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Tips to Make Your Linux VPS Work Effectively

Every Linux VPS Server has its own limit when it comes to the system resources. It is somewhat limited to about 1GB of RAM. Clients always want their VPS (Virtual Private Servers) to be fast and much responsive as possible. Below are some quick tips to make the Linux VPS Servers work effectively.

Configuring MySQL cache sizes properly is one the common ways to expand the available RAM. If you noticed that your MySQL server instance is using too much memory, you can decrease the MYSQLcache sizes. And if its getting slower due to larger requests you can you can increase the chache size as per your needs.

One more way to increase the performance of the Linux VPS is to disable the control panels. Everyone likes to use the most popular control panels such as Cpanel & Plesk. But if you want to free your resources you should only use the control panels when necessary. You can install them again by running a small PHP script or using shell prompt. This will free up about 120MB of RAM.

Disable the unwanted features, modules and plug-ins such as Apache that are enabled in software packages. By disabling unnecessary modules or plugins will decrease the system memory that server softwares such as Apache requires, which will provide you more resources for the software that are more in need.

One of the top way to make your Linux VPS responsive is to disable the system services that are unnecessarily in use. The services which are not used not only consumes RAM and CPU space but they also make your server unsecured.

Apache server is a well-known for its role in the development of the World Wide Web and never been confusing to the clients. To free up the memory as per the needs check the memory apache is using and adjust the Startservers.

Source by Robin Dale

6 Cyber Security Tips to Help You Protect Your Insurance Website From Hacking

Cyber security threats are constantly changing. It is important to stay on top of emerging trends to keep your insurance agency website secure. A secure website not only protects your customers, it protects your brand. Here are the six top tips to help you keep your insurance website protected.

  1. Be Cautious When Creating Login Credentials
    Giving someone access to the back-end of your website is sort of like giving someone a key to your business. Maintain caution when giving someone login access and always keep login access to the minimum amount of people necessary to keep your website up-to-date.

  2. Update Security Patches, Limit Password Attempts, Use Malware Protection Software
    One of the most proactive ways you can keep would-be hackers at bay is to keep all aspects of your website’s code updated. When security patches, plugins, or dependency updates are released, install them as soon as possible. Hackers are constantly looking for exploits to popular coding methods. When an exploit is discovered it is typically patched by the code developers as quickly as possible. The sooner you update your code the sooner you remove a threat that’s accessible to thousands of hackers. And all insurance websites should use a malware detection and prevention solution and limit password attempts.

  3. Create a “We’ve been hacked” Response Plan
    Even the best attempts at keeping your site from hacking can fall short. It is absolutely imperative you have a response plan. Audit logs, backups, and contact information for IT support should be included in your response plan.

  4. Collect Detailed Activity Logs
    Make certain you have access to log reports on all back-end website functions, to help pinpoint issues when a breach occurs. Every login attempt, page adjustment, code adjustment, and plugin addition should be logged with user time stamps.

  5. Perform frequent backups and keep a copy of recent backup data off premises.
    Backing up your website should be an integral part of your response plan, and some hosting providers offer daily backup services. How often you need to backup your website will depend on how often you update it. When your insurance agency backs up your site, save a copy of the backup off of your server in easily accessible cloud storage. If your host is hacked and the server’s contents are compromised, you will have an unaltered version stored out of the hands of hackers.

  6. Train Users on How to Stay Secure
    Once you have your Cyber Security plan enabled, train all users on how to stay safe and prevent attacks. Educate users on how to generate very strong passwords and keep them safe by using a password manager, recognize email phishing scams, and how to encrypt emails that contain sensitive information. What’s a strong password? Today, use at least 10 characters, with alpha (including a cap), numeric (random not a sequential string), and special characters (exclamation, etc.). Many website platforms such as WordPress, will generate and/or measure the strength of your password.

To protect your website, start with the basics above, then determine if you have the expertise to continually stay abreast of potential cyber attacks. If not, consider outsourcing this initiative to a proficient web hosting and debeleopment company or insurance marketing agency.

Source by Alan Blume

Gear Up Your WordPress Website With Custom Post Types

Last month saw the 15th birthday of WordPress and since its release in the market, the CMS has evolved a lot and has come up with various features and functionalities. Whenever we talk about WordPress, the first thing that comes to our mind is that of a great blogging platform. But with years, this concept has slowly changed and WordPress now supports ecommerce solutions and responsive designs too. By default, WordPress comes up with posts and pages as their prime content system. But users can easily create many custom content types as needed.

Did you know that Custom Post Types could help you segment your content within WordPress?

As said above, WordPress development comes up with a handful of content types as default. Posts and pages are the most commonly used ones and they are the ones to categorise and separate content within WordPress. The content can be segmented into different areas of the WordPress admin panel and offer unique sets of data per data type. This data then can be used customised displays for the users when the website goes live. Custom post types extend the WordPress simple pages and posts and allow the users to create content types that are augmented by specific and unique templates to present the data to website visitors.

When and why should you use custom post types?

Depending on the type of content that you are willing to publish on your WordPress website, you can develop them. A new custom post type can be a great idea if you have plans to start publishing something that should be kept apart from any other posts and pages. For example, having a section separately for your books on your WordPress review website will make the content easily understandable to your audience and also distinguish the reviews from the rest of your web content. In fact, this will also help you to set certain specific parameters for each of your book and then display alongside the review.

Get to know about some popular off the shelf plugins to create CPTs

Finding it difficult to create your own custom plugins for CPTs? There is nothing to worry about as there are some very good ready to use plugins for creating custom post types. Have a look:

Easy content types: This plugin provides an extremely easy to use interface to them, meta boxes and taxonomies. It is a feature rich plugin and the dashboard explains what they are and how you can work with them. Each module is well documented with every field labelled and explained.

Custom Post Type UI: This plugin is easy to use and lets you create new post types, corresponding taxonomies and also edit the them that are already existing on your site. Another important thing that you can do with this plugin is that you can import a custom post that you have on any other site.

Toolset Types: This plugin allows you to customise the WordPress admin by adding the content types, customised fields and taxonomies. It helps you to manage them, and all these can be done via the WordPress admin panel.

Types: This is a popular free plugin that enables you to create custom post types, fields and taxonomies. This plugin stands out from the rest due to its developer-friendly and user friendly interface. If you know coding, then you can use the PHP API or else you can use the simple GUI. It also handles custom fields well, which you can add to posts, pages and also users.

Pods: The plugin is very simple when compared to any other on the list. But it offers you the functionality that you might need in most cases. The two main sections of the plugin are Post Types and Taxonomies. In order to use this plugin, you don’t have to have any coding skills as everything is there via a handy interface.

Source by Om Namdev

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider

You obviously want to engage the services of the best WordPress hosting provider for your website. You already know that not all hosting companies are the same and there are lots to choose from, it is only safe to be careful and selective when choosing the best WordPress hosting provider that meets your present requirements now and in the future as your business grows.

We have put together a checklist of vital factors to consider before you make your decision.

Specialists: You need a web hosting provider which specialises in WordPress and also has a good reputation for their service and their technical support.

Up-Time Reliability: The last thing you need is a host provider that goes down all the time! When web visitors cannot access your website, they move on – to your competition and they may never try to return to your site again. This will cost you money in lost sales and a negative reputation. The best WordPress Hosting Providers have 99.9% reliability.

Fast Loading Servers: You need your website to load up quickly for your visitors. Most people will not wait any longer than 4 seconds for a site to upload – any longer and they just hit the back button and move on to your competition.

Only the best WordPress hosting companies provide non-crowed servers which allow your website to load up fast for your visitors.

Linux Servers: WordPress was written for Linux Servers and that’s why there is less chance of running into technical problems.

Database Backup: This is an absolute must, should your database or website become corrupted or even hacked. The best WordPress hosting companies provide automatic back-ups of your website and will re-install a version of your website to a date prior to when the corruption or hack took place.

Secure Servers: Closely related to this fact is the security monitoring of the servers. The best WordPress Hosting companies monitor their servers from external attacks 24/7/365! They carry out regular software updates to ensure the stability and continuance of service.

Technical Support: Should your website be down for any reason, it’s vital that you can contact your web provider no matter what time of the day or night. The best WordPress Hosting Providers offer technical support 24/7/365 usually via a support ticket system and will have you up and running in no time. Technical support should be inclusive of your plan (no matter how modest) and be unlimited. You just never know!

Installation: WordPress is easy to install, especially if you have chosen a dedicated WordPress hosting company. A good host will enable you to install your website via your control panel using ‘Installatron’ which is similar to Fantastico, but only better! Installatron allows you to easily install software that might otherwise be problematical to install.

Whilst Linux based hosting packages will run WordPress not all hosts make it easy to set-up and not all provide support if you have problems.

Cost of Hosting: The cost of hosting your website will be influenced by your requirements and ultimately the plan that you choose. However, no matter which plan you decide upon, it’s important to have the option to pay monthly or annually and be covered by the 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Guarantees: The best WordPress Hosting providers offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee to ensure that you are completely satisfied with their service. This is an ideal risk free way of trying out their services, as if it’s not what you expected you can always get your money back.

Source by Tony Treacy

Six Crucial Tips to Ensure Website Security

Website security is a primary concern of website owners across the world. It does not matter which framework you are using, you should still maintain the web application and server to prevent intrusions. Hackers can attack your website to get access to sensitive data and use the server for sending abused mails and hosting malicious files.

To prevent security attacks, you can follow the suggestions mentioned below.

Keep the Software and Frameworks updated:

All software development companies fix security bugs in updated versions of their products. You can keep hackers away from the website by updating the framework and software you used during web development. In this way, you can make your website more secure from attacks. Generally, hackers use security holes in a website to perform malicious activities. If they cannot find any vulnerability, they start finding another website that has security holes.

Use strong and impossible-to-guess passwords:

It is always recommended to use strong passwords for FTP accounts, cPanel, and email accounts to prevent security breaches. You should use small letters, capital letters, special characters and numbers in your password to make it impossible to guess.

Always filter HTML and JavaScript:

The Cross Site Scripting (XSS) is the most common method used for intrusion. Intruders can insert a scripting code in web forms or use JavaScript to run malicious code. To ensure security, you should check the data being submitted and remove the unnecessary HTML tags.

Display error messages carefully:

When users insert incorrect login details, a simple error message must be displayed on your website. However, you should be careful about what you will write in this message. Hackers use brute force attack method to find username and password. If you display messages such as “username is incorrect” and “password is incorrect”, hackers will know that their job is half done and can focus on another field. To put a stop to this, you should use a common slogan such as “either username or password is incorrect”. Captcha can also be used on a login page to give extra security.

Use both server-side and client-side validation:

To prevent any malicious data from being inserted, you should use both client-side and server-side validation. On the client side, JavaScript can be used for validation, but most browsers offer an option to disable it. Therefore, you should also validate the data on the server to prevent undesirable results in your website.

Scan the uploaded files:

If you offer the file upload facility to allow users to upload their images, you should be careful about what they upload. Hackers can also upload infected files to your server to run malicious code. You cannot rely on the file type to prevent attacks. To protect your website, you should check the file extension and change file permissions. For example, if you set chmod 0666, these files will not get executed. You can also store them on the different server by using Secure File Transport Protocol or Secure Shell Protocol for secure file transport.

Well, these are some security approaches you can follow for ensuring website security. In this way, you can keep your website safe from attacks and users can use it without any fear.

Source by Abhishek Mangal

How to Find a Cheap Host With All the Features You Need

As a webmaster you are always looking to keep your hosting costs as low as possible. You want to find a cheap host but you also want to find a host that is reliable and that offer the service and functionality that you need for your sites.

Different types of sites require different functionality. These varying requirements can sometimes mean the features you need can end up being expensive. Certain types of sites such as web proxy sites, image hosts and streaming video sites can use a lot of bandwidth and some require a lot of processing power. Other types of sites such as those made up of a few flat HTML files will not need such a powerful server.

You first need to consider the types of sites you are looking to host. Are there going to be any special requirements for your sites such as databases, streaming video or server side programming languages such as PHP.

There are lot of hosts that provide many features as standard such as a control panel, MySQL databases, PHP, email addresses, add on domains and various single click install scripts. Other features usually vary with cost such as disk space and bandwidth.

If you want to find a cheaper host then you need to optimise your site requirements with what different web hosting companies provide. For example if you have a site with half a dozen pages containing some text and a few pictures then you are not going to have a very demanding site. You could get a basic hosting package with none of the bells and whistles to keep your cost down.

Usually webmasters have more than one site that needs to be hosted. With certain hosting packages you can host multiple websites which means you can save money on multiple hosting accounts and keep all your sites in one place. You can do this by using a reseller hosting account that allows you to host multiple separate sites on a single hosting account. These are usually hosting accounts that come with management software such as Web Hosting Manager. WHM usually makes a hosting account more expensive so if you do not need to keep each site completely separate you can instead get a hosting package that allows multiple add on domains. This will save you even more money as you will not need to have WHM, which the host has to pay for a license to use.

Source by Allan Burns

Importance of Selecting UK Dedicated Servers

For a UK-based online business, selecting a UK dedicated server over a dedicated server solution based in another country, for example US, solution is extremely beneficial. Choosing a web hosting company that serves the same country where you do business is always preferred as you can easily travel to the hosting company to check the quality of infrastructure they are having, and also if you have colocated your company’s web servers there, then you can always be in more control over the servers’ management by your own web experts.

Interacting with the hosting company’s support teams or even chatting with your local clients, website visitors and online customers over the phone is quite cheaper than using the long-distance or overseas phone calls if online companies as well as their web hosting companies are based in different and distant countries, for example in the US and the UK. Apart from the proximity of the location of the web hosting company and such cost-effective features, there are many other benefits:

For your UK-based online business, using the UK-based dedicated servers can mean faster connectivity and better interaction with your local offline and online customers, and other website visitors. Being located in the same time zone is a huge advantage where customer interaction is concerned. Your technical and customer support staff will be able to understand the local accents better. Indeed, this is a major concern when the company’s staff is located in a different region, the accent barrier and the different time zones act as business hurdles more often than not.

Besides these marketing-related problems, the accounting process also becomes difficult due to the ever-changing foreign exchange rates. Local UK customers will obviously trust the UK-based online company more, as much as they trust the local brick and mortar businesses. These are very important features from all the legal aspects as well.

For the UK-based online businesses, using a UK dedicated server — using a dedicated server hosting company based in UK will also mean better search engine results for the sales of their key products and services. As UK surfers naturally use UK-based search engines, for example Google.co.uk, exclusively to search for products and services, ranking very high for your products and services in the same-location search engines will produce better sales results for your UK-based online company. Search engines now have their servers in specific locations all over the world, and they give more importance to the websites hosted on local web servers. Hence, if you need better search engine results in UK for your SEO efforts, you should host your website on a web server based in UK data center.

Therefore from a business point of view, your UK-based online business should use a hosting service and preferably use UK dedicated servers to not only get better and faster hosting services and support from your local web host, but also to serve your local customers better. All these factors also help you produce better sales results in a cost-effective way, give better search engine results, save more foreign exchange, produce more local jobs, of course produces a better customer relationship with local citizen. All these factors mean better long-time prospects for your company over a longer time.

Source by Nathan Woods

Important Security Questions To Ask Your Web Hosting Company

The major problems faced by websites and blogs that hinder normal functioning include malware, filesystem permission issues on shared servers etc. Most of these issues are by virtue of web hosting company that may put the website at risk.

It is a good idea to be equipped with knowledge that helps you find out if your web hosting company may be putting your website and data at risk and if the risk can be avoided or mitigated. If not, it is important to make a timely decision to move to another hosting company.

Choosing a secure web hosting company depends on a variety of factors. However, if you already have a hosting company, here are some questions you can ask them in order to be sure if your website is secure:

Version history of infrastructure elements such as CPanel, Operating System, Caching Technology, PHP, phpMyAdmin, and MySQL:

The distribution of responsibilities between the site owner and hosting provider is quite an organized one provided you take the pains to understand it. The important thing to know is that the web hosting provider is actually responsible for numerous tasks concerning your website or blog. Only you managing the security aspects of the website doesn’t cut it for the web hosting provider needs to do their role efficiently or the security risk prevails.

You need to primarily check the versions of infrastructure elements in order to rule out any older versions with security vulnerabilities. This exposes all the customers of the web hosting provider to hackers and hence data theft.

Additionally, if the company you are dealing with still runs an older version but with backported security fixes, you can stay assured of your security. Backported fixes refer to newer security fixes made on older software versions so the security parameters are at par with the current requirements.

At your part, you must keep track that the themes, plugins, and core be latest and also follow up and make sure that the remaining site software by the web hosting provider is up to date.

Whether individual hosting accounts are independent of each other or are capable to read files in other accounts on the same server?

It has been observed numerous times that some hosting providers do not isolate accounts from each other and there is always a possibility of one account reading the data on the other. This is a major security threat if a fraudulent party gets an account with the same provider, they can access and misuse data of the peers.

Cases have surfaced wherein the attacking account reads the database server address, username, and password using wp-config.php files of other accounts of the same server. The attacker then creates an admin account and uses the target website to the whim and fancy of their malicious intentions.

A good hosting provider will keep all accounts separate and other users on the server will not be able to access your account. This is one of the primary clarifications that you need to take from your hosting provider in order to maintain security.

Duration and availability of server logs?

Another important question to ask your hosting provider is if your server logs are available and the duration for which you can access them. Server logs enable effective and conclusive investigation in case the website is attacked. The problem arises when the affected site either doesn’t have access to server logs or the logs are maintained for a duration short enough to not serve any purpose. This makes it impossible to zero down the reason or point where the website was compromised.

A good hosting plan will offer instant access to all logs within the past 24 hours on the server if the need is to retrieve them and the best hosting provider will offer archiving capability up to 30 days.

If the site is being backed up, how is it being backed up and the span of retention of backup files:

It is pretty important to ask the web hosting provider if the website is being backed up and for how long are the logs being retained. Backups are the quickest mode to restore a hacked website. A good backup of the website will help you stay unaffected by the hacking attack. A quick access to the backups saves time, money and effort. As a part of your interrogation, you need to check in the first place if the hosting provider is backing up the website and how long they retain it. You also need to know where it is being stored.

Entry level hosting plans often keep you unaware of what the hosting company is doing in the regard. Some companies may not be doing any backups at all, you must stay wary of such providers.

If the current plan allows HTTPS enabling?

It is very important to log in to a website using a secure connection and if your website doesn’t allow that already, you must fix that at the earliest. In absence of secure connection, attackers may keep track of network traffic, access username, and password and gain full control of the website.

Https also helps rank you higher on search engines and protects the data that you log using forms and payment windows. It is highly recommended to switch to https if not doing so already.

Source by Bruce Thomsan

Is WordPress the Best Platform for Your Real Estate Website?

WordPress has become a popular choice for the development of real estate websites. However, is it the best content management system (CMS) for your real estate website? We’ll examine why it may not be the best choice for website owners.

Why Real Estate Website Designers Are Using WordPress

With WordPress being an open source and free platform, it has become the popular choice for website providers and developers. Whether you are building a community website or a store with shopping cart, the availability of third-party themes and plugins allows you to achieve just about anything you would want.

WordPress gives website developers a great starting point and tools to build a website. Back in the early years of our company, our website developers developed websites from scratch with the code using NotePad. WordPress now allows people to build websites even if they have no knowledge of coding. In fact, many who know how to build websites using WordPress now call themselves “website developers” even though they have no knowledge of the actual website coding.

Doing It Yourself – The WordPress Learning Curve

If you have little or no knowledge of website development, the WordPress learning curve will be steep. Hosting and installing WordPress can be an intimidating and daunting task. Even with the availability of installation guides, the installation of just WordPress itself can be a nightmare if you have no knowledge of the hosting lingo. When you do get WordPress installed, you have a generic website that requires the installation of third-party themes and plugins. This is where we see most users just throw in the towel and contact us. They have a project they wished they never started, and the time they’ve spent trying to launch their website could have been spent towards growing their business and getting more clients.

Having Somebody Build Your WordPress Real Estate Website

Even if you have somebody build your website for you using WordPress, we still see many users coming to us for help. They still feel their website content is hard to manage and the change of their design nearly impossible. The main reason is that since WordPress was designed for everybody of all industries, there is so much in the backend that it becomes overwhelming. Most website owners only require a small percentage of the features available in WordPress.

Design

WordPress can build beautiful and attractive real estate websites with many real estate themes available to install. Themes give you a great starting point, but they still require customization to achieve the website you really want. A WordPress theme comes generic, requiring quite a bit of customization to personalize it for your business. From our experience, a WordPress theme will only get you about 50% of where you actually want to be with your website. The other 50% requires stripping the loaded theme to only the things you want, adding your own relevant content and images, installation of plugins, and design customization.

WordPress Vulnerability

With the popularity of WordPress comes many struggles for real estate website owners. One such major and vital struggle is website security. Once a hacker finds one vulnerability in WordPress, all WordPress websites become open to an attack. In November 2014, a vulnerability was discovered that left almost 86 percent of the 75 million WordPress websites open to an attack. Just a month earlier, 800,000 banking credentials were stolen from hacked WordPress websites.

If your website is built on WordPress, most likely it is using third-party plugins. These third-party plugins can also contain vulnerabilities making your website open to an attack. If a vulnerability is found in the plugins, you are then at the mercy of the third-party developer to fix the security issue.

Now, it is up to you if you are going to use WordPress as your platform for your business or not. It is also your choice if you will do it yourself or you will hire somebody to do it for you.

Source by Michael Yee

Web Hosting Aspects That Might Affect SEO

Does Web Hosting Have an Effect on SEO?

There are 3 web hosting factors that influence where your website gets ranked. Here is an in-depth look into them:

Uptime / Downtime

Downtime is the length of time when your website cannot be accessed because of the problems involving the server. It is likely for search engine spiders to visit your website many times daily. However, if they visit when your site is experiencing downtime, they will record it as inaccessible and will go on to the next site. When this happens over and over again, your website will be considered unreliable and your rankings may be reduced. Unreliable sites are not displayed highly in results of search engine since this will put them in a bad light when the searchers click on results they give but can't access the site. Even if it is 99% uptime, your website will not be accessible for a total of 7 hours over a span of 1 month. If possible, you would want your website to be 100% accessible at all times. However, websites are expected to experience some kind of downtime even if these have expensive web hosting plans. Yet, there are web hosts that offer and guarantee 99.95% uptime, so accept no less than this.

Speed

In general, search engines do not divulge the factors that belong to their algorithms. Yet, in 2010, Google openly revealed that the speed upon which a page loads is only one among those more than 200 factors. This is certainly a very small percentage (of only 0.5%) effect on your rankings. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to take it into consideration. The loading speeds for your web pages are as follows:

When you have a lower than average loading speed, you should not necessarily blame your web host. The slow down may be caused by the coding and configuration of your website. However, if you are confident that your site's technical set-up has been optimized in the best possible way, but you still get poor loading times, it is about time to request your web host to transfer your site to a different server. Nowadays, it is quite common for a website to share server resources with numerous other sites. As expected, more sites on a server use up more resources, which results to slower loading times. When you transfer your website to a private / dedicated server or one that is not too busy, you will see quick improvement in page load speeds.

Location

Aside from several different factors like content and backlinks among others, in order to show the most significant search results, search engines evaluate the website's location for deciding where to position it in their rankings. For instance, when the people who search are located in the UK, search engines will normally display sites located in UK higher in their search results. To find out where your website is located, they use some indicators like the IP address of your site, which is allotted to your site based on the location of the server where it is hosted. Therefore, when your web hosting company has severs in the UK, this could cause higher rankings for your site when UK based people search for the keywords you have chosen.

Source by Karina Popa