DigitalOcean's lays off 10% of it's workforce

Sat, 18th January 2020, 18:10

New York-based hosting company DigitalOcean announced today that it will be laying off employees as part of an internal restructuring following the hiring of a new CEO and CFO last summer.

In a statement to TechCrunch, DigitalOcean confirmed the restructuring would come at the cost of some employees losing their jobs. "DigitalOcean recently announced a restructuring to better align its teams to its go-forward growth strategy. As part of this restructuring, some roles were, unfortunately, eliminated." While an exact number was not confirmed within the statement, sources for TechCrunch estimated that about 30 to 50 of DigitalOcean's 500 employees would be laid off.

However, the company was also quick to emphasize that the restructuring is not due to any sort of financial trouble or profit loss. "DigitalOcean continues to be a high-growth business with $275M in [annual recurring revenues] and more than 500,000 customers globally. Under this new organizational structure, we are positioned to accelerate profitable growth by continuing to serve developers and entrepreneurs around the world."

This restructure falls in line with CEO Yancey Spruill's statement last summer after his hiring was announced, where he indicated that changes would be coming to the company. "My aspiration is for us to continue to provide everything you love about DO now, but to also enhance our offerings in a way that is meaningful, strategic and most helpful for you over time."

Started in 2011, DigitalOcean specializes in cloud based services, community resources, and tutorials aimed at developers, boasting GitLab, Slack, and WeWork amongst its clients. Last July, the company announced that Spruil, a former CFO and COO at SendGrid, would be taking over as CEO and former EnerNOC CFO Bill Sorenson as the new CFO. This followed the sudden resignation of former CEO Mark Templeton, who stepped back for personal reasons after a year in the position.

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HostPapa’s Happy 2020 Sale

Sat, 18th January 2020, 11:24

HostPapa is blasting off the roaring twenties with their Happy 2020 with an offer of a great deal on Shared hosting. From now until midnight January 31 2020 HostPapa is offering Starter Shared Hosting plans for $2.95/month!

The Regular price on this plan is $7.99 per month and comes with all the essential features to get your project started including free domain registration, 100gb of SSD storage and the bandwidth is unmetered! The deal does have some small print such as buying a package with a term of 36 months but still overall it does sound like a pretty good offer.

Hostpapa logo banner

Click on banner for sale price. Page will open at HostPapa. HostPapa has even bigger savings on their business hosting plan. Learn more by clicking the banner. Not sure yet? You can also learn more about HostPapa from their profile page here on HostJury.

 

Okay so disclaimers are silly, right?

As always, HostJury recommend that while price may be one consideration when choosing a web host, it should only be one of the many factored into your research. Page load speeds, additional features, good communication, and a fast knowledgeable support team will always top saving a few cents per day... or in this case, a few bucks! As always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any listed service providers. Web hosts are always presented in no particular order. You are encouraged to practice due diligence.. and at some point leave a review of the services provided.

Coupons may also be found on the review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. Look in the right column under the related blog post section.

Web hosts wishing to participate in HostJury's deals and steals, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Web Week Specials, etc,etc,etc are invited to contact us by email: [email protected].


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Total WebHosting Solutions Acquires Sitebytes

Sat, 18th January 2020, 07:55

It’s beginning to look like a game of musical chairs for clients of Dutch web hosts with Total Webhosting Solutions (TWS) continuing it’s acquisition spree by scooping up Sitebytes through TWS subsidiary RealHosting. Sitebytes was founded in 1997 and offers business customers web hosting, domain name registration and virtual servers, among other things.

Sitebytes founder and director Gijsbert Rochat says he has decided to join a larger and more effective group due to the strong consolidation battle among web hosting providers.

"I had been looking for the right follow-up for Sitebytes for some time. Our customers are used to service and I was looking for a partner with a similar philosophy. I also think it is important to do business with a party that fulfills its agreements. With Realhosting and TWS it was nice to switch, within a few weeks the entire process went through from handshake to final transaction.”

TWS has acquired a number of hosting firms in the Netherlands and Spain with the most recent being just last month’s raid on Dutch Telecom KPN’s web hosting subsidiary Argeweb. That acquisition was done through RealHosting also.

Pim Effting, director at RealHosting

“In recent years we have made a number of acquisitions to accelerate our growth. In the meantime, you learn what is important here. The Sitebytes company is in good shape, with happy and loyal customers and a focus on a good customer experience. We speak the same language and that means there is a good match between the two companies”.

Despite the phenomenal growth in global online infrastructure, the web hosting market has evolved and smaller companies are struggling to maintain growth trends experienced in earlier days. Many of these hosting companies have built stable customer bases and are looking for opportunities to grow their success so it is likely in this changing market that the trend to consolidate will continue further.

Matthieu van Amerongen, CEO of TWS seems to confirm this stating

“Our scale often works out above average for these companies because cross-selling becomes possible, which leads to revenue growth. We can also roll out investments in infrastructure and technology on a larger scale, creating opportunities to save costs.

By joining TWS, it is precisely these smaller companies that can benefit from these advantages, thereby becoming a better and more successful company.”

RealHosting has made ten acquisitions in 12 years and been part of TWS since 2017. Other companies operating under the TWS umbrella include Yourhosting, Versio, PCextreme, DeHeeg, Savvii, Provider, Neostrada, InforTelecom, Axarnet, Cartagon, SoHosted, Argeweb, Flexwebhosting and Alphamega Hosting.


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Oracle's DynDNS Domain Registrants Shuttered Badly

Thu, 16th January 2020, 12:17

From its earliest days the hosting industry has been fraught with innocent bystanders getting caught up in poorly executed transition plans (that is if a plan even existed at all). While the stories of kiddie hosts abruptly closing up shop to go back to school after the summer break or because they all of a sudden discovered a life outside their parent’s basement seem to occur less frequently, consolidation and acquisitions gone awry in the tech industry has replaced the former. And while many lessons have been learned over the years about how not to torture and grieve your newly acquired client base, enough tales of woe continue to emerge to keep review and news sites like HostJury relevant to a new generation of users. Regardless, when Oracle announced in December that it was shuttering a business they acquired in late 2016, few would have guessed that it would be newsworthy within weeks.

DynDNS was a service that originated as a community project in 2001, and was operated by students at Worcester Polytechnic in Massachusetts, USA. It allowed users to assign a hostname to a server whose actual IP address changes from time to time. The once free service (also had pay to play options) became quite popular and in 2008 a company was formed, called Dyn Inc. Growth and venture capital followed, until its acquisition by Oracle in November 2016. By then, Dyn offered a full range of DNS and internet analytics services.

Oracle announced that;

Since the acquisition of Dyn in 2016 and subsequent acquisition of Zenedge, the engineering teams have been working diligently to integrate Dyn’s products and services into the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure platform.  Enterprises can now leverage the DNS, Web Application Security, and Email Delivery services within Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and enhance their applications with a comprehensive platform to build, scale, and operate their cloud infrastructure

Hence it would retire the now redundant platform from service at the end of May 2020. "Dynamic DNS (Remote Access) was not impacted and will remain as is," said Oracle.

Here’s where the story should end but it appears a small part of Dyn Inc business plan allowed users to registrar for a domain name, and configure it to use either Dyn's DNS service, or nameservers (the authoritative DNS servers for a domain) hosted elsewhere. While it wasn’t ignored or overlooked by Oracle, the company appears to have just kicked that part to the curb in what would likely just be seen as a small annoyance for a tech giant such as Oracle! And that’s why we have a story. Customers of Oracle's DynDNS who used the service for domain registration - rather than just dynamic DNS - have suffered a sudden involuntary change of registrar, in some cases redirecting their websites to those of different companies.

Email fro Oracle clients about the DYN transition to name.com 

In December 2019, Oracle did announce on the Dyn community forum that it was transferring the domain registration business to Name.com:

"While we have enjoyed partnering with our customers on Domain Registrations, it is now time that we part ways with this business. Domain Registration customers received a notice on December 4th regarding the transition of our Domain Registration Business to name.com,"

The notice was short on details but would confirm the domains were transferred to Name.com automatically. Customer were required to log in and "claim the account" in order to continue managing their domains.

In Oracle's user-to-user support forum for Dyn services, a user gets the message "name resolution is blocked and has been cancelled due to administrative reasons," when logged into their Dyn account. "Try Name.com is the response from Taylor; but once the user gets there, they are confronted with: "Sorry, but we do not have any record of this domain."

Another user has been "trying to transfer our domain since approximately December 20 after removing the locks put in place by name.com, but there remains a 'Registry' lock put in place by Oracle America, Inc."

Others took to Twitter complaining..."Why have you stolen my domain and sold it to name.com ... give it back” or “You've deleted my mx record but want to send me an email to verify ownership. Did anybody actually think this through?"

selection of Oracle clients complaining on twitter 

Transferring a domain away from Name.com

If you would like to transfer your domain name to a new registrar, there are three things you will need to do within your Name.com account prior to initiating the transfer.

Bring up the domain details page in your account:

Log into your Name.com account
Click on the My Domains button, located on the top right hand corner.
In the list of domains, click on the domain name you would like to transfer.
Now that you can view the domain details, you can prepare the domain to transfer away:

image shows location of domain lock,whois privacy, transfer auth code, and renewal button in name dot com admin panel 

 

 

  1. Unlock your domain so it can transfer to the new registrar.
  2. Get the auth code for the domain name, which you will need to give to your new registrar to initiate the transfer.
  3. Disable the Whois Privacy some registrars require that you disable the Whois Privacy on your domain, for security reasons. However, many registrars no longer require this. You may want to check with your new registrar before doing this, to confirm that the Privacy for your domain needs to be disabled.

After you have followed these steps, the domain name is eligible for transfer to the new registrar and the transfer should complete within 5-7 days, or you can contact us to expedite the transfer.

If you are transferring your domain name away from Name.com, we can approve the transfer for you so it completes after a few hours rather than several days. We can only expedite the transfer if the transfer has been submitted. Once the transfer has been submitted, you will see Your Domain is Pending Transfer on the domain management page in your account:

Afflicted users can write their reviews here!


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GoDaddy reveals new logo

Wed, 15th January 2020, 20:57

Earlier this week, GoDaddy revealed a new logo, finally replacing their well-known “Daddy” logo that was dropped in 2018 during a company rebrand.

Affectionately dubbed “the GO,” the company said on its blog that the new logo was made in an effort to capture “the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit.” “The GO’s swooping arcs represent the indomitable spirit of everyday entrepreneurs,” the post continued. “And the word “go” itself is GoDaddy’s rallying cry for folks to take the first or next step in their entrepreneurial journey.”

The logo itself is a rounded heart shape with interior lines to make it appear as if the letter G is formed inside of the heart. The remaining space of the heart is supposed to represent the letter O to spell “go,” but the curved lines also bear a resemblance to the letter D. From a certain point of view, it could easily be interpreted as a “GD” for GoDaddy.

However, GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani sees something slightly different. In an interview with FastCompany about the new logo, Bhutani described it as “[a] young girl who’s a little bit of a bandit—with a ponytail and a patch over her eye—who wants to grow up and be somebody.”

The new logo is a part of a continued rebranding of the Arizona based company, which was founded in 1997. As part of the early days of the internet, GoDaddy became the “go to service for webhosting and domain registration. For years, it was known for its bright green and black branding, its quirky redheaded logo, and the racy Super Bowl ads that ran in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

However, the company has slowly been cleaning up its image over the past decade. After its acquisition by private equity firms KKR and Silver Lake Partners in 2011, GoDaddy began to shift away from the theatrics that made it infamous and began to focus branding more on the customer base it had cultivated, which currently sits at 19 million customers with 77 million domain names registered. This continued in 2015 when the company went public and by 2018, the iconic “Daddy” logo had been dropped to continue with the more streamlined look the company had adopted to compete with Wix and Squarespace.

While change is inevitable, there is some concern that the logo change is a part of the continued “flattening” of the internet. In an article about the new logo, Dami Lee of The Verge wrote, “...[W]hat’s most upsetting about this change is that it’s yet another example of the way tech companies are becoming homogenized in their design. Without the hot dog-haired Daddy mascot who exudes a reassuring sense of chill, there’s not much to distinguish the new GoDaddy logo from the sterile, generic logos among the likes of Google, Spotify, and Pinterest.”

The old logo was definitely a long remaining vestige of the early days of the internet before its retirement, but GoDaddy chief brand officer Cameron Scott claims there wasn’t much sentimentality over it. “[T]here wasn’t nearly as much emotional attachment to the head as I would’ve liked, for how long that we’d had it.”

David Airey, a graphic designer based in Northern Ireland and author of the books Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding and Logo Design Love: A Guide To Creating Iconic Brand Identities, agreed that there was a need for a change in the GoDaddy logo. “While it’d been there since the company’s formation in the 90s, and therefore had a lot of equity behind it, the design seemed cheap for a firm that now has offices around the world and millions of customers,” he explained. 

However, Airey believes that perhaps the GO was “over-explained” and that GoDaddy can stand well enough alone without it. “Some areas of the main GoDaddy website show the wordmark without the “Go” symbol alongside. That should be the primary logo, because there’s a visual imbalance in the current lockup, and because the name is distinctive and memorable enough to stand alone.”

Whether you love or hate the new logo, GoDaddy has made it clear that it sees the GO as an extension of their current brand aimed at “Everyday Entrepreneurs.” “It’s meant to remind entrepreneurs that no matter who they are, where they come from or what stage they’re at with their venture, GoDaddy is here to relentlessly cheer them on.”



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Equinix Acquires Bare Metal Cloud Provider Packet

Wed, 15th January 2020, 03:57

California-based interconnection company Equinix announced today 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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'No BS Host' Gandi Reports Major incident In Hosting Infrastructure

Fri, 10th January 2020, 12:27

Around 300 clients of France based web hoster Gandi.net are not impressed by a data-destroying storage meltdown on January 8th.The hosting provider has disclosed in a post of the incident that it had lost some customer data after a ZFS storage box in Luxembourg broke down and had to be replaced using a backup. Efforts to restore the data, however, failed, and there were no snapshots available to recover.

The storage unit became unavailable, prompting an interruption in service for all PaaS and IaaS services using the disk associated with that unit.

We followed the established procedures: move the control of data to an emergency machine. We inform customers impacted by the incident by email.

The data import on the emergency machine was not possible due to a corruption of the meta-data that we are not aware of the cause of.

The Gandi post went on to say it was conducting a full postmortem of the incident that would yield further details on what exactly went wrong. Its techies are still trying to recover the lost data, and thus far have had no luck.

While the loss of data without a viable backup was bad enough, President and CEO Stephan Ramoin intervention in a Twitter thread between angry clients and the company did nothing to quell the fray.

Gandi Ceo Stephan Ramoin clients are responsible for backing up data 

True but when the client does that and follows the recommendations from Gandi...

client responds that Gandi should place backups on Gandi servers

Ouch and Touche’ in the same sentence! The company's documentation clearly shows users are able to create back-up copies of volumes on a Gandi Cloud server via Snapshots on a scheduled basis.

A Gandi spokesperson is now stating:

"We now have some hope that we may recover the data but as we can't confirm it at the moment, customers who needed or need an immediate recovery should use their own backups, as was our initial recommendation."

And how to prevent this from happening again?

"We will certainly give a lot of thought to this question when we complete a full post mortem of the incident, but at this moment our teams are all still focused on restoring customer data.

"In particular, we'll be looking at what improvements can be made to our recovery time, our documentation, and our communications."

 Affected individual can further vent by leaving a review of their experiences here.

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Hivelocity Acquires Swiftway's Dedicated Server and Colocation Business

Tue, 7th January 2020, 14:57

The consolidation of the web hosting industry continues with the announcement that Hivelocity has acquired the dedicated server and colocation customer base from IaaS provider Swiftway. In addition to many new customers, this acquisition supplies Hivelocity with new data center locations in Amsterdam, Chicago and San Jose CA.

Hivelocity COO Steve Eschweiler stated,

As we continue to grow our edge-compute platform we continue to look for opportunities that provide us with the strategic geo-markets we desire and that our customers desire. Amsterdam, Chicago and Northern California has long been on our list of locations we need to establish our service suite. With today’s announcement we now offer our customers the ability to instantly deploy bare-metal in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Jose, Seattle and Tampa. What’s more, this acquisition is extremely advantageous for our new customer base as well. You have one company, in Swiftway, that wants out of the bare-metal and colocation business, and another in Hivelocity, that is highly specialized in both of these services, and continues to invest heavily in perfecting the customer experience for people who prefer dedicated servers over shared resources.

We will be immediately improving and expanding upon the services the former customers of Swiftway have previously received. We are already in the process of upgrading the network infrastructure in Amsterdam through the addition of new routers, new transit providers, expanded throughput capacity and true on premise enterprise DDoS protection.

 Hivelocity says Swiftway client base should be ‘excited’ to know they will be receiving superior service for the same exact price they pay now. Hivelocity was founded in 2002 and maintains its headquarters in Tampa, Florida. With its 100+ Linux, Windows, Virtualization and Network Engineers Hivelocity has made its name on delivering an over-the-top technical support and customer service experience.


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Webby Awards Deadline for Submissions Extended

Tue, 7th January 2020, 13:36

Now in its 24th year, the Webby Award is now considered to be the Internet’s highest honor and premier award celebrating Internet excellence. All entrants compete for The Webby Award (as voted on by IADAS) and The Webby People’s Voice Award (as voted on by fans). Last year, more than 700,000 Internet fans from more than 230 countries and territories around the world cast their votes. Reflecting the tremendous growth of the Internet, The Webbys now honors excellence in 7 major media types: Websites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Social, Apps, Mobile, & Voice, Games, and Podcasts.

Established in 1996 during the Web’s infancy, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS)—a 2000+ member judging body. The Academy is comprised of Executive Members—leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities—and Associate Members who are former Webby Winners, Nominees and other Internet professionals.

Claire Graves, Executive Director of the Webby Awards:

Over the last several years we’ve seen a huge diversification in the way our entrants and winners communicate through technology, and the use of mixed reality and podcasts have created intimate connections in a way we haven’t seen before. Nobody understands the shift in how we use technology to tell important stories, and build communities to listen, watch and interact, better than our judges. We are honored and elated to work alongside these industry leaders to recognize and celebrate the best of the Internet once again this year.

picture of the 2019 people voice award website badge 

In 2018, The Webby Awards received more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide, capping off the biggest celebration of the innovators, entertainers, and visionaries on the Internet last year. This year’s entrants will have the chance to join past Webby Winners like Apple, Google, Instagram, Fortnite, HBO, TBWA, Intel, The Late Show with James Cordon, Nike, Wondery, The New Yorker, Spotify, Airbnb, BBDO, How Did This Get Made, among others.

The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category—The Webby Award and The Webby People’s Voice Award. Members of IADAS select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the Winners of The Webby Awards. In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. The 23rd Annual Webby Awards received more than 13,000 entries from nearly all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide.

Winners are selected for recognition based on “overall experience,” as well as excellence in the following areas: 

  • Websites: Content, Structure & Navigation, Visual Design, Overall Experience, Functionality and Interactivity
  • Video: Concept & Writing, Overall Experience, Quality of Craft and Integration
  • Advertising, Media & PR:  Creativity, Overall Experience, and Integration
  • Apps, Mobile and Voice: Content, Structure & Navigation, Visual Design, Functionality and Interactivity
  • Social: Content, Creativity, Overall Experience, and Engagement
  • Podcasts: Commentary, customer service, promotional campaigns, humor & more
  • Games: Strategy and Puzzles, User Experience, Sound Design, Writing, & more. 

In 2010, The Webby Awards launched its’ European sister award program, The Lovie Awards, to recognize the unique and resonant nature of the European Internet community – from Europe’s top web and creative networks and content publishers, to cultural and political organizations and individual creators.

The original final entry deadline has now been extended to February 7th, 2020. The Webby Award Nominees and Winners will be announced in April with the 24th Annual Webby Awards Show happening in May. So what are you waiting for. The only way to be considered for a Webby Award is to enter your work at entries.webbyawards.com


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GoDaddy's Bob & Renee Parsons Continue To Leave Their Mark

Thu, 2nd January 2020, 12:39

At the start of this new year, this new decade, it would be so easy to write as others may have done about the top ten web hosting companies of 2020. Or the best website builders of the decade, or the best whatever of the century! But a new year brings new hopes that this year we can do better than we did last year. So our first post of 2020 salutes one couple who left a irrefutable mark on the web hosting industry. But their greatest legacy may be the work they've accomplished since leaving the industry!

A decade ago on January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake. The disaster claimed 316,000 lives, left 1.5 million homeless and another 1.5 million injured. The global community came together in support and compassion. The heart warming outpouring of donations from around the globe soon eclipsed the damage inflicted on the country. While much has been written and documented about the shameful fiasco that ensued around the distribution of those funds, it does not diminish the genuine love and compassion demonstrated by the masses in response to the tragedy.

Back in 2010, Bob Parson was still heading the domain and webhosting empire GoDaddy that he founded in 1997, and would eventually make him a billionaire. When Haiti’s deadly earthquake hit, Parsons and his wife Renee knew they wanted to help.

The couple had no connection to the devastated country, had never visited it and did not have the slightest idea which charity they could support. Then the Parsons came across Hope for Haiti, a small organization running an education and healthcare program in the southern area of the country. It was located in the city of Les Cayes, outside the earthquake zone, but it's doctors, nurses and teachers were all Haitian, and more importantly, Renee Parsons said,

“most of the money it collected went into helping the communities it serves. We felt that of all the organizations we looked at and the research we had done, Hope for Haiti had the most significant impact; that the dollars could be leveraged for the people that they serve directly as opposed to administrative costs, advertising. They are boots on the ground, they’re in the communities that they serve and very much invested in them”

So Renee, who was working as the community outreach person for GoDaddy, wrote her first grant. It was for $500,000.

Now almost 10 years later, the Parsons are multiplying that gift through their own charity, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, and are giving Hope for Haiti $3 million over the next five years to help support its mobile clinics and other healthcare initiatives. Renee Parsons who has since visited Haiti three times since the quake to see firsthand the work the organization is doing. She describes the visits as life changing.

“It really is rewarding, it’s emotional. For us, we really were filled with hope that things could improve there, we really could make a difference and that we wanted to keep investing in the communities that we were serving. That’s why we are sitting here 10 years later and still involved with a fresh new grant”

Hope for Haiti CEO Skyler Badenoch said the grant will make a huge difference, especially in the organization’s outreach to provide medical care and medications to under served rural communities in southwest Haiti that otherwise would not have access to healthcare.

“We are beyond grateful that they trust us, they are our partner,” he said. “I can’t state how important multi-year funding is because it really allows you to take a longer-term approach than just having funding for a year.It gave us a shot in the arm and it empowered us, and reminded us there is still a lot of good work to do”.

While Hope for Haiti is not the only organization that employs an almost all Haitian staff, Badenoch said he considers it one of the organization’s greatest assets. The Parsons’ grant shows that there are organizations and individuals who still remain committed to the country years after the earthquake, he said.

Bob Parsons fully relinquished the reins of GoDaddy in 2018 to focus on his many other business interests but since founding The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation in February 2012, Bob and Renee Parsons have raised more than $180 million to benefit the local nonprofits they support. “On a number of occasions, we have stopped to ask ourselves, ‘Are we truly making a difference?’” Bob says. “We believe the answer to that question comes not from tracking how much money we’ve donated, but how many lives are actually being transformed. That’s why we choose to partner with nonprofits that are efficient, well managed and passionate about their work.” 

In December 2013, Bob & Renee Parsons joined The Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that requires signatories to commit at least half of their fortunes to charity.


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Arch Hosting End Of Life Special

Sat, 28th December 2019, 18:24

Arch Hosting or ArchHosting as they like to be called, has come out with their biggest special yet! In the past, Arch has done various promotional offerings that advertised lifetime specials that had stipulations such as ‘for a limited time only”. 

Well the latest announcement from Arch Hosting puts that ‘limited time’ fineprint in a whole new context.

"It is with deepest apologies and regret, that Arch Hosting LLC will be closing down on the 10th of January, 2020. Due to unforeseen circumstances we are no longer able to continue operations. To ensure that there is minimal impact on your website, we have managed to secure a refugee arrangement with a reputable provider. Shock Hosting has agreed to provide special pricing and honor existing expiration dates on all paid hosting services and domains"

The term ‘unforeseen circumstances’ could be interpreted in numerous ways and mean many things. It opens up a world of conjecture that could cause one to surmise a report based on speculation rather than facts!

Possibly Arch Hosting’s business model of lifetime hosting plans for ridiculous low prices was premised on the chance of realizing large gains in profit from changes in the market price that failed to transpire. Or possibly Arch failed to anticipate cPanel recent announcement that they would only offer its licenses on a per account basis henceforth gouging all the webhosts after firmly establishing themselves as the control panel of choice. But yeah, that’s mostly just speculation on the writer’s part!

 Tweet by Arch expressing shock at cPanel price increases

Whatever the circumstances, the Shock Hosting refugee arrangement honor existing expiration dates doesn’t appear to extend to the lifetime deal ones according to a couple of complainants! Amazing companies we find in the world of web hosting. Choose wisely and read the reviews!


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Web Week Promo: Get 5 Months Free on WP Engine. Huge Savings on StudioPress

Sat, 21st December 2019, 13:32

December is one of the most wonderful times of the year. So full of fun events, Holiday Cheer, time off work and school, and lots of great times spent with family! Of course having National days like National Mutt Day (Dec 2nd), cookie day, Mudd day, bathtub party day, National Underdog Day, and a bunch of others doesn’t hurt either. Yes the biggest day is still Christmas but for retailers, that’s just giving people a break to rest up for boxing day! The month kicks with turkey and ends with a party. The hangover doesn’t even come till next year. (editor’s note: what happens at the office party stays at the office party!) Yes, December is indeed the best time of the year!

With people so distracted it's no wonder the marketing gurus need to come up with new ingenious ways to vie for our attention. We’ve likely had national re-gifting day for as long as we’ve had boxing day (got to get rid of the poor maligned and rejected fruit cake somehow!). So with Cyber Monday firmly entrenched into the National consciousness, the spin gurus are looking to work that same magic with their latest slogan “Web Week”

Whether Web Week will become a mainstay part of our cultural fabric like mom and apple pie (National apple pie day is December 3rd) is still open to debate but it’s one for 'we the people' to decide. Web Week is being touted as the week between Christmas and New Year, but as always, some just can’t wait till Christmas to open the presents! So don’t shoot the messenger as we’re just posting them as they come, but HostJury is kicking off the upcoming Web Week promotion with a couple of special offers.

Managed Wordpress hoster WP Engine, which claims to be the place that allows you to “bring your vision to life in breakthrough experiences, built on the best platform for developing and hosting fast, reliable, and secure WordPress sites”, is giving away 5 months FREE on any annual shared plan at WP Engine.

  • Use Coupon Code: WEBWEEK2019 when checking out
  • Dates Valid: Friday, December 20, 2019 - Friday, January 3, 2020
  • Restrictions: Offer valid for new customers purchasing any Startup, Growth, or Scale plan. Not valid for existing customers, upgrades, or any other product purchase.

 Click on the banner to learn more: 

WP Engine Web Week Promotion - 5 months free on annual shared plans. Active 12/20 - 1/3” border=

StudioPress is offering $100 off the StudioPress Pro-Plus All Theme Package — which includes every single theme they make, now and in the future, plus 29 third-party themes. You pay just:   $499.95  $399.96 for a savings of over $2,300 if you purchased everything separately!  With the discounted purchase of the Pro Plus Package you receive support and updates for all themes created by StudioPress, as well as additional themes created by 3rd-party developers.*

  • Coupon Code: No code required
  • Dates Valid: Friday, December 20, 2019 - Friday, January 3, 2020.
  • Save $2,300: That's how much it would cost to buy each theme in Pro Plus individually.
  • Restrictions: Discount applies to Pro-Plus only, not applicable to individual themes.

*Support for themes from third-party designers is not included in the Pro Plus Package — because we don't make those. Support for 3rd-party themes will be delivered by the developer. Third-party themes are clearly marked on the themes page. Click on the banner to learn more:

Pro Plus All-Theme Package Active 12/20 - 1/3” border=

Disclaimers are silly, right?

As always, HostJury recommend that while price may be one consideration when choosing a web host, it should only be one of the many factored into your research. Page load speeds, additional features, good communication, and a fast knowledgeable support team will always top saving a few cents per day... or in this case, a few bucks! As always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any listed service providers. Web hosts are always presented in no particular order. You are encouraged to practice due diligence.. and at some point leave a review of the services provided.

Coupons may also be found on the review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. Look in the right column under the related blog post section.

Web hosts wishing to participate in HostJury's deals and steals, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Web Week Specials, etc,etc,etc are invited to contact us by email: [email protected].


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1&1 Slapped With 9.5 Million Euro Fine: Will Appeal

Tue, 17th December 2019, 13:59

The parent company of web hosting firm 1&1 says it will appeal the  €9.55 million ($10.66M USD) fine imposed on the company by the German data protection regulator, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI). The investigation stemmed from a complaint in connection with their telephone customer service.

BfDI has issued a statement saying,

"In connection with their telephone customer service, the company had not taken sufficient technical and organizational measures to prevent unauthorized persons from being able to obtain customer information."

The investigation commenced in 2018 following a complaint from a customer whose personal mobile phone number was divulged by a 1&1's customer service rep to a former partner of the complainant. The former partner intimate knowledge of the complainant including the name and date of birth was used to garner the information requested.  According to BfDI, this was insufficient 'access control' for access to personal data.

The fine is described as being "in the lower range of possible fines" primarily because of 1&1's cooperative response to the regulator's investigation. 1&1 is arguing the fine is significant for both its size, and because it does not directly relate to the company’s computer or data systems, rather to verbal and curated access to personal data stored on those systems. In a subsequent statement, 1&1 has said that it will fight the BfDI decision:

This procedure was not about the general protection of the data stored at 1 & 1, but the question of how customers can access their contract information. The case in question already occurred in 2018. Specifically, it was a matter of calling the cell phone number of a former life partner by telephone. The responsible employee fulfilled all the requirements of the security guidelines that were valid at 1 & 1 at the time. At this point, two-factor authentication was common; there was no uniform market standard for higher security requirements. Since then 1 & 1 has continuously developed the security requirements. For example, a three-level authentication has been introduced in the meantime and in the next few days 1 & 1 - as one of the first companies in its industry - will provide each customer with a personal service PIN. 

If the fine is upheld by the courts, it will mean that many companies will need to rethink their existing customer support policies. This when even now many customers are expressing frustrations with the difficulties in obtaining telephone support, never mind adding additional hoops to jump through. Companies need to balance security with ease of use. But BfDI is not thinking of this as a one-off problem: "On the basis of its own findings, indications and customer complaints," it warns, "the BfDI is also currently investigating the authentication procedures of other service providers."

Before anyone begins to cry a river for 1&1, it’s worth pointing out that 1&1 had revenues in excess of 5B euros in 2018 and assets totalling more than 8B euros.

1&1 Internet, was founded in Germany in 1988 and later spun off to be one of the mainstay brands under the United Internet umbrella of companies. United Internet modus operandi appears to favor maintaining separate brand and management team . Besides its flagship brand 1&1, and its numerous 1&1 variants ie 1&1 Uk, 1&1 USA, United Internet's other brands include United-Domains, Fasthosts,  home.plStrato, InterNetX, Sedo and affilinet – GMX, Arsys, and WEB.DE.

 


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Police Raid Nginx Offices in Moscow

Mon, 16th December 2019, 12:24

As being reported by local Russian media outlets, Russian police have raided the offices of Nginx, arresting the two co-founders Maxim Konovalov and Igor Sysoev, as well as other employees of the company. Nginx is a free and open-source software used in approximately a third of the global server market. It is a massively used tool that can also be used as a load balancer, mail proxy, reverse proxy, and HTTP cache.

A copyright claim was recently filed by Russian search engine Rambler allegedly Sysoev created Nginx while he was working as a system administrator for Rambler. They are also claiming that Sysoev was developing Nginx during his working hours, and then distributed the source code illegally, costing the company damages of 51.4 million rubles ($825,400USD). This means that the case is no longer solely based on intellectual property rights disputes but also criminal accusations.

In an interview given back in 2012, Sysoev denied that he has worked on the development of Nginx during his working hours, stating that it was a side-project that he focused on in his free time. The likely reason for the renewed interest in the claim was Nginx recent sale to American based F5 Networks this past March. F5 Networks bought the company for $670 million. F5 Networks is a major player working with leading technology partners to deploy their networks anywhere in today’s multi-cloud world.

Seems the Russian government wasn’t particularly happy with the deal so if the court rules that Nginx is actually a property of Rambler, then the recent sale of the company could be disputed, although this will be a extremely complicated process from any legal standpoint.

Switch to StableHost Web Hosting


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Too good to be true then it probably was. Cyber Monday Deadpool

Sun, 15th December 2019, 17:54

Just when you thought you’ve seen everything in the world of web hosting someone always comes along and shatters the myth that ‘it just couldn’t get any worse than that’.

In the latest wtf moment, a whole slew of web hosting providers notified their clients using what could only have been copied and pasted dear john email announcements. (editor’s note: “sorry but things are just not working out... but hey it’s me, not you”) ...

Dear Customer,

Over the past few months we have been met with many challenges within the hosting business. Some that have not been overcome.

As result of this we will be closing our doors.  We will be shutting down this Monday 12/9/2019. We are taking this time to let our customers know so that they may backup and retrieve all of their data before then.

We deeply apologize for this inconvenience.

Thank You.

Management

So the web hosts were planning to shut down services within hours. Clients were given 48 hours to download data from their accounts before the servers were to be shut down and wiped clean. Using a descriptive term like ‘whole slew’ doesn’t really do this deadpool post justice. There appears to be a list of 25 different providers that have notified customers using this exact same message about their impending demise. The list includes:

ArkaHosting, Bigfoot Servers, DCNHost, HostBRZ, HostedSimply, Hosting73, KayHosting, KudoHosting, LQHosting, MegaZoneHosting, MyHostingSrv, n3Servers, ServerStrong, SnowVPS, SolvedByData, SparkVPS, StrongHosting, SuperbVPS, SupremeVPS, TCNHosting, UpbeatHosting, UMaxHosting, VPSFortune.com, WelcomeHosting, and X4Servers

All the entities listed offered cheap low-end virtual private servers (VPSes). Furthermore, all the websites featured a similar page structure, similar text on the site, use the same CAPTCHA technology, and have notified customers using the same email template.  The hosting companies also appear to be using the same ColoCrossing server(s).  

ColoCrossing has released the following statement:

ColoCrossing learned over the weekend that a former client notified his customers that he was shutting down their service today, Monday, December 9. ColoCrossing had provided dedicated servers which were used to host this client’s content, and the content of this client’s customers. To help customers impacted by this former client, ColoCrossing is keeping the servers active for the next ten days so impacted sites can move their data to other providers. We will provide more information as it is available.

When pressed for further comment a ColoCrossing spokesperson responded “Unfortunately we are not able to comment on the situation, we have made a public statement that we were going to keep the servers on for 10 additional days to help customers move data”.

It’s anyone guess as to how many customers, and how much money might have been involved. Just days ago these companies were marketing heavily with deep discounts on annual accounts for Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales. 

So while the initial knee jerk reaction screams of ‘scam’, it would be pure conjecture and speculation to deduce the actual motivation behind this obviously elaborate scheme. Some of those affected clients may be able to get refunds by instituting chargebacks through paypal or their credit cards. Others will just chalk it up to life experience, make a resolution to be more attentive to the web hosting reviews in the future,  and then get on with celebrating the holiday season!


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Brexit is Certain to Cause Chaos For EU Domains and Web Hosting

Fri, 13th December 2019, 18:19

After the UK’s historical landslide election victory by the conservatives, Boris Johnson has been handed "a stonking mandate" to make Brexit happen. And happen it will. Britain will leave the EU by the end of January, 2020. After years of debate and procrastination, for many both ‘in’, and ‘out’ of the EU, there  will now be very little time to ensure legal compliance of their online presence, domain names, and physical location of their data storage.

In recent years there have not only been a number of rulings in the European Union around requirements to address the physical location of data storage, but also around privacy issue of EU citizens, and the legal procedure required to gain access to data by those outside the EU.  While there is little doubt that many UK and European firms have contemplated various scenarios and maybe even drafted what if plan, putting them into play always raises the possibility of service disruptions. It may also raise questions for some European clients of UK based web hosting firms whether migrating to an EU point of presence offers the same legal protections as working with an EU based firm.

For many there may be larger issues around domain name extensions. While there is always the possibility of some form of deal prior to the January deadline, should the UK leave the EU without a deal, or a deal that does not include a provision for dot EU domains ownership by UK entities, it’s highly likely that the EU will at some point revoke any eu domain extension unless you can provide an EU address.  This could have long term effects and consequences for web presences created using a soon to be retired domain.

The EU Domain Registry released a statement prior to an earlier Brexit deadline which provides some guidance on the timeframe. The rules are pretty cut and dried stating the following persons are eligible to register .eu domain names:

(i) a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;

(ii) a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;

(iii) an undertaking that is established in the Union; or

(iv) an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.

In that same statement EURid also provided some indication of the timeframe before enforcement of this and other provision would begin stating:

that after Jan 1 2020 UK citizens that are resident in the EU27 will remain eligible on the basis of the residence country code that they have provided. UK citizens living outside of the EU, on the other hand, will no longer be eligible.

Surely in three months they can get er done… or maybe not!

Search and buy domains from Namecheap


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'Bachelor' Host Chris Harrison Ties The Knot With SquareSpace

Thu, 12th December 2019, 18:29

According to his new website, fans of the hit reality shows Bachelor and Bachelorette can now request to have host Chris Harrison officiate on their own special day. Harrison, an ordained minister with Universal Life Church, will customize each ceremony to the couple and is available for travel throughout the continental United States, including Hawaii. International venues are also an option as Harrison will travel to officiate at destination weddings!

In order to have the host of the hit franchise officiate a wedding, couples must provide their name, email, phone number, wedding date, wedding venue/location, budget and wedding details through a contact form on Harrison’s website. The handy contact form makes booking easy but does stipulate that due to popular demand and limited amount of select dates available, serious inquiries only!

While Harrison forte may be akin to cupid’s, he’s not limiting his skill set to archery and bringing couples sweet happy bliss. If marriage isn’t your thing, Harrison will host/emcee events, and is even available for corporate functions as well. How about a video to promote your business, a collaboration or endorsement, Harrison can do it all according to his website!

He’ll even rent you his pad. Just go to the website where a link allows you to book the Bachelor mansion. “Villa de la Vina is the ideal setting for hosting corporate conferences, team-building workshops, seminars, proposals, weddings and event receptions. Nestled on a beautiful 10-acre property, Villa de la Vina is situated within the Santa Monica Mountains of Malibu. It offers 10,000 square feet of interior space and 20,000 square feet of outside space.”

Picture of Villa de la Vina 

While there is little doubt that Harrison will endeavor to placate every fanciful little whim that comes his way, scheduling conflicts and budget constraints will dictate the reality that not everyone gets a rose. Second best is second only to the feared friend zone, so yes life can be disappointing. Then again it could be an opportunity. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so if you can’t have Chris Harrison...   what about his website!

The domain ChrisHarrisonOfficial.com was registered recently using domain registrars and web hosting mega player GoDaddy. Apart from those scantily clad models in advertisements the internet won't forget, GoDaddy is best known for its custom domain names and web hosting services. It is less well known for its great website builder software. Which may be why Chris Harrison, or his agent, have chosen to use SquareSpace for the building and deploying his website. (editor’s note: it was indeed the agent.. The founder and former editor of Style Unveiled is now endeavoring to remove the ugly from the internet one website at a time!). While Squarespace may have its faults and blemishes, it has never been accused of being ugly. More likely than not, Squarespace would be described as the flashy and hipster version in the website building space

Squarespace is one of the better known brands in the drag and drop website builder marketplace, having spent a small fortune on affiliate marketing and advertising with everything from podcasts to the Super Bowl. Regardless of the reviewer’s allegiance, Squarespace will get consistently positive marks for the quality of it design templates.

Squarespace does allows you to upload your own design if you prefer but their primary appeal is the large selection of templates available for use that will make your site look professional in no time at all. They make it easy to give any template a customized makeover. Just switch out the stock photographs in the template with your own and you’ll have an impressive site. (editor’s note: oh yeah.. just swap all their high-resolution, professional images for your crappy Polaroids. We all know how that will end!). The coding is such that most templates will keep your colorization, typography, and responsiveness aligned even with the photography switch which means your site will always look good on mobile (even if you are not able to make mobile-specific edits).

Squarespace hosting is always optimized and you can have confidence in the fact that your template and site are compatible. The monthly subscription price includes your website, hosting, security, and back-ups so the days of ensuring various 3rd party providers play nice and work harmoniously together becomes redundant. You don’t have to worry about plugins, widgets, or apps when you use this builder. Everything is built in. If you’re familiar with WordPress, Blogger, or a similar platform, then you’re ready to use Squarespace. Even website analytics are included with the overall platform. That means there are fewer issues with troubleshooting a site because something added to it has suddenly become incompatible with a recent update.

Everything may fit together just right with a website builder like Squarespace, but that may or may not be what you’re looking for. Squarespace is like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner.

Squarespace all-inclusive solution provides everything you need to get started quickly. It contrasts with solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately. Many of the out of the box drag and drop site builders models lock you into their hosting service and platform. It can’t be overstated that exporting your data is not necessarily the same as exporting your website! If you're afraid of commitment or think you might want to switch as your business model evolves, consider options that allows you to readily download your website files for easy setup on another web host.

Putting basic content and images on Squarespace is a straightforward process. The new features and options which do get rolled out for this platform must be rolled out by Squarespace, meaning you have less control over its functionality. Trying to edit your design templates, add or move elements, or add functionality can be time consuming and complex. There is no regulated ecosystem for quality extensions and apps to get integrated into Squarespace. 3rd party features are possible, but you have to use a developer to integrate it…which kind of defeats the main purpose of using an inclusive drag and drop website builder. Squarespace setup is uniform, beautiful and apparently easy…until it’s not.

Squarespace does have 24/7 support through email tickets and live chat boxes. There is no phone support but they do have a thorough Knowledge Base and a pretty high-quality customer forum.

Squarespace paid annually plans starts with the $12-a-month Personal plan, which includes unlimited storage, bandwidth and a domain.The $18 Business website plan that includes unlimited contributors, a Gmail pro account, and e-commerce capabilities. Basic and Advanced Commerce plans up the price between $26 and $40 a month, the latter of which includes a few final touches like abandoned shopping cart recovery and gift cards. It's important to note that the $26 online store plan comes with no transaction fees. Depending on your sales volume those savings for an online store could really add up. Billed on a month-to-month basis, will increase the personal plan to $16, with business plan seeing the biggest jump, going to $26 per month for your site. Commerce plans are $30 and $46 respectively. There is no free domain with the billed monthly plans but Namecheap will set you up with a domain cheap! 

Squarespace may have some drawbacks but they also have truly beautiful designs and lots of functionality. If the all-inclusive website builder is the right solution for you then Squarespace may be one to consider. Launching the website is a good first step. But unless you are some reality TV star like Chris Harrison, the work has just begun!

 

Weebly - Websites, eCommerce & Marketing in one place.


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Dowry Calculator Website; Dedicated to all the match making aunties of India

Tue, 10th December 2019, 22:04

Back in 2011 Tanul Thakur launched a website as “a satirical comment on the existing state of dowry demand in India". His website  - dowry calculator - functioned without any hitch from May 2011 to May 2018, when a prominent politician expressed discontent with his website on social media platforms and called on the then WCD minister to take action.

Subsequently, the WCD minister wrote to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to ban the website and in September 2018, access to the site was blocked by all internet service providers (editor’s note: It was banned in India. Everywhere else in the world we are still able to determine what we are worth to some nieve unsuspecting potential piece of chattell aka a bride!)

The Delhi High Court is now seeking response from these ministries after a plea was filed by Thakur challenging the blocking of a website . Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology, Women and Child Development and Communication, seeking their stand on the website owner's petition, which claimed the site was blocked by government in September last year without giving him a hearing. The petitioner is seeking a quashing of the action and directions to restore access to it.

The petition claims the website was designed as an online form that visitors could fill up with options from drop-down menus, on social, educational and personal characteristics of a groom, to arrive at a "fictional dowry amount" that he could attract.

It has further claimed that the choices in drop down menus "were meant to parody societal mores across India for marital desirability, such as an emphasis on fair skin colour".

"Upon submitting the form, the site offered one of nine pre-designed fictional dowry amounts, coupled with a satirical message that ridiculed emphasis on dowry in society and how it could cause extreme financial hardship upon bride's family," the petition has said.

Tanul Thakur states that it was only through a freedom of information request that he became aware of why his site was blocked as no notice was issued to him and even the order to block the website was not communicated to him.

Mr Thakur has termed the action taken by the government "arbitrary, excessive and unconstitutional" and claimed it "unreasonably restricts his right to freedom of speech and expression and the public's right to know".

Well that's India but here in the land of the free we have no such restrictions so of course our elitist editor just had to check out his worth using the dowry calculator…

Getting there, slowly but surely. Right now, your dowry rate is 25 Lakh. If you want your dream dowry, this might not be the most optimum time for you to get married. There are times in life when we are standing on crossroad and need to take some tough decisions. You could go either way from here. Be the master of your destiny and steer it towards your dream dowry. Best of luck!

The dowry calculator domain and website are registered and hosted on Endurance International (EIG) company sites. The domain was created on 2011-05-04 using the services of FastDomain. The website is hosted on IPAGE.COM nameservers.


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Total Webhosting Solutions Acquires KPN Web Hosting Company Argeweb

Tue, 10th December 2019, 16:14

KPN web hosting subsidiary Argeweb has been acquired by fellow Dutch company Total Webhosting Solutions (TWS) for an undisclosed sum. Argeweb provides services such as domain registration, web hosting, email hosting, Office 365 and online storage. The sale of its web hosting portfolio is in line with telco KPN’s ongoing strategy to simplify its operations. KPN recently started migrating all of its domain and web hosting related services to Argeweb.

Koen van Deudekom, CEO of Argeweb, said:

“With TWS as a partner, we can continue to guarantee our premium service in the future, and we will continue to invest in new and relevant services for our customers.

“We have gained a lot of operational knowledge and experience regarding technical migrations in recent years, which we are happy to use to do our own acquisitions in this rapidly consolidating market.”

Matthieu van Amerongen, CEO of TWS, added:

“The web hosting market is not growing fast and is expected to consolidate further. Web hosting companies have built a stable customer base and are now looking for opportunities to continue their success in this changing market.

“We’re very pleased that we can welcome Koen and his team to TWS to further expand our leading position in the Dutch market.”

TWS has acquired a number of Dutch and Spanish companies. Argeweb is a significant addition. InforTelecom, Axarnet and Cartagon of Spain were acquired this past January and PC Extreme and Savvii were bought in March 2018. Argeweb has operated as an independent company since being acquired by KPN in 2014, and is expected to continue as such under the TWS umbrella. 

Other companies operating under the TWS include Yourhosting, Versio, PC Extreme, RealHosting, De Heeg, Savvii, Provider, Neostrada, InforTelecom, Axarnet, Cartagon and SoHosted.


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Remove Material Deemed Illegal or Face Sanctions Including Jail

Sun, 21st April 2019, 13:50

Laws framed as emotional responses to horrific events may be understandable but rarely survive the subsequent court challenges that are surely to arise.  A new Australian law threatens social media and web hosting companies up to 10 percent of their annual global turnover and imprisonment of up to three years for executives if violent content is not removed expeditiously under the new law. The European parliament voted on Wednesday to fine firms up to 4 percent of their turnover if they persistently fail to remove extremist content within one hour of being asked to do so by authorities.

The new laws are in response to the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand, which killed 50 people as they attended Friday prayers. The gunman broadcast his attack live on Facebook and it was widely shared for over an hour before being removed, a timeframe Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as unacceptable.

Under the new Australian law it is now an offence for tech and social media companies not to remove any videos or photographs that show murder, torture or rape without delay. Companies must also inform Australian police within a "reasonable" timeframe. Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter described the laws as a "world first in terms of legislating the conduct of social media and online platforms".

While the finalized draft of the text for the European law will not happen until after the election of the new European Parliament in May, EU officials moved to regulate because they believe internet companies are not doing enough under voluntary measures. Draft measures call on the bloc’s national governments to put in place the tools to identify extremist content and an appeals procedure. The one-hour rule would apply from the point of notification by national authorities.

In response to industry concerns that smaller platforms do not have the same resources to comply as speedily with tougher EU rules, lawmakers said authorities should take into account the size and revenue of companies concerned.

Yet the emotional knee jerk response by politicians is already causing headaches for website owners.

Internet Archive denies hosting 'terrorist' content

The Internet Archive is reporting that it has received 550 "false" demands to remove "terrorist propaganda" from its servers in less than a week. The Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation that archives historical snapshots of the web, said the demands wrongly accused it of hosting terror-related material.

If the Archive does not comply with the notices, it risks its site getting added to lists which ISPs are required to block. The demands came via the Europol net monitoring unit and gave the site only one hour to comply.

Chris Butler of Internet Archive says that it had received notices identifying hundreds of web addresses stored on archive.org as leading people to banned material. However, the reports were wrong about the content they pointed to, or were too broad for the organisation to comply with. Some of the requests referred to material that had "high scholarly and research value" and were not produced by terror groups. Even US Government-produced broadcasts and reports were flagged for content.

Initially the sender of the demands to remove the URLs was identified as Europol’s EU Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU). The sender was in fact, the French national Internet Referral Unit, using Europol’s application, which sends the email from an @europol.europa.eu address.

Still Butler states:

We are left to ask – how can the proposed legislation realistically be said to honor freedom of speech if these are the types of reports that are currently coming from EU law enforcement and designated governmental reporting entities? It is not possible for us to process these reports using human review within a very limited timeframe like one hour. Are we to simply take what’s reported as “terrorism” at face value and risk the automatic removal of things like THE primary collection page for all books on archive.org?

Other Technology firms said they are already working on the issue. Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) - of which Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and Twitter are members - says the laws fail to understand the complexity of removing violent content. With the vast volumes of content uploaded to the internet every second, this is a highly complex problem.

Companies rely on a mix of automated tools and human moderators to spot and delete extremist content. However, when illegal content is taken down from one platform, it often crops up on another, straining authorities’ ability to police the web.


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Content is King

Sat, 30th March 2019, 13:36

Writer’s Block. The curse of being neither unable to think of what to write, or even how to proceed with writing. It’s like getting the Windows ‘black screen of death’, or those wretched iPhone updates! It stops everything!

For countless minions, satisfied with a static single page web presence that’s akin to those old yellow page placements,  writer’s block is not an issue. But for websites vying for top rank in search results, content is king, engagement is queen and yes, consumers are the kingmakers. Lack of new content could be interpreted by the search bots crawling and indexing your website, that it is dead!       

(Editor’s ponders the good old days when a ‘business card-sized’ listings in the Yellow Pages cost $250 to $400 a month. A quarter-page would run about $1,250 per month. A full-page listing, sans color, would set you back a cool $2,500 to $5,000 per month. Think about that the next time your web hosting comes up for renewal!)

‘CONTENT IS KING’ – BILL GATES (1/3/1996)

It has been said that Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king” in a essay written in the latter days of the last century. While the whole essay is a worthy read, (got to love Gate’s reference to downloads using dial up connections), here an excerpt for brevity:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.

One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.”

Gates expounds on how easy it is to imagine a future where legions of soft cover magazines readers migrate to online editions because of their shared common interests. Gates also gave voice to what many were only beginning to perceive - the very existence of printed magazines with the widespread adoption of the Internet   

But Gates also foreseen that to be successful online, a magazine couldn’t just take what it has in print and move it onto a electronic platform.

“There isn’t enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium.

If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines”. 

(editor's note: 'possibly video'... Google didn't even exist when this was written never mind youtube and vimeo!)

It would be hard to argue that much of what Gates expounds on in his essay hasn’t become the reality of today’s internet connected world. Yet many traditional brick and mortar entities are struggling to survive simply because they never heeded the warnings heralded by Gates “that to be successful online, a magazine couldn’t just take what it has in print and move it onto a electronic platform.” In the early days success was measured by the ability of a website to attract visitors. Relevant and useful content was the bait. Despite the Internet ability for information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher, far too many in their haste to monetize their success are driving away the very audience they once sought to attract through an endless barrage of adverts, pop-ups, and firewalls.

For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. But content providers also need to grasp the reality that in today’s society, the breadth of information readily available on the Internet has indeed become enormous. The endless barrage of adverts that are dealing death blows to the cable industry will be the same nails in the coffin of their online forays.

Content is king. Those who succeed in providing relevant content will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content. But engagement is queen and consumers are still the kingmakers.  


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On the Hook for Multi Million Dollar Web Hosting Tabs

Sun, 24th March 2019, 19:14

Initial public offerings (IPO) of companies venturing into the stock market can provide a great opportunity for outsiders to view the inner workings of many of today's new tech giants, providing insights to their corporate focus, and how they do business in general. Often buried within those IPO’s are revelations on the firm's web hosting expenses!

Pinterest’s recently filed IPO reveals it has signed a long-term contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS), requiring the social media giant to spend at least $750 million on Amazon Web Services by July 2023.  The contract, first signed in May 2017, had a balance of $441.1 million remaining as of December 31 last year to meet that minimum. That suggests Pinterest has spent approximately $308.9 million on Amazon's cloud in the last year and a half. Also noteworthy is that the May 2017 deal was an extension to a previous contract that Pinterest negotiated with Amazon:

"Cost of revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased by $62.9 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase was primarily due to higher absolute hosting costs due to user growth, which were partially offset by lower relative hosting costs due to the May 2017 amendment of our enterprise agreement with AWS," says the filing.

The filing also says that Pinterest paid $125 million to AWS in an initial commitment through June, 2018. Although Pinterest is not obligated to meet monthly cloud purchase minimums, the contract does stipulate full payment regardless of shortfall between actually usage and the $750 million mandated in the agreement.  There is also a termination clause allowing Pinterest to end its AWS deal early, provided it pays "liquidated damages" to Amazon. AWS hosts the majority of Pinterest's software and apps on its Cloud Hosting Service.

While the numbers at first seem staggering, it’s not uncommon for social media type startups to rely on public cloud-computing platforms, such as AWS and Azure. The platforms allow developers to rent minimal hosting capacity from the tech giants massive-scale data centers and add more computing capacity with the push of a button as demand increases.

Another company, ride hailing service Lyft, had buried within its IPO a contractual obligation to pay at least $300 million to Amazon Web Services (AWS) between January 2019 and December 2021.

Lyft committed to spending at least $80 million in each of the three years of the deal, with the stipulation that it will spend $300 million in aggregate overall. The S-1 filing said this figure was actually an addendum to an existing deal — in March 2018, Lyft agreed to pay AWS $150 million by June 2021. Then in January of this year the deal was again modified to its present terms. If Lyft's usage of Amazon's cloud doesn't hit or exceed that $300 million threshold, it'll have to pay the difference.  AWS hosts Lyft entire app and platform.

Then there is Snapchat. It’s parent company went public in 2017 and it was revealed that it was paying Google Cloud $400 million a year through 2022. Although the terms of Snap's agreement with Google allow Snapchat to use other cloud providers, it’s hard to imagine there is much appetite to do so. It's been rumored that the company recently recruited a inhouse data center specialist.

Proponents of public and hybrid clouds models claim that cloud computing allows companies to avoid or minimize up-front IT infrastructure costs, get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance. It also enables IT teams to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable demand. Cloud providers typically use a "pay-as-you-go" model and are often billed as being cheaper than maintaining your own servers in a data center. Possibly so but often that's generally only true at small scales. At larger scales, the costs can quickly add up to be significant. Recently some large-scale web companies like Dropbox have actually moved from the public cloud back to their own servers. That however can also be a costly project that requires significant investment and commitment.

Moral of the story.. Well there isn’t one but for those of us with awesome web hosts to keep our sites humming along 24/7, it does kind of make us feel better and our web hosting cost seem trivial!


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MDD Hosting Clients Suffering Major Downtime

Sun, 23rd September 2018, 15:16

Clients of MDDHosting have taken to the web to express their outrage, anger and frustration at the extended period of downtime websites are experiencing after some routine maintenance corrupted beyond repair all the data on the company servers.

MDD Hosting’s Michael Denney writing in the community forum states:

“While I was hoping to save some of this for the official RFO [Reason For Outage] - enough people are getting tremendously upset over this that I'm going to spell out what I can now - keeping in mind that I will provide more details when I can.

First and foremost - this failure is not something that we planned on or expected. A server administrator, the most experienced administrator we have, made a big mistake. During some routine maintenance where they were supposed to perform a _file system trim_ they mistakenly performed a _block discard_. The server administrator essentially told our storage platform to drop all data rather than simply dropping data that had been marked as deleted by our servers

So why is restoration taking so long?

Initially the company believed that only the primary operating system partition of the servers were damaged so they worked to bring new machines online to connect to their storage(back-ups) to bring accounts back online. Denney states “Normally we would rely on snapshots in our storage platform - simply mounting a snapshot from prior to the incident and booting servers back up. It would have taken minutes - if maybe an hour. We are not sure as of yet, and will need to investigate, but snapshots were disabled. I wish I could tell you why - and I wish I knew why - but we don't know yet and will have to look into it”.

MDD Hosting is now working to restore client data from cPanel backups from their disaster recovery server of ‘last resort’ in Phoenix Arizona. By the company’s own admission, this is the only copy remaining of all client data.

While hoping they are wrong, the time to undo the damage for all clients is being estimated at 96 hours.

“Do I really expect this to take 96 hours? No. I don't and I hope not - but I don't want to say 24 hours and have 10 people not restored yet get really upset about it. At the end of the day I want to be as accurate as I can be and I don't want to lie or mislead. This situation is really bad for us - the worst thing we've faced since we founded this company in 2007".

The company also admits that backups may not be complete with most servers from restore point that is within the past 24 hours prior to the start of the incident (this can be anywhere from a few hours or up to 24 hours depending on the time the account was backed up). For some less fortunate, a very small number of servers may have restore points going back 48 hours before the outage. While it may be a small consolation, in times past many hosting providers, having faced this many failures, the perfect storm so to speak, have simply lost their clients data entirely and gone out of business!

MDD Hosting Backup Restore Estimates

 

r1    Monday, September 24, 2018 at 11:00:00 PM

p2    Monday, September 24, 2018 at 3:00:00 PM

s2    Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 1:00:00 AM

r2    Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 9:00:00 AM

s3    Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 4:00:00 PM

r3    Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 AM

s4    Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 4:00:00 AM

r4    Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 6:00:00 AM

s5    Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 PM

s0    Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 PM

 

 


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What You Should Expect From Your Web Host

Wed, 31st January 2018, 18:21

Not so long ago banking was done with the help of human tellers and grocery shopping happened solely in-store. But the internet, social media and mobile devices have dynamically changed this. Today’s consumers are “plugged in” 24/7. They demand instant access to information and transaction capabilities when they want them, are savvy when it comes to making purchase decisions, and are not afraid to make a change if a company no longer meets their expectations. This is exacerbated in that much of today's vibrant business community only exists online. There is no brick and mortar building for consumers to even see, let alone visit. Web hosting has become uniquely situated where uptime is an essential service and communication is key.

To survive and flourish in this new global society, businesses and organizations alike must now differentiate themselves across multiple channels, touch points, and interactions, not only to engage customers, but to set themselves apart from a multitude of others zealously competing to increase page rank and replace them in the search results.

So while the failure to deliver positive customer experiences or provide responsive customer service may still be the surest way to hemorrhage clients, the rise of services such as MailChimp or Constant contact suggests it helps to retain clients by cultivating loyal, long-term relationships. It is no longer enough to have a pretty website. To truly make an impact, a company must be a constant presence in its customers daily lives. (editor’s note: ‘daily lives’. It better be some kind of special because it’s a very fine line between ‘special’, and spam. ‘Spam’ from a can, good. Otherwise it’s getting deleted!)

So there were a couple of recent surveys looking at how customers wanted to be contacted, the idea being that a better understanding allows organizations to better adapt, and possibly set themselves apart from the crowd. I found these results interesting as there has been a growing trend among certain web hosts to limit the available types of customer support options offered. Then again, some web hosts have never offered any support options to begin with. Others, as reviews will attest, offered the sun moon and stars but just never bothered to answer the phone, or their email, or social media taunts. But possibly that’s getting ahead of myself.

Paraphrasing, The survey says:

  • When customers initiate the interaction, 77% rated speed to resolution as the best indicator of good service.
  • 55% opt for convenience when contacting a company.
  • 65% of customers prefer to talk on the phone, compared to 55% for email and 48% for online chat.
  • But when companies contact customers, 82% prefer email for notifications and 77% for questions and issues.
  • 49% wanted notifications by text, compared to 25% from a live person in a contact center.
  • 45% want questions to be asked by a live agent, compared to 37% by text.
  • In the last six months, 77% of consumers have opted out of a company’s communication. 45% of customers who opted out said communication was too frequent. 30% said the message was irrelevant. 25% of opt outs were due to other factors, including redundancy, too much information and lacking a human touch.
  • 55% of women have opted out of company communication because it was too frequent, versus 37% of men.
  • When making, changing or confirming appointments, 53% of customers choose to contact a company by email, 50% by phone and 34% by website.
  • To learn about a new product, 51% go to the website, 44% use a web tutorial and 38% call a representative.
  • 23% of millennial prefer a mobile app for notifications. 16% prefer online chat.
  • When asking questions, all age groups preferred phone calls to online chat, including 86% of baby boomers, 69% of Gen Xers and 59% of millennial.
  • 40% of millennial prefer to make purchases via mobile app, compared to 36% of Gen Xers and 16% of baby boomers.

Not surprisingly, more than three-quarters of consumers rank speed to resolution as the most likely indicator of service, men are still from Mars, and women from Venus. It also appears that Millennial also have different preferences than baby boomers! Who’d have guessed.

The surveys reinforces the importance of companies understanding and adapting to the marketplace, rather than vice versa, to ensure high customer loyalty and satisfaction.

So how does your web host measure up. Leave a review.


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Namecheap alleges Tucows thwarted effort to transfer domains

Mon, 4th December 2017, 01:24

Earlier this year we wrote a piece about Canadian based Tucows announcing an agreement to acquire wholesale domain name registrar eNom from Rightside Group. Tucows paid $83.5 million for the acquisition of eNom, the 14.5 million domains under its management, and a additional 28,000 active resellers. Tucows now had a total network of over 40,000 resellers globally and 29 million domains under management making it the second largest domain registrar in the world. All sounded good until you considered that 7 million of those domains were registered through Enom on the reseller account of Namecheap. Although the timing may have been coincidental, NameCheap announced pretty much simultaneously that it had stopped reselling domain names through Enom and domains coming up for renewal would be automatically transferred from Enom to NameCheap.

In a lawsuit filed in Seattle (pdf) at the end of August, Namecheap alleged that Tucows was thwarting its effort to transfer domains registered through Namecheap when it was an Enom reseller.

According to the court filing, the issue seems to revolve around whether this transfer qualifies for a “Bulk Transfer After Partial Portfolio Acquisition”, or BTAPPA. This type of transfer was setup to transfer a bunch of domains between registrars in bulk when one registrar acquires another.

Namecheap says that Verisign has already approved the transfer of these domains through BTAPPA and that an transfer agreement was in place prior to the sale of eNom. But Tucows, according to the suit, says it doesn’t qualify:

Tucows has refused to complete the bulk transfer of the VeriSign Domains to Namecheap using the BTAPPA service based on the unmeritorious argument that doing so would violate ICANN/VeriSign rules, regulations and processes….

Namecheap also claims that Tucows is concerned that the mass transfer of domains “would wreak such havoc and confusion” because of the volume and because .com is a thin Whois in which registrant data stays with the registrar, not the registry.

Namecheap reasoned that Enom/Tucows might want to slow the transfer stating that even if eNom’s margin on Namecheap’s domain registrations were quite low and the agreement allowed Enom to retain 100% of expired domain revenue and all parking revenue during registrations and during the expiration cycle.

Namecheap also said it offered to make a cash payment to Tucows and execute a separate purchase agreement so that the deal would be considered a partial acquisition “and thereby obviate any further basis for disagreement about whether the VeriSign Domains transfer qualifies for the BTAPPA service.” Tucows rejected this option according to the suit.

In October Namecheap voluntarily dismissed this case without prejudice, meaning that it could refile the claims at a later time. Domain name registrar Namecheap is big, but until this year it didn’t show up on charts ranking registrars by domains because Namecheap acted as an Enom reseller. Once Namecheap began registering new .com domain names on its own registrar accreditation, it has been generally ranked as the fifth largest registrar each month when it comes to new .com registrations.

ICANN published the latest official .com transactions report from Verisign on December 1st 2017 but this only includes data by registrar until August 2017. The top registrars in terms of new .com registrations for August showed no changes in ranking from July.

  1. GoDaddy* 922,658
  2. Tucows** 193,081
  3. PublicDomainRegistry 135,332
  4. HiChina 128,586
  5. Namecheap 121,858

That is likely to change as on the latest list of Registrars with the Highest Net Growth, Namecheap ranks number two, surpassed only by GoDaddy. (editor's note.. GoDaddy is ranked far and away number one, a league of its own. But that is a whole different story).

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