5 Best Malware Removal Tools

The thing about cyber threats is that as computing technology advances, the scope and capability of malicious software advances too. There’s not much to be done about that, and the fact that the two will likely always keep pace with each other in this way will likely continue forever. What never changes is that the best defence against malware is to be proactive in keeping your ecosystem free of invaders or infections. That, and being suspicious pretty much any chance you have to be that way.

Being on top of our security needs like a guard sentry on watch is pretty much the norm for any Canadian web hosting provider, and here at 4GoodHosting we’re all over ours pretty much all the time. Running data centres put a whole new scope on defending against malware, but here today we’ll discuss what it is the average individual can do with a look at our take on the 5 best malware removal tools.

We shouldn’t straight off the hop assume everyone out there’s familiar with what exactly malware is, so let’s give a brief overview of that.

Malware is a condensed term built out of malicious and software. What malware does is that it tricks its way into your system – or tricks you into allowing it access – and hacks data. Common types of malware include names you’ve probably heard before like virus, spyware, worm, and trojan. You don’t have to be tech knowledgeable to know when you’ve got one. Common symptoms include PC crashes, restarts or freezes, pop-ups, and warning messages being displayed, or unresponsive systems or similar issues.

In worst cases scenarios the person suffering the malware attack may have their data or system held for ransom, with the malware attacker demanding money to release or disinfect your system. However, in most cases the hackers that will go to this type of trouble will be looking to fry bigger fish rather than an individual person.

Next, let’s look at common types of malware.

Common Types of Malware

Virus

Viruses appear as an executable file that – once permitted to run – corrupts the files and damages a system’s core functionalities.

Trojan

Trojans named after the way the Greeks tricked their way into Troy with a subterfuge, the ‘Trojan Horse’ that looked like a harmless gift. A trojan looks and behaves like a legitimate software, but it creates loopholes in your system’s security that permit other malware to enter the system.

Spyware

Just as the name suggests, spyware is created to spy on your online activities. Spyware can also gain access to confidential data like credit card pins, passwords, and more.

Worms

Worms are created to affect the network of devices either across the entire network, or locally, and they can promote a whole variety of function issues and system slowdowns.

Ransomware

We mentioned ransoms earlier here, and this type of malware is created to put you in a difficult situation where you hopefully agree to pay some money to have everything put back to normal. Ransomware can completely lock the system and the system owner is threatened with having all of their data erased.

Adware

Often disguised as advertisements for software that are used to sabotage your system security and open the system to malware attacks.

Botnet

Botnet is a group of internet-connected devices that are infected and controlled by a similar malware that becomes rooted in all of them at the same time.

Top 5 Best Malware Removal Tools

  1. Spybot – Search & Destroy

Spybot is an anti adware and spyware software that’s compatible with the Microsoft Windows operating systems. Spybot is also available in a free trial version. One drawback of Spybot is that it consumes much time to scan the drives.

  1. SUPERAntiSpyware

SUPERAntiSpware is very effective for neutralizing spyware attacks. However, it is not available with any real-time scanning attribute. SuperAntiSpyware is available in a free version but to make real use of it you need to buy the license key version. SuperAntiSpyware is compatible with Windows operating systems.

  1. Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Emsisfot anti-malware tool protects your system against Ransomware, Bots, Banking Trojans and PUPs. It is equipped with advanced cleaning and restoration capabilities, and it is compatible with Windows operating systems in both free and paid versions.

  1. Combofix

Combofix is freeware designed to target spyware specifically, and allows for manual removal of spyware. It’s compatible with Windows XP/7/Vista 32 bit and 64-bit system while incompatible with Windows 8.1/10.

  1. Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab provides 24/7 real-time scanning of your system, and gets top marks for affordable anti-malware software. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and works to defend against all of the most common malware to ensure it’ll take something very obscure and uncommon to infect your system.

As mentioned, the best defence is being proactive and being suspicious of pretty much any type of 3rd party software offered to you. Having one of these 5 tools at the ready is a good idea if your business needs put you at risk in this regard more than others.

The Dangers of Abandoned Domain Names

Many people will have a domain name they once owned that eventually lost its value and was discarded. Most of those folks won’t have given much thought to it after declining to renew it with their web hosting provider, and 9 times out of 10 it’s true that nothing more will come of it. However, cyber security experts are now letting people know that an abandoned domain name can allow cybercriminals to gain access to email addresses of the company or individual that previously owned it.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re not unlike any other Canadian web hosting provider in the way we claim domain names for clients across hundreds of different industries. Many of whom will have that same domain name for themselves to this day, but some will have abandoned one or more because they found something better or simply because the domain name wasn’t required anymore for whatever reason.

Here’s what happens when a domain name expires. It goes into a reserved state for a certain time, during which time the the recent owner has the ability to reclaim it. If and when that time expires, it becomes available for re-registration for whomever at no additional costs, identity or ownership verification. Now while it is true that SEO professionals and spam trap operators are good at keeping track of abandoned domain names for various purposes, many of them will not know they are a potential security risk. So let’s discuss this here today.

Insider Access Information

Look no further for a pressing concern than the fact that the new owner of the domain name can take control of the email addresses of the former owner. The email services can then be configured to receive any number of email correspondences that are sensitive in nature. These accounts can then be used to reset passwords to online services requiring sensitive info like personal details, financial details, client-legal privileged information, and a lot more.

Recently this has been more in the new because of research performed on domain names abandoned by law-firms in Australia that were cast off as a result of different mergers and acquisitions between companies. These law firms had stored and processed massive amounts of confidential data, and when the domain names were abandoned they still left breadcrumbs that could possibly lead the new owners of those domains to sensitive information.

The possibility of this being VERY problematic should be easy to understand. Email is an essential service in every business, and is a company lost control of their email lists it could be devastating, especially considering sensitive information and documents are often exchanged over emails between clients, colleagues, vendors and service providers due to the simple convenience of doing so.

The study Down Under found that an average of nearly a thousand ‘.au’ domain names (country code TLD for Australia) become expired every day, and we can assume that number is considerably larger here in North America. Further, the list of expiring domain names is typically published in a simple CSV file format and accessible to whoever would like to see it, giving access to anyone who wants to see the domain names that have expired.

Communications storied in the cloud are especially at risk. IIf all the messages aren’t deleted from these cloud platforms, they may remain accessible for the new owner of the domain and then you now have the potential for a leak of sensitive info.

Of further concern is the fact that if that email address has been used to sign up for an account on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, etc. then the domain’s new owner can reset the passwords and gain access to those accounts.

To avoid this scenario, Companies should ensure that the domain name remains valid for an indefinite period even if it has been abandoned. All the notifications that may contain confidential information should be unsubscribed from the emails.

In addition, disconnecting or closing the accounts that are created using business emails is recommended. Enable two-factor authentication for all the online services that allows it as well, and be sure to do this as soon as possible and leave it in place indefinitely. This is good advice not only for businesses or venture that make use of multiple domains and have moved on from plenty in the past, but it’s good advice for anyone in today’s day and age of cyber threats.

3 Myths About the Posting of Duplicate Content

Hearing the world ‘duplicate content penalty’ strikes fear in the hearts of most marketers. However, understand that it’s only people with no SEO experience that use this phrase with any frequency. Most have never read Google’s guidelines on duplicate content, and they just somehow conclude that there’s going to be heck to pay if something appears twice online.

Here at 4GoodHosting, part of what makes us a good Canadian web hosting provider is the way in which we’re frank with our customers about exactly how it is the in the world of digital marketing. Is publishing duplicate content advisable? No, it’s certainly not. Is it going to be catastrophic for my visibility online as someone with a real interest in successful digital marketing. Very unlikely, and that’s going against what many of you have likely heard.

Let’s bust some duplicate content myths today.

Myth #1: Non-Original Content on a Site Will Mean Lower Rankings Across Your Domain

There has yet to be any evidence that non-original content hurts a site’s ranking, except for in one truly extreme and rare instance. The same day a new website went live, a very lazy PR firm copied the home page text and pasted it into a press release. By putting it on various wire services they immediately created hundreds of versions of the same homepage content plastered all over the web. Google took note, and not in a good way, and the domain was manually blacklisted.

Why was this so much of a problem, when similar instances – albeit on a lesser scale – occur every day? For starters, let’s consider volume. There were hundreds of instances of the same text. Next, timing; All the content appeared at the same time. Next, Context; It was identical homepage copy on a brand new domain.

There’s a lot to be tolerated, but laziness isn’t going to be. However, this isn’t what people are talking about when they offer the phrase ‘duplicate content.’ It takes more than simply same word-for-word copy from one well-known site copied to another lesser known one to make red lights go off at Google.

It’s a fact that many sites – including some of the most popular blogs on the internet – frequently repost articles that first appeared somewhere else. There’s no expectation that this content will rank, but they also know it won’t make their domain less credible.

Myth #2: Scrapers Will Hurt Your Site

Experts familiar with Google Webmaster Tools know that when a scraper site copies a post any links to his site through that copy are disavowed. And if you’ve ever seen the analytics for a big blog you’ll know that some sites get scraped ten times even before the clock reaches 8am. Trackback reports bear this out, and no they do NOT have a full-time team watching GWT and disavowing links all day? Scrapers and duplicate content are quite simply NOT a priority for them.

Scrapers don’t help or hurt you, and primarily because the sites they’re serving aren’t even relevant or visible in the first place, and the scrapers usually take the article verbatim, links and all. Those links pass with little or no authority, and the occasional referral visit isn’t going to get those recipients very far 9 times out of 10.

On the very rare occasion that Google does get confused and the copied version of your content is outranking your original, Google will want to know about it. Tell them using the Scraper Report Tool.

Google Authorship is also highly recommended. It’s a way of signing your name to a piece of content, permanently associating you as the author with the content. With Authorship, each piece of content is connected to only one author and those blogs that correspond to being ‘contributor to’ blogs. No matter how many times it gets scraped, this remains the case.

Keep in mind as well that there is a big difference between scraped content and copyright infringement. Sometimes, a company will copy your content (or even your entire site) and claim credit for its creation. Most of you will know what plagiarism means, but for those who don’t it is the practice of someone else taking your work and passing it off as their own. Scrapers aren’t plagiarizing within the scope of what they do. Anyone who signs their name to your work, however, is plagiarizing it. It’s a BIG no-no.

Myth #3: Republishing Guest Posts on Your Own Site Will Do Harm

Many contributors are guest bloggers, and it’s unlikely that their usual audience sees all their guest posts. For this reason it may be tempting to republish these guest posts on one’s own blog. It’s NOT a hard and fast rule, but content on your own site should be strictly original. But not for fear of a penalty, and more so because original content offers value and that’s good for your web presence in a much more holistic (and rewarding) way.

Some bloggers are actually encouraged to republish their guest post on their own site after a few weeks go by. Often this is done with adding a specific HTML tag to the post

rel=“canonical

Canonical is simply an uncommon word that means ‘official version.’ If you ever republish an article that first appeared elsewhere, using a canonical tag to tell search engines where the original version appeared is wise. Add the tag and republish as you see fit.

If the original was a “how to” post, hold it up to a mirror and write the “how not to” post. Base it on the same concept and research, but use different examples and add more value. This “evil twin” post will be similar, but still original.

Googlebot visits most sites on a daily basis. If it finds a copied version of something a week later on another site, it will identify where the original appeared and move on without creating anything of a fuss. Dinging a domain because unoriginal text was found isn’t nearly the problem for them that others make it out to be.

Fact is, a huge percentage of the internet is duplicate content, and Google is very much aware of it. They’ve been separating originals from copies since 1997, a darn long time since the phrase ‘duplicate content’ became a buzzword around 2005.

Tips for Healthy Servers

The reality is now that network infrastructure and the servers it connects is of paramount amount to businesses in the modern world. Data processing, storage, and other critical aspects of your business’ apps and websites are task that are undertaken by these amazing machines. They do this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year and most of the time they do without even so much as a hiccup. That’s not just as it is, though. Servers do require some maintenance to prevent them from failing unexpectedly. Businesses will often neglect to supervise and maintain their servers when a network server is in place, but there are risks to doing that.

 

Here at 4GoodHosting, part of what makes us a top Canadian web hosting provider is our unwavering focus on providing our customers with rock-solid hosting backed by an uptime guarantee. The means by which we’re able to offer that guarantee is the same dedication to network maintenance that others who are entrusted with data should be following themselves. Today we’re going to discuss tips that go a long way towards having servers that can be relied upon the way you need to rely on them.

To start, keeping a watch on the servers running status is important. The faster you can detect any outage or slow components, the better it will be for you. Simple maintenance and monitoring can prevent a server failure from degenerating into a disaster and taking your entire IT infrastructure offline.

Server maintenance involves making sure that your server’s software is up-to-date & free of security issues and then following best practices to ensure that the company’s computer network is operating smoothly. Prevent potential issues with your server by doing the following:

  1. Verify That Your Backups Are Being Taken

In this instance of a worst case scenario, an unexpected server crash, or other disasters, backups work act like a safety net to restore service with minimal downtime. It is entirely necessary to maintain local and remote backups for added security and being able to keep your business up and running online while the situation is corrected. Check that redundancy or scheduled backups are working and it is wise to run test recoveries of system logs before deleting critical data to ensure the back up of it has been successful and occurring in the correct location.

  1. Check Disk Usage

Monitoring your disk space is an essential part of effective server maintenance, as it is one of the most important server resources. Server process monitoring can assist with detection and control of resource-extensive processes that consume too much of that valued disk space along with outdated software that may cause security issues. It is recommended that you not treat your production system as an archive. Your server is not designed to store historic emails, sensitive account information. Deleting all old logs, emails, and software versions no longer used is the best choice. Obsolete accounts left in the server take up disk space and consume bandwidth, and then there’s the fact that they are preferred entry points for hackers. Audit server files and accounts periodically for optimal server health, and trash obsolete accounts and unwanted files from the server in a timely manner.

  1. Perform Updates

Servers are kept in top form when you perform software upgrades, including security and performance audits regularly to prevent server failures and protect against zero-day vulnerabilities. Neglecting to update a system can open it up to security breaches and the same goes for web-based software and software applications. Keep tabs on websites and user forums, and ensure services and software are up to date with the latest stable version of the software. Updating web applications, like WordPress or use automated patch management tools. Read documentation to confirm that all updates are system compatible. Update server control panels as required too, along with the software that controls it. Simply updating the control panel will not revise the underlying Apache and PHP versions of your OS.

  1. Review Server Logs

Reviewing logs for any disk read errors or failure notices, overheating notices or other signs of hardware problems can provide early indicators of a potential hardware failure that could disable the server. Checking the logs can provide insightful feedback about server activity and performance. Preventing failing processes from developing into bigger issues is made possible, and monitoring must be integrated into an automated process with warnings and errors organized and sent as regular notifications.

  1. Check Server Utilization

Any of the many free performance monitoring tools are great for monitoring and reviewing how your server’s disk, CPU cores, RAM and network are being utilized. For instance, CPU utilization indicates the amount of CPU time used by web applications when processing a request, indicating the processor’s capacity currently in use. Installing a systat on Linux servers is an easy way to get baseline performance data. Evaluate the system as a whole instead of only considering a single component for finding the true performance bottleneck. Nearing limits is usually the result a problem with your application or a capacity deficiency of the host machine. You then add resources to your server or migrate.

  1. Secure Passwords and Update Anti-Virus

We likely aren’t the first to tell you to regularly change your password every couple of months. Strong passwords are a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long and dictionary words should be broken with a special character, for example – pho@to. Hackers stealing valuable data happens with increasing frequency these days. Your server doesn’t operate in a vacuum, so securing the server alone won’t keep it safe. Update antivirus software on connected devices and any hardware linked to the server. The anti-virus software must be scanning all content as it enters your server environment, and a-v programs in VPS systems should be able to function without Kernel access. Enable automatic database updates along with regularly scheduled antivirus scans to reduce risks and to keep your server in good health.

More generally, it’s important to be in the know about your system. Use of automation and modern network monitoring solutions can review everything from system vitals to hardware configuration quietly and present a comprehensive report for your regular review. Automated alerts based on predefined thresholds boost risk visibility, making it simpler to gauge server health and contribute to a more stable infrastructure. An advanced live web security system, like SecureLive, can guard against any malicious activity on the site and many of them even have the ability to report hackers to relevant authorities.

There’s a lot riding on your server, and a little proactiveness can go a long way in keeping yours up and running at peak efficiency.

Anchors Away: The Importance of Anchor Text for SEO

We all know that effective SEO is gearing your website and its content to be responsive to algorithms determined in large part by Google. Being the world’s foremost search engine puts you in position to be the one who dictates what makes up good SEO, but for most of us that’s the lion’s share of what we know about it. Most of us know little about how those algorithms function, and even SEO experts are only adept with working in response to understood realities of how the algorithms work. Adding to the confusion is the fact there are significant changes every few years on account of search engine algorithm updates.

Here at 4GoodHosting we have about as firm yet formative an understanding of all this as you’d find with most any Canadian web hosting provider. We do know the importance of being aware of the importance of SEO of course, and it is critical for any business with a web presence to be similarly informed.

Google’s Penguin algorithm, which was rolled out first in 2012, revolutionized the role of backlinking in SEO rankings. Anchor text is one of the most important aspects of SEO in relation to backlinks.

Anchor Text Laid Out

So, what exactly is anchor text, you might be asking. The visible, clickable words that appear highlighted in a hypertext link and used to link one page to another is anchor text. For example, if you created a link to a target web page with the anchor text ‘boat rentals Shuswap Lake” search engines will regard it as an indicator that the page being linked to will match a search query for boat rentals in the Shuswap area. The web is structured around such external links that lead from one site to another, or internal links that connect one page to another page within that same website.

It used to be that a site’s rankings in search results were determined by the number of links pointing to that site AND the anchor text of these links. So it was then that many ‘black hat’ marketing practitioners tried to manipulate the system through link exchange and artificial inflating the numbers that suggested how often links were clicked-through. The Penguin algorithm worked very effectively to devalue these spammy links and thus discouraged websites from building links that relied too heavily on certain anchor texts. Nonetheless, anchor text still remains a critical off-page factor in determining rankings for SERPS generated via Google’s algorithms.

Anchor Text Benefits

Boost Your Brand

Properly created and managed anchor text can improve the online visibility of your website, but putting it together sloppily or being too liberal with it may result in search engines deeming your site to be ‘spammy’ and penalizing accordingly. Certain words used within the anchor text ensures that your page will be ranked for the keywords you desire to have it SERPing for, instead of what Google thinks you should be ranked for. For example, anyone wanting to create a home page ranked for the term ‘inbound marketing’ would have to find ways to create links from other websites that contain both your home page URL and the keyword ‘lnbound marketing’ as anchor text. Then you have the option of creating links on other sites through blog comments, guest posts, social media sharing and etc.

Improved Search Ranking

Backlinks built with solid anchor texts help search engine bots to better see and correctly evaluate the content of a page, and this in turn improves how well the page is positioned for recognition by search engines. Google views each link as a vote in favour for the linked ‘to’ webpage on the behalf of the linked ‘from’ webpage. Further, it validates all the constituents of a link “from” a webpage that are determine whether you’re qualified to be expressing your opinion of the link and the content it’s pointing to. Google compares the anchor text to your site’s content before making an assessment that some call a relevance match. Optimizing your anchor text helps add relevance to your brand and provides value to your audience; and by this you then increase the chances of your page and website ranking well.

It is important to use anchor text the right way when building links. Only use appropriate anchor text to point to a specific page that has been optimized for that keyword phrase. The idea is to create ‘natural anchor text’ rather than always using exact match anchor text. Diversifying the anchor text by using variations like company name, phrase matches, naked URLs, synonyms or antonyms, etc, is advisable so that search engines don’t come to see it as an attempt to manipulate like those black hatters did before Penguin. If the anchor text flows naturally within the content and links pointing to your site are offering tangible value to a site’s user as well as for users looking for information in search engines, then you will be nearly guaranteed to have better SEO and higher page rankings.

Anchor text and other properly implemented SEO tactics go a long way in keeping you ahead of the competition when battling for position in the online marketing world. We have the expertise and experience to draw up an effective digital marketing strategy for your business, and ensuring high SEO rankings as part of the package.

Why ‘Free’ Web Hosting Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

For the very few who might not been aware of its existence, a simple Google search of ‘web hosting’ will make it quickly apparent that there is the possibility of having your website hosted for free. That’s right, no so much as a penny will be required of you to have your site up and open on the World Wide Web for visitors to stop by and have a look over what you’ve chosen to display about yourself. However, as is the case with nearly every consumer service where you’ve got paid and unpaid alternatives you need to ask yourself the question; if the free option was every bit the equal of the paid ones, why would anyone choose to part ways with their money each month?

That’s a legitimate question 10 times out of 10 in such a scenario, and when it comes to web hosting the answer is the same as it in almost any other – ‘Free’ hosting may be appealing, but don’t be surprised if you quickly come to find it’s not meeting your expectations and / or needs with what you have to have out of your website. The old expression ‘you get what you pay for’ comes to be true yet again it seems.

We’ll say briefly that the best way to save your budget while building a website is to save on its development. Web design can be outsourced to anywhere in the world and it’s quite common to get quality work for a very competitive price. But enough about that, let’s get back on subject here. Fact is, choosing free web hosting is one of the most common mistakes many businesses make when beginning to develop their online presence.

Why Hosting Matters

Finding a reliable web hosting company is an important step in delivering the best user experience to your customers. 95% of the time (and that might be conservative) free web hosting isn’t going to be reliable, either partially or at all. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a Canadian web hosting provider like several others who have made a name for ourselves based in large part on our ability to offer real reliability and uptime guarantees to our customers. To successfully deliver your content to viewers, you’ll need a place to store your files and that’s where hosting comes in. Remote computer servers serve as a source of storage for your information. Your host keeps your files safe and accessible, so your website can deliver the information you want viewers to see when someone opens your website.

Free web hosting gets red flags right off the hop with 1) risk of losing revenue, 2) negatively affecting SEO rankings, 3) potential security issues and 4) risk of malware attacks. Free is obviously tempting, but here’s why anyone really should discard the idea of possibly going down this route

  1. Entirely Free? Really?

Most of you will surely concur that anytime you have signed up for something ‘free’ in your lifetime, 9 times out of 10 there’s a surprise something or other expense to be incurred somewhere down the road. Limitations aren’t usually mentioned in the sales pitches either, and you’re bound to not like any of them very much either. You’re then in the position of needing to pay an excessive service fee to get what you need, or are stuck with what you have and put at a serious disadvantage.

Most free web hosting services limit the amount of storage available to your website, the bandwidth of your service, and do not allow FTP access. Upgrading your services for a much higher fee than most premium hosting providers offer is common in these scenarios when you’re now under contract. And yes, getting out of these contracts typically isn’t very easy.

  1. Reliability? Forget About It

Many of the most highly marketed free web hosting providers are new companies themselves. The offer of free web hosting is made with the aim to draw in customers to pay for their other services. They’ll offer premium hosting for ‘free, before charging you for pricey services that make your hosting be more of the arrangement you had in mind, and with what your website and digital marketing objectives with it need.

One of the major risks associated with this unreliability is that instability of the provider company usually comes along with it. Keep in mind that domains purchased or renewed through them will be lost if they suddenly go belly up – and many of them do. This will of course hit your SEO ranking right where it hurts. Trust us, you want to avoid this scenario!

  1. No Transfers

Most free hosting solutions have a knack for working tricky wordings into their terms of service. For instance, you might think that you own your website and your domain, but turns out you don’t. Then there’s instances where your hosting provider will own all your content in all likelihood. That means no selling your website, or your content, and republishing any of your work is a no-go too.

Then, once you realize you need better services, it’s often a tremendous hassle to transfer providers. Those who can’t afford the upgrades needed from their free hosting provider won’t even be able to look for an affordable, reliable company, because you don’t actually own your website, your content, or even your domain. This means no transferring to a better provider. Not good.

  1. Lack of Server Control

Most of them time website hosted through free website hosting are not scalable. If your business grows, your website will be prevented from doing the same. Most free hosting services fall apart big time when faced with high volumes of traffic, so you’re going to have to make sure you don’t have too many visitors when your site is hosted this way. That’s really going to hurt you, wouldn’t you agree. Make sure you’re not successful, how does that sound? Right then.

Reliable web hosting in Canada is not particularly expensive. But more importantly it’s an investment in the security of your website and in your business’ future. If you exceed your limits with a premium hosting provider, more often than not you can upgrade your services at a fair and affordable price. And you don’t need to concern yourself with slow website speeds or downtime. That in itself is HUGE.

  1. Subpar Looking Websites

Free hosting will only come with a few basic themes for your website design. You may be able to make small changes, but customizing your website or make improvements as your budget allows is probably out of the question. Forget legit domain names too, because you will likely be using a subdomain.

We love WordPress, but WordPress hosting is a great example of a free hosting provider that limits your capabilities and often leaves you looking less-than-professional online. Clients who use the free WordPress hosting services often have a domain like biz.wordpress.com. We, and many others, can get you a top-level domain at a low cost and you can implement professional .com emails that go a long way to enhancing the appearance of your business.

Consider as well that free hosting excludes plugins, so your website won’t be capable of executing many important website functions. Consider further still that you will likely have to deal with forced ads that are placed on your website and have no value for your business. After all, your free hosting provider is going to have to make their money by some means!

  1. SEO Ranking Suffer

We’ve now firmly established that your webpage can be saddled with slow site speeds, increased downtime, and look bad, but there’s a more serious impact this can have on your business. SEO is a major priority for business websites these days, and we don’t need to explain why. Investing in professional SEO services is always best, as it it takes time to build a solid online presence. Free hosting providers can promote negative impacts on your ability to rank well, if rank at all in search results.

Google has implemented high standards by which only certain websites rank near the top of the first page. All the negative impacts listed above regarding free hosting make your website harder to rank because of its low quality when it comes to Google Standards. You’ll struggle mightily to get your business on the map when it comes to search engine results. This is truly the last thing you want when you’re relying on your website to be the primary driver of your online marketing efforts.

Paid – and subsequently quality and reliable – web hosting gives you full control over your website, better SEO, a genuine professional domain, and a scalable website that has the ability to grow with your business. Now not toot our own horn too much, but at 4GoodHosting this is what we’re been providing to Canadians from coast to coast for more than a decade now. Something to be proud of for sure, and that’s the way it’s going to continue to be.

Linux or Windows

The vast majority of websites are hosted on either Linux or Windows OS servers, and the market share is now shifting towards Linux according to a recent report from W3tech. Consumer surveys indicated that Unix servers make up some 66% of all web servers while Windows accounts for just over 33%. For most this isn’t going to be something they’ll give any consideration to, and it’s true that websites with standard HTML pages will be served equally well with either OS.

These days greater numbers of websites have been ‘revamped’ since their inception and now feature dynamic design elements that enhance the UX experience for viewers. If you are planning to design or redesign your website to be much more engaging, you should work with forms and execute web applications both systems will serve your needs.

Linux and Windows are pretty much neck and neck when it comes to functionality. Each works with a number of frameworks and front end programming languages, and have impressive features when it comes to hosting. Linux and Windows handle data in the same way too, and both sport easy, convenient and fast FTP tools to serve a wide range of file management functions.

Nine times out of 10 you’ll be at your best with either, and at 4GoodHosting our Linux and Windows web hosting specs make us one of the best Canadian web hosting providers with data centers in both Eastern and Western Canada.

Our standard web hosting is via ultra-fast, dual-parallel processing Hexa Core Xeon Linux-based web servers with the latest server software installations, and our Windows hosting includes full support for the entire spectrum of frameworks and languages: ASP.NET, Frontpage, Choice of MySQL, MSSQL 2000 or 2005 DB, ATLAS, Silverlight, ASP 3.0, PHP4 & PHP5, and Plesk.

Let’s have a look at the difference with each.

Price

The most significant difference between Linux and Windows web hosting is the core operating system on which the server(s) and user interface run. Linux uses some form of the Linux kernel, and these are usually free. There are some paid distributions, Red Hat being a good one, which comes with a number of special features aimed at better server performance. With Windows you’ll have a licensing fee because Microsoft develops and owns its OS and hardware upgrade needs can be a possibility too. We like Linux because over its lifespan, Linux servers generally cost significantly less than a similar one that’s Windows-based.

Software Support

Before choosing an OS, you’ll also have to consider the script languages and database applications that are required to host the website on it. If your website needs Windows-based scripts or database applications to display correctly, then a Windows web hosting platform is probably best for you. Sites developed with Microsoft ASP.NET, ASP Classic, MSSSQL, MS Access, SharePoint technologies will also head over to the Windows side.

Conversely, if your website requires Linux-based script or database software, then a Linux-based web hosting platform is going to be your best choice. Plus, anyone planning to use Apache modules, NGINX or development tools like Perl, PHP, or Python with a MySQL database will enjoy the large support structure for these formats found with Linux.

Control Panel And Dev Tools

Another consideration with these two web hosting options is that Linux offers control panels like cPanel or WHM, and Windows uses Plesk. There are fundamental differences between them. cPanel has a simple user-friendly interface and users can download applications, such as WordPress, phpBB, Drupal, Joomla, and more with super simple one-click installs. Creating and manage MySQL databases and configuring PHP is easy, and cPanel automatically updates software packages too. Plus, we like our Linux hosted websites for people new to the web. cPanel makes it easy for even people with no coding knowledge to create websites, blogs, and wiki pages. You can get tasks done faster without having to learn the details of every package installed.

Plesk is very versatile in that it can help you run the Windows version of the Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP stack. Plesk also supports Docker, Git, and other advanced security extensions. Windows servers have many unique and practical tools available as well, such as the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) for speedier installation of the IIS (Internet Information System web server), MSSQL, and ASP.NET stack.

Because it’s been on the field longer, there are loads of open-source Linux applications available online. Windows hosting has fewer apps to choose from, but you have the security of knowing they are all from from vetted licensed providers. This increases the rate you can move ahead with database deployment.

Performance And Security

A reputable Canadian web host can be expected to secure your website within its data centres, but online attacks on Windows servers over the last few years show that they may be more of a red flag here than with Linux servers. That’s not to say that Linux – or any OS that has been or ever will be developed – will not have any security issues. Solid security is a product of good passwords, applying necessary patches, and using the rack for support.

Further, Linux server is pretty much universally considered to superior to Windows for stability and reliability. They rarely need to be rebooted and configuration changes rarely require a restart. Running multiple database and file servers on Windows can make it unstable, and another small difference is that Linux files are case-sensitive and Windows files are not.

Penguin for the Win

Your choice of server should be dictated by the features & database application needed for the proper functioning of your hosting or website development project. Those of you working on your own external-facing site and looking for a combination of flexibility and stability will be set up perfectly with Linux and cPanel. Those working in a complex IT environment with existing databases and legacy applications running on Windows servers will be best served being hosted on a Windows OS server.

6 Reasons Drupal 8 is the Best CM Platform Around

These days if your website – and overall web presence – isn’t backed up by fresh, relevant content being shared via it every week then you’re going to be at a disadvantage compared to those that do have good content. Drupal is definitely a household name when it comes to content management, and while WordPress may be king based on the simplicity of use it offers, Drupal is really where it’s at for those of you who have even the most basic of computer application wherewithal.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re not unlike any other Canadian web hosting provider in that we strive to relate the importance of promoting your business or personal venture effectively on the web. Drupal is currently the top content management platform used by governmental and non-governmental agencies, global companies, and higher education institutions, so it’s fair to say that it is the most solid choice for a content management platform that’s designed for those who have a more developed and polished web site and web presence, and know their way around that site with a measure of can-do authority.

Since Drupal was first released in 2000, it has stayed at the top of the industry by developing the latest innovations, raising the standards of digital experience, and being the consensus preferred content management platform available.

Here are the top 6 reasons why the new Drupal 8 is the best choice for you and whatever interest you have in promoting yourself online via quality, original content.

  1. It Is Easyand Intuitive to Learn Everything About The Platform

Drupal’s developers here introduced a convenient, user friendly interface that allows site admins and editors to quickly and easily perform foundational tasks like data modelling, front end, landing page, installation, establishing information architecture, and much more.

Further, training with it is very simple thanks to the Drupal 8 user guide and the large number of Drupal training organizations available on the Marketplace. You can also find a wide variety of video tutorials, books, forums, and even a community where you can have all your questions answered.

  1. It OffersThePerfect Combination Of Functionality & Features

Drupal 8 is indeed very functional and user friendly, but it also boasts a wide array of features and enhancements. It now lays claim to being the first CMS with almost 59 core modules, including JQuery Update, Entity API, and CKEdition. Users will also love automatic packaging and it is particularly good for businesses utilizing their website for e-commerce. It analyzes your site and automatically packages the site configuration into a set of features, rather than you having to do all that manually. Other important business features provided are:

  • Twig, a new PHP-based theming engine that is secure, fast, and flexible
  • Built-in themes that are mobile first, easily adapting to different screen sizes
  • Text editing on any page without having to go to the full edit form by default
  • Views are integrated with the core, allowing users to quickly create pages, admin section, blocks, and modify existing pages with real ease
  1. Drupal 8 Comes WithBuilt-In ConfigurationManagement

Configuration management is built in at the file-system level with Drupal 8, so you will have no problem carrying over configuration elements like fields, content types, and views from your local development to the server. Tracking your configuration changes is made easy by use of a version-control system. All configuration data is stored in files that are kept separately from the site database.

Drupal 8 also comes with the Drupal Module Upgrader, which lets you automatically convert your Drupal 7 code to Drupal 8, with a smooth and reliable migration process. The Module Upgrader scans and then upgrades the previous version, while flagging any code that should be upgraded and also pointing out relevant changes as they are needed.

  1. Drupal 8’s ScalabilityAllows for Transitions with Growth of the Business

Successful businesses grow, and with that growth comes an increasing demand for interactive websites with a variety of elements. Sometimes sites that are handicapped by one or more functioning components of the site can leave that website running much too slow. Drupal 8 is equipped for scalability, and has the enhanced features necessary for your website to be as dynamic as it needs to be without running slow.

  1. Drupal8 GivesThe Content Editor Real Power, and Unmatched to Date

Thanks to WYSISYG editor CKEditor being bundled with the core, authoring with a content management platform has never been easier. Drupal 8 is integrated with a variety of key marketing tools, and it offers a greater variety of better content authoring tools. Add improved translation capacity which allows your business to interact with a global audience that may have previously not been within your reach and this really is a big selling point for Drupal 8.

  1. Drupal8 IsFully Responsive from Day 1

You can use Drupal 8 to deliver experiences on desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, or anywhere else a customer chooses to view your content, and nothing additional is required of you. Keep in mind when considering this that if your site is not mobile-friendly, you can expect anywhere from 50 to 79% of your visitors to bounce within seconds of arriving and they will also be very unlikely to return anytime in the future. Avoiding this possibility is made easy when Drupal 8 is your CMP.

In conclusion, Drupal 8 is especially easy to use, and in the event you do run into a problem then there are plenty of directions you can turn to for assistance. You can also count on it making authoring, configuration management, and upgrading equally simple, while also offering translation services along with being able to immediately adapt for mobile devices. Slam dunk as far as the best CMP out there right now as far as we’re concerned.

Top 5 Spelling and Grammar Checkers for Your WordPress Site

Grammar in website

Grammar in websiteSome people will pay little heed to the insistence that you shouldn’t have even so much as one type or grammar mistake in the text of your website or blog. Others will disagree, suggesting that there’s a good number of viewers who’ll think less of you in as far as being an authority with your subject matter, or caring insufficiently about your marketing efforts. This is particularly true for anyone who offers a professional service of any kind and uses their website to promote themselves.

Many people choose the simplicity and up-n-running quick appeal of WordPress for creating their basic website. Like any Canadian web hosting provider, we’re sure that it’s the same way for a good many of our customers and, as the author of this blog myself, my first foray onto the web was with a WordPress blog hosted right here at 4GoodHosting.

But enough about that and back to topic, it is important to have text with words that are spelled correctly uniformly along with perfect readability for your viewers. Considering how easy it is nowadays with all of the extensions and plug-ins available to check your spelling and grammar for you, why wouldn’t you take 10 minutes or so to go over your site and make sure everything’s reading smoothly?

Yes, all browsers do include an in-built spelling check tool, but it does not check for readability or grammar. So let’s have a look at those best grammar checker plugins for your WordPress websites in below:

Grammarly

Grammarly is definitely the most well-known of them, a widely-used grammar checker plugin which is available as an add-on for popular browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox. Grammarly scans over your posts’ spelling and grammar mistakes and prompts you to edit them correctly.

An indicator appears at the bottom right of editing field. Click on it and then the tool will display all the errors in your post, highlighted with a red underline. Grammarly does require you to switch your content to text editor to proofread.

Ginger

Here’s another easy-to-use grammar and spelling checker plugin, which assists with boosting your productivity and promoting your writing skills. Like Grammarly, Ginger is available as an add-on for browsers and it’s equally easy to use.

Ginger users will see a small icon appearing at the bottom right corner of entry fields for Facebook, Gmail, and WordPress’ built-in editor. It will detect errors in real time as you are typing and then highlight it with context.

Some drawbacks to Ginger though in our opinion. For starters, you have to revert to text editor in your WordPress website and you also need to manually launch the Ginger editor for proofreading with full ability.

After The Deadline

This plugin is an extension of Google Chrome, and comes with a built-in spelling checker tool along with an optional readability and grammar check display that we really like. After installing this extension in your browser, you will then need to click it on and choose options. It opens a Settings page like you’d find with any add-on, and you then select the options you are likely to use.

Clicking on the Spellcheck icon allows you to run the add-on when you are composing posts. Note that icon can be founded in the editor’s bottom right corner.

Hemingway

Hemingway is little different in that it is a web-based text editor. It doesn’t work like the other grammar checker tools that work within the WordPress post editor. It does offer a free web-based editor free of charge that shows you readability, spelling mistakes and grammar errors in your writing.

What gets Hemingway on the list though it can be a style checker as well as a grammar checker, designed to promote your posts’ readability in the means of displaying the readability score of your posts as well as offering suggestions where you can make improvements.

It’s got a simple and clean layout to help you evaluate your WordPress blog posts quickly before you publish them.

The web-based app of Hemingway also can be a paid desktop application for Mac and Windows that lets you post directly to your WordPress site.

LanguageTool

This is a free extension for major browsers and file managers like Google Chrome, Google Docs, LibreOffice, and FireFox. It’s available as a desktop app and a web-based editor.

Languages tool impresses with the fact that the extension comes with support for more than 20 languages, including English, Polish, Russian and German. Website masters running multilingual sites and having multilingual authors will find it extremely useful.

Only downside for this one is that the free edition will only check up to 20,000 characters each time.

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin suite for WordPress lets you get off the ground quickly when reviewing your work, and what’s good about it is it comes with many useful modules. The big plus for Jetpack is that the plugin allows adding proofreading to WordPress post editor.

For advanced grammar detection, you can go to Jetpack’s Settings page and choose different style ‘rules’. Jetpack’s only drawback is that the plugin requires you have WordPress.com accounts, and some of the added features aren’t particularly useful for many people .

Now that you’re in the know, try one out and see to it your WordPress website is ‘perfect’ from front to back, and with every new blog post or guest contribution.

PCI Compliant web hosting is now available from 4GoodHosting, with the same quality, reliability, and customer service you can expect from one of Canada’s premiere web hosting providers. Merchants and service providers online now can now have their website hosted in a secure environment that will be approved by PCI scanning tests. A PCI approval scan will allow you to secure merchant accounts with your financial institution and offer customers proven-secure online processing of their credit cards.

Site Isolation from Google Promises to Repel More Malware Attacks

Against malware

Against malware

Security in the digital business world is really a challenge these days, and the world wide web is becoming as full of nefarious characters at the town of Machine, the ‘End of the Line’ as it were in the cool monochrome Western Dead Man with Johnny Depp from the ‘90s. A few months back we had detailed the big bad Spectre virus that had come onto the scene and posed major threats as regarded the insecurity of data for any type of website handling sensitive personal information.

It continues to be a ‘thing’, and in response to it Google recently enabled a new security feature in Chrome that secures users from malicious attacks like Spectre. It’s called Site Isolation, and is a new feature available with Chrome 67 on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a Canadian web hosting provider that puts an emphasis on this for obvious reasons, always seeking to be as on top of our clients’ web hosting needs as effectively as possible.

Google’s experimentation with Site Isolation has been going on since Chrome 63, and they’ve patched a lot of issues before enabling it by default for all Chrome users on desktop.

Chrome’s multi-process architecture allows different tabs to employ different renderer processes. Site Isolation functions by limiting each renderer process to documents from a single site. Chrome then relies on the operating system, and mitigates attacks between processes and any site.

Google has stated that in Chrome 67, Site Isolation has been enabled for 99% of users on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS, according to a recent post on their company blog, stating further that ‘even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page, data from other websites would generally not be loaded into the same process, and so there would be much less data available to the attacker. This significantly reduces the threat posed by Spectre.’

Additional known issues in Chrome for Android have been identified and are being worked on. Site Isolation for Chrome for Android should be ready with Chrome 68.

Need for Speed

Quick mention as well to Speed Update for Google Search on mobile. With this new feature the speed of pages will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. Of course, page speed has already been factoring into search engine rankings for some time now, but it was primarily based on desktop searches.

All of this is based on unsurprising finding showing people want to find answer to their searches as fast as possible, and page loading speed is an issue. Keeping that in mind, Google’s new feature for mobile users will only affect the pages that are painfully slow, and that has to be considered a good thing. Average pages should remain unaffected by and large.

We’re always happy to discuss in more detail how our web hosting service comes with the best in security and protective measures for your website when it’s hosted with us, and we also offer very competitively priced SSL certificates for Canadian websites that go a long way in securing your site reliably. Talk to us on the phone or email our support team.