Archive

Security and conveniences 

Today, it is a short topic. I probably need a couple of day breaks. Anyway, it is about security and convenience. Most have gotten used to accessing an email account, an admin portal etc with just username and easy to remember password. I’m sure I was used to be like you, or anyone else. Right?

However, there is a need to enhance this area, especially a login to a place where it contains sensitive and important information. An extra layer of the sign-in mechanism is placed on the top of your usual login and limited to the authorized person. It can be a 2-factors authentication, another encoded  Admin URL. or another password layer, Whatever what it is, you have to spend more time and effort to sign in. Some very secure login might have multiple layers before you reach the sign in screen. The idea or objective is to make unauthorized login not possible.

While I’m describing, you already can feel the hassle, not yet doing it. Can you imagine the extra layers of the sign in can make you pull your hairs? I have seen many cases. For me, I’m kinda got used to it, my job needs me to sign in to servers. If I’m unable to practice good security measures, I will have troubles educating my clients.

To conclude,

if you preferred to be convenient, your security is compromised.  We must learn to adapt such hassle and environment to step up our security. It is a must for today cybersecurity.

Why is Shared hosting cheaper?

Have you wonder and asked yourselves in web hosting, why a shared hosting is cheaper? Many customers have thought they are the same. Basically, I need a website and a few email accounts. Well, you are not wrong. But a shared hosting vs a VPS there is differences. These reasons that I’m highlighting might affect you and your organization. So, it is good to read and to find out the differences.

Shared hosting or a VPS are still sharing a server. However, the shared methods are different. You put all the users into a server, they share mail service, web server, database server, Despite you can still restrict resources like memory to the budget buyers and hosting a website using an IP address. Actually, you are using the same IP address as the rest in the server. What’s wrong? That’s nothing wrong until someone email account is compromised and send spam emails. Ok, he is sending spam email, it has nothing to with me. Here comes the problem. Email servers have this basic anti-spam thingy known as RBL. RBLs are maintained by different agencies. The popular one like Spamhaus, SpamCop, Barracuda etc.  These RBLs maintain a list of spammer through their system that detects spammer almost in real-time. So, if your email server IP is in the blacklist. Your recipient email will be rejected by their mail server. So, you are too affected because the RBLs blocked emails from your email servers IP address. Right, assign a dedicated IP will solve this problem. Yes, if the price has remained competitive. If the total price is the same as the entry VPS, it will not make sense. This is why;

VPS has allocated CPU units and RAM, unlike Shared Hosting. Even you said yes, my shared hosting plan has RAM. Yes, you are not wrong but it made a difference. Restricted and allocated has a different meaning here. Shared Hosting can use that amount of RAM but VPS is guaranteed which is the minimum memory you can consume. If there is memory available but not allocated you, in some virtualization you are allowed to burst and use more than what you have been allocated.

VPS is independent and unique, has its own operating and services. Others have difficulty with their web server for example. it will not affect you like the shared Hosting. Basically, those important services like web, email, database etc are isolated from one to another. Those reasons, you can accommodate more users in  Shared Hosting solutions whereas VPS has a lower density in this area. Thus, Shared Hosting is cheaper for those reasons. Not forgetting, the control panel is shared by many in a shared server. It’s cheaper in control panel license as it is shared, whereas VPS control panel is per instance basis.

How to protect your email account

We are using our email account to communicate with peoples, coworkers, friend, or business associates. The emails you have sent is representing you, I’m sure you do not want to see they are abused, and impersonating your identity. The truth is these are happening every day. Email accounts from someone are sending Spam, send unwanted email, email that impersonates any financial institutions asking for banking details. These emails are normally from compromised accounts or look similar domain names to trick you.

It’s not surprising that you have received these email. Me too, it’s common to see this type of emails not filtered even your best anti-spam email gateways. There are a few rules to follow can protect your email accounts.

  1. Bruteforce attack is common today. If you have the choices to use a unique username. A common username like sales, support, customerscare, and similar, are targetted. For example, your name is John Tan, avoid using John as the username but john.tan. This can minimize the risk of successful guessing from a hacker.
  2. Always use strong Passwords and update them in 3 months interval or shorter. A strong password consists of capital letters, small letters, number and symbol. I recommend at least 10 characters long.
  3. Use latest anti-virus definition to scan your computers and smart devices for any malware periodically.
  4. Careful emails with links and attachments, never respond to unknown or suspicious emails. Click on links may indirectly infect your computers. Attackers can send you emails with attachment with malware. Scan them,  and do not open these attachments.
  5. Avoid logging in to public and not personal devices to check emails. This will increase the risks that your credentials stolen by bad guys.
  6. Quite similar to point5, do not connect to an unknown or public network to check your emails.

Actually, these apply the same to many areas. If you are adhering to these rules, your risk of having your email account to be compromised has greatly reduced or even not possible.

If you are given root or administrator access

If you are given root or administrator access, you likely have a dedicated hosting like our VPS and dedicated server. This is an important credential.  Anyone with the credential can access the server to update, delete or append without restriction.

It is important to restrict the access to these users. But how? Basically, there are ways to protect these accounts from unauthorized usages.

  • If you have a Linux server you can use TCP wrapper. The TCP wrapper can restrict access using IP addresses for certain service. For example, SSH is sshd. But in order to do this. The IP must have belonged to you permanently.  Most do not have static IP internet access. An alternative, you can use a VPN with dedicated IP.
  • On a Linux server, you can also use the iptables. But this is less friendly to an end user. I recommend the option above.  The firewall method can use on a Windows Server, just add the permitted remote IP in the scope to allow access for remote desktop.
  • For Windows or Linux server, you can also use 3rd party 2FA. 2FA stands for two factors authentication. A program installed on your smartphone provides you with a secret code randomly to access your server.

If you are control panels like Plesk onyx or WHM/cPanel. We recommend they should be protected too. In tools and settings in Plesk, you can restrict Plesk admin access. For WHM/ cPanel, you can usee the host access to restrict access, The hot access in the WHM is TCP wrapper in GUI.

I want to say, the extra layer of protection will bring you inconveniences. Think this way, the added security made intrusion difficult especially good to against the cybercrime today.

How to avoid not reading important emails

In many occasions, you did not receive an important email from someone. Yes, they did not end up in your inbox but junk or spam box? Because the email was either marked as spam or the spam score is high. In this situation. you have little control. Worst, your email client application is set up as POP3. Your local folders do not synchronise with the email server.

Today, we share tips on how you can minimize or avoid not reading important emails.

  1. Set up your mailbox as IMAP4 then POP3. With IMAP4 you can subscribe to all folders including the preassigned junk folder.
  2. Always read the junk folder’s emails before empty them. You might find important emails ended in the junk box.
  3.  Whitelisted or place them in your trusted sender list your important senders,  so their emails never go to the junk box.

With these measures, I’m sure you will never miss the important emails again.

 

Out of sudden, I cannot access my website

Symptom: You cannot access the website hosted at Vastspace but you can access others.
Most likely: Your network IP is blocked by our Firewall.
Why are you blocked by our Firewall?
Providers like us have a network mechanism to detect unusual network behaviours. Scanning open ports are the most common problem. Hackers find opened ports to attack a host has software vulnerabilities or loopholes.
We detect this type of scanning activity and block their IP address for a period of time. However, you can be the victim. Your computer and network are used as scanning tool if they are infected with malware/ backdoor.
If this happens, there are a few things that you can help us to determine;
  • Use a smartphone or device on a different network, example: LTE or mobile network to confirm your website is working.
  • If your website is working on the device on a different network, we can confirm your IP has been blocked for scanning activity.
  • At this stage, visit this website https://www.whatismyip.com/ to obtain the public IP address.
  • Report your problem and IP address to our support at [email protected]
  • Scan your computer or devices with latest virus definition. A deep scan is recommended.
This can be applied to email access.

FAQ on Web Hosting

Most Commonly Asked Questions On the subject of Web Hosting

Looking to get started with web hosting, but aren’t sure where to begin? We have you covered. In addition to our comprehensive evaluations, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions to help you get started.

1 How do I choose a Web Hosting service? What should I look for?

When looking for the best Web Hosting service the market has to offer, take into account a few key factors.

Know your hosting desires. What kind of site are you building? Do you want to go with a popular Internet Host such as WordPress, or would you rather go for something a little different?
What are your prospective host’s reliability and uptime guarantees? It is crucial to choose a sponsor that operates 24/7 on a powerful server with stable network connections. 99.5% and above is the average recommended uptime score; anything below 99% is certainly unacceptable.
Research prices for both sign-up and renewal. Hosting deals, shared hosting especially, normally offer very low-cost signup charges but charge more for renewals. As a rule, any Sponsor that remains below $10.00 per month is acceptable. Any higher, you may be better off looking elsewhere with another provider.

2 What are some different types of Web Hosting?

Free Website Hosting- Free website hosting with a free domain name can, and will, save users hundreds of dollars when it comes to creating and publishing their sites. Providing customers with free of charge domain name registration, free website building tools and free of charge shared, or cloud, hosting services, free internet hosting services are the recommended choice for personal uses.
Paid Site Hosting- Paid website hosting solutions are the best option for business clientele as they provide their clients with all of the tools needed to create and sponsor a successful website, including sophisticated site builders, intuitive control panels, integrated SEO and traffic tracking tools, email marketing software and advertising credits, as well as virtually unlimited resources, guaranteed uptime and high server performance.
Global Web Hosting- Hosting your website globally will help ensure high server availability and performance by distributing loads amongst multiple, distantly located servers. For example, the top web hosts in Singapore provides local, and also global, users with high availability and solid server performance via the best in internet hosting.

3 What if I’m a newbie?

If you’re new to the game, get your feet wet first by going with a good shared environment provider. Cheap, easy to maintain, and adequate for most brand-new sites, you can navigate new waters easily and generally upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting in the later on stage when you feel comfortable to expand.

The bottom line- in addition to helping users significantly boost their online presence, a good web host will ensure guaranteed uptime and solid server performance. Whether you are considering free website hosting (i.e. a free website with free of charge hosting and domain) or paid-for hosting for your site, we here at The Top 10 Sites are here to help. We strive to provide our users with comprehensive expert reviews, simple to review side-by-side assessment tables and sophisticated filtering tools, allowing you to make an informed decision with regards to choosing the best web hosting assistance for your website.

Do you need a Dedicated server?

This is a very common question, your customer will ask if they need a dedicated server. As a web hosting provider, I will choose to stay neutral. But when do I need a dedicated server?

A dedicated server has more hidden cost compares to a VPS. What are the hidden costs/? A dedicated server price tag has not included the followings; Backup, the larger the storage, get more expensive. More expensive Windows server license if you have more core CPU on a server. More expensive control panel license on a dedicated server. Traffic charges may or may not depends on the service provider.

But you have no choice if you need a dedicated server. The above will give you an idea the cost is not only on the server. When do you need a dedicated server? These are my thoughts and told to my customers.

  • Do you need more IP addresses? Most web hosting provider can offer more IP addresses for the dedicated server.
  • Do you expect a lot of traffic? If you have a busy network. A dedicated network port works better.
  • A lot of processes and high CPU utilization.
  • Want secure and privacy. VM is still not 100% secure-proof.
  • Need big storage. Per gigabyte storage is cheaper.
  • Got the budget.
  • Possible to plug in an external device. Example Portable USB Hard Drive.

 

Why I have chosen cheap web hosting, shared hosting?

Most have the idea that more expensive web hosting is better we bosting. Actually, it is not true. A shared web hosting might be good or enough for some users. If their website is hosted on a dedicated server, paying much more but they will unlikely see the difference. We call it overkill.

Most personal or small business website can use shared hosting. With Sucuri Web Application Firewall, you can still enjoy close to enterprise website protection. Plus the affordable monitoring from Sucuri, your shared hosting website is top notch in my perspective.

If you have met the following criteria, you can consider hosting your website on a shared hosting. 

  1. Got a very low budget < $100 per year.
  2. Only a WordPress website or something similar.
  3. I just want to introduce my business online.
  4. I want to create 5 or fewer email accounts.
  5. I update my website once a month the most.
  6. Sharing IP is alright as long they come to my website using my domain name.
  7. Only a few visitors each day, and do not have any online transaction.

If you have met most of it, you are safe to subscribe to a shared hosting.

 

Plesk Onyx vs cPanel

I have used both web control panel. Even you are expert in your operating system. These control panels make your job easier and organised. If someone is asking, which control panel is better? My answer can be confusing, I will say it depend.

Yes, it depends on what you are planning to host and do. We put the monthly licence expense aside. These control panels have served the general purposes but in depth, there are differences. And these control panels have their strong and weak points. As a provider, here are my experiences.

  • in terms of UX and the layout, I will give the credit to Plesk. The login panel, the layout and the icons are much easier to navigate. Layman will find the essential functions after they logged in.
  • if you have an old website is using only PHP5.2 and cannot upgrade, I will suggest Plesk in this case The PHP select has a wider range.
  • backup function in cPanel has greater flexibility, offer more choices on the repository.
  • PHP extension with Apache in cPanel is compiled using Easy Apache with better compatibility.
  • more users and restrictions can be created in Plesk, ideal for the owner has engaged a 3rd party who need to access the control panel.
  • cPanel has only 1 license type on unlimited for both VPS and dedicated server. Plesk starts with 10 domains onward, can be confusing,
  • cPanel has more thleskPings and modules to install, thus it takes longer time.
  • Anti-virus is ClamAV on cPanel which is free. Plesk premium AntiVirus is free for 1st 10 and you need to pay for the license for additional mailboxes.
  • You get better settings on Anti-Spam for cPanel.
  • Plesk has firewall settings out of the box
  • Plesk is using postfix and cPanel s Exim for the mail server. Personally found postfix is less confusing.
  • cPanel has more security settings and better protection.
  • cPanel has more choice on using the different type of service like DNS, FTP etc.

These are some of the differences for both control panels. For a novice user, I will strongly recommend Plesk. However, cPanel has better control, especially you had been working with shell. Now, you can probably use cPanel to accomplish.