Linux Hosting for Business: 5 Compelling Reasons to Optimize Your Choice

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Linux Hosting for Business: 5 Compelling Reasons to Optimize Your Choice Being known as the software with the cute Penguin mascot may contribute to marginally to the popularity of Linux, but the reason that most Canadian web hosting providers will offer Linux-based hosting to their customers is because of its overall robust nature and reliability as a web hosting OS. Plus it has a greater degree of compatibility with different types of websites, and all three of those advantages along with super flexibility and cost-effectiveness grow out of the fact that Linux has been built on open-source code.

That may all sound fine to many who aren’t as tech-inclined as others, but many of those folks who have a website that is front and center for the profitability of their business will need more tangible explanations about why they should choose a Linux web hosting provider in Canada like 4GoodHosting. The obvious answers for those who are in the know will be to tell them that being open-source means that Linux-based hosting tends to be less expensive, and then there’s also the fact you won’t need to add an additional antivirus 99+% of the time.

This is just scratching the surface of what makes Linux server hosting the best and most cost-effective choice for a business’ website, and if you compared packages you’ll find that cheap Linux hosting does exist and none more so than with our shared web hosting packages here at 4GH. But many of these sites will need more ‘elbow room’, and in those cases Linux VPS web hosting is unbeatable and will get our nod as the best Linux web hosting in Canada.

Programmer / Developer Friendly

Continuing with our promotion of Linux server hosting, it really is a robust and versatile operating system and capable of supporting a number of languages and scripts. This is the reason it is one of the most preferred platforms for programmers and developers. Again, that’s wonderful but how does that translate into tangible benefits for the web hosting client who’s looking for maximum return from their website and overall web presence?

It’s easy to provide an answer to that; if greater and immediate control over your website and the ability to make structural changes is something that you’ll want to have then Linux server hosting is the best platform as users are granted full control. And this is most often through cPanel like it is here at 4GoodHosting. Programmers prefer it too as they can easily fix bugs and update the source code of Linux according to their requirements.

Enough said likely, so let’s get to the first our of 5 compelling arguments.

  1. Real Usage Versatility

Linux is every bit as useful for the operating systems of newer devices as it is for ones serving older machines. It is different from other web hosting OS choices in the way it is well suited for reviving older hardware and even the most outdated systems. This is a much more relevant consideration for smaller businesses and ones that need to limit expenditure on new machines.

  1. Ease of Use

Linux is impressively streamlined as a web hosting OS. System techs are able to play around in Linux and its user-friendliness makes it so that it can be reconfigured quickly and easily in the way moving parts contribute to the whole. In comparison to Windows web hosting especially, Linux is a modular system that you can ‘play’ with and this helps quite a bit when designing an application or web solution while adhering to certain ideals you want to see in it. Fiddling with source code, for example, is entirely doable as is building your own solution from ground up.

  1. Open Source Platform

The only server option to offer open-source solutions to users? Yep, that’s Linux too and it’s perhaps the best advantage Linux server hosting offers to a provider. Being a collaborative system where anyone can contribute encourages more innovation in the field of servers, and the way this promotes greater and better contributions if of the highest value as the server continues to improve year after year.

  1. Reduced Cyber Attack Vulnerability

There is no one operating system that is going to be 100% immune to cyber-attacks. Of all them, though, Linux has been affected the least during major cyber-attacks documented to this point. While other operating systems such as Windows rely on in-house teams to fix any problems, Linux and its open source network ensures that any vulnerabilities in the Linux system are quickly found and fixed right away. This will apply to cheap Linux hosting too, as that same open-source framework means the web host provider in Canada will be able to make more affordable web hosting available to you that still offers these assurances.

  1. Superior Privacy

Most people who are knowledgeable about web hosting will tell you that data privacy is another major consideration when weighing a web hosting service provider. Operating systems gather more information about their user profiles, which may mean better usability for some but lack of privacy for others. Linux does nothing of the sort, and in fact it collects very little data from users. Plus with the fact it is customizable, you can always remove any software that you don’t like or trust.

Get the best Linux web hosting in Canada here at 4GoodHosting, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about which web hosting package will be the best fit for your website. Last but not least, Happy New Year to everyone and we hope 2024 will be a prosperous year for you.

Coming End for Tracking Cookies in Google Chrome

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Coming End for Tracking Cookies in Google Chrome

Coming End for Tracking Cookies in Google Chrome

There’s all sorts of examples where something that was once an extra, an addition, or whatever else it is you’d call it becomes much more integral. That’s definitely the case with cookies, and of course we’re not talking about anything edible at all considering what we write about here each week always has some relation to websites and web hosting. Instead we’re talking http cookies, and if you’re not familiar with what they are here is a brief explanation. Cookies are text files with small pieces of data used to identify your computer as you use a computer network, and HTTP cookies are used to identify specific users and improve a person’s web browsing experience.
Now in that sense they are something of an extra, as the extent to which a person is pleased with their browsing has no relation to whether they can literally browse or not. There are factors that will determine that, and this is where any Canadian web hosting provider will chime in and say that none of that even gets off the ground unless you’ve quality Linux-based web hosting behind the sites you direct your browser of-choice to. But cookies themselves haven’t been such an integral component of a website. Until recently that is, as what has happened is that for some websites they are unable to function properly without them.

And so all of this is relevant now with news that tracking cookies will no longer be utilized with Google Chrome – the browser of-choice for most nowadays and likely to continue as it – and the reason for that being to improve user privacy and stop websites from tracking people as they visit different URLs. The last part of that is something that many people have put a lot of emphasis on when it comes privacy concerns related to how they use the Internet. So this is what we are going to dig deeper into with this blog entry.

Option to Re-Enable

All this is happening as part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox project. January 4th of next month is when they will start testing a new Chrome feature called Tracking Protection that will automatically block tracking cookies by default so that data cannot be followed around the web. But the question then becomes what if a site relies on cookies to function as needed without them.

The answer there is that if Chrome determines that you need to – for example – refresh a page many times then you’ll be allowed to re-enable cookies for that site. Google has also said it will initially roll out Tracking Protection to 1% of Chrome users at the beginning of 2024, so most people are unlikely to even be aware of this to begin with or have it affect their web browsing. It is only once we reach the second half of the year that they are aiming to be blocking Cookies for the majority of users in Chrome, so it’s definitely something to be aware of.

Circling back the functionality of http cookies, we can expand on how they’re not just for snooping on your web browsing habits. They have other uses, like keeping you logged in on various websites. This sort of functionality needs to be maintained throughout this switch, so Google has provided alternatives. Most notably with APIs that developers can use in certain cases, and they’re also encouraging developers to review their cookie use to guarantee their sites remain working once the change becomes wholesale.

Adjoining Interests

Google is not the first to do this though, although the reason their move is more newsworthy is simply related to how it is the default browser for nearly everyone these days. far from the first browser developer to restrict third-party cookies. Apple’s Safari, Firefox and Brave have had trackers blocked in this way for a long time already, and this has already given them some renown as being more secure browsers than Chrome. Keeping pace with that is likely a big part of why Google is doing this.

One of the last things we should also take into account here is how tracking cookies are an important part of online advertising, and Google has immense business interests in that. The belief is that this more measured tactic means Google will be able to give website owners tools to ensure their sites keep working, instead of having them lock content beyond paywalls or move to more covert forms of tracking because of different interests.

In the bigger picture of all that Chrome is incredibly popular, and enjoys a huge lead in usage among web browsers. Google likely sees that improving the privacy assurances it can offer to those who use Chrome as their browser will very much be in their interest and will likely be welcomed by privacy advocates. Despite the slow rollout a huge swath of internet users will get a much more private experience over the course of 2024..

Unveiling SSD Storage: Enhancing Performance in Our Hosting Plans

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Unveiling SSD Storage: Enhancing Performance in Our Hosting Plans

Unveiling SSD Storage: Enhancing Performance in Our Hosting Plans

There was once when tubes were on the top of the electrical circuit kingdom but since then solid state drives have really taken over based on their reliability. Vintage guitar amp enthusiasts will argue otherwise, but everyone else who has an understanding and appreciation of this kind of engineering will know that solid state really is tops for working reliability and the ability to withstand shocks to the system. Without going into too much detail that’s the reason that SSD storage is a big part of why SSD web hosting is superior for most.

That reliable performance has everything to do with these drives’ integrated circuit assemblies and the way the make data storage different – and better. Traditional hard disk drives wouldn’t have had tubes, but that’s not the point here. What is the point is that the reason SSD drives are better is because they don’t run as hot, they don’t run as loudly, and they are a lot more shock resistant. But what is even more important as it relates to being better is that they use less power, are much less likely to fail mechanically, and – last but not least – you don’t need to defragment them.

Your Canadian web hosting provider will need to be writing them over, and sometimes much more frequently than you’d think so using these drives in Canada is the sensical choice to be offering hosting customers who only have one priority with this – reliable uptime for their website and reasonable prices on SSD web hosting in Canada. These compact storage devices have become the backbone of modern hosting plans, and they’ve given websites a whole new level of performance and reliability.

NAND Flash Plus 1

A simple definition for SSD drives is that they are a type of storage device that uses semiconductor memory technology equipped with NAND Flash memory rather than spinning disks to store and retrieve data. They are almost like a larger-scale and speedier version of the USB flash drives you have at home, but sitting in a computer instead. Faste access times is definitely the foremost benefit of SSDs compared to HDD drivers, and their higher read and write speeds make all the difference in the world.

These drives also have no moving parts and are more compact than most hard drives. Their ability to handle multiple input/output operations simultaneously also makes them the better fit for web hosting needs since websites must often access a great deal of information from different sources – databases, images, audio files, and more.

SSDs are also nicely versatile for web hosting providers because they can be compatible with preceding drives’ file systems and they can store different types of website files fairly reliably too. Another big plus is the way they can have the same interface connected to a web, and that contributes to lower-cost operations in a significant way.

Super Speedier

You can actually watch and see how data retrieval becomes a lightning-quick process with an SSD drive compared to an HDD drive. Web pages do load impressively faster, and that’s high on the priority for anyone who has their website hosted by us. If a website is slow, you’ll need to find a solution before you go down in SERP rankings.

SSDs score much higher for reliability too, and it is even more emphatically clear with the way that up until recently hard drives were still considered relatively reliable despite having moving parts. Moving parts will often be the first that start to fail because of ongoing wear n’ tear with conventional hard drives. And even in the event something like this happens with an SSD drive you have a much more likely chance of recovering the data.

The long and short of it all is that SSD storage with SSD web hosting is so much better for the seamless navigation and interactions that webmasters want to hear of website visitors experiencing. By harnessing the power of SSD storage, website owners can significantly enhance the overall user experience.

Less Power Usage Too

Solid state drives consume less power than standard hard drives do, and experts familiar with the technology will tell you they often use 5 watts or less per cycle. This means an environmentally friendly choice too, and many of the type of people who will choose 4GH for web hosting in Canada will want to see that as part of a company’s values.

Dedicated hosting plans with SSD web hosting are always going to provide sites with the best performance environment. But we can also see that SSD storage brings a competitive edge to shared hosting plans, with multiple sites being together all on one single server and often with a smaller data center connected.

The lightning-fast read and write speeds of SSDs give shared hosting more of what it needs to run smoothly and not be putt-putting at times when there’s not enough bandwidth available to allow for traffic spikes.

Best for All Web Hosting

SSD drives are also a big part of why all our different web hosting package options can be relied on for optimal performance when paired with the strength of having 2 large data centers in Canada. We offer SSD storage with every hosting package we have here and we definitely make the grade for reliable and fast web hosting that has the best SSD servers being a big part of why we’re able to offer that. SSD web hosting can push your website’s performance into a new stratosphere, and site visitors will be extremely pleased with lightning-fast speed, and provides the reliability and stability your online presence deserves.

Mastering cPanel: Your Comprehensive Guide to Efficient Website Management

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8 Essential Tips to Boost the Performance and Speed of Your WordPress Website

For many people, their high level of proficiency with whatever they’re good at is the result of their growing up with it. Now to have grown up with web development and operations you’d have to be a fairly young person right now given the Internet isn’t even quite 30 yet. Those youngsters are going to be the most capable of being a webmaster and operating/managing a website, but for those of us who were born decades before the advent of the information superhighway that may not be such an easy thing to do.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any good Canadian web hosting provider in the fact that we get that, and that’s why most of us will provide our recipients with cPanel controls that make the processes a lot easier and doable. The ease of use and far-reaching functionality of cPanel is the reason it has become as ubiquitous as it is for website management through a web host. Others are good, and some would even say equally good but cPanel is the industry standard for anyone enjoying the best Linux shared hosting.

We’re inclined to say it’s intuitive, but we realize that some may not take to it as easily or get a handle on it as fast as we might. So for this entry, we’re going to provide a comprehensive guide to efficient website management with cPanel. And for anyone weighing their options for the best Linux web hosting in Canada, it may be that this demonstration is part of what makes going with either shared or VPS hosting here even more convincing. So let’s get into it.

Ideal Interface

cPanel controls and sets various aspects of your website, and that’s a necessity as ever website needs an interface operating behind it and used to tailor the site preferences so that it runs and displays exactly as you’d like it to. This includes email accounts, database connections, and FTP settings available through cPanel’s easy-to-use interface. It’s a WHCP – web hosting control panel – and as we mentioned every web hosting provider will have one that they make available to customers.

The reason being they’d be inundated with requests, demands, and all sorts of ‘can you do ____ for me’ inquiries to the point they’d never be able to operate the business.

cPanel is a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) that works very well for simplifying website management and server administration tasks for users of all technical backgrounds. It’s a robust and user-friendly control panel that has been integral in the web hosting industry and continues to be to this day.

With cPanel you can configure almost anything related to your website and web server, and some of the most popular customization is with email creation and management, domain redirects and management, website file and database managers, and implementing optional security features. You can also change server and software settings, and dictate how frequently your site will conduct backups or enact restores. cPanel will always be present with Windows web hosting Canada plans, and it can be configured to work with many web hosting plans and dedicated servers, too.

Getting Started

We’ll start with access here. You can access cPanel from your web host’s dashboard with the username and password provided to you with the onboarding communication. It shouldn’t require anything more than entering those credentials and then you should be in your cPanel and ready to take control. Navigation is nicely simple with a responsive and intuitive interface. On the left of it, you’ll see all your products and services you can manage. You’ll also find a submenu under Tools, and this is where most of the settings we’ll need in this tutorial will be.

All tools are split into categories in the center for easy access, but you’re able to reorder any of these by clicking and dragging them with your mouse, and over time you’ll find you use some more than others and these can be repositioned to the top. On the right sidebar is where you’ll have your general server information, along with your site’s current domain name (URL) and IP address from which the last login occurred. Plus there’ll be some very basic statistics about the site’s storage, bandwidth, and file usage.

The entire panel has a nice and simple point-and-click interface design, and most people learn to make their way around it fairly quickly along with customizing their site without much in the way of struggles or difficulty.

Basic Website Management

For most people their website management involves handling essential tasks such as creating email accounts, managing website files, and handling databases. A significant number of sites being hosted here at 4GoodHosting our with any other web host in Canada will be WordPress sites. In the event yours is the same, you’ll need to start by knowing how to install WordPress from cPanel.

Inside your cPanel dashboard, locate the ‘Softaculous Apps Installer’ icon or simply search for ‘Softaculous’ in the search bar. Click on the ‘WordPress’ icon or search for ‘WordPress’ within the Softaculous interface. What you’ll see next is an overview of WordPress along with an ‘Install Now’ button, and when you click on it that will start the installation process. That’s all there is to it.

Next, let’s discuss creating email accounts in cPanel. Go to the ‘Email Accounts’ section and select the domain that you want to have a custom email address for. Go ahead and pick a username for your email account that represents you or your website, and then your next step is to set a strong password for added security. You have the option of using the Password Generator here if you don’t have a strong password of your own.

Customize Email Settings

Customizing various settings is possible after creating your email account. Your options here will include autoresponders where you set up automated responses for your email account, forwarding for redirecting messages to another address, and spam filters to limit unwanted emails.

From there we’ll move to managing files and your FTP account in cPanel. This is advisable as understanding File Transfer Protocol (FTP) can give you greater control over your site’s file structure. With FTP, you can directly upload files to your account’s storage from your computer via an FTP client like FileZilla, or another free FTP client software.

Uploading and managing website files is possible by accessing the ‘File Manager’ in your cPanel dashboard under the ‘Files’ section, and for most they will look for the ‘public_html’ folder for the main website. Click ‘upload’ and select the files you want to upload from your local computer and then once they’re in place you can move, rename, or delete files as needed using the File Manager’s interface.

Database Management

Databases are integral infrastructure for websites, and that’s very true for those powered by content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and others that are standard with the best Linux web hosting. You will want to know how to set up and manage databases, and in the cPanel dashboard you can go straight to the ‘databases’ before clicking ‘MySQL Databases.’ Enter a name and click ‘create database’ to create a new database. You can then add a user to the database, along with assigning privileges to those users or limiting them with custom permissions.

Connect your website to the database using the provided database details. Connecting your WordPress website to the database is best done with the first install wizard or automatically if you’re taking advantage of 4GoodHosting’s Managed WordPress Hosting, which is recommended if you want maximum functionality and page loading speeds for your WordPress website.

PhpMyAdmin will likely be your primary tool for configuring or creating a MySQL database and accounts, but it’s good to know you won’t see it on your cPanel as it comes out of the box. It is a separate application you can launch from inside cPanel and again you’ll go to the Tools submenu to find it.

cPanel for Advanced Website Features

Not all sites are built simply or function basically, and for ones that have greater needs, a webmaster will want to be able to fine-tune and optimize their website to a greater extent. Security and backups are a priority for a lot of people with these sites, and the good news is that implementing security measures to your account is now easier than ever.

cPanel offers a range of tools to help you safeguard your online space. The latest versions of cPanel come with a strong two-factor authentication system that provides fantastic security beyond the usual username and password combinations. cPanel will also provide you feedback on the security strength level for your password(s). Hotlink protection is another good feature, and it prevents other websites from directly linking to your files so that they’re not able to advantage of your account’s bandwidth.

Two-factor authentication for an additional layer of security is also good, and you can also browse and choose SSL certificates that secure data sent between your website and your visitors. This enhances security and your site’s credibility will be boosted in the process.

Performance optimization can also be a part of the equation and benefits of having cPanel at your disposal, and that’s what we’ll conclude with here. Look into Gzip compression, image compression, and various other optimization tasks, and you also have the option of trusting in the process and going with cPanel’s Optimization option to compress all content on your website for better performance.

8 Essential Tips to Boost the Performance and Speed of Your WordPress Website

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8 Essential Tips to Boost the Performance and Speed of Your WordPress Website

It’s hard to think of examples where complexity is preferable to simplicity, at least when you look at whatever it is for an end-user perspective. There are times when architectural complexity is needed for any number of different interests, but when it’s you that is doing the building and using of it then you probably want everything to be as simple as possible. That certainly applies to websites, as most people who don’t need anything too fancy with theirs are going to be fine with a simple yet functional and fairly good looking one too.

For many that’s a WordPress website, and the ease of use with putting one together and maintaining or upgrading it is why WordPress websites are more numerous that other type of site. Good Canadian web hosting providers like us here at 4GoodHosting are receptive to that popularity and will offer managed WordPress web hosting plans that are optimized for these types of sites. They are also decidedly affordable for people who aren’t leaning on a website to be the most focal point of whatever is they’re promoting for themselves with Toronto web hosting

So going the simple route with a WordPress website is a great place to start if you’re claiming a domain name for the first time and you’re ready and eager to make yourself visible on the information superhighway. There are also ways to make your WordPress site function ever better despite it’s barer-bones simplicity, and that’s what we’re going to look at with this blog entry.

Speedier is Important

Optimizing website speed isn’t a nice-to-have for WordPress website owners, and nowadays it’s really something that you can’t do without at all. There’s been research that’s indicated nearly half (47%) of consumers won’t give a web page any longer than two seconds to load. This is something nearly everyone can relate to, as no one is willing to tolerate or be patient with a page that doesn’t load sufficiently quickly.

There are several strategies you can implement to speed up your WordPress website to go along with the speed benefits that come with Toronto web hosting optimized for WordPress sites. So without any further talk here are our actionable steps that can increase your website’s ability to load with the type of speed that visitors are going to expect with it.

  1. Optimize Images

Images are an integral part of having the right type of engaging content, but they can also be a part of the reason why your pages aren’t loading quickly enough. What you can do here is compress your pictures before uploading them and this is the easiest way to remedy this situation and you’ll quickly see that your images don’t look any worse because you’ve compressed them.

There are a number of free plugins that you can use to do this, and you can also consider using the modern WebP format, which gets high marks for its high compression rate and excellent visual quality.

  1. Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching is a means for storing frequently visited elements of your website in a visitor’s browser. The advantage to this is in the way that it lets you load the cached elements like images, stylesheets, and JavaScript files swiftly any time that same user returns to your site. Plugins are ready to make this step easy for you too, and ones like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache can be used to make browser caching a part of your WordPress website’s functionality.

  1. Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

You’ll find that most WordPress websites will be utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is a distributed network of servers for delivering your website’s content from a server nearest to the user’s location and chosen from many available ones around the world. The way it speeds up the delivery is based on shortening the physical distance the data needs to travel, and just like that you’ve got faster page loads and an increased likelihood of your site visitors sticking around. Look into any of the best ones out there, including CloudFlare and MaxCDN, that integrate easily with WordPress.

  1. Go with Lightweight Themes and Plugins

When a WordPress theme is too heavy, it can detract from the website’s page loading speeds. Choosing lightweight themes with fewer file sizes and features is the better choice here, and if it can be paired with cleaner and more streamlined code it can really go a long way with decreasing the complexity of your website’s structure. You can be increasing selective of plugins here too, because you never want to have too many of them. An excess of plugins can mean more HTTP requests, and that will mean more of the slowdowns we’re trying to avoid here.

  1. Minimize External HTTP Requests

Continuing with talk around HTTP requests, the biggest problem is when they’re directed towards external scripts like fonts and tracking codes, something that happens quite regularly when servers get requests. When this happens delays with page loadings may occur. Auditing the site to identify any unnecessary external requests is advisable, and you may find ones that are detrimental but won’t affect your site’s functionality and aesthetics if you remove / replace them.

  1. Prioritize Database Optimization

It’s common for a WordPress database to become cluttered with unnecessary data over time, and often the culprits are post revisions, spam comments, and transients. It’s smart to clean and optimize your database regularly so that your site’s performance benefits from it. Most Toronto web hosting providers will have several WP plugins available through their control panel for site webmasters to remove unneeded data and streamline your database, and again this will contribute to faster loading times.

  1. Enhance Mobile Responsiveness

A website that is fully responsive for mobile web browsers is of paramount importance in an era where most people go online via their smartphones more often than by any other means. It’s a standard recommendation that WordPress website operators optimize their site for mobile devices, and that is best done with responsive design techniques and testing performance on various devices and screen sizes. This may be a more laborious process, but it’s something you can and should do if your aim is to deliver a seamless and fast browsing experience for mobile users too.

  1. Go Enterprise Level

This last suggestion if probably a more obvious one, but there are different type of WordPress web hosting available and enterprise level ones will be more expensive. But they’ll also give your website much more in the way of the built-in resources needed for optimized performance, and boosting loading speeds in a big way as part of that. Higher level WP hosting packages in Canada are definitely recommended for Toronto web hosting or anywhere else in the country, and multi-level caching with dynamic caching technology that is engineered explicitly for WordPress is the biggest reason why these advanced WordPress web hosting options are worth the added expense.

Role of Hypervisors in Virtual Private Servers

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Role of Hypervisors in Virtual Private Servers

All of us breathe most optimally through our noses, and our elbows, knees, or any other joint in the body will have nothing to do with oxygen intake and delivery. But when people talk about elbow space it can have a very direct and figurative connection to another term – breathing room. Any time you say something needs more elbow room or breathing space it means that the current accommodating environment is too small. More space is needed for the area around you or whatever else it may be. There’s a very valid analogy that can be connected between these expressions and web hosting through a virtual private server.

The primary and nearly exclusive reason that someone will move their site from a shared hosting arrangement to a VPS one is because there website needs more breathing room, elbow space, or whatever you want to call it. Sites that are larger and / or have more dynamic multimedia content will often eventually need to have VPS hosting. Another common scenario is that a site becomes more popular and has more inbound traffic and there’s not enough to accommodate that with shared hosting.

Like any good Canadian web hosting provider we’re keen to make prospective customers aware of what type of web hosting will fit them best, along with explaining what makes one or the other work as well as it does. That’s what we’ll do here with this week’s entry in talking about how hypervisors are an important of what gives VPS hosting the power and potential it does for people who need a more capable environment for their business website.

Role of Hypervisors in Virtual Private Servers

Role of Hypervisors in Virtual Private Servers

Smart Splits

Understanding what a hypervisor is first requires an understanding what a virtual private server is, and how they work. We have gone over this at length before so we’ll just go over it briefly here. A VPS server is one server that’s split up into many different servers. Try thinking of it as an office building. While there is only one building, it’s separated into different units and there are different businesses or professional service providers renting just one unit for their own use. Having other units right next to you in the same building doesn’t take away from any one of their abilities to operate their business.

This is sort of how a virtual private server works, and what a hypervisor does is allow for truer and more ideal virtualization so that each site is able to function as their webmaster intends with fewer compromises in performance or any other attribute. They are able to install their own operating system, and use their own drivers and software on their own VPS. Quality hypervisors make it so that nothing on a virtual private server will be relying on any underlying software.

Only virtual private servers that use hypervisor visualization will come with this type of technology, and it is most optimally rolled out as part of ones with OS-level virtualization. There is an important difference there, and that’s where we’ll move to next. Full OS-level virtualization means there is an operating system (OS), a kernel, hardware, drivers, and more that will be used by every virtual server located there out of functional necessity.

Better Customization

A VPS without a hypervisor will still be an option for sites that need that space, but you’ll have plenty of constraints when it comes to customization. You’ll still have access to as much bandwidth and storage space as you want, and you can reboot your own virtual server without having any effect on the other websites being run off the physical server. Where you will be lacking is with the ability to customize – you won’t be able to fully customize it as you would be able to with a virtual private server that works with a hypervisor.

A hypervisor-based VPS is also superior for in-site optimization and even the ability to upgrade without leaving your current web hosting package. Otherwise if you need a great deal more resources than what you currently have, or if you’re changing your package completely, you may need to be moved to a different server. Those who need true virtualization and are choosing VPS hosting are advised to make sure that they’re choosing Hypervisor-based VPS and not OS-level virtualization.

As always we are happy to discuss this in further detail with you if you are considering upgrading from shared hosting or starting with VPS hosting to begin with.

SSL Certs: Which One is the Best Fit for You?

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Shopping online is pretty much a ubiquitous activity for people all over the world these days, and – not surprisingly – so much so that it’s now the preferred means of shopping for many people. Especially for certain goods, and not only do these people want selection, good prices, and the like, but they also want to be able to enter their credit card information and not have to worry about it being exposed.

Offering that peace of mind is absolutely essential if you’re in the e-commerce world, and nothing is more important in this regard as having your online transactions guarded by an SSL certificate. Even if you may not know exactly what these are, you’ve probably seen the ’##-Bit Encryption’ tag prominently on display once you get to the checkout when you’re shopping online.

Here at 4GoodHosting, not only do we offer very competitive prices on highest-quality SSL Certificates but like any good Canadian web hosting provider we have plenty of customers who are trusting our web hosting to ensure they’re ‘open’ for business 24/7 and all day, everyday.

Probably safe to say that there’s few if any of those folks who don’t already have their SSL Certs in place, but for those of you who are new to your business online then we thought we’d dedicate one post here to discussing SSL certificates and what you need to know to choose one for yourself.

Overview

There is a plethora of certificate types, and several categories and plenty of CAs. In advance of highlighting the different SSL certificates and how to choose the right one, we’ll first discuss why an SSL certificate is so important nowadays.

The reach and strength of cyber crimes has grown rapidly over recent years. So much so in fact that cybersecurity has become the #1 concern issue for both web users and website admins. The truth of it all is that cybercriminals can cost online businesses millions. The worldwide economy loses unimaginable amounts of money every year due to cybercriminal activity.

What SSL certificates do to protect agains this is that they enforce a secure connection between a server and its web users. They don’t only protect the sensitive information that is transmitted between a web user and a web server, but also boost ranking, improves brand credibility and go along way to boosting conversion rates.

Choosing the Best SSL Certificate

Knowing what SSL will be best for your online storefront can be a challenge. They’re generally categorized according to their validation level, warranty, technical support and domains support.

So what factors do you need to consider? These ones:

  1. Validation Level

Nearly all SSL certificates provide data encryption and session security services for websites. The validation level of each is where the primary differences between them are established. The validation level will determine how much information about a company will be shown in browsers or to the web users. The three main levels of validation are Low / Medium / High

Domain Validation (DV) SSL certificate – Low

These ones are also referred to as a low assurance, and are commonly used to protect standard websites, single domains, and blogs. The simplest form of validation is done where the website registration and administration approval are confirmed to issue the certificate. Processing time is anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

These certificates are suitable for low traffic websites or informative sites where financial transactions are not conducted. If you’re selling online, this type of cert will be insufficient for you.

Organization Validation (OV) SSL certificate – Medium

With medium certificate validation, an authorized agent verifies the domain ownership and company’s identity. This includes verifying the company name, city, state, and country. Web owners must submit some additional business-related documents for verification. As you’d expect, there’s more of a delay to all of this compared to a domain certificate.

Medium certificates provide appropriate security for medium-sized businesses that conduct standard (-$500 o/a) financial transactions and wants to provide assurances for customers that they can shop entirely safely within the site.

Extended Validation (EV) – High

These ones offer the highest level of security for websites, with a more rigorous validation process that verifies the ownership of the server and the legitimacy of its owner. Generally, the CA verifies the legal, physical and operational existence of the company, official government records, and databases, and confirms that only the genuine company is authorized to be in ownership of the extended-validation SSL certificate.

What you’ll see with these ones is the browser will show a green address bar with a verified name of the organization. The EV certificate is used by major players, like Amazon and Flipkart for example

Further, having an EV SSL really legitimizes the domain name.

  1. Domain Support

Next up you’ll want to determine how many domains you want covered with a single certificate. There’s three categories here:

Single Domain Certificates

Fine for protecting a single domain with its all subpages. Example:

www.mydomain.com/

www.mydomain.com/register

www.mydomain.com/about

www.mydomain.com/contactus

mydomain.com

Wildcard Certificates

The wildcard certificate allows its users to protect all the first level of sub-domains under an FQDN. It supports only DV or OV. The best instances are:

www.mydomain.com

info.mydomain.com

mail.mydomain.com

payment.mydomain.com

Multi-Domain Certificates

Also referred to as SAN or UCC certificates. They allow users to protect multiple FQDN domains along with multiple sub-domains. This choice will be ideal for you if you’re running multiple websites with single or multiple company names. All DV, OV, EV support this category.

www.mydomain.com

info.mydomain.co.uk

payment.mydomain.co.ru

  1. Warranty

The warranty attached to your SSL certificate should also be a consideration – it shows your customers how serious you are about protecting customer information. An EV Cert provides a a more extensive and better warranty, with coverage between $1,0000-$1,000,000 being possible within the warranty.

  1. Technical Support

The more expensive the Cert, the more technical support you will receive from an SSL provider. Free certificates generally never have technical support. However, with an EV or OV technical support is provided while installing and validating the certificate. Make sure the support is available via different sources like email, live chat, contact us page, phone, social media resources, etc.

  1. Price

It’s not uncommon for web admins to think they should invest big bucks even with the option to get a free certificate – the ‘you get what you pay for mentality’. That’s solid thinking most of the time. Free certificates are valid only for a few days, and then after that you must renew them. If not, the browser will show your users that the website is insecure. The price of paid SSL certificates start at $10 and can go up to $350, depending on the type of SSL certificate.

  1. Vendor

Different vendors provide different price ranges and security elements for each certificate. Before choosing any SSL vendor you should verify that they have a good reputation. Do that by watching their reviews and consumer’s feedback on their website.

Overcoming Issues with Most Recent Windows 10 Update

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A while back we had discussed some of the particulars with of the latest revisions available to people running desktop and notebook running Windows 10. Needless to say that encompasses a great many of them purring away at any given time all around the world, and it’s for that reason that some frequent undesirable occurrences seen with the most recent Windows 10 update are sufficiently noteworthy to the point that it makes sense for us to write about them in this week’s blog.

Here at 4GoodHosting, a part of what makes us a leading Canadian web hosting provider is the way in which we’re proactive in sharing information that’s easily identified as having value to our customer base. Given how ubiquitous the Windows OS is for personal computer users and the reality that’s unlikely to change, we’re going to discuss more than a few problematic issues that users are encountering quite frequently with the most recent Windows 10 update.

Reason enough to have less faith in the OS? That’s for you to decide.

The Issues

Where there’s smoke there is fire. While there had been rumblings about shortcomings with the latest Windows 10 update for a while, the way it is in the biz is that you don’t really take heed of these sorts of things until these sort of expressions of dissatisfaction become a little more numerous than just a few people here and there.

That’s the case now, and the consensus is that the latest update for Windows 10 is causing a string of issues for users. The update comes with patches against two critical vulnerabilities, but it seems they’re leading to problems. Among them are random reboots and inexplainable installation failures.

The update was made available on Tuesday of last week, and was created as a defense against a pair of remote code execution vulnerabilities which were deemed ‘wormable,’ – which means they are able to jump from one infected computer to another. Microsoft owned up to these vulnerabilities and informed users about the patches in a blog post, with users being encouraged to update their operating systems without delay.

Primary Problem 1, with Fix

Some users, however, have encountered difficulties when trying to apply the latest update,. To their credit, Microsoft has acknowledged that there ‘known issues’ with the update do exist.

Most notable among them:

A small number of devices may deliver a black screen on start up during the first logon after installing updates, and that this would be disconcerting for users.

The good news is there is a very simple fix for this;

  • Using Ctrl + Alt + Delete on the black screen and then using the Power button in the bottom right of the screen to select Restart. This should prompt the PC to boot normally.

Primary Problem 2, and NO Fix (Yet?)

The other significant problem with the update is the way it seems to be able to break some Visual Basic applications. More than a few users have reported that after installing this update, applications that were made using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), macros using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and scripts or apps using Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) are seemingly no longer responding to basic requests and coming with them is a ‘invalid procedure call error.’ As the header there suggests, at this point at least there is no fix for this problem.

Similar feedback shared via a number of online discussion spots have also talked about repeated instances where the update causes random reboots to their systems. Others still are having problems downloading and installing the update itself. Microsoft reports that it is working on a solution for these issues, and those solutions should be rolled out in a future update.

What You Can Do

If you’ve gone with this recent Windows 10 update and are encountering one or all of these issues then the advice from the source is to update your operating system, and do so even if you’re worried about update issues with the security vulnerability being patched in the way it has been. It’s good advice, but be forewarned that you might see some issues with the update process.

If avoiding the update issues altogether is preferable for you – and you haven’t taken the update yet -, plus you’re okay with some risk, then there’s also this option; pause Windows updates until Microsoft announces a fix to this one.

40+ Different Device Drivers Found to Have Malware Security Flaw

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The scope and extensiveness of malware risks for computing devices is more pronounced than ever before, and that’s pretty much the story from one month to the next these days. At a recent security conference in Las Vegas, the Eclypsium security research team announced they had dug up some serious security flaws in at least 40 device drivers from 20 different vendors. These vulnerabilities could increase the likelihood of devices being infected by malware.

While this type of development in itself is nothing out of the ordinary, what makes it noteworthy is the sheer number of different drivers that may be affected. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any other reputable Canadian web hosting provider in that we strive to make our customers aware of risks to their digital security when they arise. When one is as potentially far reaching as this one, we’re almost always going to make some sort of announcement regarding it.

The Latest

The research team’s report is stating that this malware targets system BIOS or system components for the purposes of updating firmware, running diagnostics, or customizing options on the component. By doing so what the attackers have done is take the same tools used to manage a system and then turn them into powerful threats that can escalate quickly on the host.

Once the driver is infected it then provides the attacker with optimized access for means of launching malicious actions within all versions of Windows, and Windows Kernel most notably.

Do note that all these affected drivers are ones certified by Microsoft:

  • American Megatrends International (AMI)
  • ASRock
  • ASUSTeK Computer
  • ATI Technologies (AMD)
  • Biostar
  • EVGA
  • Getac
  • GIGABYTE
  • Huawei
  • Insyde
  • Intel
  • Micro-Star International (MSI)
  • NVIDIA
  • Phoenix Technologies
  • Realtek Semiconductor
  • SuperMicro
  • Toshiba

The Why

All of this is related to a specific design flaw in Windows device drivers. They have a functionality that can be taken advantage of to perform a read/write of sensitive resources without being restricted by Microsoft. Some are suggesting that bad coding practices are to blame for this, and while that can’t be substantiated it is true that there is a more pressing need for better ones these days and older work can be suspect.

At present, the understanding is that Microsoft will be using its HVCI (Hypervisor-enforced Code Integrity) capability to create a blacklist of drivers that are reported to them. The only problem there is that the HVCI feature is only available with 7th gen Intel CPUs along with newer processors only. The situation for older operating systems would be the need for manual installation, and this would also be true for newer ones where HVCI can’t be enabled.

Microsoft is now recommending that its users work with Windows Defender Application Control or turn on memory integrity for supported devices in Windows Security. This should block malware in software and drivers.

The Motivation for Developing Malware

Many people ask what exactly is in it for these malware developers to spend as much time as they do creating this infections and releasing them onto the world. Not sure there’s a clear answer to that, but it’s a good question. After all, people will assume that there’s nothing really to be gained by creating malware other than perhaps an individual sense of deranged satisfaction in messing with people and businesses.

This would be an incorrect assumption, however. The truth is that these people go to the effort to make malware because there’s money in it. For example, a botnet; a network of thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of computers belonging to everyday people that have been infected with software that usually work to send out LOTS of spam.

Once a botnet network is established then it can be rented by individuals and organizations who want to send out spam promoting whatever it is they want promoted. Botnet owners make money, and same goes for keyloggers – they capture usernames and passwords and sell this information to whoever would like it and for whatever purpose.

These are just 2 examples of many. Long story short, the reason there’s people working to make malware is because – strangely enough – it’s profitable in one way or another.

Understanding Smart Contracts, and Their Relation to Blockchain & Bitcoin

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It seems Bitcoin and all the hubbub about cryptocurrency is ‘back on’ now, and there’s a renewed general interest in mining for digital currency. The one takeaway anyone who’s developing an interest in this should take is that this is not a way to get rich quick, and that bitcoin mining is much more labour-intensive than you think. Blockchain technology is integrally important to managing cryptocurrencies, so f you’re still not dissuaded and you’d like to start amassing cryptocurrency for yourself then you’re encouraged to read on.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we join every other Canadian web hosting provider in understanding the way many of our customers have real interest in taking advantage of everything that’s there for discovery in the digital world. It’s likely more than a few are taking more than a passing interest in cryptocurrency mining, so today we’ll share some information these folks are going to find valuable.

Smart contracts have the potential to be one of the most useful tools associated with blockchain, and it’s almost certain that they’re going to take off right along the cryptocurrencies they’re designed to manage. So what exactly are smart contracts then?

No Administration Required

Smart contracts are self-executing, business automation applications that run on a decentralized network, such as blockchain. The appeal of them is specifically in the way they’re able to remove administrative overhead. Indeed, smart contracts are one of most attractive features associated with blockchain technology. Blockchain functions as a database, and confirms that transactions have taken place, while smart contracts execute pre-determined conditions at the same time. They’re not unlike a when a computer executes on “if/then,” or conditional, in programming.

The way all of this works is once certain conditions of a smart contract are met – and related to our discussion here that’ll be two parties agreeing to an exchange in cryptocurrency – they can automate the transfer of bitcoin, fiat money, or the receipt of a shipment of goods that makes it possible for them to continue on their journey.

The workings of that will reveal a blockchain ledger that stores the state of the smart contract.

Tokens and Smart Contracts

The different applications for smart contracts are pretty much endless. Let’s take the insurance industry; an insurance company could use smart contracts to automate the release of claim money paid out for events like large-scale floods, hurricanes or droughts. Another example would be when a cargo shipment enters a port and IoT sensors inside the container relay a confirmation that the contents have been unopened and stored properly along the entirety of the journey.

This means a bill of lading can then be issued without any manual – and time consuming – inspection of the goods being required.

As mentioned, smart contracts are also now creating the basis for the transferring of cryptocurrency and digital tokens. Which function as a representation of a physical asset or utility. The best-known example these days is Ethereum blockchain’s ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens. Both are smart contracts.

However, don’t think all smart contracts are tokens. It’s possible to have smart contracts running on Ethereum that trigger an action based on a condition without an ERC-20 or ERC-721 being involved.

How Smart Contracts Mimic Business Rules

For all intents and purposes, smart contracts are business rules translated into software. If you compare them to business rules automation software or stored procedures, smart contracts can support automating processes stretching across corporate boundaries and involving multiple organizations in ways the automation software can’t.

The major functional difference is that rules can be applied not only within the corporation that coded the smart contract, but to other business partners approved to be on the blockchain.

Importance of Good Data, and ‘Oracles’ in Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are great, but each one is only as good as the rules that dictate its automating processes. Quality programming is crucial, as is the accuracy of the data fed into a smart contract. The nature of smart contract rules make it so that once they’re in place, they can’t be altered in any way. After a contract is written, no on – not even the programmer – can change it.

If it tuns out that the data isn’t true – and being on a blockchain doesn’t necessarily make it so that it is – the smart contract will be unable to work properly.

Why is this? Well, data fed into blockchains and used for smart contract execution is sourced externally, and from data feeds and APIs most notably – a blockchain is not able to ‘fetch’ data directly. Real-time data feeds for blockchains are referred to as oracles.

Little Disputability with Smart Contract Data

Oracles have traditionally transmitted data from a single source, and as such there is no data that’s entirely trustworthy. It can be benignly or maliciously corrupted due to faulty web sites, cheating service providers, or even by unintentional mistakes.

The way regular contracts function today can be problematic. This is because one party may perform a task, but after that the other party may decide not to pay, or there may be assumptions made by one of the parties about complexities of the contract that may not even be true.

The issue here is that those contracts are not rigorously enforceable, but smart contracts are. A smart contract is deterministic, and can absolutely be enforced as long as the events related to its contractual clauses happen.

Edge Computing, IoT and future of Smart Contracts

Within the next 5 to 7 years we should see a massive growth in IoT connected devices spurring greater use of smart contracts. It’s projected that the majority of the estimated 46 billion industrial and enterprise devices connected in 2023 will be dependent on edge computing. Addressing standardization and deployment issues will be crucial.

How smart contracts will benefit here is by offering a standardized method for accelerating data exchange and enabling processes between IoT devices. Essentially they’ll be removing the middleman – the server or cloud service that acts as the central communication spoke for requests and other traffic among IoT devices on a network.

Add this to blockchain ledgers decreasing the time required to complete IoT device information exchange and processing time, and the collective promise between both technologies becoming prominent is something to definitely keep an eye on. With the focus on process efficiency, supply chain and logistics opportunities smart contracts will almost certainly become more ubiquitous in the years ahead.