Struts vs Spring as Java Framework

Spring and Struts are a pair of the most popular frameworks for Java web. More than a few of you among the developers out there will either already be familiar with them. If you’ve found the one that works best for you then this week’s blog may be one to pass over, but it may be a good read for those who’d like some insight into which one is best for you. Java has no internal organization, so both Spring and Struts offer a web development framework that allows the user to focus on building solid web applications.

There are a handful of different iterations of both. Here at 4GoodHosting, as a leading Canadian web hosting provider we’re very familiar with the value of being in the know regarding frameworks. And considering Java web is nearly ubiquitous for web app developers we’ll weigh some of the most common differences between Struts and Spring today.

Spring

Spring is a Java web framework. Java relies on objects collaborating and interacting with each other to produce applications. From these interactions come dependencies that Java doesn’t have the means to organize. Spring’s framework gives these components organization, handling your application’s framework to get you up and running quickly.

Spring’s components help you with different elements of your build. MVC handles web applications and replaces the older Struts model for increased functionality with more significant developments. MVC makes web app building less challenging because it your components are separated into three parts. The results is that it becomes easier to build and reuse code without too much modification.

Benefits of Spring:

  • Flexible
  • Easily integrated with other programs
  • Code can be tested easily

Spring’s Drawbacks:

  • Complex to learn
  • Less stable than Struts

Struts

Struts is also an open source Java web framework that helps with organization of the Java components in your app. It’s a front controller pattern that comes with fewer options than Spring, but not significantly less of them. A lot of the difference will depend on your preference.

Struts is an older, legacy application and many heritage sites are still constructed using it. It has integrations with Spring, especially with Struts2. It remains an accessible framework to learn, but it’s not entirely compatible with modern app development depending on the scope of the project.

Struts 2 was an outgrowth of the legacy system, and it helps to simplify Struts to make it more compatible with modern web development. It keeps the same architecture as the old system, with refinements and updates to its components. It must be said that it does have a history of security bugs.

Struts Benefits:

  • Simple design
  • Good tag features
  • Multiple view options

Struts Drawbacks:

  • Poor documentation
  • Has frequent compatibility issues

Struts2 vs Spring

A comparison between Struts2 vs Spring primarily becomes a question of updated legacy or documentation and thriving community. Struts 2 is more of an enterprise solution and it really benefits from having such elegant workarounds. It streamlines the development cycle very nicely.

The action is like a controller. As every time a request is made, the action is then initiated. This is unlike the ones in MVC architectures.

Spring, however, is really going to be a lot more efficient here. When we compare Struts2 vs Spring, Struts 2 gets high marks for its elegance, but Spring gets right down to the nitty gritty to give you a cleaner result that’s more consistent.

Strut 2 Features:

  • Ajax Support
  • Extensive support for both themes and templates
  • Configurable MVC components
  • Simple and reliable Java Object-based actions

Spring Features

  • Roles through MVC separated neatly
  • Flexibility with scale and highly adaptable
  • Flexible mode provides easy integration process
  • Spring tag library is robust but simple

Spring 2.0 Vs Struts

Spring’s modal view controller was introduced in response to common issues with Struts. It successfully delineates different aspects of your triad, making it easier to prototype and test. It’s not necessary to keep writing or modifying the code to get the result you’re after. This comparison of Spring 2.0 vs Struts starts with what’s easier.

Struts continues to generate actions in response to requests. For example, MVC neatly packages that action into the controller where it repeats itself without generating any type of a mess. It’s a neat little package, and popular for that reason.

If stability is your primary aim then you can integrate some aspects of Struts into the Spring framework. However, the Spring architecture does offer more flexibility within your design execution for Spring 2.0 vs Struts.

Struts Features:

  • Stability
  • Explicit control of your design

Spring MVC Features:

  • Clear web development
  • Handles aspects missing from Spring MVC

Choosing Struts Vs Spring

Struts is a legacy system to the extent that it’s always good to become familiar with how it works. Older systems likely won’t be able to integrate with Spring, and that makes it so that nearly every developer will encounter something made with Struts in their working life.

Struts still has a pretty dedicated following too, though documentation for it isn’t as vast as it is for Spring. Among its collection of satisfied users are those working within a problematic Java application and enjoying its stricter, more opinionated framework. If you appreciate direction, Struts will make the grade for you. We recommend it if you’re working with legacy programs or with clients unwilling to migrate to something else. Also, for simple applications that won’t have many requests, the structure does feel safer.

Boundaries aren’t always beneficial, however, and so working with Spring provides a much more open framework. It’s less opinionated, so you have the freedom to break from convention more frequently as needed. There’s no shortage of documentation now that the addition of MVC and the veneer of Spring Boot have provided fixes for Spring’s glaring issues. Java can be clunky, but with Spring you really benefit from the organizing framework.

Struts vs Spring: Conclusion

Finding one to be clearly superior to the other is difficult and most people will feel similarly. We recommend Struts with its legacy applications and neat, button-ed up design that will work well for the bulk of developers. Spring will work well with more creative, flexible designs where space is needed to move past convention now and again.

Consider the types of projects you’re going to be working on within Java and choose the one that gives you options to enhance the efficiency and reach of your work. As is always the case, experimentation and being in no real rush to come to conclusion is the best way to find out which web app development framework is going to be best for you.

 

 

Cloudflare is changing the game

In a world where Google, Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech space, Cloudflare has stolen away the headlines for the betterment of the internet with its recent announcement. The company announced on its 8th birthday that they would be launching a domain registry, and it is unlike any we have seen before.

Cloudflare, to the shock of many in the industry, has decided not to charge anything above the federally mandated cost to register a domain with the government. That is right; this multi-billion dollar company has chosen to not make a single penny off of your domain registration. In a world where the average Canadian spends between $10-$15 per domain, this is remarkable.

Cloudflare is not a small company and is about the same scale as Google at the moment. It has a core set of business that sees itself as a content distribution platform and secure infrastructure vendor for millions of client across the globe. It also has recently announced it is on a path to an IPO and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in preparation for this. So why do this?

Cloudflare is a unique company in the tech and capital market as they are doing two different things than any other major brand. First, the company does not see the internet as a property that you can corner, and instead looks to promote a free, equal and open internet, much like the values from Internet 1.0. Secondly, the company is doing things for the good of the internet, and although this might ultimately fail once the company scales, it is still a refreshing view from a larger company in the tech space.

This does leave one important question for consumers, what does this mean for the cost and registration of their domain? Well, it is a little up in the air. The Cloudflare system is still being tested and should be live within the month, but it looks to be set up similar to every other registry system. If you are up for renewal, it might be time to take a look around and see if you can benefit from using this new system. As well, for those who are operating hosting or other third party services, your overall cost to your company to get a website should start to drop for your packages if you choose Cloudflare as your registry option.

However, this does still leave some questions. Will the other registry companies like GoDaddy also drop their prices, or will they continue the same old costing options going forward? As well, if you are looking for other nations or domain names, will Cloudflare offer those? Finally, will Cloudflare provide an easy to use swapping option? These are all tough questions, and we will need to wait and see how Cloudflare’s announcement has changed the industry in only a few short weeks.

What are your thoughts? Is this just a bump in the road for the major registry options on the web, or the start of more competitive space for those looking to register domains?

Coming Soon: Quantum Computing

Many people are amazed at just how powerful computers and IT technology have become, and equally blown away by the extent to which they’ve become dominant forces changing nearly every aspect of our lives these days. There’s the old expression ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ and it seems that even though the digital revolution has been just that – revolutionary – this expression seems to be appropriate as we’re soon going to have see countries, economies, and every aspect of the global community reshaped by Quantum Computing.

As a leading Canadian web hosting provider, we’re just like everybody else in the IT-related business world that realized just how seismic a shift quantum computing is going to deliver to the world, and experts says that the technology could be realized within 10 years from now. When you think about how 2008 didn’t seem that long, that should put it in perspective. Let’s have a look at what exactly is quantum computing and detail how countries are doing the best they can to be the first to develop it and successfully implement it.

Quantum computers are a real handful, even for experts on computing. These machines process information at the elementary particle scale with electrons and photons and the like, and where different laws of physics apply. Conventional computers, on the other hand, process information as a stream of bits, each of which can be either a one or zero in current computing’s binary language.

Quantum bits, known as qubits, can register zero and one simultaneously. What this will allow, in theory, is the special properties of qubits making it so that the quantum computer can perform calculations at far higher speeds than current supercomputers. The main value of this would be in the realms of chemistry, material science or particle physics. These super powerful and intelligent machines could really make a big difference, and some examples could be aiding in discovering new drugs, optimizing financial portfolios and finding better transportation routes or supply chains. It almost certainly will also advance A.I. – another fast-growing field. Quantum computing could accelerate a computer’s ability to find patterns in large troves of images and other data.

Long story short, quantum computers could operate millions of times faster than today’s most advanced supercomputers, analyzing problems in minutes where a conventional computer could take any number of decades or even more than a century to solve. The technology is still in its infancy but it’s very likely that it will have a major impact on A.I., healthcare, transportation, communications, financial services, weather forecasting and much more.

Naturally, this type of power comes with risk. Some have talked of the possibility of a coming ‘cryptocalypse’ in national security where state secrets, your emails, bank accounts and credit cards are at risk because quantum computers would render traditional internet security programs useless. Both countries want to be leading this emerging science.

Race is On

Currently, both the USA and China are spending massive amounts of money trying to be the first to realize working quantum computing. There are many reasons for that, but a principle one certainly is that a quantum computer could in several decades be powerful enough to break the codes of today’s best cryptography. The implications for national security interests are obvious.

This isn’t anything of an ‘arms race’ as yet, and experts working in the field say there’s a healthy respect between each side given the nature of exploratory research so far. The hope in the US is that strong government backing will help attract a broader group of engineers and entrepreneurs to this field, and that is should and likely will be less like the cloister of Manhattan Project physicists developing the first first nuclear weapons last century. Rather, the hope is that it will be more of a collection of tinkerers and programmers who built thriving industries around the personal computer, the internet and smartphone apps.

The implications for healthcare and transportation in particular are potentially huge also, and particularly for the way it could massively reduce inefficiencies and make quicker and more reliable correlations between diseases and causes / cures and allow for transportation advances like ‘smart’ traffic lights and the like.

It promises to be reshaping of the landscape on the grandest scale, and it’s really all very exciting!

 

The Deal with Bare Metal Servers

‘Cloud’ is definitely the biggest buzzword in the computing world these days, and while those who are tech savvy will know all about it, even the best of them may not know all of its potential applications. Cloud hosting, for example, is an alternative to having websites hosted on shared hosting or dedicated servers. Often times it’s not easy to determine what type of server is the best fit, choosing from the three main options – Shared Hosting / Dedicated Server Hosting / Cloud or Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting.

Shared hosting is by far the most common option for small businesses and individuals, and here at 4GoodHosting we’re like most Canadian web hosting providers in that most of our customers get by just fine with shared hosting plans. They consist of many websites hosted on a single server, and they offer extremely good value for money. A website on shared hosting can handle up to 30,000 visitors per month, and that’s usually no more than most sites will need. Shared hosting also has the advantage of being very simple to set up, making it ideal for the beginner or non-technical user. The packages typically will come with unlimited bandwidth as well.

Dedicated server hosting is quite different, with a single server hosting the website(s) or application(s) of a single user. The dedicated server’s advantage is that the entire server is geared for optimum performance because you have the entirety of it to yourself. Yes, dedicated hosting can be expensive, but that vast amount of processing power means it’s worth the expense if fast page-load times, a dedicated IP, and the ability to handle a lot of traffic – as many as 100,000 visitors per month – are important to you. In addition, dedicated servers are very secure and will allow multiple IPs for services that need to be kept separate.

Moving on to cloud hosting, also known as virtual private server (VPS) hosting, we can say it’s probably the most difficult to describe of the three. To summarize it, it’s like having access to nearly unlimited resources and you access as many or as few of them as you need at any given time. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds; you get the wealth of computing resources that you’d get with a single dedicated server, but for the affordable price of shared hosting. All with real scalability and flexibility included also.

VPS hosting is also good for the more technically inclined out there, because of all the customization you can do if you know what you’re doing.

Bare Metal Servers

There’s a new hosting alternative on the scene now, however, and that’s bare metal server hosting. It’s a relatively recent development that offers a hybrid solution, providing performance and cost-effectiveness by pairing the best parts of dedicated hardware and cloud technology at the same time. They’re not entirely new, and some say they’re just a reinvention of dedicated servers. However, the way they integrate with cloud-based technologies makes them different from dedicated servers by offering increased flexibility and cost control.

Bare metal servers aren’t virtual servers, they’re ‘physical’ ones and they are ‘single tenant’ – each one belongs to a single customer. No matter if it’s running any amount of work for the customer or has multiple simultaneous users, a bare metal server is dedicated to that one customer renting it exclusively. And unlike servers found in data centres, bare metal servers are not shared between multiple customers.

Significant but short-term processing needs is where a bare metal server shines. Data can be stored, processed or analyzed on a server for as long as needed, and when it’s no longer needed then the server can be wound back down. This means resources aren’t wasted, and you’re not running the server for longer than necessary.

This is quite different from VPS hosting or cloud servers. With those there is a typical cloud server infrastructure, and dozens of virtual machines could be running on the same physical server. Each will have its own processing requirements too. Bare metal servers are single-tenant, so resources are allocated to that one user exclusively, and they can count on guaranteed higher performance.

No Hypervisor = Superior Performance

The hypervisor layers is another term only the most tech savvy of you will be aware of. It’s the virtual machine monitor which creates and runs VMs, and manages the execution of the guest operating systems. Bare metal servers eliminate this layer and this lets them offer higher performance. Keeping a hypervisor running drains resources and this inevitably leads to a degradation in performance on cloud servers. Bare metals servers have no hypervisor layer because they are dedicated, physical machines.

From a technical perspective, a bare metal server is the same as a dedicated server for all intents and purposes. It offers the same high-performance resources that are dedicated to one user, but has the advantage of flexible, pay-as-you-use billing and you’re not signed to any contracts for your web hosting.

All About the Hybrid

Bare metal servers shine even more when they’re combined with a more traditional cloud infrastructure. Those with an existing cluster of virtual machines hosting their website can then link a bare metal server to your VMs and have them work in unison.

High-performance bare metal servers are strongly suited for situations where companies need to perform short-term, data-intensive functions without being slapped with any overhead performance penalties, such as typically will be the case with high-volume data processing. Before them, organizations couldn’t move these workloads into the cloud without being forced to accept lowered performance levels. Bare metal servers have changed that.

A bare metal / cloud hybrid solution may be something your business or organization would like to look into, as it pairs virtualized cloud services with a dedicated server environment that can eliminate the hypervisor overhead without giving up your flexibility, scalability and efficiency.

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.