05 Aug

How To Choose The Right Web Hosting Platform From The Very First Attempt

Web hosting market is flooded with the thousands of companies, each offering crazy deals you cannot resist. Therefore, choosing the right hosting solution from the very first attempt is a bit tricky. Regardless of whether you’ll run a basic site for your small business, or you’re going to build an enterprise-class portal with a number of pages, the first and foremost step is to decide which web hosting platform will work best for you.

Once you caught up in a wrong hand, it is very difficult to move your business elsewhere. Therefore, it is vital to “get it right the first time” with the perfect hosting platform. In this blog post, we’ll go through a checklist that will help you determine the right web hosting option.

Understanding Your Hosting Needs

Before choosing any web hosting service, you should know what you really need to run your site optimally. To determine the hosting requirements, ask yourself some basic questions like:

  • What technologies have you used to develop a website?
  • What is the estimated traffic on your website?
  • What are your resource requirements like, disk storage, memory, CPU, etc.?
  • Does your website need special software?

Based on these questions, you can create a basic outline in your mind what your hosting requirement would be like. If you’re a hosting newbie, then you can always start small with a good shared hosting account.

A shared hosting account is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new sites. With a shared account, you can focus on building your website without having to worry about other server-side tasks such as database maintenance and server security. A typical shared account is sufficient to support a WordPress blog with 30,000 to 40,000 monthly unique visitors.

However, if you expect your website to expand really big within a few months/years then you should consider selecting a web host that allows you to upgrade your existing hosting package to the next bigger option whenever required.

So you need to be able to easily upgrade from shared hosting to a virtual private server or dedicated server account for greater processing power, memory capacity, disk storage, and perhaps even enhanced security features.

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If anything goes wrong with your new hosting, you should be able to cancel your hosting plan within the trial period and get your money back in full. It’s important to know how your web hosting provider manages refund requests so that you don’t lose too much money if you have to cancel it.

Some hosting providers charge very high cancellation fees when customers cancel their accounts during trial periods. You should completely avoid these web hosts so you don’t get trapped.

On the other hand, some hosts offer anytime money-back guarantees where you can ask for a pro-rated refund. Before signing up you should check company’s refund/money-back and cancellation policy. What’s the money-back guarantee period, Is there any cancellation charges under the money-back guarantee period? These are some basic questions you should get the answers to before signing up.

Uptime And Reliability

You’ll require a web host which is stable and reliable, both in terms of their servers as well as network connections. Check how much uptime your web host offers. 99.5% and above is the recommended uptime score, but anything below 99% is unacceptable. You should also check the hosting provider’s past uptime records, reviews on various forums, blogs, and third­ party trustworthy review websites.

There are a number of different ways to obtain web host uptime information yourself. The simplest way to do so is by asking their sales representative or else you can simply track web host’s demo IP address with server monitoring tools.

Check Account Limitations

You won’t find this information explicit on any web hosting provider’s site, and none of the review sites will tell you. If you are using too much server resources (even under unlimited hosting) or violating the rules your web host will simply suspend your account.

You will be told somewhere in the terms and conditions that your account may be suspended or terminated for over-utilization of resources. Therefore, before you sign up on a web host, it is important that you read their terms of service.

Additionally, most of the web hosts won’t allow you to run illegal files and/or services on their servers. In case you intend to run a website with pornographic content or site allowing people to download pirated files, you’ll need probably offshore hosting.

24/7 Tech Support

With a web hosting account, you cannot get everything right by yourself. A web hosting service is pointless if it’s not coming with 24/7 technical support. Your web hosting service must have 24/7 support over live chat and phone along with a most comprehensive knowledgebase so that when you face difficulties with your services in the odd hours, your web host’s technical team will help you fix them.

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.

28 Jun

A Few Signs That You’ve Outgrown Your Web Hosting Account

 

Shared Hosting

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 services 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 business needs. 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 high time to make this move from one hosting type to another, but there are several indicators that point when this switch becomes inevitable. In this post we will outline several signs that you’ve outgrown your current web hosting account.

Slow Website Performance Especially During Peak Times

Does your site perform slow lately? If yes, it could be that your website exceeds the hosting resource limit and your application is just running out of juice. The fact is that shared hosting is capable to meet  hosting requirements of the basic sites. That being said, when you’re hosted on a shared server, the server resources, such as CPU, RAM, bandwidth, and disk are shared evenly amongst all the websites on that server. It’s quite possible that some resource hungry websites may chew up more resources than others causing the rest to experience slow performance. Obviously, sluggish performance annoys visitors and eventually you may lose their loyalty and sales.

Fortunately, this dilemma can be fixed easily spending only a few dollars extra each month. You can simply upgrade to a VPS hosting plan which enables you to scale up or down depending on your website needs.

Indeed, VPS is a better choice as you don’t need to compete with other clients for resources since allocated resources are dedicated to your VPS only. Additionally, VPS can be customized in terms of server resources allocation. There might be some extra monthly costs, like a control panel license, OS licensing, or managed services in case you don’t have basic server administration skills.

Frequent Downtime

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

In case one of those websites start acquiring excessive resources, then all of the 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 package, you should consider moving to a more stable solution like a VPS or dedicated server.

Increase In Traffic

Your basic hosting package is ideal to cater to websites with relatively low traffic (approximately 2000 visits a day). If you are anticipating more seasonal traffic in coming weeks or your site traffic is increasing day by day you should immediately consider the next hosting option: either VPS or dedicated server. As we know shared hosting always comes with certain limitations, in case your site becomes too huge to get handled it might ending up in a website downtime. So before it gets too late, it’s’ better to switch to the next option.

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 hosting environment.

You Want To Run Custom Software

Sometimes you want to run some custom software on the web server where your website is hosted. Obviously, your web hosts won’t allow you to install that particular software for you only since it may impact other customers as well. 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. Some custom applications require higher privileges compared to that typical shared hosting can offer you.

In this case, you’ll require an advanced hosting alternative where you can get administrative access to your web server. An example of this is when instead of IIS you want Tomcat Apache to run Java web applications.

Your Site Needs More Security

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

dedicated server hosting

With a dedicated server account, 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.

22 Jun

Know The Warning Signs That Your Business Could Benefit From Managed Hosting

In the lifecycle of any business, there are certain stages, rites of passage, or turning points that enable further growth. Remember when you started out and you wore 150 different hats from sales to HR? As your business grows, you have the luxury of specializing tasks – both for yourself and your team.

One of the most beneficial points in your business’ growth is the ability to turn over your technology support to the professionals. Whether you’ve managed your IT personally or tasked your HR manager to take care of it, there comes a point when your business has scaled enough that IT becomes more than just a necessary headache – it can become a strategic advantage to fuel further growth.

How do you know if your business could benefit from managed hosting?

IT projects sit on the to-do list for weeks.

Updating your website, technology, or adding systems get pushed to the back burner because you don’t have time to research how to do it, then try to implement it. Plus, what if you accidentally break something? Without a dedicated professional to manage your online assets, it’s difficult to make necessary improvements.

You know your technology could better support your business.

Do you have the same hosting provider, support team, and infrastructure as you did when you started your business? Maybe your team, client base, and revenue has grown but your technology hasn’t grown with it? Finding a hosting provider that can scale with you and provide services above and beyond your current needs is crucial to businesses who are looking to maintain a steady growth.

New employees throw a wrench in your process.

New employees mean new email addresses and phone numbers, not to mention new hardware. If you’ve ever had a new employee show up on their first day without their computer ready for them to use and their phone set up, it may be time to seek out some help.

You dread change because you’re not sure how it will affect your IT systems.

Above and beyond new employees, an acquisition, software upgrade, or even new data regulations all could have major impacts on your infrastructure. Take the recent changes to information and data storage with the GDPR. Wouldn’t it have been nice not to stress about what that meant for your business and simply rely on professionals to ensure your compliance?

When you experience technical issues, it feels like you have to go around in circles to find an answer.

Sick of trying to track down the person or support team who can handle your issue? Feel like your issues get passed from person to person with no one taking responsibility? With managed hosting services from Softsys Hosting, we know that the buck stops with us. Our support team is available around the clock to make sure your issues are solved ASAP.

Think your business is ready to turn your IT into a strategic advantage? Contact Softsys Hosting today to learn more about how we can help.

22 Jun

5 Building Blocks For Your Business Website

When the time comes to take your business online, the process can be overwhelming. For many, web design and hosting seem like a foreign language. Others start building their website, only to get stuck and let it languish for months due to frustration and time constraints.

Here at Softsys Hosting, we like to think of building a website like building a house. There are 5 essential components that every business – large or small – must have to be successful.

  1. Domain: The first step to building your business’ online presence is choosing a domain name. In our house analogy, the domain name that you choose is equivalent to your address. Where people will look to find information about your business. Make sure to choose a name that represents your business, is easy to spell, and is available. Purchasing and registering a domain name for your business will allow you to begin promoting your upcoming site ASAP.
  2. Hosting: Once you’ve chosen your address, it’s time to determine where you will build your site. The hosting provider that you choose will essentially provide the “land” on which you’ll build your business’ online home. As with real estate, there are many variables when it comes to hosting. Do you need a dedicated server or will shared hosting be sufficient? How much data storage will your business require? What are the support requirements that your team will need. We’ve put together a guide to help you determine what hosting provider is right for you!
  3. Strategy: The strategy for your site is like the architectural design of a house – it’s tough to begin building without it! Before starting to build, identify the goals for your site as well as its’ necessary functionality. What pages will you need? What do you want site visitors to do when they come to your site? How do you want them to move through the information?
  4. Platform: When it comes to choosing a website platform, it’s important to evaluate the purpose of your website. Will it be a simple blog? An ecommerce store? An online portfolio? Also consider how user-friendly your site needs to be on the back end. Think of your website platform as the material that you’d use to build a house. There are many options – all depending on the landscape, climate, and needs of the house. WordPress is the most popular web platform for businesses, but Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix all have their advantages as well.
  5. Content: The address has been chosen, walls put up, and now it’s time to fill your house with your belongings – the things that make you uniquely YOU. The same is true for your website. The images, content, and design of the site are what set you apart from your competitors. Consider carefully how you want to position your business, products, or services. As with interior design, you want to encourage readers to “flow” through your website by inviting them to visit the next page, submit a questionnaire, or contact you for more information.
25 Apr

How To Migrate Data Seamlessly To A New Host

One of the reasons that we hear businesses give for staying with their current hosting providers (even if they’re not happy with the service) is because they are unsure about how to make the transition from one host to another. We get it! Transferring all of your business’ important data to a server that may be thousands of miles away can be intimidating.

The good news is that we’re here to help. Because making the switch to a new hosting provider doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you’re organized!

When deciding whether to take the plunge, consider the strategic advantages a new hosting provider might offer your company. Many hosts will also help you transition to their servers to make sure you’re up and running smoothly!

Still a little nervous? Follow these steps to make sure your transition goes off without a hitch!

Get Organized

Make a plan to ensure that you have as little downtime as possible throughout the transition. Consider moving your files over the weekend so that there is little disruption for your clients and employees. Determine who will be responsible for what tasks during the migration. Evaluate how much of the process your new host will be handling.

When you have a plan in place, inform your clients and followers that you are going to be making the switch ahead of time so that you can reduce the number of website visitors during the transition period.

Choose A New Host

Not sure where to start? Here are the key things to consider when choosing a new host.

Backup Your Data

The goal here is to make sure that you don’t lose any data or functionality while you’re making the switch. If you backup appropriately, you can move to the next step with peace of mind knowing that you can fall back on your existing host, if necessary.

Depending on the structure and format of your website, there are several ways to DIY your backup. However, we recommend checking with your existing host to see if they provide backup services and can send you everything to give to your new host.

Copy Files To New Host

Most web hosting providers offer easy transfer functionality or assistance in making the switch. If they don’t offer personalized assistance, they will likely have applications to help upload your site and files. This is especially true for sites that use common CMS such as WordPress.

Ultimately, you’ll need to load all of your site’s files to the new IP address.

Test, Test, Test

Confirm that everything is working properly and is organized correctly before you begin sending visitors to the site on the new server. Some hosting companies can provide a staging platform that allows you to test your website while still technically in “development mode.” This is helpful in allowing you to preview your newly hosted site and remedy any problems before the site goes “live”.

If you have email addresses associated with your domain, this is the time to test and confirm that they are functioning properly, as well.

Update DNS Information

Contact your domain registrar to update your site’s DNS record to the new host’s servers. Essentially, this is what tells your domain where to point visitors to when they type in your domain name. You’ll first need to identify the new server’s address. Then, update the DNS records within your registrar’s settings. Most registrars like Godaddy and Domain.com have guides for how to do this yourself listed on their sites.

Monitor

Check your 404 logs consistently to make sure that assets like images or files weren’t left behind in the transition. If you notice an uptick, this will allow you to replace any non-working links to restore your site to full functionality.

Transitioning to a new web hosting provider doesn’t have to bring headaches. However, if this sounds like a bit too much for you, consider a host that will handle the transition for you and confirm that everything is working as it should.

Don’t hang around with a hosting provider that’s not working for you any longer. Make a switch that will support your business long-term, today!

23 Apr

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Softsys Hosting Opens Two Brand New Data Centers

Here at Softsys Hosting, we’re dedicated to continually pushing the envelope and providing the best hosting service possible to all regions of the globe. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the opening of TWO new state of the art data center locations. Our 5th and 6th data centers were built with you in mind:

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Looking for FAST connectivity to the entire Middle East region? Our new UAE servers are housed in an enterprise location and offer access to the surrounding area along with global connection. They are perfect for businesses that require data to stay in the UAE and want to work with a provider they can trust.

Not located in the Middle East? These servers are still a great solution for businesses that want to offload part of their data to a secondary region.

All UAE Servers have 500GB SSD included and feature 100% premium hardware components to make sure you have the ultimate peace of mind.

AUSTRALIA

Get connected down under with our brand new Sydney data center! Customers requiring Australia-based server hosting and direct customers from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and other Asia Pacific locations will enjoy fast network performance and guaranteed 99% uptime from our new Australia servers.

All Sydney servers have DDoS protection included and are priced very competitively compared to other hosts in the region.

Our flagship server management services will also be available for dedicated servers at both new locations!

Want to reserve your server space in one of our brand new locations? We’re offering a $35/month discount for LIFE for everyone who signs up by May 1st. Use the code 35OFF-UAE-AUS at either of the links below to get started.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

AUSTRALIA

We look forward to serving you from Australia and the UAE!

08 Mar

What IT Services Are Required To Launch An Online Store?

What IT Services Are Required To Launch An Online Store?

Online Store On Softsys Hosting

With a recent boom in web technologies, an online store has become the necessity for every business regardless of its size and type. Whether you run a small grocery shop or large food chain, web sales are essential for every business, and those who don’t sell their goods online may quickly see their customers taking their money elsewhere.

As per the study conducted by comScore, 1 in 6 U.S. dollars are spent online. The shoppers prefer online shopping because it saves time, provides them with wide choices at one place without need to visit crowded stores.

Businesses can sell their goods online by running their own eCommerce stores or selling their products in established online marketplaces such as Amazon, Newegg or eBay. To run an eCommerce store businesses require some important IT services and pieces of software. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the essential IT services you’ll need to launch your first online venture.

Basic Services

While you open an online store, pre-launch planning has a major role to play. Most of the business owners overlook this vital factor and book the loss. If you’re planning to launch an eCommerce store within a year, at least 6 months should be given to pre-launch planning, and rest of the time to development & product improvement cycle.

On this note, an eCommerce store built with the months of pre-launch planning takes very less time to get online and there are more chances it becomes a successful business venture.

Thanks to the latest tools and ready-made components, opening an eCommerce business is relatively easy. Here is a rundown of everything an entrepreneur must have to open a web store.

Domain Name

Your online presence must have a unique name to get identified on the Internet. This unique name is called the “domain name”, which is your online address at which your visitors can find your online store. As a pro-active business owner, you should decide and book your choice of domain long before the actual launch of the store. Ideally, before you start building your store, your domain should be registered.

Nowadays, there’s a variety of domain extensions to choose from. The most popular domain extensions are “.COM” or “.NET.” Note that your domain name should match the business’s name as closely as possible. For example, if you are selling web hosting service, then your domain should in most cases contain keyword “hosting” in it.

Web Hosting Services

Once the store is developed, you’ll need a web hosting service to publish the website online. The web hosting services store the web files that build your online store and serve those files for viewing by those who visit the site through its domain name.

The web hosting services itself is a huge subject for research, as you may find many of web hosting service types and probably thousands of web hosting providers. You are advised to choose a web hosting type in accordance with your business requirements, technologies used to build your store and anticipated web traffic.

Interactive Website

Your website is an online presence, and home of your business on the Internet. It can either be a simple static web page or a huge complex website coded in server-side scripts like ASP.NET, PHP containing hundreds of pages.

Your website must feature the products you want to sell and also it should encourage the shoppers to stay and make purchases. The website’s design should be clean, insightful, mobile-friendly and it must contain the detailed information about every product you sell.

Shopping Cart

In order to sell the products online, you’ll require shopping cart software. These pre-coded specialized programs are available as an attachment to existing website or in form of a plugin to add an eCommerce functionality.

On the other hand, some enterprises develop their own fully-customized shopping cart software. This software allows the shoppers to search the product inventory to check what’s available, select the products they’d like to purchase and eventually buy them. Some advanced shopping carts are also capable to control the inventory, set up shipping and calculate taxes according to local tax laws.

Merchant Services

We all know that online businesses can’t accept cash payments through the website, and therefore, they require a merchant service. These merchant services handle the transactions made through credit card, debit card, internet banking and online wallets.

The merchant service functions as a link between the business/customer and credit/debit card company. It processes the payments by debiting the money from a credit card account holder and depositing it into the business’s account.

In some cases, merchant services provide the businesses with a virtual account to hold the payments made through credit/debit cards. Once the funds have been approved, the merchant services will transfer this money to business account charging a small commission or service fee.

Mobile Application

 

Mobile Store On SoftSys

Due to increasing speed of wireless internet access and advanced feature-rich smartphones, the mobile application has become an essential part of any business. Your business’ presence on mobile devices is equally important as your website, as more and more people are buying directly from their smartphones. On this note, online businesses having mobile application are at a clear advantage over those that do not have.

To appear correctly on the mobile device, your website has to be mobile-friendly and responsive. In other words, it should be optimized to change size and layout dynamically for easy browsing on smaller screens. You can also build a special application for various mobile platforms such as Android and iOS.

Apart from above major IT services, you’ll require an online marketing services to stand out your store from the rivals making it more popular across the Internet. The businesses can adopt various marketing options like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (SEM), email marketing, content marketing and social media campaigns.

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!

27 Dec

Do I Need An SSL Certificate Installed On My Website?

You’ve probably come across that tiny green padlock in your browser’s location bar followed by the website URL. It indicates that the site you are browsing is equipped with the SSL certificate.

Being a website owner, you might also be wondering “Do I need an SSL certificate for my website too?”. But wait, before you get your question answered, let us know first what is an SSL certificate and what it does exactly?

What is an SSL certificate?

Secure Sockets Layer, shortly known as “SSL” creates a secure channel between your browser and the web server so that the information you transmit will be traversed in the encrypted form.

When the website you visit does not equip with the SSL certificate (web address starts with http:// only), all the information that your browser sends to the web server and receives is in clear text that anyone could read. So it’s possible that any malicious user (hacker or intruder) can intercept the web traffic to your website and could possibly retrieve the private user information.

When you set up an SSL certificate, your website URL starts with https:// ( mind the “s” for “secure”), so all the information sent and received is encrypted.  It’s vital when your site collects any sensitive data on your website like credit card information as you don’t want someone sniffing your customer’s private data like credit card numbers or personal information.

Do I really need an SSL certificate?

While not all websites require an SSL certificate, it is essential for certain types of sites. To find out if your site really needs an SSL certificate, go through these questions:

Do you run an ecommerce store?

If you run an ecommerce store, probably you’ll be accepting the payments through credit/debit cards.

In this case, an SSL certificate is indispensable to encrypt the customers’ credit card information.

Your customers submit very important information to your website, if an identity thief gets access to your customer’s credit card information it could be disastrous. So it’s your responsibility to secure the information you collect from your customers. When SSL is installed on your site, no one can intercept and misuse their credit card data.

Do you have login forms on your website?

Not all websites collect money online, some collect information. This information could be anything about related to your customers, like name, address, phone number and email address, etc.

Without an SSL certificate, these login forms can be intercepted easily. If you don’t want that information leaked, securing online forms with an SSL solutions is also a must.

Do you offer memberships on your site?

To become a member, your members are giving you their email addresses, names, and passwords, all of which they likely use on other sites. You should not take the risk of a security breach that could result in your members’ information being spread across the whole internet.

Are you serious about search engine optimization of your website?

During the last couple of years Google gives ranking advantages to websites featuring SSL protection. Those projects that don’t use SSL certificates are marked as unsecure in Google Chrome browser as well.

Conclusion

On the Internet, confidence is everything. No one would like to submit their sensitive information in plain text, right? Nowadays, visitors are also well aware of potential online threats and become more security conscious.

Many people would think securing a website with SSL is essential only if they’re selling products or collecting payment information. But they don’t realize that SSL encryption has other very important benefits. Such as your visitors will feel safer on your site when they see the green lock while accessing your website knowing it’s protected by a security certificate.

Also, the latest browser versions have started sending notices when you browse any website without SSL. So, it’s now important to ensure every website has an SSL certificate and is loaded via HTTPS.