01 Apr

What Cloud Infrastructure You May Require To Run A Business Today?

As recently as a few years ago, setting up a new business was a costly affair. You needed to acquire server hardware and pay various software licensing fees, but now the situation is totally different.

Thanks to the wide availability of cloud services, you can have your business up and running with little more than the device you’re using to read this article. The availability of mature, cloud-based services have changed the picture drastically so that the businesses can access the capabilities they require with little capital outlay.

Why Cloud Hosting?

Cloud Hosting Infrastructure

The conventional IT administration required extensive resource allocation to build internal infrastructure with up-to-date hardware and software. The introduction of cloud computing to the business scenario has drastically reduced the initial cost of IT start-up.

Cloud platforms offer data storage, as well as software as a system (SaaS) for core infrastructure, including computer operating systems architecture. Cloud computing clients are also able to reduce the expense of additional IT staff, converging global administration activities at one site.

Cloud-based services have dramatically reduced the cost & maintenance of IT infrastructure, which has prompted more than half of worldwide businesses to set up cloud hosting.

Cloud-computing services provide the ability to scale elastically – up and down – as needed.  This means delivering the right amount of IT resources: for example, more or less computing power, storage, and bandwidth when it’s needed, without having to “overbuy” in advance for growth.

Most cloud-computing services are architected to provide high-availability, from replicated servers to switches and firewalls that automatically failover when something goes wrong.

Types of Cloud Infrastructure Businesses Use

Below, we have outlined the different types of cloud services and the specific benefits related to each type. Different companies have different requirements. You can choose as per your business need or customize it completely by using a mix of these infrastructure types.

Software As A Service (SaaS)

Emails, calendars, web conferencing tools, project tracking and office tools such as Microsoft Office 365 are all examples of SaaS services. Basically, SaaS are office solutions that allow businesses to work more efficiently and in a more systematic, organized way.

SaaS applications are commonly used for accounting and invoicing, sales tracking, performance monitoring, interoffice communication and overall planning. Customers pay only for the software they use and have access to highly sophisticated applications without the burden or expense of buying and managing them independently.

Platform As A Service (PaaS)

Platform As A Service

PaaS provides an environment that allows users to build internet applications and services, from simple apps to sophisticated enterprise applications. PaaS offers an additional layer of middleware, development tools, business intelligence services and database management and therefore it’s mainly used by software and web developers.

Customers buy the PaaS resources they need from a cloud service provider on an as-needed basis and access them via a secure internet connection. PaaS reduces coding time, gives developers greater flexibility and adaptability, and creates a sense of community among the development team. Typically, developers working on an application work in different locations, and PaaS makes it easier for them to collaborate.

Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)

IaaS providers offer configured hardware and software through a virtual interface. Servers, storage, networking and security features are the basic services IaaS provides. Your email hosting company is an IaaS provider. Common business applications for IaaS include testing and development, website hosting, backup and recovery, high-performance computing (involving complex and variable calculations) and data analysis.

IaaS is an economical cloud solution for businesses because it eliminates capital expenditure related to on-site hardware or data centers.

Disaster Recovery As A Service (DRaaS)

DRaaS uses cloud resources to safeguard and protect applications from disruption and loss. Data loss and disruption is a major concern for businesses of all sizes because downtime can be costly to the point of ruin. If a system goes down, it’s essential that it gets back up and running again as quickly as possible and that the data within that system is retrievable again. In such a way, DRaaS and premium backup services play a crucial role in ensuring uninterrupted performance of your infrastructure.

Choosing The Right Cloud Services For Your Business

There are countless combinations of cloud services to implement into your business, so it’s important to go into the process with a solid game plan in mind. As more and more IT systems are externalized, choosing the right cloud providers for your business will be critical for seamless growth and long term success. Here are a few must-do steps:

Developing  A Cloud Strategy

Your organization is unique, and therefore has unique needs on the cloud. To ensure a provider meets your requirements, conduct a review of their infrastructure, compliance policies, data protection policies, development practices and data classification procedures. Only then will you know that the provider is a fit.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Inquire about bundling all your services into a single monthly payment, which will shift significant amounts of IT dollars to operations and make it easier to manage your services at optimum levels.

Data Security

Consider the provider’s risk management policies, audit compliance record and vulnerability analysis. Data security is something no business can take lightly.

Service Monitoring

It might be easy to transfer your data to the cloud and forget about it, but if you want to ensure your services do what they’re supposed to, you’ve got to keep a watchful eye. Stay on top of bandwidth issues in particular to keep your services running smoothly and efficiently.

30 Mar

How To Choose The Right Web Hosting For Your Online Store

Congrats! Since you are here, you must be ready to launch your online store. At this stage, you might be wandering – can you just use your existing web hosting, or do you need something special?

Well, the choice of web hosting is critical. Even if you have the best products to offer, a good eCommerce store requires a powerful web hosting provider.

Making an online store is just half of the battle won.You also need to ensure that your eCommerce store is providing a streamlined and convenient customer experience. With the wrong hosting service, your online store can slow down to the extent that your customers will leave and never come back.

As an online entrepreneur, you need to ensure that the buyer’s journey is swift and hassle-free. Your choice of a hosting provider will influence your website’s loading speed, uptime and overall performance. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the factors to take into consideration while choosing the right web hosting solution for your online store.

Choose Hosting That Supports Your Shopping Cart Software

There’s a variety of eCommerce software available today. You should go with the software that best meets your needs, then choose a web hosting provider that supports the system requirements of that software.

For instance, Magento is the widely used PHP/MySQL based shopping cart. Similarly, nopCommerce is the most popular .Net/MSSQL based eCommerce software. They are full-featured, and worthy of consideration. We recommend going with a specialized web host because they know shopping cart software in and out. For example, a generic PHP/MySQL web host won’t know the ecosystem of a Magento store. Your web host must be capable of helping you with your shopping cart software when your developer is not around.

So, make a thorough feature comparison of all software and make the right call. Take your time making your decision—it will be a lot of work if you change your mind later on.

Go With A Premium Web Hosting Service

Premium ecommerce hosting

To begin with, your website speed is one of the essentials of eCommerce growth. You need to ensure that each page loads quickly in order to yield higher conversions. However, if you go for a budget-friendly web hosting provider, it will eventually cost you more.

A one second delay in page loading can reduce customer satisfaction by 16% and increase conversion loss by up to 7%. If your website page takes two or three seconds to load, you can tell your success goodbye!

But slow page load time is just one aspect of losing customers. Website crashes, glitches or error reports are even worse. This is precisely why you must spend some money on a premium web hosting provider and avoid dealing with such headaches in the long run. Yes, it’s totally worth the investment!

You Need Hosting That Supports Secure Credit Card Payments

Security is the key factor for any website, especially for an eCommerce site. Processing online payments and storing confidential customer information require special care.

One security feature you need for secure financial and credit card transactions is SSL. An SSL certificate serves as a digital passport, allowing data to be transmitted over secure networks. It authenticates and encrypts all data transferred through the website.

Many online banks and payment processors (including MasterCard, Visa and American Express) require that your hosting is PCI compliant. The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) ensures a unified approach for safeguarding credit card holder information, preventing credit card fraud, and other security threats. Make sure that your web host offers SSL certificates and they have also high-end hosting solutions that can also be made PCI compliant on demand.

Upgrade Options 

While your eCommerce store grows, you will need a web host that can keep up as well. There is a good chance that you will outgrow your shared host and you might have to move your hosting to the next higher plan or perhaps next hosting option.

You need to ensure that your web host can support these hosting upgrades so you can bump up hosting resources whenever need arises without experiencing a fall in your online store’s performance. Depending on the size and traffic of your online store, you can opt for a VPS, dedicated, cloud or managed server.

Backups

Backups are mandatory for every eCommerce entrepreneur. Imagine waking up one day to find that all your hard work has disappeared. Imagine all your product listings being gone. You will hate yourself for choosing an unreliable hosting provider.

It is a good practice to prepare yourself for data loss or hacking because such incidents do take place. Choose a hosting provider that offers regular, automated website backups. You may depend on your web host for timely backups as part of your hosting plan, however, we recommend creating backups of your own. You can do so via numerous plugins or third-party software.

Tech Support

Premium technical support

Tech support is an essential feature that you must not neglect when choosing a web host for your online store. If your website goes down, tech support is the superhero you will need. You must ensure that you are getting all the assistance you need from your provider. Tech support is a core feature that separates a good web host from mediocre ones.

Your hosting provider should have a dedicated team in place for customer support. When things go south, their customer support will hook you up with a real person who can figure out the problem and educate you on how to fix it. Many times, you won’t even have to blink, and reliable tech support will fix your problems for you. Also, check whether the tech support is staffed 24/7 or if they are being outsourced.

Conclusion

To run your eCommerce business successfully you need to partner with a hosting company which is as committed to the success of your website as you are. A company you can trust and work with for years to come.

In short, you need a reliable host that can run (and preferably install) shopping cart software of your choice, is secure and PCI compliant, and responds promptly and helpfully every time you may have a support request.

05 Sep

Ways To Battle cPanel Price Increase

cPanel has surprised a lot of us (partners and customers) with their announcement of massive price increase lately. There was a lot of speculation that they will be reversing this sudden and exorbitant increase in costs. However, this hasn’t been the case and they have pretty much confirmed that the new pricing is to stay.

We, at Softsys, have been evaluating and speaking with cPanel to minimize the impact of price change on our customers. As of now, you (our customers) have below options:

  • Move to another control panel- DirectAdmin to keep your costs at same level as cPanel (DirectAdmin unlimited domains is $15/m). There is migration path available from cPanel to DirectAdmin and it has been tested to be working fine and smoothly.
  • Move to another control panel- Plesk – however, the only concern is that Plesk is owned by same company as cPanel – Oakley Capital. Hence, it is just matter of time that we’ll see similar price change in Plesk too.
  • Move to new discounted cPanel Pricing from Softsys – We have worked out below special pricing for cPanel based on # of accounts that you host along with a special “Plus Plan” if you are having up to 50 cPanel accounts. Please review the pricing table below – pricing is based on your server (cloud or dedicated) and your service level (self managed or fully managed):

 

  • If you are a Self Managed Softsys Customer, upgrade to Fully Managed Cloud VPS or Dedicated server for deeper pricing benefits. With our fully managed services, we bundle several services so that our customers can keep their hands (and minds) clean from server management tasks. Our bundled managed services include, free daily backups, free setup, ongoing pro-active server management, 24/7 monitoring, regular pro-active security audits, 24/7 priority support, hardening and securing the server, managed OS updates and patches, one-on-one scheduling or management tasks (at your preferred time slot), discounted software bundles (like cPanel price above) and much more.

If you have any queries or if you’d like to upgrade your self-managed services to fully managed or if you’d like to move from cPanel to DirectAdmin or from another provider to Softsys, get in touch and we’ll help you the best we can.

17 Jul

Using Business Intelligence To Take Your Organization To The Next Level

By now, the importance of data analysis is old news. Providing integrated insight across all business functions can have a massive impact on your bottom line. But with the abundance of data available, how do you collect, sort, and analyze it to make real business decisions?

Effective Business Intelligence (BI) tools not only collect relevant data from internal and external sources, but also present them in a way that stakeholders can understand. This actionable insight is what allows BI to push your organization forward.

Business Intelligence

Set Benchmarks And Clear Goals

A successful Business Intelligence strategy uses historical, current, and predictive data to inform process improvements and achieve business goals. In order to track true change, it’s important to take benchmark data from your current state. Understanding your starting point should then inform the goals you’re looking to achieve through enhanced data analysis.

Most organizations break down their goals and Business Intelligence efforts into two categories – customer focused and process oriented.

Customer-Based Insights

Business Intelligence that is consumer-focused involves everything from purchase habits to marketing and sales efficiency. Imagine the impact that understanding your customer’s spending history and lifetime value would have on your bottom line.

Work with your internal marketing team to identify key indicators of success for each marketing campaign. Then, use analysis of market share, brand awareness, and sales to improve effectiveness. Organizations with several categories of products or inconsistent sales seasons can also benefit from category performance analysis and sales seasonality reports.

Ultimately, understanding conversion rates, cart abandonment, and online engagement will help your marketing and sales teams optimize their performance and drive business growth.

Process-Based Insights:

While Business Intelligence can have a tremendous impact on the revenue-generating functions of your business, it can also impact your bottom line through increased efficiency and process improvements.

For example, what is the benefit of setting targets if you’re unable to effectively monitor the progress towards them? Business Intelligence allows you to analyze department and employee performance and measure the KPI status versus targets.

In specific industrial organizations, BI can offer production forecasts, cost efficiency insights, and manage quality assurance more effectively. For HR teams, the ability to analyze payroll and compensation means you’re able to maximize your resources.

Determine Data Sources

Data Sources

Once you’ve identified the types of data that will most benefit your organization, work with stakeholders across your company to determine how best to collect data. Successful BI solutions analyze data from multiple sources to get a full picture of the company.

The good news is that you may already have several data sources integrated into your business. Website logs (for example, those at Softsys Hosting), Google Analytics, CRM systems, and even social media accounts can inform your Business Intelligence strategy. In addition, warehouse management systems, ecommerce reports, and call center records would be useful to implement. You can even integrate customer survey information and market research into your data sources.  

Implement

Your journey to a comprehensive Business Intelligence system is not a one-time initiative. A phased approach will allow you to take actionable steps and iterate as you go. Choose a few KPIs, develop a few sample dashboards, and determine what works best for your organization. Gather feedback from key stakeholders throughout the process to continually refine and improve.

18 Mar

3 Keys To Successful Data Backups

IDC estimates that by 2020 business transactions on the Internet business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) will reach 450 billion per day. Is your company among the millions worldwide handling consumer or corporate data collected online? If so, protecting that data should be your top priority.

Look at your data as an investment – you’ve dedicated time, resources, and money to collecting, storing, and analyzing data to grow your business. But, if the worst happens, how will you recover that investment?

That’s why, if your data is important and key for your business, you must have robust data backup plan. Outsourcing this to cloud backup providers like Softsys Hosting ensures that your data is safe from disaster and accessible whenever you need it.

Datacenter Backup

We help make sure that your data backups are…

Comprehensive

Most industry professionals recommend that you store your data in at least three places, on two storage types, with one copy stored off-site. Don’t trust something as precious as your data to anyone other than true professionals. Our cloud backup services provide a second copy of your data to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation and our professional teams monitor each backup to avoid any mistakes.

Our cloud offerings also give you a secondary type of storage – and one that is separate from your physical location and therefore lower risk for natural disasters such as fire, water, etc.

Consistent

Data backups tend to be a topic of conversation only once something has gone wrong. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your backup routine until you need it. Daily backups help make sure that all of your data is secure in the event of a disaster. This is especially true for businesses where colleagues are constantly adding or updating data. Ask yourself, what period of time are you comfortable losing as a result of a loss event? Most businesses can’t afford to lose more than a day’s worth of data.

If daily backups sound daunting, let us handle them automatically so that you have peace of mind knowing that your data is protected.

Recoverable

What benefit does a data backup offer if the data isn’t usable? Our professionals monitor and manage backups so that your data is in a good recoverable state when you need it. This management lessons the recovery time – or time needed to return to normal operations after a disaster event.

Backup and Restore

At Softsys Hosting, we know that when your systems are down, your company is losing money. Therefore, we work to make sure that you are up and running as soon as possible – typically within a few hours.

Forty percent of companies that do not have proper backup or disaster recovery plans in place do not survive a disaster. In short, your company depends on your data. Work with us to determine and implement a data backup solution that fits your company’s needs and let us do the heavy lifting to monitor and execute the backups – leaving you to do what you do best.

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.

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.

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.

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.