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How important is your web hosting uptime?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

You might think this is a silly question – of course web hosting uptime is important. But just how important?

Web hosting uptime is VERY important! We get new web hosting customers every day moving to us from other web hosts saying their site’s been down for two days, or a week or even longer! In the web hosting world, this is simply not acceptable.

Here at simplewebhosting.co.uk, we do a lot to make sure your website is online and available for the world to see every minute of every day of every year.

We provide all shared web hosting and reseller web hosting customers with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. That means that we’re so confident of the service we offer we guarantee that your website will be available 99.9% of the time. You may be interested to know that we have NEVER dropped below this 99.9% uptime guarantee on any of our web hosting servers.

In fact, taking the web server that this blog is hosted on, out of the last 33 months, 31 of those months have returned 100% uptime. This data is supplied from two independent server monitors organisations. That’s pretty impressive uptime for budget web hosting.

Of course, if the worse should happen and a web server crashes and become unfixable, we always have three backups of your website taken daily, weekly and monthly and can have your data restored to a brand new web server in just a few hours. Thankfully, we’ve only ever had to do that twice in recent years.

So, web hosting uptime is very important if you want people to be able to buy from you or even send you an e-mail!

What is web hosting?

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

‘What is web hosting’ isn’t as silly a question as it may sound! For those of us in the web hosting industry or for people who already have a website, you’ve probably got a good idea what web hosting is but for the rest of you, read on!

Wikipedia defines a web hosting service as a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organisations to provide their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts (like simplewebhosting.co.uk) are companies that provide space on a server they own for use by their clients (you) as well as providing Internet connectivity typically in a data centre.

The scope of hosting services varies widely. The most basic is web page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web ‘as is’ or with little processing. Personal web site hosting is typically low-cost whereas business web site hosting often has a higher expense. Typically, our Starter Plan web hosting is a great way to get online with the minimum outlay.

Single page hosting is generally sufficient only for personal web pages. A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g. PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, and ASP.NET). These facilities allow the customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. For e-commerce, SSL is also highly recommended. Our Commerce web hosting plan includes everything you need to start selling online including a shared SSL certificate.

Web hosts should also provide an interface or control panel for managing the web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. simplewebhosting.co.uk uses the very popular cPanel software. Some hosts specialise in certain software or services (eg e-commerce). They are commonly used by larger companies to outsource network infrastructure to a hosting company.

Shared web hosting is where one’s website is placed on the same server as many other sites, usually around 300. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite extensive. A shared website may be hosted with a reseller.

Reseller web hosting allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting depending on who they are affiliated with as a provider. Resellers’ accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a collocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves.

So, if someone asks you “what is web hosting?”, now you know 😉

SSL certificate glossary

Friday, October 10th, 2008
simplewebhosting.co.uk makes purchasing your ssl certificates simple. Here’s a little glossary to help you understand more about ssl.
What is encryption?
Encryption is the process of scrambling a message so that only the intended audience has access to the information. As more people share confidential data and applications using the Internet they have come to rely on commercially available Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

When an SSL handshake occurs between a client and server, a level of encryption is determined by the Web server, the client browser, the client operating system, and the SSL Certificate. Low-level encryption, 40 or 56 bits, is acceptable for sites with low-value information. High-level encryption, at 128 bits, can calculate 288 times as many combinations as 40-bit encryption. That’s over a trillion times a trillion times stronger.

What is e-commerce security?
E-commerce is a commercial transaction between buyer and seller that occurs online instead of in person or over the phone. The customer uses a credit/debit card to pay for goods or services on a website. Secure electronic payments are spreading beyond the Internet to mobile handsets and television set-top boxes. Look for m-commerce and t-commerce next.

E-commerce also refers to electronic payment processing. Instead of going to the bank with deposits and checks or connecting over dial-up telephone lines to authorize credit cards, merchants use the Internet to connect to financial networks for payment.

What is https?
Web pages beginning with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’ enable secure information transmission via the protocol for secure http. Securing networks and applications is essential to secure online transactions. https is one measure of security to look for when sending or sharing confidential information such as credit card numbers, private data records, or business partner data.

Choosing a domain name

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A domain name is used to identify an organisation’s presence on the internet. It is important that the domain name represents the image of your business effectively and makes the nature of your product or service clear to potential customers.

There are different types of domain names and these are identified by their general part, or the top level domain:

  • generic top-level domains such as .net, .com, .org and .info
  • country code top-level domains such as .uk for the UK

Most UK companies choose to have domain names that end in .com or .co.uk. It is also now possible to have a European Union domain name, ending in .eu.

You should think carefully about the geographical implications of your server and domain names as they can affect local search results. For example, a UK company with a ‘.com’ address which is hosted in the US would not appear in UK only searches. However, if the same company website was hosted in the US but used a ‘.co.uk’ domain name it would appear in UK-only search results. There are a number of free resources available to help you localise your website area, including Google’s Webmaster tools.

When choosing a domain name, most businesses opt for a name that is based on the name of their business or product. It helps if the name is:

  • short
  • easy to spell
  • easy to remember

You should avoid choosing a domain name that misuses a trade mark belonging to another business, or might mislead users into thinking you are someone else. You should also avoid choosing a domain name with lots of dashes, for example my-new-website-business-and-shop.co.uk. It can look amateurish, make it more difficult to remember and some search engines may consider it to be spam.

After deciding on a domain name, you then need to check if it has already been registered by another user. You can register your domain name at www.simpledomainnames.co.uk and once your domain is registered, it is protected.

Domain names are allocated on a first come, first served basis. However, disputes may arise when another party feels that they have a greater right to use a domain name.

Thanks to Business Link for allowing us to reproduce this article.

Why UK web hosting is best for UK web hosting customers

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

In the ever-shrinking world we live in, we’re constantly being told that we can buy just as easily from across the pond as we can in our own high street. There are cases when this is true. Until the pound hit its slump recently, you could buy an iPod, for example, for around £40 cheaper in the USA than you could here in Great Britain.

But what about web hosting? Web hosting looks like it could be cheaper in the USA so should you buy from abroad?

The answer is no. UK web hosting (usually) means UK business. Apart from the obvious benefits of keeping your money in the UK and supporting UK industry and UK jobs there are very important benefits to your website and to your search engine rankings.

UK web hosting means your website will have a UK-allocated IP address which in turn will mean better search engine positioning in the UK search engine listings.

Although most of the Internet is lightening fast, the laws of physics make it obvious that connecting to a website on a UK web server will be much quicker when you’re in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland than trying to connect to a website hosted in America.

UK web hosting will provide UK web hosting technical support. No language or accent barriers. No time difference to worry about. No international call charges.

It’s also important think about what would happen if something goes wrong with your web hosting. Taking legal action against a UK web hosting company is a lot easier than trying to chase a web hosting provider half-way across the globe.

So we hope you’ll get your UK web hosting from simplewebhosting.co.uk, but if you don’t at least buy UK web hosting from a UK web hosting company!

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