Tag Archives: Web Hosting

Tips for Moving to a New Web Host

Expect the unexpected.
Expect the Unexpected.

Moving to a new web host? Here are my top tips on quickly moving with a minimum of downtime for HTML and PHP (non-database driven) websites.

Know Before You Go
Make sure you know what is going on with your site before you go. What are you using at your old webhost? Email? Script? When you repoint your domain to your new host, anything that you had at your old host is wiped. That means you will have to set up email accounts, any scripts, and any other things you have been using. Make sure before you move, that your webmaster does their due diligence and make sure you are knowledgeable to inform them of what you have and are doing. Typically they can see scripts that run your website, but may not know of your mail server set up.

Use a Web Host that Provides a Temporary Domain
I like Hostway, when I set up a new domain that is owned or pointed elsewhere, Hostway gives me a temporary domain to use. I can load files and even test scripts and make any changes I need to before I move a domain and go live. If you don’t see this option ask, as sometimes it can be turned on for you.

Test, Test, Test
Before launch of any site, I do extensive testing both in my clients area and then in the temporary domain. Try to get all problems resolved before you turn your new site on. It will save having headaches and frustration.

Be Prepared for Propagation
Once you repoint your domain name servers to a new web host, be prepared for propagation. Know that it takes typically 4 to 6 hours for servers to refresh and longer for small internet service providers for your domain at the new web host to be seen consistently and properly. Don’t freak out when you cannot see your site. This takes time and there is nothing you can do to speed the process.

Looking for a webmaster to help you move to a new web host? Contact us and review our webmaster services today.

 

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GoDaddy Takes Another Hit with Network Protect

GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?
GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?

GoDaddy Network Protect? What’s that? That’s what GoDaddy calls it when they take your site offline due to a high number of hack attacks on your shared server. Our client has now been down two days. GoDaddy says it will allow the website to be seen when the hack attacks stop and they can turn off the GoDaddy Network Protect.

Wow, that is bad. Could your business afford to be offline two+ days with no end in site? I just have to challenge the type of network protection that GoDaddy has in place if they are constant targets of hackers. Either they are not policing their customers or not properly securing their shared hosting environments. You would think that they would have security in place to protect their business.

If you are hosted at GoDaddy, you can remediate this issue when your website is blocked due to a Network Protect action by buying a dedicated IP address. I just did that for our client who was under a Network Protect and could see his site online in about two hours.

I do have to say that after one of my domains was blacklisted due to a hacked site on my GoDaddy shared hosting environment server and now this situation with a customer, I will only recommend using GoDaddy as your host if you do not want to move or if you get a dedicated IP address for about $75 a year on top of your hosting.

Better yet, consider a different web host who takes security more seriously than GoDaddy.

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Why You Should NOT Host at GoDaddy – Part Two

No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!
No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!

Continued from Monday and again NO you should not host at GoDaddy!

As of today, my website www.mccordwebservices.com  is no longer blacklisted at McAfee DNSBL, Spamhaus.org and CBL.AbuseAt.org. But I did have to do a manual request to remove my listing at CBL.AbuseAt.org..

Customer Service is Lacking

Here’s how simple it would have been for GoDaddy to keep a customer.

  1. Offered a free dedicated IP for 30 days.
  2. Offered to move me to a new server.
  3. Immediately removed the offending site.

What to Do if You Host at GoDaddy

1. Move your site before renewal.
2. If you must stay buy a dedicated IP address.

Yes, I personally hate to move clients unless they have had a problem, but now GoDaddy gets two big black check marks in my book. I have had sites hacked from internal intrusions within the GoDaddy environment and now this issue with allowing one website in a shared hosting environment damage the online reputation and create email problems for everyone on that shared server.

What Am I Doing?

I am moving my website to Hostway. I have had my business site hosted at Hostway since 2001 and have never had a problem. With firewalls between sites on their shared servers, I do not expect ever to have this problem in the Hostway Shared Server environment.

Need help moving away from GoDaddy? I’d be glad to chat with you about moving your site out today.

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Why You Should NOT Host at GoDaddy – Part One

No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!
No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!

No, you should not host at GoDaddy. Consistent  website and email access are too important  and hosting at GoDaddy is not practical if you want to be in business 24/7.

Here’s What Happened to Me at GoDaddy

I have my play/test website www.mccordwebservices.com hosted at GoDaddy. My main website is hosted with Hostway and found at http://www.mccordweb.com. I got a notice from WordFence Premium that my website www.mccordwebservices.com was on the domain and email blacklist with Spamhaus.org, McAfee DNSBL, and CBL.Abuseat.org. These are important sites that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use to decide what sites and email to block. So that notification was labelled critical.

That means that if this had happened to be  my main business website any email I would have sent out using my email tied to my domain would have been bounced and set as undeliverable. On top of that the reputation of my business would be tarnished from being blacklisted. As I am in the industry having my site compromised or the appearance of being compromised is even worse.

I called GoDaddy immediately upon receipt of the notification. I was told that no my site was not compromised (I knew that as I practice intense security), but that several accounts on my site’s GoDaddy shared server were compromised, hacked, and sending out spam and possibly malware. With additional research on my own, I found out that one of the offending websites in my shared hosting environment with the same IP block was MichaelClayton.org. (Please do not visit this site as you do not want to get malware.)

I asked GoDaddy what they were going to do about quickly resolving this issue. They said they had notified the offending site owner and that the owner needed to do a cleanup. There was no deadline or time frame shared with me.

I asked GoDaddy to move me to a new server and was told by Tech Support on 5/23 at 9:35 am Eastern Time that a move was not possible and that when I signed up for hosting with GoDaddy, I had agreed to their terms of being on a shared server- meaning I could run into this problem again or in the future.

I asked for a change to my IP address and was told I could buy a dedicated IP address for my site  for $75 a year. I pointed out that I was not willing to pay for something to solve a technical issue that was GoDaddy’s job to fix and was told sorry that’s the final answer. I had to pay to solve their problem!

I asked to speak to the supervisor and was put on hold for 20 minutes (I clocked this). When the tech came back on the line, he told me all supervisors were busy and that nothing else would be done for me.

As of today,  my website IP is no longer blacklisted! It took 7 days for this issue to be resolved and one listing I had to submit a manual request for removal.

As a professional webmaster who has a number of customers hosted at GoDaddy, I was furious with the response that I received.

Please check back on Wednesday for the rest of the story and my recommendations for hosting and what to do if you are hosted at GoDaddy.

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What to Know About Moving Your Website to a New Web Host

Moving to a new web host is never easy. In fact it can be downright hard and fraught with problems depending on the type of technology that your website is using behind the scenes. You should never feel that your website files are held hostage by your web host, but it is important to consider moving to a new host only to solve serious problems.

When Should You Consider Moving to a New Web Host?

Image of web hosting servers powering your website.Many of the reasons I have heard why a client wants to change web hosts typically have to do with issues that are truthfully not the original web host’s fault. Here are a few tips when you should consider moving and when you should not.

You should move to a new web host if…

  • Your IP address block is linked to a blacklisted spammer and all of your mail is blocked literally shutting down your business.
  • If your web host does not offer the technology that you really need to run your website. For example if your host does not have Windows servers and your brand new website is all done in .asp, you will have to move.
  • If your website or e-commerce store has suffered significant service outages due to either high server load and the use of older technology by your host and they cannot accommodate your website traffic.
  • If your website has been taken down by a virus spread from another user on your shared server because your host did not have the proper security or firewalls in place causing your website files to be trashed.

You should NOT move to a new web host if…

  • If you have had a spam problem in your inboxes. Unfortunately poor mailbox management is not your host’s problem, but is rather an issue that you are not attending to that is impacting your mail delivery. You will continue to have these same problems where ever you go. You should change your procedures and not your host.
  • If you think you can save money on hosting fees. You may eat up any savings from the money to bring your website or e-commerce store back online. Make sure to read the rest of this article for why.
  • You have had one incident of poor customer service. Be patient when you have a problem, get another service rep to help you and try to be courteous in helping them to help you. There can always be a one time incident where someone (you or them) has simply had a bad day and not reacted well. Give support another go before you decide you must move.

Cautions About Moving Web Hosts

If you have decided that you absolutely must move to a new web host please be aware that you cannot simply set up a new account and upload your website files and everything will just magically work. In fact everything will break when you move to a new web host!

Database connections, if you have them for e-commerce, as well as the database itself will need to be reset up and the new connection code syntax embedded in all pages when you move to a new web host. Contact forms will need to be scripted again using the new hosts scripting and cgi-bin address, PHP websites will need to have PHP re-enabled and possibly PHP.ini settings updated on the new host to make the site work, and of course all email accounts will need to be set up again and passwords added.

Moving to a new web host is highly complicated for many sites. Even for a simple HTML website, new contact form scripting, and time to set up email accounts and then update the settings on your computers to be able to download your mail again takes time and creates an expense.

In fact, you may find that to move your site will cost you more in expenses for set up, reconfiguration and down time than you had ever even expected. If you feel that you really must move make sure that you are carefully analyzing what the costs actually will be.

Our Top Picks For Web Hosts

We have two recommendations for hosts and use both of them for our business websites and so have real world experience with both. Our top preferred host is Hostway. The majority of our business clients as well as our largest website (500+ pages), are hosted by Hostway. I like Hostway as their control panel is intuitive, easy for clients to use without my involvement, online performance is excellent, and they offer Urchin website statistics.

Our second choice is Network Solutions. (Get a free domain with annual hosting.) For some clients this may be the preferred solution however the control panel, and email application is more difficult to use and I do not consider their control panel intuitive. Unfortunately, they do not provide a good website statistics analytics package. However, they do have a WordPress auto installer that makes setting up a WordPress blog super easy and integrates easily onto your server. I have found website database integration to be more problematic at Network Solutions.

The bottom line is when it comes to wanting to change web hosts, make sure you are changing for the right reason and that you are selecting a new host that will be a better long term choice than your previous one.

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Hostway Improves Customer Service

Wondering what the problem is.I have been a long term customer of Hostway, nearly eight years, they provide web hosting for my blog and 1,500 page website. In the recent past, they have taken a black eye for their customer service in part due to growing pains. However, there has been a change recently that I wanted to share with you that bodes very well for Hostway.

It appears that Hostway has, like many other companies, outsourced its customer service to India to start to provide rapid response service. This is actually not a bad thing at all. Recently I had an issue with my own site. The call time to tech support was dazzling only five to eight minutes to speak to an actual person. This is a huge improvement. Customer’s when they have a problem have a very high frustration level and the ability to speak to a real person with a sense of immediacy is very important.

Within one day, my issue had been escalated to second tier tech support and I really feel that problems are under control. Kudos Hostway for the improvements that you have made in your customer service process!

In the real world, there will be problems it is a fact. No hosting company will ever be trouble free, but it is how these problems are dealt with – with a sense of urgency, courtesy, and grasp of the nature of the problem that mitigates impressions that can damage a businesses reputation. In this case, even though I had a problem, the way Hostway has handled it has been excellent and worthy of this post to say thank you! Specifically to Nick Taylor in the Hostway Canada office – Thank You Nick!

 

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