What is Web Hosting?

Not sure if you want a VPS or Shared Hosting? Let’s go back to some basics and look at domains, DNS and the difference between host product types…

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Before committing to a VPS Should I Consider Enterprise Hosting?

If you have been thinking about investing in a VPS or dedicated server, you may want to consider enterprise hosting instead. This more recent option provides all the advantages of a VPS/dedicated hosting does over shared hosting, but without the need to manage everything yourself.

What this means is that with enterprise hosting you don’t need to worry about:

  • Installing, configuring, and optimising the operating system or server software such as IIS or Apache
  • Keeping the server security patched
  • Backing up your website to a secure offsite location

And the reason you don’t need to worry about those things is because they’re taken care of for you by the hosting service provider.

For businesses based in Ireland (or even elsewhere in the EU economic area), the main contenders for enterprise hosting are Hosting Ireland, LetsHost, and Blacknight.

We can rule out the third choice straight away, because it’s just so terribly expensive. Sure, they do offer huge amounts of RAM and storage space, but it’s way more than the average business is likely to need, and even a very large business would be unlikely to make full use of all the features. At more than double the cost of the other two services, while not providing more than twice as many features, it’s just not really good value for what you’re spending.

This leaves LetsHost and Hosting Ireland still in the running. Truly they both offer good service, but Hosting Ireland has an edge in terms of value, and here’s why:

  • They have plans available for €39.95, €49.95, and €99.95 to suit different levels of businesses, while LetsHost only offers a €49.95 plan.
  • Provides 2 months free when you pay annually.
  • Provides unlimited bandwidth, while LetsHost does not.
  • Allows up to 30 add on domains, where LetsHost only allows 5.

As is usually the case, both services really supply an overabundance of features that exceed what you’re likely to need unless you’re really at the high end of online service needs, and if you’re at that end, you already know it.

The questions to ask, however, are:

  • Why would you want to pay the same amount to get less?, and
  • Why pay more when you can pay less?

Hosting Ireland provided better value on the €49.95 plan, and offered a €39.95 plan, plus 2 free months for those who pay annually. For those reasons, it seems Hosting Ireland is the best choice for most businesses looking to get into enterprise hosting.

Why you shouldn’t choose shared hosting if you can afford enterprise hosting

The problem with shared hosting is that it’s shared. You most likely wouldn’t share your toothbrush with random strangers, so why would you share something way more important like a web server? It’s just not a smart move, and here’s why:

  • Shared hosting is slower than enterprise hosting. This can affect your page loading times, which in turn can negatively affect your bounce rate and PageRank score.
  • Shared hosting is inherently less secure. If one user on a shared server is singled out for a DDOS attack, every user of that server will be hit by it. You could also be more at risk from viruses and other such things.
  • The reputation of all the users on a shared server is only ever as good as the least reputable user of that server. It just takes one user to send out serial spam emails or run a highly recursive application for all the users to be seriously affected.

When you choose shared hosting you are giving up control for the sake of saving a few euros per month. With the increased risks and reduced performance, you really have to ask yourself if it is worth it.

Why it’s usually better to choose enterprise hosting instead of a VPS or dedicated hosting

Choosing vps/dedicated hosting means you need to be an IT expert or you need to hire IT experts to help you install, configure, and optimise the server. With dedicated hosting all the responsibility is on you and your team.

It’s a high cost option that doesn’t provide any significant advantages over enterprise hosting, while potentially introducing some disadvantages. The most notable of these disadvantages is  that you’ll have to spend more time on routine server maintenance tasks.

All things considered, enterprise hosting can be expected to provide you with better value than either vps/dedicated hosting or shared hosting, which is the strongest reason to consider choosing it.

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Need to Know about Difference between VPS and Cloud Server Hosting?

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Useful cPanel Features to Know About…

Hosting a website used to be hard work, but the invention of application based control panels changed all that. Today the most popular website hosting control panel is cPanel and, looking at its attributes, it’s not hard to see why. cPanel is:
• Easy to customise – cPanel has various themes that can be installed, or you can create your own themes and custom branding to give your cPanel a unique look.
• Effective – anything you need to do can be done with cPanel.
• Compatible – works with all web enabled GUI-based operating systems, and works on desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones.
• Feature-packed – cPanel comes with a rich variety of pre-configured extras that will make it easier than ever to create your dream website.
It is the last of these attributes that we’ll focus on in this article. So many of the features in cPanel are immediately useful whether you are a seasoned website host or a complete novice.

1. Set up and manage email accounts
Even if you haven’t got a website yet, you can start making the most of your domain name right away by ensuring all your staff have professional email addresses. That’s the most basic step and probably the first thing every new website owner will take care of first.

You have access to all the email functions through the email section on cPanel. You’ll find all the various features are grouped into these collapsible sections, which makes it easy to control what you see on the screen. Some cPanel themes even allow you to drag and drop the sections to the order you want them to appear in.
Obviously before you can do anything else, you’ll need at least one email account to work with. You access this through the Email Accounts link. The default option allows you to add a new email account, as shown below:

It’s all very self-explanatory. Once you have at least one email account on your domain, it’s then possible to use the other email functions. The primary things you can do with email include:
• Routing – you’ll need this feature if you’re going with a non-standard configuration, such as if you are receiving or sending emails through a third party system.
• Filtering – you can create rules for how the server should respond to incoming messages based on the sender, subject, or other criteria. Filtering at the server level can be preferable in most cases, because it prevents unwanted messages being downloaded to your devices, saving you bandwidth.
• Authentication – DKIM is an authentication technology that attempts to automatically verify the sender of an incoming email message to help protect you from spam. SPF is used to authenticate your outgoing messages to help avoid spam messages being sent out through your domain. It’s recommended to leave these settings on, but they may block messages that don’t fit the rules.
• Encryption – You can create and use PGP keys to use with your emails.
• Forwarders – you can automatically forward incoming messages to another domain.
• Autoresponders – these are used for automatically replying to an incoming email. These should be used with some caution because there are times when automated responses are appropriate and times when they are not.

2. File Management

Most of the time it’s more efficient to use FTP for managing files on your server, but when you just need to do a quick fix, the built in file manager of cPanel is there for you. You will find this in the Files section. Everything works very similarly to a desktop file manager like Windows Explorer, Thunar, etc. There is a very small learning curve, but once you understand how it all works, it will be an additional string to your server management bow.

3. Image Management
If you’ve uploaded a batch of image files to the server, you can save some time on common image processing tasks by allowing cPanel to automate those tasks. You’ll find the image managing tools in the Files section under Images.

The tools available include:
• Thumbnailer – automatically generate thumbnail versions of all the images in a directory.
• Scaler – if you forgot to scale your images to be server friendly before uploading, this tool will allow you to do that.
• Converter – if you uploaded your images in the wrong format, use the converter to change them to the correct format.
There are other ways to perform these tasks, but being able to do it directly on the server can save you some time and effort.

4. Domain Management
This is one of the more advanced features, and you’re more likely to need to use it when you have multiple domains to manage through one account. As an example, you may have created a domain for your local business, widgets.co.ie for example, and another domain to cater for international audiences (this allows you to tailor your content specifically for Irish visitors on one domain, using local expressions that may not be well understood outside of Ireland).

You can make one of your domains a subdomain or add-on domain for the other. For example, widgets.co.ie might be an add-on domain of widgets.com, and while they each are independent, they can be managed from a single access point and can easily share resources.
It’s important to understand the difference between subdomains and add-on domains. A subdomain is really just a directory within a domain that can be used to help visitors go to the right location easily.
For example, mcdu.equicom.net is a subdomain of equicom.net, and can be accessed just as easily by typing equicom.net/mcdu – the important part is that it’s not a separate domain even though the content can be completely distinct from the main website content.
An add-on domain is very different. This does require purchasing an additional domain name, and allows you to host the content for more than one domain in the same server space.
Another type of domain hosting is a parked domain or alias, which is where you use more than one domain name to point to the same location. This also involves purchasing an additional domain, but unlike add-on domains and subdomains, you don’t create a separate directory for the content.

5. Database Management

Not every site needs a database, but if yours does you will find all the tools you need in cPanel. Creating a new database can be done with the MySQL Wizard, and then you can do all the database operations by accessing phpMyAdmin.

6. Security Management

cPanel provides many tools to make it simple to back up and restore your site using either manual or automated processes. The learning curve here is a bit steeper than for most of the other tasks you might do in cPanel.
The first option is the simplest. From here you can download the most recent incremental backups made on your server, which is a simple archive file in tarball format (.tar.gz)which most modern archiving programs can unpack.
File Backups is away to restore individual files that have somehow changed in an undesired way. This saves some time because only the one file that needs restoring will be restored.
Using Cron Job Backups is not something most people will want to bother with. Cron is a Linux and Unix task scheduler.
DNS Zone Backups are just the same as Full Backups but on a multi-domain site you can specify that you only want one of your domains restored.
Using the Database Backups feature, you can backup and restore databases, but only if you have set your system to already backup databases separately to the rest of the site (which is not really necessary).
The effectiveness of Email Backups depends on how often you download your email messages and remove them from the server. Obviously messages that are not on the server when the backup occurs will not get backed up on the server.
SSL Certificate Backups are simply a backup of the SSL certificate for a domain, if one exists. This feature is a security tool to be used in case somebody gains access to your site and replaces the proper SSL certificate with a fake one.

8. Softaculous Software Installer
We saved the best for last. With Softaculous, you get access to many of the hottest titles in web application software. While it’s certainly possible to install each application individually without using Softaculous, you won’t normally want to do it that way because it would involve a lot of extra work and configuration.
When you use Softaculous, everything is configured automatically, tailored for your own website. Many site owners don’t realise it, but Softaculous contains such a wide range of software, there is pretty much everything you could ever need for any business purpose.

In fact, with Softaculous, you be able to eliminate a lot of your present software licensing costs, because you can replace the offline software you use in your office with online software you run from your web server.
Just to give you a small taste of what you can expect from Softaculous:
• All the big name CMS packages are present, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and many more. Using a CMS is not strictly necessary, but if you do want to use one, it’s good to know that it is so easy to install directly onto your site this easily.
• There are powerful mainstream e-Commerce packages too, including PrestaShop, Magento, Zen Cart, BoxBilling, and more.
• You also have access to some less mainstream commerce packages that are perfect for specific niches. For example, boost a real estate website with the Open Real Estate package, keep track of hotel bookings with Booked, or run a tech support business with Vision Helpdesk.
• For bigger businesses there are enterprise level tools including ERP and Project Management solutions. Many of these have a clear focus on IT businesses, while others are more general in nature. Feng Office is probably the most general of the available options in project management. There are ERP tools for CRM (YetiForce, SugarCRM, Vtiger, etc), accounting (FrontAccounting, Akaunting, WebERP), HRM (OrangeHRM, Jorani), and collaboration (EGroupware, GroupOffice, Tine, etc).
• Educational organisations will also find software aimed mainly at their industry, including classics like Moodle, Chamilo, ATutor, TCExam, eLabFTW, and many others.
• There are also tools for hosting video collections, music, social media platforms, multiplayer games, and even personal cloud storage solutions (eg. OwnCloud, NextCloud, etc).
In total there are 25 categories with over 400 individual applications to choose from, and also the SitePad website builder for those who don’t have a preference for developing sites in HTML.
Concluding remarks
With all these built in features, and quite a few additional ones that aren’t covered above, you may expect cPanel to be hard to use, but in truth it is exceptionally easy. It’s built more for functionality than beauty, but everything just works.
While using cPanel is very easy, there is plenty of documentation to help, and for those who want to truly master the technology there is even a cPanel University where you can learn every detail and get the credentials to prove it.
Because cPanel is the most popular web hosting control panel by a very large margin, learning to use it is one of those skills that will always be a genuine asset.
Most importantly, cPanel empowers anyone (regardless of technical ability) to effectively manage a website easily.

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Why Compare VPS Hosting Plans Before you Buy?

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a hosting option now being offered by many hosting services. Customers sometimes have difficulty understanding exactly what VPS is, because for many it’s just another buzzword among the countless other pieces of terminology they have to learn.
Before VPS was invented, there were really only two choices for hosting. You could have shared hosting, which was the cheaper option, where many websites existed in directories on a hosted server.
The more expensive option, which protected businesses from some of the potential vulnerabilities possible under shared hosting, was to have a dedicated server. In this arrangement, only one site per server was allowed.
VPS was designed as a hybrid of these two approaches, and has inherited some of the strengths and weaknesses of both.
Is VPS the right choice for hosting your business site? Let’s find out.
How VPS works
VPS takes the storage space of a server and partitions it into shares. Each website can be stored in its own partition, and each partition can run an entire operating system (usually Linux for its hosting advantages, frugal storage methods, and small storage footprint) in a virtual machine environment.
Naturally it takes very powerful servers to allow all these virtual machines to be running at once, but modern web servers are built to handle the task.
To you, as a customer, everything looks and feels the same as if you had a dedicated server. Your partition is separated from all the other partitions, and you won’t normally even be aware of their existence.
Advantages of VPS hosting
VPS hosting offers the following benefits:
• Lower cost than having a true dedicated server.
• Easy to extend as your needs grow (or shrink).
• More secure than shared hosting.
• More individual control than is possible with shared hosting.
These advantages are good because you have most of the best points of a dedicated server without the high cost. But no technology is perfect for all scenarios, and before we get carried away with the highlights, we should also consider the lowlights.
Disadvantages of VPS hosting
Choosing VPS hosting will be a good idea for many customers, but it always pays to have some awareness of any potential drawbacks that could affect your choice.
• Higher cost than shared hosting
• Quality of service depends on the skill of the hosting provider in configuring the VPS system to work correctly for multiple hosted sites.
• Some services over-subscribe their VPS hosting platforms, which can lead to problems if too many sites consume more than the expected amount of server resources.
Obviously these potential problems are subjective, and each of them depends on the specific policies and practices of the hosting service that is providing the VPS hosting to you.
Some providers are substantially better than others. Let’s have a look at a few examples to compare how they stack up.

1.Hosting Ireland
This Irish web hosting service offers great value on cloud-based VPS hosting. Plans start from €29.95 per month (choose to pay annually and you’ll get a free month). At this level you get 1x CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 30 GB of disk space, and 500 GB of data transfer per month.
For €49.95 per moth you get twice the amount of CPU and RAM resources, 50 percent more maximum data transfer, and a total of 40 GB of disk space.
Power users can pay €99.95 per month for 4x CPU, 4GB RAM, 1 TB data transfer, and 60 GB of disk space.
At the very top tier, which costs €149.95 per month, you’ll get 6GB of RAM, 1.25 TB of data transfer, and 80 GB of disk space.
There’s no easy way to directly compare these costs to Hosting Ireland’s dedicated server plans, because their lowest cost package for dedicated hosting is €279 per month, within includes 120 GB of disk space and 32 GB of RAM.
The shared hosting from Hosting Ireland is much lower in cost. You could get 40 GB of disk space for just €14.95 per month, but you don’t get any dedicated CPU or RAM resources allocated especially to you.
Cost alone is not the only thing you should base you decision on. With the Cloud VPS packages from Hosting Ireland, you get these features:
• Choice of operating systems, which can be:
◦ CentOS Linux
◦ Windows 2008 Server
◦ Windows 2012 Server
• cPanel control panel if you choose CentOS Linux as your operating system.
• Softaculous automated installation scripts for cPanel, with (currently) 138 of the most popular software titles available at no additional cost.
• Continuous Data Protection (CDP) available, with backup “snap shots” on selectable intervals from 1 to 4 hours, so if you ever encounter a problem with your site, you can easily roll back to the last known good configuration.
• cPanel Security Exploit Scanner
• MySQL (CentOS Linux) or SQL Server 2008/2015 Web Edition (Windows).
• One dedicated IP address with the option to add extra IP addresses as you need them.
• Root access – you have full control over your virtual server.
• Easy to upgrade or downgrade your account at any time.
• Unlimited domains (up to the capacity of your storage).
• Free setup for standard hosting configurations.
• Quick setup, with most VPS systems ready to launch within 24 hours.
• Technical support by phone and email.
• Located entirely in Ireland, which can provide legal advantages compared to hosting in some other countries, especially with regard to privacy laws.

2. HostGator
Located in the US, HostGator is one of the oldest independent hosting companies still in operation. Their hosting plans are fairly simple to understand and come with a good selection of options.
The first tier of VPS is in a package called “Snappy 2000”, costing $79.95 per month, provides 2x CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 120 GB of disk space, and 1.5 TB of data transfer.
Upgrade to Snappy 4000, and you get 2x CPU, 4 GB of RAM, 165 GB of disk space, and 2 TB of data transfer for $119.95 per month.
Finally there is the Snappy 8000 package which provides 4x CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 240 GB of disk space, and 3 TB of data transfer. This package is for the serious VPS customer and will cost $149.95 per month.
Features of HostGator plans inlcude:
• Linux operating system with cPanel included as standard
• Softaculous automated script installer
• Root access, providing full control over your VPS
• Weekly off-site backups
• 2x dedicated IP addresses
• MySQL included
• Support available by phone, email, knowledgebase, video tutorials, and fax
• Unlimited domains (up to the capacity of your storage)
• Easy account upgrades

3. VPS.net
The name of this American hosting provider says it all. They’re squarely focused on VPS service provision.
Service starts from as low as $17 per month, for which you get 1x CPU, 500 MB of RAM, 10 GB of disk space, and a massive 3 TB of data transfer. That sounds impressive, but unless you have the most popular website on the planet, 3TB of bandwidth is not really something that will rock your world.
VPS.net doesn’t feature hosting packages in the same way other providers do. Instead you start with that core $17 service and add on to it according to what you need.
To double each feature doubles the cost, so to get 2 x CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 20 GB of disk space, and 6 TB of data transfer, you’ll need to spend $34 per month. You can also increase the storage on your server, but the rates are exorbitant compared to doubling down on everything.
Features of VPS.net include:
• Choice of operating systems:
◦ CentOS 6.x Linux (free)
◦ CentOS 7.x Linux with cPanel ($10 extra per month)
◦ Ubutnu 14.04 Linux (free)
◦ Ubuntu 16.04 Linux (free)
◦ Windows 2012 ($7.50 extra per month)
• Servers may be located in the US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, or Germany.
• Support available by phone, email, knowledgebase, and live chat.
• Root access, giving you full control over your VPS.
• Free SSL.
• Additional services available for a fee upon request.

4. LetsHost
This is another hosting company based in Ireland, however unlike Hosting Ireland the IP address does not trace a pure path to Ireland but includes a hop through the UK. That means you have some of Ireland’s legal protections, but UK privacy laws may also apply.
LetsHost has chosen to focus on low cost as the main selling point, but as mentioned earlier, cost should not be the sole factor you base your decision upon unless you must.
The lowest cost package from LetsHost is €18 per month, and for this price you’ll get 1x CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 20 GB of disk space, and 500 GB of data transfer. The trade off here is less RAM and less disk space compared to the industry leader, and that actually does make a difference because RAM is the most crucial factor in performance when the server is under heavy loads (if, for example, your site uses a lot of PHP code or huge databases).
At the next level up, LetsHost offers 1x CPU, 1GB of RAM, 35 GB of disk space, and 1 TB of data transfer for €35 per month. This puts it almost on par with Hosting Ireland’s €29.95 per month deal, except it comes with more data transfer and slightly more disk space.
The third tier of VPS service from LetsHost costs €55 per month, and provides 2x CPU, 1.5 GB of RAM, 50 GB disk space, and 1TB of data transfer. The closest comparison to our leading provider is their €49.95 per month deal which is equivalent in CPU allocation and provides more 25 percent more RAM, but only 40 GB of disk space and 750 MB of data transfer.
At tier 4, the price jumps to €85 per month, and by now Hosting Ireland has easily moved ahead in terms of value compared to LetsHost. This plan provides 2 x CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 75 GB of disk space, and 1.5 TB of data transfer.
The top level plan from LetsHost is €105 per month, and for this price you get 3 x CPU, 3GB of RAM, 85 GB of disk space, and 2 TB of data transfer. This can be compared to Hosting Ireland’s €99.95 per month plan which provides 4 x CPU (+1), 4 GB of RAM (+1), 60 GB of disk space (-25), and 1TB of data transfer (-1).
Plus of course Hosting Ireland has another level above this which costs just €20 more than LetsHost’s top level plan, but provides 4x CPU (+1), 6GB of RAM (+3), 80 GB of disk space (-5), and 1.5 TB of data transfer (-0.5).
Features of LetsHost include:
• Choice of operating systems:
◦ Linux
◦ Windows
• Custom built server management panel
• Easy upgrade as your needs grow
• Backup service available (optional extra)
• cPanel, Plesk and Windows SPLA licenses available (optional extra)
• Support offered by phone and email

5. GoDaddy
GoDaddy is a global company with a bit of a sketchy reputation due to the difficulty of opting out of all the various extras that are offered on every service they sell to you, but once you learn how to deal with this problem and get around it, you’ll find GoDaddy is not worse than many other similar hosting companies that derive their revenue from pure volume.
GoDaddy has earned a reputation for strict enforcement of policy, often to the detriment of customers, and there are a lot of sites online dedicated exclusively to complaining about GoDaddy. Complaints especially focus on reportedly poor customer service, aggressive billing, and complexity in the ordering and cancellation process.
The VPS packages available from GoDaddy start at $43.99 per month, and for this price you’ll get 2x CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 40 GB of disk space, and what they refer to as “unmetered bandwidh” (although customer complaints would indicate otherwise – see the top answer to this question for details).
The next level up is $57.99 per month and provides 2x CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 60 GB of disk space.
GoDaddy’s third tier jumps a huge amount to $101.99 per month and offers 2x CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and 120 GB of disk space.
The top plan from GoDaddy costs $203.99 per month, and for this you’ll get 2x CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 240 GB of disk space.
Features of GoDaddy include:
• Linux operating system with cPanel included as standard, Windows with Plesk available on request at extra cost.
• Root access, you are in total control
• MySQL included
• Free SSL certificate for first year (automatically renews at $109.99 annually)
• 3x dedicated IP addresses
• Quick setup
• Free patching, security monitoring, and site backups. More frequent backup intervals are available for $6.99 per month for 50GB of data.
• Support available by phone, live chat, knowledgebase, and community forums.
When reviewing anything to do with GoDaddy, it’s important to take a moment to talk about the support offered. The main thing to highlight here is the lack of ticket-based email support, because some issues are too complicated to describe easily in a live one-on-one support session, and details may be missed in this scenario.
It can particularly be a problem if the issue you’re having trouble with involves anything to do with program source code, because that’s not something you can quote over the phone line by line.
Calling the phone support will get you greeted initially by a robot. The robot is friendly enough, but it will still put you on hold. You’ll get to decide if you want to listen to music or not, but it seems at least part of the long holding time you’ll encounter is to play recorded ads to you so you’ll consider buying more services from GoDaddy.
It’s actually never a good sign if you call a support line and you’re put on hold for too long. What that indicates is that there are so many problems with the service that they are flooded with support calls.
Once you do get connected with a live operator, you’ll get fair technical support where the staff will sincerely do their best to help with your issue. They may not have the answer you want, and it may take a while to get there, but they’ll actually put in the effort, which is more than can be said for many other support services.
The one exception is when you’re complaining about a billing issue. Many customers have complained that they’ve been handled rudely in such cases, but it’s probably not too surprising considering the emotional state that people are usually in when they’re calling with such complaints.
Connecting to live chat can be more difficult. In fact it can be difficult to even find where to launch the chat service. Once you manage that, there is virtually no waiting time to talk to a live operator (probably because there’s no chance to play you recorded sales messages).
GoDaddy is not recommended for novice users, and yet those are the users most likely to choose GoDaddy, and the huge numbers of them cause some problems for those customers who could truly benefit from the services GoDaddy provides.
Method used for ranking the services
Each of these services was analysed in depth and awarded points for various criteria that were then aggregated into the overall value-for-money score. The specific things looked at included:
• Quality of hosting (connection speeds, uptime, etc.)
• Price plans, establishing cost against the memory allocation, storage space, and data transfer offered. When considering these things, memory allocation was the most important factor, and data transfer was the least important factor. Very few sites ever manage to hit their bandwidth quota, while low RAM will have a major impact on site performance.
• Range and quality of technical support services available.
• Additional features and inclusions available for free.
• Additional features and inclusions available for extra cost.

The verdict
Hosting Ireland came out on top for VPS hosting and for providing the best overall value of features vs. price. As a smaller hosting company they are able to provide a high level of customer service, and are not plagued by the overcrowded server environment that will affect some of the larger service providers.
HostGator came in at second place, mainly because their service is a bit more limited than that of Hosting Ireland, although they do provide an extra free IP address for each account and very generous storage quotas.
Awarding third place to VPS.net was a more difficult choice, because the service is relatively expensive in terms of what is provided for the price, but the simplicity of the pricing structure (double everything and double the cost) plus huge choice in operating system options were strong points in favour of VPS.net compared to the two lower ranked competitors.
LetsHost provides acceptable VPS packages but head-to-head against Hosting Ireland these packages come up short in the points that really matter. While in some cases the LetsHost packages are cheaper, they’re not necessarily better value, and did not provide quite so many features. Compared to HostGator, LetsHost offered more operating system choice, and a cheaper price, but HostGator still appears to provide better value than LetsHost.
Rounding out last place is GoDaddy, mainly due to the apparently bogus “unmetered bandwidth” claim which so many people have had issues with, aggressive sales tactics, massive difference between the initial purchase cost and renewal cost, plus limited technical support options.

Of course these are opinions and opinions are subjective. Your own hosting needs are unique to your situation and the right choice for you could be based on different criteria to the criteria we used in this evaluation. It is hoped that the opinions given here will at least provide you with some guidance in making the right decision for you.

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Securing Your Site and User Trust With SSL

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) has two important functions associated with site security and integrity:

• When your SSL certificate is digitally signed by a trusted third party certificate authority, it helps to verify that your site is identifying itself correctly

• SSL encrypts all communications between the user and your site, making it difficult for somebody to extract anything useful even if they are able to intercept the communication

Every site that is owned by a business, non-profit organization, or government agency should have an SSL certificate. The only exception is where your site does not collect or disseminate any sensitive information.

When you have an SSL certificate, users can connect to your site via the HTTPS protocol. The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure”. Although we use the term “SSL”, which is the one most people are familiar with, the standard has actually been superseded by something called TLS (Transport Layer Security). But you don’t need to worry about this because TLS is going to be enabled by default on any modern web server.

Even though the technology is enabled by default, sites that have an SSL certificate still need to set the HTTPS version of their site as the default protocol for inbound connections. A 2014 survey by Moz showed that less than 18% of respondents were already using HTTPS, and as recently as 2015, it was found that less than 2% of the top 1,000,000 sites had HTTPS set as the default protocol.

As a user, you can ensure that HTTPS is used whenever possible regardless of a site’s default settings by installing the HTTPS Everywhere plug-in.

SEO advantages
Using SSL may give your site a boost in Google rankings. In August 2014, Google announced that it would take SSL into account as a ranking factor.

It also must be considered that HTTPS does slightly lower the speed of a site, so if your site is already slow (which it shouldn’t be – fix it!), you could see your rank actually slip as a result of adding HTTPS. It will really come down to the differential between the benefit from HTTPS and the benefit from having a fast site.

Google wants sites to use HTTPS because it makes it easier to verify the integrity of a site, but that doesn’t automatically mean you need to do it. Most sites will benefit from having HTTPS, but because SSL certificates aren’t free, you might choose not to have one if the cost can’t be justified.

Risk vs. reward: the privacy and security advantages of SSL
You have to think about the financial cost of purchasing and renewing your SSL certificate. If there’s nothing on your site that needs to be confidential, you may not need to go to the trouble.

But if your site collects personal information from the user, has password authenticated log-ins, or engages in any sort of e-Commerce, you absolutely must have SSL if you want to avoid problems and retain the full confidence and trust of your users.

How to get an SSL certificate
Buying an SSL certificate is not like a regular purchase, because there are a few tests and checks that have to be done before a certificate can be issued. This is for the protection of everyone, including you. Usually the easiest way is to get your Hosting company or SEO manager to obtain the certificate for you, because this will simplify the process greatly.

If you’d prefer to do it entirely on your own, your first step is to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) on your server. This is a block of encrypted text that looks similar to a PGP signature. What you need to type to generate the request depends on what server software your web host is running.

Most websites are hosted on Apache servers, and Apache uses a service called OpenSSL to generate a CSR. Here’s an example of how to generate a CSR for a company called Widgets-R-Us Inc, with domain widgets.com, based in Los Angeles:

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -out widgets_com.csr -keyout widgets_com.key -subj “C/=US/ST=California/L=Los Angeles/O=Widgets R Us Inc./CN=widgets.com”

The section that’s relevant about the company is the -subj section. This contains a string value with specific values, as follows:

• C is a 2 digit country code, for example: US, UK, IE, FR, DE, BE, and so on.
• ST is the state or province
• L is the city
• O is the organization name
• CN is the “common name”, which is a fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

There’s an optional value called OU that can appear between O and CN, but it is rarely used, and can cause problems. Currently (at the time of writing) the SSL certificate of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is affected, for example. OU stands for “organizational unit” and means a department within the organisation.

After generating the CSR, it would look something like:


In this case it is contained in the generated file “widgets_com.csr”. You need to open that file in a text editor, then cut and paste all the text (including the begin and end instructions) into the online form of the SSL certificate authority you are ordering from. Do not confuse the csr file with the key file.

Once the certificate authority has validated your domain and company, it will email you a copy of your SSL certificate, which you then need to install on your server.

Due to the complexity involved, most people prefer to have professional assistance rather than opting to do it themselves.

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Cheap VPS Hosting Providers 2017….

You should always shop around to find the best VPS deal you can find, but it’s not just about being cheap, you want guaranteed uptime at least 99.95%, management and monitoring, software updates to mention a few basics.
Ensure you checkout the basics first before making your decision.

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VPS Hosting verses Dedicated Server Hosting….?

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Back to Basics! What is Web Hosting?

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How To Setup a FREE VPS Server – 2016

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