Recently, a friend looking for cheap hosting reached out to me and said the important things seem to be disk usage and inodes and could I help him understand that?
I replied that in most cases inodes are not nearly important as several other factors. Here are the things I shared with him that every business owner should be aware of regarding their hosting:
Backups – Every site should be kept up to date. Every once in a while, an update will crash your site. If you have good backups, it is simple to restore the last backup and get the site up and running. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you may need to go back several days or weeks. So make sure you know how long your backups are in place for.
Uptime – There are still some web hosts that struggle to keep their servers up – especially the kind that are in your friend’s basement – but even larger, more reputable firms can have problems. Our servers by contrast, were up five 9’s last year: 99.9992% of the time. You should look for a firm that is AT LEAST four 9’s: 99.99% of the time up.
Security – Hackers and others with ill-intent are constantly probing just about every website out there, looking for security holes and other ways to attack. I’ve heard business owners say things like “Well that isn’t important for us, there is nothing private or important on our site.” After a discussion about the ways that hackers can hijack a site to serve porn or other illegal or illicit content, these same business owners begin to ask me questions about enhanced security for their site. There are several things to consider for security. Among these are:
- Does your site have an SSL certificate that shows it is secure (does the url start with https://? If so you are good. If it starts with just http://, you need help!)?
- Do only the people who need elevated access to the site, have it? If there are accounts for former employees or vendors you no longer use, the accounts should be removed lest they be compromised.
- What kinds of security scans are performed routinely? As new vulnerabilities are discovered regularly, your website should be scanned daily or at the very least weekly.
PCI Compliance – If you conduct any kind of ecommerce directly on your website, you need to make sure your site meets the “Payment Card Industry” compliance standards. The standards here also change regularly as the industry matures and as the bad guys become more sophisticated. So you need to make sure your web host has your back.
Hidden Charges – Does your web host provide a low low price for hosting and then nickel and dime you for every little thing? That can get annoying really fast. “oh, you want an ssl certificate? We can certainly do that for $25. Oh, you another email account? $10 / month. Oh, need more bandwidth, $20 / 100 MB / month.” And so on. The key is to be prepared if you go the low end route to know how much each item will cost and is the host inexpensive or simply cheap?
Support – How does support work? Can you only open an email ticket or an online chat or can you talk to a real human being about your real issue?
For each of these items, there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer – it is just important that you, as a business owner or website maintainer, knows about each of these so that when determining your hosting you can make informed choices.
And, as always, if you have questions about this, please give Brian a call at 303-268-2245
Understanding how your web site fits with your digital marketing is the first step to having success with your digital marketing
Adding a bit of video so you can learn more about why you might need to try our web hosting:
There are lots of different web hosting levels. You can pick the web hosting company that most fits your needs and budget.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer that likes to geek out on all-things-technology, you can use an inexpensive host like GoDaddy or BlueHost. If you are focused on growing your business, you will want to find a managed hosting solution that will work with you, taking on all the parts you either don’t know about or don’t have the time to deal with.
At its most basic level, web hosting is simply reserving space on an Internet-connected server where the files and data that make up your website are. These files are then served up whenever someone visits your site. Here are some of the key terms you should know:
DNS: Domain Name Servers. This is where your domain name is managed. If you have, for example, mail through G Suite, there will be records that tell the internet where to send any messages going to that domain to find the G Suite account. If you have a VPN into your office, there might be records that tell the Internet where to find that location. And there will be records telling the internet where to find your website.
IP Address: There are now two types of IP addresses – IPv4 and IPv6. The v4 address is probably something you have seen before. It looks something like this: 184.108.40.206. As these numbers began to run out, v6 was created and has a combination of letters and numbers to expand the range that can be used. But in both cases, a Domain Name Server is used to translate an IP address into a domain name. For example, our website IP address is 220.127.116.11. DNS is used so that you don’t have to remember the address but can instead just use educyber.com to get there.
MX Records: These Mail Exchanger records are used to tell the internet how and where your email is handled. They might tell folks to go to Google if you use G Suite, to Microsoft if you use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). And it is important to get all your mail records set correctly so you can send and receive messages.
Firewall: A well-configured firewall will go a long way towards blocking hackers and others with ill intent from even getting close to your site. It also picks up / records all kinds of information that business owners like – what IP addresses are accessing the site (understanding the geographic location of users) as well as being able, in some cases, to identify the specific user
Email: There are lots of possibilities for 3rd party email handlers like G Suite, Microsoft 365, and others but you can also have your email hosted through your web host. While not as full featured as the 3rd party services, it is usually included or much less than the 3rd party options. With email you can Track Deliverability (to see whether a message was received or not), set settings needed for email like SPF and DKIM as well as create and remove accounts, reset passwords, etc.
So how do you choose the right web host? If you are a startup on a shoestring budget, you may want to go the DIY route with a HostGator or BlueHost solution. If you are growing and want to free up your time to focus on growth and connecting with customers or training staff, then a managed solution is probably a better fit.
EduCyber is pleased to offer a managed webhosting solution. When it comes to websites, many business owners struggle with keeping their website current or just making simple changes. We have the staff and the resources to keep your site at its best, taking all the pain out of managing your website.
There is a lot of news noise right now. Rioting around the world. Recovering from a virus. Murder hornets. How to reopen. Will there be a second wave causing another shutdown? Oh, and the US has now returned to space!
How do you remain relevant with your customers and potential customers amidst all the calamity sucking up everyone’s attention?
Here are five keys to remaining relevant and continuing to flourish:
- Do not panic. If you make important decisions while panicking, you will regret it. Stay calm. Reach out to key vendors, customers and staff if you are in a difficult spot. But do not panic.
- Following closely on the previous point, stay the course. On March 9th, our outlook was rosy. The pipeline was filling up nicely and existing customers were ready to add new services. There was a two week period after that when things looked bleak as the pipeline emptied out and uncertainty ruled. But the spirit of free enterprise is strong in this country and our pipeline of new and existing customers began to fill again. You are not alone. Even businesses that are busier than ever understand that others are suffering. Stay the course.
- Communicate. Communicate to your customers what steps you have taken and are taking to ensure the safety of your customers and your staff. Communicate what is different. Our Church shot a series of short videos showing how things would work before, during, and after the service so folks can understand before they even go in the door.
- Leverage. You are not isolated and you have not been operating in a vacuum. Look through your contacts. Email or call people. I have received several very nice messages from my connections – messages just to connect and show concern. These are delightful and stick with you. Think about ALL of your contacts. Reach out to your LinkedIn connections. Try your Facebook friends. Of course go through your “rolodex” of contacts. Ask if you can help or if they need help that you might be able to do an introduction for.
- Get creative. My friend Mike Larkin started making videos. In a recent video he “introduced” his friends. He had printed off, for example, my picture from LinkedIn and my logo and had put them on a paddle board – showing my picture on one side and my business on the other. He proceeded to introduce several of his vendors and colleagues in the same way. It is a delightful video that both shows he cares about folks and endears those of us mentioned to him. Think about how you can do something similar – to both help others and draw your network closer to you.
- And of course there is a sixth key – use your website for each of these keys. Set it as the hub so that as the business climate, your people and your network know to come to your site for the latest and greatest.
You can remain relevant. It takes a bit of focus. Don’t be distracted by whatever the news is pushing as the latest thing to fear. Keeping your eye on your goals will help and of course, if there is anything EduCyber can do to help, let us know.
Between Maki and Brian, we know a lot of people. And we want to help. So whether it is something for your website or some other business need, let me know. Hiring? We know people. Downsizing? We know people. Need help with a local government? We know people. We want to help so let Maki or Brian know if there is anything we can do for you.
It doesn’t matter whether you are chomping at the bit to reopen or wish the government would keep things shut down until it is deemed safe, people are getting anxious. Even those wanting to stay in are getting cabin fever.
It is spring. The weather is getting nicer. People ARE going out. And every day more people are wanting to go out.
And that means that more and more businesses will be opening. How are you preparing, both personally and professionally for getting to what many are calling the new normal?
It is prudent, none of us wants people to die, it is just that some of us see the risks differently, to be prepared for the new normal. I’m not a fan of masks – the science, where it exists suggests that anything less than an N95 mask is more for show than for actual protection. But there ARE steps you can take to minimize the risk as you venture out:
- Wash your hands frequently. (I can’t believe that has to be mentioned but, as it turns out, washing your hands protects you from bad germs.)
- When you’ve been near or in contact with others, avoid touching your face until you have washed your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently (see a trend here?) and when soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Be extra sensitive to the senior population. Most of the deaths are in this population – protect your Mom and Dad – or grandparents, or whomever you have in your life that is older.
And for your business there are also several steps you should take to prepare to reopen:
- Move your communications, data, and email into the cloud. This will help for any work-from-home people you have as well as distributing your touch points – you don’t have to have multiple sets of hands touching your inhouse server if you don’t have an inhouse server.
- Update your policies – whether you interface with the public or just have staff that you want to provide a safe environment for, update your policies – in writing and make sure your staff and employees all understand them.
- Celebrate Your Uniqueness – Take the updated policy from step two and consider what is different from your old normal. Highlight the differences. Consider if there are steps you are taking that might be different or better than the competition.
- Tell the World – Now that you have a clear policy and understand what sets you apart, tell the world! One of the first things people are looking for right now, is what is your COVID-19 policy – are you open and what steps are you taking so tell the world. Post it on your website. Link to your post in your social media, update your profiles in social media and in search engines.
- Turn a negative into a positive. What do we think about the current pandemic? It sucks. But instead of dwelling on the negative aspects, look at the positives. First of all, listen to your self-talk. If it is negative, shout it down. You got this. We can make it through. And we can get back to prosperity, where we were just a few short months ago.
Before you know it, we will be looking back on the beginning of 2020 as an aberration. But, much like the oxygen masks on planes, we have to first take care of ourselves before we can help others. So take care of yourself. And of your business.
And if EduCyber can be of any assistance, give us a call at 303-268-2245.
Join EduCyber as we walk through the FIVE (Digital) steps you’ll need to go through as you re-open your business. You’ll see how you can take the next steps with more confidence and figure out how to integrate the New Normal into your business routine.
You will learn:
• How to prepare your business as you re-open your door for your customers
• What risks should you consider and how to avoid it
• New-normal – Why ‘We’ve always done it this way’ doesn’t work anymore
Join us on Wednesday, May 7 at 3:30 – Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvde6sqTgjHNP1L70p4JCP7IAdjJqZFBXb
There are lots of things you can do for your business right now. But the single best thing you can do right now is laugh.
Yes, I mean it.
I was kind of freaking out when this all started. Business – new leads and new projects ground to a halt.
Or so I thought.
But the entrepreneurial spirit of America is alive and well.
Over the Easter weekend, I spent a lot of time with family. We laughed. A lot. And Monday morning I started fresh. I posted a blog about working from my basement and steps to keep engaged. And it worked. Folks reached out and, just from that blog, I began to get leads. And I would not have written that blog had I not spent time laughing.
And there is much to laugh about – not at others although I have seen some pretty funny stuff like the woman in the UK that took her device with her to the bathroom not realizing everyone in the meeting could see her – especially if you step outside of yourself and the crisis for just a minute and look in.
A couple of days ago I was on a zoom call and had set a background (I have a black curtain behind me). I happened to be wearing a black t-shirt with “I am Groot” in white lettering. This is kind of fuzzy but here is a screen capture of it:
I don’t know – what do you think? I think it looks kind of funny.
But whether you think that is funny or not, laugh a little. Then pick up the phone or hop on a screen share and talk to someone. Talk to a customer, a vendor, a colleague. You will be surprised to see how the conversation turns out after you have laughed.
Oh and as states and counties begin to open up, keep laughing. This is good advice for post COVID-19 just as it is for during. You will find you enjoy people more and they will find they enjoy you as well.
On a cold and snowy spring morning, while you are likely stuck in your “home office”, what can you do to advance your business? What can you do to grow when the whole world seems to have ground to a halt?
- Pick up the phone. Call customers. Ask them if there is anything they
need. When they say no, probe a bit. Just because they don’t need help with what you do or offer, let them know of your network. See if they have a need you might be able to help them meet through someone else.
- Revisit your prospect list. Take some time with each person or company on the list. Think about what they do. Think about what they might need during this shutdown. Reach out to them, by phone whenever possible and appropriate, but by email or even snail mail where not, and offer something useful. Tips. Links to resources. Something that you can share that will add value.
- Host an online gathering. Select several contacts whether it be customers, vendors, colleagues, partners or prospects. Set a time and host a gathering whether it be to address a specific topic or simply to share with each other about how you are coping and what is happening locally.
There is a lot happening. Every level of government seems to be rolling out programs, grants and loans to assist businesses large and small. Keep up with the current status – the grant and loan programs at the federal level are literally changing on a daily basis right now – and be prepared to share with your network.
And for you personally?
Breathe. My mother is in a memory care unit in another state. They are on lockdown, meaning my brothers can no longer visit her physically. When I call her now, she is usually breathless and has a high level of anxiety. Some of the time I can help her with the same advice I give to you. Breathe. Take a deep breath. All the way in. A bit more. Now exhale. Don’t stop. All the way out. Now do it again. I’ll wait. Now try it once more.
You got this. We got this. You are not alone.