Ecommerce Development

Ecommerce Software Reviews And Assistance.

What is Web Hosting? Beginners Guide…

Not sure what hosting for your ecommerce solution?  Lets go back to basics….

 

Getting Started with Enterprise Hosting….

 

If you have been thinking about investing in dedicated hosting, you may want to consider enterprise hosting instead. This more recent option provides all the advantages dedicated hosting does over shared hosting, but without the need to manage everything yourself.

What this means is that with enterprise hosting you don’t need to worry about:

  • Installing, configuring, and optimising the operating system or server software such as IIS or Apache
  • Keeping the server security patched
  • Backing up your website to a secure offsite location

And the reason you don’t need to worry about those things is because they’re taken care of for you by the hosting service provider.

For businesses based in Ireland (or even elsewhere in the EU economic area), the main contenders for enterprise hosting are Hosting Ireland, LetsHost, and Blacknight.

We can rule out the third choice straight away, because it’s just so terribly expensive. Sure, they do offer huge amounts of RAM and storage space, but it’s way more than the average business is likely to need, and even a very large business would be unlikely to make full use of all the features. At more than double the cost of the other two services, while not providing more than twice as many features, it’s just not really good value for what you’re spending.

This leaves LetsHost and Hosting Ireland still in the running. Truly they both offer good service, but Hosting Ireland has an edge in terms of value, and here’s why:

  • They have plans available for €39.95, €49.95, and €99.95 to suit different levels of businesses, while LetsHost only offers a €49.95 plan.
  • Provides 2 months free when you pay annually.
  • Provides unlimited bandwidth, while LetsHost does not.
  • Allows up to 30 add on domains, where LetsHost only allows 5.

As is usually the case, both services really supply an overabundance of features that exceed what you’re likely to need unless you’re really at the high end of online service needs, and if you’re at that end, you already know it.

The questions to ask, however, are:

  • Why would you want to pay the same amount to get less?, and
  • Why pay more when you can pay less?

Hosting Ireland provided better value on the €49.95 plan, and offered a €39.95 plan, plus 2 free months for those who pay annually. For those reasons, it seems Hosting Ireland is the best choice for most businesses looking to get into enterprise hosting.

Why you shouldn’t choose shared hosting if you can afford enterprise hosting

The problem with shared hosting is that it’s shared. You most likely wouldn’t share your toothbrush with random strangers, so why would you share something way more important like a web server? It’s just not a smart move, and here’s why:

  • Shared hosting is slower than enterprise hosting. This can affect your page loading times, which in turn can negatively affect your bounce rate and PageRank score.
  • Shared hosting is inherently less secure. If one user on a shared server is singled out for a DDOS attack, every user of that server will be hit by it. You could also be more at risk from viruses and other such things.
  • The reputation of all the users on a shared server is only ever as good as the least reputable user of that server. It just takes one user to send out serial spam emails or run a highly recursive application for all the users to be seriously affected.

When you choose shared hosting you are giving up control for the sake of saving a few euros per month. With the increased risks and reduced performance, you really have to ask yourself if it is worth it.

Why it’s usually better to choose enterprise hosting instead of dedicated hosting

Choosing dedicated hosting means you need to be an IT expert or you need to hire IT experts to help you install, configure, and optimise the server. With dedicated hosting all the responsibility is on you and your team.

It’s a high cost option that doesn’t provide any significant advantages over enterprise hosting, while potentially introducing some disadvantages. The most notable of these disadvantages is  that you’ll have to spend more time on routine server maintenance tasks.

All things considered, enterprise hosting can be expected to provide you with better value than either dedicated hosting or shared hosting, which is the strongest reason to consider choosing it.

Best Web Hosting For WordPress 2019

New .ie domain registrations jump almost 30% in 2018 following registration rule change…

Latest .ie Domain Profile Report reveals insights into make-up of .ie database, including growth of regional .ie registrations, the oldest .ie domains, and the most expensive

51,040 new .ie domains registered in 2018, up +29% on 2017; the total .ie database increased to 262,140, up +10%

Border, Midlands and West region counties, such as Roscommon and Laois, recorded significant growth in new .ie registrations, with Leitrim recording highest percentage growth overall (+65.5% YoY)

28% of all new .ie registrations in 2018 were by individuals, suggesting the growing popularity of .ie for personal branding purposes

New .ie registrations from Great Britain increased by +28% in 2018, possibly indicating a Brexit-related migration of business to Ireland

‘Ireland’, ‘design’ and ‘care’ are some of the most frequently used words in .ie domain names in the database

IE Domain Registry CEO: “The .ie brand remains distinct on the local and world stages… In an era where people’s trust in the online world is more important than ever, that reliability is crucial.”

51,040 new .ie domains were registered in 2018, up +29% on 2017, according to the latest .ie Domain Profile Report, published today by IE Domain Registry, the company that manages Ireland’s country domain, .ie.

The total .ie domain database recorded 262,140 active domains at the end of 2018, up +10% on the previous year. Net growth for 2018, which measures .ie additions and deletions, was up +60% on 2017.

IE Domain Registry attributes the large year-on-year growth to the registration rule change implemented in March last year. It is now easier and faster to register a .ie domain. Applicants only need to provide one document to prove identity and a connection to Ireland; this ensures the .ie namespace remains authentically Irish. Returning customers do not need to re-submit any documents and can avail of a new ‘FastPass’ system.

The .ie Domain Profile Report – key findings


81% of all .ie domains in the total database are owned by businesses or the self-employed, indicating a national understanding of the value of digital business and marketing.

In many Border, Midlands and West region counties, new .ie domain registration growth was higher than in Dublin. Leitrim recorded the highest overall YoY percentage growth in the country (+65.5%). Laois experienced growth of +43% and Roscommon +33%.

In 2018, 28% of all .ie domains were registered by individuals, up +120% on the previous year. This suggests a positive impact of the relaxation of .ie registration rules to allow nicknames and geographical names, along with the rising popularity of .ie for personal branding purposes.

There was a +59% increase in the number of .ie domain names registered by international users (3,439). Interestingly, the number of .ie domain names registered from Britain increased by +28%. This may suggest that some British-based companies are looking to Ireland in an era of Brexit uncertainty.

Dublin registered the lion’s share of new .ie domains in 2018 (20,353, or 43%), followed by Cork and Galway.

‘Ireland’, ‘design’ and ‘care’ are some of the most frequently used words in .ie domain names in the database.

Some of the earliest .ie pioneers have had their .ie domains for more than 20 years: they include tipperary-water.ie and esb.ie.

Some .ie domains command a high price: music.ie, baby.ie, creation.ie, files.ie, and internet.ie are all for sale for €50,000.

The number of .ie websites with SSL security certificates increased by +37.9% quarter-on-quarter (Q3 vs Q2 2018) after Google Chrome introduced a new feature that warns users about potentially unsafe sites.

Comment:

David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, said:

“2018 was a record-breaking year for .ie, and much of that success is owed to the registration rule change. In short, the change has worked, and last year’s figures bear that out. We’ve made it easier and faster for people and organisations to register a .ie domain while still maintaining the most integral aspect of the brand—the need to prove a connection to the island of Ireland. “Last year, we achieved net growth of 60 percent, powered by a surge of registrations at home and abroad. Businesses and the self-employed continue to use their .ie websites to reach out and sell to new customers, and now increasingly individuals are registering their own .ie domain to secure, develop and build their own personal brand. “Importantly, much of .ie’s growth is happening outside of Dublin, including the Border, Midlands and West region. There, many counties actually achieved higher overall growth in .ie registrations than the capital. As many of these .ie domains are registered by businesses, this upwards trend is also a good indicator of regional economic growth. “The .ie brand remains distinct on the local and world stages. It is a managed space that is identifiably, authentically Irish. In an era where people’s trust in the online world is more important than ever, that reliability is crucial.”

ENDS

*All data refers to period up to 31 December 2018.
For further information, download the full .ie Domain Profile Report 2018.

Useful cPanel Features to Know About….

Hosting a website used to be hard work, but the invention of application based control panels changed all that. Today the most popular website hosting control panel is cPanel and, looking at its attributes, it’s not hard to see why. cPanel is:

  • Easy to customise – cPanel has various themes that can be installed, or you can create your own themes and custom branding to give your cPanel a unique look.
  • Effective – anything you need to do can be done with cPanel.
  • Compatible – works with all web enabled GUI-based operating systems, and works on desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Feature-packed – cPanel comes with a rich variety of pre-configured extras that will make it easier than ever to create your dream website.

It is the last of these attributes that we’ll focus on in this article. So many of the features in cPanel are immediately useful whether you are a seasoned website host or a complete novice.

1. Set up and manage email accounts

Even if you haven’t got a website yet, you can start making the most of your domain name right away by ensuring all your staff have professional email addresses. That’s the most basic step and probably the first thing every new website owner will take care of first.

You have access to all the email functions through the email section on cPanel. You’ll find all the various features are grouped into these collapsible sections, which makes it easy to control what you see on the screen. Some cPanel themes even allow you to drag and drop the sections to the order you want them to appear in.

Obviously before you can do anything else, you’ll need at least one email account to work with. You access this through the Email Accounts link. The default option allows you to add a new email account, as shown below:

It’s all very self-explanatory. Once you have at least one email account on your domain, it’s then possible to use the other email functions. The primary things you can do with email include:

  • Routing – you’ll need this feature if you’re going with a non-standard configuration, such as if you are receiving or sending emails through a third party system.
  • Filtering – you can create rules for how the server should respond to incoming messages based on the sender, subject, or other criteria. Filtering at the server level can be preferable in most cases, because it prevents unwanted messages being downloaded to your devices, saving you bandwidth.
  • Authentication – DKIM is an authentication technology that attempts to automatically verify the sender of an incoming email message to help protect you from spam. SPF is used to authenticate your outgoing messages to help avoid spam messages being sent out through your domain. It’s recommended to leave these settings on, but they may block messages that don’t fit the rules.
  • Encryption – You can create and use PGP keys to use with your emails.
  • Forwarders – you can automatically forward incoming messages to another domain.
  • Autoresponders – these are used for automatically replying to an incoming email. These should be used with some caution because there are times when automated responses are appropriate and times when they are not.

2. File Management

Most of the time it’s more efficient to use FTP for managing files on your server, but when you just need to do a quick fix, the built in file manager of cPanel is there for you. You will find this in the Files section. Everything works very similarly to a desktop file manager like Windows Explorer, Thunar, etc. There is a very small learning curve, but once you understand how it all works, it will be an additional string to your server management bow.

3. Image Management

If you’ve uploaded a batch of image files to the server, you can save some time on common image processing tasks by allowing cPanel to automate those tasks. You’ll find the image managing tools in the Files section under Images.

The tools available include:

  • Thumbnailer – automatically generate thumbnail versions of all the images in a directory.
  • Scaler – if you forgot to scale your images to be server friendly before uploading, this tool will allow you to do that.
  • Converter – if you uploaded your images in the wrong format, use the converter to change them to the correct format.

There are other ways to perform these tasks, but being able to do it directly on the server can save you some time and effort.

4. Domain Management

This is one of the more advanced features, and you’re more likely to need to use it when you have multiple domains to manage through one account. As an example, you may have created a domain for your local business, widgets.co.ie for example, and another domain to cater for international audiences (this allows you to tailor your content specifically for Irish visitors on one domain, using local expressions that may not be well understood outside of Ireland).

You can make one of your domains a subdomain or add-on domain for the other. For example, widgets.co.ie might be an add-on domain of widgets.com, and while they each are independent, they can be managed from a single access point and can easily share resources.

It’s important to understand the difference between subdomains and add-on domains. A subdomain is really just a directory within a domain that can be used to help visitors go to the right location easily.

For example, mcdu.equicom.net is a subdomain of equicom.net, and can be accessed just as easily by typing equicom.net/mcdu – the important part is that it’s not a separate domain even though the content can be completely distinct from the main website content.

An add-on domain is very different. This does require purchasing an additional domain name, and allows you to host the content for more than one domain in the same server space.

Another type of domain hosting is a parked domain or alias, which is where you use more than one domain name to point to the same location. This also involves purchasing an additional domain, but unlike add-on domains and subdomains, you don’t create a separate directory for the content.

5. Database Management

Not every site needs a database, but if yours does you will find all the tools you need in cPanel. Creating a new database can be done with the MySQL Wizard, and then you can do all the database operations by accessing phpMyAdmin.

6. Security Management

Keeping your websites secure should always be a top priority, and cPanel certainly provides plenty of tools to help you do that. Using the cPanel security tools you can install an SSL certificate, block access from certain IP address ranges known to be malicious or undesirable, protect assets on your site from hotlinking and leeching, and set up SSH access.

7. Site Backup Management

In addition to the ordinary security procedures, which help keep your site safe from attack, it’s still the most sensible precaution to make regular backups just in case a problem does cause something on your site to break.

cPanel provides many tools to make it simple to back up and restore your site using either manual or automated processes. The learning curve here is a bit steeper than for most of the other tasks you might do in cPanel.

The first option is the simplest. From here you can download the most recent incremental backups made on your server, which is a simple archive file in tarball format (.tar.gz)which most modern archiving programs can unpack.

File Backups is away to restore individual files that have somehow changed in an undesired way. This saves some time because only the one file that needs restoring will be restored.

Using Cron Job Backups is not something most people will want to bother with. Cron is a Linux and Unix task scheduler.

DNS Zone Backups are just the same as Full Backups but on a multi-domain site you can specify that you only want one of your domains restored.

Using the Database Backups feature, you can backup and restore databases, but only if you have set your system to already backup databases separately to the rest of the site (which is not really necessary).

The effectiveness of Email Backups depends on how often you download your email messages and remove them from the server. Obviously messages that are not on the server when the backup occurs will not get backed up on the server.

SSL Certificate Backups are simply a backup of the SSL certificate for a domain, if one exists. This feature is a security tool to be used in case somebody gains access to your site and replaces the proper SSL certificate with a fake one.

8. Softaculous Software Installer

We saved the best for last. With Softaculous, you get access to many of the hottest titles in web application software. While it’s certainly possible to install each application individually without using Softaculous, you won’t normally want to do it that way because it would involve a lot of extra work and configuration.

When you use Softaculous, everything is configured automatically, tailored for your own website. Many site owners don’t realise it, but Softaculous contains such a wide range of software, there is pretty much everything you could ever need for any business purpose.

In fact, with Softaculous, you be able to eliminate a lot of your present software licensing costs, because you can replace the offline software you use in your office with online software you run from your web server.

Just to give you a small taste of what you can expect from Softaculous:

  • All the big name CMS packages are present, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and many more. Using a CMS is not strictly necessary, but if you do want to use one, it’s good to know that it is so easy to install directly onto your site this easily.
  • There are powerful mainstream e-Commerce packages too, including PrestaShop, Magento, Zen Cart, BoxBilling, and more.
  • You also have access to some less mainstream commerce packages that are perfect for specific niches. For example, boost a real estate website with the Open Real Estate package, keep track of hotel bookings with Booked, or run a tech support business with Vision Helpdes
  • For bigger businesses there are enterprise level tools including ERP and Project Management solutions. Many of these have a clear focus on IT businesses, while others are more general in nature. Feng Office is probably the most general of the available options in project management. There are ERP tools for CRM (YetiForce, SugarCRM, Vtiger, etc), accounting (FrontAccounting, Akaunting, WebERP), HRM (OrangeHRM, Jorani), and collaboration (EGroupware, GroupOffice, Tine, etc).
  • Educational organisations will also find software aimed mainly at their industry, including classics like Moodle, Chamilo, ATutor, TCExam, eLabFTW, and many others.
  • There are also tools for hosting video collections, music, social media platforms, multiplayer games, and even personal cloud storage solutions (eg. OwnCloud, NextCloud, etc).

In total there are 25 categories with over 400 individual applications to choose from, and also the SitePad website builder for those who don’t have a preference for developing sites in HTML.

Concluding remarks

With all these built in features, and quite a few additional ones that aren’t covered above, you may expect cPanel to be hard to use, but in truth it is exceptionally easy. It’s built more for functionality than beauty, but everything just works.

While using cPanel is very easy, there is plenty of documentation to help, and for those who want to truly master the technology there is even a cPanel University where you can learn every detail and get the credentials to prove it.

Because cPanel is the most popular web hosting control panel by a very large margin, learning to use it is one of those skills that will always be a genuine asset.

Most importantly, cPanel empowers anyone (regardless of technical ability) to effectively manage a website easily.