Author Archives: Czaja Silvasi

InMotion Hosting # 1 on HostingReview360

It seems to be awards season everywhere, even in the hosting world!  InMotion Hosting has once again received a #1 hosting for personal and small business award from a prestigious review site, https://hostingreview360.com, and we are all “stumble up the stairs in a designer gown to accept an Oscar excited!!!”

blogpostpic

As a company, InMotion Hosting took the initiative to not only change the perception of calling technical support, but to develop a top-notch Support Center, and a network and service so solid that customers may find Support as a backup option to resolving their problems.  An amazing, 24/7 chat, phone, and ticket backup staffed by brilliant and amazing people who are not only technical, but understand what it is to be human and have a question.

So, it’s beyond rewarding to have Lucy over at https://hostingreview360.com sit up and take notice. Our recent addition of SSD hard drives and ever updating security and network protocols have been the focus of our energies in recent months, and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve those without the solid foundation of our Customer Service and Support Teams who continually deliver the out of this world service upon which InMotion was founded.  We have been able to maintain the reputation we earned in the industry thanks to our hard-working teams who are ever ready to put the servers and our customers’ experiences first.

https://hostingreview360.com gives us an in depth and detailed hosting review that lays everything out on the table.  This honest approach is not only done for InMotion, but also for other top hosting companies.  Having so much of your information put out to the public in such a manner may intimidate other companies, but here at InMotion, we know we’ve got a great service, and it turns out that is easy for others to see as well.

When delivering the good news, Lucy, the founder of https://hostingreview360.com which recommends us as the best choice for personal and small business, said,

“The limitless and rich-features shall not be the selling points right now. An evaluation of a web host is on their hosting reliability, loading speed, and technical support – these almost entirely depend on whether this company oversells their servers and whether this company invests sufficiently in their support team. As a professional reviewer devoted into this industry for 10 years, my 3 years’ of personal experience being hosted by InMotion Hosting, and my personal visit to their office in Los Angeles, have confirmed that this company is trusted on all  3 aspects.”

We just want to say, thank you, to Lucy and everyone at https://hostingreview360.com, we’re blushing!

We’ll keep working to continually update an improve all already stellar service (if I do say so myself,) and you keep holding us to our words!  If you’re interested in reading all that the review had to say, head on over to https://hostingreview360.com/inmotion-review/ and take a look!

Thank you again, to Lucy and https://hostingreview360.com for noticing the hard work and love we put into every aspect of our hosting service!  This is an amazing holiday gift.

Top10inaction.com says InMotion Hosting is #1!

It’s always exciting when your hard work gets noticed, especially when it gets noticed by peers in your field, double especially when it gets noticed by a group of people who really know their stuff.

So, that’s why we’re celebrating, because we were just given an epic high five from the folks over at top10inaction.com.  They recently reviewed our products and services (always a nerve-wracking experience) and we were rated the number one web host based on that review!

At InMotion Hosting, we pride ourselves in changing the industry standard for service and support.  We set out immediately to redefine customer service in the tech industry.  More recently, we’ve been upgrading our servers to feature SSD hard drives, and the latest in technologies that not only bring more speed, but keep the servers and networks safe and secure.

top10inaction

top10inaction.com is a great site to help you find the right hosting provider for your needs, and it is a privilege to be rated not only in the top 10, but the number 1 hosting provider on their website.  They evaluate not only uptime and available features, but customer service, company policies, and customer reviews.

So, we’d like to say thank you, to everyone over at top10inaction.com for not only performing unbiased and thorough reviews, but also for seeing in our products and services exactly what we work daily to provide to our customers.

You can read the full review here:

http://top10inaction.com/inmotionhosting-review/

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Open Source Central: Joomla 3.1 and Articles

joomla_logo

Please don’t be intimidated by Joomla!.  Please.  Give it a try, do some research; take your time to learn something new.  I know you can do it.  I believe in you.  What you’ll end up discovering is something awesome.

Don’t be like me.  Don’t live in regret.

I, too, was convinced that I could never learn to use Joomla!.  But, then again, I was intimidated by all content management systems (CMS) before I started really trying to learn them.  I didn’t think it was something I could figure out much less something I could excel at and even become a resource from which others could learn.  Then, a friend of mine, Christi, taught me WordPress.  (Christi’s currently the Technical Team Lead in our Design Department, so she’s an awesome source from which to learn.)

It was a snowball effect from there.  I built a lot of sites with WordPress and loved it.  But, I wanted to learn more, so I ventured into some of the other free software we offer through Softaculous.  I was still intimidated by Joomla! though.  Everything I read about it made it something I wanted to learn, but it is so different from other CMS software I had been working with, I was convinced it was beyond me.  The truth of the matter is, of course, that I didn’t put in the time and effort to learn something new.

But, a few months ago, I decided to install Joomla! on two of my personal blogs and give it a try.  From that moment on, I was challenged to change my perspective.  But, more importantly, I discovered something:  Joomla! is actually very easy to use.  It also comes with a lot options that aren’t available in other CMS software.

joomla_homepage

I think the most confusing part of Joomla! for most people is the lingo.  It’s different from other sources, but the meaning behind the words is the same.  Once you have a firm grasp of what everything means, it all starts to click into place.  So, in order to help get you started in using Joomla!, we are going to explain what Articles are and how they are used in Joomla!. This will help demystify the software and afford you a bit more comfort when reading up on what Joomla! is and how to use it.  So, study up, there will be a quiz at the end. (Probably. But, probably not.)

Articles = Web pages. 

Don’t be confused because it says “articles”.  The truth of the matter is that articles are both static pages and individual posts or listed posts (if you are going for a blog).  They are all referred to as Articles in Joomla!

When using Articles as static pages, you first need to create an article.  This tells Joomla! that you are going to have a page based on that title.  I always start my Joomla! designs by brainstorming on paper (Yep, pen and paper.  Call me old fashioned, but it really helps me see what I’m doing) the pages I would like to see on the site.  Joomla! is easiest when you have an idea of the content you will want on your website.  While you can of course make changes and update the information, it is best to have an idea of where you want the site to go before starting to build the site.

If your intention is to have the article act as a static page, you will need to take one more step when creating the article.  You will need to go into the “Article Options” (either while you are creating the article, or by clicking on the article title in “Article Manager”.  Everything that is set to “Use Global” should be changed to “Hide” or “No”.  This will prevent odd information, like the article title, creation date, and author from showing up on the pages you create.  While this is perfect for a blog page, it can be confusing on a static page.

My suggestion is to create blank Articles for the pages you want to see on your site.  So, for example, if you want a page on your site titled “Reviews” you would first create an article (Content – Article Manager – Add New Article) make the title “Reviews” and then leave the content area blank.  You can then add this to the menu (Menus – Main Menu – Add New Menu Item) and select “Single Article” (Menu Item Type – Articles – Single Article) for the Menu Item Type.  This will allow you to select the article you just created and will generate the blank webpage on your site.  You can then add modules to customize the appearance of the page.

If you are looking for a blog look, you can go through the same process of adding the page to the menu, but instead of selecting “Single Article” you have a few options to have a page of posts.  You can select featured articles, which will pull up articles that you label as “featured”.  This, however, may be a problem if you are using an image rotator or another module that pulls from the featured articles.  Then everything you want in your blog would also be pulled by that module.  A better option would be to select “Category List” which will pull from a selected category.  If you are only having one blog page, you can create a category called “Blog” or something to that effect and use the “Blog” category when selecting which category that page should pull from.   Choosing “Category List” will also allow you to have multiple blog pages by selecting a different category for each page.  You will just need to create a category for each of those topics.  (Content – Category Manager – Add New Category).

So, remember, when working with Joomla! an article is a web page.  You can set up any article in any manner through the use of the menu options and modules.  This will help get you started in the world of Joomla!

Digital Security: Keeping Your Website Safe

digital_security

I like to play, and make jokes, and say silly things in an attempt to keep this blog relatively light.  But, I think for this post, we need to buckle down and get serious for a second.  Don’t run off!  I’m not going to bore you, I just think we need to take a second and talk about site security.

Working at a hosting company, we deal with hacked accounts on a daily basis.  Hackers are sophisticated individuals with expert knowledge in the internet and computers, something not all site owners have.  Hacks and Denial of Service Attacks happen all over the world, every day, taking down sites, servers, even entire networks with shocking efficiency.  In headlines this month, we see huge websites like the New York Times, Twitter, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times becoming victims of hackers.

So, how do you protect your site?  Like any security measure, there is no absolute guaranteed way to keep your website safe, but I have a few suggestions that will tighten up the security on your hosting account.  It is important to understand that the security of your website and hosting account is in your hands.  Like any hosting provider, we offer a high level of security on the network and server, but in regards to your account, you have the most power to prevent unwanted access.

1.       Keep everything on your server up to date.

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t using that software or theme currently, if you have it on your server, you need to keep it updated because even inactive subscriptions could open up vulnerabilities to your account.  The most common reason for updates is to install security patches to current versions of software, so take advantage of that.

If you aren’t using something, uninstall it.  This will prevent the risk of someone accessing your account through something you don’t actively monitor.  The bonus to this is that you will be able to reduce your overall resource needs by ridding your account of extraneous software.  If you are using it, or plan on using it in the future, be sure to update it regularly.

2.       Use and rotate complex passwords.

Remembering passwords can be annoying, but it is necessary.  For the security of your account, you need to use complex and unique passwords and rotate them regularly.

To make your password memorable, but complex, try using a phrase you can easily recall.  For example, I will use, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done…” because I can always remember the last line of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, but you can use whatever phrase you like.  Take that phrase, and abbreviate it with the first letter of each word:

iiaffbttidtihed

Then capitalize some letters in a way that you will remember:

IiaffbTTIdtIhed

Now, add some numbers and symbols:

I!a55bTTIdtIhed

BOOM. Secure password with a pneumatic built in.

If you can’t remember your passwords, do not store them in an unprotected document on your computer.  If someone hacks your computer, they will find your passwords.  If you want to store your passwords so you don’t have to remember them, try an application like KeePass (http://keepass.info/) which will store all your passwords in an encrypted file.  The only password you will have to remember will be the master password.  Just make sure you aren’t using a simple password as your master password!

Also, don’t use the same password for everything.  Keep a variety of passwords.  That’s where tools like KeePass will be really helpful in keeping you organized.

3.       Consider an upgrade.

Please don’t take that to mean that shared hosting is not secure, because all servers at InMotion Hosting are secured to the same high standards.  However, VPS or Dedicated hosting packages will offer you more separation from other accounts and more control over the server itself.

That can be a double edged sword, because it means that your access level could compromise the site, so if you are not confident, or are not working with an experienced developer, make sure you don’t make too many changes to anything server-side.

4.       Check your code.

Checking your code means more than just updating your HTML for site changes.  It also means testing any changes you make prior to making them live.  You want to ensure that there are no holes written into any custom coding.

While you are reviewing new code, take the time to review old code as well.  If you see any unfamiliar code, it is possible someone has hacked your account and is using it without your permission.  By keeping up with your website’s code you can ensure that you know when changes are being made to your files.

In addition to the coding, check your access logs to ensure that the only IP address attempting to log into your server is your own.  If you notice something askew, update your passwords and block that IP address.

5.       Check your file permissions.

When you create a file, it will at times open the access to the world.  Yep, the entire world.  Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if your permissions are set to 777, that means that anyone can access and change your file permissions.

This is just enough of a crack to let a hacker through, so make sure that you have everything set properly.  Ideally, you want your permissions set to 755 (or 644 depending on the purpose of the file) which means that you can access and change the file, but others can just see and use it.

If you’d like some more details on file permissions, our Support Center has a basic explanation of them as well as some details on changing them.

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/how-to/change-file-permissions

The above suggestions are just to get you started in securing your site.  There is a lot of information out there, and diligence is required to keep your hosting account secure.

While you may not have the resources to have someone monitoring your account 24/7 like our Systems Team monitors our servers and network, it’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of checking in on your account daily, even when you aren’t updating any of its information.

Back to School

books

It’s back to school time!  Am I the only one who is excited?  I’m a giant nerd, so back to school time is a lot like Christmas to me.  I love wandering through the school supply section and buying things I just don’t need because I am not currently in classes.  (Don’t worry, that will be remedied soon).

What does back to school have to do with hosting?  Our Education Hosting Packages, of course!

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/edu/web-hosting-for-schools/

Educators and students alike can really benefit from hosting.  How, you say?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I’ve detailed some of the best ways to use one of our hosting packages while in school.

  1.  You have to for class.  Let’s start right out the gate with the obvious.  More and more students are learning about the internet and websites.  Whether you’re a developer, designer, or Server Administration student, you’re probably going to be required to have your own hosting.  We’ve dropped our prices just for people like you.  Paying for college is expensive enough, so quality hosting to ensure your grades are perfect (because I know you’re all perfect students) is imperative.
  2. Classroom Interaction.  I used to be a teacher, so I understand how difficult it can be to get students engaged in the classroom, much less outside of school.  Creating an interactive class website with activities and ways of connecting and learning from each other will keep your students learning even outside of the classroom.
  3. Creative Expression. Broadcast your skills online!  Photography, painting, poetry, song writing: all of these skills are important to continue well into adulthood. (Moody poetry is always at its best in your teens and early 20s.)  Don’t let a busy class schedule or peer intimidations keep you from your craft!  Plus, nothing impresses the ladies like being in a band more than having a band website.  Trust me.
  4. Email.  Simple as that.  Nothing is as cool as telling people your email address is czajaisawesome@czaja.com or dontbejealous@czaja.com.
  5. Your Future.  This one is more serious.  In a job market like our’s, having a strong technical background will take you far.  It doesn’t matter what your major is, understanding servers, Content Management Systems, and scripting language is always a plus to put on your resume.  I earned my degree in writing, but it was my understanding of technology that got me the job.  So learn it while you can, surround yourself with smart people, and brag about your awesome internet skills.

So, do you know someone starting school this year as a student or teacher?  Pass this news along. We make affordable hosting even better with our Education Discounts.  We love the internet and technology, and we are always working to spread that love to the world, regardless of age.

Don’t forget, Facebook was created in a college dorm room.

Open Source Central: PrestaShop Partnership

Prestashop

We made a new friend!

Recently, we at InMotion Hosting have been given an awesome opportunity to work with PrestaShop in a partnership to improve the experience for our customers.  Our Marketing Team was able to forge bonds with the staff at PrestaShop over our mutual love of Open Source software.  Because InMotion is one of the few remaining hosts that still openly supports and interacts with Open Source software, it was a match made in heaven. Through interactions with PrestaShop employees at open source events, our marketing team developed a relationship and an opportunity arose to turn that relationship into a business partnership that will benefit not only InMotion and PrestaShop, but also our customers.

Over the next 6 months, our relationship with PrestaShop will grow, and as such we have been preparing to offer the best support possible.  Our Development team partnered with our Marketing team to create an auto-installer so that customers who purchase our hosting through the PrestaShop website will have an account with PrestaShop already installed and ready to go for them.  This development is a huge step in our ability to better serve our customers’ needs.

We have been working to increase staffing including specialized training for our PrestaShop experts on our Tier 1 Support Team.  These individuals have improved knowledge and experience in working with PrestaShop so that we may better answer any questions our PrestaShop customers may have.

Even before becoming official partners, we have known how valuable a tool PrestaShop is to our customers.  We focused a lot of information on our Support Center to learning more about how to use PrestaShop and presenting that information to our customers.  Our PrestaShop Education Channel was a huge success as we introduced our clients to this shopping cart option.  (http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/edu/prestashop-15)

On behalf of InMotion Hosting and our entire staff, we would like to welcome everyone at PrestaShop and all our new PrestaShop customers to the InMotion family.

Myths of SEO

seo

Search engine optimization.  We talk about it a lot here, as most hosting companies do, because it is daunting and shrouded in mystery.  Literally, that’s not one of my usual exaggerations for comedic effect.  Google, as an example due to its popularity and nearness to taking over the world, keeps its algorithm a secret.  Like government agency secret; probably not “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you” secret, but pretty close.

Why all the secrecy?  Well, several reasons. It is difficult to have valid results for the searcher if websites know exactly what to do to get their website at the top of whatever list they want.  Further, you as a website or small business owner understand the importance of having a good ranking in relative terms, so if Google were to release their secrets to the masses, it would be even more difficult for small businesses to compete with larger companies.

This mystery adds a lot to the importance of your website’s content.  One thing has always remained true throughout the course of website searches – content is king.  If your content is specific and relative to your business, you will find that your ranking will naturally be high in the keywords most relative to your search.  The mystery also creates bad practices due to rumors, or outdated and incorrect information.  Or, even worse, someone finds a way to cheat the system, and that method spreads across the internet.  Suddenly, rankings go haywire, and when Google updates its ranking methods again (usually once or twice a year) all those websites tank in rankings.  Search engines keep track of those instances and it becomes very difficult for those sites to recover in ranking.

So, how do you know what’s a valid tip and what isn’t?  That’s what I’m here for. I’m going to help ease some of the rumors or old information that is still floating around and tell you what’s true and what isn’t.  It’s my own little digital myth busting, but with less explosions, and no moustaches.

Adding a location to your website increases your presence in local searches.

A lot of people don’t want to put their location anywhere on their website, especially if they don’t own a storefront.  But, don’t do that.  I’m not suggesting you put your address, phone number, birth date, and social security number on your site, just your city and state.  After all, if you didn’t pay for domain privacy, your information is publicly available on the internet anyhow.

Google now customizes searches to such a high degree, that a search for the exact same keyword with the exact same search history will result in different results if the searches are performed in different locations.  If I am looking for a plumber, I don’t care who the best plumber in New York is.  I want someone in Virginia Beach, Virginia because that’s where I’m located.

CONFIRMED.

You can use this to your advantage by putting an area map on your site.  Also, if you are a business and list your service areas, you will have a broader search radius.  If you are not a business, try to focus some of your content on local items.  If you have a food blog (like me) post some recipes using local foods, or talk about some local events you attended.

Higher rankings locally will drive traffic to your site.  And traffic increases your overall ranking, so getting local traffic will help your site grow in popularity worldwide.

Lists show importance, so I should list a bunch of keywords on my home page.

Yes and no, but mostly no.

Yes, lists show the scanning bots that the information included in those lists is important.  So, if you have a set of skills, certifications, or services to offer, put them in a list on your home page.  But, don’t flood every page with lists of random keywords.

Relevance and readability are still factors, even to search engine bots.  So, make sure your lists make sense or use complete sentences if possible.  Also, as with everything, make sure your keywords are relevant to your website.  Search engine bots are so advanced now, they can determine if something will make sense to someone reading it.  If too many flags come up (like say, a smattering of random words) it will hurt your rankings more than help them.

BUSTED. MOSTLY.

Don’t ignore this just because it’s not your chosen keyword that needs to be on the list on your page.  Drawing attention to important words on your website is always a good thing. Plus, you never know what someone is searching for, so you don’t want to give up on something just because you don’t think it’s important.

Take advantage of this when developing your content.  Don’t stop at lists, and use italics, bold, and underline.  Anything designed to draw attention to certain aspects of your site will be a way of adding a private note to the bots that this information is most relevant to your website.

Keywords are the most important factor in SEO, so it is best to flood your website, HTML tags, and code with hundreds of keywords.

Please don’t do this.  It’s not helpful, and even if it were, your ranking would be all wonky and your site would show up places it doesn’t belong and that wouldn’t help you or your customers at all.  And, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times when discussing SEO, relevant keywords are what really matter.

Also, like I mentioned before, bots can tell when a keyword is just inserted on a page.  So, make sure that what you use matters, makes sense, and is relevant to the other information around it.

BUSTED

So, how do you get more keywords into your site?  Well, first do your research and select the most relevant keywords to the information you are providing.  Then, only use 3-5 for each page of your website.  This will give your pages focus and will reduce the stress of fitting 30 keywords onto one page.

When you are writing for your HTML tags, remember that they don’t matter as much as they used to.  Title tags are the most important, and after that, photo descriptions, everything else is just a possible bonus.  Bots don’t crawl tags as much as they used to because the information on your site and the information others say about your site is much more important.

Bots don’t read punctuation.

This is actually true.  Bots don’t care about punctuation as much as the words on the screen, so you can increase the number of relevant keywords in an HTML tag or page by creatively using punctuation to your advantage.

For example, if your key word phrases are:

Hosting

InMotion

InMotion Hosting is awesome

You can put all of these together in one short sentence.

“Dedicated to the customer is what InMotion Hosting is.  Awesome hosting is hard to come by.”

Notice that we have hosting in there twice, InMotion Hosting is in there, and paired with awesome hosting, and it all combines to make the phrase InMotion Hosting is awesome.  That is also the perfect length for a HTML Tag, full of keywords and not too long.

Did you catch the bonus keyword?  “Dedicated” is the start of the sentence.  Paired with the repetition of the word hosting, we are in a good place to be found when someone searches “Dedicated hosting” or dare I say, “Awesome dedicated hosting”.

Long story short, if you have questions about improving your search engine rankings, you should remember what I said at the start of this post: “Content is King”.  When in doubt, ensure that your content is well written, informative, and full of diverse media.

There are so many myths about SEO, and the internet is flooded with bad information, and this short post only scratched the surface.

So, stay tuned to this bat channel for more helpful tips and busting of SEO myths.

Open Source Central: Free WordPress Themes

Who isn’t talking about WordPress right now?  Seriously, WordPress is my first love.  It’s what my website is built with and it’s what my 62 year old father’s brand new website is built with.  It’s intuitive and easy to use.  So easy that I didn’t even have to walk him through writing his first post.  This is the man who was so excited when he first learned to text that he sent me 4 text messages that only said, “Look, I’m sending a text message!”

So, if my father can learn to use WordPress, you can learn to use WordPress.  I promise.  As with all software, there is a slight learning curve while you get used to it, but trust me, once you do, it will be worth it.

I’m going to help you out with the most difficult part of building a site with WordPress – finding a theme. There are so many themes available on WordPress and they all offer features, customization, and ease of use at various levels and various prices.  So, if you find this article helpful, you’ll see more of them focusing on features, pricing, and purpose.  If you don’t find this article useful, pretend like someone else wrote it.

But, for now, we will focus on FREE WordPress themes.  Everyone loves free!  I’m going to pull my favorite themes from across the internet to show you the breadth of themes available and the different features in each one that won’t cost you anything but time.

CleanRetina

Clean Retina by Theme Horse http://www.themehorse.com/themes/clean-retina/

I’m starting here because it’s a personal favorite of mine.  It’s actually the theme I use on my almost a food blog (I tend to ramble and rant more than post recipes).  I love it because it’s clean and it’s customizable.  Built right into the theme options is a page for CSS updates.  I appreciate a theme developer who encourages people to use his theme the way they need to.  I was able to make this theme my own by using the in-theme options and then changing the CSS to get the feel I wanted.

This elegant theme comes with a lot of subtle design details; notice the “scroll” button that stays in the bottom right corner when navigating the site.  Clean Retina keeps up with the times.  It will look just as great on your phone or retina display as any other computer.

Artificer

Artificer – Woo Themes http://www.woothemes.com/products/artificer/

Personally, I love Woo Themes; talk about a WordPress Powerhouse.  Woo Themes doesn’t just stop at themes, they also have plug-ins to make the themes achieve your end goal.  The result is a group of themes and plug-ins that are designed to work as well separately as apart.  A lot of the Woo Themes and plug-ins are available for free, or you can purchase a subscription and have the availability to download multiple themes.

Why Artificer?  Well, it’s a free theme that is designed to be a store.  Yep, it’s actually a shopping cart and partners well with all of Woo Themes’ widgets, including Woo Commerce!  The design is simple, so your products don’t get lost amongst too many “features”, and as with most Woo Themes, it is responsive, so it’s easy to purchase from your shop on the go.

Helix

Helix by Fab Themes http://www.fabthemes.com/helix/

Wow.  I love this theme and I really wish I had a need for it, but unfortunately, I don’t.  But, if you’re a photographer, videographer, graphic artist, painter, or any other image-centric vocation, this is the theme for you.  While this theme does require the Options Framework plug-in to work (this is available for free download through WordPress.org), the installation of that plug in is so easy, and this theme is definitely worth the extra step.

Helix gives you all of the features available to standard WordPress themes, compatibility with pages and blogs, and the eye catching full-screen image rotator draws your clients in before they even read anything you have to say.

Oxygen

Oxygen Theme by Alien  http://alienwp.com/themes/oxygen/

I like the Oxygen Theme because of its professional simplicity. This is a great way to introduce your company to the world.  The theme is responsive, which as you know is important in our portable lifestyle.  It is easy to customize with multiple widget areas, multiple menus, a built-in light box, and customizable back ground.  It also includes a featured content slider, so you are able to easily update the focus of your home page if you are running promotions or want to highlight part of your business.

Researching a theme is the first step to building a successful WordPress website.  You want a theme that has a general feel that you are looking for, or has enough customization available to make it fit your website.

When selecting a theme, take your time, install a few themes and try them out.  Make sure it is easy to make changes to the site and that you are comfortable using all the features available to you through the theme options.  Remember, no two themes are exactly the same on the back end, so you need to be as comfortable with changing your website as you are with looking at it.

The Power of Account Management Panel

file_management

The internet – The final frontier.  These are the continuing features of AMP.  Its ongoing mission: to explore new customization options, to seek out the best services for InMotion Hosting’s customers, to boldly go where no hosting company has gone before.

Have you seen the new Star Trek yet?  It’s fantastic.  Like all good fangirls, I’m enamored with all things Benedict Cumberbatch.   But that has nothing to do with this post, except that it gave me the opportunity for a timely and creative opening to talk about our Account Management Panel (AMP).

If you haven’t been using our AMP software yet, you’re really missing out.  But, now is the time!  We’ve added some awesome new features that will give you more control than ever over your account and server.  It’s majestic.

But, before we get into those new features, let’s recap what makes AMP so fantastic.  If you haven’t used it before, go to our website.  On the top of every page you’ll see the log in button.

AMP

From here, you can go anywhere!  It has an option to check your billing information, including reviewing what items are currently being billed for your account, reviewing past receipts, and even updating contact and payment information.  This saves you time and effort and takes the stress of billing off your shoulders.  You can even set renewal reminders, so you will always know what renewal is coming and when.

AMP also gives you direct access to your cPanel, and if you’re on a VPS or Dedicated platform, Web Host Manager (WHM).  This makes accessing all your accounts easier and faster as they are all linked to one central location.

But, you probably already knew that.  What you may not have known, is that we’ve added even more awesome features.

Purchase a new IP Address

You can now purchase a new IP address to your account directly through AMP. Yep.  You don’t have to contact our Support Team for it anymore, just click a few buttons and you’re on your way.

How do you do this?  It is located under “Additional Services” then, “Other”.  Select purchase IP address.  Done and done.

Change Your Primary Domain Name

We’ve also added the option to update your shared hosting account’s primary domain name.  So, if you decide the domain that was your primary is no longer needed, you can just log into your AMP, cancel the renewal on that domain and put a new domain in its place.

Start in the “Details” section under “Account and Billing”.  From there, click, “Make Changes”, and select “Change Primary Domain”.  Follow the prompts from there and with a bit of propagation time, you have a new primary domain name.

Restart Your Virtual Private Server

For whatever reason, there may come a time when you, or your site administrator, may need to reboot your server.  Before, that was a contact to our Support Team with an escalation to our System Administrators.  That took time.  However, now you can restart your VPS’s services right from the comfort of your living room, or office, or bathroom, or wherever you do your work.  We don’t judge here.

In AMP, we’re going to venture back to “Details” under “Accounts and Billing”.  In your “Active Subscriptions” section, you should see a button that says, “Restart VPS”.  Click that.

WHAMO!

Your VPS is restarting.  It’s like a direct line to our System Administrators.  Or magic; if you’re like me and think all this internet and technology stuff is secretly operated by wizards in disguise.

Once everything is restarted and ready to go again, you’ll get a SUCCESS message.  You’ll feel good about yourself.  You will have accomplished something that day.  This is what InMotion Hosting and AMP does for you, it brightens your day and boosts your confidence.  Maybe we should rename it to Awe-inspiring Magnificent Panel of Wonder.  AMPOW! That’s practically perfection.

With this newfound confidence, you can do anything.  Go out, live your dreams.  Interview for that dream job (we’re hiring, by the way: http://www.inmotionhosting.com/employment/), ask out that girl (or guy) you’ve been crushing on (I’m married, sorry), or just enjoy the world with your new positive outlook on life.  AMP, the internet, and our 24/7 Support Team will be here for you when you get back.

 

Managed Hosting and Launch Assist

rocket

Let me introduce you to Managed Hosting and Launch Assist. When I was given this assignment for the blog and newsletter, I was really excited.  I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me as a topic earlier, but I’m glad someone thought of it.

Why am I so excited, you ask? I mean, let’s be real, it’s not like I’m writing a post about Doctor Who or anything (don’t judge).

I am excited because I get to tell you about our new Managed Hosting service and Launch Assist for our Virtual Private Server and Dedicated hosting packages!  Okay, admittedly, without a little background on why that’s awesome that reveal is mildly anti-climactic, but stick with me, you’ll be excited too.

First, let’s flash back to just under three years ago when I first started working for InMotion Hosting.  I was hired onto our Customer Care team because I am awesome with customers.  My tech knowledge was not my strong suit.  I mean, I had a website and a blog and previously was a Genius at the Apple Store, so I knew my way around a computer and had a working knowledge of the internet.  However, my server knowledge wasn’t quite as good.  I mean, I could tell you that you needed accurate name servers, but I had no idea why.

Working here over the last few years has taught me a lot about servers and site design, but before that, I had no idea what I was doing.  However, I was bound and determined to learn it.

I ended up breaking things, a lot.  So, I started pestering the tech support reps to both fix the things I broke and explain to me how to not break it in the future.  Because I work here, I had a direct line to the brilliance.

Now, thanks to Managed Hosting, you have a direct line to the brilliance too!

Seriously, Managed Hosting is essentially a hook-up to our best and brightest.  They’re that friend everyone has who is willing to fix your server for you.  This is a team of Systems-level technicians dedicated to you.  While they are not account managers, we do keep the team intimate so they all can get to know our customers directly.

Keeping the whole team available to your account means you are almost guaranteed to have someone available who has expertise in your question.  You can also rest easy knowing that the Support Representative working on your account is not only experienced but also has the upper level server knowledge you can rely on.

These guys are brilliant enough to work directly with you or your developer on any level.  So, if you need to be able to jump right into a higher tier of support without going through our base T1 Premier Support Team, Managed Hosting is the place to be.

But, technical knowledge is not the only factor we take when selecting technicians for our Managed Hosting Team.  We also look for those agents who have some of the best customer service on the floor.  After all, that’s what sets InMotion Hosting apart from the pack, our dedicated focus to our customers.

We pride ourselves in the service our representatives offer.  We bring this up in the initial job interview, and it is a focus of every aspect of our training because it’s so much a part of our daily tasks.  It’s InMotion Hosting’s thing.  Go Daddy has elephants, HostGator has Texas, InMotion Hosting has Customer Service.  We strive every day to set the industry standard for customer service.

At the moment, Managed Hosting is only available to our VPS and Dedicated hosting customers, so if you have been on the fence about upgrading, now is the best time to do it!

Launch Assist

With your upgrade or new VPS or Dedicated purchase, you have optional Launch Assist to help get you up and running.

Included in all Dedicated packages and available for $99 on VPS packages, Launch assist gets you up to 2 hours of Managed Hosting within your first 30 days.  They can help you get your server set up just how you like it so you have a lean, mean, website hosting machine.

Between Managed Hosting and Launch Assist, our team has your team covered.

See?  I told you this was exciting.  This is better than when those stores give you employee discounts.  Except, the employee discount that you get is access to our employees!  That seems weird, but let me tell you; these guys have gotten me out of a lot of jams and have always been able to explain what I did wrong without confusing me.  They are gifted.

Just remember to do one thing that I didn’t.  Call Managed Hosting before you break your server.