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Should you own a dedicated email server?

dedicated serverShould you own a dedicated email server?

I’m seeing some of my customers are hosting a hundred or more email accounts using cPanel or Plesk onyx. There is nothing wrong using these control panels, email service is free using either Exim or Postfix. There are free and open source email server. Anti-Spam features are limited to free and open source solutions.

They are still ok for daily usages. However, if you are relying on the webmail, the choice is limited to the free and open source solutions. They are not amazing until you have seen better webmail like SmarterMail.

Administrative functions are also limited on these email server. Creating, deleting mailboxes and updating password are likely what you need. A lot of the other features are not available or modify them using SSH shell command.

In my opinion, administrating email server, receiving and sending emails are important for an organization. I’m seeing a lot have neglected this area.

A good email server can save you a lot of troubles and enhance your email deliveries. They are equal to money. Basically, the return is higher than investing in terms of financial values.

Today, we introduce SmartMail DE250Lite at #188 per month. Lower by more than $100 with smaller disk space. The Lite version will ft those with a lower budget if they do not need the large disk space.

About Website cache?

About Website cache?

There are many types of cache, some served with the web server and some are integrated with the website applications, like WordPress. Whichever the type of cache you are using, the objective is to speed up the website.

PEOPLE WORKINGYes! I just said ‘sped up the website’. Wait a minute speed up my website? I have a broken website and mt updates were never appear!

Certainly, your website and her website are not the same. Apart from the website, She is using a IIs web server but you are using an outdated Apache 2.2 web server. For your information, Apache 2.4 is newer and better.

Caches are intended to speed up your website but the question is ‘how much’? Is your website properly loaded? The idea of ‘cache’ is to store the data frequently access or preloaded so that it can speed up on displaying the page on the website.

The cache uses the technique of compressing, preloading, minifying, combine and expiring to speed up the loading process. However, these caches introduce 2 main issues;

  • A broken website
  • Updates are not reflected.

These are known issues. They can be annoying. Some learn the processes. If you choose to use cache, some of these are unavoidable. Some caches are more intelligent, they automatically flush each time you have made an update but I suggest you manually flush for a better result.

If the cache has a commercial license. Ask for trial. You need a few days of intensive testings to make sure all pages of your website are loading properly.

 

Sucuri Firewall Pro is better?

Sucuri Firewall Pro is better?

Sucuri Firewall Pro is better? Yes, in a way. It depends on the users, and on how he or she is managing the website. However, I personally feel Sucuri is better and can be better.

In the market, Sucuri is not the only one markets website protection. There is big name like Cloudflare, Stachpath and others. But my discussion is on Sucuri today, and the Pro plan. They don’t have a free plan like Cloudflare. For their plans: You can find it here

I set up and use most, Actually, they do the job. However, I like Sucuri. The set up gives me a feeling that it is more secure for those choose to use their own DNS. The website webroot point to Sucuri proxy, not to your source. In this way, it is difficult to find your source IP and attack it.

sucuri firewallEven your source IP is exposed, you can protect your web server only allowing sucuri proxies to access it. It is strongly recommended that you do that. When you are using a firewall proxy, your log will show the proxy IP instead. Sucuri has a tutorial on this, how The X-forward can be found here for the most web server.

Sucuri Package from us comes with monitoring too. You can check your website is status and infected by malware or not as little as 6 hours interval.

Most website proxies include CDN. With the feature, it speeds up your website. A bigger brand has more POP than Sucuri. However, never get the impression that the site responds faster. For example, my website vastspace.net scores 86 in Pingdom speed test with Sucuri and 72 only with the other firewall. Test location for both set up was the same. To confirm, I used GTmetrix, Yslow is 81 and 89 with Sucuri.

I feel too the website has loaded faster even the load time at GTmetrix has proven.  I’m not sure you have to pay more to improve loading speed (image loading speed for example) if this is the case, Sucuri is cheaper.

Sucuri is easy to understand and straight forward to most as compared to many web firewall. I found what I need, I have tried some web protection GUI. I’m either overwhelmed by the clickable icons or they have limited features. Actually, the worst feelings are having to pay for a particular feature. In my opinion, do not put them there but sell them as the addons.

Like I have mentioned, this is my opinion. Sucuri is value for money. It costs lesser than most, you will get website protection and speed. It is worth considering.

 

 

 

SERP affect your website?

SERP affect your website?

There are a few search engines on the internet. Some website appears more often and ranks higher than others. Do you know why? No one will likely search for a company but a service or a product?

SEO2
Portrait of two business people pulling SEO banner

For example, I want to buy a tap, I will use the popular search engine online like Google to search for ‘tap’. Tap is the keyword. At the same time, I might need a spanner too, I will search for ‘hardware store’. ‘Hardware store’ is another keyword.

So, it is a must your page is able to tell your online visitors, I’m an online hardware store sells tap. Your website might appear in the search. But the question is in which page, Top 10? 20 or 30? Or I cannot find my website?

Here are tips to help some choose to DIY to save money. Again, I remind you time is only not your concern and patience is needed. My recommendation and tips suggest that your website might be ranked higher but the result is not guaranteed.

  1. If you can buy and use an older and expired domain. The longer, it has registered the better.  The age of the Domain plays a role in ranking.
  2. Readable content and relevant content for the keywords you want to get listed.
  3. Images – try not to have an underscore or special characters in the name and alt is used in all images.
  4. Load speed of the website. Some websites have the tool to test your website first-byte load test. It helps.
  5. Geographical location. If your target customers are Singaporean, you don’t choose to host in the USA. However, this can be reinforced using the webmaster console not very crucial.
  6. Avoid errors like an unfound page, images or similar affect your ranking in search engines.
  7. Use correct  unique title and meta description of each page.
  8. Use sitemap or sitemap generator.
  9. Use https.
  10. Links building. Try to link back to your website from others. And the other website is popular, this will help to rank higher.
  11. Use SEM. Advertise online to get click traffic.

Apart from method 11, most you do not need to speed money. Some may have, like getting a link from a press release or some may have even buy a link. Whatever the case, these are general things that you can do to get a higher ranking.

There are things like redirection, passive voice, transition words, the HTML H1 H2… tag, the frequency of the keyword is appearing are very detailed things to follow. A search engine like Google changes its search algorithm often. I supposed if you have done the above it definitely has a better ranking to a website not Search Engine Optimised.

 

SEM vs SEO

 

SEM vs SEO

Today we discuss on something are related to web hosting. Or rather a website. In this century, almost all businesses have a website. Some showcase their products and some sell them online. Whatever the case, it is to generate incomes.

httpsHow you will make people visit your website. Yes, if they know you have a website and the website URL. The true story for most is the visitors do not know you and your website. So, now how you make people go to your website? This is known as web traffic.

In the past or even nowadays, people are relying on search engines to look for the thing they wanted. An item, a house, a car and etc. The search engine has become the most efficient and effective tool when you browse the internet.

So here are why SEO and SEM. SEO is known as search engine optimization and SEM is known as search engine marketing. Both have served the same purpose on increasing web traffic to your website using search engines.

However, they are different. What are the differences? Well, read further to learn more.

Basically, SEO or SEO is to drive web traffic to your website. But here are the differences;

  1. SEM is buying advertising space in search engine base on your budget. The result can be immediate or as soon as your advertisement is approved. Advertising charge is base on how effective is the advertisement, the keyword you are advertising and more impressions and clicks for a higher budget. Nowadays, you are limited to advertise online with search engines but social media too.
  2. SEO is more complicated. You can do it in a cheaper way or you can afford more time and money for it to be effective. SEO is to rank high in search engine for certain keywords, so people can find you. If your website has appeared in the 1st page, the higher the opportunity. The opportunity will go lesser if your website at the higher pages, They are usually 10 websites on a page.
  3. SEO is affected by many factors. Google or others do not usually publish what they are looking for but there are some elements will affect ranking. The more popular website and more people clicked on your website will promote ranking.
  4. SEO has become a skill and technique some have made a living. Coupled with SEM, especially good for a new website while you want people to know your existence.

You can choose to SEO and SEM yourselves to save money. For SEO, you need a lot of patience and effort. I do not recommend only SEO alone for a new website. SEO is more like an ongoing task, a routine while SEM you can do it on special occasions to boost sales and traffic. SEM is straight forward while SEO s somethings you need to go and find out and plenty of monitoring works.

 

 

 

Why is monitoring important?

MONITORINGWhy is monitoring important?

Monitoring is hardly in the budget when you buy a web hosting. For many years, I seldom hear my customers were asking for monitoring. Occasionally, we prove the monitoring service at no cost. In my opinion, monitoring is important and it should be set up together with web hosting.

There are many types of monitoring services. Some are must have. Monitoring can reduce downtime, especially in unexpected situations. Unless downtime is not your concern, these are a few services you should monitor. Should there be a service failure? You will be notified by SMS text message and email not longer than 5 minutes.

  • Ping – you will know the hosted domain name is contactable. Unless echo on ICMP is turned off which in rare cases. Some Ping alerts respond to packet loss too. And Ping must be monitored at a few locations.
  • Avance Http – The status of the web page by using the return code 200 will give you an idea if your website is working properly.
  • Monitor all email protocols (SMTP, Submission port, POP3 & IMAP4) Email communication has became relatively important to an organization.
  • SSL certificate expiration – The website should be https by now. Whether you are using the free or the paid SSL certificate. An expired certificate will stop your visitors.
  • MySQL, MsSQL or similar – To monitor this which need basic skills, like restricted connections from your monitoring or agent installed locally.

There are other monitorings but above are the most essential to most circumstances. Monitoring informs you of service failure. Apart from this, you are also informed of erratic performance should the service failed and recovered often.

If you do not have monitoring, basically you have no idea on what has happened until someone has told you.

 

More RAM please?

SERVERMore RAM please?

This is not a difficult question, most will say the more the merrier. YES! In theory, more RAM helped to “speed” things up. The questions are what kind of applications? And by how much?

On a VPS or dedicated server, you can buy more RAM or some called it ‘memory’ somehow to improve performance but you are buying, they aren’t free. When you add RAM, do you know the limitation of the OS? The applications? Addin more RAM to a 32bit OS, might not improve the situation. Because there is a limitation on the OS.

However, if you have a database has a lot of transaction, more RAM will help. But if the database is simply serving web content and does not have much transactions or updates. Anything at 4Gb is probably enough.

Here is my point, understand the server’s performance is relatively important. Paying more to buy more RAM every month might not solve your problem. On the other hand, should you pay more to buy more RAM to get rid of the bottleneck?

Actually, it is a debatable question, on many occasions, it is the ‘feel’ that counts. Metrix on performance are usually in very detailed value like millisecond (ms). Unless the gap is big, otherwise it is difficult to tell with a pair of naked eyes. So, understand your applications. Not forgetting RAM too has different speed, a larger RAM in capacity but slower speed or a faster RAM with lesser RAM is a debatable question too. Maybe in my next discussion.

 

Do you need a web control panel?

RELAXDo you need a web control panel?

This question is more for the VPS and the dedicated server users. A web control panel is likely an option when you order one of these web hostings.

The popular control panels are Plesk Onyx and cPanel with WHM. cPanel can hosts unlimited domains while Plesk Onyx comes in 3 variants support up to 10, 30 and unlimited domains. And if you are a reseller or managing a lot of users for a different domain, you should order Web Pro edition and above.

This has happened to be an option when you are ordering a VPS or dedicated server. You might be saving up to $20 every month if you are not installing a licensed control panel. There are free one but they have limited functions.

In my opinion, you can do most things without a control panel. But how soon? How fast? Who is or are using? Alright, we need to find out who are the users. If your users are business users and you are reselling, you need a control panel. If you are the administrator, you can do without in these conditions;

  • Do you have the knowledge to do it? Like to create a website, mailbox or an SSL certificate.
  • Do you have the resources? Like installing a mail server or an FTP server.
  • Do you have the time? If you need to repeatedly do the same task frequently,

 

To save the money without a control panel might require you t spend more time managing websites. Unless you are confident to do it quickly and the steps are correct, otherwise a control panel makes your life easier and you can get things done quickly.

Is Google PagLigheSpeed insights important?

THUMB UPIs Google PagLigheSpeed insights important?

In case you do not know what is Google PageSpeed insights? Pagespeed insights from Google is a grading system, to determine the speed of the website loads using their grade based on Google Lighthouse.

However, many have the perception it is a very important grading system because Google owns the largest search engine on the internet. A slow website will affect your ranking.

A grade is a matrix determined by someone to compare or judge the differences on somethings. Speed is a perceived performance of how a person feels. So, what I’m saying the search engine bots do not grade but if your site loads faster, you are reachable, more pages are indexed. There are a few factors to rank your website higher, speed is just an element but not the entire of SEO.

There are many online tools grade your website speed and help you to debug JS and CSS on your website. You should not be limited to PageSpeed insights only. I have seen websites have a very low grade in PageSpeed insights but high in Pingdom and GTmetrix and the other war round.

So, I suggest if you are making a website, you should test your website’s speed with a few tools, not limited to Paespeed insights. Also, do some comparison with your competitors’ website. If you are using WordPress, by nature a WordPress might be slower especially if you have many active plugins. f that’s the case, a cache plugins might help to reduce your website load time.