Create.com wants to help you unleash your creativity with WordPress hosting

Mon, 16th November 2020, 15:02

Don't worry about managing your website, just create with Create.com

Create.com recently launched and intends on letting you focus on creating. The original founder of Hostgator, Brent Oxley, has returned & is confident his new company will make hosting an after-thought. We’re excited to see what him & his team brings to the industry.

They’re currently offering a year of free hosting to prove just that:
Check out their latest WordPress hosting at Create.com to sign-up now.


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Rest In Peace Steven Ciaburri

Thu, 12th November 2020, 16:29

It's with great sadness we announce the passing of Steven Ciaburri. Steven played varying roles in the web hosting industry over the past 16+ years, & will be sorely missed. 

Various remembrance posts are being cataloged around the web & we'll post a digest of them here.
David of Fused Network: RIP Steven Ciaburri
Webhostingtalk's various members: RIP Steven Ciaburri


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Endurance International Group to be acquired in cash deal

Mon, 2nd November 2020, 14:34

BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (“Endurance” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: EIGI), a leading provider of cloud-based platform solutions designed to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed online, announced today that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group L.P. (“Clearlake”) in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $3.0 billion including outstanding indebtedness.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the members of the Endurance Board of Directors, affiliates of Clearlake will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Endurance for $9.50 per share in cash. The purchase price represents a 79% premium over Endurance’s unaffected share price of $5.30 as of September 25, 2020, the last trading day prior to media speculation about a potential transaction, and a 64% premium to its closing share price on October 30, 2020 of $5.81.

A special meeting of Endurance shareholders will be held promptly following the filing of a definitive proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Certain affiliates of Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs Private Equity Partners have entered into a voting agreement committing them to, among other things, vote approximately 36% of the outstanding shares of Endurance common stock in favor of adopting the acquisition agreement.

“We are pleased with this agreement which recognizes the value of our multi-brand scale platform. We are proud to serve approximately 5 million customers worldwide as a provider of solutions that help small and medium businesses succeed online and enhance the value of their customer relationships,” said Jeff Fox, President and Chief Executive Officer of Endurance.

“The Endurance family of brands has built a leading position in the large and growing cloud hosting, domain, and digital marketing software space. We look forward to partnering with this talented team and supporting its long-term strategic plan to drive growth through its focus on customer value. We are excited to leverage Clearlake’s O.P.S.® framework to help the Company fuel growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Behdad Eghbali, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, and James Pade, Partner at Clearlake.

The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 and is subject to approval by Endurance shareholders, along with the satisfaction of customary closing conditions (including antitrust regulatory clearance). Clearlake will finance the transaction with a combination of committed equity financing from the Clearlake funds and has secured committed debt financing for the proposed transaction, which is not subject to any financing condition. Upon completion of the acquisition, Endurance will become a wholly owned affiliate of Clearlake.

For further information regarding the terms and conditions contained in the definitive merger agreement, please see Endurance’s Current Report on Form 8-K, which will be filed in connection with this transaction.

Given today’s announcement, Endurance is releasing its third quarter 2020 financial results concurrent with this announcement. The Company does not intend to hold a conference call on Thursday, November 5, 2020 to discuss earnings as previously announced.

Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs are acting as co-financial advisors and WilmerHale as corporate counsel to Endurance.

J.P. Morgan, BofA Securities, Deutsche Bank Securities, and UBS Investment Bank provided committed debt financing, and alongside Rothschild & Co and Lazard acted as financial advisors to Clearlake. Sidley Austin LLP is serving as corporate/M&A counsel and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as financing counsel to Clearlake.

About Endurance International Group
Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EIGI) helps millions of small businesses worldwide with products and technology to enhance their online web presence, email marketing, business solutions, and more. The Endurance family of brands includes: Constant Contact, Bluehost, HostGator, and Domain.com, among others. Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Endurance employs over 3,800 people across the United States, Brazil, India and the Netherlands. For more information, visit: www.endurance.com.

Endurance International Group and the compass logo are trademarks of The Endurance International Group, Inc. Constant Contact, the Constant Contact logo and other brand names of Endurance International Group are trademarks of The Endurance International Group, Inc. or its subsidiaries.

About Clearlake Capital Group
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. is a leading investment firm founded in 2006 operating integrated businesses across private equity, credit and other related strategies. With a sector-focused approach, the firm seeks to partner with world-class management teams by providing patient, long-term capital to dynamic businesses that can benefit from Clearlake’s operational improvement approach, O.P.S.® The firm’s core target sectors are technology, industrials and consumer. Clearlake currently has approximately $25 billion of assets under management and its senior investment principals have led or co-led over 200 investments. The firm has offices in Santa Monica and Dallas. More information is available at www.clearlake.com and on Twitter @ClearlakeCap.


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FutureQuest Offline

Fri, 30th October 2020, 02:40

FutureQuest appears to be offline without much communication aside from one twitter post & two facebook updates. We’re monitoring social media networks for further communication and will post updates here periodically as they become available.

There's chatter that this could be related to a power outage related to the remnants of hurricane Zeta, but the lack of communication from FutureQuest still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Six hours ago (as of 10:49 PM EST), the latest update from FutureQuest as as follows:

“FutureQuest continues to suffer from a Network Outage within our network. We continue to try and determine the exact problem and rectify it however at this time we still do not have an ETA.”
– FutureQuest

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WordPress Security & Maintenance Release: Version 5.5.2

Thu, 29th October 2020, 21:07

WordPress 5.5.2 is now available! This release features 14 bug fixes in addition to 10 security fixes. Because it’s a security release, it is recommended that you update your site promptly.

You can download the update by navigating into your WordPress administration panel, navigating to `Updates` & selecting `Update now`.

Prior to updating, be sure to take a backup. Instructions will vary depending on your hosting provider.

Need a new WordPress host?


Consider checking out our top hosts.


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Rackspace files for IPO

Thu, 16th July 2020, 18:21

Rackspace, the San Antonio-based cloud services firm, applied for initial public offering (IPO) last Friday. This follows its parent company Apollo Global Management registering for the move back in April.

While Rackspace did not specify in its paperwork filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission the size of the offering, a source specified to the news organization Reuters that it is expected at around $10 billion, which includes debts. Underwriters for the IPO include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan.

Rackspace had previously explored IPO options in the past two year, but had stopped due to “its weak organic growth and large debt” after the $4.3 billion buyout from Apollo according to Reuters. After generating $264.8 billion in revenue in 2019, it finally took the jump earlier this year due to company growth pushing it to IPO range in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as more companies turned to remote work and began seriously needing reliable cloud server space.

Rackspace is expected to list on Nasdaq under “RXT.”


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GoDaddy closing two offices and laying off 814 team members

Wed, 1st July 2020, 16:38

Last week, web hosting giant GoDaddy announced that it would be shuttering two offices in Austin, TX in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The closures are a part of a larger restructuring plan, which is expected to affect about 814 employees, mostly within outbound and social sales and about 331 based within Austin specifically. Around 40% of those affected will be offered new jobs within GoDaddy and those who have been laid off will be offered administrative leave through September 1st with health benefits through September 30th.

This marks the end of GoDaddy’s time in Austin, which started two years ago following the $125 million acquisition of Main Street Hub, an online marketing firm founded in 2010 that focused on managing marketing for small businesses.

While the Arizona-based registrar has seen a demand for domains and websites during the pandemic, it has seen a decline in requests for more expensive services like GoDaddy Social since many of the small businesses in GoDaddy’s customer base are cutting back on expenses.

The social team in Austin has turned over every stone in the last three months to address the seismic shift caused by COVID-19,” said GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani in an employee letter addressing the closures. “While the team made strides in selling our new lower-cost offering, with reduced demand and economics under pressure, we cannot continue to sell these products the way we do today.”


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Micfo servers returning for 48 hours. Instructions on how to get your data

Thu, 14th May 2020, 15:17

Micfo posted a new article on their site on how to retrieve your data. Servers are returning for just a short window: It's expected the systems will be overloaded while everyone retrieves backups, so it's urgent you get underway as soon as they return.

Edit: An update confirms the servers will not be returning tonight, but perhaps Friday.

Details are below. Note that these instructions aren't necessarily the fastest: Your new host may be able to use rsync + a simple database dump to grab your data sooner. The backup functionality on Micfo may be extremely slow and not offer a sufficient amount of time to grab your data. 

 

Q: When will we be able to access our data?

A: Timing is still being firmed up. We want this to be as successful as possible for all affected customers. Currently, it looks like power-on will start in the evening of Thursday, 05/14/2020 or Friday, 05/15/202 and will run for 48-hours.

We have been trying to get the word out and want to allow time for customers to learn this is happening, come up with a plan for what data to prioritize (both time and bandwidth limitations exist) and where to put it (download it local or push directly to a new service?). We also have to make sure that anything we've done to get our website and client portal up does not interfere with access once the servers come back online.

We know everyone wants their data back ASAP and we're doing our best to make sure that can happen.

Q: How do I access my data?

A: There is three ways that customers can use to access their data.

  1. Logging into their Client Portal.
    1. Log into Client Portal
    2. Click on Services
    3. Click Active Button for the account
    4. Click on the Login to cPanel on the left side.
  2. Access the server directly by the server name of the server, with /cpanel at the end of the url.
  3. Access the server directly by the IP address with /cpanel appended at the end of the url.

NOTE: For Resellers, VPN requirement will be disabled so you can access the servers directly.

Q: I already moved my domain or pointed my DNS somewhere else. How do I connect to my server?

A: If you've moved your domain you will need to connect to your server using its IP address. Alternately, you can edit the 'hosts' file on your local computer to temporarily override the new domain setting which will affect YOUR COMPUTER ONLY. All other Internet users will continue to use the updated domain or DNS settings pointing to your new service.

https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/27350/beginner-geek-how-to-edit-your-hosts-file/

Q: I updated my domain or DNS and don't know my old IP address. How can I find my old server's IP address?

A: Once all of the datacenter servers are powered on again, you will be able to run the following command from the terminal or command prompt on your local computer to get your old IP address.

Make sure to replace 'your-domain.com' with the actual name of your domain or website. Don't include anything after the top level domain (TLD) of .com/.net/.org.

The IP address you are looking for is listed directly below your domain name. In the example below, the old IP address for your-domain.com is 199.189.248.69.

Example with good domain request (your-domain.com):

$ nslookup your-domain.com ns1.micfo.com Server: ns1.micfo.com Address: 206.225.134.187#53 Name: your-domain.com Address: 199.189.248.69

Example with bad domain request (your-domain.com/cpanel):

$ nslookup your-domain.com/cpanel ns1.micfo.com Server: ns1.micfo.com Address: 206.225.134.187#53 ** server can't find your-domain.com/cpanel: REFUSED

Q: How do I make a cPanel backup?

A: A full cPanel backup makes a copy of all of your files, email, databases, etc. Once initiated, you must allow the backup time to perform. The server can send you an email to a working [personal] email address you specify once the backup is ready to download. The steps for generating, downloading and restoring a full backup are explained below in detail.

How to Generate a Full Backup in cPanel

To generate a full backup in cPanel:

  1. Log into cPanel.
  2. In the Files section, click on the Backups icon.
  3. Under Full Backup, click Generate/ Download a Full Website Backup.
  4. On the next page, select the Home Directory option from the Backup Destination drop-down menu.
  5. For Email Address, select whether or not you wish to receive an email notification once the backup is complete. (You may also change the notification email address in the provided field if you wish.)
  6. Click Generate Backup.

This will generate the back up for you and place the tar.gz file inside of your home directory. You can then download the backup via cPanel, FTP or SSH.

To generate a full backup in shell of your own dedicated or VPS server:

  1. Log into the server by IP address using root or username with sudo/su privilege.
  2. Change directory to /home
  3. Generate the new backup of the account using /scripts/pkgacct <username>
  4. It will generate the cpmove-<username>.tar.gz in /home directory
  5. Retrieve the files off the server using ftp or scp or sftp to destination.
How to Download the Full Backup

To download the backup from cPanel:

  1. Log into cPanel.
  2. In the Files section, click on the Backups icon.
  3. Under Full Backup, click Generate/ Download a Full Website Backup.
  4. Under Backups Available for Download, click the link for the backup file you wish to download.
  5. Select a destination on your PC where you would like to save the backup.

As for other servers like deds or VPS that do not have cPanel, they have to do their own data recovery on their own using whatever methods they see fit to have it moved off.


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Micfo Alternatives: What Micfo Users Should do

Sat, 9th May 2020, 14:17

With Micfo offline permanently after a three day outage, it's time to look for an alternative to Micfo.

Micfo websites are down as of 48+ hours ago for what was originally announced as an issue with their datacenter. Just today however, it was made clear that micfo users should seek alternative hosting options. 

In an email to clients yesterday, Micfo CEO Amir Golestan stated that Micfo had services shutdown due to non-payment to their datacenter provider Digital Realty Trust ($DLR). While Micfo attempted to come to an agreement with DRT regarding a payment plan, the plan was denied by the datacenter due to the severity of the bills and other variables.

We intend to cover some of those variables in another article, but for now it's prudent to seek a micfo alternative in order to get any impacted websites back online.

Micfo Alternatives

Fused
Fused is offering a micfo refugee special. With this special coupon code, Fused will assist you in restoring your data. If you don't have a copy of your data, they'll attempt to retrieve it as best they can. 

Navigate to the Fused site and sign up using the coupon code micfo on any annual hosting plan to receive hosting for $99 a year, assistance restoring your account & fused's five star team will help accordingly. 

Siteground
Siteground is well rated and received on WebHostReviews.com and would prove to be a good micfo alternative. You can click here to review their available packages and see what works best for your site.

Other Micfo Alternatives
If you've found another alternative that works, tweet us @hostjury or email [email protected] and we'll be sure to write about it.

Best of luck to everyone searching for a micfo alternative with such short notice. 


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Endurance international to repurchase $40m million in shares

Mon, 23rd March 2020, 17:58

BURLINGTON, Mass., GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (EIGI), a leading provider of cloud-based platform solutions designed to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed online, announced that its Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $40 million of common stock on the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise.   

Endurance will determine the timing and amount of shares repurchased, if any, depending on its evaluation of market and other conditions.  The company expects to fund any repurchases using cash on hand and cash generated from operations. The share repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time.  

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements in this press release regarding Endurance’s intention to repurchase shares of its common stock from time to time under the share repurchase program and the expected source of funding for the program are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  There are a number of important factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those suggested or indicated by such forward-looking statements.  These include, among others, the prevailing market price of the company's stock from time to time, the nature of other investment opportunities presented to the company from time to time, the company's cash flows from operations, general economic and market conditions, and other risks and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the SEC, including those set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2019 filed with the SEC on February 14, 2020 and other reports the company files with the SEC.

About Endurance International Group
Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (EIGI) helps millions of small businesses worldwide with products and technology to enhance their online web presence, email marketing, business solutions, and more. The Endurance family of brands includes: Constant Contact, Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com and SiteBuilder, among others. Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Endurance employs over 3,700 people across the United States, Brazil, India and the Netherlands. For more information, visit: www.endurance.com.

Endurance International Group and the compass logo are trademarks of The Endurance International Group, Inc.  Constant Contact, the Constant Contact logo and other brand names of Endurance International Group are trademarks of The Endurance International Group, Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Investor Contact:
Angela White
Endurance International Group
(781) 852-3450
[email protected]

Press Contact:
Kristen Andrews
Endurance International Group
(781) 418-6716
[email protected]


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Steadfast founder and CEO Karl Zimmerman passed away

Mon, 9th March 2020, 19:36

Steadfast founder and CEO Karl Zimmerman passed away in Chicago on March 5th. He was 36 years old.

Growing up in Wisconsin, Zimmerman found himself most drawn to technology among his many interests. He founded Steadfast when he was 14-years-old after purchasing a reseller account with Christmas money to start a shared webhosting business. According to his obituary, what started as a hobby quickly grew to Zimmerman answering client calls between classes at the  Winnebago Lutheran Academy and hiring his first full-time employee in his sophomore year of college before dropping out to focus on the business.

Over that 20 year period, Steadfast evolved into a multi-million dollar business based in Chicago, offering cloud based services for over a decade along with colocation and VPS services. Offering itself as a comprehensive IT company, Steadfast called itself such for being a company “that does not waver on prompt service, reliable and superior infrastructure for thousands of clients and partners.”

Besides Steadfast, Zimmerman worked with the tech community in Chicago, spearheading efforts for STEM initiatives and programs in Illinois schools as part of the Chicago Engineers Foundation, which he served as a board member. He was also a member of the i2 Coalition and often acted as an advocate in Washington, DC for a free and open internet. Finally, he acted as a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago, heading up the JOB1 program to help Chicago high school students train for jobs and place them in summer internships. He was a known advocate for economic growth in the Chicago area along with LGBTQ+ rights.

Outside of all of that, Zimmerman said his favorite things were “a good whiskey or cheeseburger with friends, conversing with passionate people, and relaxing after a particularly productive day.”

Funeral services for Zimmerman will be taking place at the Zacherl Funeral Home in his hometown of Fond du Lac, WI on March 13th. His family has asked in lieu of flowers for donations to the Rotary Club of Chicago or the Winnebago Lutheran Academy.


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Facebook files a lawsuit against Namecheap

Fri, 6th March 2020, 01:54

Earlier this week, Facebook filed a lawsuit against Namecheap, alleging that the domain registrar has not cooperated in an investigation into malicious domains registered through it.

Director and Associate General Counsel of Facebook Christen Dubois said in a blog post in Facebook’s online newsroom that engineers within the social media company tracked down 45 malicious lookalike domains with names like instagrambusinesshelp.com and facebo0k-login.com to Namecheap and its WhoisGuard service, which protects customer details. Dubois claims that these domain names abuse the Facebook brand and leave users open to phishing and scams.

We sent notices to Whoisguard between October 2018 and February 2020, and despite their obligation to provide information about these infringing domain names, they declined to cooperate,” Dubois said in a statement. “We don't want people to be deceived by these web addresses, so we've taken legal action.”

While Facebook has sued several third party developers for abusing the platform within the last year, this marks its second time suing a domain registrar following the lawsuit filed against registrar OnlineNIC and its proxy service ID Shield for similar reasons. “Our goal is to create consequences for those who seek to do harm and we will continue to take legal action to protect people from domain name fraud and abuse,” Dubois concluded.

Namecheap so far has refrained from public comment, but we'll update this post as more information becomes available.


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WordPress site builder plugin elementor raises fifteen million in funding

Sat, 29th February 2020, 03:20

This past Wednesday, Wordpress page builder plugin Elementor announced that it has raised $15 million in its first round of funding. This follows the plugin being installed more than four million times.

Elementor, which was founded in 2016 by Yoni Luksenberg and Ariel Klikstein, has grown rapidly in the past two years with most of its userbase coming on within that time period. In the last year, it has added over 300 new features and is now translated into 55 languages.

“The founders set out to solve their own problems as web professionals and ended up with a global, highly-involved fan base that kept pushing and shaping the product from the very onset,” said Tal Morgenstern, one of the partners at Lightspeed Business Partners, which led the funding. “Every single metric we looked at indicated an exceptionally strong market fit and we’re extremely happy to partner with this team for the next chapter of their journey.”

Elementor plans on investing some of the money into expanding its base of 130 employees by 50 percent and growing the community that has helped its own growth further with over 500 global meetups planned in 2020. It also plans on expanding features and products, though there are no details on what that entails yet. “We don’t want to ruin the surprise by revealing the features too soon,” Luksenberg said in a statement to Wordpress Tavern. 

However, Luksenberg has made it clear that he is excited for the future and hopes that this move helps facilitate growth and funding with other companies like Elementor within the Wordpress community. “It’s one small step for Elementor, one giant leap for the WordPress community.”


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Let's Encrypt announces one billion certificates served

Fri, 28th February 2020, 02:34

Today, security nonprofit Let’s Encrypt announced that it has issued one billion SSL/TLS certificates. These certificates, which Let’s Encrypt issues for free as part of the Internet Security Research Group, allow for users to use HTTPS on their websites for better security.

In a blog post by Josh Aas and Sarah Gran, the company reflected on what has changed since the last milestone of one hundred million in June 2017. “One thing that’s different now is that the Web is much more encrypted than it was. In June of 2017 approximately 58% of page loads used HTTPS globally, 64% in the United States. Today 81% of page loads use HTTPS globally, and we’re at 91% in the United States! This is an incredible achievement. That’s a lot more privacy and security for everybody.”

Aas and Gran also noted that Let’s Encrypt has gone from serving 46 million sites to 192 million, meaning that there was 4X growth in less than three years. They cited an increased budget, staff, and browser requirements with this growth, but also the ACME protocol that the company uses. “ACME allows for extensive automation, which means computers can do most of the work. It was also standardized as RFC 8555 in 2019, which allows the Web community to confidently build an even richer ecosystem of software around it. Today, thanks to our incredible community, there is an ACME client for just about every deployment environment.”

The post then closed with a thank you to the Let’s Encrypt community for its continued growth. “As a community we’ve done incredible things to protect people on the Web. Having issued one billion certificates is affirmation of all the progress we’ve made as a community, and we’re excited to keep working with you to create an even more secure and privacy-respecting Web for everyone.”

Fused has been using and supporting Let’s Encrypt since its launch with over 5,000 sites on their network being seamlessly secured by it. Congratulations to Let’s Encrypt for this momentous milestone!

If you would like to contribute to Let’s Encrypt’s ongoing efforts for internet security, you can donate here.


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WordPress Auto Updates Plugin coming for 5.5

Thu, 27th February 2020, 00:27

In a blogpost on Wordpress.org today, Jean-Baptiste Audras announced that Wordpress would be rolling out an Auto Updates plugin. This will allow for automatic plugin and theme updates on Wordpress Version 5.5. This follows a delay on the rollout from 2019 to 2020.

In 2018, [Matt Mullenweg] posted 9 projects for Core to focus on in 2019. This roadmap was updated for 2020,” Audras said in the post. “Plugins and Themes automatic updates is one of those 9 projects. WordPress contributors did a lot of work on the two related tickets during WP 5.4 development cycle, but decided to give it more time for testing as it’s an important feature.”

Audras went on to outline the main features of the plugin, which include giving admins the ability to opt-in for automatic updates, enabling/disabling auto updates on an individual basis, email notifications with update summaries, and ways for admins to define or disable auto-update settings.

Justin Tadlock at Wordpress Tavern says that this update is a longtime coming, not just based on Wordpress’ own schedule. “Hosting companies and plugins like Jetpack have taken up the load over the years, offering automatic updates for millions of users. However, it is time for the core platform to take the reins and make this a feature available directly to all users. This would also provide a standardized path for third-party plugins to extend the feature with more controls for end-users.”

The plugin is currently available for beta testing on Wordpress’ plugin directory. As of right now, the plugin is only set to work for sites running PHP 7.2 or later.


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The Grid lays off most of their team

Wed, 26th February 2020, 21:04

California-based AI web design startup The Grid has been under constant scrutiny since it was crowdfunded in 2014 and its CEO recently emerged to address the controversy.

In an interview with Edward Ongweso Jr for Motherboard, The Grid CEO Dan Toucchi IV seemed somewhat understated about the company’s issues. “The problem space we tackled, we had the kind of hopeful naivety that would actually give us the balls to do it, but it's much more difficult than any of us realized[...] I can imagine there's a few people who are pissed off."

‘A few people’ is a bit of an understatement. Ever since the campaign, The Grid has run into numerous problems including product delays and missing features. The big sticking point however is that the company basically went silent in March 2019 when customers that used its Version 2 program were locked out of their accounts with no warning. All that was formulated in response was a blog post announcing that Version 2 would be sunsetted in favor of the still in development Version 3 with only a brief apology to show for it. “...[I]n this mad-mindedness we neglected those who matter most, please forgive our lack of responsiveness.”

“To keep expectations clear, we will not be uber-regular with life-is-swell emails,” the apology went on to say. “We will not be shipping *minimally* viable shells of a product to satisfy suits. We won't talk talk talk about how close we are (though we are) and how game-changing yada yada. You won't be hearing from us in full dose till the new engine hums.” 

As a final sticking point, the post features a <marquee> scroll saying “‘AI’ was the easy part. Wait until you see Version 3...”

In the year since that post, many unhappy customers have taken to social media to express their displeasement, specifically those who had been sold on the $144 Pro Membership that promised early access to Version 3. No updates have been given to those who were locked out of their accounts either. Many posts on the theGrid subreddit have suggested legal action against the company.

Still, Toucchi didn’t seem concerned with the complaints, claiming that the company only made a 20 percent profit after the crowdfunding was complete and that the company was still actively working on Version 3 while ‘bootstrapping’ with three employees. “We had to shut down the product and work on getting [V3] out. One of the hidden costs that's coming to light with the cloud infrastructure with AI is that it's a lot more expensive than people realize. [The Grid will be] just a more decentralized peer-to-peer version of what we're doing."

Toucchi did not provide Motherboard with a timeline of when Version 3 would be expected.


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Wix announces new beta editor

Wed, 26th February 2020, 21:46

Earlier this month, website builder Wix announced Editor X, a new and more advanced creation platform. The platform offers more advanced and flexible capabilities aimed at web agencies and designers while making use of CSS technologies like Flexbox and Grid.

In a press release, Wix Co-Founder and CEO Avishai Abrahami boasted about the capabilites of the new platform. “We understand the evolving needs of designers and their clients, and we innovate to address their sophisticated demands and diverse requirements.”

However, he also placed emphasis on ease of use and accessibility for CSS, since Editor X allows for advanced options through a drag and drop menu instead of exclusive use of code. “Wix has established itself as a leader in the DIY market, and at the same time we are enabling those who build websites for others. Editor X is the solution for these users with more complex design needs.”

Along with the use of drag and drop, Editor X includes functions for grid layouts and scaling as well as the flexibility for multiple viewports and responsive behavior. “Wix is built to meet any client need with the combination of Editor X, the ability to code if necessary, and the existing comprehensive business solutions already available from Wix,” Abrahami concluded

While Editor X has not been fully rolled out yet, the Beta period is currently open for signups at editorx.com.


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cPanel releases new version

Wed, 26th February 2020, 21:19

cPanel recently updated to Version 86, which is currently boasting new security and privacy features for users.

One of the main features of the update is the upgrade to EasyApache 4’s OpenSSL 1.1.1, which enables the use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol version 1.3, which updates the previous TLS protocols in place for cPanel.

Version 86 has also introduced a new DNS Zone Manager, which is set to simplify monitoring of DNS zone records, as well as introduced automatic updates for its Long Term Support (LTS) tier.

Along with the OpenSSL and DNS Zone Manager updates, Version 86 has a more streamlined privacy directory that will allow system administrators “to set the directory privacy permissions for all of the subdirectories within a directory,” automatic DNSSEC key rotation recommendations, AutoSSL improvements, and the ability to access File Manager when the disk space is at capacity.

More nitty gritty details as well as other improvements can be found at cPanel’s releases website.


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Venture capital arm of InMotion acquires WordPress theme marketplace

Wed, 26th February 2020, 21:52

On January 20th, WebVentures, the venture capital arm of hosting company InMotion hosting, announced that it had acquired WordPress theme vendor Elegant Marketplace at the end of 2019. Both companies are now under the InMotion Hosting umbrella.

Elegant Marketplace, which offers WordPress themes, plugins, and layouts for all types of businesses, has risen up through the WordPress marketplace in the past five years, offering themes for users of the Elegant Themes program Divi as well as page builders. Elegant Themes is not associated with Elegant Marketplace.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, Elegant Marketplace founder Andrew Palmer expressed excitement for the company’s continued growth. “I look forward to representing Elegant Marketplace as part of the InMotion Hosting Family at WordCamps, Meetups and Online to a wider audience and ensuring that we are the first choice of product makers and customers whether Freelancers, Agencies or DIYers looking for innovative and cost effective solutions to their sales and web development needs throughout 2020 and beyond.”

In the same statement, InMotion Hosting founder Sunil Saxena also expressed excitement for expanding with Elegant Marketplace. “We love Andrew’s vision for how Elegant Marketplace can grow and improve the lives and success of their customers, and are happy to have the knowledge and resources to back those visions and help make them a reality much faster.”

Elegant Marketplace now officially offers packages with InMotion Hosting on its website along with the typical themes and page builders.


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Equinix acquires packet

Wed, 26th February 2020, 21:05

California-based interconnection company Equinix announced last month that they would be acquiring bare metal cloud provider Packet. Acquisition of the New York-based startup, which has raised $36 million since its founding, is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter. 


In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Packet co-founder Zachary Smith expressed his excitement for the next steps for the future while assuring users that the company would be run the same as before with the same team. “Our commitment to our customers, the open source community and developing partner-driven ecosystems will grow, as will our ability to scale: as part of Platform Equinix we will help to connect you to its unmatched combination of people and footprint — 200+ data centers in 55 markets and 1,800 networks.”


In a press release from Equinix, Chief Product Officer Sara Baack also emphasized that Packet’s acquisition was a good match for the company and would ultimately be a boon for its customers. “Packet's innovative and agile bare metal service, and neutral approach to software stacks, fit our own cloud-neutral model and match our strategy for helping enterprises flexibly deploy digital infrastructure, within minutes, at global scale. Our combined strengths will further empower companies to be everywhere they need to be, to interconnect everyone and integrate everything that matters to their business."


Since its founding in 2014, Packet has offered bare metal cloud services to customers, which allows for rental of public cloud hardware and services. This allows for flexibility resources that most other public cloud based systems would not be able to provide. Smith emphasized that Equinix’s resources would allow for further growth, emphasizing that Packet would be expected to have new and expanded cloud locations, faster provisioning, and platform and support improvements going into 2020.


Equinix, which was founded in 1998, specializes in internet connections and is the current global leader in the market share of colocation data centers, renting out equipment, space, and bandwidth to customers. With the Packet acquisition, Equinix expects “to add important new on-demand deployment alternatives that meet the market's full range of use cases” and stated that Packet’s own team, products, and services will “add important new skills and assets to Equinix's own product development and management capabilities.”

 

More details of the acquisition will be released by Equinix upon completion later in the first quarter.


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The dot com price hike

Wed, 12th February 2020, 22:59

ICANN continues to cause controversy with registrars. Last week, the organization announced that it will allow Verisign, the company that administers all .com domains, to increase its pricing on the domain over 70 percent in the next decade. This follows ICANN’s decision last summer to lift price caps on .org domains, which is currently being investigated by the Attorney General’s office of California.


This decision has long term effects for domain registrars, who have no choice but to work with Verisign in order to register domains for users. Namecheap in particular has been extremely vocal about the decision. In a blog post detailing his concerns with the decision, Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall called out ICANN and Verisign for making the changes “without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users” and promised that Namecheap would continue fighting against these changes.


Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica explained the changes further, detailing how the price could increase for a .com domain from $7.85/year to $13.49/year by 2030, not including any other fees domain registrars throw on top. “That would represent a massive windfall for Verisign because according to Namecheap, there are more than 140 million .com domain names registered. So Verisign would reap more than $500 million in additional revenue, each year, for running the .com registration database.”

 

ICANN is taking public comments on the proposed increases until February 14, 2020.


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Parent Company of BlueHost & HostGator: EIG Releases Year End Report

Fri, 7th February 2020, 13:45

Under normal circumstances, HostJury does not delve into the murky waters of financial reports, preferring instead to focus on the day to day operatives of web hosting companies that are more likely to impact users directly. While that may be true, in this period of consolidated webhosting, there are a small number of parent companies maintaining the operations of notably recognizable major brands as separate entities which make them newsworthy if for no other reason than ensuring users of these services are aware of the close ties between seemingly separate competitors. Endurance International Group (EIG) is one such company with in excess of 50 webhosting brands including names like HostGator, BlueHost, HostMonter, and iPower.

While the year end report never uncovered any major surprises or shocking revelations, it was noteworthy that the company as a whole continues to bleed clients in its year to year operations. When EIG first began to restructure operations a couple or three years ago to focus on their core brands, it was assumed that the loss of clients could be attributed to shedding away the chaff or less profitable users to focus on maximizing returns from those that remained. While that appears to still be the path going forward, one can’t help but wonder when the company will turn the corner.

Jeffrey H. Fox, president and chief executive officer at Endurance International Group reporting on the financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 stated that:

"Our focus on our core strategic brands and investing to increase the value we deliver to our customers resulted in continued financial progress in the fourth quarter. After adjusting for the impact of the sale of our SinglePlatform business, we had positive net adds and our year over year revenue continued to progress toward inflection. The team is focused on returning the company to growth, and we believe our revenue and subscriber trends reflect the substantial progress we have made in 2019."

While sounding positive, revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $277.2 million, a decrease of 2 percent compared to $282.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Excluding the impact of SinglePlatform for both periods, revenue was $272.4 million compared to $275.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, a year over year decrease of 1 percent. Total revenue for fiscal year 2019 was $1.113 billion which is a decrease of 3 percent compared to $1.145 billion in fiscal year 2018.

Cash flow from operations for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $46.3 million, a decrease of 5 percent compared to $49.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. Cash flow from operations for fiscal year 2019 was $162.0 million, a decrease of 11 percent compared to $182.6 million for fiscal year 2018.

User numbers were also down with total subscribers on all their platforms on December 31, 2019 being approximately 4.766 million, compared to approximately 4.780 million subscribers at September 30, 2019 and 4.802 million subscribers on December 31, 2018.

The average revenue per subscriber was also lower for the fourth quarter of 2019 at $19.34, compared to $19.50 for the fourth quarter of 2018. The annual number for fiscal year 2019 was $19.35, compared to $19.37 for fiscal year 2018. Not major but not exactly heading in the right direction either.

On the bright side, clients have been spared many of the plights that plagued the company in prior years that were considered new worthy by HostJury, and caused slews of web hosting reviews to be posted by frustrated clients of the web hosting giant. So maybe Endurance International Group has turned the corner on it’s past performance.

Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (EIGI), a leading provider of cloud-based platform solutions designed to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed online.

Endurance's (EiG) web hosting brands include A Small Orange (ASO), Apollo Hosting, Arvixe, BigRock, BizLand, BlueDomino, Bluehost, Dollar2Host, Domain.com, DomainHost, Dotster, easyCGI, eHost, EntryHost, FastDomain, FatCow, FreeYellow, Globat, HostCentric, HostClear, HostGator, HostMonster, HostNine, HostYourSite, HyperMart, IMOutdoors, Intuit Websites, iPage, iPower, iPowerWeb, StartLogic, JustHost, MyDomain, MyResellerHome, NetFirms, Networks Web Hosting, Nexx, PowWeb, PureHost, ReadyHosting, Saba-Pro, SEO Hosting, Site5, Spry, SuperGreen. Hosting, USANetHosting, Verio, VirtualAvenue, VPSLink, WebHost4Life, Webstrike Solutions, and Xeran.


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Lay Person's Definition of Cloud Hosting

Tue, 4th February 2020, 01:59

Anyone researching the web for hosting solutions soon realizes the most ill defined, overused, over-hyped marketing ploy of the 21 century is the term cloud hosting. Used subjectively everywhere with absolutely no continuity between brands. The cloud is the solution to everything web hosting.

One of the most confusing things about “the cloud” is that it does not refer to one specific thing—it means something different to almost everyone. Sure all those geeky tech types will be rolling their eyes and shaking their heads that lame lay people just don’t get it. Some lay people may even respond “never mind cloud, what’s the difference between shared, vps, dedicated?” While this post is designed to address the Cloud question, a brief refresh on the traditional hosting concepts help clarify the cloud question. The simplest way to explain the differences between shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting is a house analogy.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting could be described as similar to renting an apartment. You take care of your space while the building manages the common areas. Quite true, especially if your shared hosting choice is with a more reputable web hosting provider. Others have suggested that shared hosting is more akin to living in a dormitory. You get your own room that you can furnish however you’d like, but you share the bathroom, lounge and kitchen with other people. If one of your fellow dormers is messy or playing loud music all night - well you get the drift!

VPS Hosting

Rather than a rental apartment, VPS hosting is more similar to living in a condominium. You get your own bedroom, kitchen and bathroom and you can design your space to fit your lifestyle. But you are still surrounded by neighbors. You are responsible for the condo maintenance – if your plumbing springs a leak, you have to fix it. And you can still have that noisy neighbor who keeps you up at night or one that throws a lot of big parties making it hard for your guests to find a parking spot.

Dedicated Hosting

Hosting on a dedicated server is like owning your own house. Of course it’s more expensive but you can design your space however you like. But like any homeowner, you are fully responsible for the maintenance and security of your home. And moving is not as easy. And of course unless you have the server in the closet, you still have neighbors. So in the context of website and web application hosting, what is cloud hosting and why would it be better than traditional hosting?

Cloud Hosting

Many of the issues that arise with these ‘traditional’ forms of hosting can be attributed to the website being tied to a single physical server in a data center in one particular location. Never mind the pesky neighbors, there are endless horror stories of flooding, fires, that guy digging up the road down the street from the data center. There are server failures and backup failures. If not enough, many issues arise simply because you are too good at spreading the word . They say if you build it, they will come. Traditional hosting tends to be less forgiving and doesn’t allow the flexibility to grow or scale to handle traffic patterns. A cloud hosting platform offers not only the ability to scale, but also improved reliability and built-in resilience.

One of the main advantages of cloud hosting is that it does not tie your site to a single physical server. Different cloud hosting infrastructures achieve this flexibility in different ways. Some hosts offer site hosting still primarily on a single server but use failover technology. Other web hosts may use a cluster of web servers. Load balancers select the optimal server in the cluster and your site is served from it. If the server your site is on goes down for any reason, the load balancers will route your site traffic to another web server.

Another characteristic of cloud hosting is that there are options for seamless scaling. This is also referred to as “on-demand” or “on-the-fly”. Some cloud platforms can scale ‘up’ the amount of RAM and/or CPU assigned to a site. In the good old days using traditional hosting, adding more server resources usually meant moving your site to another server, which would undoubtedly involve some downtime.

Other scaling options available on some cloud platforms include the ability to scale your site ‘horizontally’ by adding more web servers—so your site can be served simultaneously from two or more load-balanced servers.

Other cloud characteristics?

One often touted characteristic of cloud hosting is utility billing or a “pay-as-you-go” usage-based model. With that type of billing your site usage is metered and you pay per second, per minute or per hour for all the services your site consumes. Of course the downside of only paying for what you use, is that you pay for what you use.

Often mentioned as a defining characteristic of cloud hosting is self-service—typically delivered through a web management interface. This type of self-service portal may be new for managing multiple VMs but web-based control panels have been used in hosting since people have had better things to do with their time. Think cPanel or Plesk. Nothing new there.(editor’s note: VMs are virtual servers...it's a whole other post)

Questions to ask a host when researching

All of the information you collect about in regards to the type of hosting will help you make a more informed decision. If you are considering cloud hosting options, you want to be sure to ask a few questions to determine if the hosting platform is really a cloud hosting platform or if they just sales boosting marketing spin:

  • Clarify the utility billing and web management interface mentioned prior.
  • Ask about the resiliency of their hosting platform.
  • Is your site tied to a single physical server?
  • What happens to your site when the server your site resides on goes down?

To describe resilience, cloud platform vendors often use terms like “fault tolerant,” “self-healing,” “high-availability” or “failover.” 

Fault tolerance: the properties that enables a system to continue operating in the event of the failure of some of its components. If its operating quality decreases at all, the decrease is proportional to the severity of the failure, as compared to a naively designed system, in which even a small failure can cause total breakdown

Self-healing: great concept. Best defined as to err is human. If you really want to screw it up use a computer!
High availability:a characteristic of a system, which aims to ensure an agreed level of operational performance, usually uptime, for a higher than normal period. Many less sophisticated types just refer to them as service level agreements. (SLA)

Failover: In computing and related technologies such as networking, failover is switching to a redundant or standby computer server, system, hardware component or network upon the failure or abnormal termination of the previously active application. 

You also want to ask about scaling options in the event your site activity increases or your application needs more server resources:

  • What are your options?
  • Does scaling involve a site migration or site downtime?
  • Can you scale vertically and add more server resources (e.g., RAM, CPU)?
  • Can the host scale out your site horizontally across multiple servers?

Answers to these questions will give you a good idea about the “cloud” capabilities of the hosting platform. After you have an understanding of the hosting platform, you can get into specific technology requirements for your site, how you are billed for services, the control panel, and their customer support, etc.

All of the information you collect about the host will help you make a more informed decision on where you should host your website.

Summing it all up!

Traditional hosting has been around for a long time and for many websites it remains just as viable an option for inexpensive affordable hosting. Still with the increase in the functionality and complexity of modern web applications, many features have evolved to ensure on demand and uptime availability of large applications such as Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Google Docs, and the like. The adoption of these advances into the webhosting industry as a whole has been widespread and a natural progression. Like traditional hosting, cloud hosting also has all data physically kept on server(s) somewhere. But ‘Cloud hosting’ with its improved resilience and scaling options has become a better hosting option for most and should be considered the new norm.


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InMotion Acquires WordPress Theme Vendor Elegant Marketplace

Fri, 31st January 2020, 21:40

On January 20th, WebVentures, the venture capital arm of hosting company InMotion Hosting, announced that it had acquired WordPress theme vendor Elegant Marketplace at the end of 2019. Both companies are now under the InMotion Hosting umbrella.

Elegant Marketplace, which offers WordPress themes, plugins, and layouts for all types of businesses, has risen up through the WordPress marketplace in the past five years, offering themes for users of the Elegant Themes program Divi as well as page builders. Elegant Themes is not associated with Elegant Marketplace.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, Elegant Marketplace founder Andrew Palmer expressed excitement for the company's continued growth. "I look forward to representing Elegant Marketplace as part of the InMotion Hosting Family at WordCamps, Meetups and Online to a wider audience and ensuring that we are the first choice of product makers and customers whether Freelancers, Agencies or DIYers looking for innovative and cost effective solutions to their sales and web development needs throughout 2020 and beyond."

In the same statement, InMotion Hosting founder Sunil Saxena also expressed excitement for expanding with Elegant Marketplace. "We love Andrew's vision for how Elegant Marketplace can grow and improve the lives and success of their customers, and are happy to have the knowledge and resources to back those visions and help make them a reality much faster."

Elegant Marketplace now officially offers packages with InMotion Hosting on its website along with the typical themes and page builders.


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Frontier expected to file for bankruptcy protection

Thu, 23rd January 2020, 14:56

Internet service provider and telecommunications company Frontier Communications is expected to file for bankruptcy in the next two months according to a report from Bloomberg.

Frontier executives met with creditors last week to try and “negotiate a pre-packaged agreement before $356 million of debt payments come due March 15.” The deal is expected to end in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would allow the company to continue operations without inconveniencing its customers. If the bankruptcy goes through, it would be one of the largest telecom reorganizations since WorldCom in 2002.

This expected bankruptcy follows Frontier’s reported $16.3 billion debt last September, which also came along with a dropping customer base as the market transitions away from landline usage. Frontier has also reduced its employees to make up for the loss and are in the process of selling off its operations to WaveDivision Capital in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

This is only the latest issue an embattled Frontier has faced over the last few years. Along with the dropping customer base, there have been constant complaints of poor customer service, large cancellation fees and overcharges, customers still having to pay router rental fees even when they have their own router, and constant outages in some areas. In fact, Frontier is even currently being investigated for repeated outages in New York state and it even reached a settlement last October in Minnesota for a similar issue.

Frontier has not yet responded to any requests for comment on the reports.

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