By Jonathan on November 5th, 2010 in Industry News
One of the things that the University of Advancing Technology’s Techforum has done is give representatives of the hosting industry a chance to talk about what big things they are working on and where they see the industry going in the next five to ten years.
With so many differing areas of expertise in attendance, there were a lot of varying perspectives to take on board. Nonetheless, several trends kept coming up and almost everyone seemed to agree on those that will define the industry in the next few years.
Here are six of those critical trends to watch out for. They could easily impact your site and the services you offer in the coming decade. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on November 3rd, 2010 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials, Webmaster
Most webmasters protect their data and sites in order to protect themselves and their visitors from abuse. Whether it’s locking down a site to prevent someone from deleting data or using encryption to make it safe to use credit cards, most security efforts stem from very practical needs.
However, as Brett Scott of LiveSquare Security pointed out at a recent talk at the University of Advancing Technology TechForum, every single one of us with an Internet-connected machine is on the frontline of the cyberwar.
Don’t believe him? Consider for a moment all of the ways that your server could be used/abused by someone with nefarious intent to do damage.
Here are five ways your server could be twisted into an engine for destruction on the Web. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on November 1st, 2010 in Tips & Tutorials
With Halloween over and done with for another year, it’s nearly time to to move on from thoughts of ghosts, goblins and other things that go bump in the night. But not quite.
I have been running websites for over 15 years, and, in that time, I’ve had my share of hosting experiences, including the good, the bad and the outright scary.
So, in the spirit of the season, I’m going to recap five of my biggest horror stories with hosting. Though I’m not going to mention names of companies, it may give a warning on the types of things that you may want to look out for when dealing with your sites. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 27th, 2010 in Industry News
Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Automattic and one of the creators of the blogging platform WordPress, announced recently that his company had become a fully accredited registrar (#1531). This means that it can now register domains on its own without a middle man, such as GoDaddy-owned Wild West Domains, their previous partner in such matters.
While the move is largely being hailed by WordPress fans, it raises questions about what Automattic plans to do with its new position. According to Mullenweg, it’s partially about his own voracious appetite for domains and his dissatisfaction “with the domain buying or management experience on any of the usual players.”
However, more interestingly, this move is part of Automattic’s focus on domains as part of its WordPress.com offering; users can purchase domains for their free blogging account. It also offers a competitive advantage over companies such as SquareSpace and MovableType’s TypePad service.
But is it really that big of a deal or is it just a matter of bragging rights? The answer isn’t very clear. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 25th, 2010 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials
Most people who get a brand-new VPS or dedicated server soon realize that they have way more hosting account than they really need, at least on a day-to-day basis. That means room to spare to your friends and family, right?
So, without a second thought, you agree to take a few of them on your account. Since they have smaller sites that don’t require any real additional bandwidth or space, they won’t cost any extra money and since they are self-sufficient, they probably won’t require any significant time on your part either. Being such a generous guy, you decide not to charge for the hosting.
Big mistake. While this might seem like a great way to make and keep friends, it’s actually the opposite. When you agree to host someone’s site, even for free, you’re taking on a major responsibility and you may easily be setting yourself up for headaches and trouble down the road.
On that note, here are five easy ways in which agreeing to host your friends for free can backfire and why you may want to think twice before doing it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 22nd, 2010 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials
We’ve talked before about easy ways to save money while looking for hosting but the truth is that hosting companies usually make it much easier to overspend than to save money.
The reason is quite obvious: hosting is a business and hosting companies are going to do everything they can to maximize what they get from every customer. This means everything from needless upselling to making sure that existing customers don’t get access to new deals.
However, much of it is just part of the games that hosts play with customers and it is something that every hosting customer should expect as normal.
So what are some of the ways you can easily overpay for your hosting? Here’s five to watch out for. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 20th, 2010 in Tips & Tutorials
When it comes to domain names, most people are familiar with all the popular top level domains (TLDs), including .com, .net and .org. They are literally everywhere on the Web. Then there are the more rare but still-common TLDs such as .us, .ly and .to that most people will see regularly.
And let’s not forget those TLDs that earn notoriety even before they exist, such as .xxx.
But what about those TLDs you’ve never visited? There are literally hundreds of TLDs out there, one for nearly every country in the world, not to mention specific industry TLDs.
These TLDs are among the rarest in the world and most have strict rules governing the registration of a domain.
So what are some of these rare gems? Well, here are just a few of the TLDs in circulation now that, odds are, you’ve never actually visited.
(For convenience, I’ve put them in alphabetical order, not by rarity, and I’ve omitted TLDs from obscure countries that simply don’t have a large Web presence at this time.) Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 18th, 2010 in Industry News
When sex columnist and blogger Violet Blue registered the domain “vb.ly” she didn’t anticipate too many problems. Though she was converting the domain into a “sex-positive” URL shortener, one where users could post NSFW links (though didn’t have to), it didn’t seem like that serious of a deal. She was already well-experienced in hosting adult content legally and she, along with her partner Ben Metcalfe, administered the domain closely and kept illegal content off of it.
Still, 13 months and one domain renewal later, NIC.ly, the domain registrar for the Libyan TLD .ly, revoked the domain. After some attempts to discover the reason for the seizure, a NIC.ly representative said that it was because it was because the URL violated Sharia law by having a policy that was open to adult-oriented content.
NIC.ly and Libyan Spider, the organization for which NIC.ly resells the .ly domains, posted a public statement on the matter accusing Blue and Metcalfe of ignoring or ducking their attempts to contact them regarding the matter. Metcalfe has responded saying that is simply untrue and that they had received communications from NIC.ly right up until the end, including domain renewal reminders.
Many suspect that the real reason for the revocation is because of Libya’s new policy that prohibits the sale of .ly domains with fewer than four characters to people and companies without a presence in Libya.
As a result of this controversy many have begun to wonder what could happen to other URL shorteners, such as bit.ly and ow.ly., which also occasionally have adult content. NIC.ly’s representative has said that such domains are safe: “Now, had your domain merely been a URL shortener for general uses similar to bit.ly… there would have been no problem with it,”. However, not everyone is placated by this.
At least one service, content clipping and sharing tool Clp.ly has ditched its .ly domain, and moved to Curate.us; more may follow.
Are they justified in their concern? Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 15th, 2010 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials, Webmaster
Keeping a site going for a long period of time can be very difficult; getting it shut down can be all too easy.
Though most Web hosts, especially ones you pay for, are going to do what they can to keep you on as a customer, there are many ways that you can earn yourself an early termination.
None of these are “good” ideas. In fact, many will get you in legal trouble well beyond violating your host’s TOS. Neither are these methods a good way to get a refund on a long-term contract because most hosts will refuse refunds when a client breaks the rules.
But, if you’re wondering about the kind of behaviour that will cause your host to kick you to the curb, here are five of the common. Break any of these rules and you’ll most likely be looking for new hosting in no time at all. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on October 13th, 2010 in Industry News, Tips & Tutorials
In a recent blog post, Google announced that it has made several improvements to Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), Google’s tool suite for site administrators.
Though the changes might not be enough to help webmasters unlock the Da Vinci Code that is Google, it can certainly help them track and understand what is working and what needs to change when building their site. It may also be a great motivator for those who haven’t signed up and verified for GWT to do so, lest they miss out on critical information that they quite literally can’t get anywhere else. Read the rest of this entry »