What is Cloud Hosting, and How Does It Work?

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If you have been looking for a hosting package for your website, the chances are that you heard the term ‘cloud hosting’ among all the sales pitches. The popularity of cloud hosting has been on the rise during this decade. It is now the most dominant hosting service, especially when it comes to business users and applications.

Almost all top web hosts in Australia, hosting services in Canada, hosting providers in Malaysia, our recommended ones in Singapore, and the best web hosts of UK have cloud plans. Some of the notable ones come from Hositnger, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, Kinsta, and Cloudways,

Before we can move on to more complicated information about cloud hosting, we need to explain the difference between cloud hosting and traditional single-server hosting. For years, your website went public on the internet through a hosting company that would accept the website files from you and put it on one of their dedicated machines.

To simplify, the whole website and all of its functionality is on a single server machine, and whenever someone tries to connect to it, the traffic will have to go through the same machine.

Cloud hosting takes this approach and smashes it into pieces. Instead of hosting the website on a single server machine, the files divide among many machines scattered across the world in multiple data centers. There is no physical server that holds all the website data. Rather, it’s just a virtual concept called the “cloud.” The cloud is a virtual server environment, where administrators can manage the websites stored there and separate them from the other pieces through virtual machines.

Public Cloud Server vs. Private Cloud Server

One concept that did carry over from the single-server hosting was the concept of shared and private hosting. Those who want a more affordable hosting service tend to lean on shared hosting plans, while those that require more privacy and security go private.

When it comes to cloud hosting, there is a Public Cloud Server, where your website and its content are on several servers that share that space and resources with all of the hosting customers.

Private Cloud Server is a different approach, where you have total control of all the server machines that host your data.

Cloud Server Hosting vs. Single Server Hosting

As the internet revolution took over the world and cloud computing started getting traction, several distinct advantages of cloud hosting became apparent. These are the reasons why you should consider switching to cloud hosting:

  • Reliability – Single-server hosting is exceptionally vulnerable to that machine or data center developing a problem and your website losing the connection to the internet. Cloud hosting bypasses those problems as the website will face no downtime, even if several data center or virtual machines fail.
  • Easier to Scale – Single-server hosting solutions can quickly run into capacity issues and problems if your business is growing. Once again, cloud hosting is far superior in this area as well. Multiple datacenter and computers that comprise the cloud have more resources, and they can quickly engage if the traffic requires it.
  • Versatility – This is a modern trend, and traditional cookie-cutter hosting packages will not work. If your business has specific needs, it deserves a hosting service that will support its growth.

Your website will be more secure and have better tools and features at its disposal, but it might even be cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

What is .htaccess?

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Most of the hosting providers (We recommend Hostinger, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, GreenGeeks, and Kinsta among others for audiences in Australia, Malaysia, UK, Singapore, Canada) that host the majority of commercial websites on the internet use a version of the popular Apache webserver software to configure how the hosting server will respond to specific requests. Most of these commands and rules are a part of a configuration file located on servers called the .htaccess file.

The way you configure a .htaccess file will directly connect the behavior of the webserver in certain situations or requests. It is also a perfect way to add functionality and security to certain parts of your website.

In this short guide, we will try to explain what .htaccess is, its purpose, applications, and how to edit it.

The Origin of the Name .htaccess

“Hypertext access” or .htaccess comes from the Apache webserver tool used for configuring file access in each directory. The tool’s main application was to restrict or allow secure access using a username or password to specific individuals. While the original role of the .htaccess was user control, the configuration file has a much broader application on today’s web servers.

What is the Use of .htaccess?

.htaccess is a configuration file placed in a specific directory on an Apache webserver. The file contains a bunch of lines that determine the behavior of the Apache Webserver in certain situations or during queries. .htaccess file takes control of the configuration of all the data located in that directory and all the accompanying subdirectories.

So, what are the most common uses for the .htaccess file? The possibilities are endless, but the configurations which appear the most are:

  • Error pages – Whenever an Apache Webserver needs to display an error page (404 Page, 401 Page, etc.)
  • Password protection – If individual pages of the website require secure password-protected access.
  • Redirecting traffic – If a page is no longer inactive, or traffic needs to go to a specific landing page.
  • SEO purposes – Creating a trailing slash policy, designed to boost the SEO of the website or specific pages.
  • Blacklisting and whitelisting IPs – if you want more control over who can have access to your website.

The applications for .htaccess files are growing every day, making it one of the easiest and most efficient ways to manage Apache Webserver behavior.

The Location of .htaccess File

Theoretically, every folder on the server could have its .htaccess file. Still, the essential .htacess file should always be in the webroot folder, which contains all of the subfolders and files of your website. If your site is inside a single directory, most likely, the subfolders will be within the webroot folder.  

Finding a .htaccess file might be tricky for those who are novice users. All files that have a name beginning in a dot instead of a letter, Apache Webserver, treats those files as hidden. If you are using an FTP client or file manager to access the files on your server, make sure to enable the Settings to display the hidden files. That is it!

How to Edit a .htaccess File?

To edit a .htaccess file or write a new one, all you need is a text editor. In most cases, .htaccess files will already be present in the folder, as it generates automatically. If the file is missing from the directory, creating a new one is a breeze. The key is to save the file in ASCII format to ensure compatibility with the Apache Webserver and upload them there.

The edits could be something minor like redirecting to a new error page, or something major. In any case, editing of .htaccess requires a bit of skill, but most novices and beginners should be able to pick it up without a glitch.

How to Secure Your WordPress Site?

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The increased risk of cyberattacks is one of the primary concerns that all websites and business owners face today. There is a danger of financial loss due to the business downtime, but leaking sensitive data such as customer personal information, payment records, etc. could ruin the reputation of a business and destroy a company.

WordPress started as a blogging platform only to grow to be the most popular content management system (CMS) used for building websites of all sorts. Its open-source nature, ease of use, and a strong developer community, made WordPress the easiest and quickest way to build a website. At the same time, this put the platform on the map when it comes to hackers and cybersecurity threats.

The importance of protecting your WordPress website from malware and hacking has never been greater. So, we put together a short guide to help you understand the threats you are facing and offer advice on how to protect your business from them. So, if you’re searching ‘how to secure WordPress site,’ then look no further. We’ve got you covered.

Easy Ways How to Improve the Security of Your WordPress Site

Making a website 100% secure is impossible. Today, new malware and hacker tools are evolving at a frantic pace, continually coming up with new ways to attack websites, steal personal data, and use it to blackmail individuals and companies. The extent of this risk is such that every week Google blacklists over 20,000 websites for suspected malware and another 50,000 websites suspected of phishing.

The situation is not going to improve any time soon. New technologies like AI are finding their way in the anti-malware/anti-hacking movement, but bear in mind that these tools can be a force when deployed by hackers.

Most of the small businesses and websites will not face some complex our diligently planned malware and hacking attacks. The biggest threat comes from run-of-the-mill malware and phishing schemes. We have come up with a list of things you should do to decrease the risk of your website being a target.

Secure Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

The temptation, especially among beginner users, is to keep their administrators’ passwords short and straightforward, so they are easy to remember. Easy passwords increase the vulnerability of those accounts. Make sure to use complex passwords, and enable two-factor authentication on all essential services you use.

Not only will the hackers find it more difficult to hack your account, but you will also quickly identify which accounts might be a target of the hackers. Additionally, two-factor authentication makes it even more difficult for hackers to breach the security of your site.

Protect the wp-config.php File at All Costs

Most of the malware and hacking attacks target the wp-config.php file, which is the heart of the WordPress website. All of the configuration data for the site and some sensitive data comprise the wp-config.php file. Since the wp-config.php is in the root folder of the website directory, the best way to protect it is to move to a higher-level directory than your site’s root directory.

That way, the file will be inaccessible to hackers and malware, but WordPress will recognize it quickly and access it as necessary.

Choice of Hosting Provider

Choosing the best hosting provider in terms of cybersecurity is one of the best decisions you will make for your business. Most of the large hosting companies today offer some form of malware and hacking protection. Yet, it is often unclear to which extent that protection goes. The best way to go about this is by consulting an industry professional to recommend the best hosting platform. For a general overview, we have tested many hosts across nations and created this lists of best web hosts:

Small businesses and startups often use the basic hosting plans, where their data and website are on shared servers. This setup adds more risk to the whole system because if one of the sites on your shared server gets compromised, the chances are that your website will be under attack. However, some hosts such as Hostinger, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, HostPapa, etc. are better than others in that too. Switching to a private managed hosting will give you more flexibility and the ability to customize your protection.

Always Keep WordPress and Its Plugins Updated

We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your WordPress platform up-to-date. WordPress is aware of all the malware and hackers targeting their websites, and each update they bring security fixes to solve those issues.

It is not enough to update to the latest version of WordPress. All of the plugins, themes, and add-ons you have on the website have their own upgrades. Make sure they are up-to-date and behaving normally.

We hope that this short guide will help you identify some areas in your cybersecurity routine you could improve. That way, you will be one of the best-prepared business owners, and should the situation arise, you will be able to quickly back on your feet and website up and running.

cPanel vs. Plesk: What Is the Difference?

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If you are considering assigning a web host to your website, you may want to check which popular web host control panels are suitable. Among these widely used web-hosting control panels are cPanel and Plesk.

How are they different, and what are the advantages of cPanel vs. Plesk?

In this article, we weigh the longstanding “cPanel vs. Plesk” debate. Before we give you the verdict, let’s go over some fundamentals.

What Is A Web Hosting Control Panel?

Web hosting control panels are in charge of giving you easily manageable web-based interfaces. It is how you handle your hosting setup and customize features.

These panels feature a graphical and easy-to-use interface, allowing you to forego high levels of coding to make your website work seamlessly.  

What Can You Do With Control Panels?

  • Manage email accounts
  • Manage domain names
  • Manage files on the server
  • View server statistics
  • Install server software
  • Handle server security
  • Manage your databases

The primary purpose of web-hosting control panels is to let you perform these tasks with ease. Any end-user can use the website and manage it on their own using either a cPanel or a Plesk control panel.

Both cPanel and Plesk are capable of these features, and many users rate both highly. The platform you select will depend entirely on your preferences, so let’s compare the features, costs, and interface.

cPanel vs. Plesk: Which is Which?

cPanel is the older of the two options. Established in 1996, cPanel became the industry standard for commercial servers who wanted to hand the task over to casual users. Even today most of the best web hosts in Australia, best web hosting Canada, best web hosting Malaysia, best web hosting Singapore, and best web hosting UK use cPanel.

Plesk arrived in 2001 in response to cPanel’s exclusivity to Linux users. Plesk marketed itself as the “Windows-based counterpart” to cPanel, but it supported Linux, as well.

Both cPanel and Plesk give users the rudimentary tools to optimize websites.

Here’s a list of some essential features:

  • File management. You can upload and manage files, check on backups, and restore items as needed.
  • Database management. cPanel and Plesk both facilitate the simple setup and management of databases.
  • Domain management. Add a new domain name, configure it, and manage it.
  • Email management. Launch new email accounts, manage the accounts, access webmail, and build spam filters, forwarders, and mailing lists.
  • Security. Setup SSH access, SSL certificates, IP blockers, and more.
  • Software Installers. Seamlessly install web scripts like Joomla, WordPress, and others.
  • Statistics. cPanel and Plesk provide users with reliable benchmarking tools to gauge server traffic.

cPanel vs. Plesk: Graphical User Interface (GUI)

cPanel and Plesk share nearly identical features and functionalities but differ in aesthetics.

Many users laud Plesk for its sleek and intuitive design, but there’s not much space for modifications.

cPanel appears stripped-down next to Plesk, but it comes with a completely customizable toolbox to suit any style.

cPanel vs. Plesk: Cost Comparison

Web owners benefit from web-hosting control panels by installing these directly on a computer or signing up with a web-hosting service that uses either cPanel or Plesk.

Plesk generally offers more affordability if you install it on your computer directly. Hosting plans that support cPanel are usually cheaper and more suitable for entry-level hosting, though.

Our final comparison is simple, though the choice depends entirely on your preferences:

  • If you plan on using external web hosts, it is generally more cost-efficient to use cPanel.
  • If you plan on using your computer, you should have more success using Plesk.

cPanel vs. Plesk: The Verdict

Both cPanel and Plesk are top-rated tools that can significantly ease the burden of creating and optimizing your website. Objectively, the differences are minimal.

While these web-hosting control panels share nearly identical features, each differs in the look and feel. Why not try it out before you commit to one platform? Moreover, some providers such as SiteGround & Hostinger have their own (and, in fact, better) control panels.

How Do Nameservers Work?

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The simplest way to describe the function of nameservers is that these nifty inventions navigate websites without you memorizing a string of numbers called an “IP address.” Nameservers help you control your DNS (domain name systems) values so that Internet browsers can easily find your website and resources.

You need to know the basics of how domain name systems work to better understand how you can access it.

How Domain Name Systems Work

Before we go into explaining how domain name systems work, let’s define some terms:

  • Domain Name Systems convert domain names into IP addresses. The system is more straightforward than most people assume.

Primary Components of DNS

  • Domain Name Registrars allow you to purchase a domain where you can choose your nameserver.
  • Nameservers are where you can find your DNS values and access this information when you need to control your domain.
  • Parent Nameservers (13 of these exist globally) are where registrars send the information about your domain.

It takes some time for data to sync, but after you register your domain, you can use it, and people can find your website.

Basic Overview of Domain Names Systems

Here is the five-step process for registering your domain:

  1. You will need to purchase a domain from the registrar to put up a website, choosing a nameserver in the process. Once selected, the registrar will send the information over to the parent nameservers.
  2. Registration of this nameserver allows you to sync your data. The data will be sent to these servers using stored values, accessible through tools like DirectAdmin.

TIP:

You can choose your nameserver. If you plan on using a unique server, go to the registrar and have the name registered so that you prevent technical mishaps regarding your domain (like someone else using the nameserver you wanted).

If you encounter issues, you can resolve these by going to domain resellers and registering your server there. Alternatively, you can go to the management page of your domain and create two “A” records, like a subdomain.

  • You will have two IP records that you’ll want your server to use for your nameserver to exist—the rest will be up to the registrar.
  • Once your servers have resolved their values, you’ll need to go to the registrar and have the servers registered.
  • Wait for the values to propagate. It can take a few days, but once complete, you can take these values to the registrar who will register your server.

After you’ve registered your nameserver, you can return to the registrar and assign your domain under designated servers. You may also need to go back to your domain’s DNS management page and set the nameservers as “NS” in the recorded values.

Why Are Nameservers Important?

Domain names need DNS records for the internet to recognize them. Many of these records appear as “CNAME,” “MX,” or “A.” Since domain names are easily transferrable, there needs to be some way you can identify them as they apply to the server.

You can achieve this by using nameservers assigned to your domain to identify which domain records apply. Instead of using IP addresses (assigned by your web hosts such as our recommended ones in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, UK, and Singapore), nameservers identify the DNS records to help your internet browser reach a location or website.

If you are interested in building a website or securing a domain, it’s essential to understand the functions of nameservers and DNS records. Nameservers are necessary if you want users to find your website easily.

Make it a point to look for information to register your website domain.