New Features - More Power

Jun 30th, 2011

As website hosting grows and expands, we are doing our best to stay one step ahead of customer needs. We are constantly researching new and improved features that we feel our customers would like to see in their hosting service. As customers make suggestions, or even provide criticism of our current services, we analyze the potential to make changes and add new features.

Over the last few months, we have added some very powerful tools that have proven to be quite valuable. If you have any suggestions, or creative ideas, you are always welcome to email our support department.

One of the newest features we have added is the Mail Manager. This feature is an external manager of email account settings, which will allow each individual email account holder to manage their own email account settings. Previously, only the user account administrator could manage things like email account passwords, auto-replies, and forwarding addresses. Now, each email account can be configured to allow for password changes, auto-reply configuration, and forwarding address additions.

We have also added a new Cron Tool in the Account Manager for customers to manage their own Cron Jobs. For advanced users, this tool allows you to manually add a Cron Job to the server in real time, so when you update or add a an entry, it will be added to the server immediately. Cron Jobs can run at a minimum of once every 15 minutes.

There are 2 types of crons that may be added, a ”command” based cron and a ”web” based cron. The command type requires the user enter in all of the details of the cron entry manually. The web type is a simple interface that lets the user browse to a file on their site that will be executed via HTTP as if someone went to the link in their web browser at the requested interval.

A very popular addition has been the new Secure Shell access tool. SSH is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel, adding an additional level of security when connecting to the server. You can find the Secure Shell tool in the Account Manager under the Website Settings section. SSH is for advanced users who wish to have command line access to their web hosting accounts to make changes directly on the server.

Another new feature is the ability for an email account that is only configured as a forwarding account to have a password associated with it for the purpose of sending email through our servers with SMTP Authentication. This password is optional for forwarding only accounts, and can be added when creating a new email account or through the View/Edit link in the Email Management tool in the Account Manager.

As part of our Invoicing system, we are now offering PDF Invoices in the Account Manager. There is an Invoices link in the Account Manager under the General Information section. Only invoices after April 25, 2011 are available in PDF format. Full contact information for both the company and the customer are included in these new invoices.

We hope that you find our new features useful and allow you to have even more power and control over your website hosting service. Let us know if you can think of any other changes or additional features that would be useful.


Keep Your Website Safe And Secure

Jun 23rd, 2011

You work hard to design, publish, and maintain your websites. The last thing you want to do is let someone else ruin all of your hard work. There are people out there who are looking for vulnerable websites that they can hack and then utilize to do their illegal activities. These people are called hackers, and we want to help protect you from them.

There are many ways for a hacker to gain access to your website, but there are a few very common methods that can be prevented very easily. Hopefully, if you are resilient and always stay one step ahead of them, you will never have the unpleasant experience of having your website hacked by one of these unruly characters.

The first, most common way to have your website hacked is by activating a virus on your own computer that you use to access your website through the Account Manager or through FTP. This can happen through a multitude of methods, but most commonly it is done through clicking a link in an email that launches a virus, or by visiting an infected website and clicking a link there that executes a virus on your computer.

Once a virus is on your computer, you are usually sending all of your sensitive login information to a hacker through a Keylogger. The hacker then uses that login information to access your hosting account or ftp account to deface your website. The easiest way to defend from this type of attack is to always run a trusted anti-virus software on any computer you use to access your account.

A good anti-virus software will alert you before you even click a virus, and if you do happen to download or launch a virus, it will be intercepted and removed promptly. You can also run regularly scheduled anti-virus scans of your full computer to make sure your computer is always clean and free from malicious software.

If you think you may have been hacked, step one is to run an anti-virus scan on any computer you may have used to log into your account so that you can remove those pesky Keyloggers before you start changing your login information. You never want to change your login information until AFTER you have cleaned your computer of any malicious software, otherwise you are just sending your new password to the hacker when you change it.

The second most common method of having your website hacked is through outdated scripts installed on your website. Most free, open-source scripts are updated regularly to fix security breeches. If you do not keep your installed versions up to date, you become an easy target for hackers. Many scripts have a built in update mechanism that you can use to check for updates, and then do an automatic upgrade once a new release is found.

If you do not keep your scripts up to date, hackers may find your website and discover that you are using an old script that is accessible through injection. They will inject code into your script that grants them access to all of your websites on your hosting account, and then go to work on all of them. Again, you can prevent this by always keeping your installed scripts up to date using the latest versions of each script from the script developer website.

So remember, in order to keep your website from getting hacked, always run a trusted anti-virus software on any computer you use to log into or manage your website hosting account or FTP account, and always keep your installed scripts up to date with the most recent, secure versions from the script developer website.


HTML Editors - How Do You Code?

Jun 16th, 2011

When I first started developing websites back in the 1990's I used good old Notepad as my HTML Editor. There wasn't anything fancy, or productive, about Notepad, it was just a blank slate that allowed you to enter line after line of code. When you hit a snag, the process of tracking down your errors was a nightmare. Lucky for you, there is a plethora of constructive HTML editors for you to choose from when you are ready to start developing your website.

There are two flavors of HTML Editors for you to choose from: HTML Text Editors and “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) Editors. Depending on how comfortable you are with coding, you may find either type beneficial.

The “What You See Is What You Get” HTML editors are very easy to use, and you simply place items on a page how you want them to show up on the website. The editor itself converts your creation into a coded file for you, so you never have to worry about the actual HTML code. WYSIWYG editors are very popular with novice web developers who have no previous coding experience.

HTML Text Editors require that you know HTML code. You are given a blank slate to write your code on, but most of these editors have built in tracking to help you with your coding and identify errors or mistakes. HTML Text Editors also give you more control over your website if you have advanced HTML coding knowledge, since you can alter things at the root level to change how it will appear on the website.

There really isn't a “correct” way of coding a website, so choose whichever editor you are comfortable with and go to town! There are many options for both flavors of editors for you to choose from, including many that must be purchased as well as some quality free options. There are even some options that include both the WYSIWYG and Text Editor options combined in one software package.

One of the most popular and well known editors is Adobe Dreamweaver which is a very robust platform that includes both the WYSIWYG and Text Editor options built in. Dreamweaver includes a CSS panel which will apply different styles as you adjust screen dimensions, code hinting and design view rendering support, as well as advanced Jquery interactive code hinting.

For Macintosh users, a very popular option is RapidWeaver which makes it ridiculously easy to create stunning website on your Mac. RapidWeaver allows you to simply choose the pages you need for your project, select a theme – customizing it using the included variations – and add your content. There is also a very passionate community of developers that collaborate on projects, addons, and themes.

A very powerful and FREE HTML Text Editor is Komodo Edit which allows you to edit more than just HTML, it can be used to code with Perl, Python, PHP, and Javascript as well. There is a much more robust paid version Komodo IDE as well. Komodo Edit is a convenient project system with easy local and remote file browsing and friendly HTML and CSS autocomplete features.

There are many more options for you to choose from, so do some research to determine which HTML Editor offers the best tools for your style of development and dive in!


E3 Expo And Your New Gaming Website!

Jun 09th, 2011

The E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo has provided quite a bit of information about the future of gaming this week. If you were lucky enough to attend, you may have even experienced some of that future yourself! For the rest of the world who could not attend, you are in luck...the internet can connect you to a plethora of information, experiences, and insider tips that even E3 visitors may have missed.

One thing I found surprising was how many press passes were issued to people who really had nothing more than a fan site or blog site related to an upcoming game. I saw several interviews where an average Joe who did nothing more than collect information about an upcoming game and post that information along with his impressions on a simple website was interviewing a lead developer or writer for a major gaming company.

It's pretty amazing to see how far we have come in the gaming world over time, and the internet is now an important factor in many gaming experiences. Most games now have some form of online connection, and some are completely online such as MMORPGs and the like. The internet is connecting people all around the world in video games that are slowly taking up more and more of our social time.

Beyond the simple fact that online gaming is a strong trend, the websites related to gaming are quickly becoming some of the most visited URLs on the internet. Websites like ign.com and gamespot.com offer news, reviews, previews and more for all of the games you might be interested in.

So what is stopping you from becoming the next big gaming website? Most of these sites really started out as a simple blog site discussing games. Any person who plays and reviews games, does some research and previews upcoming games, and collects newsworthy information and presents it in a well written blog entry, can suddenly find themselves interviewing the lead developer of their favorite video game at a gaming convention.

If you have a passion for gaming, you need to start your own website and get to work on connecting your website to the gaming community. You can set your website up with a WordPress blog and do weekly write ups about what you are playing, what you wish you were playing, and what you won't be playing anymore. If you are publishing entertaining and relevant information, people will enjoy reading your articles.

Next, you need to drive people to your website. Start working on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques so that when people do a google search for game reviews, your website will show up on the first page. Start joining other gaming communities and participating in the discussions there, always including your website in your signature. Once people identify that you really know what you are talking about, they will start visiting your website for more information.

Once you have the traffic, you can start placing advertisements for high profile companies on your website to make more money! You can even become an official spokesperson for certain gaming companies if you are doing a fantastic job. The opportunities really are endless, so get your website set up and start writing about things you are passionate about...don't wait until tomorrow, do it today!