13 Mar

5 Beginner Tips for Web Hosting – By: Kevin Duong

I have been working in data centers all of my adult, computer loving life. I love D.C.’s! The noise the Leiberts (air conditioners) make. The super cold of the D.C. floor. All of the lights on the servers that shine when the data center lights are off which makes you feel like you are on a spaceship. I love everything about working in a data center! Well…almost everything. Sometimes, working in a data center environment lets you see some pretty horrible things. Of course, I am speaking of “horrible” on a data center/technology scale. No, these horrors aren’t ax wielding psychopaths, but they are just as terrifying for small and large business owners who rely on uptime, data, security and a strong network to keep their businesses going. The tips listed below are from our staff here at Opus-3 Data Centers. Here is what they had to say.

Backup your data and backup that backup – Justin Clutter (VP of Operations at Opus-3 Data Centers in Dallas, Houston, Hong Kong and Germany)
As an administrator, you will need to perform a backup of your data on a regular basis, especially before you make any changes/updates to your system. This way, you’ll never be left vulnerable to any data center issues (power outage, loss of network connection, fire, etc) or updating issues. Remember, disaster can happen anywhere and at any time. Therefore, as an administrator, always make sure that your system and data are backed up. There are many backup services, along with many types of backup software out there on the web. Be sure to compare the services and their related costs for backing up your system and find the best service for your organization. Since backup options are inexpensive and widely available nowadays, if your system fails and you have no backups, you have absolutely no one, but yourself, to blame.

Monitor your systems – Jason Miller
Jason Miller (Linux/Windows Administrator, Gamer, Tech Nerd at Opus-3 Data Center in Dallas, Houston, Hong Kong and Germany)
Running a web hosting business is like driving your car. You can’t drive your car without interacting with the car itself (for the time being anyways). Running your own web hosting also requires various amounts of interaction. In order to be sure your business runs smoothly and without any downtime, you need to implement monitoring. By implementing monitoring, you are interacting with your business in such a way that you are constantly aware of cost, bandwidth, downtime etc. Monitoring your sites/servers/services/resources will help you know how many people are visiting hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. You can see what pages are primarily visited on a particular site and how much time the average visitor spends on any particular domain. With the variety of site monitoring services and software available on the market today, all you have to do is choose which one you’ll be using for your web hosting business.

Be secure/update – Gary Byers (Opus-3 Data Center Manager in Dallas, Houston, Hong Kong and Germany)
Web hosting is a tough business. You’ll have to secure your site and system to the never ending stream of attacks. Since your site is open to the public, it is exposed to everyone, including crackers (for the record Crackers = bad. Hackers = good*). Crackers attempt to crack your system for a myriad of reasons. Some want to steal your customer information, while others may want to use your system as an attack base upon which to prey on other systems. Therefore, it is vitally important for you to secure your system and be up to date with, and aware of, the security features it has. A non-secure server/site is guaranteed to cost you traffic and to mar your online reputation. Simply put, a secure hosting platform leads to more business and more money.

Be patient and be smart– Noah Cain (Linux/Window and Social Media Administrator at Opus-3 Data Center in Dallas, Houston, Hong Kong and Germany)
When hosting, don’t expect to get 1 million hits per day at the beginning. Web hosting requires and abundant amount of both time and patience. You will be slowly generating traffic when you do the right marketing as marketing will drive traffic to your domains. Since traffic equals money, the right marketing will help your business generate the necessary cash it needs to grow. Playing it smart by being patient and controlling your costs will help you survive while waiting for your first paying customer.

Research your hosting provider – John Berry (Senior Network Engineer at Opus-3 Data Center in Dallas, Houston, Hong Kong and Germany)
Most data centers that offer web hosting packages are capable of handling most all needs of a web hosting business. Be that business gaming, web stores or informative sites, be honest with your sales associate so that they can find the exact plan that fits your needs. There are many e-publications, review sites and forums that list data centers that offer services. Pick one and make sure to put in your due diligence. Research them, ask them questions. This is your business that you are going to be trusting to these individuals, so don’t approach this task lightly. If possible, visit the data center (in many instances this isn’t possible due to security measures, but it never hurts to ask). Know your hosting companies as best you can. It is definitely in your best interest!

Remember, you are ultimately responsible for your business. Therefore, the choices you make will affect your business as a whole. We hope these tips will help you survive and stay strong in all your web hosting adventures.

 

*http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/hacker-vs-cracker/

 

Starting your own business is a risky move for anyone. Be confident and remember that practice makes perfect. Here is a video proving just that! Enjoy!

 

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03 Mar

How CloudFlare increases speed and security of your site

This is a guest post written and contributed by CloudFlare.  CloudFlare makes it easy for any site to be as fast and secure as the Internet giants.

CloudFlare, a web performance and security company, is excited to announce our partnership with Sprocket Networks! If you haven’t heard about CloudFlare before, our value proposition is simple: we’ll make any website twice as fast and protect it from a broad range of web threats.

Today, hundreds of thousands of websites—ranging from individual blogs to e-commerce sites to the websites of Fortune 500 companies to national governments—use CloudFlare to make their sites faster and more secure. We power more than 65 billion monthly page views—more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined—and over 25% of the Internet’s population regularly passes through our network.

Faster web performance

CloudFlare is designed to take a great hosting platform like Sprocket Networks and make it even better.

We run 30 data centers strategically located around the world. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest data center.

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As your traffic passes through the data centers, we intelligently determine what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on our servers for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before we check to see if they’ve been updated. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your servers, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

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Broad web security

Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) we track on the Internet (see the chart below). As attacks like these increase, CloudFlare is stepping up to protect sites.

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CloudFlare’s security protections offer a broad range of protections against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about our approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

In time, our goal is nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history. And, given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.

Signing up

Any website can deploy CloudFlare, regardless of your underlying platform. By integrating closely with [Your Company Name], we make the process of setting up CloudFlare “1 click easy” through your existing [Your Company Name] [control panel] dashboard. Just look for the CloudFlare icon, choose the domain you want to enable, and click the orange cloud. That’s it!

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We’ve kept the price as low as possible and plans offered through Sprocket Networks are free. Moreover, we never charge you for bandwidth or storage, therefore saving you tons via reduced bandwidth costs.

For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, we also offer a ‘Pro’ tier of service for $20/month. The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, full web application firewall and faster analytics.

We’re proud that every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with Sprocket Networks, but the next step is to join the CloudFlare community.

You can sign up now for this free service by logging into your cPanel Control Panel and clicking on the CloudFlare icon.

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