans for business growth? Make sure that your hosting provider can support you both now and in the future. While beginning on a shared server may make sense, it’s important to know that whoever you choose can facilitate a transfer to a dedicated server or managed services platform in the future.

How do you plan to handle backups?

Will you plan scheduled backups of your data or would automatic backups be beneficial for your business? Often something that is overlooked until they are needed, backups are crucial to avoiding IT headaches. Find a provider that offers routine backups as part of their service offering so that you can stay focused on your business without stressing about your data.

Where is your target market located?

While most companies can manage everything remotely, considering your target market during your hosting provider evaluation will help make sure that your site loads well for your most important visitors. Do you own a local business? It might benefit you to work with a provider that has a data center nearby. Need to reach consumers around the world? Make sure that you choose a company who has experience with global businesses and can make sure your site is up around the clock – no matter what time zone.

How many site visitors do you expect per month?

Consider your average web traffic when determining the hosting environment that will be most efficient. Sites with fewer visits can likely thrive on a shared hosting account whereas high traffic websites may need a dedicated environment. Find a hosting provider that can walk you through the different options that they offer to determine the best fit for you.

For a headstart on determining a hosting provider, take the Softsys Hosting Assessment!

14 Feb

A Few Reasons To Switch To SSD Powered Servers In 2018

SSD Servers

 

According to Jim O’Reilly, a well known author and storage consultant:

“In 2016, we will stop putting hard disk drives in our servers. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have reached a tipping point. Compared with traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs have much lower latency, as much as 1000 times the number of I/Os per second (IOPS) and three to five times the throughput. Coupled with price parity or better, server SSDs could rapidly replace internal HDDs as soon as this year.”

You’ve probably heard of SSD servers! Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are non-mechanical storage devices consisting of NAND flash memory. Unlike traditional HDD drives, SSDs don’t have moving mechanical parts or rotating disks, etc. that are prone to failure. They use most popular and faster form of flash memory “NAND” to provide fast access to information, and therefore it offers significant performance gains compared to those HDDs.

In this article, we have compiled a few reasons to switch to SSD powered servers.

Dedicated Servers Hosting

 

1. Superfast Performance

With SSD drives, each server operation is performed on the blink of an eye, be it a server boot, heavy program loading or bulk data copying. SSD powered server responses almost instantly. As we mentioned, SSDs don’t have rotating platters so that they don’t have to seek out the data on a moving platter that gives significant boost to your server performance.

On an average, SSD dedicated servers have recorded the OS boot time of 8-12 seconds compared to those HDDs that have boot time of 25-40 seconds. As far as bulk data operations concerns, SSDs have read-write speed ranges between 300 MB/s to 500 MB/s, whereas conventional HDDs has read-write speed of 100 MB/s to 200 MB/s.

2. Long-Lastingness

Regardless of the brand you purchase, HDDs have an average life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. This is our common experience as after 3 to 5 years, HDD starts giving you problems and eventually it crashes. In some cases, they fail long before the lower end but in majority cases, you should seriously consider a new HDD after 3 years. After 5 years, you are running it on the risk of the data loss.

On the other hand, SSDs have life expectancies of more than 7 years and several cased it is has reached to decades. In any case, you can expect SSDs to last 2 to 3 times longer than to those HDDs.

3. Low Failure Rate

We know that any mechanical or electrical device has to fail one day as it can’t last forever. The chance of failure increases when that device consists of mechanically moving parts. It is said that hard disks can fail at any time between 15 seconds and 10 years. Whereas SSDs have very low failure rates in comparison of mechanical drives. As per the study conducted in Google data centers on SSD use, “flash drives have a significantly lower replacement rate in the field” than hard disk drives.

4. Smooth Dedicated Server Operation

SSDs have excellent access and seek times, also they are almost 30% faster than those mechanical drives. That being said, you can have faster data backups, faster antivirus full system scans, accessing applications, surfing websites and blazing fast data access capabilities without any lag time.

5. Heat Dissipation

We all know that heat can lower down dedicated server performance or possibly damage its components. This is only reason, why data centers are situated on chilly place.  Due to its low power consumption and no moving parts, SSD produce very less heat. Less heat means lower cooling requirements, which in turn means reduced costs.

28 Mar

Web Hosting Security For VPS & Dedicated Servers

Most customers opting for a new server or running existing servers are ignorant of securing their servers so as to avoid attackers from:

1) Hacking the servers.
2) Using email servers for spamming.
3) Stealing their important and confidential data.
4) And much more.

We are seeing increasing number of incidents whereby hackers install ransomware on servers and demand hundreds or thousands of dollars to provide owners with the decrypting key. This is threatening for just about any business. Let us review a few security measures that can be enforced to keep your VPS or dedicated servers secure:

Server Security

Install Latest OS & Software Updates / Patches Regularly

Many vulnerabilities stem from within the server – either through software installed on the server, operating system or outdated CMS that you are using. Hence, it is extremely important that you keep your operating system updated at all times with latest patches. Also, software installed on the VPS or dedicated server must be updated to latest versions so that it addresses all vulnerabilities. If software is not receiving regular security updates, your business server might be vulnerable and hence it’d be required to look out for similar software from competitor. There are numerous instances whereby customer websites are built on popular CMS like WordPress, Joomla, vBulletin, Umbraco, etc. but after initial setup, they are never updated. This is disastrous as can lead to severe issues for your business websites. All popular CMS receive constant updates and they must be applied on regular basis. The same applies to plugins and theme that you use in your CMS as well.

Install a Firewall with Intrusion Prevention System

Firewall With IPS & IDS

 

Having a firewall sitting in front of your servers will ensure that all traffic passes through the firewall: this ensures that you have finer control over the traffic that should be filtered before it enters your servers. You can only allow traffic on required ports to your dedicated server or VPS and block everything else in your firewall. Furthermore, it is important to have Intrusion Detection & Intrusion Prevention system in firewall which works on commercial rulesets (constantly updated to fight against latest vulnerabilities) – IDS analyses the traffic pattern, matches against the rulesets and allows / blocks the traffic by creating appropriate firewall rules on the go. A robust firewall system provides complete web hosting security from DDoS attacks along with known & emerging exploits / vulnerabilities. You can find more details about Softsys Hosting Network Security Tools in our related section.

Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Scanner

To avoid your hosting system from getting infected, it is necessary that you have a commercial level anti-malware and anti-virus engine installed in your server which will provide real-time protection from viruses / malware entering your server. In addition, you should also setup a “Full System Scan” by these engines at once every week so as to ensure that your system is completely secure and safe. You should also look out for engines that provide protection from ransomware as well. We have customers using MalwareBytes successfully with complete protection around-the-clock and our technical support staff is well versed to configure it appropriately for our customers.

DDoS Protection

DDoS Protected Hosting

 

DDoS attacks are quite frequent and cause your services to become inaccessible by saturating the network with massive amount of traffic from hundreds or thousands of IP addresses. If your website / service is inaccessible, it will directly affect your business and hence it is necessary to have DDoS web hosting protection enabled at network level. DDoS mitigation engine is self learning which studies the traffic pattern and detects all malicious traffic so that it can be dropped before it enters your server or data center. Hence, you are completely certain that the traffic entering your server or data center is completely clean and filtered by DDoS scrubbing systems in place. You can find more details about Softsys DDoS protection system in our related section.

Regular Security Audit

Securing your server initially on setup is a must for any VPS or dedicated hosting unit – however, it is equally important that there is regular security audit of servers so as to ensure that they remain safe and secure. Hence, you should always have expert hands which will secure your operating system, secure your email servers to ensure that it is not setup to allow anonymous email sending (protection from spammers), standard and critical services are setup on non-default ports, firewall is at optimal setup, etc. An efficient managed server service provider should be able to help you with these features. You can view the details of Softsys Hosting managed server plans with advanced web hosting security in our related section.

21 Mar

Why DDoS Protection for Servers Is So Important?

Why DDoS Protection for Servers Is So Important?

DDoS Protected Hosting

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is an increasingly common attack which is initiated by having huge number of servers/computers requesting for the same resource. Considering that you may have a 1Gbps uplink from your hosting provider (which is fairly common these days) – if someone, with intention to DDoS your servers, will use 4Gbps, 10Gbps, or an overwhelming amount of traffic to keep your connection fully saturated, all legitimate traffic cannot fit through the connection and thus your online service will eventually become offline for anyone (and so will be your business!).

From internal technical standpoint, DDoS may also involve abusing the underlying communication protocol (TCP SYN_ACK/UDP broadcast/etc.) which would not require lot of traffic, but the idea is similar – to saturate your system / router / bandwidth pipe, so that you cannot keep up with the increasing amount of  requests, and ultimately no one else will be able to connect.

DDoS attacks are becoming more common these days than they were ever before. They are not just limited to known websites, but even for start-ups that are apparently targeted by their competitors (bitter truth!). Hence, in today’s age, it is extremely important to have appropriate DDoS protection enabled for your servers to ensure that you tackle the bad guys by scrubbing them off!

There is no specific limit of DDoS protection that will help you tackle the bad guys. You can take a look at how Sony was taken down by Anonymous, or simultaneously someone took down MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal at the same time. If these big corporations (with apparently endless supply of cash) can’t keep their services up against DDoS, there is literally nothing that we can do to keep our services up & running.


How Does DDoS Protection Work?

DDoS protection involves deploying very sophisticated systems in place which can learn by itself to identify the difference between bad or malicious traffic vs. good or legitimate traffic. With this knowledge, it will be scrubbing off (or discarding) bad traffic packets and only allowing good traffic packets to reach your server. Hence, before a packet reaches your server, it is analyzed by DDoS protection systems and allowed to pass through only if it passes all tests of not being a bad packet.

DDoS protection systems also help to keep away bots or small automated DDoS attacks by enforcing blocks or banks on servers or IP’s involved in such attacks. Hence, with DDoS protection in place, you are sure that you will be seeing only legitimate traffic on your server and hence your websites will continue to operate even during an on-going DDoS attack.


DDoS Protected Hosting

When choosing your hosting provider, it is necessary to know and understand if it can provide the protection for your business immediately or in case of emergency whenever you require. This way, you can start with a standard setup and have your provider to enable DDoS protection for your server whenever you are under attack. Alternatively, most businesses are now having their business websites protected from such DDoS attacks on 24/7 basis by having protection permanently enabled. While opting for a DDoS protected hosting service, it is important to understand the protection level that you choose as it varies from the size of attack that is handled along with maximum amount of packets that can be handled. In case any of these limits are reached (a DDoS attack is larger than the limits), you will again see your services going offline. Typically, you can start with some limited protection level and upgrade when you see increase in the size of attacks. This ensures that you are not overpaying.

Apart from saving your services from attacks, it also helps to keep your e-commerce or business website safe and protected from hackers who tend to use brute force attacks, sql injection attacks, etc. to hack into your application or website. Hence, in today’s age, it has become inevitable for every business with online presence to have such protection enabled and ensure business continuity along with keeping clients’ data safe and secure from hackers.

24 Feb

Major Factors to Consider When Choosing The Location of Your Hosting Server

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Location of Your Server

Hosting market has evolved greatly over the last several years and there are quite a few options available these days to choose a web host that is apt for you or your business. There are several criteria to be considered for choosing a correct server for your requirements – one of this criteria is to choose the correct location for your server.

Hosting Server Location

While there are conflicting views on whether this should be considered as a viable criteria for choosing a provider or server, we do positively recommend to consider getting a server as close to your target audience as possible for the below reasons:

Lower Latency & Faster Access

Having a server in the same country or at least same continent as your target audience helps in delivering your web pages or application / database much faster due to lower latency. The time required for data packet to travel from one country to another or to a country which is few continents apart is considerably higher than having it travel in the same country or same continent. Faster websites or applications always help in engaging better with end users since they will be having overall better experience working with your websites and servers compared to slower websites or servers.

Better Connected

It is highly important that your server is located where there are premium transit providers available (like New York / Chicago / London / Amsterdam / Singapore / etc.) since it helps in providing better routes for network traffic globally. You can potentially see difference of several milliseconds between servers located at the best connected locations vs. those without it which could eventually cause you to have sub-optimal experience with regard to faster connectivity.

Compliance

Many institutions (mainly financial / banking) are legally bound to have their data reside in specific countries only – hence, it becomes inevitable for those businesses to be very specific with regard to  the location where their data is going to be stored so that they remain in compliance with legal protocols of their organization. Restrictions to have data hosted in a specific country are specifically laid down for data privacy / secrecy laws.

Data / Server Safety from Natural Calamities

There are a few locations which are prone to natural calamities (like floods, snow storms, cyclones, etc.) which have potential to take the operating data center to a non-working state and will cause the facility to stall operations or in some instances cause damage to facility and servers as well. Hence, it is extremely necessary that the location of a server that you choose is safeguarded and stay resistant to historical natural disasters.

Search Engine Optimization Benefits

Although, it is not attested by any search engine, it has been widely recommended that having a server in the same country as your target audience helps in having your website rank higher in search engines for that locale / region. This may affect having your website load faster compared to competitors (related to lower latency) and thus creating better user experience & user engagement chances for your website.

While most of users may not be aware of the above points, a few of them are very selective with regard to location and this is something that should be researched by end users before opting for a web hosting server provider. If you are looking to engage into some type of Forex trading or online financial / share trading, a difference of just 1-5 milliseconds would mean hundreds or thousands of dollars lost due to rates getting updated slower. If you are having a video streaming website, it would mean that your users have to wait more to view your video (and they may just exit forever due to poor user experience). In case you are using servers for phone PBX or VOIP, you might experience break in communication or business presentation – all of these factors can severely affect your business performance.

Hence, it is required to ensure that you choose a provider that has a global footprint and own servers located as close to you as possible. Softsys Hosting provides global virtual private server & global dedicated server hosting services from Denver & Chicago in USA, London in UK and Singapore for Southeast Asia & APAC countries. This helps you to have your server located at a hub that provides the best-in-class connectivity to your end users and thus allows increasing your business revenue.