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Simple Steps to Secure Your Website   no comments

Posted at Feb 21, 2017 @ 9:53am Web hosting

Secure Website

If you run a personal or business website then it’s vital you take steps to secure your website and protect it from hackers. Criminals have many reasons for wanting to gain unauthorized access to your content, and all of them will impact you and your business in a negative way. By following the steps below, you will not only keep your website and data safe, but also your business.

 

Renaming Directories

When hackers want to take control of your website and to cause damage, they will search for your administration directories. If they can locate them, then the hackers can steal your login details or give themselves access. Many programs are available that will scan websites to find administrative credentials, and you can protect yourself by renaming your directories.

Although this step might seem small, don’t get tempted to overlook it because you must do everything that you can to stay safe. The name that you give your directories is not important as long as you know how to access them when you need to make changes.

 

Complex Passwords

Hackers will sometimes use brute force software to access your administration panel, and they can do anything they want from there. The brute force software works by repeatedly entering different numbers and letters into the username and password fields until it finds the correct combination. You can protect yourself from such attacks by using strong passwords that contain letters, numbers and special characters.

Although it’s still possible for hackers to use brute force software to break into your website, they are not likely to succeed. A complex password can resist a brute force attack for several thousand years before the correct combination is discovered. Unless your website contains extremely sensitive data, the hackers will likely move on to an easier target.

 

Encrypt Your Important Files

Many people store files on their website as plain text, and that makes it easy for hackers to steal and read the information. The problem becomes that much worse when the data contains the credit card numbers of your customers. You can add an extra layer of safety by encrypting your files so that they become all but impossible to read.

An encryption program works by scrambling a file until it’s unreadable, and only the person with the correct decryption key can reverse the process. If your important files are encrypted, hackers will not be able to see them even if they gain access to your website.

 

Update

One of the ways that hackers gain access to a website is by looking for software vulnerabilities. They will reverse engineer software and scripts to find methods to take control of your content and to view your files. To combat that problem, software developers consistently release updates for their programs, which address known weaknesses.

But some webmasters are still reluctant to update their sites because they don’t want to experience any downtime. When you choose not to install recent updates, you are inviting criminals to exploit you and your users. Ensure that you are always using the latest scripts when your goal is to safeguard your website.

 

Backup

When protecting your website data is your No. 1 goal, utilizing a backup solution is a must. However, If all of your files and backups are stored on the same server, you risk losing everything if that server gets destroyed or compromised. The good news is that you can combat this problem by utilizing a Cloud Backup solution. This option involves uploading the data that you want to protect to ‘The Cloud’ – a cluster of servers located in a remote, secure datacenter.

 

Running a business can be very demanding and it may not leave you with enough spare time to regularly maintain your website’s security. If this scenario sounds familiar, your best bet may be to switch to a Managed web hosting solution. TurnKey Internet offers a complete all-inclusive fully managed service that lets you focus on your customers while running your business – leave the infrastructure, software updates, security, backups, and uptime to us. We provide a turnkey solution that employs a unique combination of Application and Network Engineers, deep-level performance monitoring and on-going guidance to maintain and optimize your cloud-based hosted infrastructure. You get all-access to our Support and network Engineers – far more cost-efficient than hiring, onboarding, and building your own team of tech gurus. As technology changes daily, we’ll keep your systems secure and up-to-date, while you focus on your business

 

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Written by David Maurer on February 21st, 2017

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Shared Hosting vs. VPS: Is it Time to Upgrade?   no comments

Posted at Feb 14, 2017 @ 10:15am Web hosting

Shared Hosting vs VPS

When you are first getting started, a shared hosting plan is enough to help you meet your goals. It gives you a place on the web to collect leads, showcase your samples and sell your products and services. The problem with shared hosting, though, is that it comes with limited speed and storage space. Although it’s enough while your business is still small, you might want to think about upgrading as your business starts to grow. Many people have a hard time deciding when to make the switch, and if you can relate to this problem, then the following information will get you started in the right direction. You will learn about the benefits of using a VPS, but you will also get a clear picture of when to take action.

With most shared hosting plans, your performance can be impacted by the way that other people on the server use their resources. If someone else’s website is getting a lot of traffic or being attacked, then your website might slow down or even go offline for a while. If you depend on your site to generate sales, then this downtime is unacceptable. When your customers want to make a purchase, they are not always going to wait for your content to come online again. So any performance issues that you experience can hurt your profitability. A virtual private server, or VPS, will help you avoid that problem by providing you with exclusive resources. A VPS also enables your business to customize the performance resources and software based on your company’s unique needs. Things like Virtual CPUs, memory, and storage space, can all be customized and upgraded on a VPS. With shared hosting, you are limited to the software already installed on the server, and sometimes it may lack a requirement or feature your business needs. But with a VPS, you have full flexibility over which software your virtual server runs, even down to the Operating System.

Another downside of shared hosting is the lack of Administrative or root access to the server. This limitation affects what software you can install as well as the settings and options that you can configure on the server. This can greatly impact the potential of what you are able to do with your website.  However with a VPS, you do have root or admin access, giving you the ability to better monitor and troubleshoot your website, with full access to your virtual server’s logs. With a VPS, you have exclusive access and can dictate who shares that access. This allows you to better secure the contents on your server and alleviates the concerns of sharing a server with malicious or careless users. Also because you have full control over the virtual server, you can better enhance and customize its security based on your unique needs.

If you have decided that you need to upgrade, then consider it a good thing. Needing more resources means that your business is growing and that you are attracting plenty of new customers. Having a VPS will help you accommodate even more web traffic, and you will not need to worry about losing sales or customers due to downtime. The speed and performance of a VPS will also help you maintain a professional image, which will enhance and preserve your reputation.

Some business owners procrastinate when they need to upgrade their website, but doing so hurts them more than they likely suspect. Ensuring that your hosting plan is capable of meeting your needs is a vital factor when it comes to getting the most from your business, and you can get started right away.

But, before you select your VPS / Cloud Server Provider, there are 10 Questions you should ask first.

 

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Written by David Maurer on February 14th, 2017

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Why Website Speed Matters   no comments

Posted at Feb 7, 2017 @ 11:32am Web hosting

Why Website Speed Matters

If you’re in a store and ready to check out but you can’t find someone to help you, chances are you’ll stick around. You may even wait quite a while since you’ve gone through all the trouble of going to a store and selecting which items you want. However, if you’re waiting a long time for a website to respond, you can be on another site making the same selections within seconds.

For this reason, it’s essential that your website runs quickly and loads within mere seconds. People have a large selection of websites that they can get information from or do business with, and you need to be sure that your site is providing what people want very quickly. Additionally, it’s not just sites that sell items that need speedy load times. Sites that generate revenue from ads also need to load quickly to prevent the loss of income.

 

It Can Lower Your Conversion Rate

Studies show that people are steadily becoming less patient when it comes to waiting for web pages to load; 47 percent of people expect a website to load in two seconds or less. For mobile sites, you are given about three seconds before more than half of visitors say they will leave. Even if you’re getting people to stick around, a slow load time can drop your conversion rate.

A study done by Amazon showed that just a 0.1 second slower load time resulted in a one percent decrease in sales. While Amazon is enormous and your website may not be able to generate that much traffic or sales, it shows that even tiny slowdowns can still have a tangible effect on your business.

 

Search Engine Ranking

If you run a business website, you’re probably at least familiar with the concept of search engine optimization, which involves signaling to search engines that people who are searching for particular terms or phrases would benefit from visiting your site. Google, and other search engines, include user experience as a metric when determining where your website will end up in search engine results.

User experience includes a number of things, including the quality of content on a site, if it’s easy to navigate and how quickly the website loads. Google doesn’t generally release specific information about how metrics are weighted, but a slow website can dramatically reduce your user experience score. With SEO being so competitive, the last thing you want is a slow website dragging your ranking down.

 

User Experience

One of the reasons that user experience is a part of many search engine ranking metrics is because people tend to not return to websites that worked poorly for them. Research done by Statista indicates that a quarter of shoppers will abandon an online shopping cart if the website is too difficult to use.

Having a slow website can also make visitors do more than just wait. It can also keep certain parts of your site from working because scripts still need to load. Someone may fill out a form or attempt to add an item to a shopping cart and get an error or find that nothing is happening.

Additionally, when a website is slow, it may not load properly or things on the page may start adjusting themselves, changing the locations of images and text as people are trying to read or use the site. These types of frustrations can easily send someone away from your site with a commitment to never return.

 

The Need For Speed On Mobile

Mobile users can be even more impatient than people on PCs. With the number of individuals using mobile devices to both surf the web and make purchases, it’s essential that you’re not driving away customers and visitors with a slow site. In addition to needing to create mobile and desktop versions of your site, you need to be sure that mobile versions load quickly and aren’t just designed to fit on a smaller screen.

People on mobile devices often have data caps, and although powerful, smart phones have far less processing power than computers. Images need to be shrunk in terms of both pixels and file sizes, and scripts need to be kept down to the minimum required for the site to function. Along with rating user experience for desktop websites, Google also measures user experience for mobile sites. Furthermore, in the last year, they’ve started ranking mobile friendly sites higher when people do searches on a mobile device.

 

Loss of Ad Revenue

Depending on the ad network that your website is hosting advertising from, you may only get credit for ad views if the ad loads properly, if the visitor to the page has the ad show up on their screen or both. If your website is very slow, ads may not be loading properly, depriving you of revenue. Google found that 25 percent of mobile sites with load times under five seconds had higher ad revenue.

 

Resolving Your Speed Problems

Whether you have a slow site or would just like your site to run faster than it already is, one of the first things you should look at is cutting down on scripts and reducing the size of image and media files. Scripts can slow down even a bare bones site because they use a server’s bandwidth, processing power from the server and processing power from the computer they are being loaded on. Unless your site – and the page that someone is on – needs a script or function to run, consider ditching it.

Media files can also dramatically increase the amount of time that it takes for a site to load. Instead of eliminating image files, see if you can’t compress them or use another file type that results in a smaller image. A small loss in image quality can cut an image’s file size in half.

Another consideration is the server or hosting provider you’re using. You may need more bandwidth or processing power, and if you’re using shared hosting, it may be time to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server solution.

 

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Written by David Maurer on February 7th, 2017

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Top 5 Benefits of a Dedicated Server   1 comment

Posted at Jan 31, 2017 @ 10:19am dedicated servers,Web hosting

Benefits of Dedicated Servers

Whether you’re an online business or an individual looking for more power, flexibility, and control over your web hosting solution, the answer for you may be a dedicated server. With a dedicated server, your business has exclusive use of that server’s resources. You also have the flexibility of customizing the server to meet your individual performance and security requirements. To fully understand why a dedicated server is the better solution for you or your business, let’s take a look at the top five benefits they provide.

 

1. Exclusive Resources

When using a dedicated server, every bit of power, storage, and bandwidth is exclusive to you and no one else. Not only will this give your business more room to work with and expand, it will also prevent issues with your site caused by other websites. For example, if you’re site is hosted on a shared server where there is another website that is being attacked or hogging up resources, this can affect the performance of your company’s site.

 

2. Dedicated IP Address

Each dedicated server comes with its own dedicated IP address. With shared hosting, your site may be sharing an IP address with multiple websites. If your website happens to share an IP with a site that spams or contains malware, this can cause multiple problems. Your website can end up getting blocked, your email rejected as spam, even your search results can be affected. Another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be running an e-commerce or selling things on your site. If so, you will need to have an SSL for your site, which in turn requires a unique dedicated IP.

 

3. Customization

A dedicated server allows your business to customize the hardware and software based on your company’s unique needs. Things like CPU, Memory, Hard Drive, even the speed of the server’s network port, can all be customized and upgraded on dedicated servers. With shared hosting, you are limited to the software already installed on the server, and sometimes it may lack a requirement or feature your business needs. But with a dedicated server, you have full flexibility over which software the server runs, even down to the Operating System.

 

4. Better Access

Another downside of shared hosting is the lack of Administrative or root access to the server. This limitation affects what software you can install as well as the settings and options that you can configure on the server. This can greatly impact the potential of what you are able to do with your website. Another advantage of administrative/root access is the ability to better monitor and troubleshoot your website, with full access to the server’s logs.

 

5. Better Security

With a dedicated server, you have exclusive access and can dictate who shares that access. This allows you to better secure the contents on your server and alleviates the concerns of sharing a server with malicious or careless users. Also because you have full control over the server, you can better enhance and customize its security based on your unique needs.

 

Now if you’re worried that you’re not tech savvy enough to run your own dedicated server, consider the option of going with a Managed Dedicated Server solution, which will provide many additional benefits on top of what’s listed above. Also if cost is a concern, check out our latest Best Value Dedicated Servers. There are countless other advantages to using a dedicated server, however the 5 above are some of the most notable. So before you decide to host your website on a shared server, consider the added flexibility, reliability, and performance that only a dedicated server can provide.

 

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Written by David Maurer on January 31st, 2017

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5 Ways Colocation Can Help Your Business Succeed   no comments

Posted at Jan 24, 2017 @ 10:20am colocation,Web hosting

Colocation

While outsourcing non-core business functions to cloud-computing enterprises is a growing trend, many firms still prefer to keep a close eye on their most critical business functions and databases. Internet professionals such as website hosting providers and website designers are well aware of vast server farms that rent dedicated servers to website design firms, retail concerns and innumerable other commercial and non-commercial organizations, but colocation providers generally have worked quietly in the background. Still, they continue to offer invaluable services to businesses that wish to retain ownership of the computer servers that host their core business functions and intellectual property while also outsourcing hardware management and its associated concerns to industry professionals.

For many companies, offloading the care and feeding of computer servers onto trained IT professionals at a colocation provider carries multiple advantages. Indeed, colocation services have steadily expanded year after year with leading industry experts expecting the global colocation market to exceed $33 billion by 2018. An in-depth examination shows that five major considerations lie behind the decision by CIOs and other corporate officials to rely on colocation services.

 

1) Connectivity

Colocated servers are only as good as the internet connectivity that allows them to cram immense flows of data up and down the line, and colocation providers typically subscribe to multiple high-level broadband providers such as Level 3 Communications to establish superior bandwidth redundancy and to encourage competition that results in cost savings for both the colocation provider and server owners. Quite apart from the sheer efficiency of sharing top-tier bandwidth access across innumerable servers, the climate-controlled environment keeps servers within a consistent temperature range to ensure that sensitive network equipment and server components don’t fail from extended exposure to excessive heat.

 

2) Stability

The impact on productivity from moving corporate offices, encountering a natural disaster or suffering through an extended interruption of electrical power can be disastrous. Even the most efficient company may experience a series of unfortunate events that repeatedly delay its return to full operational status. In the meantime, customers may be yelling about misplaced orders and bungled services, and employees may be left without real work as core business processes fail to function as expected.

More than a few CIOs and other upper-management staffers prefer instead to shield the company’s critical server operations from such potential chaos by entrusting them to an efficient colocation provider with multiple power backups and contingency plans for dealing with everything from earthquakes through cable-chewing squirrels.

 

3) Security

In an age of brazen corporate espionage by overseas agencies, ensuring physical data security can be a challenge. Even in the absence of foreign or domestic interest in valuable intellectual property held by a business, employee honesty and awareness of basic security precautions aren’t always guaranteed. Hard drives and other computer components sometimes have a habit of walking out the door, and allowing direct physical access to servers located inside open offices also increases the risk of malicious hacking attacks by criminal gangs through the agency of malware-laden USB sticks left lying around in company parking lots.

A well-equipped colocation provider likely will lock down its facilities with multiple security measures, including burglar-resistant, alarmed entry and exit doors; coded access procedures that track all physical access to hosted servers; strategically placed surveillance cameras; biometric scanners to prevent unauthorized access by intruders and even individually locked cages for each client’s servers. Spreading the cost of these high-security measures across hundreds or thousands of servers allows the colocation provider to efficiently offer economies of scale otherwise unavailable to the great majority of small to mid-size businesses.

 

4) Scalability

As a business expands or contracts in response to unpredictable economic swings and marketplace developments, its computing needs may similarly fluctuate. Managing human resources typically represents the largest expense for the great majority of firms, and the hiring and firing process is invariably expensive and painful. Instead of suffering through unpredictable demand cycles for in-house staff to manage IT hardware resources, business customers may purchase additional servers from the colocation provider or else instruct a responsible staffer to purchase additional custom equipment to be delivered to the colocation provider for installation.

 

5) Financial Predictability

Maintaining in-house data management facilities typically invites unexpected capital outlays that play havoc with limited quarterly budgets. Many firms prefer the predictability of a fixed monthly outlay that covers the great majority of expenses associated with managing critical IT hardware capability across all corporate functions. Strategic planning and corporate accounting become easier with fewer surprises for the unwary.

 

Only robust discussion among company principals can determine the ultimate wisdom of outsourcing IT hardware management functions to a dedicated third party. However, the cost savings, significantly improved operational stability and peace of mind offered by the colocation option have proven to be compelling value propositions for an expanding number of commercial enterprises, as well as SMBs and other organizations. For more information regarding colocation as well as the Colocation Solutions we provide here at TurnKey Internet, visit our website: https://www.turnkeyinternet.net/colocation/

 

Why Colocate With TurnKey Internet?

TurnKey Colocation is the ideal solution for companies, service providers, small businesses and IT resellers who want a stable environment in which to completely control their assets.

When utilizing our state of the art colocation facility you are able to control your hardware, software and networking to your needs without worrying about the supporting infrastructure. In doing so, you will immediately recognize tremendous savings while also getting peace of mind that your equipment is hosted in a 100% sustainable, green and SSAE16 audited, secure facility.

Traditionally, customers would create their own localized infrastructure which is costly and inefficient making colocation with TurnKey Internet the ideal solution. By colocating in our facility you are able to focus on your business and not on office networking, power or server issues that plague localized installations and office infrastructure. We provide redundant networking, power and cooling to ensure your services remain online and accessible at all time.

Our facility is redundantly networked with several TIER-1 peers allowing us to offer several connectivity options allowing our customers to reach theirs as quickly as possible and without worry of network downtime, which is completely SLA protected.

All colocation customers have 24/7 hour access to their equipment and also receive network reboots per-port or per-strip at no additional charge. Whether you purchase a single U, multiple racks or an entire cold containment POD, we include rebootable PDU’s or PDU ports with EVERY colocation purchase.

At TurnKey Internet we are available 24/7 to assist you with all your needs.

 

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Written by David Maurer on January 24th, 2017

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Redesigning Your Website for 2017   no comments

Posted at Dec 27, 2016 @ 10:21am Web hosting

website redesign 2017

Redesigning your website might be one of the most important business moves you make as 2016 gives way to 2017. A redesigned site can mean more visitors, more sales conversions and a positive impact on your bottom line. Of course, redesigning your website may also be one of the most time- and resource-intensive tasks you undertake this year. That’s why planning ahead is essential. Creating a detailed plan for your site redesign ensures that your efforts will be both time and cost effective, and it helps to ensure that your site truly meets your business needs too. Here are seven steps to take as you develop your website redesign plan.

 

1. Evaluate Your Current Site

Taking an honest look at your current website design is the very first thing you should do if you’re planning a redesign. Start by making a list of what works on your website. Then, make a list of everything that isn’t working. You’ll want to consider basics such as site color, visual layout and your company’s logo. You’ll also need to take website functionality when it comes to navigation, contact forms and e-commerce tools into account. Ask your staff for their opinions about the current site, and be sure to take a second look at any feedback you’ve received from website users too.

Part of evaluating your current site is looking at important metrics. Be sure that you’ve considered:

  • Overall site traffic
  • The bounce rate for visitors
  • Your site’s current search engine ranking
  • Your site’s performance ranking
  • How visitors spend their time on your site
  • The conversion rate from lead to customer for your site
  • The total monthly, quarterly and yearly sales generated by your site.

 

2. Create Goals for Your New Site

Once you’ve evaluated what does and doesn’t work on your existing site, you can start setting goals for your new site. Maybe you want to attract more consumers in your local area, or perhaps you need to redesign your site so that it accommodates visitors on tablets and smartphones. Create both aesthetic and use-related goals to direct the general redesign process.

In addition to creating these general goals, you should also create specific goals based upon current website metrics. For example, you might aim to increase traffic by 50 percent or to improve the search engine ranking of your site. Creating clear goals based on metrics will make measuring the success of your site redesign much easier.

 

3. Get to Know Your Audience

You might think that you know your website audience, but there’s no room for error when it comes to investing in a redesign. Work with your internal marketing team or hire an outside consultant to do research on your target demographic. Understanding who is likely to visit your site and what tools they hope to find on your site will be invaluable during the redesign process. Be sure that you’re also looking at the keywords that visitors are using to find your site so that you can target them during the redesign process.

 

4. Take Stock of the Competition

In addition to getting to know your audience, it’s essential that you get to know your online competition too. Start by reviewing the websites of any major, brick-and-mortar competitors. How are their sites organized? What are they doing to convert visitors into customers? What kinds of resources are they offering to visitors?

Once you’ve evaluated local or real-world competitors that you know about, conduct keyword-driven searches to identify online-only businesses that might be competing with yours. Evaluate these sites using the same criteria you used to evaluate other known competitors. As you evaluate your competition, jot down ideas of how your website can set your business apart from others.

 

5. Identify Your Content Strategy

A visually striking website is important, but a redesign is useless unless you also have a strong content strategy. Decide what types of photos, graphics and text you’ll use to attract visitors to your site and engage them once they’re there. Evaluate the current content of every page of your site, and determine how it can be improved or built upon. Think about the strength of your site’s current SEO strategy and what can be done to improve it.

If your website doesn’t currently feature a blog, now is a good time to consider adding one. Ensure the success of your blog by deciding:

  • How often you’ll create new posts
  • What type of information posts will include
  • Who will write your posts or how you’ll source them

 

6. Make the Big Design Decisions

Once you’ve determined your overall website goals and have decided what type of content you’ll include, you can start making aesthetic decisions. Consider the overall layout of your website, what colors it will use and whether your logo needs to be redesigned. Remember that making your website an extension of your branded image is essential.

Of course, you’ll need to make technical decisions as you make design decisions. These include the framework on which your site will be built and how you’ll meet mobile optimization needs. Be sure to go over site security concerns with your design partner too. Preventing hackers from accessing customer information is essential to building confidence with web visitors.

 

7. Create a Project Completion Timeline

Once you’ve made major redesign decisions, you should create a timeline for your website relaunch. Your chief priority here should be to minimize site downtime and ensure that visitors can still use your site during the redesign process. As your redesign progresses, be sure that you’re meeting your timeline goals. Doing so is essential to budget control and allows you to alert website users of coming changes in a timely fashion too.

As with most big business decisions, the success or failure of a website redesign depends largely on planning. Taking the time to plan now will ensure that you get what you want from your site redesign and that you’re able to stay on budget while doing so too. Make a thorough plan now so that you can kick back and enjoy the success of your new website when it launches.

 

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Written by David Maurer on December 27th, 2016

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cPanel Security 101   1 comment

Posted at Dec 20, 2016 @ 10:15am Web hosting

cPanel Security 101

cPanel provides convenient server access and a user-friendly interface for managing your website. However, like any online environment, it has several potential security problems. As a responsible webmaster, it’s up to you to recognize these vulnerabilities and take steps to close any loopholes hackers could use to access your server or site. Take charge and manage critical access points with these eight cPanel security tips.

 

Create Strong Passwords

From the main cPanel portal to individual email accounts, every login point needs a strong, secure password. Guidelines for length vary, and some sources suggest as many as 14 characters to ensure protection. Longer passwords allow for more complex combinations of numbers, symbols and upper- and lower-case letters. Use a different password for accessing cPanel, FTP, email management and other secure areas, making sure none of them contain obvious information such as phone numbers or birthdays.

If you have trouble coming up with enough different combinations, try an online password generator. A password manager is useful for keeping track of your login information for all of cPanel so that you don’t have to look up each password every time you sign on.

 

Install a Firewall

A firewall lets you access cPanel while keeping unauthorized users out. Think of it as a border patrol for your server, constantly checking to ensure only the right people get through. ConfigServer Security and Firewall (CSF) is a popular firewall application for cPanel designed to serve this purpose. It scans the system on a regular basis and checks authentication logs to keep your site safe from hackers at all times. CSF also provides feedback on how to make your server more secure overall. Since more is better when it comes to security, check these reports and make any necessary changes as soon as possible.

 

Be a “Brute”

Although a firewall can prevent hackers from gaining access to your site, it won’t stop them from trying to log in. Brute force protection is a feature of cPanel used to block IP addresses after multiple failed login attempts. Found in the Security Center section, this option is easy to enable and customize. Use the IP Deny Manager to manually input IP addresses known to be malicious so that they’re never allowed to log on.

You can customize the brute force option, known as cPHulk, by setting how many minutes the tool monitors for repeated logins, the maximum number of failed logins allowed and how long each IP ban stays in place.

 

Stop Anonymous FTP Access

With anonymous FTP, anyone can log in to your site via FTP with only a username and a generic password. This may be useful for sharing files with a large number of people, but it’s like an open door to hackers. When all users can gain access to your server through such a simple process, every file becomes subject to tampering.

Set your FTP preferences to allow only for SSL logins, and require a password to be entered each time. The setting can be found under FTP Server Configuration in cPanel.

 

Make SSH Secure

Secure shell (SSH) is a convenient way to access your site from a remote location. Unfortunately, it can also provide an entry point for hackers. Information sent through SSH is authenticated and encrypted to prevent outside manipulation, so malicious users can’t touch it unless they break through your security measures.

The default port of 22 is the most common setting for SSH access. Changing it to another available port and implementing a security key for logins minimizes the risk of being hacked. Switch the settings from SSH1 to SSH2 for additional protection.

 

Protect Against Hotlinking

Hotlinking is the practice of linking an image or file on one server directly to a page on a remote website. Some people do this in ignorance, assuming the easiest way to embed an image is to use the original link, but it’s generally considered a bad practice. Hotlinked files use bandwidth from your site every time someone accesses them, and this has the potential to overload your servers if too many requests are made.

The Security section of cPanel offers hotlinking protection. Simply enable the setting to prevent third parties from linking to your files. Add an extra layer of security by specifying certain file extensions you don’t want to be hotlinked.

 

Tweak Your Settings

While you’re taking care of the larger security issues in cPanel, make sure you don’t neglect less common settings. Open Tweak Settings under Server Configuration to access an entire list of other possible security measures. With this checklist, you can:

• Help prevent the sending of unauthorized emails, including spam
• Shut down potential email attacks
• Block malicious referrals or redirects from hijacking your site
• Stop the generation of proxy domains
• Require IP validation for cookies
• Set up an additional security token for cPanel access

Enabling these supplemental security settings helps address any remaining vulnerabilities and keep hackers at bay.

 

Stay Updated

Your web host should have automatic cPanel updates in place. If not, go to Update Preferences in the Server Configuration area and enable the setting yourself. Old versions of software, including cPanel, may contain security vulnerabilities hackers can use to access your server. Automatic updates ensure you’re always running the latest version of cPanel with any associated security patches and bug fixes. Go back and check once and a while to confirm updates are running as they should. If not, update manually and contact your web host to find out why the setting isn’t working.

Security is one area of website management where you should never cut corners to save time or effort. The smartest thing you can do is implement proper security measures for cPanel as soon as your hosting account is set up. Don’t wait until disaster strikes or assume the security promised by your web host is enough. Take proactive measures to keep hackers out and stay in control of your cPanel environment.

 

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Written by David Maurer on December 20th, 2016

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10 Essential WordPress Security Tips   no comments

Posted at Dec 6, 2016 @ 12:10pm Web hosting

wordpress security

Failing to protect your WordPress site from potential hackers could leave years of work vulnerable to attack. Malicious users know how to exploit vulnerabilities in unprotected sites, hijack files and plugins for their own use and sabotage functionality.

If you’re not doing all you can secure your site against attacks, it’s time to take action. Use these ten WordPress security tips as a starting point to lock out hackers and protect your web presence.

 

Obscure the Login Page

By default, WordPress users access their login pages via domain names followed by wp-login or wp-admin. Hackers know this and will immediately navigate to these pages when attempting to enter your site. Using a security plugin, you can change the URLs of login and user registration portals. Although this doesn’t prevent hackers from eventually finding these pages, it slows them down and may be frustrating enough to make them give up trying to access your site.

 

Choose Unique User Identification

Using “admin” as your administrator login name is like an open door for hackers. Your login should be distinct to your website and difficult to figure out. One way to ensure your login remains unique is to use the email associated with your WordPress installation instead of a username. Email addresses are harder to guess and offer better authentication for administrator logins.

 

Be a Password Juggler

There was a time when you could stick a few numbers on the end of your dog’s name and call it a reliable password, but in today’s volatile Internet landscape, you need much more than that. Use a password generator to create strong WordPress passwords, and change them on a regular basis. Good passwords include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols in various combinations. The more complex your passwords, the more secure your site will be.

 

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Many sites employ a two-step process to verify the identity of each user attempting to log in. Using the same method on your site means it will take a little longer for you to get to the dashboard, but it may prevent hackers from gaining access to your site. Two-factor authentication lets you choose a secret question or a special code to be after the initial password screen. Some methods use a one-time authentication message sent via text to ensure only authorized users can log in.

 

Install a Security “Watchdog”

Hackers need multiple attempts to get into your WordPress site, and plugins like WordFence alert you to this activity while locking down the site to prevent unauthorized access. Such security plugins act like gatekeepers, watching who tries to log in, sending alerts, checking for file changes and banning offending IP addresses. Reports of activity arrive in your inbox immediately and again in weekly summaries so that you can keep on top of any potential problems.

 

Control Other Accounts

Collaborative or corporate blogs require several user accounts, and this can pose a problem for security unless all users understand how to keep the site protected. Be selective when adding accounts, since every new login creates another potential point of vulnerability. Establish rules about password strength and how frequently passwords should be changed, and make sure each user has a distinct login name. Set individual user permissions at the lowest levels possible so that it’s difficult for hackers to do damage should additional accounts ever be compromised.

 

Use .htaccess to Hide Important Files

Editing the .htaccess file can change certain WordPress functions, including the level of security. With the right code, you can:

  • Disable directory listings to prevent unauthorized users from accessing file listings
  • Hide your wp-config file from malicious users
  • Set which IP addresses are granted administrative privleges
  • Block access to the PHP files for themes and plugins

Remember to back up the existing .htaccess file before making any changes.

 

Stay on Top of Updates

Themes, plugins and the WordPress core are updated regularly to fix known problems, including security issues. Before installing any plugin or theme, check the last time it was updated. Ensure the developers offer continued updates after installation, and stay away from pirated “free” versions of premium plugins.

Run updates as soon as you can to eliminate vulnerabilities. If you have trouble remembering to update or have a tendency to miss notifications, consider setting automatic updates to run on a routine basis.

 

Don’t Neglect “Spring Cleaning”

Make a habit of going through the plugins and themes stored on your WordPress site whenever you run updates. Delete anything you haven’t used in a while or have replaced with something more functional. You may be surprised how many plugins you’ve accumulated while building your site, and getting rid of unused ones eliminates vulnerabilities.

It’s also a good idea to clean up your database from time to time. Find a reliable database cleaning plugin and run it to remove old file versions and other outdated information. As a bonus, your site should load faster and run more smoothly without the extra files weighing it down.

 

Back Up as Often as Possible

No matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance an enterprising hacker could break through your site’s defenses. Creating site backups safeguards all the information on your site, giving you a way to restore everything should your security measures ever fail.

Some hosting companies provide scheduled backups as part of their services, but it’s a good idea to also have your own plan in place. Use a backup plugin or make manual backups on a regular basis, and store the files in a secure place so that you know they’ll always be there if you need them.

 

WordPress site security isn’t a “set it and forget it” measure. After putting initial protections in place, it’s essential to continue monitoring activity and running updates. Keep an eye out for new, stronger security tools, and implement the best combination of plugins and code changes to prevent the majority of attacks.

 

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Written by David Maurer on December 6th, 2016

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4 Ways to Make Your Website Faster   no comments

Posted at Nov 10, 2016 @ 10:51am Web hosting

faster website

Many online business owners make the mistake of overlooking the importance of having a fast website. When you want to get the most from your online presence, the loading speed of your content is one of the most important factors to your success. Your prospects have a lot of distractions fighting for their attention, and you must compete with their friends, family and other advertisers if you want to make any progress.

Web users don’t have much tolerance for slow websites, and most will navigate away if your content takes longer than a few seconds to appear on the screen. So every step that you take to increase your website’s performance will help you attract and retain customers, and you are about to learn how to get moving down the right path.

 

Content Delivery Network

One of the benefits of working online is that you can reach a worldwide audience, and doing so is one of the best ways to enhance your profitability. But when someone downloads your content or accesses your website, the speed at which the content loads will depend on that person’s location. For example, if your hosting server is located in New York, someone who lives in China will encounter delays when trying to access your website.

If your prospects are forced to wait too long, they will often opt to find a local business that can offer them efficient download speeds. You can overcome that problem by using a content delivery network, or CDN. When you have a CDN, your content is stored on several servers around the world. When someone accesses your website or tries to download a file, the CDN will send the files to them from the server that is closest to that person’s location.

 

Reduce Image Size

When crafting great content, including valuable and engaging information is not always enough when you need to attract readers and to keep their attention. When you want to keep your audience’s focus, including images is a great way to reach your desired outcome.

But having too many images on your website can impact the loading speed in a negative way, causing you to lose prospects. Although many people try to remove most of the images from their website, doing so is not your only option. You can try converting your images to a web format to reduce their size without harming their quality.

 

Check Your Scripts

You can find many scripts that will help you captivate and engage your audience, but using too many of them can decrease the loading speed of your website. If you want to speed it up, take a look at each plug-in to determine if you need it and how much it is impacting your site. Disable one script at a time to determine if the changes make a difference in the amount of time that it takes for your content to load. If one of your scripts is causing a lot of harm, consider removing it, but you can also check to see if the developer has released any updates.

 

Upgrade Your Hosting

If you have tried everything of which you can think to improve your loading speed, then you might want to take a look at your hosting provider. If you have a basic plan, then you might not have access to the amount of bandwidth and resources that you need to improve the speed with which your audience can access your content.

If your hosting plan is the source of the problem, then you might want to upgrade to a better provider. Although you likely wish to avoid spending more money than needed, the enhanced speed of an effective hosting plan is an investment that will pay for itself over time.

 

Those who don’t take steps to optimize their website’s loading speed are likely losing more customers than they realize, and you don’t want to repeat the same mistake. Putting in a little effort can go a long way when it comes to keeping your prospects engaged and focused on what you have to say. Optimizing your website is a good place to start when you want to make your content load with enhanced efficiency. But if that step does not help, then upgrading your hosting plan is sure to get the job done.

When your website loads quickly, your customers’ experience will not be interrupted, and they will be that much more likely to make a purchase as a result. The speed with which your content loads is also a reflection of you and your products. When you prevent delays, you are also showing your customers that you care about your reputation, and you will start to earn their respect.

 

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Written by David Maurer on November 10th, 2016

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Email Phishing: Is Your Inbox Safe?   no comments

Posted at Nov 8, 2016 @ 9:48am Web hosting

phishing

When responding to an email or clicking a link, most people don’t think twice. Sending emails has become so common that users rarely consider the danger of phishing and other fraudulent activity. But those who are unaware of the threat are at an even greater risk, and it will likely be too late for them to take action by the time that they notice the problem. The key to avoiding this trap is to educate yourself and to remain vigilant at all times. Although disregarding safety for convenience is becoming common, it’s a pitfall that can have a lasting impact on anyone’s future.

Phishing is the process of posing as another person or as a company to deceive people into giving their personal information away, and criminals have been known to use emails as a way to reach their goals. Knowing about the threat is not always enough when your task is to keep yourself and your bank account safe, and the attack can occur at any time.

A user will be checking their email as they would on any other day. Suddenly, the user spots an email from the bank that asks the user to log in to the account to confirm a recent transaction. But the email was not from the bank, and the user’s information is now in the hands of an identity thief. If you don’t want to encounter this situation, then the following information will help.

 

Don’t Share Sensitive Information Through Email

In a common phishing attack, a criminal will pretend to be someone whom you trust to steal sensitive data. The email could appear as though it had been sent by a friend, boss or business contact, and you might be asked for your account information or pin number. But no credible business will request sensitive data in an email, so the request should be your first red flag.

Rather than sending personal details in an email, pick up your phone and call the company or the individual who requested the information. Although this step might seem a little time-consuming, it can save you from a lot of trouble.

 

Manually Navigate to Web Addresses

Long before sending you a fraudulent email, experienced criminals will put in the effort to clone the website of a bank or business. They will then send an email posing as your bank or another trusted entity, and you will be encouraged to click a link that will take you to a malicious website.

Although the content, logo and other details might appear identical to the real thing, any information that you send will be exposed. Avoiding this type of attack is not difficult. Simply open a separate web browser and manually navigate to the website that you intend to visit.

 

Look for Spelling Errors

Keep in mind that phishing attacks can come from any location on the planet, so a lot of fake emails are sent by those who don’t speak English as their first language. When someone from another country sends a fraudulent email, the message will often contain obvious spelling errors. Some people dismiss the spelling errors that they find, but they will likely have their personal information stolen as a result. Customer service agents can make mistakes, but using caution is the best way to avoid becoming a victim.

Also, even criminals who speak English fluently can make mistakes when typing an email. If you notice anything that seems odd, call the company or person from whom the email appears to originate and ask for verification. If the email is not legitimate, report it as spam and block the domain.

 

Don’t Trust Attachments

Downloading and running email attachments is a good way to get a virus or to have other malicious software installed on your device. In the past, hackers would use screen savers and free games to infect their victims, but hackers can even use Word and Excel documents to inflict damage. After a computer is infected, the malicious code will sometimes automatically email itself to everyone in the victim’s address book. If you want to avoid this problem, never download an attachment that you were not expecting.

 

Having your identity stolen can destroy your credit score, and some people are forced to wait years before they can reverse the damage. Nobody should overlook the threat of phishing, and you can never eliminate the risk entirely. But you can significantly reduce the odds of having your personal information exposed by keeping safety at the front of your mind. Protecting yourself will require some time and effort, but safeguarding your information is always easier than trying to pick up the pieces after an incident occurs. Those who focus on security when communicating online will follow these tips, but they will also use common sense to detect the signs of suspicious activity.

 

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Written by David Maurer on November 8th, 2016

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