Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News

Simplifying cloud storage services

Cloud/CanadianWeb Hosting

With so many cloud storage options on the market, the services we use often overlap. It’s not uncommon to have an account on Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Cloud Drive, and then be registered for some backup services like Backblaze or Mozy. Others rotate between storing their photos on Flickr or SmugMug. But how do we choose the right service to store our data? Or a better question – what services do we actually need?

Some of the services mentioned above are free to use, but often with limited data. Some are inexpensive for a lot of storage, but the cost of multiple accounts add up to expensive storage. Many of us also sync these services on our device – this could be a mobile phone or laptop. We do this to save time and to have all the files accessible from anywhere, but it also slows down our devices and wastes bandwidth.

Why don’t most of us stick with one storage option then? The issue is that all these services are each unique but not a single one solves all our storage needs.

For example, using Dropbox means Google Docs can’t open files stored there. If we store on Google Drive, then iOS apps that only support iCloud won’t be able to access those files. We know that services within its own brand work well together, such as Apple, Microsoft, or Google, but often are not compatible with their competitors. One exception is Microsoft making Dropbox accessible in Office for iOS (bonus points). Another problem is the variation in privacy and security between cloud storage services. They are also developed differently (e.g. how it saves older versions of files) and use different APIs for integrating third-party products.

To solve this, we can follow these tips:

  1. Maximize compatibility – sign up for the cloud storage option that is most widely supported by apps. This would probably be a service like Dropbox, which is supported by iOS, Android and Linux platforms.
  2. Minimize redundancy – by minimizing the amount of services we use, cloud storage becomes simpler. Stick with a few that cover different requirements.
  3. Understand the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup – cloud services that are for “storage” are usually better at syncing files across devices. These services copy your files to servers and allow retrieval from your difference devices. Cloud “backup” services are better at data restoration and encryption.
  4. Keep the clouds separate – keep your files stored on one cloud service only to avoid confusion about where things are. Syncing clouds can be a waste of effort and money. Only use aggregator services when necessary (when you really have no idea where things are or is just starting to get organized).

Sheila W.


How WhatsApp Violated Canadian Privacy Law? Unencrypted messages.

Canadians know that we have much stricter online privacy laws than most of our counterparts around the world and with that said, as a company, Canadian Web Hosting, always follows and keeps track of stories that breach our Canadians laws. Why? Because Canadian people and Canadians businesses care very much about where their own data are stored which is right here on Canadian soil. Both of our data centres are located in Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, ON and as you can imagine, we pride ourselves in protecting our customers' data very seriously. Your online data.

Photo © abulhussain on Flickr

Now, if you are the kind of user who enjoys apps and texting, you are probably familiar with WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS since the app uses your data plan instead of your texting plan. The app is readily available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.

A few days ago, the media reported that privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that the mobile chat app WhatsApp violated Canadian privacy law and needed to be updated to comply with all her concerns. The article states:

Investigators found messages were being transmitted unencrypted, which left them vulnerable to being intercepted by hackers, particularly on public WiFi hotspots. The company did begin encrypting messages in September in response to the privacy agencies. But Stoddart says WhatsApp still has work to do to resolve all its identified issues. She was unhappy that users were not getting adequate disclosure about how their status messages could be seen by people not on their contact list. The company says it will address the complaint in a new release expected in the fall.

If you're a heavy app user, you might want to think twice about the purpose of the apps that you are using and how one company is utilizing your personal contact information. We often blog about privacy and you can keep up by following our "privacy" tag. Recently, we wrote about data centre physical security, our deployment of SecureIT Botnet and Malware Prevention, and the roles of StopTheHacker and prevention.

If you're looking for additional information on this topic, you may email us at, or call us at 1-877-871-7888. You may also contact us through social media on Twitter at @cawebhosting, through our Facebook Page or leave us a comment below.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Several Facts about Instagram that You Might Not Know

Lately, we've been seeing more and more Instagram pictures on our Twitter feed (@cawebhosting) and because of that, we wanted to continue this conversation related to online visual content following our recent article on how you can utilize infographics as a link building tool. If you are reading this post, you most likely know about Instagram and probably are a user yourself. Instagram is a very simple, free smartphone photo sharing application that uses optional filters to make original, sometimes, boring looking pictures into beautiful artwork. Then, depending on you, you can geolocate your picture and easily share your images across different social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and they can even be emailed as well. For iPhone and Android users, with its popularity, it's become the smartphone's photographer's app of choice.

Instagram Filters

This app is by far one of the most popular and successful apps to this day, and their success story contain many facts that you might not be aware of. Through recent studies and findings, we know that:

  • The power houses behind the app are co-founders, Kevin Systrom (CEO), and Mike Krieger. Between the two of them, they have experience at some of the most well respected technology related companies including Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Meebo.
  • Their catchy blog showcase timely and insightful photosets such as news of the week, national days like National Dog Day, weekends or events, politics and current events. The format is visually pleasing, clean, big and easy to look at with an artistic feel to it.
  • In early 2010, the co founders were initially working on a check-in mobile photography project called “Burbn." Kevin pivoted his original idea due to the user base.
  • On October 6, 2010, Instagram launched in the iPhone App Store.
  • By December 2010, one million users had registered.
  • In 2011, Apple named Instagram as app of the year.
  • On April 3, 2012, when the Android version was released, the app was downloaded over a million times in less than 24 hours.
  • On April 9, 2012, Facebook announced that they would be acquiring Instagram in a staggering deal of $1 billion (US).

Finally, with our latest back-to-school article, this recent infographic provides more facts and figures geared towards college students that some might find relevant:

Courtesy of Online Colleges


Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

Tagged as: No Comments

Back-to-School? Six Mobile Apps for Students

Education and technology go hand in hand. However, with the rise of apps, the current and future technology will continue to change the world of education from the way students take notes to how they interact with all the gadgets available now and in the future including ultrabooks, studying apps, etextbooks, not to mention the free virtual resources all over the web. A recent study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shows that since 2009, the percentage of apps for children in every age category from toddler to high school has risen. Additionally, a look at the top 25 apps reveals about 60% of those apps target children per a recent Techvibes article. Since school is just around the corner, we thought that it would be a great idea to share some useful apps (and site) for those who are in education and for those who have children going back to school. From toddlers to college students, these apps can really help our younger generations thrive and become successful in gaining knowledge in the classroom.

Mobile apps
Photo © methodshop on Flickr

The list of apps geared towards education is endless and continues to grow. To get you started, we're sharing 6 apps that you might find helpful:

1. The Chemical Touch ($0.99 on iOS devices): this interactive app is a periodic table to help you learn chemistry in a fun way. When you select different elements, the app provides you with their properties and get definitions of nucleobases. When you can recolor the periodic table, you can visually identify periodic trends. The app will open Wikipedia entries if you have used up all of the app's built-in information.

2. Evernote Peek (Free on iOS devices): this app turns your iPad‘s SmartCover into a flashcard. You won't need any more hard copies of index cards to memorize anything from geography facts, language translations to geometric equations. Evernote helps you turn your notes, audio notes and images into study materials. If you don't have a SmartCover, you can still use virtual smart cover. Check out their video showing how it works.

3. Rate My Professors (site): this isn't an app, but since it could turn out to be a very useful site, we're including this one on our list. helps you figure out which professors to choose from or to avoid through more than 14 million student-generated comments and ratings. They cover 7,500 schools, 1.7 million professors from colleges and universities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The best part is that it was built for college students, by college students.

4. Graphic Calculator (varies): for your math classes, you can avoid paying for a "real" calculator and invest a few bucks, usually less than $5 into this app. It can be found on iOS, Android OS, and more. Besides, why would you need to carry an extra gadget when you can use your smartphone to do the job? Let this app make your world easier when you're ready to crunch numbers and formulas to solve your classroom assignments.

5. World Atlas ($0.99 on iOS and free on Android OS): this app makes learning easy for your geography class. It provides high-res images with detail and accuracy beyond any Google image. It helps with your history class with visuals such as world flags and facts about each country, including government types and capitals. Some apps may have different map styles, so that you can choose the viewing style that you prefer. Bookmark your favourite places can also be an option depending on the OS that you're using. You may even be able to view the current time or weather, as well.

6. Astrid Tasks/To-do List (Free on both iOS and Android OS): as a student, you have lots of homework, projects and extra curricular activities to keep track of. This app is your personal assistant to help you become more productive and efficient. You'll feel organized and ready to tackle each day with this app that lets you prioritize each to-do activity on your list with due dates (as needed), priority levels and even a calendar. The filters can help you jump quickly from one category to another such as home to school. It's easy to use and you can even share your list with your roommate or other students when you're working on a team project. Now, you can stay on track with your busy student lives.

Finally, Edudemic has a thorough list of 50 apps that you can browse through including DropBox,, Instapaper, iTranslator, WebMD, Street Safe and Math Ref to share some of their finding. What other educational apps do you or your students use? Feel free to share your findings below in our comment section.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


7 iOS Apps to Manage and Monitor your Web Hosting

Today, many companies are integrating mobile devices into their company and putting more emphasis on remote access and capabilities because their employees simply need to be connected all the time.  The reason for this is that the BYOD (bring your own device) revolution has changed how companies and their employees are interacting with their infrastructure.  Mobile access to their systems is no longer a nice to have, it is now a must have that ensures real-time monitoring and access to their business infrastructure including their servers and websites.  Because of that, we here at Canadian Web Hosting Ltd., we often get asked questions on how our clients can best manage their servers including facilitating common administrative tasks by simply using their mobile device.  Some of these task can include administration, file transfer and server monitoring but one caveat is not all of these tools work for both Windows and Linux, so be sure to check the requirements of each application.

Network Utility
This tool gives you real time status on your website or server including basic trouble shooting capabilities and simple security auditing.  By simply entering the IP address of your site you can do pings, GeoIP lookups, TCP/IP port scans, as well as provide IP address information.  A nice feature is that you also have the ability to save the remote address locally in the application for quick access.










VMWare vSphere Client for iPad
With the recent deployment of our own VMWare cloud hosting solution, we’ve gotten very in-depth with this tool and have to say that it performs wonderfully.  This companion tool gives the end user the ability to monitor the performance and manage your virtual machines.  By simply connecting with your iPad, you can stop, start and suspend your virtual machines in real time.   In the event that an issue has occurred, you can enable maintenance mode and use the built-in ping and traceroute tools.  Note, that this tool is only compatible with vSphere and vCenter Server 4 or higher.











Linux Command Reference
For those of us who are not experts in Linux Command line or occasionally forget a command, Linux Command Reference provides two versions of their simple and easy to use Linux Command-line reference guide.  With the free version, you can view various commands in categories like file permissions, installations, commands and network.  Once you select your category you then see a list of the corresponding commands.  With the $.99 paid version, you are going to get a few more bells and whistles.  For example, you get a more robust search function that allows you to just enter in a few letters and you will get the corresponding commands.

Server Monitor
Something that everybody needs is a solid tool to monitor their server.  With Server Monitor, you can get simple server or workstation monitoring and can connect with either Linux or Mac OS X machines. Simply access your machine with SSH and you can get information on your server including load averages, memory status and uptime.

If you decided to jailbreak your iPhone then you are aware that there are some great applications available to you that can give you some enhanced capabilities.  With OpenSSH, you are able to transfer files using Wi-Fi by utilizing SSH command-line.  You can achieve this several ways including using a client like Putty or through my preferred method of drag-and-drop using another client like WinSCP.






For a lot of our Microsoft Windows hosting customers, we recommend two different tools - iTap RDP and iRdesktop.   For the purposes of our article, we will focus on iRdesktop since it is a free tool whereas iTap is $11.99 in the iTunes store.  With iRdesktop, it gives you the ability to view and control your Windows machine using a device and includes features like mouse emulation, iPhone keyboard entry, unlimited connection entries and the ability to access your machine through Wi-Fi.













iCacti Server Monitor
This app was designed specifically to help Windows admins monitor their Windows servers.  The app connects to the Cacti tool and downloads the activity data directly to your device.  If you want to use this app, make sure to let your web hosting company know that you need console and graph-level permissions access.













Wyse PockeyCloud
Consistently listed as one of the top business applications, PocketCloud delivers an enhanced GUI with VNC Support for both Mac and Windows connections.   One of our favourite features is the auto discovery capability that makes connecting easier.  One other key feature of PocketCloud is that it is VMWare View certified and support Microsoft Terminal Services and Virtualization.

Tagged as: No Comments