All posts in General
We maintain a forum at http://forum.webhostingbuzz.com to serve our customers, to facilitate to discussion and to use as an occasional announcement platform. Of late, it has been largely redundant due to our updated status platform and our increasingly popular Facebook, Twitter and Google+ channels. But the forum generally sits there, minding it’s own business and getting the odd post from some of our older customers and generally those that don’t talk to us on social media. I still check the forum on a daily basis, as do a number of my team.
vBulletin & spam
vBulletin, the forum platform we use, does horde a dark and dirty secret. It is a very attractive forum for spammers to target and attempt to use for link building techniques. It is important to note two things;
- vBulletin has tried had to bring in anti-spam measures to make forums harder to spam. These generally seem less effective than WordPress, but many of the vBulletin spam is done by real people that can circumvent automatic checks
- Google has long since banned these link building techniques and they’re more likely to get you a penalty than do you any good
Nontheless, on an almost daily basis, we have to remove spammy forum posts. Sometimes these are attempts at links, despite us having a minimum threshold before a link is activated. And other posts are weak attempts to boost post counts to a level where a member can actually post links. Most of these spam bots or spam humans stop posting before they reach this level, or we catch them in the act.
But one thing we don’t do is moderate forum registrations. We get a lot of people that register on our forum that never visit or post. I guess that it’s a PageRank 6 forum helps and makes it attractive for these link spammers.
Today, for the first time, we received a link removal request from a company that has previously spammed our forum.
Link removal request received from a forum spammer
We generally don’t hold grudges. The IP of the forum spammer, mentioned in that link, traces back to an ISP in Pakistan. So my assumption is the company requesting the link removal either hired this person, or hired an SEO agency that used this person in the hope of artificially inflating their rank. Many people, us included, have fallen foul of so called ‘SEO Agencies’ offering supposed white hat techniques. But this particular forum spammer registered just 1 year ago back in April 2012. This was well into evolved Panda and Penguin territory so there’s really no excuse to be practicing such poor link building techniques.
I feel our offer is fair. It takes time to remove these spammy links but more importantly, we’ve spent a countless amount of time trying to keep our forum clean. Let’s see if they take us up on our generous offer. Updates will be posted here.
An interesting new blog platform is just around the corner. Funded through a KickStarter project, Ghost aims to simplify the blogging and publishing world. While WordPress now aims to be a full web operating system and a powerful CMS, Ghost is solely aimed at bloggers. Projects like this that cross our hosting radar are always interesting.
Ghost Blogging Platform
In Ghost’s case, we’re particularly interested because:
- Around 55% ofthe sites we host are WordPress
- WordPress is great but it isn’t for everyone. There are security issues if the base install and plugins are not regularly updated. We do make this easy through our 1-Click installer and updater (Softaculous) but it can still catch people out
- WordPress is simply too complicated for some of our audience
- The amount of options, plugins, themes and more that WordPress has can be overwhelming
Just to be clear that I have nothing against WordPress. I use it for some of my personal sites, we use it for our WebHostingBuzz.com blog (i.e. this one!) as well as for the WebHostingBuzz.co.uk Blog, and we host some of the most popular blogs in the world. A couple of these include NevilleHobson.com and LondonCalling.co - both highly ranked by Cision for readership and influence.
Ghost, however, promises to shake up the defacto blog platforms and should offer a viable WordPress alternative. Mr O’Nolan, Ghost’s founder, is well qualified. He’s:
- Built WordPress sites since 2005
- Worked as deputy head of the WordPress UI Group from 2009-11
- Helped design and develop the WordPress user interface
- Spoke at conferences all over the world about designing in WordPress
Ghost’s funding on KickStarter has also raised eyebrows. Ghost initially sought £25,000 which was quickly met, leading to Ghost going for a revised funding goal of £250,000. Given the tech press coverage Ghost has received from the likes of Wired, Forbes and TechCrunch, it seems highly likely that Ghost will meet this higher target. At the time of writing, £123,996 has been pledged towards the £250,000 total (50%) with 12 days still to run.
So what about Ghost and WebHostingBuzz? And Ghost web hosting?
We reached out to Ghost to express our partnership interest. It seems like we missed the window for the early-stage partner opportunities but we’ll closely monitoring developments, and Ghost has our contact details. Ghost talks about a cloud version of the product and how it will solve some of the ‘complications’ associated with self-hosted WordPress blogs. We assume (and hope) that Ghost does not discount a self-hosted version. We know as well as you do, most WordPress hosting complications are as a result of poor hosting service and not the principal of self-hosting. In fact, if Ghost bring a carefully moderated platform in which tested themes/plugins are approved and suggested to Ghost users, many of the problems that WordPress users face would be solved. I’m advocating a system as closed as Apple’s, but something better than the Android-esque approach used by WordPress would benefit users and web hosts alike. It’s very easy to develop a poor WordPress plugin then buy some positive reviews on Fiverr. People then trust this plugin assuming these reviews are legitimate. And this is where security problems start.
When more details of a self-hosted version of Ghost surface, we will do plenty of groundwork to insure our hosting platform is fully compatible. We’ll quickly look to build a 1-click / auto-installer to make Ghost installation simple for our clients. And our team will conduct an intensive Ghost training course upon launch, guaranteeing we can support Ghost to the level we and you are used to.
Ghost is still a few months out. More information on their timeline can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/johnonolan/ghost-just-a-blogging-platform#faq_58417
I’ll close by wishing John and Ghost the best of luck!
We’ve rounded another busy week here at WebHostingBuzz. And as you may know, there’s always something new in what we’re doing.
Today we’ve got great news for our customers as well as for everyone who in some way or other is a part of the WordPress Community. We’ve been always very welcoming and open to WordPress users, so drum-roll…
And meet wpXtreme – a breath of fresh air in your WordPress experience!
WebHostingBuzz has partnered with wpXtreme – a company that knows WordPress since it was born back in 2003.
So what is it all about? Go ahead and check them out, but we’ll give you a sneak-peek anyway
It’s a free plugin providing access to WPX Store, from where you can install top quality plugins and themes for your WordPress website. Each and every plugin and theme in WPX Store goes through a multi-step validation process, ensuring quality and always up-to-date products.
Have I mentioned that WPX Store has free stuff in there? Well, now that you know – go give it a try, it’s super-easy (and free) to get started.
We’re going to share our own experience with wpXtreme soon, so stay tuned.
As you may already be aware, the brute force attack on one of the most popular CMS worldwide – WordPress, is still in progress, and has reached world-wide scale. The consequences of this attack are seen not only by our company but by basically any company that provides hosting for WordPress sites. As a rule, we are able to address or filter similar attacks without much trouble, but the current situation is different in scale and the level of resources invested into it.
At the moment, we have taken a large number of measures to mitigate the results of this attack, but the situation is worsened by several facts:
1) first of all,the attack is launched from spoofed IP addresses, and blocking these IPs doesn’t have any long-term effect;
2) the attack’s algorithm is extremely sophisticated, and is constantly evolving: all our attempts to reduce the consequences of the attacks which were functional an hour ago, are reduced in effect by each new evolution and change in the attack’s pattern;
3) the amount of compromised websites grows with each day (mainly websites with weak or default passwords and login credentials), malicious scripts are uploaded to these sites, and these scripts cause a highened network activity and system resource consumption, which influences the function and speed of all services of a hosting server.
We are constantly monitoring the current situation, and implementing the necessary countermeasures to pro actively deny the attackers the opportunity to compromise the WordPress installations located on our servers, but we’d like to ask you to peripherally assist us in mitigating this difficult situation.
What you can do:
No in-depth technical knowledge is necessary for this. Below, you can find a directive which will allow you to increase your WordPress websites’ security, and lower the summary load conditions on the hosting server, caused by the brute-force attack on WordPress installations, through a complete access filtering to your WordPress dashboard login interface for third-parties, and allow access to this interface for your IP address and the IPs of your users, only. This is a useful security measure not only during the current brute-force attack, but also at any given time, since it strongly increases the difficulty of compromising your WordPress site’s admin area. We’d like to point out that the directive listed below will limit access only to the dashboard login interface of a WordPress website, and not the website as a whole, or any other of it’s components.
All that must be done is to add the following rule to the beginning of the “.htaccess” file, which is located in the directory with your WordPress site:
Deny from all
Allow from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
“xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx” – this is your IP address, which you can find by simply visiting this website. Please indicate the IP you see there instead of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx.
We also strongly urge you to set a difficult-to-guess password for any admin users you may have, and update all components of your blog, including the WordPress engine itself, and all installed plugins, in a timely manner.
You can also find useful information on securing your WordPress website at the official WordPress site.
As always, we are here for you:
If you encounter any difficulties in implementing the measure suggested above, please simply contact our support team via our helpdesk, and we would be glad to assist you in making the necessary changes.
We must inform you that within the last 48 hours, worldwide malicious activity targeting WordPress CMS installations has spiked considerably.
WordPress is a widely popular blog CMS, which is used in a large percentage of Internet projects and presentations. Due to this, it takes considerably less effort for hackers to make use of WordPress engine vulnerabilities, insecure or outdated WordPress setups, compromised modules or similar means to compromise an existing WordPress installation. These types of attacks are common but we’ve noted a huge increase in such attacks over the past 2-3 day period.
In this case, a brute-force attack is taking place, in an attempt to pick WordPress admin area passwords, in the hopes of further usage of compromised accounts for malicious purpose. This issue is currently already known to many hosting providers, and is being discussed between our support teams. At the moment, several different solutions were implemented, including a number of firewall rules that are geared towards limiting the amount of possible login attempts from a single IP address to any wp-login file on a given server, with the subsequent block of the IPs that exhibit repeated malicious behavior in the server’s firewall rules.
This measure, developed by our team, has had a positive effect in halting the brute-force attack, but as a negative consequence, server load has increased, and customers are currently unable to access multiple WordPress Dashboards from a single IP address.
We urge all of our customers that are utilizing the WordPress CMS to upgrade to the latest stable release as soon as possible, change any WordPress admin area login credentials, and update any plugind and themes used, applying all available patches.
It is also recommended to reveiw the following security tips:
Should any questions or issues arise, please contact our technical department via our helpdesk https://www.whbsupport.com
After reading so many stories about what is happening to FeedBurner (the RSS distribution service bought by Google in 2007), I have decided to say a final goodbye to the service.
It’s been a while since we released the last infographic to the world, but we’re back! Now we’re discussing the latest trends in social sharing: the ecosystem gets busier and busier, and now everybody seems to share (and overshare) stuff all day within their social graph. We tried to zoom out as much as possible for you to be able to see the whole picture: the state of social sharing in the beginning of 2013 and everything you need to know about its eight major players. Click here to view full size image. Enjoy and let us know what you think!
Infographic: Who’s Sharing What – The State of Social Sharing in 2013 by WebHostingBuzz
640 pixels wide version
Infographic: Who’s Sharing What – The State of Social Sharing in 2013 by WebHostingBuzz
800 pixels wide version
Infographic: Who’s Sharing What – The State of Social Sharing in 2013 by WebHostingBuzz
It’s a good question. A very good one. And one that we need to answer and improve on as right now we’re doing an injustice to ourselves and our customer facing teams that work every hour under the sun to deliver the service that we do.
Let me take a step back and explain where this question comes from. I’ve just returned from a trip to London where I met some of our clients and attended LinkLove, a SEO/marketing conference that attracts some of the smartest SEO minds around.
I used this trip to also do some networking and meet with WebHostingBuzz clients. On Thursday, I met with Neville Hobson and Andrew Grill. Both are dedicated server clients who run high profile WordPress blogs on a WebHostingBuzz dedicated server. We met at The Hospital Club, one of Andrew’s favorite haunts, for an informal meeting. The agenda was blogging, WordPress, hosting, how they find our service and just a general catch up. We all enjoyed it and agreed to make this a regular event. But I came away from the meeting wondering why we aren’t doing more to promote just how good our service us. I know it’s good – I see the figures, the stats, the response times, the uptime that we deliver – but hearing this in person, verbatim, from two of the most influential bloggers around was extremely endearing.
Fast forward to Friday. Two different clients were attending LinkLove and we decided that we’d meet at the post-event networking session. These clients are ScreamingFrog and Spiral Media. ScreamingFrog are a highly innovative SEO agency (we use them ourselves) who have a managed server in our UK datacentre. Spiral Media build some pretty cool Magento-based e-commerce websites and also have a dedicated server with us. We all chatted over a drink at the post event networking session and almost the very same question came up; “Why don’t you tell people how good your support is?”.
That’s twice in two days. 4 different clients, 2 different datacenter locations. Neville and Andrew have US based servers while ScreamingFrog and Spiral Media have UK based servers. But our same team supports both and all 4 have noted just how good our support and service is. They benefit from and enjoy our sub-20 minute response times.
So let’s move on to actually answering that question and doing something about it. Our new website is a work of art. We spent a lot of time trying to make it a little different from the mundane sites our competitors offer. We tried to focus on that our USP is our service. We’re under no illusion that we’re not the cheapest web host (nor the most expensive). But it is obvious we need to do more in mentioning that we are the best for customer service. We’re going to be brainstorming this internally but we’re very open to your ideas and suggestions on how we can do this.
I’ll close by noting what we aspire to. What we do, enjoy and what makes us tick. We like nothing more than to help a client grow their website / business and we have an incredible number of success stories. It’s hugely rewarding to watch a client grow from a shared account to a full dedicated server, or in some cases, multiple dedicated servers. Knowing that we’ve helped them along by maintaining their hosting and providing the underlying infrastructure is something we take great pride in.
That’s all folks.
We are launching iPad mini and Kindle giveaway for affiliates who perform most sales in March. This is on top of our already generous affiliate commissions!
We suggest you list WebHostingBuzz as the most prominent host on your website to increase your chances of winning. Need a custom coupon code, banner, graphic of landing page? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get this created for you.
1. First prize is an iPad mini 16GB for the affiliate who drives the most converted sales in March. Second prize is an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Wifi for the affiliate who sends the second highest amount of sales in March.
2. Affiliates from all networks (In-House, Share-A-Sale, CJ and Affiliate Window) can participate but if number of sales or earned amount is equal, the in-house affiliate program takes precedence.
3. The time period for this promo is March 1st – 31st. All signups outside of this period will receive commissions as normal.
4. The winners will be announced on May 30th, 2013 and will be contacted with details of how to claim their prize.
5. You can increase your chances of winning by sending sales to both WebHostingBuzz.com and .co.uk.
Register now to take advantage of our Easter deals and coupons and get most popular gadgets.
2013 marks 30 years since the release of the Apple Lisa the first personal computer that featured a graphical user interface.
In a celebration that nerds would be proud of, we have created an interactive timeline of personal computers through the years. You can see this at www.webhostingbuzz.com/evolution-of-computer/. Don’t forget to hover over a computers name to read about it’s impact on the computing world. It’s worth noting that for some reason the timeline runs best in Firefox.
The timeline doesn’t cover every PC ever released but it covers those that were the greatest milestones in the evolution of the PC’s to what they are today.
We found oldcomputers.net to be a fantastic resource when we were researching the timeline and we recommend anyone looking into the history of computers to check it out.
Is your favourite PC missing from the timeline then let us know why it should be included in the comments below (these are powered by Facebook).