17 May

Best Online Business Ideas For 2021-2022

Best Online Business Ideas For 2022

If you are in the market for a successful online business idea, you’ve come to the right place. We have created a list of some of the most popular online business ideas for 2021-2022, and we know you’ll love them!

The internet is a powerful tool. Alongside computers, it changed the way we interact with each other, the way we work, the way we go about our daily lives. It opened doors to many new business ideas that were difficult to imagine back in the ‘90s when people started buying computers.

You can now build a successful online business from anywhere in the world. If you’ve got something good to offer, all you need is a good internet connection and a computer.

If you’re looking to start your own company, these popular online business ideas should help get the ball rolling.

Popular Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

  1. Become a Freelance Content Writer.
  2. Offer Consulting Services to Small Businesses.
  3. Become a Virtual Assistant.
  4. Create & Sell Digital Products.
  5. Build an Online Store.
  6. Become a Creator on Patreon.

Become a Freelance Content Writer

With this type of work, you can write from anywhere and set your own schedule. You’ll be able to make money by providing valuable information to people who need it. It’s an exciting opportunity that will allow you to grow as a writer and entrepreneur while being your own boss.

Popular Forms of Content Writing Include:

  • Blog Posts.
  • Case Studies.
  • Email Templates.
  • Copywriting (ads, website copy).
  • Ghost Writing (content credited to other people).
  • User Guides.
  • eBooks.
  • Social Media content.

If you are new to content writing the internet is packed with great books and courses on this topic.

Some of our favorites resources on content writing are:

On Writing Well – a book by William Zinsser, will teach you how to write well. This book is packed with examples and will give you a clear understanding of the fundamentals of writing non-fiction.

Unlearn Essay Writing – by Julia McCoy is a great course for new writers. Julia’s course will teach you the fundamentals of online content writing. It also includes a ton of resources, templates, and tools you can use in your journey to becoming a successful content writer.

Writer’s Digest University – has everything, from writing workshops to self-paced courses, to help you boost your freelance content writing career.

Offer Consulting Services to Small Businesses

Consulting for small businesses it’s a great way to earn revenue. On top of that it gives you the ability to learn many of the ins and outs of running a successful business.

A business consultant is an expert in their field and can provide advice to companies that need some help growing or getting started. Consulting services can include a wide range of topics, including marketing, leadership, business development, product development, technology. The list can go on, it’s up to you to find what you excel at.

While traditionally a lot of the consulting services were done face to face, today this type of business can easily be done online through popular collaboration tools.

Some of our favorite collaboration and project management tools and solutions are:

  • Google Workspace (Google Meet, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs).
  • Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Planner).
  • Airtable.
  • Atlassian Tools (Jira, Confluence, Trello).
  • Clubhouse Project Management.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Working as a virtual assistant (VA) offers the perfect opportunity to start your own business. You can work from home, set your own hours, and enjoy the flexibility of working with clients all over the world.

The requests for virtual assistants have been growing at a rapid pace, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.

A virtual assistant is the perfect solution for companies that:

  • Need assistance with only a specific project.
  • Want to save time by delegating smaller tasks.
  • Want an extra set of hands without having to hire another employee.

As a virtual assistant you can do anything that a personal assistant would do:

  • Manage a company’s calendar.
  • Schedule appointments.
  • Manage their emails.
  • Respond to phone calls (using VoIP – Voice over IP).
  • Data entry.
  • Marketing and social media management.

Create & Sell Digital Products

Knowing where to start when dealing with a project outside of your area of expertise, can be overwhelming. Sure! There is a ton of information available online but research takes time and then you need to figure out how to implement what you’ve learned. That’s where experts and creative minds come in.

Digital products are becoming increasingly popular because they allow anyone with expertise in a specific process or department to share that knowledge with others who may not have the same level of experience.

If you have valuable insights to share or have a knack for creating digital assets, this is the perfect opportunity to create and sell your products online.

Online Business Ideas: Create and Sell Digital Products.

Start by doing a self-assessment. What are you passionate about, what do you have experience with, what are you secretly good at?

Once you have identified your top skills it’s time to start creating.

Popular Digital Products Ideas:

  • Online courses.
  • Templates (email, resumes, marketing, social media, brand awareness).
  • Calendars, planners, and organizers.
  • “Done for You” spreadsheets.
  • Frameworks.
  • Checklists.
  • Playbooks.
  • Workshops.
  • eBooks.
  • Online graphics.
  • Logos.
  • Digital art.

You can sell your digital products on popular marketplaces such as Creative Market, Etsy, Udemy, Skillshare, or, you can create your own online store.

Build an Online Store

If you would rather sell your digital products on your own website, without working with 3rd party websites, you can start your own online store.

The internet is a hotbed for business, with 7.9 million online businesses already in operation around the world! However, there is plenty more room to grow.

To build your online store:

  1. Identify your target customers – what industry are they in, what age group, which states/countries, what is their job function, what are their pain points.
  2. Purchase a domain name for your online store.
  3. Choose an eCommerce platform.
  4. Find a reliable hosting provider.
  5. Build and launch your online store.
  6. Work on your promotion and marketing strategy.

Check out our “Step-by-Step Guide To Starting an Online Store” for a detailed overview of these steps and all the things you need to consider when starting your online store:

Become a Creator on Patreon

You know those cool people on social media that have tons of followers and always seem to be having a great time? They always share small tidbits of valuable tips. But did you know many of them might also be doing awesome deep dives into those topics using Patreon?

If you are an influencer or a well-known speaker you can make money by becoming a content creator on Patreon. This membership platform makes it easy for creators to get paid and offers a great way of monetizing content online. Content creators earn monthly payouts from their supporters, called “patrons.”

You can create any type of content from early releases, exclusive content, and videos, podcasts, behind-the-scenes type of content, mini and micro-courses, templates, frameworks, and more.

Patreon allows creators to set up multiple tiers based on how much people pledge per month (the more you give, the better your rewards).

Some of our favorite Patreon creators are:

Michael Laws – the creator of “Teaching Tech” shares technology-related content, tips, and tutorials to ramp up your technology skills.

Shannon Morse – the creator of “ThreatWire” provides access to news about cybersecurity, privacy, and online threats in addition to exclusive rewards.

John Bonini – creates “Some Good Content” and shares valuable insights on everything from planning, writing, and optimizing content.

To start creating content on Patreon, simply choose one of their available plans.

Patreon Content Creator Plans

A Patreon University (Patreon U) is available to educate creators on how to use Patreon and run a successful business.

We hope these online business ideas inspire you to start your own company in 2021-2022. Whether you’re looking for a side hustle, or want to make the jump into full-time entrepreneurship, it all starts with an idea.

30 Mar

Critical IT Infrastructure Required To Ensure Business Success

It’s no secret that IT infrastructure plays a key role in the success of any business. Can you try picturing a scenario where your IT infrastructure that hosts your business-critical application or website fails? Imagine the time it would take to restore your data and apps. You may be losing thousands of dollars or even be out of business before you have a chance to be back online.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses need to have a secure and reliable IT infrastructure in place.

Moreover, they need an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to adapt to their ever-changing business needs, yet robust and resilient enough to withstand potential system disruptions.

What Is IT Infrastructure?

The term IT infrastructure refers to the underlying framework for how technology services are delivered. These technologies include servers, storage devices, routers, operating systems and software applications, and other tools that support business processes.

The purpose of a critical IT infrastructure is to ensure business continuity by ensuring that you can run your business smoothly without any glitches or interruptions.

What Are the Key Components of IT Infrastructure?

Every IT infrastructure has key components that need to work together. The two main groups are hardware and software:

Hardware – includes everything from facilities, data centers, servers, storage devices, network switches, routers, to the physical workstations or laptops.

Software – includes operating systems (OS), web applications such as PHP or Java applications, database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) & more.

Types of IT Infrastructure

There are two primary types of IT infrastructure:

Traditional IT Infrastructure

A traditional IT infrastructure consists of physical servers and desktop computers that are typically installed on-premise for a single company or organization.

Benefits of Traditional IT Infrastructure

One of the major benefits of traditional IT infrastructure is increased security. With all hardware being set up on-premise and access being restricted, there are fewer risks for vulnerabilities. Increased data security and compliance requirements are the reasons why some organizations might still opt for this type of infrastructure.

On the other hand, it is more expensive to set up and maintain traditional IT infrastructure. It requires large upfront investments and a dedicated IT team within the organization that can maintain the infrastructure. Changes to resources or software upgrades are also not as flexible as with a cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Infrastructure

A cloud infrastructure, also referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is an infrastructure that can be provisioned and managed over the internet from anywhere in the world! IaaS it’s one of the three main types of cloud computing service models along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). In a cloud infrastructure, hosting providers can deliver resources that are typically bound to physical hardware, virtually, in any location around the world that is accessible via the Internet. The process that makes this possible is known as virtualization technology.

Cloud IT Infrastructure

Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure

  • Lower Cost – A cloud infrastructure requires a lower upfront investment since the hosting provider is responsible for acquiring and maintaining the underlying hardware.
  • Flexible Commitments – Most hosting providers will offer flexible terms of contracts with monthly, quarterly, or annual billing options. Some services might even include a pay-as-you-go billing model.
  • Improved Agility and Flexibility – Thanks to the cloud, you can now have your software and application up-and-running in no time. That means small businesses and start-ups can remain agile with their IT needs while also being able to use resources at a much lower cost than if they had invested in traditional IT infrastructure. Similarly, businesses can use their time more wisely by being able to quickly set up multiple virtual machines from different locations around the world. In other words, you no longer have to deal with all the heavy lifting that comes with setting up and maintaining your own servers.
  • More Efficient Resource Scaling – In a cloud infrastructure, you can easily scale your business without having to worry about what type of equipment you’ll be using down the line. You can scale servers vertically (upgrade specific resources) or horizontally (add more servers) as needed. When you need more computing resources for your business, you or your hosting provider can easily upgrade/downgrade resources, typically with just a few clicks.

Minimize Downtime, Maximize Success!

Network availability, or uptime, is one of the critical features to look for when choosing a web hosting provider. A study performed by Gartner in 2014, estimated the average cost of downtime to be $5,600 per minute, well over $300K per hour.

What is the cost of downtime

These numbers are reinforced by a 2019 survey by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC). In their 2019 Global Server Hardware Server OS Reliability Report, which polled over 1,000 businesses worldwide, 86% of the respondents indicated that one hour of downtime can cost their organization $300.000 or more.

Furthermore, from the 1,000 businesses polled by ITIC, almost 300 indicated the cost of one hour of downtime exceeds $1 million.

Best Practice: To maintain critical business functions or quickly recover in the event of an unplanned downtime all companies and organizations should have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Why Every Business Needs An Effective Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan will outline the procedures that you need to follow to be up and running in the event of a major infrastructure disaster or unplanned downtime.

There is a common misconception that natural disasters are unlikely to affect a datacenter. Anyone who has ever lost data due to natural disasters knows it can happen at any time. The recent fire at the OVH datacenter in Strasbourg, France is a clear example of this.

Having a business continuity plan can save your business not only millions of dollars but years’ worth of work.

Tip: Think of a business continuity plan as a checklist that you can follow to bring your website and applications back online in the event of a major natural disaster or cyberattack.

Five Key Services to Improve Website Availability

Along with the business continuity plan you should consider the following key services when thinking of your IT infrastructure:

Service Level Agreement (SLA) – Your web hosting provider should have an SLA of at least 99.9%. Anything less than “three nines” is something to be concerned about.

Redundancy – Verify that the hardware that your IT infrastructure runs on has an additional redundant layer to eliminate single points of failure.

Uptime Monitoring – Having a monitoring system in place will help you track availability and know right away if there’s an issue. SNMP and PING are commonly used at the server or router level while advanced monitoring tools can be set up for HTTP/SMTP/SQL services.

Backup Policy – Make sure you always have at least one automated backup policy with multiple days or even weeks of backup retentions.

Best Practice: In addition to automated backups keep also an additional local copy of your critical data. You can never have too many backups!

Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) – In a major disaster, such as the OVH datacenter fire, or unplanned downtime you will want to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. These can vary based on an organization’s requirements.

An effective way to implement a disaster recovery plan is by using replicated servers. With replicated servers, you have an identical copy of your primary server that can be spun up in the event of a disaster. Servers can be replicated:

  • In the same datacenter – which would ensure that your websites are up and running in the event in which the underlying hardware that hosts your primary server fails.
  • In different datacenters/locations – this adds an additional layer of uptime protection, in case of a major disaster that affects the entire datacenter, as in the case of the OVH fire.

The Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan are both designed with maximum availability in mind in case of a major disaster or cyberattack. The primary difference between them is WHEN they are implemented. A Business Continuity Plan will focus on keeping your business up for as long as possible DURING a major incident while a Disaster Recovery Plan is focused on bringing your website/applications up as soon as possible AFTER a major incident.

Conclusion

Today’s businesses need more than just an IT team, they need a reliable hosting infrastructure and the tools and means to ensure continuous data availability.

Hosting critical websites and applications can often be a burden for businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. By having a Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan plan in place you can ensure that your website is always up and running in the event of a disaster.

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting we use 100% redundant Juniper network devices that eliminate single points of failure and can handle more packets with higher throughput.

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sysadmins and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, we take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.

If you are looking for high availability and disaster recovery solutions from a reliable web hosting provider, please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth.

02 Feb

A Step-by-Step Guide To Starting an Online Store

Start an Online Store

If there ever was a great time to launch an online business, it is now. According to etailinsights, there are now 7.9 million online retailers in the world, and 2.1 million of them are in the United States.

After 2020, online shopping is growing faster than ever before.

Why Is Online Shopping So Popular?

Traditionally people have turned to online shopping because:

  • They hate waiting in line at the store.
  • They get fast access to a larger variety of products and services, many of which were beyond reach prior to online shopping.
  • They get better deals online.

Today, in a world disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, online shopping is for a lot of us a necessity more so than a convenience.

In this article we’ve aimed to give business owners a step-by-step guide on how to launch an online store.

You have a great idea for a service or product. You feel it in your bones that this is going to be successful and you know that there’s a real need in the market for what you want to sell. But how do you actually start selling your products or services online?

What are all the things that you need to be aware of when selling online and where do you start?

When you are right at the beginning, things can get overwhelming fast.

But don’t worry! We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started with your online store.

1. Identify Your Target Market and Buyer Persona

Before you can even set up your online store you need to know who your customers are so that you can market to that niche. You may think that your product or service can appeal to everyone, however that is a difficult way to market your service.

Buyer Persona

Tips To Identify Your Target Market

  • Identify why a customer would buy your service or product. Start by making a list of all the pain points that your service/product can solve.
  • Find out who your competitors are and what markets do they target.
  • Create a buyer persona – this is your ideal customer. Get as specific as possible including location, age, education, financial status, industry, job, skills, interests, frustrations.

Knowing your buyer persona is the BEST way to identify your target market. It will help you optimize your website copy and marketing materials to ensure that your message reaches the right audience.

Keep in mind that you are not limited to a single buyer persona. You can have as many personas as you would like, but at a minimum, you should have at least one.

TIP – If you’re not quite sure where to start when creating your buyer personas, try this fun buyer persona generator, from HubSpot.

2. Buy a Domain Name for Your Online Store

To create your online store, you need both a domain name and an eCommerce platform.

A domain name is what users type in their browser to access your website. In other words, it’s the address of your website.

It is possible to create your online store without owning a domain name. Some web hosts or eCommerce companies will allow you to create your online shop on one of their subdomains.

But keep in mind that your domain represents your identity online and it’s a crucial part of your brand. Even if you start your online shop by using another provider’s subdomain, you will eventually want to have your own domain.

Having your own domain name will give you more control over your website and allow it to build domain authority in Google.

TIP – As a general rule try to choose a domain name that is short and easy to remember.

3. Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Online Store

Now that you have identified your target market and bought your domain name, it’s time to choose the best eCommerce platform for your online store.

You don’t have to be an expert developer or designer to build an online store that looks great and works well. But there are so many different platforms out there that it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we will look at two types of approaches for building your online store:

  1. Using a Website Builder
  2. Using a Hosted eCommerce Solution

Building an eCommerce Store Using a Website Builder

Website builders such as Wix or Shopify are turn-key eCommerce solutions, providing users with everything they need to set up an eCommerce store. They are popular solutions when building your first online shop, especially with users that don’t have a lot of technical skills.

However, while website builders are easy to get started with, there are also some disadvantages that might not make them the best choice for your business in the long run.

Things to be aware of when evaluating website builders as an option for your online shop:

  • Costs – although website builders are low budget when starting, they can get expensive fast as your online store grows.
  • Features – website builders are typically more limited in features compared to nopCommerce, and other eCommerce solutions.
  • Transaction Fees – you might incur transaction fees on payments received through website builders. Shopify charges up to 2% in transaction fees when using external payment gateways such as PayPal. Wix also charges a processing fee for every payment you receive through them.
  • Limited Control – website builders such as Wix host your website content exclusively. In other words, you are locked in, you cannot easily export your website code if you want to leave.

Building an eCommerce Store Using a Hosted eCommerce Solution

WooCommerce, NopCommerce, and Magento are some of the most popular eCommerce solutions used by many eCommerce stores today. Both nopCommerce and Magento were released in 2008. WooCommerce was released in 2011.

Let’s look at each of these eCommerce platforms and their specific advantages.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that transforms WordPress-based websites into powerful, fully functional online stores.

As the most popular eCommerce platform in use today, WooCommerce powers over 30% of all online stores across the web. BuiltWith reports that in April 2021 a total of 4,414,537 live websites use WooCommerce for their online store.

eCommerce Websites
Source: BuiltWith, April 2021

WordPress is a great platform for building websites, but it’s not an eCommerce solution. WooCommerce was developed specifically as an extension of WordPress so that anyone can install and run a full-fledged online store with no coding knowledge required.

Woocommerce Hosting – A Complete Solution To Create Your Online Store From A to Z!

WooCommerce and WordPress make it easy to launch your online store. The friendly design interface gives you full control over the functionality of your online store.

WooCommerce includes out-of-the-box functionality for a complete eCommerce experience. Easily create products, configure payment gateways, customize taxes, shipping, and inventory – the list goes on!

Plus there are hundreds of third-party extensions available if you want more features or something specific that isn’t included by default.

WooCommerce Advantage

  • Affordable pricing with no long-term fees.
  • 140 payment gateways available (including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe).
  • Coupon codes or percentage discount options.
  • Bulk product upload, shipping management features.
  • A large number of themes and plugins available.
  • Fully Integrated with Gooten, Printify, Printful, CustomCat, Facebook Shopping & more.

What is nopCommerce?

nopCommerce is a free open-source eCommerce solution running on the popular .NET Core framework.

nopCommerce it’s a robust, stable, and user-friendly solution for your online store. It has many out-of-the-box features to help you get started with your online store, including SEO features, email marketing, product review, and affiliate marketing.

nopCommerce Advantage

  • Rich, modular architecture with out-of-the-box eCommerce functionality.
  • Open source, so highly customizable.
  • Short learning curve and great documentation.
  • Easy to use and develop being based on .NET technology.
  • Growing community with over 250 000 members (about half the population of Wyoming).
  • Responsive customer support and development teams.

nopCommerce makes it easy to build your online store. All you need to do is find a reliable nopCommerce hosting solution to get started.

What is Magento?

Magento is one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms being currently used by 0.7% of all websites worldwide. Unlike nopCommerce which is entirely open-source, Magento comes in two editions:

  • An open-source Community Edition.
  • A paid Magento Commerce Edition (former Magento Enterprise).

Robust and highly scalable Magento is a great solution for large online stores with a high volume of sales.

Magento Advantage

  • Very robust, can support online stores with massive traffic.
  • Supports transactions in multiple countries, multiple currencies and offers access to a network of global shipping carriers.
  • Mobile optimized shopping with an optimal experience across a variety of devices
  • High number of extensions available.
  • Large community of Magento developers.

Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions today. Magento Community Edition offers all the needed functionality to get started with your online store. You can opt for quality Magento hosting, geared towards enterprise companies.

However, if you are looking for rich, out-of-the-box functionality most of it is only available through the paid Magento Commerce Edition.

4. Setup and Launch Your Online Store

Once you have decided on the best eCommerce platform, it’s time to build and launch your online store.

how to launch an online store

Regardless if you work with a web developer or build the online store yourself, you need to ensure that the website looks professional. Here are some key things to consider:

  • Perform an audit of all the products/services that have been created. Ensure they all have the proper name, description, price, and any relevant information.
  • Make sure you have all the products in inventory.
  • Set up your sales tax. Keep in mind, in the US, sales tax is decided at the state level. Each state can have different rules and a different sales tax.
  • Choose your payment gateways.
  • Add information about your business and contact details (About Us & Contact Us pages).
  • Create your Terms and Conditions Agreement.
  • Define your Shipping and Returns Policy.
  • Optimize your website and product description for SEO (define your primary keywords, add meta description, use internal linking, define your site structure).
  • Ensure your website is optimized for mobile.
  • Check the website speed and performance. Users are less likely to purchase from a slow website.
  • Test your checkout before going into production.
  • Build your company’s Social Media channels and integrate them with your website.

TIP – Announce your new online store and build hype before the actual launch. A great way to do this is through Social Media networking. Another way is by building an email list. You can build your email list by using a free lead generation form, like this one from Typeform.

Once your store is live you can start driving traffic to your website. You can drive traffic by creating high-quality, educational content, using email marketing, social media, and affiliates or influencers.

You now have all the steps needed to launch your online store. Happy selling!

25 Jan

Key Features To Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Company | Part II

Last week we’ve provided you with some of our best tips to help you choose a reliable hosting provider

This week, we’re taking it a step further.

We’ve talked to clients, partners, developers, and more to identify the top things to look for when choosing a reliable web hosting provider. 

Based on this we’ve settled on four features that are essential to any good web hosting provider:

  1. Speed
  2. Uptime
  3. Technical Support
  4. Security

1. Speed (Fast Servers/Website)

We’ve recently asked developers and IT professionals across several LinkedIn groups which feature was most critical to their business. 

We’ve got a response from 79 users over three days. Yes, we know that number of respondents is not high enough. Nevertheless, we enjoyed seeing how everyone responded and we want to share the results with you.

These four features were ranked according to the percentage of total votes that we’ve received.  More than half of the respondents said that speed is the most critical feature they were looking for. 

Critical Web Hosting Features

So WHY does speed matter?

A website’s speed or load time is significant for a variety of reasons:

  • It affects your bounce rate – slow pages lose website users fast! In a 2019 report by Unbounce nearly 70% of the respondents admitted they are less likely to make a purchase from a slow website.
  • It affects conversion rate – a 1-second delay in page response can drop your conversion rate by 7%!
  • Has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and as a result, can affect your churn.
  • It affects how your website ranks in search results. In 2010 Google officially introduced speed as one of the ranking factors for desktop and in 2018 they’ve applied this to mobile searches as well. The recommended page load time is under 3 seconds, says Google.

What’s the solution?

While there are many factors that can affect a website’s speed you should verify that your web hosting provider has up to date technology and hardware to ensure that your website runs at a fast speed.

Here are three questions to ask when evaluating the server speed of a hosting provider:

SSD or HDD Storage?

HDD (hard disk drives) use platters that move and spin. Eventually, these platters will wear out and start failing. Unlike HDD, SSDs (Solid State Drives) have no moving parts that can break or fail. SSDs use flash memory-based transistors which offer faster data transfer speeds.  In other words, SSDs are architecturally designed for higher performance, providing faster storage and lower latency than HDD.  If you have a choice always choose a server with SSD.

What Type of RAID Is Used?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. It’s a way of storing data across multiple physical disks for increased speed and performance. 

There are different levels of RAID. 

A RAID 10 disk is one of the most efficient and highest performing levels, combining both RAID 1 (mirroring – or writing data on two or more drives) + RAID 0 (striping – or dividing data across multiple areas).

A RAID 10 disk will deliver a fast and redundant solution.

Check out this video from Spiceworks to learn more about RAID and the different levels.

Is There a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Service?

A CDN is a highly distributed network of servers or POPs (Points of Presence) that work together to provide fast delivery of content over the Internet.

This is possible by caching the content of your website and delivering it from a server closest to your website’s users. In most cases, the content cached is only static content, but some providers, such as Cloudflare, also offer options to cache dynamic content, through their Railgun web proxy system.

There are different CDN services out there but the most popular by far is Cloudflare CDN. With POPs in over 200 cities in more than 100 countries, Cloudflare has become the CDN of choice for many website owners today.

Some hosting providers will offer a CDN service as an included or optional service because it is highly effective in increasing a website’s speed.

2. Uptime Guarantee (Availability)

One crucial thing to consider when choosing a web hosting provider is the Uptime Guarantee or service availability. Uptime is important because it ensures your website is available online to your users. Poor uptime will have a direct impact on your business.

Let me start by saying this: no web hosting provider can guarantee 100% uptime all the time! Not unless you have a complex setup with replicated servers across multiple data centers.

There are some things a hosting provider can do to ensure high uptime. 

Here are three things to consider when evaluating a web hosting provider’s uptime:

Redundant Network Devices

Redundant network devices highly reduce the risk of downtime in the event of network failure by swapping network operations to the redundant device in an outage.

ISP Connections

Something that is not often taken into account is the type of ISP connection a web hosting provider uses to connect their routers to the Internet.  The ISP connections can be single-homed, dual-homed, or multi-homed.

  • Single-homed connection – means that you have a single connection to a single ISP. While this highly reduces costs for the hosting provider and for you, the end-user, this is the least reliable connection. If the ISP goes down or if there is any breakage in the connectivity, it will cause downtime.
  • Dual-homed connections – you still connect to a single ISP but with two routers, so you have two separate connections, two circuits. This approach offers some degree of redundancy, since it has two connections. However, it still poses a lot of risk if the ISP goes down, has a maintenance event, or has internal routing issues.
  • Multi-homed connections – also known as multihoming, means you connect to two or more ISPs. This type of connection offers the highest degree of redundancy, performance and stability. Any reliable hosting provider should offer a multi-homed connection.

Another thing to consider with multi-homed connection is the routing. You need to ensure a web hosting provider has an optimized routing process that can analyze traffic and choose the best and fastest path for your traffic.

At SoftSys Hosting we do this by using Noction Intelligent Routing Platform (IRP) to route our traffic through our multi-homed connections. By analyzing traffic at the network edge (WAN edge), Noction identifies congestions and blackouts and reroutes your traffic towards the fastest and best-performing path. This in turn reduces latency by up to 40% and increases performance.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A reliable hosting provider should have a documented SLA publicly available on the website. The SLA will define the level of service that you can expect from your hosting provider. It will also address financial penalties for cases in which the hosting provider fails to meet the level of service that was stated. The SLA should also include the Network SLA which states the uptime guarantee.

3. Technical Support

“It’s the level of support that makes a great host stand out! The others should really be a given.” – says Alex Wells, Website Developer at Simpsons Creative, a full-service creative agency based in the UK.

Technical support is the backbone of any reliable hosting company.

Here are some critical things to consider when evaluating a web hosting company’s support:

Support Staff Available 24/7

best technical support

Issues can occur at any time, and often are beyond your control. A reliable web hosting provider should have staff available 24/7 to support your business. Response time – in a lot of cases the SLA will define the response times based on issue priority. If it’s not stated in the SLA find out what the average response times are so you are not caught off guard.

In-House Support

A support staff that’s available in-house and not outsourced will always provide superior technical support. In-house technicians have excellent knowledge of the company’s services and can respond immediately when issues arise.

Managed Server or Unmanaged Server

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different priorities. If you have an in-house IT department or prefer to manage everything yourself you might choose to have an unmanaged server.

However, if you don’t have an IT department, if you don’t have the time to manage a server, or simply prefer to have an additional layer of support you can opt to have your server fully managed by the hosting provider.

Typically, that includes at a minimum system/server administration support, server and application updates and patches, managed backups, and proactive monitoring.

4. Enhanced Security

Every day we read about a new cyberattack taking down well-established businesses. What does this tell us? Security cannot be overlooked these days!

Good security starts at the data center level and goes down up to the individual server level.

A reliable web hosting provider should take and offer a variety of security measures. We’ve got six for you:

SOC compliance

A System and Organization Control audit (SOC) certifies that an organization protects and securely manages a customer’s information. It audits how a service provider complies with one or more of the following principles: security (required), confidentiality, processing integrity, privacy, and availability.

24/7 Network Monitoring

All network infrastructure should be monitored 24/7 to quickly identify any potential issues.

DDoS Protection

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are growing rapidly in volume and frequency and becoming one of the most. DDoS attacks are anticipated to grow to 15.4 million by 2023. That’s nearly double the number of attacks since 2018. DDoS protection, either at the data center level or the server level is thus a critical security measure to consider when evaluating hosting providers.

Network Security Solutions

Network security solutions such as firewalls, IDS, and IPS are critical for cybersecurity.

A firewall keeps hackers and bad actors out of your server. An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) identifies possible security breaches or intrusions at the network or server level. An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) creates rules to automatically block malicious access identified by the IDS. All of these are critical security solutions that the hosting provider should make available either as part of your plan or as an added service.

Malware and Ransomware Solutions

With the high increase in cyberattacks, you need to pay extra attention to server security. A good web hosting provider should be prepared to offer solutions that can protect your server from malware and ransomware attacks

Ongoing Backup Solutions

Backups are often underrated. But the truth is anything that is not properly backed up could be lost in seconds. A good web hosting provider should offer ongoing backups solutions with multiple retention options that allow for easy restores.

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting we provide a complete suite of web hosting and related business services from our 4 datacenter locations: Denver, Chicago, London & Singapore.

Our primary goal is to help your business succeed. When you’re doing great, so are we!

We provide high-performance servers with pure SSD RAID 10 disk array. We use 100% redundant Juniper network devices that eliminate single points of failure and can handle more packets with higher throughput.

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sysadmins and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, we take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.

If you are looking for a reliable web hosting company with stellar technical support, fast SSD servers, great uptime, and enhanced security solutions please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203).

19 Jan

How To Find a Reliable Web Hosting Company | Part I

Best Web Hosting

So, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and take your business online.

Or perhaps you already have a successful online business and are looking for a reliable hosting provider to partner with as you continue to grow.

But what makes a web hosting provider reliable?

With hundreds of hosting providers out there finding the best one for your website is not an easy task. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

We’ve rounded up some of our best tips on helping you choose a reliable hosting provider.

What Is a Web Hosting Service and How Does It Work?

For those unfamiliar, a web hosting service is a type of service that stores the files and data of your website or application and serves them, or makes them available, over the Internet. These files can be web pages (text content), images, media content, scripts, and more.

Each website needs a home where it can live.

When you get a web hosting service you basically rent a space on a server for your website. In other words, a web hosting provider is like a digital landlord. Instead of leasing or renting space in a building, it rents space on the Internet.

A web hosting provider, therefore, is a company that leases or rents the technology and resources needed to make your website accessible over the Internet.

What is Web Hosting
When website visitors type your website URL in their browser, the browser requests the website information from the server that stores it, downloads the files, and displays the web content.

To make your website accessible over the Internet you need to:

  • Own a domain name.
  • Purchase a hosting plan.
  • Upload your files into your web server.
  • Point your domain to the server’s IP.

When your website visitors type your website URL in their browser (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.), the browser requests the website information from the server that stores it, downloads the files, and displays the web page.

How Many Types of Web Hosting Services Are There?

Web Hosting Services
The most common types of web hosting services are shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

There are a few different types of web hosting services. The most common types are shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

Shared Hosting

As the name indicates you are sharing your hosting with many other users, sometimes hundreds of users. So, if your web hosting provider is your landlord, shared hosting is like having a small apartment unit in a large apartment complex. You share the complex with hundreds of other tenants.

The advantage of shared hosting is that the prices are lower. The server is also maintained and managed by the hosting provider. All you have to do is upload your website and start growing your business.

The disadvantage of shared hosting is that you get a small allotment of resources and you have less control over the server. You cannot upload custom applications or access the server from the command line.

In some cases, there is not a lot of insulation between the different users. If one tenant overuses their resource allotment it could have a negative impact on your service. This can be significantly reduced if the hosting providers use an Operating System such as CloudLinux OS, which offers better isolation and increased performance.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

A private server, as the name suggests, is a server where all the resources are dedicated to you. If shared hosting is like renting a small apartment unit, with VPS hosting you get your own condo.

The advantage of VPS hosting is that you get more resources, better insulation, and full control over your server (SSH/RDP).

A VPS server also allows you to scale as needed. You can also choose if you want to manage the server yourself or have the hosting provider manage it for you.

The disadvantage of VPS hosting is that it’s more expensive than shared hosting.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is like having your own private house. It provides the highest level of privacy and you don’t share the building with anyone.

The advantage of dedicated servers is it can include a large number of resources.

The disadvantage of dedicated servers is cost. Dedicated server hosting is typically the most expensive type of hosting. Dedicated servers are also more difficult to manage and maintain.

There are VPS servers that can be just as large or powerful as a dedicated server.  However, some companies might still prefer to use a dedicated server due to the higher degree of privacy offered, or due to various compliance requirements.

How To Find a Web Hosting Provider?

Ask a friend

If you have a friend, colleague, or business partner who has a website, ask for web hosting referrals. This is the BEST way to find a reliable hosting provider. You can learn from someone else’s experience.

But make sure the referrals you are getting are meeting your requirements and expectations.

Everyone has different needs.

Just because your friend/business partner is pleased with his/her Windows hosting provider, it doesn’t mean it will work for you, if you are looking for a Linux provider.

Go through your list and get specific information based on your own requirements.

Do Your Own Research

Another good way to find a good web hosting provider is through old fashion research.

Start with the obvious. Do a Google search and be as specific as possible.

Some examples of popular searches include: “managed vps hosting,” ”linux vps hosting,” “shared windows hosting”.

Check Online Reviews

Once you have identified your requirements and done your research, make a list of all the hosting providers that fit your needs.

Do your due diligence and find user reviews for the providers that match your requirements. Make sure you use reviews from reliable sources such as Trustpilot, Google Reviews, or G2.

Check Blogs and Social Channels

To a lesser extent, check which providers have a social media presence and periodic website updates. This will give you a sense of whether or not the hosting company is actively working on improving its services and communicating with its online community.

Is It Easy To Change Web Hosting Providers?  

Changing web hosting providers can be a daunting task. If you use a Control Panel such as cPanel/WHM or Plesk and the destination provider uses the same Control Panel it’s a matter of copying your data from the old server to the new server using internal migration tools.

If you migrate to a different Control Panel or don’t use one at all, it’s a much more complicated task. In either case, if you’re not a developer yourself you need to make sure you have your developer on standby to test the migration and assist with any possible issues that arise.

A reliable web hosting company should offer you either a free migration or a discounted quote for assisting with the migration.

When choosing your web hosting provider, you should:

  • Have a monthly budget.
  • Estimate your monthly traffic.
  • Understand the different types of web hosting services (Shared, VPS, Dedicated).
  • Estimate your server’s resource requirements.
  • Define the location – where are you and your website visitors are located.
  • Know what application your website is built with (Java, WordPress, Magento, etc.)
  • Get a sense of how much support you expect to require. Do you need a fully managed server, unmanaged, or something in between?

Most of these are pretty straight forward, but identifying the resource requirements often poses a challenge.

If you are completely new to web hosting, your web developer should give you an idea about the resource requirements.

If this is an existing website you can get this information from your current web hosting provider.

Coming Up Next

You are now equipped with all the tips needed to find a reliable web hosting provider.

If you’ve enjoyed this article check out the second part of this blog post series: Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Need assistance choosing the best web hosting plan for your needs?

Get in touch!

We would love to learn more about your business and provide a solution that will accelerate your online growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203). 

22 Dec

The Biggest Online Trends In 2021

Online Trends in 2021

Would you be surprised to learn that eCommerce represents approx. 23%-25% of all commerce in the U.S.? The current state of quarantine has greatly accelerated the move towards “online first” commerce.

With so many retailers making the move to online shopping, we are bound to see innovative online and eCommerce trends emerging in 2021.

 AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality)

Artificial intelligence is one of the most transformative technologies being used today and one that will strongly influence the future of mankind. With substantial amounts of data being collected today, the machine learning algorithms improve every year. Although the concept of “artificial intelligence” has been around since antiquity, the term was brought to life at the 1956th Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference, by a small group of scientists.

Today we can see AI being used everywhere from online retail to chatbots, CRM software, market forecasting, customer behavior analysis, and more. The use of artificial intelligence in the retail market is expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2022. Furthermore, Meticulous Research® estimates it will reach $19.9 billion by 2027.

Augmented Reality (AR) enhances user experience by allowing consumers to preview products online before making a purchase. Today we can see AR being used with virtual dressing rooms, interior design apps, even online marketplaces such as Etsy, which allows consumers to visualize wall art with augmented reality.

But the products that dominated the world of AR and are the most well-known to consumers are AR smart glasses. The concept first made the spotlight with Google Glasses back in 2014. Today, ABI Research estimates that over 120,000 stores around the world will be using AR smart glasses by 2022.

By implementing AI and AR online sellers can greatly enhance the eCommerce experience. This in turn could lower the return rates. Just imagine if you could see how that mid-century walnut dining table, that you had your eyes on for weeks now, fits in your living room before making the actual purchase. Pretty exciting right?

Omnichannel Shopping

Omnichannel shopping has the customer at the center. Omnichannel refers to retailers that have both an online presence and a physical one. In addition, it involves making use of various technologies such as, AI and robotics amongst others, to provide a seamless and unified shopping experience.

That means retailers need to optimize for both an online and offline customer experience. A recent study conducted by BigCommerce on nearly 3000 consumers reveals that when it comes to online shopping, website security concerns and a website’s loading speed are at the top of the mind for most users.

Voice Search Commerce

Hands-free shopping sounds pretty tempting. With the rise of AI and the introduction of smart home assistants, we are starting to see an increase in Voice Search.

As the name implies, Voice Search is a technology that allows users to conduct online searches using their voice. Introduced by Google in 2011, Voice Search is rapidly rising to the forefront of online retail and search marketing.

The popularity of Voice Search has dramatically expanded with Amazon’s launch of its smart speaker Echo and virtual assistant Alexa.

Think about it. How many times in the past month have you used voice messages on your phone, or asked Siri or Alexa for assistance?

In a 2018 study conducted by Hubspot and Lucid, on over 3400 participants across the US, UK, and Canada, 52% of the responders have used voice assistants on either their smartphones or smart speakers. Of those that use a voice assistant, 15% use it to shop online.

Voice Assistants
Source: blog.hubspot.com, 2018

Voice assistant use is predicted to continue to grow in 2021, getting to as much as 8.4 billion voice assistants being used by 2024 according to Statista.

The Rise of Total Experience (TX)

Gartner introduced us last year to the concept of multiexperience (MX) when they made their predictions for 2020. This year they go a step further in their top tech trends for 2021 by bringing up the concept of Total Experience (TX).

This new concept will combine multiexperience (MX), customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and user experience (UX) to optimize across all processes and create a better overall experience. Gartner says, companies that get behind the concept of Total Experience will gain a “sustainable competitive advantage.”

Directly Shoppable Media

Directly shoppable media such as live streaming, social commerce, virtual consultations, and shoppable ad formats are set to be the future of online advertising in 2021, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Companies like YouTube, who earlier this year announced a direct response ad format, are already making the shift towards directly shoppable media. Facebook and Instagram have also rolled out online Shops and Live Shopping earlier this year to enable eCommerce across their apps and make it easier for consumers to shop in real-time.

“This is the biggest step that we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps,” said Dan Levy, VP of Ads and Business Platform at Facebook.

Increased Focus on Cybersecurity

Over the past months, we have experienced a high increase in cyberattacks. Ransomware attacks are more complex every day with ransom demands that are in the millions. The number of cyberattacks increases weekly and cybercriminals are finding new ways to compromise the security of physical and digital devices.

The average consumer is becoming more aware and more educated on the several types of cyber threats and looking for ways to protect the security of critical data. As a result, 2021 will bring an increase in cybersecurity solutions and a focus on new practices such as “zero-trust.”

Gartner even goes as far as predicting a cybersecurity mesh that enables a more modular, scalable, and flexible security solution. In essence, the cybersecurity mesh will set a security perimeter around any “person or thing” ensuring thus secure access to any digital asset, regardless of one’s location.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer multiple security solutions including Acronis Cyber Protect for both local devices (laptops, PCs, smartphones) and virtual servers. Acronis Cyber Protect is a complete solution that includes integrated anti-malware, backup & recovery, vulnerability assessments, patch management, and more.

5G Technology

With the sudden increase in the remote workforce, brought by the effects of Covid-19, the need for a fast and reliable Internet connection has become more critical than ever. While 5G is already available in the US with large mobile carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, it is expected that the infrastructure will dramatically scale in 2021.

According to PwC, formerly PriceCoopersWaterhouse, by January 2021, almost 75% of the US population will have 5G coverage.

5G is the 5th level of Internet communications, bringing increased download speeds compared to its 4G predecessor. According to OpenSignal, 5G is five to six times faster than 4G. Not only is it faster but with all the additional cell towers and mesh stations, it will cover a lot more ground than 4G.

5G Download Speed
Source: www.opensignal.com, 2020

Final Thoughts

With everyone being stuck at home during the pandemic, we are seeing an increased shift towards eCommerce. But while offering an online shop has its many advantages, businesses need to ensure they stay competitive and offer consumers a great overall experience.

Start by building a fast, scalable, and secure eCommerce store. Then take it a step further by incorporating new advertising approaches such as live shopping or virtual consultations or optimizing for voice commerce.

If you are looking for a platform to host your eCommerce store, please get in touch. We offer fast, reliable, and secure eCommerce hosting using nopCommerce or Enterprise Magento. Both solutions are optimized for superior performance. We would love to learn more about your business and provide a solution that will accelerate your online growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203).

19 Nov

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday 2020 Deals You Cannot Miss

Black Friday Hosting Deals

This Black Friday we’re going all in! We’re offering a 90% discount on selected VPS servers + 1 Month free on Acronis Backup or Acronis Cyber Protect.

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday – 90% OFF x 1 Month With Self-Managed VPS Servers

Get a high-performance Linux VPS or Windows VPS for less than $1 during your first month of service.

Save 90% on the first month of a monthly based service, when ordering a new VPS server in our US (Denver/Chicago), Singapore, or UK datacenters (Linux).

All our Linux VPS servers include root SSH access.

All Windows VPS servers include full administrative RDP access and a free SolidCP Control Panel.

Get 90% OFF on Your New VPS server. Use coupon code: BF2020

Applicable services:

Terms of Use:

  • New and current customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The 90% discount will be applied to the FIRST order of a monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to NEW servers in the listed datacenter locations and cannot be applied retroactively to existing servers or servers in the process of being migrated.
  • Offer expires 12/01/2020 at 11:59PM EST

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday – FREE x 1 Month Enterprise Backup/Data Recovery Service + Cybersecurity Solutions

More often than not you can find yourself in a situation in which you need to restore your data from a backup. Some of the most common situations that we’ve run into over the years are:

  • Human Error (#1 reason) – Human error (accidental deletion of files, overwrites, loss of access, etc.) is the most common situation in which users might require a restore from backup.
  • Corrupt Database – bad updates, file corruption, missing files, etc.
  • Security Incidents – malware, ransomware, brute-force attacks, etc.
  • Software Updates Gone Wrong – updating applications and software can often time break a fast website and a restore from backup will be required.
  • Hardware Failure – incorrect drive information, outages, the drive does not power on, file corruption, etc.
  • Physical Disasters – hurricane, fire, flood, etc.

Any of these situations can result in a permanent loss of data if you don’t have a backup. We have partnered with Acronis to deliver a reliable and easy-to-use backup solution and cybersecurity solution.

Protect Your Critical Data With Acronis Cyber Backup or Acronis Cyber Protect. Activate 1 Month FREE!

Applicable services:

Terms of Use:

  • New and current customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The promotion applies to the FIRST order of a monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to newly purchased Acronis services and cannot be applied retroactively to existing services.
  • Offer expires 12/01/2020 at 11:59PM EST

MORE SOFTSYS HOSTING DEALS

50% OFF x 3 Months With Fully Managed Linux and Windows VPS Servers

New customers can save 50% on the first 3 months of service when ordering a new monthly based managed VPS server. Use coupon code: 50OFF_3Mon

Applicable services:

Managed Hosting Benefits

  • Fully Managed Service Level
  • Peace of Mind with 24×7 Proactive Server Monitoring
  • Full Control with RDP/SSH Access
  • Service Flexibility with Custom Software Installation
  • Host Unlimited Websites/Databases

Terms of Use:

  • Only new customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The 50% discount will be applied to the FIRST 3 MONTHS of monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to NEW servers in the following datacenter locations: US (5), Canada, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, India, Singapore, Australia, Tokyo & S Korea
  • The discounted price cannot be applied retroactively to existing servers or servers in the process of being migrated.

Secure, High Performance Shared Windows Hosting – Start as Low as $1

Save 90% on the first month of service when ordering a new monthly-based WordPress Hosting server. Use coupon code: WP90OFF

WordPress Hosting Benefits

  • Managed WordPress hosting at very accessible pricing
  • Increased speed and high-performance WordPress with Free LiteSpeed Caching Plugin
  • Advanced protection from DoS and hacking attempts with free IDS/IPS/WAF
  • Protect your WordPress website from hackers with on-demand & real-time malware scanning/quarantine
  • Get peace of mind for your WordPress website with free included backups
  • Expecting higher traffic? Get free on-demand resource increase for up to 24 hours

90% OFF x 1 Month High Performance Shared Linux Hosting

Save 90% on the first month of service when ordering a new monthly-based Linux Cloud Hosting server. Use coupon code: GET90OFF

Linux Cloud Hosting Benefits

  • Increased speed with fast SSD Storage
  • Support for popular apps: WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, WooCommerce
  • High-performance with Free LiteSpeed Caching Plugin
  • Advanced protection from DoS and hacking attempts with free IDS/IPS/WAF
  • Protect your website from hackers with next-gen on-demand & real-time malware scanning/quarantine
  • Free included backups
  • On-demand resource increase for up to 24 hours

Secure, High Performance Shared Windows Hosting – Start as Low as $1

Get a secure, high-performance Windows Hosting for as low as $1 during your first month of service. Use coupon code: 1DOLLAR

Windows Hosting Benefits

  • Increased speed with fast SSD Storage
  • Support for popular apps: DotNetNuke, nopCommcerce, Umbraco CMS
  • Protect your website from hackers with built-in Ransomware and Malware Protection
  • Free included backups

Do you need help finding the best hosting solution for your needs? Contact [email protected] or call +1-862-214-2255 (x3)

12 Nov

Hosting Infrastructure Required To Feel Confident During Holiday Traffic Splash

Imagine, hundreds of users are rushing to your website at the same time to purchase products which you actively marketed for this holiday. Your ads are now running, you are getting visitors more than you calculated or more than your server can handle. So what is going to happen with this sudden traffic spike?

Prepare for the Worst or If You Want Peace, Prepare for War

Online website performance

You should be always prepared for the worst (means best for your business) during this holiday shopping fest. Because the year 2020 proved to be one of the toughest years so far. But this might be the good opportunity for your online business because people will hesitate to go out in malls during this Covid-19 pandemic and you may expect getting more online traffic than ever before. In that case you should be prepared to avoid 2 major disasters. So how are you going to be prepared?

Check your Website Performance

You can check the current performance of your website easily with the online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. Open PageSpeed Insights, enter the URL of your website and hit the Analyze button. This test will show you result for both mobile and desktop versions of your website. And you will get the detailed audit of your website code and receive suggestions on how to optimize it. But still if you don’t have enough computing power to run your website easily during this traffic spike, you may get time-out errors and your customers will flow away without making any purchases.

Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)

The best way to cope with the traffic load on your website is not follow all traffic to your single web hosting server. CDN can do it very effectively by storing the cached content of your website on multiple CDN servers located around the globe. But you will have to implement CDN before the traffic starts hitting your website because it will be very difficult to implement the CDN once your website is under heavy traffic load.

Opt for the Scalable Hosting Solution

Scalable Hosting

The most straightforward way to deal with increased traffic is to upgrade your hosting account. For example, if you are using shared hosting you can go with VPS which will give you isolated resources like RAM, CPU and storage at a more affordable price if compare to dedicated solutions. You should contact your web hosting provider before your customers start contacting you. And if you are a Softsys Hosting client then you can directly get in touch with our support team and we will provide you the most suitable VPS plans or you can choose on your own from our extensive range of cloud-based Windows VPS, Linux VPS or Special eCommerce (nopCommerce, Magento) and CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Umbraco) hosting solutions.

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

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

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.

12 Jan

Major Web Hosting Trends Of 2020

There are lot of obstacles that a web hosting company has to overcome to become a reputable and reliable business. Most important among them is security as around 30,000 websites got hacked every single day. Offering 99% uptime level is good, but not enough in today’s world, especially with the big and leading players who are always ahead of competitors.

The ease of doing a business online, especially e-commerce one, is among important factors driving the growth of web hosting industry. E-commerce market needs reliable and always live website operations, maintenance of data on a regular basis, ultimate security, and these are some aspects where web hosting providers focus their product developments.

The growth of web hosting industry is not without issues.  The biggest threat today in web hosting is the changing user attitudes toward hosting. According to the Google Trends, the search term “web hosting” dropped by 60%. Apart from that, the gap between DIY and professional website creation continues to widen as many small business owners look for the ways to start a website without any decent IT skills. With so many advanced DIY applications covering a wide range of operations, it has become easy for small business owners to design and manage their own websites.

That being said, let’s take a closer look on the major web hosting trends of 2020.

Green Web Hosting

The Internet’s annual CO2 output is equal to 31 million cars driving around the world all at once.

How does it generate so much CO2?

Websites are stored on servers that are kept in facilities called data centers. Servers are expected to work 24/7 and like our daily gadgets such as phones and laptops, they get hot. Therefore, the hardware in data centers are stored in a cool and controlled environment. This, however, requires an incredibly energy-intensive cooling systems. End result is a significant increase of CO2 output.

Fortunately, as the concern for Global Warming are increasing every year, web hosting companies are now investing in carbon offsetting schemes. In green web hosting, web hosts actively participate in eco-friendly initiatives to reduce negative impacts on the environment. They do this by gaining renewable energy certificates (REC) or carbon offset certificates (VER).

RECs certify that a hosting company helped in generating renewable energy. Companies which specialize in creating renewable energy generate these RECs and sell them to a hosting provider. The money from this purchase then finances the operational costs for green energy initiatives. VERs, however, certify that a hosting company helped in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that the certificate states.

Cloud Hosting

Ultimate cloud hosting is the future of web hosting. It has gained immense popularity in recent years with the range of services offered by companies like AWS, Google Cloud, Azure and many smaller companies like Jelastic which are ever evolving with lots of new services added every year.  Cloud hosting is a concept utilized in many areas of technology, and it has now entered the arena of web hosting. The cloud has no physical equivalent, and it doesn’t have a physical server. Instead, it stores data across multiple computers, which then provide access via network connection like the Internet. Unlike a single physical computer, it has endless processing power and storage space.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a game-changer for many online businesses. Unlike the typical dedicated server configurations, cloud hosting is more affordable as it eliminates the constraints of physical servers. Much like cloud management software solutions, cloud hosting provides a more efficient platform for your data. In cloud hosting, your site’s resources can be pulled from multiple different virtual servers. It provides a hosting solution that is both scalable and reliable and has multiple payment options such as pay as you go, etc.

HTTPs As The Standard

Since July 2018, Google Chrome started to mark non-HTTPs websites as “not secure.” To understand this better, Chrome which is a cross platform browser from Google, has a 71% worldwide market share. To encourage sites to shift into HTTPs, Google Search even promised a fair rankings boost. This started offering of free HTTPs the norm in the web hosting arena with all major control panels having built in options to install free SSL certificates on the website.

There are many benefits of using HTTPs. It helps a website rank higher on search engines and protects sensitive data at the same time. This ensures that all information gathered on a website is secured and safe from most Internet thieves. For web hosting providers, offering customers HTTPs is not just something that’s nice to have but also a must-have these days. Not doing so can make you lag in the race, especially now that there are many web hosting companies offering free HTTPs.

Fewer Data Centers

A study by Gartner reports that worldwide spending on data centers will see a decline of 2.8 percent in the year 2019. This is the largest spending decline that data centers will experience, according to the Gartner research.

Cloud offering is also eliminating some of the data center roles. It is one of the main factors behind the declining number of data centers. With the number of enterprises now opting for cloud does not need infrastructures set up, which in turn affects the number of people needed to manage servers, storage, and networks.

Managed Web Hosting Services 

Managed web hosting has gained immense popularity in the hosting arena. It is also the main reason why customers stick with a hosting company for a long time. For growing websites or online businesses, managed hosting trends have become a great solution, especially if you don’t have much technical know-how in the aspects of performance optimization and security. With the increased complexities and regulatory requirements, it has become a norm even with companies that use cloud platforms to outsource their web hosting management needs.

Managed Hosting

Targeting Markets

Web hosting companies, like other businesses, run on continuous hard work and efforts of retaining old clients and attracting new ones. Nonetheless, not all market segments can be covered by a single web hosting provider. While large hosting companies rely on numbers through their marketing, smaller one’s may focus on a specific niche and offer a more personal service level.