20 Sep

Some Software Choices You Inevitably Need To Be Installed On Your Dedicated Server

Most web hosting providers deliver a dedicated server with just OS installed and a few bare minimum components. Right after receiving server logins, you’d need some important software on your server to make it more secure and easy to manage. In this post, we have compiled a list of software that will help you with easy server management and better security.

Dedicated Server hosting software

Software For Windows Dedicated Server

The software choice for Windows systems mainly depends on the fact how you are going to utilize your server. Let’s say, you are going to use it as an ASP.NET development machine, you’ll need the complete Visual Studio suite installed then.

Similarly, to host a Radio server or Forex trading platform, you are required to install respective software on the server. In such a way, we’ll discuss some generic software every Windows server must be installed with.

Web Control Panel

Unless you hold the years of experience with Windows systems, it’s a bit difficult to manage Windows servers through remote desktop connection. That’s where control panel comes into play.

A hosting control panel gives you web-based GUI which helps you manage all web services under single login very efficiently and quickly. It also allows you to manage websites, domains, SQL databases, DNS records, email accounts, FTP accounts, file functions, disk space availability, bandwidth usage, and lot more.

WebsitePanel, SolidCP, and MSPControl are the most popular free control panels. If you’d like to have some paid alternative, you can go with the Plesk panel.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

Unlike Linux systems, Windows server requires a lots of individual components to build a functional web server. Having said that, you are required to go to individual websites, find the compatible dedicated server software version and install it manually. This sounds a little bit tedious and takes hours to complete. To get rid of this, you should install Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) even before you run Windows updates.

It’s a tiny tool that fetches the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework, PHP, MySQL Server and lot more. It can also install the most popular free scripts for blogging, and content management system (CMS) within a few clicks.

Software Firewall

To ensure your dedicated server is protected against online threats and malicious traffic, a solid firewall is a must have thing. As we know that Windows systems also come with an effective built-in firewall that adds a layer of protection to your server. This default firewall is powerful enough and works quite well for most of the servers.

In case you’d like to make your server more secure than you can consider personal software firewall. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall and Comodo Free Firewall are both excellent free alternatives you can think of.

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

Malware is no imaginary problem, especially for the Windows servers. Hundreds of new virus definitions are spread daily across Internet and antivirus labs have to detect them and find solutions.

Having RDP access for the dedicated server, if you or one of your colleagues visit a phishing website or download uncertain files by mistake, your dedicated hosting platform may infected by dangerous malware.

Even some viruses are distributed through emails, freeware tools, and pop-up messages. As such malicious software can completely damage your dedicated server functionality, compromise security or erase sensitive data.

So, it is essential to have a good antivirus software to detect & remove viruses before they harm your system. Antivirus software detects suspicious websites and files that contain malicious programs before they enter your server and blocks malicious scripts from being downloaded.

ClamWin is an excellent free antivirus program supporting most of the Windows desktop and server OS. There are also plenty of paid alternatives available on the market so you can choose according to your requirements and budget.

Remote Desktop Guard

RDP (Remote Desktop) allows users to connect to a remote server from anywhere. Indeed RDP is a very useful feature however, it also has several security issues. When a malicious user launches the network/port scanners or RDP brute-force attacks on Windows servers, thousands of failed login attempts are generated and pages of events are being logged. Such attacks abuse your dedicated server resources (CPU, RAM, Disk Space and Network Bandwidth) and degrade the overall functionality of the server.

To prevent them, host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS) like RdpGuard is implemented.  This protects servers from brute-force attacks on various protocols and services (RDP, FTP, SMTP, MySQL, MS-SQL, IIS Web Login, etc). It monitors the audit logs and detects failed login attempts. If the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address exceeds the normal limit, the IP address will be blocked immediately.

Conclusion

Above listed dedicated hosting programs are currently configured on our own servers and so far so good for the production usage as well. Of course, you may also need some other specific tools based your requirements, so you may subscribe to our managed dedicated server plans directly for guaranteed security and support.

13 Sep

When Does It Make Sense Choosing Fully Managed Or Self-Managed Dedicated Hosting?

Professional Dedicated Server Hosting

 

 

With a wide variety of hosting options available today, such as shared, VPS and dedicated servers, choosing the right hosting option for your business can be both crucial and confusing.

If you are planning to build an enterprise application boosting the revenue and profits to your online business, a dedicated server could be a good choice. In some circumstances, dedicated hosting may even be an obvious option, like if you are about to launch some busy site anticipating millions of hits per day.

But choosing the right dedicated option may not be as simple as you thought. There are two basic types of dedicated servers differentiated by how servers are managed, namely managed and self-managed/unmanaged dedicated hosting services.

What Is Fully Managed Dedicated Server?

With fully managed dedicated servers, your hosting provider takes care of all your server related issues so you don’t have to worry about the technicalities behind running the server.

Your web host is also responsible for the complex and time-consuming server management process. Server experts monitor your equipment 24/7/365 ensuring it is running smoothly. In addition, hosting companies may also offer various other services like backups, scanning, and removal of malware, performance monitoring and more.

Benefits Of Fully Managed Dedicated Server

Performance Monitoring

Performance monitoring allows you take precautionary actions before disaster strikes. For example, your host will notify you when your site is about to having used all of its available resources, like disk, RAM or bandwidth. Thus, you’ll have enough time to contact your web host and resolve an issue before it’s too late.

Software Updates

Software updates are very important for the server as they keep your system healthy and secure. Many web hosts will take care all of this for you so you won’t have to update any of it on your own.

Server Security & Scanning

Server security is the pioneer priority for any online business. Security scanning exposes the multitude of possible issues with your server and enables you to clean them up. Fully managed servers are constantly checked by the web host for loopholes on the site as well as malware, spyware, and suspicious traffic patterns.

Data Protection

Your host takes backup of your data on a regular basis ensuring that after a crash or some other error, no data will be completely lost and could be restored quickly.

Managed Technical Support

With the managed dedicated hosting option you get 24/7/365 technical assistance. You can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you’ll get a helping hand whenever you are in need.

When You Should Opt For Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting Services?

  • If you are not a technical person and you don’t know anything about hosting, managed dedicated hosting would be the perfect choice for you.
  • You are a tech savvy and know how to manage a dedicated server, but you don’t have at such time or you want to focus on your core business. In that case, fully managed dedicated servers would be an ideal option.
  • You know the technical know how of web hosting but you want the web hosting experts to handle everything for you to avoid mistakes and to ensure that everything is getting handled the proper way.
  • Business critical websites like an online eCommerce store must function with the maximum efficiency. You’ll need expert assistance right away in case of any issue with your website/server, otherwise, your business will be affected.
  • You rather often require server customizations like complex service and software setup, integrations, etc.

What Is Self-Managed (Unmanaged) Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicated server hosting with a little or no management assistance is known as unmanaged or self-managed dedicated hosting. With unmanaged dedicated hosting, you get a server with only an operating system installed.

This means that you’ll have to install any necessary software on your own like LAMP stack. Your web host is only responsible for the availability of a functional physical server.

When Should You Choose Self-Managed Dedicated Hosting Services?

  • If you are tech savvy and you hold the good experience in managing servers then you can consider self-managed dedicated servers.
  • If you prefer the higher levels of freedom managing your server or you want to control every aspect of a server then you can go with self-managed dedicated hosting.
  • The cost of an unmanaged server is always less than that of a fully managed server, so if you are short of funds then self-managed dedicated hosting can be the most deliberate choice.
  • If you don’t want to rely on anyone else to make changes to your server or your website then choosing unmanaged dedicated hosting is the best thing to do.

Conclusion

For hosting newbies, managing a server is not only time-consuming, but also a complex thing. With a managed dedicated hosting, you can use your valuable time on more productive business tasks.

25 Aug

A Few Signs That It’s High Time Moving To Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Server Hosting Softsys

Shared hosting is the most common web hosting type. It’s super easy to setup and costs much less compared to VPS or dedicated hosting. No wonder, site owners choose shared hosting as their first web hosting option and eventually switch to bigger options.

When your website gains the popularity and starts receiving a significant amount of traffic, your hosting plan should also grow with it to accommodate growing needs of your site. At this stage, it’s vital to track the increasing traffic inflow, evaluate the current resource, and be prepared to take them to the next level.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when it is time to make the move from hosting type to another, but there are several indications that point when this switch becomes inevitable. In this post, we will discuss several signs that it might be time for you to move to a dedicated hosting server.

Frequent Downtime

With the shared hosting plan, you share server resources (disk space, bandwidth, CPU time, memory) with several hundreds or probably thousands of other websites.

In case one of those sites start acquiring excessive resources, then all of other websites hosted on the same server will start to run slower or might even crash due to the overload on the server.

If you face frequent downtime with your existing hosting, you should consider moving to a more stable hosting solution like a dedicated server.

Huge Traffic

If your traffic is increasing every month, and you can anticipate a time when your site will become too huge to get handled by a shared hosting, immediately move to a dedicated hosting environment.

Poor Load Times

Heavy websites process a number of PHP requests with multiple complex SQL queries running in the background. Such websites demand dedicated resources to run optimally, and when allocated resources are inadequate its loading time increases. If your site’s loading time is high, you should switch to VPS or dedicated hosting where you don’t share, but maintain your own server environment.

You Need Complete Control Over Your Hosting

Some custom applications require higher privileges compared to that typical shared hosting can offer you. Sometimes, you want complete control over your hosting account to perform more advanced actions, such as installing desired software, or setting elevated permissions whenever you want to.

In such cases, you need to switch to a dedicated server as you’ll get administrative access to your hosting account which isn’t possible with shared server hosting.

Your Site Needs More Security

Although shared servers are equipped with firewalls and decent security software, but still your project is at risk as your neighbor website may leave some security holes open and yours might get hacked too.

With a dedicated server, you get isolated and secure hosting environment along with your own set of resources preventing you from data hacks or getting blacklisted on RBLs.

That being said, if you are processing any sort of sensitive information like credit cards you may not want to share a server with anyone.

Custom Resource Requirement Of A Website

If your website is serving large videos or audio files, or you are running an application with heavy CPU and RAM intensive activities, you should seriously consider a dedicated hosting option.

Conclusion

Certainly, shared web hosting offers some great features, but it has some limitations which are specific to its business model. We hope that this post will allow you take necessary steps and choose an ideal moment when moving your hosting account to the next level of performance.

01 Aug

How To Estimate Your Dedicated Server Resource Requirements

Typically, people look for a dedicated server when their shared/VPS account is no longer capable to meet ever-growing requirements, or there’s a new project launch which demands bigger resources.

In either case, you just can’t head to any other web host and order a generic dedicated server, without understanding your actual resource requirements.

It’s vital that you at least get a general idea of how much resources you’ll deploy to your dedicated server. It’s actually quite difficult to determine the exact resource requirements, but it’s better to know something rather going in blind.

In this blog, we will go through some basic principles of how you can determine the resource requirement of a dedicated server matching the business needs.

Understanding Your Hosting Requirements

Different applications have different resource requirements. Determining the type of software you’re going to run on your server is probably one of the most important factors to be taken into account.

Based on the type of your software, you can put more emphasis on certain server resources. For example, database driven applications demand high speed I/O operations. In that case, an array of faster SSD disks would be an ideal choice rather a standard single HDD.

To host game servers, you’ll require a high-end dedicated server with powerful CPU & GPUs. It’s okay if you mount less amount of disk on the server. On the contrary, any low-end server would suffice to host a file server,  but you’ll have to deploy lots of disks.

For video websites, media streaming and TBs of bandwidth are essential, whereas to build hosting servers, a perfect combination of RAM, latest CPUs and faster storage is required.

Estimating The Resource Requirements

Estimating the dedicated server resource requirements involves detailed investigation, like reviewing your business needs, estimating of your current workload, future resource anticipation and expansion etc. Ultimately, you will have to answer a number of “how much” and “what kind” questions.

Upgrading From An Existing Hosting Plan

It’s pretty simple if you’re just upgrading from your current shared or VPS hosting plan because you’ll be in a position to predict the resource requirement based on your current usage.

Just note down your current resource pool allocated with the hosting package, and what you’re using during peak hours. Also, gather some numbers as below.

Number of daily & monthly visitors.
Number of concurrent visitors in peak hours.
Monthly bandwidth requirements.
RAM & CPU usage in peak hours.

Above statistics is easily available through hosting control panels like WHM or Google Analytics. Based on gathered figures, you can calculate how much power you’d need in order to provide those resources without stressing out your server.

As a minimum for the dedicated server, you can go with multi-core single CPU (Intel E3 or E5 Series ), at least 8GB RAM and a decent RAID controller.

For the better performance or provide a level of fault tolerance to your system, either go with RAID 5 or 6.

Starting Up A New Dedicated Server

If you are planning to start a new dedicated server, things will be more complicated as it involves a bit of research work on your part. In the following section, we’ll discuss some important parameters to be considered before you build a dedicated server.

Choosing The Server Operating System

Determining a dedicated server OS is fairly simple. If you follow the conventional path, for the Linux based software and PHP based applications, CentOS is by far the best OS available. Note that PHP applications can also be hosted on Windows hosts, but not being a native platform it has several performance disadvantages.

For the applications and software built with Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET, C# or MS SQL Server, you’ll have a no choice other than installing Windows Server OS. It is worth mentioning that Linux OS such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and CentOS are open source and free to use, whereas Windows OS will cost you more based on the OS Edition and License type you choose.

Using Performance Metrics

If you are planning to host popular software, you’ll get the server requirements on an official website of the respective provider. For example, Minecraft game server, Forex trading software, bookkeeping software, radio stations, etc. have their exact requirements mentioned on their official website.

For the custom applications/software, you may need to run some performance metrics while they were in development or staging environments. This data can be used to build some useful assumptions.

Let’s take an example of a custom PHP website, If you know the peak hourly visit rate (the number of unique visitors to the website in its busiest hour) and the average visit length (the amount of time, on average, each user spends on the website), you can easily estimate of the required Virtual User count. A virtual user count can be used to calculate the approximate RAM and CPU usage per user.

Determining The RAM Resource

Once virtual users (concurrent users) are known, you can easily calculate the RAM usage. Let’s say your application will get at least 100 concurrent users which may burst to 200 in peak hours. Your application requires at least 16 MB private memory to run optimally. In this particular case, you’ll need (200 * 16 MB) 3.2 GB RAM to accommodate the 200 concurrent users.

In addition to application requirements, also consider the memory requirements of OS and other essential services like Mail Server, SQL Server, FTP Server, etc.

Calculating The Disk Space & Bandwidth

From images to HTML files, your website needs a disk space to be stored somewhere. Especially, if you are hosting an eCommerce website with thousands of products, you will require a large storage space.

Select SSD drives if dedicated server budget is not your concern. They are far faster and reliable than older hard drives. Going even further, you can opt for NVMe SSD storage. Most probably, disk-space would not be a problem as you get plenty of storage with a dedicated server compared to shared & VPS options.

Similarly, the bandwidth should never be a problem, as most of the providers offer dedicated servers with unlimited traffic.

Check If You Deployed Necessary Resource To Your Dedicated Server

Once you deploy your application on a dedicated server, you might want to check whether resources are capable enough to accommodate the peak time load. To identify the same, perform stress testing of your server.

Conclusion

Indeed, only deciding that you require a dedicated server isn’t enough. Without correct estimation, you may end up making an expensive mistake. Either you’ll choose a server that isn’t powerful enough, and everything slows to a crawl, or you’ll run one with too much resources breaking your budget.

By collecting the information mentioned in above sections, you can make an informed decision on what a dedicated server you actually need.

20 Jul

What To Consider When Choosing A Dedicated Server Location

 

Best Server Location

A lot of things have changed in the hosting market, which means that you will need to choose your dedicated server location very carefully. When thinking over a dedicated server location, there are many things to consider including latency and access speed. We will outline major factors that will help you pick up the right dedicated server hosting solution.

Low dormancy and quick access

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a dedicated server location is low dormancy and quick access. It’s desirable to choose a dedicated server that is located in the same country or continent as your target audience. This will ensure that your web pages or applications are delivered quickly because of low dormancy. It generally takes more time for a packet of data to travel from one country to another than when sending the same packet within a single country. And, a quick website or application loading time will engage your end users more effectively and their overall experience will be much more satisfying. Moreover, website loading time affects SEO as well.

Connected location

Secondly, when choosing a dedicated server location you need to make sure that it is located close to the best transit providers. This helps to ensure improved routes for global network traffic. When a server is located in a connected location the time taken will be a few milliseconds less than when the server is located far from a connected location.

Legal requirements

Another factor that you need to take into consideration when choosing a dedicated server location is that there may be some legal requirements for data to reside in particular countries. This means that you need to choose a location that complies with legal terms and conditions.

Disaster prone locations

Yet another factor that you need to take into account when choosing dedicated server locations is that you should not choose a location that is prone to natural calamities like flooding and snowstorms or cyclones, and the like. A natural calamity can make the data center inoperable and this may cause many undesirable cases. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a dedicated server location that is safe and resistant to natural calamities.

Close to your audience

If your dedicated server location is the same as your target audience then this has many interesting benefits like improved local ranking with the major search engines. When a server is located in the same country or continent as your target audience it means that the websites will load faster compared to the competition and this will improve overall user experience. In the case of Forex trading, for example. or other Internet-based financial or share trading even a millisecond difference may result in hundreds or thousands of dollars earned or lost – depending on whether the connection was fast or slow.

The bottomline is that when opting for a dedicated server you need to choose a location that is in the same country or continent as your target audience. If the server is located close to you then the benefits are immense. Choosing a location like Denver, Chicago, London or Singapore can prove to be very beneficial if you are living in the US, UK or South East Asia respectively. With dedicated server hosting there are many benefits to be enjoyed like greater reliability as well as flexibility. More importantly, it ensures greater security as well as higher website performance.

06 Jul

SSD Or HDD Powered Servers – What Technology To Choose

SSD Or HDD Powered Servers – What Technology Do I Require?

Till quite recently it was mostly only possible to buy servers with a hard drive for storage. A few very ultraportable devices came with an SSD or Solid State Drive. The traditional HDD (hard disk drive) is a non-volatile storage on which information remains present even after power to the unit has been switched off. A hard drive is made up of a platter (made out of metal), which has a magnetic coating on which data can be stored.

The SSD on the other hand can do everything that a HDD can do but data is stored on flash memory chips (interconnected) that continue to store data even when power to them is switched off. Here is a brief look at the difference between SSD and HDD powered servers and what technology do you require for your specific needs.

Price

Essentially, an SSD and a HDD perform similar functions, which are to boot up your system and store information. However, each differs in many ways. For example, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. The former costs about five times as much per GB. Typically, a HDD costs between four and five cents per GB as compared to 25 cents per GB for an SSD.

Storage

Secondly, whereas a modern HDD has a base storage capacity of about 500 GB the SSD only has about 128 GB of storage space. However, this lack of storage capacity is offset when one considers the speed at which the SSD works. A computer with an SSD will boot in under 60 seconds and often in a matter of seconds. A HDD server on the other hand could boot much slower.

Speed

HDDs are good at storing vast amounts of information. SSDs on the other hand are quicker but they generally do not have the same amount of storage capacity as HDDs. However, the good news is that SSDs do not have moving parts – unlike a HDD. This means that if you use your server roughly you could end up facing issues if you are using a HDD powered server. There are no such problems with SSD powered dedicated servers.

Availability

HDDs are easy to buy. They are readily available though in recent times SSDs have started to prevail over HDDs. Even so, most people prefer HDD powered servers over SSD powered ones. The good news is that more and more SSD lines are being offered now.

Size

HDDs can’t be extremely small because they have to use spinning platters. There are no such limitations in the case of SSDs, which means that in the coming years they may become even smaller than they already are.

Noise

HDDs emit some noise when in operation. SSDs on the other hand make no noise since they do not use any mechanical parts. Also, an SSD does not have to use electricity to spin any platter, as is the case with HDDs. This means that SSD powered servers are less costly to run.

The bottom line is that when it comes to deciding on a particular technology you need to keep in mind that HDD dedicated servers are more budget friendly options. They are also widely available. SSD powered servers on the other hand are great if you need ultimate speed that no other HDD will provide you with.

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.

30 Oct

Choosing the Best Dedicated Windows Hosting Services for Business

Dedicated Windows Hosting for Your Business

There are plenty of businesses that rely on Microsoft Windows Servers to host special applications like ASP.NET websites, MS SQL server databases, Exchange email servers, Sharepoint applications, Navison erp system, failover active directory hosting,  etc. However, finding the right web host which can provide you with complete Microsoft Hosting Solutions has always been a challenge for end users. Let us overview some of the most important points to consider when you are shopping for the best dedicated windows hosting for your business:

1. Microsoft SPLA Partner

Microsoft allows using its licenses for production web based hosting servers through authorized SPLA partners only. These are volume licenses which have monthly recurring fee based on the number of physical or virtual processors in your server or number of user licenses. You will have access to full suite of Microsoft licenses through SPLA partner and is the only authentic way of using licenses in production hosting environment. Hence, as a first step, it is important to opt for a provider that will be providing you with authentic & valid licenses as per protocols laid down by Microsoft.

2.  Sales Engineering Team Who Understands Microsoft Windows Licensing

It is important that the sales engineering team of your windows dedicated hosting company is well aware of optimizing your license usage so as to ensure that you are not overpaying for your licenses along with ensuring that you are not missing on important terms of license usage which may pose an issue at a later stage. Microsoft licensing is not the easiest and there are bits & pieces to be taken from various parts of SPUR to come up with complete understanding of its licensing structure.

3. Microsoft Certified Technical Support

It takes a lot of efforts to understand underlying architecture of Windows server hosting products and it is best done by techs who have obtained Microsoft Certification for its products. You will need to have experts to review your website hosting server, database or hyper-v vps hosting servers on a regular basis to ensure that they are performing at the very best and also that they are completely secure with the latest updates / patches applied. Also, in case of any issues encountered, you will need an expert to fix them professionally to ensure that it is resolved in accurate & timely manner with assurance that the issue will not return again in future. It takes years of experience working with Microsoft hosting servers efficiently and hence you will need to consider reviewing the length of a windows server hosting service provided by your host.

4. Enterprise-Class Server Hardware

Microsoft products perform the best with ample amount of resources like CPU, RAM, SSD storage, etc. You will definitely not like to have various server components going out of service at regular intervals which will affect your business website or application severely. Hence, it is important to ensure that your prospective Microsoft host is using the best server hardware components which are attested to run in 24/7 environment. Enterprise servers from SuperMicro, Dell, etc. are recommended along with using Intel processors for efficient processing. It is also highly important to choose correct storage array for your server – best will be to opt for an enterprise SSD server as solid state drives will provide the best performance for your website & hosting. You will need to ensure that your host uses only enterprise-class components for servers for having a reliable server hosting experience. It is also worth considering that the hardware components used (raid controllers, addon cards, etc.) are compatible with Windows Server Systems so as to avoid any potential issues at a later stage.

We at Softsys Hosting have years of experience delivering the best-in-class Windows-based hosting coming with fully managed and self-managed servers, ultimate capacity and resources.