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SmarterTtools has no more Bundle Partnership

We wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the partnerships available from SmarterTools.

Beginning on July 1st, we will no longer be offering the Bundle Partnership. However, the Lease – Reseller and standard Reseller Partnerships will not be affected.

Existing Bundle Partners have the ability to issue Bundles until July 1st, and all Bundles issued prior to July 1st will be able to be activated as normal, even after the July 1st date.

Over the years, we’ve done our best to provide hosting providers and ISPs with the ability to provide $900 of free software that can be used as a sales incentive for their own products and services. In addition, making that software available offered a potential revenue source for partners as there was an established customer base for selling or leasing additional SmarterTools licensing, product upgrades, Maintenance and Support renewals and reinstatements, etc.

The Bundle Partnership was extremely successful but also came at a high cost. We constantly needed to maintain and monitor the issuance of Bundles to ensure that individual customers weren’t receiving multiple Bundles, that Bundles weren’t being provided for software upgrades, etc. We also tracked activations, free license conversions, and revenue generated from each Bundle Partner. As a result of all this maintenance and the associated costs in time and development hours, we have decided to discontinue this particular program and instead allocate resources to product development, quality control and other products and services coming in the near future.

As stated, we have no intentions to modify our Lease – Reseller and Reseller Partnerships. That said, as partnership renewals are coming up in June, it was important for us to notify partners early so that Bundle Partners have time to modify their automated order processing, etc. to account for the end of the Bundle program.

For those on bundle package and wish to renew their license protection can approach us for additional discount.

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Do you need online marketing?

The last article we have discussed the major challenge for today’s businesses is online marketing. The popularity of going online has made the exposure is more effective and easier, Actually, you will need just a computer connected to the internet,

In fact, online marketing is not new but it is the key element of business success today. The idea is to generate human traffic to your website. We call it a money site. Whether you are selling a product or providing a service, it is the same principle.

How do you make people come to your website? One of the most effective and traditional methods is advertising. You tell people about the products you are selling, the services that you are providing. You can advertise in social media, search engines and your business-related portals.

These channels offer a mechanism to monitor people click your advertisements online. The more of your advertisements show up, the higher the chances it is clicked and the more money you will pay. Marketing through advertising can be expensive. However, the return is faster.

Another type can be costly and it can be affordable, it depends on how you are doing it. We call it SEO. Get rank highest possible for the products and the services you are dealing with. The result is not instant and very subjective. There are influencing factors like the web content, the ranking algorithm in search engines, your competitors etc. For this, I suggest to business owner can sacrifice time by doing it yourselves. A unique article publish often like twice a week or a blog related to your business. Like what I have said, this can be months to see the result and you must d plenty of reading on SEO.

This is the cheapest and most effective  ‘Word of mouth’. Recommendation ftom somebodies can be friends, colleagues customers and relative. If you have a huge social circle, you definitely can make use of it. However, the result can be reversed. If someone has started to make an unwanted remark, they spread fast and it can be harmful to your business.

In my opinion, online business marketing must include these 3 methods. However, the 2nd method SEO is for the long run if you have done it correctly. The return is very constant. You won’t get rich overnight but I’m sure it generates income constantly and you can gauge your income more accurately with your expectation.

 

 

 

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How does Internet affect you?

This is for everyone. How many hours you are connected to the internet? Have you asked yourselves? 2, 3 or 6 hours or even longer? Everything we are doing now might be related to the internet. This includes reading this article.

Survey and statistic have shown there are 4.83 million people online and averagely we spent 12 hours 42 minutes on our gadgets like smartphones, computers, tablets or similar. If you own these devices high chance you are connected to the internet.

In today world, you do most things connected to the internet. Connect to the office network, browsing your facebook, upload a picture to your Instagram etc. For 12 hours 70% or more of your time are connected to the internet.

Hence, there are plenty of opportunities online. Even, open a bank account you can do it online, I’m not kidding, go and try out yourselves with your national bank POSB. I’m not surprised actually, in fact, many things related to government public services are already online. You can renew your passport online and collect it from the nearest post office.

Everything is about efficiency, your business too. You can engage your customers online, sells them your products and services online. You can make use of the technologies to cut down costs on manpower and rental.

So, today’s businesses biggest challenge is not setting up an online business but how do you get people to visit your online store or services. Think harder, it is actually online marketing and advertising. We will discuss more on online marketing and advertising in our next topic.

 

 

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What web hosting plan is right for you?

There are a few types of web hosting. The basic one is known as shared hosting, VPS, cloud hosting and server also known as bare metal. Basically, two things affect your choice, the budget and what do use it for.

In my opinion, understand the different types of web hosting is important. This will help you with a realistic budget to a web hosting. What is a realistic budget?

I call it a realistic budget because the prices can differ a lot between plan A and plan B. For example, shared hosting is 200 a year bu a bare metal server is 200 a month. There is a huge difference in price. Here’s the question, do you need a dedicated server? Or do you just need a simple web hosting for you to publish a simple website and create a few mailboxes?

We do not anticipate a startup buying a server unless you are running a campaign and you are expecting huge traffic like an auction website or similar. These websites have greater returns and revenue generated from the website, hence the cost is justifiable.

Some choose to run their campaign with a smaller scale server like the VPS or the cloud hosting. VPS behaves like a server but with little resources. Because VPS and cloud hosting are scalable, it is good for those have an uncertain amount of traffic at the start.

I suggest base on your requirement to set your budget. It is not possible to buy a server at a shared hosting price. Don’t laugh, we have spoken to customers with such perception. Basically, they have a faint idea on web hosting. So, it is important to research and know the differences between different types of web hosting.

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Cloud server vs VPS

Both the Cloud server and a VPS are fundamentally the same. They are virtualized, but in terms of function, they cloud be different. Operating both the cloud server of the VPS are the same, you do need special skill on a cloud server or a VPS.

The major difference is the storage. When you are labelling your service as cloud means the guest machine will move to another host when the resided host has failed. VPS works directly with the local storage.

If the resources are spread to a few hosts like MySQL, Web Server, Tomcat, etc are known as cloud hosting. They could be confusing especially to a beginner. So Cloud server is better? In a certain way, yes if your instance has failed. The guest machine (Cloud server) will move to another host.

There are more points of failure for a cloud server set up. The setup requires more equipment, costs are higher and there are more interconnects. So it is quite a debatable question which is better. Most importantly, you have a backup and you can restore quickly.

However, I reckon a VPS might perform better at the same CPU class due to the shared storage. Even it is a fibre connection, it will definitely cost more. In the industry, many providers jump into the bandwagon using the word ‘cloud’ on their services to get more people to sign up.

As a consumer, we need to ask more pre-sales question if you are buying a ‘Cloud’ service, it could be misleading. Anyway, you can know more about the service what you are paying.

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A few things to do on your control panel

What do you do when you first received your hosting with Plesk or cPanel? It is common for you to set up a user account and uploads a website. I’m sure you do that. It’s nothing wrong if you are a shared hosting user. Actually, you are a tenant, is using part of the control panel, not the entire server.

However, things are different on a VPS and dedicated server. But most times, I’m still seeing the client neglected some of the settings I’m going to mention later.

Since VPS and the dedicated server is entire own by you, so as well the control panel if you are using Plesk or cPanel. The settings you will be doing it in prior to setting up your websites. Please take mote cPanel known as WHM for the server administrator, the root user.

a. Whether you are using WHM (cPanel) or Plesk Onyx, update your admin & root user’s default password. Do not use the default password.

b. Check the server hostname, make sure they are resolvable and PTR (rDNS) is set up.

c. Server time is correct where it is tallied to your time zone.

d. Your update is turned on and its frequency.

e. The RBL on your email service for anti-spam filtering.

f. Mod_security is switched on.

g, The strength of the password is set to ‘strong’ or above.

h. Monitor the space left on this server.

Actually, there are other things you might consider to go through and set them up. However, the above is the important task I suggest you do prior to start using your server.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you prefer a dedicated server or a high performance VPS?

This has been always in my head, should I deploy a dedicated server or a high-performance VPS? The tricky part is ‘high performance’, how high is high? Higher than? We ask this question ourselves. Yet today, I had have found the answer.

In my dictionary, high performance means better than its class and the enhancement should be speed, not quantity. If you ask me on what to choose between a dedicated server and a high-performance VPS, I will go for a VPS if my application runs well.

There are a few reasons why I go for a VPS. Basically, you can scale whenever you want. Today, I can choose a lower plan but I will scale up when my user’s base grows. The cost is definitely lower while you might see little utilisation on a server.

However, this is only a reason. The major reasons are the recovery time and possibility. It is possible to restore a VPS using a snapshot and the restoration is much quicker. If the snapshot is portable, high chance you can restore it at any host using the same type of virtualization. They are flexible and feasible.

I cannot deny that in some situations, a dedicated server is the only choice. But if the situation has allowed, I will choose to stick with a VPS. Given the advantages, probably you save more per Gb in hard Disk storage. However, if space is not an issue I do not mind paying more for restoration speed.

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Do you need a control panel? Plesk Onyx or cPanel?

I would say this is a question for you when you are subscribing a web hosting. Some may have been using cPanel and some use Plesk. Whatever the case do you actually need them? The control panels are not free, they are selling in monthly or paid upfront yearly for a discount.

So, the question is do you need them? And which one? I have been dealing with many Linux and cpanelWindows servers, and my answer is yes. However, cPanel is limited to Linux only. If you have a Windows server, a control panel might not be necessary but it is making your life easier and save time on a Linux server.

It has to do with the operating system. In my opinion, this is the reason why you need it on a Linux server and it is not a must or you simply forget about it. So what to do with the operating system? On a Windows server, it offers a GUI and most items are manageable through the administrator’s interface.

plesk onyxUnlike a Linux server, you can operate a Windows server with little understanding. Just Google searches and navigate on a Windows server, you might find setting up your website is pretty straight forward, Thanks to the GUI, it is easy to understand the steps and what to execute.

Linux server uses a SHELL, and commands can be compleated. You might need customization for some hosted situation and these adjustments done on configuration are in text format. Any mistyped or misconfiguration can cause the service related refuse to start.

Each time you have made any changes to a configuration you need to reload to take effect. To set up a website like WordPress and install the required services and components, you will take more time on a Linux server than Windows server.

Especially to a novice, it is difficult to set up on a Linux server but the success rate is high on a Windows server. So that’s mean to say it a good idea to have a control panel on Linux server but you can dave if it a Windows server.

Now, we know high chance we will need a control panel if you own a Linux server, However, cPanel or Plesk Onyx works best for you? Actually, this control panel has targetted a different type of customers in my opinion. If you are a beginner and do not spend much time to understand each function, I suggest Plesk. However, if you want to dive deeper and better control on the server, goes with cPanel.

I personally like Plesk but sometimes I hate it when I want to do a bit more like changing the behaviour of my mail service, I always ended up in SHELL but it might not be the case for cPanel. One thing I’m sure is you will save plenty of time and it is much easier working with a control panel on a Linux server.

Most control panels work well with CentOS Linux distribution, thus it is popular.

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3 important fuctions you must know in SmarterMail

A lot of our SmarterMail users might have neglected these 3 important functions in connectivity. In my opinion, they are relatively important. It is good to understand the functions and their purpose.

cloud storageThe first one is cloud storage. Users can connect to their cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox and deposit their files via SmarterMail webmail. That’s mean to say, you can upload any attachment to your cloud storage after reading incoming emails. This will save time downloading the files and connect to your cloud storage to upload.

The second one is ‘Email Retrieval’. Like what it says retrieve email and it retrieves email using POP3 or IMAP4 from any mailbox that supports these protocol. This is especially good if you have many external email accounts and consider to consolidate them, read and reply with the same mailbox.

If you are a Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo users, refrain yourselves forwarding email to them but fetch those emails from them. The email services have a very stringent anti-spam policy. forwarding emails might cause your mail server IP blocked. Remember a forwarding will forward the spam emails that you received.

The third one is rare and it might be a wanted feature to some user is an ‘SMTP Account’.  At the webmail, you can send emails using another SMTP mailbox but not the local SmarterMail SMTP. Which mean you can reply or write an email using another desired mail server. I found this is useful if I’m representing another organization.

I’m sure many SmarterMail users might have found it new and I thought you guys should know there are such things,

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SmarterMail – Migration makes easy

If you are using one of the email servers and want to migrate to SmarterMail, you can use the migration tool in the webmail as shown. Basically, SmarterMail imports all your emails stored on the current mail server either using POP3 or IMAP4, however, if you are Gmail user, you can import calendars, tasks and contacts too.

smartermail migration1

 

gmail migration

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