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.

12 Jun

Planning For The Unexpected

By its very nature, the unexpected is difficult to plan for. That makes it easy to push down to the bottom of the to-do list while there are more pressing, very real, issues to address.

Taking a few easy steps to help your business prepare for unexpected challenges like changes in the market or natural disasters will help minimize your exposure and give you the peace of mind you need to grow your business.

Unexpected Planning

So, we’ve compiled some tips to prepare for…

Economic Downturn

Economic downturn is inevitable. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll experience seasons of prosperity as well as leaner years. Take advantage of the prosperous times by preparing for a future downturn to protect your business from the whims of the market.

Start by establishing an emergency fund that can go towards essential expenses in the event that revenue starts to slow. Once you’ve begun contributing to that “insurance policy” of sorts, set aside time to develop a business plan based on reduced expenses. What functions could be reduced or eliminated? How would you maximize your marketing budget without compromising operations?

Planning ahead will help you avoid making knee jerk, and potentially detrimental, decisions when a downturn arrives.

Disaster Preparedness

While half of business owners own an insurance policy in case of natural disaster, far fewer have taken the additional steps necessary to ensure business continuity in the event of flood, fire, or other disaster.

While your technology partner can help with this, it’s important to understand your company’s process for backing up files and data. Replicated cloud services are a great start to avoid disaster.

You might also consider making structural updates to your physical location if you are more prone to certain disasters – for example those in a flood zone.

Cybersecurity

As high-profile cyber attacks have been featured in the press in recent years, most companies have taken some steps to secure their data. However, you might be shocked to learn that less than half have secured their customer data and consistently dispose of confidential documents securely. Even fewer (27%) have trained their employees on confidentiality protocols.

Those numbers are truly shocking when you consider the volume of sensitive data transmitted each day.

At Softsys Hosting, we recommend implementing a third-party security management program managed by our professional team that is dedicated to keeping your data secure. More best practices for data security can be found here.

Online Reviews

For a largely digital world, businesses are disproportionately prepared for online reputation management. In fact, only 24% have a crisis-management plan in place to address negativity online.

Online Reviews

That number makes sense when you consider that nearly a third of businesses who have had a negative review believe that it led to a loss of business.

Competition

Planning for competitors encroaching on your market share is the first step to winning in business. After all, keeping the customers you have is often much less expensive than acquiring new customers. Prepare for new competition by maintaining a high customer retention rate and constantly re-assessing the value you provide to your customers.

*All statistics pulled from the Bank of America Business Advantage Spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report
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.

05 Jan

6 Ways To Avoid Disaster With Replicated Cloud Services

We’ve all been there – that split second panic when you make updates to your server, the nagging stress caused by how dependent you are on your technology, or the pit in your stomach when you realize your website is down.

We understand that data is vital & critical for any business. Our turnkey replicated cloud servers automatically sync your data on the separate server in almost real time. You can failover to second server (planned / unplanned) to ensure business continuity and avoid disaster.

Replicated Cloud Servers

1) Fastest Disaster Recovery Available

Because our replicated cloud services don’t involve having to manually transfer or sync the data like traditional disaster recovery solutions, your data can be recovered in minutes. That means the disruption to your business is minimized and you can get back to work ASAP. Essentially, our cloud hosting services remain in sync in real time so you don’t have to wait hours or days for our failover to kick in.

2) Simple Installation

IT & Technology should help your business grow & not the other way round. We can help you deploy solutions which can grow almost indefinitely with your business growth. Your data will remain intact during scaling & we will help you in every step.

Our replicated cloud hosting solution works at Hypervisor level which doesn’t require any agent installation or additional resource utilization on your server. So, the pain of transition is lessened and you can get up and running with our replicated cloud services quickly and easily.

3) Operating System Independent

Whether you are operating on Linux or Windows, our replicated cloud services works for all operating systems. The block level functionality means you have flexibility and aren’t dependent on a specific operating system.

4) Fully Managed Replication

Trust the experts to manage your data. We offer fully managed hosting replication that doesn’t require any configuration on the client side. Everything is taken care of by the experts on our staff.

This also allows you to increase profits by outsourcing technical support and management to the Softsys Hosting team.

5) On-Premise Replication Available

Feel better if you store your data and backups in your own office? We totally understand! That’s why we’ve made it easy to keep your data close by.

If you have Hyper-V installed on your cloud hosting server, we can set up a copy of your server’s recent data on your local network or on-premise server.

6) Multiple Copies of Your Data

Digital Technologies

Our replicated cloud hosting services preserve 4 copies of your data – primary server, replica server, and disaster recovery backups for both servers as well. So, that extra level of replication gives you peace of mind that your data is safe.

05 Nov

How To Avoid Overage Billing With AWS & Azure?

When you move from standard web hosting to cloud, the cost is the major concern to be considered, especially for the cloud beginners. If you’d have ever seen cloud provider’s pricing table, you’d see the attractive cost of pennies per hour or per IOP or whatnot. The actual cost is revealed only when you receive your monthly bill. In a nutshell, you’ll have no idea what it’s going to cost until you start using it.

Coming from the flat-priced hosting, you’ll find the monthly cloud bills are like some decipher codes. Even the topmost cloud hosting providers follow confusing charging model which is painful to understand.

In addition, these cloud web hosting providers let you deploy complex applications with super ease and within minutes. But for that very reason, it’s a bit too easy to lose track of exactly what you have running at any one time. To avoid this, you must have a proper understanding of how the billing works and where these surprises can come from. In this post, we will outline some suggestions to avoid unexpected charges in your cloud bill.

Contact Sales Support Before Purchase

Approach your favourite cloud vendor and ask for a free trial or some free credits for the test drive. Don’t put your resource thirsty projects upfront, rather run some small-scale projects for 1–3 months to get a sense of the actual bills you can expect. Choose between simple and stable projects where you have more control and stable resource usage.

Track Cloud Usage & Set Alerts

Track Cloud Usage

Keep a watchful eye on your daily usage. Most of the cloud hosting providers offer usage counter (like Billing and Cost Management console in Amazon) where you can check your daily usage. Also, consider employing third-party monitoring tools wherever appropriate to find resource leakages.

Keep track on cloud hosting costs in your spreadsheets to get an understanding of how this all works.  Set up alerts in case anything goes wrong. For instance, if your average daily budget is $100, set an alert for 10% overage. Thus, you can avoid excessive bills immediately after a week later.

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud hosting resources and the applications you run on AWS. This service can be used to collect and track metrics, monitor log files, and set alarms. It allows you to receive notifications or automatically initiate actions like shutting down unused or underused EC2 instances when a metric crosses your specified threshold.

Pay Upfront to Get Discounts

When your monthly usage is estimated, deploy resources permanently to take advantage of committed discounts available. This can save up to 50–90% depending on the resource type and vendor.

Elastic Block Store (EBS) Volumes and Snapshots

Amazon EC2 instances are configured so that their associated Amazon (Elastic Block Store) EBS volumes are deleted when they are terminated, but it is possible to set up an instance that preserves its volume and the data. Check the Volumes pane in the Amazon EC2 console for volumes that you don’t need anymore and remove them when not needed.

If you have stored snapshots of your Amazon EBS volumes and no longer need them, you should delete them as well. If you close your account or unsubscribe from a cloud hosting service, make sure that you take the appropriate steps for every region in which you’ve allocated AWS resources.

Elastic Beanstalk & Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

Elastic Beanstalk is designed to ensure that all the resources that you need are running, which means that it automatically relaunches any service that you stop. To avoid this, you must terminate your Elastic Beanstalk environment before you terminate resources that Elastic Beanstalk has created.

Similarly, ELB load balancers are designed to keep a minimum number of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances running. You must terminate your load balancer before you delete the Amazon EC2 instances that are registered with it.

Avoid Oversized Instances

Before you spin up the cloud instances know your requirements, determine what size of the instance should you run and how many will you need? Note that instance types that are specifically optimized for computing, memory, or storage are obviously going to cost more than low-tier or generic versions. Ensure that your environment is not over-provisioned as oversized instances will cost you money, using too many instances will cost you money. Even leaving unused instances running, will also cost you money.

Choose the Correct Instance Model

With AWS cloud hosting, you can purchase instance resources in 3 different ways. On-Demand Instances allow you to pay a fixed rate by the hour without commitment.

Reserved Instances provide a capacity reservation, giving you a handsome discount over hourly on-demand prices when you commit to longer-terms.

Spot Instances allows you to bid your own price for instance capacity. Assuming that your applications have flexible start and end times and can survive service interruptions when instances at your bid price aren’t unavailable – this can provide significant savings.

Mostly AWS hosting beginners choose “On-Demand Instances” because it is easy to deploy, but in long run, this option can generate unexpected AWS pricing costs. If you’re planning to deploy a website for more than 12 months, go with a reserved instance.

Avoid Taking Too Many Snapshots

Backing up data is always a smart thing. You can back up the data stored on Amazon EBS volumes to Amazon S3 by taking snapshots. However, these EBS snapshots should be saved carefully, or it may increase your storage costs. Ensure that you have defined an appropriate snapshot retention strategy.

Release Unallocated Elastic IPs

Release unused cloud resources

AWS provides you with one Elastic IP address (EIP) associated with a running instance free of cost. Each additional EIP that you associate with that instance will be charged at per hour on a pro rata basis. AWS also imposes a small hourly charge when these IP addresses are not associated with any running instance or when they are associated with a stopped instance or an unattached network interface.

So, if you just stop your instance and assume that the IP associated with it will be automatically released, you may end paying hefty AWS cloud hosting cost. Therefore, ensure that you release unused EIPs when an associated instance is no longer in use.

As we mentioned, cloud is a fabulous platform for deploying large applications at prices unimaginable until recently. Careful consideration of the above points will hopefully help you keep your ongoing AWS, Azure and other similar cloud hosting costs down.

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.

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.

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!