3 Years Left: Flash’s Shelf Life Drawing to a Close in 2020

Video content has become so standard in every aspect of the digital world, from news to sports to commercial videos for business and many more examples of where you’ve been able to watch video from your computer or smartphone over the last nearly 20 years in much the same way you were only able to do so with a TV prior to that. Behind that capability was Adobe, and their much-heralded and long-ubiquitous Flash plug-in multimedia player. It’s been a staple for pretty much every device since it emerged in the late 1990s, but now it seems it seems its working life is drawing to a close.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we take pride in being a top Canadian web hosting provider and we believe that a small part of what gives us that distinction is in being in touch with all the reaches of the industry within which we operate. Given that dynamic multimedia content delivery is an important component of many of the websites we host, we feel this is a relevant topic for our blog this week.

Adobe has announced that it will stop updating and distributing Flash by the end of 2020. That’s right, the 2-decade long reign of the most commonplace media player will finally come to an end. Until that time, Adobe will continue to partner with Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google to offer security updates – including patches – in their browsers but no new Flash features will be forthcoming. The 20 year run as the undisputed ‘go-to’ guy for video within web browsers has been an impressive one, but one can’t deny that Flash and its more outdated versions have become prime targets for hackers because of the extent of its distribution and inherent security vulnerabilities which unfortunately allowed intrusion far too easily very often.

Flash’s Legacy

As mentioned, Flash emerged in the late 1990s, and its popularity was firmly cemented with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer becoming the default browser in Windows. Quickly leaving low resolution GIFs or blinking text behind, Flash allowed designers and developers to make web-based video, and animated, interactive content that could play on any computer or within any browser. Flash has been a website thoroughbred ever since, making it easy to play online games, stream radio station music and – perhaps most importantly for many of us – watch YouTube videos. It has also let people build features like photo galleries, and allowed a whole array of multimedia applications to be implemented, like using webcams for video chat!

So while it is indeed on its way out, we should celebrate Flash’s legacy, and that being one of a profound and positive impact on further creative content initiatives on the web in an era where content had become king.

A Slow, Lengthy Demise

Flash loaded content in a web browser and ensured that the content looks and behaves identically for anyone who loads it, independent of what type of browser or computer they were using to access it. Nowadays, however, we’re fortunate to have advancing technologies that are capable of running natively in web browsers. Having unilateral and wide-sweeping plug-in requirements has become a liability.

The earliest sign that Flash was inevitably going to be phased out came in 2004, when Mozilla, Apple and Opera Software came together to form a group promoting advance core technologies for HTML that would consolidate the building of websites. They wanted industry standards as opposed to proprietary softwares, but the world web consortium didn’t give them much of an audience.

The first death knell really came in 2007, when Apple decided not to support Flash in the newly introduced iPhone. Mobile web was rising to prominence and the fifth version of HTML was promising to replace some of the functionality Flash provided, and as a result developers began moving away from Flash and toward HTML5 and JavaScript.

Indeed, it wasn’t long before HTML5 became the new standard. Rather than use Flash, Apple adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript due to the fact that all were open standards that web browsers could build on. Flash still remained integral to the web and was used to create native apps for iOS, but here ten years later even video streaming sites such as YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo have made HTML5 their default video player.

What To Expect in 3 Years?

Safari: Apple’s Safari has blocked Flash from running since 2016, but it’s possible to re-enable it on websites that offer a download of Flash.

Chrome: Chrome began asking permission to run Flash on some websites since 2015, and it’ll likely continue to do so, perhaps even more frequently. From the close of 2016, Flash is allowed by default on 10 websites only, including its own YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. It’s stated it will disable Flash by default come 2019.

Firefox: This browser will ask you specifically regarding the sites for which you want to enable Flash, but it will also disable Flash altogether by default in 2019. There will, however, be lingering support in Firefox’s Extended Support Release through the end of 2020.

Edge: Microsoft’s newer browser uses a click-to-play option for when you want to run Flash on a website, and this will continue through mid-2018. Following that Edge will be more aggressive about requiring you to authorize Flash, plus in 2019 Microsoft will disable Flash by default, and disable it entirely by the end of 2020.

Facebook: Facebook is home to a large number of Flash-based games, including FarmVille and Words with Friends, which will continue to run on Facebook via Flash until the end of 2020. Nothing more is known regarding this at this time.

The folks at Adobe, meanwhile, have renamed the software for making Flash – Flash Professional CC – to Animate CC, which will be, according to them, the “premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content.” Adobe is also strongly suggesting that developers migrate their content to open formats like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly.

HTML5 has slowly and surely replaced Flash Player as a viable alternative for delivering content on the web. Most browser vendors have integrated functionalities once provided by plugins now directly integrated into the browsers themselves, and with HTML5 built into most of the big name browsers already there is the convenience of no need to install anything to use it.

In the big picture of things, no one should be too distraught over the demise of Flash. Instead we should be eager to see how Adobe plans to usher in the next era of digital content creation.

Seven Steps to a Reliably Secure Server

In a follow up to last week’s blog post where we talked about how experts expect an increase in DDoS attacks this year, it makes sense for us to this week provide some tips on the best way to secure a server. Here at 4GoodHosting, in addition to being a good Canadian web hosting provider we also try to take an interest in the well being of clients of ours who are in business online. Obviously, the premise of any external threat taking them offline for an extended period of time will endanger the livelihood of their business, and as such we hope these discussions will prove valuable.

Every day we’re presented with new reports of hacks and data breaches causing very unwelcome disruptions for businesses and users alike. Web servers tend to be vulnerable to security threats and need to be protected from intrusions, hacking attempts, viruses and other malicious attacks, but there’s no replacing a secure server with its role for a business that operates online and engages in network transactions.

They tend to be the target because they are many times all too penetrable for hackers, and add to that the fact they’re known to contain valuable information. As a result, taking proper measures to ensure you have a secure server is as vital as securing the website, web application, and of course the network around it.

Your first decisions to evaluate are the server, OS and web server you’ll choose to collectively function as server you hope will be secure, and then the kind of services that run on it. No matter which particular web server software and operating system you choose to run, you must take certain measures to increase your server security. For starters, everyone will need to review and configure every aspect of your server in order to secure it.

It’s best to maintain a multi-faceted approach that offers in-depth security because each security measure implemented stacks an additional layer of defence. The following is a list we’ve assembled from many different discussion with web development and security experts that individually and collectively will help strengthen your web server security and guard against cyberattacks, stopping them essentially before they even have the chance to get ‘inside’ and wreak havoc.

Let’s begin;

  1. 1. Automated Security Updates

Unfortunately, most vulnerabilities come with a zero-day status. Before you know it a public vulnerability can be utilized to create a malicious automated exploit. Your best defence is to keep an eye ALWAYS on the ball when it comes to receiving security updates and having them put into place. Now of course your eye isn’t available 24/7, but you can and should be applying automatic security updates and security patches as soon as they are available through the system’s package manager. If automated updates aren’t available, you need to find a better system – pronto.

  1. Review Server Status and Server Security

Being able to quickly review the status of your server and check whether there are any problems originating from CPU, RAM, disk usage, running processes and other metrics will often help pinpoint server security issues with the server in a much faster period of time. In addition, ubiquitous command line tools can also review the server status. Each of your network services logs, database logs, and site access logs (Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle) present in a web server are best stored in a segregated area and checked with regularity. Be on the lookout for strange log entries. Should your server be compromised, having a reliable alerting and server monitoring system standing guard will prevent the problem from snowballing and allow you to take strategic reactive measures.

  1. Perimeter Security With Firewalls

Seeing to it you have a secure server means involves the installation of security applications like border routers and firewalls ready and proven effective for filtering known threats, automated attacks, malicious traffic, DDoS filters, and bogon IPs, plus any untrusted networks. A local firewall will be able to actively monitor for attacks like port scans and SSH password guessing and effectively neutralize their threat to the firewall. Further, a web application firewall helps to filter incoming web page requests that are made for the explicit purpose of breaking or compromising a website.

  1. Use Scanners and Security Tools

Fortunately, we’ve got many security tools (URL scan, mod security) typically provided with web server software to aid administrators in securing their web server installations. Yes, configuring these tools can be a laborious process and time consuming as well – particularly with custom web applications – but the benefit is that they add an extra layer of security and give you serious reassurances.

Scanners can help automate the process of running advanced security checks against the open ports and network services to ensure your server and web applications are secure. It most commonly will check for SQL injection, web server configuration problems, cross site scripting, and other security vulnerabilities. You can even get scanners that can automatically audit shopping carts, forms, dynamic web content and other web applications and then provide detailed reports regarding their detection of existing vulnerabilities. These are highly recommended.

  1. Remove Unnecessary Services

Typical default operating system installations and network configurations (Remote Registry Services, Print Server Service, RAS) will not be secure. Ports are left vulnerable to abuse with larger numbers of services running on an operating system. It’s therefore advisable to switch off all unnecessary services and then disable them. As an added bonus, you’ll be boosting your server performance by doing this with a freeing of hardware resources.

  1. Manage Web Application Content

The entirety of your web application or website files and scripts should be stored on a separate drive, away from the operating system, logs and any other system files. By doing so it creates a situation where even if hackers gain access to the web root directory, they’ll have absolutely zero success using any operating system command to take control of your web server.

  1. Permissions and Privileges

File and network services permissions are imperative points for having a secure server, as they help limit any potential damage that may stem from a compromised account. Malicious users can compromise the web server engine and use the account in order to carry out malevolent tasks, most often executing specific files that work to corrupt your data or encrypt it to their specifics. Ideally, file system permissions should be granular. Review your file system permissions on a VERY regular basis to prevent users and services from engaging in unintended actions. In addition, consider removing the “root” account to enable login using SSH and disabling any default account shells that you do not normally choose to access. Make sure to use the least privilege principle to run specific network service, and also be sure to restrict what each user or service can do.

Securing web servers can make it so that corporate data and resources are safe from intrusion or misuse. We’ve clearly established here that it is about people and processes as much as it is about any one security ‘product.’ By incorporating the majority (or ideally all) measures mentioned in this post, you can begin to create a secure server infrastructure that’s supremely effective in supporting web applications and other web services.

IT Security Insiders: Expect an Escalation in DDoS Attacks for Duration of 2017

The long and short of it is that Internet security will always be a forefront topic in this industry. That’s a reflection of both the never-ending importance of keeping data secure given the predominance of e-commerce in the world today and the fact that cyber hackers will never slow in their efforts to get ‘in’ and do harm in the interest of making ill-gotten financial gains for themselves.

So with the understanding that the issue of security / attacks / preventative measures is never going to be moving to the back burner, let’s move forward to discuss what the consensus among web security experts is – namely, that DDoS Attacks are likely to occur at an even higher rate than previously for the remainder of 2017.

Here at 4GoodHosting, in addition to being one of the best web hosting providers in Canada we’re very active in keeping on top of trends in the Web-based business and design worlds. as they tend to have great relevance to our customers. As such, we think this particularly piece of news is worthy of some discussion.

Let’s have at it – why can we expect to see more DDoS attacks this year?

Data ‘Nappers and Ransom Demands

As stated, IT security professionals predict that DDoS attacks will be more numerous and more pronounced in the year ahead, and many have started preparing for attacks that could cause outages worldwide in worst-case scenarios.

One such scenario could be – brace yourselves – a worldwide Internet outage. Before you become overly concerned, however, it would seem that the vast majority of security teams are already taking steps to stay ahead of these threats, with ‘business continuity’ measures increasingly in place to allow continued operation should any worst-case scenario come to fruition.

Further, these same insiders say that the next DDoS attack will be financially motivated. While there are continued discussions about attackers taking aim at nation states, security professionals conversely believe that criminal extortionists are the most likely group to successfully undertake a large-scale DDoS attack against one or more specific organizations.

As an example of this, look no further than the recent developments regarding Apple and their being threatened with widespread wiping of devices by an organization calling itself the ‘Turkish Crime Family’ if the computing mega-company doesn’t cough up $75,000 in cryptocurrency or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards.

A recent survey of select e-commerce businesses found that 46% of them expect to be targeted by a DDoS attack over the next 12 months. Should that attack come with a ransom demand like the one above, it may be particularly troublesome for any management group (given the fact that nearly ALL of them will not have the deep pockets that Apple has)

Further, the same study found that a concerning number of security professionals believe their leadership teams would struggle to come up with any other solution than to give in to any ransom demands. As such, having effective protection against ransomware and other dark software threats is as important as it’s ever been.

Undercover Attacks

We need to mention as well that these same security professionals are also worried about the smaller, low-volume DDoS attacks that will less 30 minutes or less. These have come to be classified as ‘Trojan Horse’ DDoS attack, and the problem is that they typically will not be mitigated by most legacy DDoS mitigation solutions. One common ploy used by hackers is to employ a Trojan horse as a distraction mechanism that diverts guard to open up the gates for a separate, larger DDoS attack.

Citing the same survey yet again, fewer than 30% of IT security teams have enough visibility worked into their networks to mitigate attacks that do not exceed 30 minutes in length. Further, there is the possibility of hidden effects of these attacks on their networks, like undetected data theft.

Undetected data theft is almost certainly more of a problem than many are aware – and particularly with the fast-approaching GDPR deadline which will make it so that organizations could be fined up to 4% of global turnover in the event of a major data breach deemed to be ‘sensitive’ by any number of set criteria.

Turning Tide against ISPs

Many expect regulatory pressure to be applied against ISPs that are perceived to be insufficient in protecting their customers against DDoS threats. Of course, there is the question as to whether an ISP is to blame for not mitigating a DDoS attack when it occurs, but again it seems the consensus is that it is, more often that not. This seems to suggest that the majority would find their own security teams to be responsible.

The trend seems to be to blame upstream providers for not being more proactive when it comes to DDoS defense. Many believe the best approach to countering these increasing attacks is to have ISPs that are equipped to defend against DDoS attacks, by both protecting their own networks and offering more comprehensive solutions to their customers via paid-for, managed services that are proven to be effective.

We are definitely sympathetic to anyone who has concerns regarding the possibility of these attacks and how they could lead to serious losses should they be able to wreak havoc and essentially remove the site from the web for extended periods of time. With the news alluded to earlier that there could even be a worldwide Internet outage before long via the new depth and complexity of DDoS attacks, however, it would seem that anyone with an interest in being online for whatever purpose should be concerned as well.

Multiple Domains for the Same Company: Yea, or Nay?

You’ll find many business owners (or their e-commerce shot callers) that are proponents of having multiple domains for a single venture. Others will insist it’s an unnecessary expenditure if you utilize and position for your single domain with maximum effectiveness. For the average person, being able to make the correct determination here may well be beyond what they’re able to objectively determine, so let’s spend a little time this week to help those of you asking ‘is it better to have multiple domains and websites for a business?’

Here at 4GoodHosting, it’s our mix of solid hosting, competitively priced packages, and excellent customer support that makes us a good Canadian web hosting provider, but we feel another aspect that sets us apart is the level of insight we have into our industry and all of the subject offshoots that come from it that will be of interest to our customers.

Having multiple domains means carrying more than one website for the same company. The general logic is that it’s especially wise to do so if you have a product or service that appeals to different audiences. A site that’s tailored to the viewing / interacting / purchasing preferences of each respective target audience. Typically you will aim to customize the messaging, sales content and collaterals, and other marketing strategies so that they’re more likely to be ‘hooks’ for that demographic.

For example, a website for communications professionals will use a different approach than one for a staffing agency, for example, and this means that so a cross-over product (e.g., copy / scan / fax machines) might prove to be challenging to pitch effectively on a single site. It’s in these situations where the business will often consider having 2 (or more) sites with different domains so as to maximize the effectiveness with which they promote themselves to multiple specific buyer demographics.

From the SEO Standpoint Only

Should you take the decidedly narrow view and only consider search engine optimization (SEO), any reputable SEO expert will advise you that multiple domains can hurt your page ranking. That’s because having several keyword-rich domains pointing to your website is of no real specific benefit. SEO is directed towards a single domain name and will be regulated by site popularity, the volume and type of content featured, keywords located in meta and title fields – not to mention whether or not you’re paying or ‘sponsoring’ your spot in the ‘top 4’ at Google. What’s really most beneficial and should take precedence in your decision making process is taking into account the functionality of the site and how it specifically supports your goals. You should determine very specifically what is the exact role of your website (or sites) when choosing to use more than one URL.

Websites that can be identified as serving a simple purpose, like a portfolio of work for example, will be just fine using multiple pages on the same. Or they should be. If the business model is a little bit more multi-leveled, then considering multiple sites is warranted.

But now let’s have a look at where multiple domains for a website are suitable, and where they’re not. But before that let’s take quick stock of 3 considerations many people may overlook when starting to consider multiple domains:

  1. More work – For starters, each of these sites will require unique content, regular updates, and their own specific SEO optimization. You’ll be spending more time seated in front of the screen, for sure.
  2. Increased costs – Unless you’re going to shoulder all of that increased workload on your own, it’s almost certainly going to cost staff time, tech support, and don’t forget that outside vendors are now going to require a pair of paycheques. Yes, there can be economies of scale for hosting and other services to an extent, but that needs to be weighed against the value added to the goals for the sites.
  3. Organization – You’re going to have to do more as regards regular maintenance and content updates, plus you’ll have to ensure your marketing messages are consistent across all platforms, including the websites themselves.

Multiple Domains are Suitable When..

  1. You Have A Single Business with Diverse Audiences

Most people won’t need to be reminded that 1-size does not fit all when it comes to communicating with different audiences online. Each group has its own set of needs and expectations about how products or services fit their needs. When an array of messages is required, separate sites makes it possible to tailor content as well as approach an individual group.

  1. Your Niche Website Is Designed to Showcase a Specialization

Niche websites always tend to more appealing as compared to large, generic ones. Larger are prone to having too much overlap with a competing site, and this diminishes the likelihood of being able to get the value you need from links. Niche sites are ideal for allowing the kind of specialization that makes them helpful with complementing the information (or services) of other sites.

This in turn can support the development of deep, topic-specific content that then works to make your site a valuable (and linkable) resource. That of course goes a LONG way it you getting what you need out of your website

  1. You Have High Turnover

Name changes are more common in certain industries. An accounting or law firm might change associates or partners, adding new names or removing that of a retiree. In addition, if an affiliation exists with a parent company, such as a broker with being part of a larger umbrella of multiple provincial or regional offices, wholesale changes can result from rebranding efforts and the like. In these and other cases, multiple domain names can be helpful in leveraging an established identity or geographic presence.

  1. You’re Visible in Multiple Countries, with Multiple Languages

Those of you doing business in multiple countries might want to consider having separate sites for each geographic location. Localizing the colors, images, and content to match the social and cultural norms will serve to make your site much more user-friendly. Further, matching local preferences and habits can make it so that the URL is easier to find.

Multiple Domains are Less Suitable When..

  1. Your Challenges in Managing Multiple Domain Sites are Primarily SEO related.

When it comes to page rankings, at the most basic level there is zero benefit to having multiple sites, while there very well could be negatives. Garnering bad links to phishing sites is one example, and if it occurs that requires significant technical troubleshooting.

  1. People Are Have Difficulty Finding You

Most people are inclined to look up a company by name, and that means multiple domain names can make it difficult (or confusing) for a prospect or customer to find what they need.

  1. Your Domain is Less Authoritative Due to Name Changes

Frequent changing of one or more of the domain names can hurt the site’s credibility.

  1. Your Related Expenses are Problematic

As mentioned, the time and money that will be required of your for building and maintenance (including troubleshooting) increase in line with the number of sites you’re maintaining.

  1. You’re Experiencing a Diluted identity

Depending on your brand, separating products and services between different sites could undermine the power and market influence of the company.

  1. You’ve Got Merging Issues

Anyone who’s eyeing a possible merge into a single website will need to keep in mind that the migration needs to be done correctly (and that will come with significant expense).

All this said, it’s entirely true that a single website can support multiple product lines and services, but the catch is that it’s got to be decidedly easy to navigate. That needs to be the primary motivation you’ve got to keep at the forefront in your mind, rather than focusing on the ease or low cost of design maintenance.

So, any feedback? Are you a multiple domain holder for your site(s) based on your type of business interests, or the nature of the business itself? Or is a single domain perfectly sufficient for your needs?

Notable Upgrades with Email Hosting on Cpanel and WHS

Being up and open on the information superhighway isn’t a set-it and forget it kind of deal. Every good Canadian web hosting provider will offer their customers what they consider to be the best and most intuitive control panel for site updates when and as needed. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’ve always seen cPanel to be the best choice and recently they’ve made a good thing even better with significant upgrades to their email hosting capacities.

This week let’s talk about some of the awesome features that have been rolled out to make hosting email on a cPanel & WHM server a breeze for webhosting providers, system administrators, and cPanel users.

 

cPanel & WHM Version 58

SubAddressing

SubAddressing (or ‘plus addressing’) refers to the name of an email that incorporates a ‘+’ as part of the destination user. Subaddressing optimizes the filtering of emails out of your inbox without having to configure filters for each sender. It’s definitely useful for system administrators and more standard cPanel users.

You know what it’s like in some instances when you sign up for a user account from any service provider or retailer. You’ll then be bombarded with future ‘offer’ emails and the like, but by using an address like denos+partyrentals@domain.tld to filter them all into a folder named ‘partyrentals’ at my email account denos@domain.tld. Plus you can also track who is sharing your email address with other companies as well with the fact each address acts as a unique one.

One quick thing to note here is you don’t create the folder before you use this address you do have to go to the server and manually subscribe to the new folder.

MDBox

MDBox continues to be a hit with system administrators, and the list of reasons why you should convert from Maildir to MDBox is long.

Both are storage formats used by the mail application on cPanel & WHM servers, called Dovecot. There are more than a few differences between them, but the one that necessitated adding support is that email stored with Maildir uses a simple 1-to-1 format, while MDBox employs what they call a many-to-1 format. For your average Joe cPanel user it makes no difference at all, but for a server administrator it’s something of a big deal. It allows more than one mail message to be stored in a single file for lower inode use, and that lets you enjoy a whole lot faster disk access. Things like backups and account transfers for any cPanel with large email accounts take a fraction of the time, and can be done with minimal server impact.

cPanel & WHM Version 60

SNI Support in Dovecot

cPanel made it a point to be eliminating domain-mismatch SSL as much as possible with the introduction of AutoSSL last year. The idea was to help prevent end-user confusion and reduce support load for webhosts and system administrators. That’s been accomplished by adding SNI support for all services across cPanel, including Proxy Subdomains and common service subdomains. Adding SNI support to Dovecot means that emails users can set up a secure connection to their mail server using their own domain name, with no chance of coming across a mis-matched SSL Domain error that many user will know all too well. No more!

cPanel & WHM Version 62

Email Account Settings

It seemed the primary frustration of end users was when they wanted to check their email outside of the webmail interfaces on the server. Keeping your documentation updated for those users can be a huge resource drain for a Canadian web hosting provider. That starts with the fact that there are a ton of different devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc) that you and your support team should be fairly familiar with. Then add in the number of native applications (like Mail on MacOS and iOS) and 3rd-party applications (Thunderbird, Outlook, Mailbird, Claws, Opera Mail to name a few) and it becomes a little much.

It’s easy to have the webmail interface send yourself instructions for configuring any cPanel-hosted email account. From there you’ll notice that the email containing instructions also has a mobile configuration file attached to it. Open that mobile config file on your mobile device and that’s pretty much it for the procedure. All you have to do is confirm the settings and enter your password, and just like that the account is set up for you.

More adept users can take this a step further: Add your WHM account login for your server to the cPanel app (for iOS and Android). Then you can login to webmail for any user on your server via your mobile device, and send them the new account setup instructions with ease.

cPanel & WHM Version 64

IMAP Full-Text Search Indexing

IMAP Full-Text Search Indexing is one of those features that’s more sublime in its usefulness and thus appeal for system administrators. The entirety of that is in the way that it delivers incredibly fast search capabilities for all of your email hosted on a cPanel & WHM server over an IMAP connection. As an email user you’ll love how you can search your email so quickly, even if your email is hosted on the server. If you’re not a big fan of folders, it’s pretty darn nice. It comes highly recommended for hecking email on my phone or any iOS device, Microsoft Outlook, SquirrelMail, Horde, Roundcube, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

Quick note: If you didn’t enable SOLR on the upgrade to version 64, you can enable it via the WHM’s Manage Plugins interface (Home >> cPanel >> Manage Plugins), or by running the install_dovecot_fts (full text search) script.

iOS Push Notifications

Another gripe users had had in the past was with the inability to get email in a timely manner from your cPanel & WHM server on an iOS device. As an email user, you are forced to choose between a delay, either that or manually refresh your inbox. cPanel did add the best support possible for android devices in version 54, but didn’t add support for iOS push notifications until version 64.

There’s a lot of manual work that goes into setting up iOS push on a server, and that’s due to Apple requiring extensive configuration. It’s well worth it though, and if you visit cPanel’s website there’s good iOS Push Notifications set up documentation.

cPanel & WHM Version 66

Mail Compression on delivery

Here we are at the latest and greatest from cPanel. This feature promises to be the most exciting to anyone (sysadmin or cPanel user) that is concerned about their email bear hugging up disk space in their cPanel accounts. It has yet to be rolled out yet, but there’s one particular feature of version 66 where they’re adding compression for emailed delivered to your server. It will be compressed as the email is delivered, whether you’re using Maildir, or MDBox, reducing the amount of space needed by any email account on your server. Pairing Compression with MDBox promises to make email hosting blazing fast!

If you’re like us, you love what you do but it’s always best to get away from the desk with updates complete as soon as possible.

The Next ‘Disruption’: Artificial Intelligence Set to Explode

Generally speaking, if you’re an information technologies trend that’s given an acronym then you’re a part of the mainstream understanding, or are soon to be a part of it. The latter part of that definitely applies to artificial intelligence. If you’re not explicitly aware of what ‘AI’ stands for, it’s only a matter of time until you do.

Further, if you think that digital assistants like Siri are encompassing the cutting edge of artificial intelligence technology, you’re very much mistaken. They are in fact examples of artificial intelligence, but voice-recognition based software that access the information on the web based on those recognized prompts is but the tip of the iceberg of what’s coming. Nonetheless, they serve as good and fairly commonly recognized examples of the basic premise of AI; you have a source of deductive reasoning integrated into your devices(s) and it goes through those deductions ‘intelligently’, despite being an ‘artificial’ being.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re firmly established as a good Canadian web hosting provider, but we’re also keenly interested in staying on top of trends in the digital world that – and particularly ones that are set to make big waves. AI is definitely one of them, so this week we’re going to discuss specific AI applications that are going to be coming to the forefront in a big way over the coming years.

A significant part of the digital revolution circles around the consumerization and digitization of everyday lives. No revelation there. Whether it’s healthcare, education, government, or the corporate world, it’s going digital in a big way and being tailored towards a more consumer-centric acquisition model. Front and centre are cloud computing, virtualization, user mobility, and a good many more of them.

Data is already everything in regards to these trends, and it’s going to be even more so. Driven by the Internet of Things, the average total amount of data created (and optionally stored) by the majority of devices is predicted to reach 600ZB per year by 2020, and that’s even higher than what industry predictions were for this trend just 2 years ago in 2015. Data of course needs to be created first, and it’s in the creation stage that the volume and magnitude of data’s presence is most notable.

What’s notable as well is this data isn’t benign. Instead it’s a conduit to accomplishing something more based on the prerogatives of the user. It carries very valuable pieces of information that is related to users, products, services, and even the entirety of specific business operations as a whole.

So the question becomes – how do you mine this data in the most timely and effective manner, and get the entirety of your defined value out of it?

In advance of our diving further into the topic, it’s important to understand that many organizations and partners are already looking at ways to bring AI further into the market.

Intelligent applications based on cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning look to be the next wave of technology that will radically transform how consumers and enterprises work, learn, and play.

These applications are being developed and implemented on cognitive / AI software platforms that offer the tools and capabilities to provide users with recommendations, predictions, and intelligent assistance made possible by cognitive systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Not surprisingly, cognitive / AI systems are quickly becoming a key part of IT infrastructure and the proverbial early-bird enterprises are working to understand and then plan for the adoption and use of these technologies in their organizations.

Get ready for a new working reality where cognitive systems and artificial intelligence across a broad range of industries will be one of (if not the) primary forces driving worldwide revenues from nearly 8 billion dollars in 2016 to more than 47 billion dollars by the time we reach 2020.

Here’s the big point to understand – deploying and implementing intelligent systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously will become the primary battleground for technology vendors and services partners through at least 2020. These technologies will aim to specifically replace legacy IT and business processes where functions were simply executed as predefined instructions. These machines will contextually adapt and help make powerful business as well as IT decisions

And so, here are the most prominent large-scale AI disruptions that will be arriving very soon:

  • Applied Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – These technologies can be more explicitly understood to be AI platforms that process data and help make decisions in a more contextually / other-sensitive manner that goes well beyond simple, rule-based, data processing algorithms. Instead, they are able to learn, adapt, predict, and – in some cases – even operate without any human interaction of any sort. Applied AI is going to be found in everything from self-driving cars to consumer electronics.

For example, IPSoft has an engine named Amelia which has every capability of being your very own digital employee. It acts as a learning engine and takes the initiative to monitor data, movements, processes etc. to learn your business, leverages key data points, and overall learn the entirety of the ‘ins and outs’ of what you do. From there, you can deploy Amelia as a cognitive agent capable of taking on the role of a service desk assistant, customer service associate, and even patient entry assistant.

  • Smart Apps Interacting with Data – How impressed would you be if your apps could help prioritize specific functions for you, based on conditions of the market, the customer, or any defined prerogative? Imagine if you could have a very informal conversation and then have your app go back and define important tasks based on that conversation? Smarter applications will leverage data to help transform the way we conduct day-to-day business. In the very near future almost every application dealing with data will come with a machine learning aspect to it.
  • Intelligence and User Augmentation – AI and smart systems will allow users to “double” up on what they’re trying to accomplish. Most of all, we’ll be able to integrate with wearable technologies, various business functions, and even create and orchestrated flow of information based on very specific use-cases. Leveraging AI and machine learning will allow users to function at a much higher level, bringing even more value to their business. This is NOT user replacement… rather it’s augmenting their capabilities and improving all of the processes surrounding their digital work (and home) life.
  • AI-Driven Security – Security is of increasing importance in the digital world, and particular in how it relates to e-commerce operations. AI-driven security architectures will mesh together with IT infrastructures, virtual technologies, user behaviour, cloud analytics, and a whole lot more. There will be a major need for smarter security systems as we merge into a much more complex – and inevitably interconnected – world. Look for these systems to be able to monitor contextual points around users, devices, flow of information, and much more to create intelligent security architectures. It’s going to be very impressive.
  • General Data-Driven IT solutions – These solutions will continue to deliver considerable value to users, as well as enhancing the services they consume and improving how businesses perform various functions within the digital realm. Some will be concerned that these systems are here to replace them, but that’s a shortsighted and off-base concern. The reasonable perspective is to understand that if you embrace AI technology and incorporate it judiciously it has the potential to bring so much more value to your operations and involvement in the digital business world.

There is always a degree of uncertainty and trepidation that’s attached to incoming new technologies that look as if they will thoroughly reinvent many aspects of the working world. Machine learning and AI systems should be welcomed, as they will help augment functions and aid us in making better, well-informed decisions and focus on growing our businesses, making them more streamlined in their operations, and creating better services.

The explosion of AI is definitely on its way, and we for one couldn’t be any more enthusiastic about it!

The Ins and Outs of Bitcoin Transactions for Web Hosts

Elon Musk is by and large a household name these days, not only for his creation of the first widely-used digital payment alternative in PayPal but also for being the engine behind the Tesla line of high-end electric vehicles. PayPal is well established, but Bitcoin is moving out of the shadows of the could-be class of digital technologies and yet next to no one will know who Satoshi Nakamoto is.

He’s the man who developed Bitcoin in 2009, and he’s acknowledged to be something of a ‘mysterious’ figure in the tech world. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a top Canadian web hosting provider, but we’re also keenly attuned to how many of your clients are operating e-commerce websites. Bitcoin is something of a buzzword these days, and as it continues to gain momentum there’s more than a few who are wondering how easy or not it will be to adapt Bitcoin as a payment method for customers.

Bitcoin is what’s come to be known as ‘cryptocurrency’ that is based on blockchain technology, rather than being regulated by a national currency, Bitcoin is considered by its proponents to provide unmatched privacy and security when compared to other currencies or payment systems, and without transaction fees or taxes. Where it’s iffy is that some of these same advantages also make Bitcoin appealing to those conducting criminal business online. In addition, security issues with Bitcoin exchanges and wallets contribute to its extreme volatility.

Still, its growing popularity cannot be denied, and we bet that it will continue to make inroads into the e-commerce world

A cryptocurrency is a subset of digital currency that is decentralized and structured on a set of algorithms and protocols that enable a peer-to-peer, cryptographically based payment mechanism, medium of exchange and store of value. It’s independent of external monetary value influences, and as such presents a more organic, interpersonal buyer / seller experience.

Independent Currency

Bitcoin’s currency supply is created through “mining,” and transactions with it are conducted peer-to-peer before being verified by network nodes. The blockchain is where each transaction is recorded in a public database.

Blockchain technology is based on the concept of a distributed database, in which all transactions are broadcast across a peer-to-peer network of users, and an algorithm is used to validate the users and transaction. The transaction will most commonly be an exchange of cryptocurrency, but can encompass other types of data, such as contracts.

The database (aka the “ledger” in Bitcoin lingo) is the record of transactions and is automatically distributed by all networked nodes running Bitcoin software. Bitcoins are mined by writing a new portion – or “block” – of the algorithm, incorporating a cryptographic hash of the previous block plus a separate number generated to continue the algorithm. The creator of the new block is awarded a set number of bitcoins and can then verify them and claim ownership of it with public and private keys.

Some of you may also have heard of Ethereum. It’s another cryptocurrency, and there are also offshoots of Bitcoin with Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Classic.

The general belief, however, is that Bitcoin is still 5 to 10 years away from widespread adoption

Pros and Cons of Bitcoin

Proponents of Bitcoin rave about its security and low transaction costs. There are no fees for receiving a Bitcoin payment, and fees for confirming spending are flexible. It can be traded across borders without extra fees, delays, or limitations, and with the fact payments cannot be reversed, you’re protected against the risk of chargeback fraud. Another plus is that processing payments does not require PCI or other regulatory compliance, and sensitive customer data is never stored. Multi-signature payment authorization for organizations and accounting transparency are also appealing for online retailers.

However, certain service providers will consider the irreversibility of payments a drawback, although it is important to note that the receiving party has the ability to reverse transactions. There is also the potential of coins being stolen by hackers, and the possibility of national regulatory measures may become a dissuading factor in the future. Bitcoin has been associated with online criminal activity at times, due to its use on platforms like Silk Road.

It would seem, further, that price volatility may be the greatest potential problem. In 2012, one bitcoin (BTC) was worth roughly $12. It passed $1,000 each in late 2013 amidst drastic fluctuations. A massive breach at the Mt. Gox Exchange led to the loss of 850,000 bitcoins worth an estimated $450 million in early 2014. Next, the price fell to roughly $200 in early 2015, but by the year’s end it had rebounded and more than doubled. It was worth nearly $800 per coin throughout 2016, and has spiked here in 2017.

In fact, The Economist reported that the price of a single bitcoin surpassed the price of an ounce of gold in March of this year. It’s definitely on the up as of now, but the currency’s propensity to volatility is well established.

How Web Hosts Can Accept Bitcoin

First, you’ll need to have a Bitcoin wallet to store your Bitcoins, and a public Bitcoin address to receive them. To accept payments in Bitcoin, businesses generally use a payment processing service, but it is not entirely necessary. Bitcoin community documentation recommends merchants use a full node and not a ‘light’ wallet, as it makes payment confirmation easier and makes you less vulnerable to hackers or the like.

BitPay and Coinbase are popular payment services for Bitcoin, and you can find a helpful guide for small businesses looking to implement Bitcoin payments at the Bitcoin Wiki.

Data indicates that in the vicinity of 100,000 merchants were accepting bitcoin as of 2 years ago, and there are now close to 300,000 Bitcoin transactions every day. We thinks there are several factors that will come to the forefront when a company is considering whether it’s worth it to set themselves up for Bitcoin, with the specific customer base, purchasing priorities and home jurisdiction being notable among many. The explosive growth and continuing development of Bitcoin and digital currencies make it important to pay attention to, and it’s definitely an emerging technology that’s worth keeping an eye on.

 

5 Expectations for Data Centres of the Future

With the way the business and private worlds both are ever more relying on digital capabilities, it’s really no surprise that data centers are constantly growing and evolving to take on the increasing demands being asked of them. It’s a trend that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, and as seeing to it that data centers are expanded in the smartest and most foresighted manner is very much a priority in the IT management world.

Here at 4GoodHosting, in addition to being a reputable Canadian web hosting provider we’re also keenly interested in the workings of our industry as a whole and both keeping on top of and being responsive to trends in the industry. This is one that is immediately relevant to us, and so today we’ll take a look at what experts predict will be the nature of data centres in the not-too-distant future.

The popular belief is that over the next 3 years, we’ll see the conclusion of a trend that has promoted change in almost every area, with networks, servers, and storage having been altered very drastically in a very short period of time. Folks like us will need to ensure our data centres are ready by focusing on networks, software, hardware (including servers), and storage. Preparing these crucial components of our data centres well in advance of the coming demands is supremely important.

Here’s 5 developments we believe we can expect to see with regards to data centres

Hyper Convergence Infrastructure Systems
There are greater numbers of different infrastructure systems than ever before, but hyper-converged infrastructure systems are increasingly the top choice for data center operators. Hyper-converged infrastructure systems are software driven systems that combine networking, storage, and other technology to enable the virtualization of the infrastructure system. By utilizing commodity computing, the system is able to streamline processes and maintain lower operating costs while still being administered by an individual hosting company. This essentially creates a nice consolidating of services and resources into a single system.

Certain critics do question whether or not hyper-converged systems have the ability to keep up with technological advances, especially considering the number of different components bundled into one system. Still, hyper-converged systems do offer cost savings and – perhaps more importantly – promise to be easier to operate. Hyper-converged systems are bound to continue to be attractive for data centre decision makers on account of their ease of deployment, ease of management and lower overall operating cost.

Automation Tools for Data Centers
Employing automation tools is critical for your data center if you intend to be prepared for the future. They simplify complex processes and thus allow administrators to focus more on the data centre’s overall performance. In addition to being cost effective and requiring less human control, automation tools also offer heightened and improved security for the data center.

It is indeed effective, and you’ll have struggles with your data centre running smoothly in the cloud (public or private) if automation is not part of your strategy. Looking at the modern data center and cloud landscape, you’ll notice a lot more interconnectivity and new capabilities that optimized the process of passing resources dynamically. Automation tools will definitely be a part of the future

Open (Source) Standards

The idea that open standards or open source resources could be hugely beneficial came about when developers made mounds upon mounds of free software available to the masses on a widespread scale. Today, open standards encompass software, hardware, and other technological functions for fostering public computing by granting administrators access to free resources. The advantage of that for data center operators is clear, with the costs saved being able to be invested into different resources and necessities required for the operation of the data center.

Open source resources will run on any commodity hardware, and as such they will allow free access. Hyper-converged infrastructure systems and open resources then worked together more synergistically, and when you factor in that cloud computing resources were made available through commodity hardware as well the appeal of open standards is here to stay for data center operators as well.

In fact, it’s changing the very foundations of the modern data center. By reorienting the way developers treat IT infrastructure that’s driven by application containers. Adoption of open source practices will continue to transform the modern data center ensuring it is ready for the technological changes that are most certainly on their way.

Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has drastically revolutionized how we receive, send, and share information and data – and in a good way! The development of a software-driven infrastructure system gives data center managers much more freedom and accessibility with the delivery of information. Software-driven infrastructure systems allow for more freedom and accessibility with the delivery of your information and cloud computing returns that control to administrators. The appeal of that also goes without saying, and many companies who have already embraced cloud computing are doing so more and more each month and especially in how it relates to the intake and output of data from data centres.

Software Advances
Not surprisingly, newer and ever-better software continues to be rolled out for consumers. The variety of it means you must be particularly discerning about updates and new if your data centre is to be functioning optimally. Networking is of significant importance too, and advances in Ethernet networking protocols have been a BIG plus for data centres as well. Keep up on the trends and dig deeper when possible and you’ll likely be kept in good stead when it comes to software advances for your data centre.

If nothing more, the sheer volume of data that data centres will have to both house, process, and export in the future will be staggering, but it’s good to know that technological developments are doing a decent job of keeping pace with the expansion and all the operation challenges it poses.

Buy & Sell Domain Names: As Profitable As Some Suggest?

You’ve probably all heard a story or two where someone foresaw the popularity of a particular term or name that would be associated with a specific subject matter. They then proceeded to purchase it as a .com or other extension domain name, and before long they flipped it off to a very qualified and desperate buyer who absolutely HAD to have it for their business.

While not the most well known such transaction, the biggest one was when someone made $35,000,000 for VacationRentals.com. Here at 4GoodHosting, we are a top web hosting provider in Canada, but our ‘worth’ is nowhere near such a lofty sum. With that understood, however, we do know quite a bit about buying domain names and how it’s rarely the windfall some people expect it to be.

However, when the domain trade is done right and you have a little bit of luck, it is an enterprise where particularly lucrative deals are certainly not unheard of. The tactic is straightforward: domain names are purchased with the prospect of reselling them at a significant profit. The trick, of course, lies in securing domains that may be valuable to deep-pocketed buyers, like a large company, somewhere down the line.

Today we’re going to discuss all the important facts and terms on the topic of selling domain names for a profit, as well as taking a look at some impressive examples of crazy high sale prices for publicly traded .com domains.

Selling a domain

Domains are nonmaterial goods. Accordingly, when they are sold the only transaction taking place is the actual transfer of the domain rights between users. With the exception of any instance where there is a copyright or trademark violation, pretty much any domain name can be bought or sold. However, generic domain names, such as car.com or computer.com, are not legally protected and as such can be reserved by anyone.

The value of a domain is determined via a specific evaluation process. The obvious part of that would be in understanding that traders will find domains that are indexed on Google and highly ranked to be particularly attractive. (Here is a very useful free Google Index Checker Tool) From there, specific SEO qualifications come into play, with backlink profiles or the search volume of the keywords in domain names also contributing significantly to the appraised value.

Further, design can also make a positive contribution to the price of a domain. Short and succinct domain names are preferable, and as such more valuable. Endings also factor in; top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com or .org are by far the most in demand.

Here’s a list of the most relevant criteria for determining a domain’s value:
-structure of the domain name
-relevance for the search engine
-market potential and usability
-bargaining power and legal situation

As the domain trade will always be dictated by market-driven principles, a particular domain will never be worth more than the buyer is willing to pay. Accordingly, criteria like market potential and usability will always be very integral to determining prices. Values can change in an instant and drastically, and the price of a domain that was once of little interest to anyone in years past can skyrocket seemingly overnight for one or more of many different reasons.

So, if you have one that you foresee being desirable in the future, you next need to know how to check if a domain name is available for registry?

Checking for a Domains Availability

You’ll find that those trading domains for commercial purposes are generally more focused on ones that feature those in-demand and thus valuable domain endings. For all intents and purposes, there are two different ways you can proceed to make money from the purchase and sale of domain names.

The first is in purchasing already established names for a low price, and then selling them for a profit later once their value has increased. The second involves buying and registering a domain that you believe will be desirable in the future and one that prospective buyers will compete over, thus making it worth more. Many domain traders use backorder services. These services automatically register a domain when one becomes available, or is deleted (A deleted domain is more typically one that has become an expired domain, meaning it hasn’t been renewed and paid for by the owner).

How are Domains Sold?

Domain trades can be conducted by many different means. The individual who’s registered a particular domain name generally is not anonymous and if you’d like to be in touch regarding the purchase of one it’s usually not difficult to do so. The domain holder has fully autonomy to sell his or her owned domains as they like, as well as promote them by whatever means they like.

Domains are most commonly sold in one of three ways:

The buyer directly approaches the holder
Prospective buyers are able to directly contact domain holders in cases where the desired domain is either available or not. Most registries will make the names and contact data of domain holders available publicly. You’re free to domain holders and make an offer for the name at any time, but obviously quite often you won’t even receive a reply if they’re not interested in selling it or they find your offer to be insufficient. Another point to keep in mind is that sales do occur more frequently in instances where the original domain owner did not have any existing commercial ambitions for the domain name.

The holder directly offers to sell the domain
It’s common for domain traders to inform website visitors that the page they are on is for sale by providing their contact data on the page. The more ambitious and profit-minded of them will actively seek out potential buyers.

Market platforms for domain trade
Domain marketplaces like Sedo, GoDaddy.com, or BuyDomains.com serve to link potential buyers with domain holders who are keen to move their virtual property. In a sense these platforms are functioning as a domain real estate agency of sorts, and accordingly they can be pricey for their services.

Examples of Lucrative Domain Sales

Dot com domains are still the extension of choice for prospective websites. According to domain marketplace Sedo, desirable .com domain names routinely command upwards of 4,000 dollars, and the most expensive publicly traded domain names have been known to fetch eight-figures. While that can be reason to get excited, sales of these sorts don’t occur regularly and you shouldn’t expect them for yourself.

Earlier we mentioned the example of the windfall that came from the sale of VacationRentals.com. Here is a list of another nine domains that were similarly big-time profitable when sold:

PrivateJets.com sold for $30,180,000
Insure.com sold for $16,000,000
Internet.com sold for $18,000,000
Fund.com sold for $9,000,000
FB.com sold to Facebook for $8,500,000
Diamond.com sold for $7,500,000
Beer.com sold for $7,000,000
Cloths.com sold to zappos.com for $4,900,000
Icloud.com sold to Apple for $4,500,000

Is It Genuinely Possible to Make Money in the Domain Business?

The sales highlighted above are definitely impressive, but again – most domains sell for significantly less extravagant prices and are generally in the two or three-digit range. It wasn’t that long ago that early birds who were able to secure general terms (like pancakes.com or bookmarks.com) that had yet to be protected by trademark rights often found themselves holding onto a very valuable piece of Web real estate. Those glory days are long gone, however, and those looking to make profits in today’s market must have a keen sense for upcoming trends if they want similar success.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, however. If you have the foresight to think of a domain name that might come to be in demand sometime in the future, definitely get in touch with us and if it’s available we’ll snap it up for you!

Good luck in your domain name prospecting efforts.

5 Must-Not-Dos For User Retention with Your App

There is a definitive difference between having users download your app and then having those users actually use your app. Surveys suggest that 80-90% of users will remove an app from their device after only one go-round with it, and most of us will recollect one or more instances where this has been true for us too.

With this drop rate understood, it’s clearly more important than ever for app developers to make sure their first impression with a user is a powerful one. Here at 4GoodHosting, our expertise is what’s made us a top Canadian web hosting provider, and we admire those who’ve made also made smart design and UX choices for their digital products.

Here are 5 things every developer must NOT do in the interest of retaking users past the original download of the app:

Pre-Registration:

The appeal of having a user to register with your app before they use it is well understood. You’ll be able to gather information about them and use that info to personalize their experience or to ramp up your marketing efforts with specific focuses. However, when you come to understand that over 50% users will abandon an app if they have to register before exploring its features it’s quickly something that you’ll decide against. A tip – consider delaying the registration process until they either want to access a specific part of your app that is reserved for registered customers only, or they’re aiming to open your app for the second time.

In addition, anyone who chooses to integrate social media into the login process should always allow users the option of registering without integrating their social media profiles. Constant sharing of their activities with their social networks is undesirable for many users.

Long input forms:

Mobile devices feature small displays. There will typically be only enough room for 2-4 input fields before the user will need to scroll down. Keep in mind as well that typing on a mobile touch screen can be difficult when the user is walking or in another form of motion, and some people have to little-to-zero tolerance for any errors or strange auto-corrects.

Making it so that your user to-be has to enter information into input field after input field will make him or her think negatively of the user experience. Instead, only require the simple, straightforward information from them: name, email, age, gender, or location. If you need to collect more information, splitting the input form into two or three screens is a good idea. This will give you more space per screen, meaning the user will have no need to zoom in, and it will almost eliminate the need for the user to scroll down the page.

Load time:

No one likes waiting, especially in the digital world. The longer the load time, the more negative the user experience. You avoid this scenario by testing, and doing so thoroughly and extensively. If you’re an Android developer, for example, you’ll test on all different device types, from top-of-the-line phones to mid-level, budget ones. Put the app’s performance to the test on Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and KitKat before publishing.

Apple developers have an easier go of it than their Android counterparts because all apps are required to support iOS 7, but iOS developers will be best served to still test their apps on older iPhone/iPad models to determine that there are no issues. Also, keep your app’s file size as small as possible, and consciously restrict the amount of processes your app runs in the background.

Not surprisingly, app crashes, app freezes, and slow launch time are consistently listed as three of the top reasons why users uninstall an app.

Overly Design Heavy:

The popular taste with app design trends over the past year is for simple, cleanly designed apps. Look no further than the design aesthetic of iOS 7! Simply put, simplifying the design and layout of your app is always preferable. If you aren’t sure where to start, try stripping your app of everything but the bare essentials. Cut back on the number of tabs and screens. Understand that excess fields and pages only add a perception of complexity to the user experience.

Try to determine whether or not your user really needs this feature to interact with the app? And if you’re still not sure if you app is simple enough then you can do a quick test. Are all the basic, necessary functions in your app performable with only a thumb? Yes? Excellent. No? Need to revisit.

The Facebook app for Android is a great example here. Every important action can be performed right from the first screen (the newsfeed). All buttons are at the top of the screen. Left swipe for one menu, right swipe for the other. All basic actions can be performed from one screen, with the option of expanding the number of actionable items via side-swipe menus.

No Need for Over Tapping:

Let’s say a user wants to undertake an action within your app. How many taps of the finger does he or she have to make to complete the action? Each swipe, tap, or pinch is an integral part of the user experience. As a rule, the user should be able to discern every tap as making some measure of progress for them towards their goal. The ideal is, of course, to have them get as much as possible with as little in put as possible.

Non-gaming developers need to really take heed of this one. Perhaps you have a music streaming app and this particular user wants to enjoy a playlist of songs by their favourite artist. How many times does a user have to tap the screen before they have access to that artist? And further – does your app take them right to their artist’s page? Or does it redirect them to a search results page where further taps on their artist’s name are required? Once they arrive, is a play button conveniently located at the top of the screen?

Let’s imagine further that they visit your app for a second time, looking for the same artist. Is that previous search already saved for them as a unique user, or must they begin the search process again? The fact that speed and mobile go hand in hand must be respected and catered to when it comes to app design.

Always be aware of the value in looking at even the smallest details when it comes to the design of an app, looking to how that may be connected to whole of user experience. The choices you make can be pivotal in retaining app users and seeing to it your app is received well by the downloading public.