Welcome to Vastspace, provides Reliable Web Hosting since 2014

Welcome to Vastspace

Archive

Points of failures in Web Hosting

This is some things most of us will not consider when we set up or but a web hosting. After all, the most robust web hosting with a failover mechanism might cost a lot. So, if you are on an ordinary web hosting plam there are the common failures you can expect.

  • Electrical power – it can be the server power supply or the electricity from your power company. Most servers allow redundant power supplies. These power supplies operate in different sources of incoming electric power. Should one has failed, you have the other one runs and continue its operation.
    • The cheaper servers do not have such feature or the buyer did not buy the 2nd power to reduce cost.
    • The worst scenario is the engineer did not plug it in and this is happening because of the PDU sockets is limited. In order to fill up more servers in the rack, the redundant power supply is sacrificed.
  • A Proxy web server – Your website is served by a web server. However, if you are thinking of web protection, distribute your traffic and get nearer to your visitors, a web proxy is used. So now you have 2 web server as one is your proxy web server. Any of them failed, your website will fail.
  • Network – If your origin is only one, it is sitting on one network. So, as soon as the network has failed, your web hosting will fail.
  • Server failure – A software or a hardware failure will cause your web hosting to fail.

Basically, they are Murphy’s law, we cannot beat them. Even, you are self-proclaimed the best web hosting providers, you will still face these consequences.

Using IP address for your WordPress website

Today, my customer has come to me to view his WordPress website using an IP address. You can use an IP address as your hostname. However, we do not recommend this method.

There are a few reasons and you have these criteria. Actually, I still cannot find a good reason for doing this.

  • You have a dedicated IP address and resolved to only one site. You can use it as a default site.
  • Private site. Do not want others to resolve using a domain name.
  • Do not want to use reverse and forward DNS. Maybe for point of failure.
  • Never hard code a link using domain name every permalink is managed by the WordPress.

If anyone can think of a valid reason, please write down the comment below.

Getting a WordPress website using an IP address must at least meet the first criteria like what I have mentioned earlier. In addition, you need to change the name to IP address in ‘General Settings’ of your WordPress website or define it in your wp-config,

In this case, you can use an IP address.

However, if you are making a new website or staging, I personally recommend the ‘host file’ method to resolve locally. The domain name can use the same if the website has a different IP address. If it is done using the same IP address, you cannot use the same domain name but a fake domain name.

If you are using a fake domain name you will have to update the general settings or define it in the wp-config file.

In this way, your WordPress website is always accessible and it will not run into errors like ‘404’ page not found.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

How does the Internet affect you?

How does the 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.

 

 

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.

Yes! 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.

 

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?

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.

How 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?

Why 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.

 

Is Google PagLigheSpeed insights important?

Is 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.

 

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.