VPS v Shared Hosting

VPS v Shared Hosting

Web hosting is an intangible service. It’s the polar opposite of a car, where you can easily compare an old Toyota Corolla to a shiny new Ferrari. You can look at each car, touch them and even smell the difference. With web hosting, the benefit of a higher performing hosting package can be hard to convey for web hosts, mainly because it’s difficult to demonstrate the benefits your website gets from choosing the premium option.

Just because you can’t see a difference between Shared hosting and VPS, it doesn’t mean they are equally capable.

Most website owners will be faced with two options when choosing web hosting: Shared web hosting or a Virtual Private Server (VPS). At Host Geek, Shared hosting starts at $5.50 whereas VPS plans start at $77. When faced with these prices, Shared hosting is the most popular option for obvious reasons. But is it really the best option for your business?

When is VPS a better option for your website?

There are numerous reasons for choosing the premium option of VPS over Shared hosting. We’ll discuss two or these today as they’re the most compelling reasons to go for VPS.

  1. If your website has extreme spikes in visitors then a VPS is a must if you don’t want your website to capitulate. For example, you could be planning on running a TV advertisement resulting in a lot of visitors. Don’t be confident that your website will run smoothly if you’re on a shared plan. With a VPS, you have your own virtual slice of a server so you can have all the website spikes you like, so long as you have sufficient bandwidth to deal with it.
  2. If security is crucial to your website then a VPS is a good option as you aren’t on the same server as lots of other websites. How many websites are on the internet that haven’t been updated for many years – lots, that’s how many. These websites pose a security risk and if their site gets hacked, so too can yours.

Further information about different hosting types.

To get a better understanding of the difference between Shared hosting and a VPS we suggest you take a look at this infographic that the Geeks produced. It’s a fairly simple way to get the facts without getting bogged down with too many geeky details.

Good luck with choosing your web hosting and remember, it’s not all about price. Choosing the cheapest option now could cost you a lot more money further down the track.

Critical Flaw Discovered in Yoast SEO Plugin

Critical Flaw Discovered in Yoast SEO Plugin

yoastIf you’re using an SEO Plugin for your WordPress website, there’s a good chance you’re using the Yoast plugin. Last time we checked, there were 14,202,540 downloads of the plugin and counting.

Last week, it was revealed that Yoast SEO has a security flaw. The vulnerability allows unsavoury characters to gain unauthorised access to your WordPress account by using a blind SQL attack.

What versions of the plugin are vulnerable:

This vulnerability affects versions 1.5 through to 1.7.3.3.

How to fix the problem if you use the Yoast SEO Plugin

A new version, 1.7.4, has already been released by Yoast that fixes the issue. Also, the WordPress.org team have put out a forced automatic update – this means there’s a good chance your plugin has been updated for you if you haven’t disabled your auto update settings. However, we recommend you login to your WordPress backend and ensure that the Yoast SEO plugin has been updated. If it hasn’t you should take action and update immediately.

Host Geek WordPress Hosting

wordpress-hosting

If you have a WordPress website you may want to consider one of our WordPress Hosting plans. These plans allow website owners to focus on their business while the Geeks take care of the technical stuff. Whether you are an existing customer of Host Geek on a shared hosting plan or you are hosted elsewhere, we can have you up and running quickly and easily.

Here are a few benefits of WordPress Hosting:

  • WordPress software updates to enhance your website’s security.
  • Optimised servers for a lightning fast WordPress website.
  • Plugins updated to further improve your website performance and security.
  • Free website migration from your existing web host.

Give us a call on 1300 722 504 if you’d like to discuss WordPress Hosting for your website.

Unlimited Web Hosting – The Hard Truth

Unlimited Web Hosting – The Hard Truth

I often speak to new clients about why they’ve moved their website to Host Geek. There are a variety of common reasons including poor support, unreliable servers, lack of features and, my favourite, “unlimited hosting” that wasn’t unlimited. There are a lot of web hosting companies that promote their services for a very low price and, incredibly, also offer unlimited hosting.

unlimited-hosting

Examples of Unlimited Hosting Offers

 

Before I get into this, I’d like to take a look at the question “What is Unlimited Hosting?

Unlimited Hosting is usually the promise of unlimited disk storage and data transfer, as well as many other extras like add-on domains and databases. Essentially, they’re saying you can host as many websites as you want (unlimited websites) for one small price.

Is Unlimited Disk Storage And Bandwidth a Reality?

The quick answer is: unlimited hosting is always limited. A hosting provider simply doesn’t have the capacity to offer unlimited bandwidth when there is limited infrastructure to transmit the data. A web host has a finite amount of server space at their disposal so is it realistic that they will allow one client to fill up their servers? No.

The term unlimited is a term created by web hosting marketers to help them convert you. You have to admit, it does sound appealing paying under $10/m for all you can use.

Unlimited hosting could be compared to a buffet

buffet

Credit: Randy McIlwaine

All you can eat buffets are fantastic – that is, until you go to a fancy one and eat like it’s your last meal. If you were at a seafood buffet and had returned 9 times to fill your entire plate with Lobster, management may step in for a quiet word.  With unlimited hosting plans, it’s generally no different. You’re welcome to create as many websites as you like using add-on domains and feel free to use as much bandwidth and disk space as you like – so long as you don’t actually take them up on the offer!

Here’s the problem – if you look at most Web Hosts’ terms and conditions you’ll notice a clause which refers to fair use. Basically that means you can’t overuse your hosting plan. Most web hosts will have some form of fair use policy which is necessary for a variety of reasons. It’s also a good way for unlimited hosts to ensure you don’t get unlimited services.

What happens if you overdo it?

Account-suspendedEach website will have different fair usage rules. Some of the bigger US hosts, such as Bluehost, will throttle back your CPU usage once you hit their limit. Others will place limits on your account or even shut you down if you reach a certain number of inodes, RAM usage or number of MySQL Databases. There are many ways you can overdo it!

How can a web host offer unlimited hosting?

The bigger providers of web hosting have an extremely large hosting capacity. Their servers could never be exceeded by one website on its own, or even a group of websites. In addition to that, most websites don’t use anywhere near their allocated space and require only limited resources to run at optimum levels. This allows web hosts to use the excess capacity for the client’s accounts that need it. This is a practice known as over-selling. So long as every customer doesn’t use excessive resources at the same time, everything runs fine. To avoid any server meltdowns, web hosts will monitor overusage and act accordingly.

Should you choose unlimited hosting?

The simple fact is, web hosting is about more than just bandwidth and disk space. There are a range of factors to consider including where the host’s servers are located and their support offering. Attached below is a useful checklist when considering a new web host. We’ve kept this fairly simplistic to highlight what we consider to be some of the most important considerations.

In addition to the below four points, you may also want to look at the features offered by the host such as free routine backups and one click WordPress and Magento installations. You need to consider what type of website you’re going to build and match your requirements to the best suited web host – not necessarily the cheapest with unlimited hosting.

Webhost-Checklist

Unlimited hosting seems an exciting proposition. The reality is, most websites simply don’t need it. A plan offering limited space but highly reliable servers and amazing support is a better option.
The tricky part is comparing web hosts on factors like their support offering. To separate the good from the bad you could:

• Check places like web hosting forums to see whether other past customers have had a good experience with their host.
• Visit prospective hosts websites and have a good read of their hosting pages as well as their terms and conditions.
• Ask for testimonials from the web hosting company.
• Review the hosting company’s social media pages to check for any negative sentiment.

Good luck with choosing a web host and remember, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

.Sydney Domains Have Arrived

.Sydney Domains Have Arrived

Since Sydney officially became a city in 1842, it has grown into one of the world’s most iconic cities. From the Sydney Opera House to the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Bondi Beach and so much more. By associating your brand with Sydney you’re onto a winner.

Melbourne beat Sydney to be Australia’s first city web domain back in late 2014, and since then there has been huge demand for it. Now you have the chance to leverage the “Sydney Brand” with an online presence that will resonate with the Sydney population and those wanting to do business with those based in Sydney.

Did You Know?

harbour-bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

• 60 percent of Australia’s top 100 companies are headquartered in Sydney.
• Sydney accounts for over 25 percent of Australia’s total economic activity including services, manufacturing, mining, finance, property and retail.
• Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) is the largest office market in Australia offering 4.6 million square metres of office space.

Register Your .Sydney Domain Now

Getting your slice of the .sydney pie is easy – you can register by clicking below. You’ll need to have an address in NSW and we suggest you read the .sydney policies before getting started.

Get your .sydney now!

 Or call a geek on 1300 722 504

Cricket World Cup Domain Name Deal

Cricket World Cup Domain Name Deal

There has never been a better time to register a new domain name with Host Geek than right now. For the duration of the ICC Cricket World Cup the Geeks are offering 20% OFF selected Domain Names.

Use the promo code “CRICKET” on checkout to receive this deal.


The discount applies to the following domains:

.com.au
.net.au

.org.au
.co.nz
.co.uk
.in

freebies

What’s included with your Domain?

Free Email Forwarding

Once you register your domain,  if you only want to use it for branding purposes we’ll allow you to forward your emails from you@yourdomainname.com.au to you@gmail.com or you@yourISP.com.au. You can forward to one email address!

Free Privacy Protection

When you register a domain, you risk exposing your name, address, email, and phone number to spammers, marketing firms, and other online fraudsters. Host Geek will offer you privacy protection FREE with every domain name purchase.

Free DNS Management

We provide you with the tools to control your domain settings with the click of a button. Forwarding your domain to another website or redirecting emails to one account is easy with this service. You have full control of your A records, CNAME and MX records.

howzat

Register your new Domain by visiting our Domain Name page. 


Terms and Conditions: Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and applies to new registrations only. Offer is valid until March 30th, 2015. There are certain eligibility requirements to register the domains offered in this promotion – please consider these requirements by visiting the respective Domain Authority’s website or call us on 1300 722 504. 

eCommerce Conference and Expo Melbourne

eCommerce Conference and Expo Melbourne

The 3rd annual eCommerce Conference & Expo is fast approaching. This is Australia’s only event that focuses on finding, converting and retaining customers online and this is the third Annual event. Once again, the Geeks will be exhibiting at the Expo so we’d love for you to drop by and visit us at Stand 4008.

Why would you come to eCommerce Melbourne?

  • listen to leading experts from the world of eCommerce
  • get loads of practical advice at the workshop sessions
  • meet leading industry suppliers at the eCommerce Expo
  • take advantage of some excellent networking opportunities

expo

The Conference segment of this event will be bringing the cream of the crop to Melbourne. The speakers will arm you with new skills, fresh ideas and better ways of getting things done within the world of eCommerce.

Some key take-outs you can expect from the Conference

  • Understand customer clicks to tailor campaigns to the right audience
  • Leverage digital commerce to achieve international success
  • Increase the retention rate of your customers population
  • Foster customer loyalty with excellent customer service
  • Optimise for a multi-device and multi-channel world
  • Target content to speak to the specific needs of various customers
ecommerce-melbourne-expo

The Geeks at eCommerce Expo 2014

To read more about the eCommerce Expo and book tickets click here.

You can order tickets to the Expo for FREE or buy tickets for the conference. Tickets to the Expo won’t be free on the day so get in now. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Magento v WooCommerce

Magento v WooCommerce

A common question that the Geeks get asked is “which self-hosted software is best for building an online store”? We’ll address that question shortly, but let’s not get ahead of ourself. First, let’s make sure you understand the difference between “hosted software and self-hosted software”.

Hosted Online Stores: This is where you can build a website on the software provider’s servers. If you choose this option you’ll be setup very quickly and you won’t have to find a web host as this is taken care of for you.

The down side to these solutions is the cost of hosting and sales commissions can really add up! In addition, there is often much less design flexibility and when you outgrow the software, it can be a massive headache moving to a new provider.

Examples of hosted solutions include eBay, Volusion and Shopify.

Self-hosted online stores: With this option you’ll decide on which shopping cart software best meets your requirements (such as Magento or WooCommerce). Once you make a decision, you’ll then need to choose a web host who will store your website data for you. Choosing this option requires a little bit more work at the start of your journey.

The benefit of this option is having much greater design flexibility, lower costs, no commissions on what you sell, no price increases as you add more products to your range and if you decide to move to a new provider, you have full control of your data.

Examples of self-hosted solutions include Magento, WooCommerce, Opencart and Zencart.

Which self-hosted online solution is best for you?

For newcomers to the online sales world, it can be overwhelming as there are so many choices which vary significantly in ease of use, features and price. The best choice for you will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve, your levels of technical ability and budget. In saying that, having used a lot of different software to build eCommerce websites we believe there are two options which are excellent choices for a large majority of users out there – Magento and WooCommerce. 

We’ve compiled a review of Magento and WooCommerce below which we hope will help you make an informed choice. Feel free to give the Geeks a call on 1300 722 504 if you’d like to discuss your website requirements.


Magento_logo

Overview: Magento, an eBay owned company, is the leading eCommerce solution with 240,000 merchants worldwide using the software. It is free, Opensource software that allows you to build powerful online stores. If you can imagine your online store, chances are Magento can make it a reality.

Skill Level Required (if not using a developer): Intermediate to Expert.

Popularity: Around 30% of top 100k eCommerce websites use Magento.

Pricing: Free Community Version plus an option for large enterprises to purchase an Enterprise Version which is around US$15,000.

Recommended Hosting: Magento is resource hungry and Host Geek therefore recommend opting for a Magento VPS Hosting Plan as a minimum (avoid shared hosting if your budget permits). You can view the full Magento server requirements on their website here.

Features: Out of the box, Magento provides a stunning range of features which are scalable and flexible.  To check out the full range of features visit their features page. Although Magento has loads of features included in their free offering, most users end up spending additional funds on Extensions to increase the store’s functionality.

Setup: Magento has a setup wizard which makes installing the software simple. However, once you’re setup it becomes a bigger challenge to make changes and alter settings. For those that don’t have a reasonable level of technical expertise (or the budget to pay someone that does have these skills) you might struggle with this software.

 

woocommerce_logo

Overview: WooCommerce is a relatively new shopping cart having been launched in 2011. It comes in the form of a WordPress plugin and is very popular with WordPress users thanks to it’s simple setup and intuitive nature.

Skill Level Required: Beginner through to Expert.

Popularity: Around 8% of top 100k eCommerce websites use WooCommerce.

Pricing: Free – Opensource.

Recommended Hosting: WooCommerce is simply a plugin for WordPress – this means there are fewer server requirements in comparison to Magento. If your server supports MySQL and PHP you will be unlikely to have any issues. For smaller online stores, you can get away with shared hosting; however, as your website visitors increase and your store increases its products you’ll start to experience growing headaches and a VPS or VDS plan will be required.

Our WordPress Hosting plans are ideal for online sellers as our plans save the headache of having to perform software updates. You can view the full WooCommerce server requirements on their website here.

Features: With the free WooCommerce plugin you’ll be able to start selling quickly and easily. WooCommerce is compatible with a huge range of WordPress themes so you should be able to find a design that looks professional with relative ease.

On the negative side, there are a lot of basic features that you may require that don’t come with the free version of WooCommerce. For example, if you want to setup recurring payments or you want to take payments directly from credit cards rather than using Paypal, you’ll need to buy a WooCommerce Extension. The last time we checked, there were 326 available extensions with only 35 of them being free.

Setup: If you’ve used WordPress before you’ll find setting up WooCommerce very simple. It is simply a case of installing the plugin. Even those new to WordPress will find setting up a website with WooCommerce very intuitive. You can change a wide range of shopping cart options and alter the look of the cart fairly easily and if things get too tough, there is a very helpful community forum. There’s also a huge number of developers available that you can outsource if you get stuck (for a price).

The Final Verdict

When building an eCommerce store, it is hard to go past Magento for a compete package. The wide range of features and professionally designed themes will really help the chances of making your online store a success. It should also be pointed out that Magento was specifically built for online stores – it can therefore handle large stores with ease, so long as the hosting is sufficient.

On the other hand, if you’re new to online selling and you don’t have a huge number of products, WooCommerce will do  fantastic job and it will be a lot easier to use.

How to unblock an IP with Host Geek

How to unblock an IP with Host Geek

If you’re unable to access your website, emails and cPanel, a common reason is that your IP has been blocked. For security reasons, our firewall may block your IP address if you have a few failed login attempts trying to login to your hosting account within a short period of time. This includes all methods of logins for your hosting such as cPanel and e-mail accounts.

In addition to typing in the wrong password multiple times, another common cause of IP Blocks is when a user adds a new device, such as an iPad or Smart Phone, to their network but enters an incorrect password. The device will repeatedly try to login and will eventually cause your IP to be blocked.

Some common causes of IP Blocks

ipblock-causes

How to unblock your IP

Host Geek has made it very easy for you to unblock your IP Address.
1. Login to your Host Geek client area https://clients.hostgeek.com.au/clientarea.php.

client-login

2. Once logged in, our system will automatically check for a block and remove it. If your IP has been blocked a notice will display at the top of the page saying the IP was blocked and has now been unblocked (see below image). You should now be able to login to your hosting accounts.

IP-Block

Please Note: You will need to check that you’re using the correct passwords on all devices or an IP Block will be likely to reoccur.

3. After logging into your client portal if the above notice does not show, then an IP Block is not the issue. In this case, you’ll need to create a support ticket here. Please provide as much detail as possible including screenshots of any error messages that are displayed on your client portal page.

How to manually check if your IP has been blocked

Host Geek also allows its clients to manually check if their IP has been blocked. This is a very useful tool for clients with Reseller accounts as they can check if their customers have been blocked. The steps are:

1. Login to your Host Geek client area https://clients.hostgeek.com.au/clientarea.php.

2. Click Support from the Top Menu then select Unblock IP Address from the submenu.

manually-unblock

 

3. Enter your IP Address in the form then click Check for IP Block and Remove. Please note: In most cases your IP Address will automatically populate in the form. Our system will then check if the IP Address has been blocked and will unblock if necessary.enter-ip

If you are a reseller you may need to request your customer’s IP Address. They can find this by visiting the website www.whatismyipaddress.com. On the homepage of this website their IP address will be displayed.

 

 

Major Linux Vulnerability Discovered

Major Linux Vulnerability Discovered

Summary

Researchers at cloud security company Qualys have discovered a major security hole, GHOST, in the Linux GNU C Library (glibc). This vulnerability enables hackers to remotely take control of systems without even knowing any system IDs or passwords.

Vulnerability Severity

High

The Geeky details of how GHOST works

The security hole can be triggered by exploiting glibc’s gethostbyname functions. This function is used on almost all networked Linux computers when the computer is called on to access another networked computer either by using the /etc/hosts files or, more commonly, by resolving an Internet domain name with Domain Name System.

If you’d like more details about this vulnerability read the full story here.

Solution

No action is required by Host Geek customers. Our engineers are currently applying a patch to mitigate the risk and we will continue to monitor the situation for any further updates.

If you have any questions regarding GHOST please email support@hostgeek.com.au.

Free Hosting for Melbourne IT Clients

Free Hosting for Melbourne IT Clients

Calling all Melbourne IT customers – try out our web hosting for a month free and discover what our Geektastic Support is all about!

geekIt has been a long few months for many website owners who have their website and emails hosted with Melbourne IT. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting:

“Angry customers of Australian web hosting company Melbourne IT are threatening to leave the company after a “migration” left their websites and email offline, in some cases for up to a week. The Herald also reported “some customers complained of waiting up to two hours or more to speak to someone at Melbourne IT’s “24/7 Support” centre – only to have their call cut off”. The full story can be read here.

Host Geek prides itself on offering a 100% Australian based support team that’s there for its customers when needed. We value keeping jobs in Australia and will never outsource our call centre overseas to save on staff costs. The end result – a support offering that sets the benchmark amongst Australian web hosting companies.

Try Host Geek for FREE

If you have had enough of Melbourne IT’s poor support, we encourage you to try out Host Geek. We are offering all existing Melbourne IT customers a FREE month of hosting to try us out. If you aren’t happy at the end of your trial, you’re welcome to move to another host – but we’re confident you’ll want to stay!

Why Choose Host Geek as your alternative to Melbourne IT?

  • 100% Australian based support staff.
  • FREE (and fast) migration of your website to Host Geek.
  • Australian based servers.
  • Specialised WordPress, Magento and Joomla hosting available.
  • An Aussie company with 10 years of hosting experience.
  • Scalable plans that grow with your business.

How to take up this offer

To take advantage of this offer and migrate your website away from Melbourne IT follow these steps:

1. Visit our web hosting page and choose a hosting plan that’s best for you.

2. Sign up using promo code MELBIT to get your first month free. You’ll need to select monthly billing when you checkout but you’ll be able to change this to quarterly, annually or biennially at the end of the free month if you prefer.

 

Come across to the home of Geektastic support now!

View Hosting Plans

-Offer can only be used by new Host Geek customers signing up to a monthly shared, reseller or email hosting plan. Offer only valid for current Melbourne IT customers. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with other Host Geek offers.
-Offer allows for one website per account to be migrated. Please contact us on 1300 722 504 if you have multiple websites that need migrating.

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