How to Prevent Domain Hijacking

Although a website owner may feel secure upon registering a domain name, many don’t realize that domains are subject to hijacking.  Domain hijacking, or domain theft, is a prevalent nuisance that is on the increase.  Hackers need not to even access the target web server to create havoc.

The process of hijacking a website really doesn’t require a lot of knowledge or even effort.  There are various methods hackers use to hijack domains such as launching Trojan viruses, illegitimately acquiring login information or utilizing software to hack into a web hosting account to reconfigure ownership information.  Once hackers gain access to the targeted web server’s control panel, the chaos and headaches begins for website owners.

While most domain hijacking attacks are illicit, large companies take advantage of their branding leverage citing copyright infringements.   By doing so allows more established companies to legally “hijack” specific domains.  Unfortunately, small companies simply don’t have the necessary resources to defend their domains when toppled by a larger company with the same resources readily available to combat legal battles.

Locking the Hijacking Tool Shed

The truth is hijacking of a domain doesn’t take an arsenal of tools to access an authorized account.  The two basic items needed to hijack a domain is the target domain’s registrar name and the administrative e-mail address for the target domain.  Upon accessing these two essential items, hackers can easily hijack a domain without the knowledge of the authorized owner.  Website owners often don’t realize that this information is available online for the public to view by visiting www.whois.com.  A simple search can reveal the imperative information needed to hijack a domain, however, it’s possible to thwart hacking attempt by opting for a private domain registration.

A private domain registration allows website owners to hide vital information such as personal details including name and administrative e-mail address.  So, when a potential hacker looks up the domain on WHOIS, the information is hidden from public view.  It’s strongly recommended that website owners take the proactive security measures and choose to hide such details to thwart hijacking attempts.

Additionally, website owners should always inquire about the respective registrar’s security policy.  Also, ask about domain locking options as most registrars provide the feature to prevent unauthorized security breaches.

An Ounce of Prevention

Perhaps the best way to protect a domain name from being hijacked, aside from the above suggestions, is to opt for a reliable and trust-worthy provider.  Remember that usually you get what you pay for, so if a proven legit provider costs a few dollars more, it’s worth the extra cost to protect your domain name from hijacking attempts.  The initial proactive security costs are a well-worth investment, especially when compared to trying to undo the chaos created by a successful hacking mission.

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How to Conduct a Background Check for Web Hosting Providers

With the explosion of web hosting providers emerging advertising free and unlimited features, it’s often a daunting task to opt for a legit provider that actually fulfills its promise to deliver reliable services.  There are several proactive steps that you can take to ensure the web host that has caught your eye is actually worth your time and resources for perusing to manage your web hosting needs including:

  • Carbon Dating Web Hosting Services – Ok, not exactly actually carbon dating that goes back over centuries, however, it’s important to perform a WHOIS lookup to obtain information on when the web host was initially purchased and how long it’s been in business.
  • Verify the address of the web host. Again this step can be performed by a simple WHOIS lookup to discover the domain name.
  • WHOIS Lookup – DNS Stuff grants users access to IP WHOIS lookup.  This step allows you to locate the IP block and which data center is being utilized.  Also use this option to ensure your respective hosting company isn’t in fact hosting a server from a home ISP connection.
  • Ping – To assess the time it takes you to access your host simply bring up the DOS, and then type “ping DomainNameofHost”.  In return you’ll receive a specific number which can be compared to various other hosts.   Additionally, it’s possible to inquire from the host to obtain the URL of a test file to verify download speed.
  • Monitor traffic and growth potential.  Alexa is a vital tool for keeping track of traffic patterns.  Simply by visiting the website and typing in a specific address, you can easily obtain a general estimate on current and potential future traffic.
  • Reviewing older web pages – Wayback Machine is an essential tool for accessing any older web pages from the hosting provider as well as if the domain name was used for other purposes.
  • Spam Check – Although it’s rare, but often your hosting provider may be included on a spam list.  It’s very important to check to see if your web host is listed on a spam list, if so, you should opt for another web hosting provider.

While there are numerous of other ways to perform a background check of your own, the above points are excellent suggestions to serve as a general benchmark to weed out the shady web hosts from the more trusty-worthy and reliable web hosting providers.

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13 Things to do before Breaking up with your Web Host

Things to do before Breaking up with your Web Host

Agreed, it’s a pain in more places than one when you have to migrate from one web host to the other, but when your needs grow and your current host fails to keep up, it’s best to do the dumping as soon as possible. But before you sever all ties, you must protect what’s yours and make sure your site is up and running without a hitch at your new host. Here’s a list of 13 things you must do before you dump your web host:

1. It’s obvious, but has to be said. Find a new web host and make sure that it meets all your needs.

2. Check if you have enough storage space, enough bandwidth to prevent crashes and down times, support for the operating system and applications that run on your server, support for scripts and an adequate number of email accounts and auto responders.


3. The next thing to do is back up everything on your server to a secure location. You don’t want to be left holding an empty tub looking like a fool when you realize you’ve thrown out both the baby and the bathwater. Make sure you get all your email, databases and website files.

4. Upload all your files and databases to the new server and make sure you retain all the file permissions as they were on your old one so that you don’t end up with scripting errors.

5. Get your new web host to test the scripts, contact pages, and databases your website before you make the necessary DNS change.

6. Before you update your DNS to point browsers to the new location of your site, you need to plan for the downtime that results from this procedure. DNS updates take up to 48 hours to spread to all DNS servers on the Internet.

7. Let your customers and website visitors know of this planned upgrade. Make the move when your servers are expected to be the least busy.

8. To reduce down time as much as possible, make DNS changes before you move the domain. Before you do this though, check to see if your mail server is running on the new host so that you don’t lose any email messages.

9. If your domain name was registered using a third party domain name registration company, you need to check if your domain name is a part of your old hosting plan. If it is, you must separate the two, since moving your site to a new web host means that your domain name company remains the same while your web host changes.

10. If your site is dynamic, DNS update delays can cause havoc if you’re not careful. Some customers may see your old site while others have access to the new one. To minimize such occurrences, close down your old site with an alert so that it becomes static while the move to the new one is being made. You could also use a synchronization tool to get changes made on the old site mirrored on the new one.

11. Check for incompatibility issues between applications on your old server and your new one.

12. If you have more than one domain to migrate, make sure you start the process with enough time to spare for the DNS update delays.

13. Make sure all the visitors to your old site are being redirected to your new site before cancelling your current web host. It’s best to keep both sites up and running in parallel for at least two weeks before saying goodbye to your old hosts.

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Five Reasons to Choose VPS

Virtual private servers (VPS), or virtual dedicated servers, offer users many advantages when compared to other hosting platforms when launching and maintaining a functional website. The benefits of a private hosting environment offer website owners a wealth of benefits such as enhanced security, reliable hosting resources and increased flexibility.

Security

VPS is perhaps one of the safest hosting platforms currently available. Unlike other web hosting environments such as shared hosting, users are not required to share server space. Instead users share resources of a single physical server among multiple virtual servers. Users appreciate the enhanced sense of security as the VPS hosting environment is separate from other users on the same server. Users have exclusive access to personal stored files and installed programs. The security and privacy features thwart potential hacker attacks and unauthorized access to sensitive information. Many large business ventures favor VPS over other hosting platforms simply because of the extra security it offers when processing and storing sensitive data.

Affordability


In a struggling economy, business owners are forced to tighten financial belts whenever possible. VPS is a cost –efficient web hosting solution. Despite a common misconception that VPS is an expensive web hosting solution, the fact is that a basic VPS plan with the necessary features and tools required to launch and manage a website is relatively affordable on any budget. Unlike other hosting platforms, VPS doesn’t require users to purchase or maintain the required physical server hardware which ultimately saves significantly in operational costs.

Flexibility

Unlike shared hosting environments that restrict users when attempting to install scripting platforms that aren’t supported by the web host, VPS platforms hands the control of customized installation to users by authorizing entry to the root access. Bestowing such control allows users to install and configure desired software; a favorable hosting solution for advanced developers. Additionally, VPS delivers flexibility. Users don’t have to limit themselves to the basic programs provided by the shared host. Instead, users have the ability to install programs of their choice, as long as the software is compatible with the host’s operating system. Furthermore, VPS hosting accommodates an unlimited number of web applications for a fully-functional websites with enhanced features and services.

Hosting Multiple Services

In addition to hosting websites, VPS hosting is also a great option for meeting the need of numerous other hosting needs. VPS is an ideal solution for storing files for backup as well as hosting e-mail servers and FTP servers. Both small and large companies take advantage of such hosting as it allows users to manage remote file access with an increased sense of security and reliability.

Many entrepreneurs opt for VPS hosting in addition to meeting their own hosting needs, but also for reseller hosting ventures. VPS hosting plans usually come with enough resources to support and manage multiple websites, thus a lucrative investment for a start-up business.

Additional Hosting Resources

One of the greatest drawbacks of other web hosting environments such as shared hosting is the limited access to valuable hosting resources including storage space and bandwidth. Although advertised as offering unlimited features, with multiple users sharing the same resources on a single server, the truth is that once the server becomes strained, users find themselves competing for the necessary resources to adequately maintain their websites. Website owners choosing VPS, however, appreciate the private server environment without having to compromise the quality of services delivered to manage a website.

Conclusion

With the security and flexibility VPS hosting offers to users at a fraction of the cost compared to other hosting platforms, it’s a sensible option for both business owners and individuals interested in establishing a reseller hosting company.

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An Overview of Cloud Hosting for the Hotel Industry

Cloud hosting is everywhere these days. It is the newest form of web hosting that all industries are attempting to utilize. It is faster and much more efficient than traditional hosting types because of shared resources across many servers. A recent survey revealed that 68 percent of global corporations are planning to adopt a cloud strategy in the near future.


Modern Technological Influence

The issue with cloud hosting is that it is such a new technology, organizations are not sure of how much they should rely on it and are not fully aware of all aspects of the hosting type. In the modern generation of hardware, hardware purchases are much less of an issue than in the past. However, payments to web hosting providers will never end. Therefore, a growing trend amongst large hotel chains is to move to cloud-based hosting.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting

There are many advantages to cloud hosting that hotel chains could benefit from including, lower startup costs, little equipment to purchase, less staff needed for maintenance, no need for future hardware upgrades and increased productivity as a result of streamlined automation of mundane tasks. Furthermore, the fixed-cost advantage does not require the business to purchase any software or subsequent upgrades.

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

With all benefits there are several limitations to implementing cloud hosting for a hotel. The greatest hindrance at this juncture in cloud hosting’s short life is security. The system and software is not completely perfected resulting in security exploitations. However, it is improving with new methods of searching for viruses and holes in security coverage throughout entire networks and systems.

Another downside is that monthly hosting costs are never-ending and as bandwidth usage increases so does monthly cost. Additionally, hotel websites would still be subjected to hacker attacks and other outages. Furthermore, occasionally there are poor points of performance and the hotel will lose control of what occurs at the data center. Finally, human capital could be lacking since exploring the next information technology breakthrough requires dedication and technical astuteness.

With so much sensitive guest information within hotel databases, it may not be the correct time to switch to cloud hosting. However, once the security holes are patched and other security exploitations eradicated, hotels, banks and other businesses that maintain customer information will certainly switch due to the many advantages cloud hosting provides.

 

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