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Before you email

Before you email

Hope this article is useful to our readers. We discuss a few things you must do to ensure before sending emails to someone.

These are common mistakes from many. Even for the service providers, it is common to find these mistakes for those incoming emails.

I’m listing them here and you can check if you have done these or you should you quickly rectify them.

a. Find out your SMTP Mail server IP address, It is important to know which IP address your emails are sending out from.

b. Once you know the outbound IP address. Go to MXtoolbox https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx to check if your outbound IP address is blacklisted by the popular RBLs.

Make sure your IP address is not blacklisted, otherwise your emails might be rejected at your recipients’ mail server.

c. Now, we make sure this outbound is listed in the DNS SPF record using this tool https://mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx.

d. PTR record or rDNS on your outbound IP address. Using this https://mxtoolbox.com/ReverseLookup.aspx

e. You can enhance your email delivery by adding DKIM. DKIM is a kind of signature acts as the emails are sent by the sender via the permitted mail server. Most tools online are not friendly for the layman. Just write to our support team with the email address you want to check, our engineers will find out for you.

f. DMARC – This is yet widely practised and this will not work if your recipient’s mail server does not do a DMARC check. DMARC prevents spoofing and phishing like you have SPF, DKIM or both. DMARC does a bit more, like sending reports and action published in the DMARC record.

We encourage domain to publish DMARC and the above to protect your business and brand.

 

TTFB vs disk speed

TTFB vs disk speed

While I’m doing some researches. I bumped into a new player for Cloud servers in Singapore. They are quite similar to the Linode and Digital Ocean.

The price structure is alike. However, they have the Windows version and of course, you pay more for the number of CPU core purchased.

They have claimed their disk read and write speed are faster than Digital Ocean and others. So, I’m keen. Since that, I have been using Linode for my disaster recovery service and this could be my alternative. Hence, I have signed up.

The entire process is no stranger to me since I’m quite familiar with Linode and Digital Ocean. The Cloud server was created quickly but I have to top up at least USD 10 to remove my trial. During the trial, you are not able to update rule in the firewall section.

I planned to DR my website at first but I have taken the opportunity to see if I will able to speed up my website since the disk read and write are faster.

I have used the under-construction template as my test page, and I make sure my SSD VPS is identical to my new cloud server. Both have gzip enabled and HTTP/2.

However, the result is a bit disappointing. Vastspace’s SSD VPS still load better. Frankly speaking, you cannot tell the differences with your naked eyes. Until you use tools like GTmetrix or the speed test at Pingdom.

The VPS with the IP starts with 103.237.X.X is sold by Vastspace. This is the original VPS, not the high-performance VPS. I’m happy to see Vastspace’s VPS outperforms in TTFB despite the speed is better in the disk drive as claimed.

cloud server

vastspace sdd vps

 

cloud servervastspace ssd vps

Limitations on Cheap web hosting

Limitations on Cheap web hosting

Some call it shared hosting and some call it cheap web hosting. Whatever you call them, they are sharing one server and costs only a few dollars each month or higher on some plans are given with more resources.

The main reason they are cheap because you can host many websites on one server. In order to do this, providers allocate lesser resources to cheaper web hosting plans using control panels or add-ons.

There are limitations on these web hosting plans. Please make sure your website can work with these limitations. Here are the common restrictions on cheap web hosting.

The restricted amount of resources – This could be the major limitation using cheap web hosting. Apparently, there is the addon to the server to restrict the amount of processing power and RAM to the type of web hosting plan you have subscribed.

Restricted Traffic – You are given large disk space but limited to the traffic given to you each month. If you have exceeded the traffic allocated, either you will have to pay a fee for more traffic or cause the website to suspend.

Fair usage policy – Never miss those fine prints or usage policy on these web hosting. Because these web hosting plans are cheap, there are rules and policies to restrict the usage of these web hosting. Especially when you are seeing these 2 words “unlimited” and unmetered” there are true meaning behind them.

Rate limiting and Forwarding on Email – The cheaper web hosting will also limit you on the number of emails sent per hour and you are not allowed to forward emails to mail account from Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc. I felt that the forward restriction is a good practice though. Whether it is a shared server or dedicated server. Forward of emails to these mail account can cause your mail server IP blacklisted as these email providers have a stringent anti-spam policy. However, the limitation on how many emails sent per hour might not work for some business, for example, a logistics company or similar in nature, an insurance company etc.

This limitation will affect daily business operation. You might be losing more money from saving a few ten dollars each month. Thus, it is important to understand when you are getting a cheap web hosting if it has fitted into your needs.

Vastspace provides you with the web hosting consultation at no extra fee. Our mission is to help you to identify which type of web hosting is suitable for the website. The idea is to save time and probably save money.

 

 

Cheap web hosting?

Cheap Web Hosting

What is cheap web hosting? What is the cheapest? In my definition,  cheap web hosting is referring to shared hosting.

Web hosting providers are usually put a lot of websites with big capacity hard drives and they share one control panel. Because of sharing, the more websites on one server, the costs of each server is lower if you are hosting more customers.

The major disadvantage of these cheap web hostings is they are slow once populated. However, if the service providers are nice enough to limit the amount of the websites and put better resources like RAM or powerful CPU.

After all, the idea is to sell it cheap and it does the job. Many go for this type of cheap web hosting. There are 3 groups of the customers will go for cheaper web hosting.

The first type is the reseller.  Resellers usually sell web hosting together with other related services like web design, local IT service etc. The choose shared hosting because they have a bigger margin and easier to sell.

The second type is the customer knows little about web hosting. They are recommended by a friend or the low price of the plan has attracted them.

The third type is the customer knows what they want. It is for a simple website and a few email account. The group of customers have set aside a small budget for web hosting.

If you are getting a web hosting, I suggest you read up and understand the different type of web hosting. Understand more from each web hosting provider. Having said that, the salesman on the other side might know as little too.

So, it is a good idea you spend a little time to understand what you need. The cheaper web hosting is definitely not for an organization with a few hundred mailboxes or a database application for a group of filthy people. I will share more on how you are limited by these cheap web hosting on my next topic.

 

NVMe, SSD and M.2

NVMe, SSD and M.2

Most people currently understand what precisely a Solid State Drive (SSD) is and most likely have got one mounted in your notebook.

Opposed to a regular spinning hard drive, an SSD is much more quickly – which usually is why we suggest putting in an SSD as the ideal way to boost the overall performance of an older computer system, laptop computer or server.

The fact that is right up until we started out trying to play around with the new SSD standard – the NVMe M.2 SSD.

The new way to boost your server overall performance is installing an NVMe M.2 SSD. NVMe is an abbreviation for “Non-Volatile Memory Express” and is the latest standard protocol for being able to access high-speed storage media and it has many strengths compared to legacy standards.

An NVMe disk drive is also an SSD, but rather of hooking up it via a SATA III cable, it plugs straight into the motherboard via the M.2 PCIe slot, or in a regular PCIe slot working with an M.2 PCIe Adapter.

The M.2 part refers to the form factor and so how the drive attaches to the mainboard. Surprisingly, the disk drive is just about the size of a stick of RAM memory. And whilst an SSD will significantly boost the overall performance over a regular spinning hard drive, an NVMe M.2 is smoking fast in comparison, we can get 3,000 Mb/s in PCIe 3.0 x 4.

High-Performance VPS

High-Performance VPS

High-Performance VPS is relatively a new web hosting term in the industry, We named it as high-performance is to differentiate them from the standard VPS.

They have more RAM, better CPU priority and higher disk read and write output. Especially good for the applications rely on database read and write a lot.

While it is competitive in the web hosting market, similar to VPS, its price is cheaper. A lot of the hosting providers tend to host more guest machines than before.

As such, it only makes sense to introduce high-performance VPS to guarantee its performance. In most cases, the performance of our High-performance VPS  outperforms the dedicated server with hard drives especially the IO segment.

All of our high-performance VPS have RAID 10 SSD and not 4 but 8 units write intensive SSD minimum. In the high-performance VPS, the number of guest machine is limited by its guaranteed performance. Because of this reason, IOPS is high.

If you are looking at the dollars per Gigabyte, the conventional spinning hard drives are definitely cheaper. For performance, high chance the VPS will take the lead.

Another big advantage of these VPS is the backup snapshot. The backup snapshot works on 10 GbE network internally is really fast. It is taking less than 15 minutes to do a full backup of a 200Gb guest machine.

Yes, a full backup is not an incremental backup. We can call it a stateful backup. Next time when you want a dedicated server, you might want to check out the full-managed high-performance VPS.

 

Woe using server-side statistics

Woe using server-side statistics

Server-side stats like Awstat uses web server log files to determine access from, date and time etc. Most control panels come with server-side stats.

You might not be using them but web statistics are important. You will never know if you ever need it. If you have a website, you make sure they are working. However, I recommend you to use free analytics tools from Google for example.

Why? It is about accuracy.  Do you mean the server-side stats is not accurate? Not exactly until you are using …A proxy service like Cloudflare, Sucuri or similar.

If you need web analytics I suggest you start using external service like Google analytics, As soon as your website uses a proxy service like Sucuri or similar, your visitors hit the proxy instead come directly to the web server.

Some worst situation. you forget to configure ‘x-forward’ to the web server configuration. Your web server is collecting your firewall or proxy IP addresses and not your visitors.

These proxies, they cache your content, in other words, your visitors did come to you but your web server will not able to detect them.

Basically, try not using the server-side web stats even you are not using any web application firewall. But we never know as web security has become very important for websites. I’m sure you do not want to read data from two different places.

Should you own a static IP?

Should you own a static IP?

This is a debatable question but I personally felt if you have sensitive information or data and they are hosted on the internet or accessible through the internet, you should own a static or a permanent IP.

A permanent or static IP does not have a short leasing period. It should be given on the first day of the service until the service ended.

The most common way is to get a static IP from your internet provider. If not, you can try VPN providers offer dedicated IP as an addon. You can connect with your VPN account and get the same IP address every time.

Static IP is especially for environments that have restricted access. For example, your website administrator dashboard, your shell access, your RDP access etc.

I suggest to my customers, they should own a static IP. Lockdown sensitive areas where brute force entries are possible. I have seen wp-login.php, the admin login for WordPress is extremely popular to brute-force attacks.

 

About Plesk Onyx

About Plesk Onyx

Not long ago, we have briefly spoken on Plesk Onyx vs cPanel. There are pros and cons of these control panels. However, I like Plesk Onyx a little more.

In Chinese, we call it 先入为主 means the first impression. Honestly speaking, it’s easier to navigate on Plesk as compare to its competitors.

Recent years, Plesk Onyx is stable and reliable, it is not bug-free, actually, I haven’t seen anything like that. When I have encountered an issue, at most times I’m able to get a solution or at least a workaround from the knowledge base.

I felt that the support team has done a very good job. People like us prefer looking into the KB than writing an email to the support team. Basically, we want to solve the issue fast.

Other things I want to mention, it is their extensions. I’m overwhelmed by the extensions available. They do not cost a lot and there are many for different purposes.

If you are a Plesk Onyx user, I can see a few of them are useful. Like the Kernelcare, imunify360 and anti-spam from SpamExperts and MagicSpam. There are a few free extensions are useful too like the watchdog, Pagespeed etc.

In Plesk Onyx, you can switch on HTTP/2 when your Nginx is enabled. HTTP/2 is faster and more secure if you are not aware. I also suggest you use PHP-FPM for better performance, the PHP website performs better in FPM.

About website response

About website response

Website response is one of the key factors to rank your website higher. There are a few reasons can cause a lower website. One of the common factors most site audit tools mentioned is server response.

As long the server is not overpopulated I will doubt this is a good reason. this rule should be deprecated. The modern web server with HTTP/2 should not be considered.

In my opinion, A slow website caused by these reasons;

Database – if the database is slow, this can affect the output on the website. The webmaster should tweak the database configuration if he or she can speed up the process.

External fonts from Google, for example, can slow down your website.

CSS and JS slow down a website. Everyone likes fancy and colourful websites. As soon as they looked beautiful and impressive, you are paying for the price, it is slowness.

Other queries, like a map, images from an external source can slow down a website.

High pixel and a big image is a common factor for a slow website. The clear and sharp image is larger in size, it increases the loading time especially for the slower internet users.

WordPress is easy to use, many good plugins are free. The more plugins you have enabled, the website is lower.

Fail to use gzip or known as deflate, this module in Apache web server helps to reduce the size of the loading page.

‘Failed to leverage with the browser’s cache. Like images, you can add expire header to cache it on the visitor’s browser for a period of time.

There are ways to reduce website loading but the question is how much. It might not be significant to some. There are a few services you can consider; A free Cloudflare but I prefer Sucuri as I experienced slower loading on Free Cloudflare. A good image compression utility but not losing the quality. Use CDN, if you are serving globally. I will see the points of using CDN if your visitor is limited to your hosted area.

If you are using WordPress, you a good caching plugin like WP-Rocket, it is a premium plugin but I think it is worth investing. Feel free to write to me if you have questions or things to share.