InMotion Hosting

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The Daily Star: A Managed Hosting Case Study

If you are looking for fast Fully Managed Dedicated Servers and a great experience to go along with it, you’ll love our Dedicated Managed Hosting at InMotion Hosting. We are proud to present The Daily Star as a case study on how InMotion can deliver a highly optimized and reliable Dedicated Hosting solution.

The Daily Star is the number one online newspaper in Bangladesh, and their web site receives millions of hits per hour. Their previous hosting company was unable to provide a comprehensive Managed Hosting solution, so they decided to switch to InMotion Hosting.

The Daily Star

The Daily Star – the number one online newspaper in Bangladesh and a proud customer of InMotion Hosting.



The custom Managed Hosting Solution

InMotion Hosting Managed Hosting specialists went through many steps to optimize The Daily Star‘s WordPress site. We employed several proven solutions to create a rock-solid hosting platform built on our Commercial Class Dedicated Servers. We set up two servers- a web server and a database server. Check out the following specifications.

Varnish caching

Varnish Cache (also known as caching HTTP reverse proxy) is a web application accelerator designed to optimize HTTP requests. Varnish is installed on the front end of the server to cache the Website contents. The performance of Varnish Cache is exceptional. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 – 1000x, depending on your architecture bringing the server load down.

NginX Web Server

Nginx is an Open Source Web Server and a Reverse Proxy Server. HTTP, SMTP, POP3 and IMAP protocols are optimized to run high concurrent processes with low memory usage. Instead of using a process driven server model, Nginx uses an asynchronous event model to handle requests. This allows higher performance under high server loads.

Apache DSO and mod_ruid2

Apache DSO is Dynamic Shared Objects (DSO) is a PHP handler that speeds up the server using opcode caches. The APache module mod_ruid2 is a suexec module for Apache that causes forked Apache processes to be run as a particular user. This allows for PHP to be run in DSO mode without the typical security problems of running PHP as DSO in an environment shared by multiple users.

Alternative PHP Cache (APC)

The PHP PECL module APC is Alternative PHP Cache. This allows the interpretation of PHP scripts to caches opcode. The cache can cache objects like database objects and full page views. Websites will speed up PHP with APC and perform even faster.

Commercial Class #1 for Databases

To optimized the databases for The Daily Star, we set them up on Commercial class Dedicated hosting. The database server uses a Commercial Class #1 server with the following specifications (Server specifications are subject to change).

  • Intel® Xeon® E5-2430 Turbo 2.2GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI
  • 6-Cores / 12-Threads
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 600GB SAS 15K (2 x 600GB)
  • RAID-1, 512MB NVCache Controller

Commercial Class #2 for Website

The website is set up on a Commercial Class #2 dedicated server. To reach maximum performance of the website, the files are all stored separate from the database server. This dedicated server has following specifications (Server specifications are subject to change).

  • Dual Intel® Xeon® E5-2430 Turbo 2.2GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s
  • 12-Cores / 24-Threads
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1200GB SAS 15K (3 x 600GB)
  • RAID-5, 512MB NVCache Controller

Managed Dedicated Hosting

The entire server set up was done by our Managed Hosting technicians. Our Managed Hosting support team is capable of providing complete solutions, even for the most high-traffic or problematic server-side situations. Each server can have different levels of support. The Daily Star trusts InMotion Hosting to manage their high performance hosting environment, so why shouldn’t you? Learn More about our Managed Hosting.

How To: Enable Zend Optimizer

The Zend Optimizer is a free application can boost the performance of your PHP sites. It works by going over your code and optimizing it for faster execution. This means your site can load faster for your users while also utilizing less of the server resources.

zend_logo

Zend Optimizer can be enabled on servers with PHP 5.2 or higher (this includes most of our servers). To enable this feature, first add the two lines below to your .htaccess file in order to enable use of custom PHP settings. Be sure to replace [username] with your actual cPanel username.

suphp_configpath /home/[username]/public_html
AddHandler application/x-httpd-php52 .php

Next, you will need to enable the Zend Optimizer extension by adding the following line to your custom php.ini file (read http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/general-server-setup/update-local-php-settings for more information on how to do this). This line can be added anywhere, though we recommend having it at the bottom of the file.

zend_extension=/opt/php52/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20060613/ZendOptimizer.so

If configured correctly, a phpinfo page will then display “with Zend Optimizer v3.3.9″ as one of the available Zend modules. More information about creating a phpinfo page is available at http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/general-server-setup/create-phpinfo-page-to-see-php-settings.

Introducing the NEW InMotionHosting.com!

InMotion Hosting is proud to announce the launch of our all new website, InMotionHosting.com! The process for revamping our eCommerce website was quite extensive and involved a team of over 20 associates located in both our California and Virginia offices to launch it successfully.before

On top of our leadership team, this included multiple web designers, web developers, copywriters, systems architects and project managers! We also had input from our Sales, Customer Community, Customer Experience, Support and Human Resources departments. It was truly a company-wide effort.after

The new website is built with modern HTML5, using tools such as GitHub, Typekit and Bootstrap. It is an improvement for our customers and prospective customers as it loads faster and employs a cleaner user interface. The new InMotionHosting.com also uses up to date accessibility standards that allow our users to easily navigate the website via keyboard.

We invite you to check out the brand new InMotionHosting.com!

Jeff Bishop is a Product Manager at InMotion Hosting. He has worked on building out InMotion Hosting’s product offerings including Web DesignPremier SupportDomain ConciergeCommercial Class Dedicated Servers and more. In the future he will be working on new and improved VPS packages, server clustering and more! When Jeff isn’t busy being a nerd at work he likes to hike at Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles and go bar hopping.

CPU Usage Graphs for Business Class Customers

Ever wondered how much CPU you use in a month? 24 hours? We are excited to announce an awesome new feature for our Business Class customers (Launch, Power & Pro accounts) that allows you to learn exactly how resource intensive your website is.

To access your usage graph, simply select “Resource Usage,” in the Logs section of cPanel.

To access your usage graph, simply select “Resource Usage,” in the Logs section of cPanel.

This feature will be enabled in mid April. To learn about your CPU usage, simply click “Resource Usage” in the advanced settings section of your cPanel and the graphs will populate.

 

An example of a shared CPU usage graph.

An example of a shared CPU usage graph.

This tool can assist you in determining when you may need to upgrade your server to a VPS. As always, if you need help understanding your usage graph, our support representatives are standing by 24×7.

Jeff Bishop is a Product Manager at InMotion Hosting. He has worked on building out InMotion Hosting’s product offerings including Web DesignPremier SupportDomain ConciergeCommercial Class Dedicated Servers and more. In the future he will be working on new and improved VPS packages, server clustering and more! When Jeff isn’t busy being a nerd at work he likes to hike at Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles and go bar hopping.

Search Engine Optimization: “Allintitle” Searches

We love search engine optimization. Sometimes it can get a bad reputation because so many people see it as cheating the system. However, honest, content-based search engine optimization guarantees your website will get noticed by the audience best matched with your business. So, that’s what we focus on and what we advise, honest SEO.

Where do I start?

When building your site, SEO should be part of your focus through the whole process. Build your content around your audience. But, before you begin developing content do some keyword research so you know which words to focus your content on. Once you’ve created your list and selected the words that have a high number of searches and are directly relevant to your website, you need to determine the competition level on that keyword.

There are so many factors in search engine optimization; it can make it difficult for a smaller or newer website to compete with certain keywords. So, when selecting keywords for your website, be sure to consider the competitiveness level, meaning the number of other sites with similar keywords.

How do I determine the competition for my chosen keywords?

For the purpose of this article, we are focusing on Google and using its free webmaster tools to determine which keywords to focus your content on. While Google’s webmaster tools will have a description that displays the competition level, an “allintitle” search will give you a more specific explanation of the number of pages that are also optimized for that keyword.

What is an “allintitle” search?

When searching for a keyword via the “allintitle” command, you will be given the number of pages that have that exact keyword in their Title Tag. Because the title tag is an important factor in SEO, this is a great way to determine how many other sites are also using those keywords. The more sites that use those keywords, the more difficult it will be to have page one ranking. Not impossible, but difficult.

How do I perform an “allintitle” search?

Performing an “allintitle” search is very simple:

  1. Go to http://google.com
    google
  2. In the search field type “allintitle: your key words” and run the search. (For this example, our keywords are “chocolate cake” because who doesn’t like chocolate cake?)aitsearch
  3. Google will provide the number of websites with that phrase in the title tags. Chocolate cake has more than 1 million pages with it in the title tags!aitresults

*Note: In order to prevent bots from running automatic “allintitle” searches, Google may block you from running too many in quick succession. One way to avoid this temporary block is to take your time between each search. Take a moment to document the results before running the next phrase. If you find that you are blocked, move on to something else for a while and come back to the “allintitle” searches.

Ideally, you would work only with keywords that have less than one thousand results. That is what we would consider “non-competitive”. However, that is not always possible, especially as more and more people are taking to the internet. A general rule to determine the competition level can be seen below:

  • Under 1,000 – Non-competitive
  • 1,000 – 4,000 – Mildly competitive
  • 4,000 – 6,000 – Competitive
  • 6,000+ – Highly Competitive

It is not always possible to stay within those ranges, especially if your most relevant keywords are something as popular as chocolate cake. In those cases, use more than one keyword phrase as your focus and balance the competitive with something less competitive. Also, you can use more competitive keywords on your homepage because homepages are usually given more weight by bots.

Another point to keep in mind when doing this research is that each page on your site will have a different focus, so you will want to do this research for each page and come up with 3-5 keywords per page to focus your content around; the more content you have on your pages the more keywords you can use.

Take the results of your “allintitle” searches to create groups of words based on competitiveness and then pick words from each group that will give you a nice balance of non-competitive and highly competitive words.

SEO is an intricate process that takes time. You may find as you write your content that the keywords do not fit the purpose of your site and you will have to perform some more research. You may also find other tricks that help to make your site more successful. Remember, there is no one formula for SEO success. Keep your content strong and relevant and only use the advice that works for you and your site will become successful.

The Importance of a Responsive Web Design to Your Business

So, you started a business and it was successful. Awesome!  Then, you decided to expand to the internet to increase your foot traffic, sales, or company recognition. Great!  Now that your business is represented online, the breadth of possibilities is practically endless.  A solid online presence is a great way to display the important aspects of your business and to increase the effectiveness of a marketing strategy.  We are in a mobile, digital age, so in order to meet the needs of your clientele, having a website that works on all any device, regardless of screen size is a necessity.  Developing a responsive site design is the way to achieve this.

Works just as well on the computer as it does on the tablet.

Works just as well on the computer as it does on the tablet.

What Is Responsive Web Design?               

What does it even mean?  There are so many terms for websites and how they interact with technology, (mobile devices: cell phones, tablets, netbooks, etc.) and that is the main principle behind the term “responsive web design”.  Here is a chart that explains the variety of terms that describe how a site works on a mobile device:

responsive_web_table

For the sake of clarity, we are going to refer to all sites who adjust based on the device accessing them as “responsive”.  The method you choose to build your site with is up to you; this is more focused on why you want your site to be considered responsive more than how you choose to make it that way.

How Will Having A Responsive Website Help My Business?

Your website is the first thing a lot of your customers will see before even entering your physical store, assuming you have one.  You, or your company, spent a lot of time and money developing a website that encompassed the values of the business, presented information cleanly, is easily navigated, and highlighted the most important features of your company.  You want those factors to be evident online no matter how your clients choose to access your site.  You want the site that appears on a computer to look just as good on a tablet or smart phone.  It needs to be easy to use and provide all the information that is important on the go.  Culturally, we don’t stop for anything anymore, and a responsive website allows customers to connect directly with your business without having to be in front of a computer.

From a marketing perspective, a responsive website can enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaign by allowing potential customers to instantly connect with you.  There is no delay or attempting to remember to “check that site out when we get home”.  Your customers can see your add and immediately look at your website.  Modern marketing often utilizes mobile devices to make advertisements more effective, so a responsive web design broadens your marketing options.

If you aren’t using a responsive design, you’re running the risk of your site not displaying properly.  Menus, alignments, or images could be skewed or proportioned incorrectly, your client may have to scroll around to find content, or it may be so muddled it’s illegible.  By implementing a responsive design, you know everything will be laid out clearly and the most important information can be featured conspicuously.

A responsive layout for your website will also assist in maintaining brand recognition.  By making your site responsive you will be able to ensure that your site looks the same whenever or wherever it is accessed.  This is especially effective if you choose to have an adaptive layout as that will give you more control over the specific placement of banners, images, and text.

As technology advances, more options become available for handheld devices.  For example, the iPhone alone has gone through four different screen sizes and six different screen resolutions since its initial release.   Having a responsive website not only allows your customers to see your site at its best as a representation of your business, but it also means there is less of a need to continually redevelop new layouts to keep up with the ever changing technology of mobile devices.

How Do I Make My Site Responsive?

Making your site responsive really depends on how your site is being, or was initially built.  For example, if you are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you will be able to find a wide variety of themes that are already designed to be responsive.  If you are going down this path, be sure to check any custom CSS that may dictate the layout of your site before making it responsive.

If your theme isn’t already responsive, you can make it so in systems like Joomla through custom coding or modules like Bootstrap.  Our Support Center has a helpful article on how to do this!

If your site was custom built, you will want to contact your developer to see what options they have available to make your site responsive.  If you haven’t built your site yet, but know you are going to be working with a developer, be sure to ask if they include responsive designs in their services.

Responsive site layouts open a world of possibilities to your site and your business.  Not only does it allow you to ensure the online representation of your business is as neat and tidy as your storefront, but it will allow you to connect with more and possibly new demographics of customers.

Czaja Silvasi is a QA Representative who monitors InMotion Hosting’s Sales, Support, Billing and Web Design teams to make sure they are giving our customers their absolute best. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys Roller Derby and organizing over 15 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that she keeps in her closet. She also has a few awesome websites she runs, but they are not 100% work appropriate.  Czaja first joined InMotion Hosting in 2011 as a Customer Care Representative and recently celebrated her 2 year anniversary with the company.

Major Data Center & Network Upgrades Completed

Over the past year, InMotion Hosting has invested heavily in upgrading our infrastructure, data centers and advanced hosting services. We had already set the bar high by having one of the most reliable network uptimes in the industry, but we have reset the bar even higher by adding more features, bolstering our infrastructure and adding amazing new services.

What does this mean for you? It means we are doing even more to improve your experience with us. Some critical adjustments we have made include:

  • Additional redundancy and bandwidth capacity to our internal network
  • Partnered with the Tier 1 bandwidth providers to insure you have the best and fastest paths to your web services
  • Added more redundancy and bandwidth to our backend networks
A hallway in our West Coast Data Center full of Dedicated Server towers.

A hallway in our West Coast Data Center full of Dedicated Server towers.

This means that we can actually provide 99.99% uptime or better. Many of our competitors promise that they can maintain 99.9% uptime – this means that you could be down for over eight hours per year. We found that unacceptable so we beefed up our network to better serve your needs.

In addition to upgrading or network, we have invested in upgrading our shared server fleet. Our new servers have more CPU power, more RAM, and more disk space, giving our customers better performance and reliability over our old server fleet. Couple that with new Commercial Class Dedicated Servers, our brand new Premier Support team and our vastly improved one-click application installer and we have made a lot of great changes for you in 2012 and the beginning of 2013! We’ve got a lot more in store, so make sure to check back often to see what we’re up to!

Mark LaForest is InMotion Hosting’s Director of I/T. He joined us in 2012 to oversee our Systems team, improve our network and make our data centers shine. Mark hails from Austin, Texas and prior to joining InMotion Hosting proudly served in the US Air Force for over 12 years. When Mark isn’t fussing over our network and data centers, he can be found helping to run the Board of WatchCollectors.org, a non-profit dedicated to horology and the collection of rare time pieces.

A Few Reasons to Upgrade Your Server

Is your site or business growing in popularity?  Has your online presence, email, and website become such an integral part of your business that any interruption to service can slow your operations down?  It may be time to look into upgrading to a higher server level.

If your website is as popular as Regina George, it may be time for an upgrade.

If your website is as popular as Regina George, it may be time for an upgrade.

What does it mean to upgrade?

There are three primary server levels, shared servers (Business Class), Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and Dedicated Servers. Each level of hosting offers benefits to your website. Prioritizing your site’s requirements will help you decide which level of server to purchase. You may choose to start with a shared hosting package initially. However, as your company grows and your site becomes more successful and critical, you will want to consider moving up to a VPS or even dedicated hosting package to continue the success of your website.

While we do offer a variety of plan options on each server level, this article is specifically going to review the reasons for upgrading to a VPS or Dedicated Server option.  You may find that you need more websites, databases, or parked domains but not a higher server level.  In cases such as that upgrading to a higher shared hosting plan may be all you need.  Our Support Department is a great resource if you don’t know exactly where to go on your upgrade.

How do I know when I need to upgrade?

I’m so glad you asked.  Below I’ve listed 5 great reasons to contact our Support Team about your upgrade options.

  1. Stability, Speed, and Uptime.  At InMotion Hosting we have an uptime percentage of 99.9%, so while being on a shared server means you are more likely to experience small instances of downtime, it does not mean it is guaranteed to happen.  From a business perspective, more stability on your email services and website is often worth the expense of a VPS or Dedicated account.  You must balance the importance of the price of the package against the value of increased stability.
  2. To be able to run resource intensive applications.  If you are looking to expand your website, need to utilize a larger application, or want to be able to host videos or downloadable content, you may want to look into an upgrade.  This is not only to ensure your server has the resources to allow your site to run at its peak, but it also ensures your site does not interfere with other accounts on the same server.
  3. Direct access to the server.  In order to ensure that our shared servers remain as stable as possible, root access to the server is only available on VPS and dedicated accounts.  So, if you’re a developer and need more room to experiment or to install extra software, an upgrade may be necessary to achieve your goals.
  4. Multi-Site Development.  As a designer, developer, or reseller, you may need to upgrade as you get more clients.  Our VPS and dedicated servers do not have a limit to the number of add on domains you may host on one account.  Further, VPS and Dedicated servers come with access to Web Host Manager (WHM) so you can give your clients their own cPanel while maintaining control of the account on your server.
  5. Business success!  Obviously, this is the best reason to have to upgrade because it means that your business is booming and your site is so busy and receiving so many hits it is driving traffic to your company as it was designed to do.  If this is the case, congratulations!  You may need to upgrade to meet the increasing demands of your client base.  Similarly, if you are planning a large marketing campaign or know you will be getting national attention, you should contact us to upgrade before the campaign runs.  This will ensure that your site will always be available, even as traffic soars, without interruption.

Successsss

Whether you are upgrading out of necessity or for added stability, we have a selection of packages specially tailored to fit your needs with room for continued growth.  Like all aspects of your business, planning ahead to ensure that the hosting package you have will give you the desired outcome is the key to success.

Czaja Silvasi is a QA Representative who monitors InMotion Hosting’s Sales, Support, Billing and Web Design teams to make sure they are giving our customers their absolute best. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys Roller Derby and organizing over 15 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that she keeps in her closet. She also has a few awesome websites she runs, but they are not 100% work appropriate.  Czaja first joined InMotion Hosting in 2011 as a Customer Care Representative and recently celebrated her 2 year anniversary with the company.

Team Member Profile: Chris Fenning – PMO

download
Hometown: Combe Martin, Devon, England.
Position: Project Manager
InMotion Hosting team member since May 2013

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Aside from some programming classes at school my first real exposure to web hosting can from my dad. He started his own business based around online retail and I watched through the early 2000s as he adapted to changes in technology for websites and web hosting.

Throughout university I started to dabble with website design and ended up working on a few sites for myself and friends. That naturally led to me becoming a reseller, although on a tiny scale, and as the traffic on my websites grew I was forced to learn more about the hosting side of things.

The real plunge into hosting came when I joined InMotion Hosting to set up a Project Management Office for the company. There is nothing quite like taking on new product deliveries or large scale system changes to encourage rapid learning about hosting environments!

What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
My main role is project management, helping the larger scale pieces of work to be delivered on time and to spec. The projects can be anything from defining and delivering a new product to replacing core systems such as the chat system. Training and mentoring staff in Project Management is an important part of the role and is something that brings me great satisfaction. It helps the company grow as more people become able to take on the challenge of delivering large pieces of work. The best parts of the job are the variety of work to be done and being able to work across all the teams in the company. There is such a diversity of people and roles here, it is great to be able to be a part of that.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
In a previous job my role was to manage the customization of cellphones for a major network in Europe. This meant I always has the newest phones before they were released to market. The most unique was a 3D phone from LG, launched around the same time as 3D films were coming out at the movies. The phone took both 3D pictures and video and even the games were in 3D. At the time it was pretty cool to have that level of tech in such a small package.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Firstly I should say I am not from around here. Prior to 2012 I lived in England and worked mostly in Europe and occasionally in Asia. My wife and I moved to Virginia after she was offered a Job and without that I’d never have found InMotion Hosting. We are both very active and love being outdoors. The mountains are our biggest love with climbing, mountaineering, hiking and skiing being high on our list of regular activities. Most weekends, if I’m not catching up on the week’s activity in my UK based sports equipment business I can be found either in the hills or in the sea, and very occasionally I may be spotted at a craft beer or wine festival.

What’s one word that would describe your personality?
English

moodle admin

Installing Moodle Using Softaculous

Moodle, an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, is an open source suite of software tools that is designed for those who wish to create educational courses or web pages that have a more natural and organic method of learning and teaching. Appropriate for use on Windows, Apple and Linux operating systems, Moodle software allows for complete customization and changing of base code to meet the exact needs of the programmer and educator.

Moodle can be easily installed via the cPanel with the program Softaculous.

First, sign into your cPanel and get Softaculous up and running.

softaculous cpanel

Once you have the program running, locate the Educational tab in the left-hand sidebar and select Moodle.

educationalCMSinstall

A window that has the option to install Moodle
should appear.

Once installation is selected a window with a series of question prompts will appear. Fill these boxes in, choosing the name you want for your main file directory.

In Directory:
The directory is relative to your domain and should not exist. e.g. To install at http://mydomain/dir/ just type dir. To install only in http://mydomain/ leave this empty.

 

This is also where you will set the parameters for your site. Here you choose the type of encryption and security you want. This is also where you will set up an administrative log in that provides access to all elements of the program. You will need to select a user name and a very strong password.

installmoodle

You can choose to have a copy of successful installation confirmation emailed to you, if you wish to have additional copies of this information, at this point in the process.

Once this information has been filled in, select Install at the bottom of the window.

Common Errors

Hopefully the installation should run smoothly. But Moodle is a dynamic platform that requires some up-to-date features of the latest PHP server software. If you get a message like this:

thePHPversionislessthantherequired

The following errors were found :

  • The PHP Version is less than the required 5.3.2

howtocheckyourphpversionSimply check with your host provider that your server is running the required version of PHP to get Moodle up and running. You can check this in cPanel yourself by looking at the left-hand sidebar. If you have a VPS or dedicated server, this is something you can upgrade quite easily for yourself to fix the problem.

 

When the installation is complete, you should receive a confirmation message. If you chose to have one emailed, you should also receive that shortly after the completion of your installation.

With Softaculous, installing Moodle is as easy as a few simple clicks and providing a few pieces of basic information. That is all it takes to install a powerful suite of software tools that allows programmers, developers and educators to work together to create new types of learning and educational modules that use a revolutionary way of teaching.

Moodle Back-end

moodleadmin

Moodle provides a powerful suite of tools that allows for complete customization to meet the exact needs of the developers and educators. Free, open source software tools such as Moodle allow for easy access to powerful technologies that can be tailored to meet individual needs. Moodle works across the main operating systems and is free to use and manipulate to the needs of one’s site or educational program.