22 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know your technology could better support your business.

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

New employees throw a wrench in your process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 Jun

5 Building Blocks For Your Business Website

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

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

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

How To Migrate Data Seamlessly To A New Host

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

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

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

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

Get Organized

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

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

Choose A New Host

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

Backup Your Data

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

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

Copy Files To New Host

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

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

Test, Test, Test

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

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

Update DNS Information

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

Monitor

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

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

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

23 Apr

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Softsys Hosting Opens Two Brand New Data Centers

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

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

AUSTRALIA

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

08 Mar

What IT Services Are Required To Launch An Online Store?

What IT Services Are Required To Launch An Online Store?

Online Store On Softsys Hosting

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

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

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

Basic Services

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

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

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

Domain Name

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

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

Web Hosting Services

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

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

Interactive Website

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

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

Shopping Cart

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

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

Merchant Services

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

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

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

Mobile Application

 

Mobile Store On SoftSys

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

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

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

05 Mar

7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Hosting Provider

Over the last 10 years, web hosting has evolved dramatically and with it, the providers that are available to you. From huge corporations like Google and Amazon to smaller boutique providers, the options can seem endless. So, how do you differentiate to determine what is better for you and your business? Ask yourself these questions:

How much support will you need?

Consider the level of support that you’ll likely need to set up and manage your IT environment. Some hosting providers offer full managed hosting services and a customer support department that is there to assist with any issues while some providers are more hands-off. If you’re pretty tech-savvy, you might focus on other criteria to determine the best fit for you. However, if IT is a bit out of your expertise, look for a provider with a dedicated team to help you manage your business’ digital assets.

How important is your server security?

Of course, security is important for every business, but there are some instances when it’s truly the most important aspect of your IT environment. Do you collect credit card information? Store medical records? Manage sensitive data? In those cases, finding a hosting provider who is known for their security measures and can offer the peace of mind you need is paramount. Alternatively, if you’re running a blog or business site that doesn’t collect user information, a security breach would not be as detrimental.

What is your budget for hosting?

While budget is likely relative to the functionality you need from your hosting provider, make sure to outline what you are able to spend on a monthly basis. Consider what services you can outsource to the right hosting provider as well! For example, if you currently contract an IT maintenance company, you may be able to replace that expense with the right web hosting provider.

Do you plan to scale up in the future?

What are your plans for business growth? Make sure that your hosting provider can support you both now and in the future. While beginning on a shared server may make sense, it’s important to know that whoever you choose can facilitate a transfer to a dedicated server or managed services platform in the future.

How do you plan to handle backups?

Will you plan scheduled backups of your data or would automatic backups be beneficial for your business? Often something that is overlooked until they are needed, backups are crucial to avoiding IT headaches. Find a provider that offers routine backups as part of their service offering so that you can stay focused on your business without stressing about your data.

Where is your target market located?

While most companies can manage everything remotely, considering your target market during your hosting provider evaluation will help make sure that your site loads well for your most important visitors. Do you own a local business? It might benefit you to work with a provider that has a data center nearby. Need to reach consumers around the world? Make sure that you choose a company who has experience with global businesses and can make sure your site is up around the clock – no matter what time zone.

How many site visitors do you expect per month?

Consider your average web traffic when determining the hosting environment that will be most efficient. Sites with fewer visits can likely thrive on a shared hosting account whereas high traffic websites may need a dedicated environment. Find a hosting provider that can walk you through the different options that they offer to determine the best fit for you.

For a headstart on determining a hosting provider, take the Softsys Hosting Assessment!

27 Dec

Do I Need An SSL Certificate Installed On My Website?

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

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

What is an SSL certificate?

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

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

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

Do I really need an SSL certificate?

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

Do you run an ecommerce store?

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

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

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

Do you have login forms on your website?

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

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

Do you offer memberships on your site?

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

Are you serious about search engine optimization of your website?

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

25 Oct

The Best Dedicated Hosting Options Under $100/Month

A dedicated server, the topmost hosting tier, is typically reserved for enterprises having large demands for computing power, bandwidth, and storage. As its name implies, entire resources are dedicated to propelling hosted site/application with the maximum performance.

Going for a dedicated environment is indeed a big investment, but it can pay you dividends when you find the host that brings the most value to your purchase.

The phrase, “best dedicated server within the budget of $100/ month” may sound a bit contradictory. But at Softsys Hosting, we always excel to offer “bang for the buck deals” to customers. At this post, we’ll go through configuring a dedicated server and check some preconfigured dedicated server options under $100/month.

Configuring a Dedicated Server

Operating System Choice

Windows operating system is particularly used to host Windows or Microsoft based technologies like ASP.NET, MS SQL, IIS, MS Access, and Visual Basic. Windows servers are shipped with the GUI, so operating system could chew through a lot of computing resources. On the other hand, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora come with both GUI and core. But ideal server environment should be installed with core OS rather than GUI.

Control Panel

After choosing server hardware, your next big decision would be how you’d like to manage your server. Either you can manage the server through SSH/RDP or you can install control panel. Hosting control panel provides you with the web-based GUI to perform complex tasks within few mouse clicks and to automate processes.

cPanel for Linux machines and Plesk for Windows systems are the best choices. Plesk and cPanel both are very easy to operate. Plesk is cheaper than cPanel and is compatible with multiple OS but mostly paired with Windows systems.

Storage Type

While configuring the server, you can choose between solid state drives (SSD) or a traditional option of hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs feature a spinning platter and a read/write arm that uses magnetism to store the data. SSDs don’t have moving parts and keep information in flash microchips. Because of this characteristics, SSDs are much faster and more expensive.

Support

When you’re going to buy premium hardware, 24/7 technical support is also essential. With the price tag under $100, less likely you’ll get a managed server but you can certainly get a basic managed server.

Note that unmanaged dedicated servers only cover hardware and infrastructure, whereas managed dedicated servers cover server infrastructure, hardware, backup and core elements of the stack.

You can also consider the managed hosting which includes around-the-clock managed support, software configuration, patch installation, update installation and maintaining all aspects of the environment.

Softsys Hosting offers 2 tiers of managed services, unmanaged and fully managed services whereby our experienced technicians manage customer’s server and supply best-effort support for third-party software.

Addons

Along with the hardware/software configurations, you can also choose amongst various addons as per the requirement, like additional IP address, bandwidth, RAM, DDoS protection, daily backups, DDoS protection, RAID, etc.

Softsys Hosting Dedicated Servers

Softsys Hosting offers a basic dedicated setup at $59/month which includes an IP address, Intel Xeon E3-1230 Quad Core, 8GB RAM, DDoS protection, SSD/HDD storage and 1 Gbps connectivity without any setup fees.

You can also have your choice of OS, RAID level, location and control panel makes Softsys Hosting an easy pick for affordable dedicated server configurations. Here are some pre-configured dedicated servers available under $100.

Windows-Based Servers

Configuration #1

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/ 2008 R2 Std Edition

» MS SQL Server 2016 Express

» Control Panel: MSPControl

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated $0.00 USD

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $84.00 USD


Configuration #2

»  Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 16GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/ 2008 R2 Std Edition

» MS SQL Server 2016 Express

» Control Panel: MSPControl

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated $0.00 USD

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $93.00 USD

 

Linux-Based Servers

Configuration #1

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» Operating System: CentOS 7.x x64

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1 (Included)

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $59.00 USD

Configuration #2

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: CentOS 7.x x64

» Control Panel: cPanel / WHM

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1 (Included)

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $94.00 USD

 

If you don’t find your choice of configuration, you can contact our sales team to discuss your custom setup. Our solutions architect will work with you to design a tailored environment in accordance with all your needs.

18 Oct

What Control Panel To Choose For Your Dedicated Server?

It’s a great news as your business has grown to the point that you require a dedicated server to host your website. But this will also add additional responsibilities of managing and maintaining your dedicated hosting environment.

Managing a dedicated server without a control panel is difficult. Even to perform the smallest task, you might have to go through a list of steps or a series of shell commands. That’s where control panels come into play to simplify the process of handling servers. Additionally, managing these hosting control panels does not require expert knowledge of server administration.

There are many paid and open source hosting control panels available and you can choose your best as per your need and budget.

Available Control Panels For A Dedicated Server

If you are new to the dedicated server environment then you want a control panel that is user-friendly and intuitive at the same time. With so many control panel options available, choosing one for your dedicated server is little tricky. The best way to make this determination is to know what you are looking to achieve and what a particular control panel has to offer.

In general, control panels are designed for the specific operating systems, which usually distinguished to Windows and Linux.  Some of the most popular options include cPanel, Plesk, and MSControl, all of which are very reliable.

cPanel

Being one of the most feature-rich, powerful and widely used control panels, cPanel/WHM has become the industry standard amongst users and web hosting providers. It comes with both user-interface (cPanel) and admin-interface (WHM), offering intuitive hosting and site management tools to end-users, resellers and dedicated server administrators. A cPanel server includes the WHM login and the cPanel client login for management purposes.

Single cPanel license allows you to host an unlimited number of domains, websites, databases, etc.  which is a quite valuable feature especially if you intend to offer reseller hosting. It has a wide range of plugins to further expand its functionality and it can be integrated with your existing billing software like WHMCS.

Thanks to AutoSSL feature, free SSL certificates are automatically installed and renewed for every domain hosted on the cPanel server. These SSL certificates are absolutely free, provided by Comodo and Let’s Encrypt, and they will be kept renewed as long as you have an active account with your web host. Its EasyApache 4 feature makes managing packages and dependencies simple and super speedy.

cPanel is available as a demo, so you can familiarize yourself with cPanel and WHM before purchasing the license.

Plesk Panel

Plesk is yet another powerful control panel, having 75 to 80 percent share in the European market. Plesk supports various Linux Distributions (CentOS, Ubuntu, CloudLinux, etc)  and Windows OS as well, which is a strong pull factor differentiating Plesk from cPanel. Also, Plesk comes in several editions, each tailored for specific hosting use cases.

It also comes with both user interface and admin features. Like cPanel, Plesk also has a clean and user-friendly interface. Plesk is also used by some of the big hosting companies.

Unlike other control panels, Plesk offers support for Git through its Gitman extension, so you can track changes and site updates. Plesk’s Docker Integration feature allows you to launch Docker images straight from Plesk without touching the command line.

SSL certificate installation has always been a pain to set up and renew. Plesk is integrated with the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, which allows you to install the SSL certificates on your site within a single click. Plesk is available for both Windows and Linux dedicated servers, so make sure you get the appropriate version for your server.

MSPControl

MSPControl is a hosting control panel for Windows systems to automate the provisioning of a full suite of hosted services on Windows servers. MSPControl gives users simple multi-tenant point-and-click control over Windows Server applications including Microsoft IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft RemoteApp, Skype for Business, Microsoft Online Services and Hyper-V R2 Deployments.

MSPControl comes with 3 licensing schemes, Free, Basic and Standard license. A free license is sufficient for all kind of non-production environments like a demo, lab, test etc. The basic license is good enough to run small web hosting company. Standard license suits mid-sized hosting and managed hosting providers.

Conclusion

When you host your site on a dedicated server, you should be prepared for the different level of complexity because you are only responsible to ensure that your site stays online. The control panel will enable you to create the best site possible by putting the administrative power and flexibility in your hands. Programs such as cPanel and Plesk are very popular and extremely easy to use for Linux systems. While MSPControl is a viable option for Windows systems.

20 Sep

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

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

Software For Windows Dedicated Server

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

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

Web Control Panel

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

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

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

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

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

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

Software Firewall

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

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

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

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

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

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

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

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

Remote Desktop Guard

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

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

Conclusion

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