InMotion Hosting

The Official InMotion Hosting Blog

Team Member Profile: Yuriy Shyyan – Managed Hosting

Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine (moved to USA when I was 12)
Position: Managed Hosting
InMotion Hosting team member since May 2012

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
As a teenager, I used to tinker with computers at home and had hosting at 14. But when it comes to InMotion Hosting, I ended up here through another job.

I worked part-time at Papa Johns while I was taking CS courses. Once night I delivered pizza to InMotion Hosting, and when I dropped them off, I was amazed with all the computer setups they had. Instantly, I knew I wanted to be a part of this company. So I asked if there were open positions – and a month later, I was working here.

Hardware or software? Which is your preference? Why?
Both. But when it comes time to play with hardware – it’s all about the hardware, it’s all about the power – it’s all about that engine!

Software is about comfort, efficiency, productivity, etc.

Followup question: Fastest rig built?
My gaming computer: AMD FX-8350 @ 4.8 O.C.; 16GB RAM; 2x XFX Radeon HD 7870 in CrossFire-X; 2x Vertex 256GB SSD’s in RAID0; 3-24″ monitors

Yuriy's "Killer" machine


What is your favorite online application?
Well, I’m a big fan of utility applications to make my life easier. I actually host my own version of “Dropbox” , “Puush”, and host an Openfire chat server for friends and family. Communication and ease of use is what I like.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
This is a tough one, as I love all my toys. But, since I have a passion for music production, probably my sound system, or at least the Technics speakers and the Kenwood receiver I have at home. It can certainly shake a wall or two on those quiet nights.

Favorite thing about working at IMH?
Constantly learning. If you aren’t learning on your job, you’re wasting time. And I get to learn more and more about the things I like to do on my own time.

There are also some fun perks too. Foosball, loose company culture, and talking shop with my coworkers.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Well, I definitely love what I do. I love it so much that the phrase “Don’t bring work home” is something that I cannot live by. There are those days where I come home, tinker with my servers, mess around with hardware setups, and then it’s suddenly 5am!

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.

Team Member Profile: Tony Kelly – Managed Hosting

Hometown: As an Air Force brat, I’ve lived across the USA and Japan. I would say I don’t have a real “hometown.” Most of my extended family is from Washington, NC. So I guess that’s where I like to call home.
Position: Managed Hosting
InMotion Hosting team member since April 2011

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
I have been hosting since the early 1990s using WWIV BBS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWIV). As a registered SysOp and part of the early WWIVnet and WWIVLink.

After joining the Navy I closed down my BBS and shortly after got my first hosting with a shared hosting account in the late 1990s.

Hardware or software?
Hardware. While I appreciate all that the software allows me to do with the hardware. There’s nothing like putting together a killer machine that can run circles around its competitors. Most are so easy to upgrade too.

Followup questions: Describe the “killer machine?”
That would be a multi-boot Mac and Windows 7 machine. i7 920, 16GB RAM, NZXT Phantom Case. Intel x25 SSH plus 2.5TB hard drive.

The Beast

What’s your favorite online application?
Wordpress would be my favorite because it’s so powerful and so widely supported. If kept updated and some extra security measures are used (like BulletProof Security http://wordpress.org/plugins/bulletproof-security/), you can have an awesome site with little fuss. You can even use smartphone apps and automators like IFTTT to help you manage your site.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
Having just started my move into home automation I love being able to control my lighting and other parts of my home through my smartphone. Turning on my porch light from my phone is just plain awesome! While it’s not exactly a gadget, home automation is something I’ve been toying with for years and finally made the jump.

Followup question: What smartphone and app are you using?
For home automation, I use Z-wave with Alarm.com management on my iPhone 4S (I’ll be upgrading when the next phone is released).

Favorite thing about working at IMH?
IMH really works hard to take care of its employees. This is shown through a number of perks and benefits to working here. From regular free meals on the company, bonuses in pay, and profit sharing are just some examples.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’m a family guy who loves getting to do life with my wife and kids. I have a passion for technology and gadgets.

Open Source Central: Concrete5

concrete5

Have you used Concrete5 yet?  I think it’s my new favorite thing ever.  (Don’t tell WordPress I said that.)

What is Concrete5 you ask?  It’s an up and coming content management system (CMS) and it is taking over.  Quite frankly, I think I am ok with that.

It’s an ultra-lite, easy to use, über powerful CMS that caters to the broad range of site builders out there.  From designers to developers, to people like me who just go into a software and clunk around until something works, Concrete5 has the power and features to fulfill all our needs.

I was able to think, “I wonder what all this Concrete5 hype is about?”, then install it through Softaculous, and begin working on my site in a matter of minutes.  I kid you not.  Within 2 hours, I had a good-looking website with customized CSS and full content on the home, about, and contact me pages.

Now that Concrete5 and I are in love, I figured I’d share some of this excitement with you, our lovely readers.  Here is my list of the top 5 most awesome features of Concrete5.

 

The Top 5 Most Awesome Features of Concrete5

1.       Most themes are Responsive.

Yep.  Right out of the gate, most themes are built to be responsive or have a mobile version you can use.    Even better?  You can change the mobile theme to be different than the full site.  That way, if you want something a little simpler for those tiny cellphone screens, you just pick a different theme for the mobile version.  How cool is that?

Responsive

2.       Easy and optional SEO features.

Built right into the site format, you’ve got the ability to automatically add the Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords!  It’s a one click choice.  This means you can select what to add and when, and it also means you have easy access to update your SEO keywords to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your customers and remaining competitive with search engines.

SEO

3.       Direct, on-page editing.

Are you looking for a point and click style builder that is easy to customize, has a wide variety or templates to choose from, and has the power to allow full site development?  Look no further.  Concrete5 is set up in blocks which show up in black dotted lines.

onpageediting

You pick which blocks you want to add by clicking within the black dotted lines.  Then, select add block.  This will open a pop up window where you can select what you want it to be.

onpageeditingaddblock

You can pick anything from adding navigation, to an image, even a YouTube video, right here on the page you’re working on!

You can see your site as you build it.  Most content management systems require that you work on the content and coding of the site in the back end.  That means you have to bounce back and forth between your code and the site to see the changes you are making.  While you will have to do that to some extent with Concrete5, you can get a good feel for the layout before delving into the code.

4.       The Marketplace.

Typically, when you want an add-on or theme, you have to look all over the internet to get all of your options.  Concrete5 simplifies that.  It’s all in one place, the Marketplace.  Any plugins or themes that you would like can be found right in the software, so you don’t have to stop working to get the functionality you want.

5.       Extreme Theme Customization.

You can customize your themes and add any CSS (custom style script) right in the theme.  Through your themes page, click the “Customize” button next to your selected theme.  This will open color options and the CSS entry.

Talk about easy control.  I love that I can make changes to the CSS and see it change right in the same screen.  Color matching on my site became so much easier when I didn’t have to open another window to see how the colors look together.

CSS

With its combination of simplicity and power, Concrete5 is an all in one CMS that is sure to meet your needs.

Go forth, give it a try, and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!  We’d love to know what features you loved best.

 

Creating Content: Surefire Ways to Inspire Written Content for Your Site

creating_contentI love to write, so for me, developing content for websites is easy.  As a matter of fact, I do it here at InMotion for some of our clients.

However, that experience has taught me that not everyone has the ability to sit down and put words to thoughts.  There’s nothing wrong with that, you know your business, if you’re a plumber, you know plumbing.  I’m a writer, so I know writing.

So how do you, as a plumber, jeweler, baker, or other tradesman, communicate your knowledge to your website easily?  It’s a big task, explaining what you do to a wide audience in writing for the world to see.  I assure you, you can do it without having to hire a professional content writer to do it for you.  After all, who knows your business better than you do?

I’m going to give you some tips and tricks for developing content for your website.  You’re getting insider hints on how to inspire the words and pick the best information to include on your website and where to place it.

Above the fold on your home page is prime real estate on your website.  So, keep the most important information there.  Anything you want your customers to be aware of as soon as they go to your website needs to be front and center.

What does “above the fold” mean?

Above the fold is a term for the area on a website that shows up at the top of the page.  Meaning, it’s the part of the site that you don’t have to scroll down to see.

Much like a newspaper headline, this information needs to be brief, to the point, and grab your visitor’s attention.

What to include above the fold:

  1. Your company name and logo.  Don’t leave any mystery about where the viewer is visiting.
  2. An easy to navigate site menu.  Anything to make getting around your site easier.
  3. Contact information.  If you want customers to call or email you as part of your business plan, put this up top.  Include any social media links you may have.
  4. A search feature.  If you have a blog, or anything informational, a search bar will help customers immediately get the information they need.
  5. Any promotions you are running.  If you have a sale or special, this is where to highlight it.  Make it big and brightly colored so it grabs attention.
  6. 1-3 important aspects of your business.  Ask yourself, what is the one thing I want people to know about my business?  Is it your customer service?  Your pricing?  Your credentials or knowledge?  Focus on that.  Then, in less than 200 words, explain it.  Your above the fold information should be graphic-based, so keep your words brief.

Don’t get too wordy with your home page.  Product or action images are great ways to get attention without overwhelming site visitors.

When writing your home page content, limit yourself to no more than 3 key aspects of your business.  Brainstorm your business and services and make a list.  Then narrow it down  to the most important and of that list, pick the top three.  Don’t worry, there will be a place for the other important features of your business, just not on the home page.

For example, the history of your company does not belong on the home page.  If you are including that, great!  This gives the customers something to connect to, but just make it a small phrase, not the whole history on the front of your site.  Try something like, “Established in 1997…” or “Locally owned and operated in Virginia Beach…”  Any more detail than that is more appropriate in the “About Us” section.

While making this list, call friends and family who know your business and ask them to describe it to you.  This may seem silly, but it’s important to have a feel for what outside parties think of the services you offer.  They may not fully match up with what you are trying to project.  If this is the case, your web content is a great place to revamp the image of your company.

In order to actually write the content for your home page, ask yourself these questions to get the inspiration flowing:

  1. Why is this important to me and my business?
  2. How do I display this in daily business operations?
  3. What have been the results of prioritizing this aspect of my business?

Keep your answers between 1 and 2 sentences here.  You can elaborate more in other pages of the site.  This is like teaser information.

Organize where you want your content laid out before you write.  That list you made before of the most important aspects of your business?  Use that as a starting point and outline where you want that information.  For example, you don’t want to introduce your prices in the About Us page.  Something that important deserves its own page.

Create an outline like this:

Home Page

  • Customer Service Focused
  • Guaranteed Pricing
  • Free Estimates

About Us

  • Family owned business.
  • Part of the local community for over 50 years.
  • Won best of local awards 12 years in a row.
  • Community Service projects.

Request A Quote

  • Free estimates
  • Guaranteed pricing
  • Contact form
  • Schedule and appointment

Get To Know Our Team

  • Staff photos
  • Staff credentials
  • Customer service focus
  • Short bios for staff members

Once you have those basic topics listed for each page, stick to them. Don’t try to put too much information on one page.  This will make it difficult to follow and your customers will lose interest in that page.  This makes finding information on your site tedious and can cause them to leave your site in search of another.

Even on pages further into your site, you want to keep the information short and sweet.  Try to keep your pages around 500 words total.  Break them up into short paragraphs, use lists to highlight important facts, and use images to depict things your words can’t.

Know your audience.  This seems simple, but if you are catering only to others in your field, you will not have to explain as much as you would if you were catering to novices or customers who know little to nothing about what you do.

When in doubt, find someone who fits your goal audience and ask them if what you have written makes sense.  Your site should be informative without being too complicated or too simple.  When writing, an outside opinion is invaluable.

Still not sure where to go from here?  Check below.  I’ve included a list of the questions I typically ask my content clients.  These questions usually give me enough understanding of my client’s business and goals that I can then use the answers to draft an entire site worth of content.

Answer the questions fully!  Provide as much information as you can and make lists of all the features where applicable.  This is not the place to cut words.  Once you have answered all these questions and have of paragraphs and pages worth of information, highlight all the parts that are the most critical.  If you’ve already made your list of SEO keywords, highlight any sentences where those keywords were used.

Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is string those highlighted sentences together in a way that makes sense. By using that information and just filling it into the pages you listed on your outline, you’ve got strong, relevant content.

Note: As you answer these questions, organize the answers, and think about the site layout, you may find that your original outline is not the best way to organize the site.  You might discover that two aspects are related and should be introduced together, but you have them on separate pages in your outline.  No worries.  Just adjust the outline to fit your changing needs.  It is a guide to keep your content focused, so it’s not set in stone.

  1. Describe your company or business plan.
  2. What services or products do you offer?
  3. Describe your work flow.  If you hand make products, what goes into it?  If you offer a service, how do you proceed when responding to a call or appointment?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. What made you decide to open your business?
  6. Have you won any awards or received any acknowledgements?
  7. What are your credentials?  What skills do you and your team bring to the business?
  8. What are others saying about you?  Include customer testimonials, local media, social media, and any word of mouth customers you are aware of.
  9. What are your business goals?
  10. What makes your business different from its competition?

Writing content is a lot of work, even when it comes easily to you. So, be prepared to take the time to do it properly.  But, don’t be afraid to make changes and updates to your content whenever applicable.  It is good to provide new information to your website regularly, so try to keep your site content fresh.

Team Member Profile: Joe Cartonia – Managed Hosting

personal_interview_banner_joe_cartoniaHometown: Buffalo, NY
Position: Managed Hosting Team – Level 2
InMotion team member since September 2009

How did you get started in this field?
My interest in technology started as a kid. I would take apart electronic devices to see how they worked, and of course put them back together. Soon I would be helping friends, neighbors, or anyone who asked, setup their computers and helped manage them.

Pretty soon, I took an interest in software and learned to code. I would build applications for people who needed something that didn’t exist — which is something I still enjoy doing.

Do you prefer working with hardware or software?
It’s hard for me to put one in favor of another. I enjoy hardware because I like building systems to move data. Whether over cable, Ethernet, satellite, or even radio. I really just like the challenges of setting these systems up.

With software, I get to take the hardware systems I built and create programs that use the data. I learned php fairly early, and it’s a language I understand pretty well.

Favorite online application?
There isn’t one application that I would say is my favorite. I’m not on social media, and I don’t use online applications all that often.

I would much rather build my own.

Coolest gadget?
Droid Razr Maxx HD. Fast. Thin. Has a Kevlar back. It’s a computer, TV, phone, all in your pocket.

Favorite thing about working at IMH?
You never know what you’re going to run into. With IMH, there are always new challenges and situations that need to be taken care of. Sometimes we get an issue that no one has dealt with before, so there is no answer because no one has found one yet. I really enjoy this part because I get to work with the customer to find the answer and get it working for them. I think it’s pretty cool that I get to be a part of the process.

Also, getting to work with new applications and the latest hardware is a lot of fun.

The Modern Blog and Your Business

business_blog_photoBlog.  It’s a weird word with a lot of meaning.  Historically, blogs have been perceived as a digital journal for an individual to voice opinions, thoughts, or stories, and this definition holds true today, for some blogs.  For example, I have three personal blogs that I update regularly and they are just that, an online journal of my life.

But, I also have a professional blog designed solely to display my skills and services to the internet.  I use it to market my skills and display my knowledge.  This concept of the professional blog is becoming a regular occurrence for many businesses with an online presence.

But why?  Does it behoove your business to add a blog page to your website?  What content should you include, and how often should you update it?

First, ABSOLUTELY, you should have a blog on your website.  Groomers, caterers, graphic designers, even hosting companies (like this one) can benefit from a blog.  There are several reasons the blog page will benefit your business.

1.       Traffic:   You can increase traffic to your site by posting relevant or interesting content to your site’s blog.  Short posts full of interesting material, graphics, and media will draw more people to visit your site and see what’s going on.  If they are interested in what you have in your blog, they will explore the rest of your site to get to know your company.

 2.       Social Media:  Posts that are widely viewed are often shared on social media.  You can cheaply and easily promote your site, or an upcoming event, or your brand simply by having a post go viral.

Twitter and Facebook are two of the most prominent social media outlets, but if you use videos, YouTube is a great addition to your social media repertoire and if you use a lot of images, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the web.

However, don’t stop there, use social media to your advantage, Google+, Reddit, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon are other options to broadcast fun and interesting information about your business to a seemingly endless variety of demographics you wouldn’t be able to reach anywhere else.

3.       Search Engine Optimization: The big SEO.  The reason we put our sites online is to be viewed, and strong search engine optimization is a way to introduce your website to like-minded people.

Your strongest asset to both increase your rankings and the frequency of being crawled by search engine bots?  Content. Simple as that.  There are other factors in optimizing your site for search engines, but number one, focus on your content.  Interesting, keyword rich, relevant content will increase your rankings in your field.

However, there are some aspects of SEO worthy content that are best given by having a blog.  First, regular and frequent updates.  The more you update your site, the more it will be crawled.  Because you are continually updating your content you are showing search engines that this site is active and regularly monitored, thus increasing your ranking.

Next, linkability.  Remember when I mentioned a post going viral or driving traffic to your site?  This means your content is interesting and something people will read and share.  It’s linkable.  It’s easy to find, and interesting to read.  This will help increase backlinks and simultaneously improve your search engine ranking.  We call this a win-win.

Finally, a blog gives you more space to talk about a wide variety of topics that relate to your business.  Through this, you can also have a variety of keywords that you may not have been able to fit on your static pages.  This will introduce different aspects of your business to people who may not have searched for you previously.

Now that you have a blog, what content should you use?  Well, anything will work.  Give a short tutorial, maybe an image of one of your recent projects, or introduce some of your employees.  Let people get to know you and your business.  Open up the personal aspects of what you do.  This will give your readers someone to connect with.  It’s a blog, so there is more freedom and range in your topics.

Have a restaurant?  Give some cooking tips, recipes, or video tutorials.  Work in finance?  Have some of your experts offer budgeting tips, savings advice, or opinions on the current economy.  Work in construction?  Review the brands you use, show images of projects as they start, are in development, and the when completed.  Any of these topics will bring interested parties to your site, and better than that, if they find something interesting they are likely to pass it on and keep coming back to see your updates.

So, how often should you update your blog.  Ideally, you should update with a new post as frequently as possible.  Weekly or daily is best, but monthly will work as well.  Also, try to keep your updates on a regular schedule.  Don’t forget, every time you update your blog you should submit your site to search engines to be crawled!

Go out, add a blog page to your site and introduce yourself to the world.  Show the personal side of your company or show off all that knowledge you have on your field.  Open your site to the online community and draw new customers to your business!

The New Norm in Cyber World

hacking

Being security aware is becoming more and more important in the web hosting world. Over the past year, it has been estimated that the damage caused by DDoS and Hackers is costing the global economy approximately $2.5 Trillion a year in losses. In the first quarter of 2013, DDoS attacks grew by over 700%. If you believe you have never been impacted by a DDoS or Hacker attack, you are wrong.  You have been impacted by either a DDoS or Hacker Attack, and you probably lost revenue or customers due to the attack.

Although DDoS are not new and we’ve been hearing about them in the news for years, the types of DDoS attacks are becoming larger and more sophisticated.  What is concerning to me is that most individuals and companies who have a web presence don’t even understand what a DDoS attack is or the fact that at some point in the past, their website has been impacted by a DDoS Attack.

What is a Denial of Service attack (DoS)? A DoS attack is quite simple. The attacker attempts to prevent a website from functioning properly by sending a large amount of requests or other traffic to the target website causing it to become unresponsive.

With all the great advances in technology, there is always someone trying to exploit the technology to do harm. When companies started using distributive technologies for business purposes, attackers started using distributive technologies to enhance their attacks.  Just a few years ago, a large DDoS attack was 10-20mbs of traffic. Today, we regularly see DDoS attacks between 2-4gbs in size and we have seen attacks as large as 10gbs. There have been reports of DDoS attacks exceeding 100gbs.

DDoS attackers are extremely clever, and believe it or not, you may have unknowingly helped one of the attackers to attack another site. It’s true! You may be helping a DDoS attacker right now and don’t even know it. DDoS attackers are always looking for ways to exploit computer systems to host their attacks. Attackers use several techniques to gain access to systems. The most common are:

  • A malicious program is installed on your system and connects it to a hidden server, enabling the hacker to gain enough control of your system.
  • A malicious program is installed on your system allowing the hacker to monitor your key strokes, thus providing the hacker with account information.
  • Hackers gain access to systems through a security exploit in an application.

Once a system has been compromised, the attacker connects your systems to other compromised systems forming a botnet. Once the attacker has enough resources to take down the intended target, the attack is on!  The next thing you know, your IP address is being blocked and your customers are no longer able to get to your website.

Not all hackers are interested in sending DDoS attacks. In many cases, the hackers are interested in using your compromised system to send out email SPAM. This has been a growing trend throughout the industry.  Over the past year, we have seen a steady increase in customers’ sites being exploited to send SPAM.

The reason for this trend is quite simple. Most people who have an individual website don’t understand the need to keep their website application(s) up-to-date with the latest security patches, creating a bigger risk for a hacker to exploit the vulnerability. Recently one of the major content management systems (CMS) reported major security vulnerability in an older release. Within a few hours, hundreds of thousands of systems around the world were compromised by hackers exploiting the vulnerability.

The good news for our customers is that we take security very seriously and we work very hard to minimize hacks and DDoS attacks. With our recent upgrades to our networks, we have significantly reduced the number DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do and we need your help to be more security conscious.

We can block the DDoS attacks, we can tell you about the vulnerabilities with your website, but if you don’t act on our recommendations, there is a very good chance you will be the next victim of a hack attack. If your website has been hacked or you feel as though you may have been hacked, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help you and we want to make sure you get the best service in the industry.

Domain Transfers, Pain Free

imh_domain_concierge_logoHey everybody!  It’s me again, the weird one who talks about Doctor Who and breaking things all the time.

I’m here to help.

Have you ever transferred a domain from one registrar to another?  Has it ever gone easily?

I can already read your mind.  It’s like we’re connected.  If you said yes to the first question, you probably said no to the second question.

I know how domain transfers work, I’ve done them for customers before as well as transferred a domain myself.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a pain.

First, you have to update all your WhoIs information to ensure that your contact information is up to date.  Then, you have to unlock or release the domain you want to transfer at your current registrar.  Then you have to get the EPP code and provide that to the registrar you are transferring to.

Then come the emails.  There are probably about a million emails you have to go through (give or take a few hundred thousand) from both registrars.  You will probably get an email from your current registrar asking if this is really what you want to do.  You will probably have to reply to that email or log in to confirm this.  Then you will get an email from your new registrar confirming that this is what you want to do.

Then you wait 5-10 days.  Then you get some more emails.  Then the old registrar tries to offer you a discount to stay.

Eventually, with enough tenacity, you will get that confirmation email from your new registrar confirming that the transfer has been completed.

Phew.

That’s a lot.  If at any point in that process, you miss an email, or take too long to respond, or it doesn’t go through, you (or your registrar) can cause the transfer to fail and you have to start all over.  I honestly believe that domain transfers are the leading cause for people being prescribed medication.  (I could be wrong there, but if you have ever had a domain transfer fail, you get where I’m coming from.)

We saw that problem.  We heard your frustrations.  We understand and empathize with you.  We’ve been there.  We know that everything is out of your hands because it’s out of our hands too.  All we can do is wait for the emails and let the registrars do their thing, and that is annoying.

So, we set out to fix it.  And thus, Domain Concierge was born.  It was like a technician’s fairy tale.  Do you hate domain transfers?  Do they make you Hulk furious?  Let us do it for you.

With domain concierge, you give us the keys and all you have to do is sit back and relax while we handle the transfer and registrar negotiations for you.

As the weather warms up, this is a dream come true.  You can sit on the beach, or at the lake, or take your family to Disney and not worry that you’ll miss one of the important emails from your registrar.  Heck, if you’re up for it, you could take a total stranger to Disney and share the love; maybe someone who wrote a super informative and mildly entertaining post about InMotion Hosting’s Domain Concierge service.  (You can reach me through the comments section.)

The best part of this?  You can do it all from your AMP login.  Yep.  You don’t even have to pick up the phone and call us.  A few clicks and we’ll take it from there.

I mean, you can pick up the phone and call us.  Support is here 24/7/365.  Call us if you have a question, or if you’re lonely, you know, whatever.  We’re here for you.