Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News
7Nov/140

Time to go secure

Have you been working on your SEO and hoping to get your website to the top of the search engine?

Google is pushing for HTTPS

On August 6th, 2014, Google tested out using HTTPS as a Ranking Signal. They reported that their test showed positive results when they used encrypted connections as a signal in their ranking algorithm. HTTPS has since become a permanent search ranking signal on Google.

Google stated that the HTTPS is a very lightweight signal that only affects less than 1% of global queries and there has been no reports of ranking changes. So if two sites were the exact same, then the page using HTTPS may rank above the unsecured page. The boost will only be URL specific and not site-wide.

Watch Google’s video on why HTTPS matters: http://bit.ly/1tmM5z5

High quality content on a webpage will still outweigh the HTTPS signal but it looks like Google is pushing for the switch and hinting that the HTTPS signal will become a bigger part of their ranking algorithm in the future.

Even if you are a non-commercial website, it may be wise to switch to a secure server anyway. For one thing, a secure server guarantees that your content cannot be altered, e.g. have unexpected ads added. It also allows your website to look more authentic, an important factor if the content on your website is intended to provide advice, e.g. financial or medical information.

Google may be pushing for HTTPS so that it helps identify site ownership and therefore eliminate spam. It could also be potentially harder for NSA to track the content users are consuming if we browse HTTPS sites.

Migration nightmare?

No, migration to HTTPS doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s relatively easy to purchase the Security Certificate from your web hosting company. But sometimes you may experience a 301 error code, which means the redirect from your HTTP domain to your HTTPS is corrupted. This happens when there is a potential for duplicated content and several other technical issues during transition.

To avoid potential problems during migration, site owners should avoid redirect chains, similar to this one:

  1. I click on your website at http://iloveyoyos.com
  2. You redirect me to http://www.iloveyoyos.com
  3. Then you redirect me to https://www.iloveyoyos.com

If you’re building a new site, changing domain names or making a change to your URL structure (e.g. platform changes) then you won’t be experiencing the redirect issues.

It is estimated that we have two years to move to HTTPS before a non-secured website becomes a critical SEO problem. So you can take your time, but we are starting to see warnings generated on websites that tell visitors they are connecting onto a non-secured website:

Example of website warning/Canadian Web Hosting

So for a low annual sum, it may really be worth it to make the move now and avoid these privacy warnings that kill site traffic.

The different kinds of security certificates

These are the different types of secured/non-secured URLs you will come across:

On Google Chrome:

Non-Secured Connection

DV/OV Certificate Valid

EV Certificate Valid

DV/OV Certificate Error (cert invalid)

DV/OV Certificate Error (mixed content)

 

So which one should we choose for our website?

Google won’t factor in the different kinds of certificates into site rankings at this time, but they do affect user trust and conversion rates, so it is good to understand how to choose from the variety of security certificates available.

- Shared Certificates are commonly offered by web hosts. You use their certificate but the security certificate isn’t connected to your domain name. www.iloveyoyos.com will contain your non-secure content while your shopping cart will go on www.iloveyoyos.cartprovider.com. This is less costly but takes away from your brand name and user confidence.

- Free Certificates are sometimes used for personal websites or forums. Companies may offer these free security certificates for specific reasons, e.g. if you are part of qualified Open Source project. These certificates will not be valid for businesses but may be applicable for non-profit projects.

- Domain Validated (DV) Certificates are the most common SSL certificates. It is often used by small businesses and covers a single subdomain, e.g. www.iloveyoyos.com but not iloveyoyos.com. Users to this website will see a security icon by the domain.

- An Organization Validated (OV) Certificate requires both the organization and the domain registry to verify information. The OV certificate will check to make sure the business is legitimate and is therefore more expensive to get than the DV certificate. Users can only tell the difference between the two if they click the padlock icon.

- The Extended Validation (EV) Certificate is the most expensive and hard to get SSL certificate. It requires a business to include domain ownership and organization information, as well as show legal existence in their organization. The EV Certificate takes more time to process and are more expensive. Users of EV certified websites will see a green bar on their browser and likely be more confident in their shopping experience.

Hopefully by now you have learned more about security on websites and how to improve your business online.

Still confused or need help with getting a SSL certificate? Contact Canadian Web Hosting today by emailing sales@canadianwebhosting.com.

 

Sheila W.
@CAWebHosting
@CWHUpdates

18Sep/130

Getting Started with Shared Hosting

Shared hosting: Linux or Windows?

One of the most frequent topics that any web hosting encounters are questions related to getting started.  Things like what resources do I require? Will my website be growing soon? What kind of support is there from the web host? Working with a host like Canadian Web Hosting will go a long ways in helping you get your business or website online, but before that there are some basic questions that need to be answered before you take the next step.

The first question you should ask is what language will your website be coded in?

If you require the site to be coded in ASP.NET, or want access to MS SQL databases, MVC, or IIS then you will need to setup a Windows web-hosting plan.  If on the other hand you were looking for applications like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Tomcat, MySQL or PHP then you would want sign up for a Linux-based web-hosting plan.  In looking at the alternatives, there are hundreds of applications and other types of CMS’ designed to improve your web building experience.  To help simplify your setup, you should also look for auto installation scripts or for tools like Softaculous that come with prebuilt applications that e deliver single-click installations.  Every Canadian Web Hosting shared hosting plan includes easy one-click installation for more than 200 different applications and CMS tools.  Determining if you require a CMS and which one will align with your needs is essential to moving forward with your website.

cPanel Control Panel

For Linux based clients, Canadian Web Hosting includes the industry leading cPanel control panel on all Linux-based shared hosting servers to allow easy management of accounts.   Users of cPanel have access to a user-friendly interface that facilitates management of emails, databases, website files and much more. This control panel gives the end user the ability to manage their account without requiring knowledge of server management scripting.  It also provides advanced tools for more advanced web hosts including tools specifically for website statistics, marketing, SEO and so much more.

Plesk Control Panel

Windows based web hosting clients with Canadian Web Hosting utilize a different control called Plesk from Parallels.  Plesk is a control panel designed the end user in mind and delivers many leading features for Windows-based web hosting. Users are able to manage their websites, emails, domains and more.  Additionally, Plesk delivers support for open source and commercial applications including support for Open-Xchange and APS Mail Aspect.  Being able to login and make changes with the click of a button is what gives our clients an advantage when using Plesk.

Next steps

For clients who are new to web hosting or are having a difficult time getting set up, Canadian Web Hosting delivers 24/7 support and we also have comprehensive tutorial pages to assist in getting more familiar with their web hosting account. The tutorials cover everything from setting up emails for your Apple devices to creating private name servers. Visit the FAQ page or our newly updated Google+ page for the latest videos including our cPanel and Plesk video guides.

In addition to our tutorials page, you can always reach us at sales@canadianwebhosting.com.

6Dec/120

Canadian Web Hosting Holiday Promotion: 20% off Your Next VPS

The holiday season is upon us and while you're thinking about your holiday shopping, we're here to add to your holiday spirit by sharing a great deal with you. Canadian Web Hosting is proud to announce that for a very limited time, every new Virtual Private Server (VPS) comes with an exclusive 20% discount and delivers the best of the cloud at a small business price. You get immediate access to enterprise-grade virtual environments that support any small or large web hosting requirement that you have. You can create Windows or Linux servers, utilize Rapid Deployment services, meet stringent compliance and security requirements, get root access and so much more. With Canadian Web Hosting’s proven expertise and partner certifications with Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xenserver and VMware, you now get get the uptime you need without the cost.

Below are some additional benefits that you will receive:

• 50 to 70% savings when compared to other cloud solutions
• Robust security with a hypervisor layer that insulates your environment
• Industry best Dell hardware with the fastest servers available
• Enterprise grade firewalls that delivers fully managed protection
• 24/7 server monitoring and support
• Greater than 99.99% uptime ensures that your site is online
• SSAE 16 Type II SOC 1 Certification
• Safe Harbor Compliant

Learn more about our Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
Read more about our Virtual Private server Capabilities

If you're looking for additional information or answers, you may email us at sales@canadianwebhosting.com, call us at 1-877-871-7888, or contact us through social media on Twitter at @cawebhosting or through our Facebook Page. You may also leave us a comment below. Now, don't wait and grab your holiday VPS deal today!

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

8Nov/110

Windows Hosting vs. Linux Hosting

One of the most confusing decisions for someone new to web hosting is to decide which platform their server should be on.  For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the main two - Linux and Windows.

As a starter, both Windows and Linux have passionate followers who will tell you that their product is unparalleled and much better than the competition. Both types of hosting have their positives and negatives, and from an end-user standpoint, you should always be focused on what your site or server requirements are rather than your “predetermined” choice for a platform.  More often than not, what you are trying to achieve will usually dictate what type of platform you use. For example, are you just hosting a blog, implementing a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, concerned about stability and uptime, have specific application requirements or have high uptime requirements?   Knowing this, the best thing you can do is talk over your requirements with your hosting company and have them break down what the best solution ought to be for your purposes.

Linux Hosting

There are several key advantages that typically drive customers to Linux.

1) Since it is open source, it can be modified or improved, and then distributed to the public.

2) Linux allows you to use other open-source technologies, such as database applications or scripting software. For example, one of the most popular database applications developers use is MySQL. When it comes to scripting applications, a lot of developers use PHP, to build dynamic websites or extract data from a MySQL database.  In addition, features like Clustering are built in to MySQL, whereas Microsoft’s MS SQL will cost you $1000’s of dollars for the same features.

3) Usually it’s “free.”  More often than not, the distribution (like CentOS) is developed in the community and offered for any user who wants it for free.  This can be a great incentive from a cost perspective especially if you are rolling out multiple servers.

4) The notion that Linux is stable and secure.

When looking at Linux hosting, an acronym that you are likely to encounter when it comes to Linux hosting is LAMP that is defined on Wikipedia as, “a solution stack of free, open source software, originally coined from the first letters of the principal components used to build viable general purpose web servers.”

L=Linux

A=Apache, the web server that sends the web pages to your visitors browser

M: MySQL, the database application

P: PHP, Python or Perl

Linux was created based on the GNU General Public License. As previously stated, Linux can be modified or improved. Anybody can access software based on the GNU General Public License. As a result, there are various distributions of Linux, including Red Hat, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS or SUSE Linux to a name a few.

Today, Linux is a significant presence in the hosting industry and is becoming increasingly adopted by large entities and corporations. Corporations such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM are using this operating system and are working to create and deploy eco-systems built on these technologies.

Windows Hosting

If you want to stick with Windows, choose Windows hosting for building and publishing your website. For those of you who need to design dynamic websites, Microsoft offers two scripting languages:  Active Server Pages (ASP or ASP.net). Use ASP.NET to build and deploy dynamic web services, web applications, or websites.

Microsoft also has another solution called Microsoft.NET. You can use Microsoft.NET to not only create and host webpages, but to create advanced Web applications and XML services. Windows hosting also works with ColdFusion, another scripting language, created by Adobe Systems.

IIS (Internet Information Server) is the foundation for Windows hosting, while Microsoft Windows NT or Advanced Server is the operating system.  Windows Server Web Edition is designed specifically for Windows web hosting and web serving. IIS is what enables developers to create web pages with ASP or ASP.NET as well as other languages, such as Perl or ColdFusion. With a combination of IIS and ASP, developers can integrate COM objects and data access into their Web applications. They can also use ASP to manipulate MS Access and SQL Server.

With Windows Server 2008, Microsoft developed a single solution for both application developers and Internet service providers.  If you're looking to create an e-commerce website, you'll want to take advantage of Windows Server 2008 Web Edition's business solutions. These include security improvements, virtualization tools, and Web resources. These business tools are not only designed to improve reliability, but to help you save money and time. Other significant functions that Windows hosting supports include databases, Web statistics, email or Web mail, FTP accounts, and others.

Which Hosting Plan is Better?

Your choice of server platforms should be dictated by the use to which you intend to put it. The majority of web features run fine on both platforms including PHP, MySQL, POP3 etc.  However, if you intend to create your site using ASP, FrontPage, the .NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MS SQL, or any of the other Microsoft proprietary technologies, then you probably need to use a Windows host. On the other hand, Linux servers tend to use file extension like *.html *.pl, *.xml, *.shtml, *.php.  It is probably worth considering the fact that if you use server specific technologies and then change hosts, you'll have a much harder time than if you use technologies that can run on any system. Having it run generic technologies removes the need to focus on specifics and allows you to focus on the quality of service itself.

The reliability and stability of the different platforms have been the topic of many conversations.  Stating the obvious, the main reason that Windows is “seen” as being insecure is that it is the most widely used operating system for home PC's. People spend more time looking for flaws in the most common system. With Linux being the most common server type, it has a surprising number of successful hack attempts made on it. In the end, the security of both platforms comes down to the competency of the system administrators. If you are security minded then you'll make sure that the hosting company is reputable and highly skilled than to worry about the server they use.

Linux and Windows both allow customers to access the server. With both services, you can access your files through FTP (file transfer protocol).  Users typically access Windows using RDP where as Linux hosting differs in that it provides Telnet or SSH access. There are few Windows hosting services that offer this feature, but it's more common to see it with Linux hosting services. Telnet or SSH allows you to directly open a session while you're on the Web server. As a result, you can use Unix command lines to control and change your files while you're in this session.  However for the novice user, I would not recommend this as the preferred method for accessing your server.

Linux supports CGI (Common Gateway Interface). CGI enables Web servers to dynamically interact with users. A CGI script is a file that consists of a series of commands that the Unix shell executes. Other scripts you can access through CGI are Perl scripts. You'll likely find most Linux hosting services providing Perl scripting.

Customers choose Linux hosting over Windows hosting because they believe they have more options. Microsoft aims to change this way of thinking. Windows Server 2008 Web Edition enables businesses to virtualize various operating systems, including Linux and Fedora. As a result, data centres can quickly adapt to businesses' changing needs. Another solution Windows Server 2008 Web Edition offers is that businesses can successfully deploy applications without having to use a VPN (virtual private network). Other technology features Windows Server 2008 Web Edition offers are Windows Deployment Services, Power Shell, and Server Core. These are designed to give Windows hosting versatility and dependability.

Another criticism that Microsoft faces from customers is security bugs. As previously stated, customers choose Linux web hosting services because they're known for being secure. However, Microsoft has beefed up its security functions in Windows Server 2008 Web Edition. It has three features: Read-Only Domain Controller, Network Access Protection, and Federated Rights Management that are designed to protect your data and network. These are important tools to have when a Windows hosting company is experiencing intrusion or failure with user accounts, networks or data. Windows Server 2008 Web Edition will protect them.

If you're looking for customers to interact with on your website, you should consider Windows hosting. For example, you can easily deploy online chat services. These function much better on Windows hosting platforms than on Linux hosting platforms. Customers can easily access your databases, view, and purchase your products or services. Consider using Windows hosting if you have little or no webmaster experience. Linux hosting can be more challenging if you have little experience.

If you're looking to convert your website from Linux hosting to Windows hosting, the transition should be smooth. On the other hand, you can experience challenges if you're trying to convert your website from Windows hosting to Linux hosting. This is one thing you must take into consideration when choosing a hosting service.

Hopefully, reading this article has equipped you with knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of Linux hosting versus Windows hosting. Developers on both sides feel passionately that their product can solve your needs. They're working continuously to come up with more robust features.

In terms of performance, there's not a huge difference between the two servers. Linux reportedly performs faster because Windows (as usual) attempts to offer an 'all in one' package instead of the extendable Linux implementation. You'll generally not notice a difference but if performance is of utmost importance to you then maybe this will influence your decision.

Advantages of Windows Server Hosting
  • As .NET is a software framework by Microsoft, Windows server hosting supports it.
  • The ASP technology can be conveniently used with Windows hosting.
  • Windows server hosting lets you use the web development tools by Microsoft such as Visual Interdev and Microsoft FrontPage.
  • This hosting offers support for Visual Basic, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft SQL.
  • You can use Microsoft Office services in this type of hosting.
Advantages of Linux Server Hosting
  • Since Linux software are open source and come free of cost, you save a considerable amount of money that you would have otherwise spent in acquiring software.
  • Linux server hosting supports PHP, MySQL, and Perl.
  • This hosting offers support for mSQL, MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.
  • Linux hosting is considered more secure that Windows hosting.
  • Overall cost of Linux web hosting is less than Windows hosting.

Windows hosting wins over Linux hosting in terms of the advanced features it offers whereas Linux hosting offers a more cost-effective solution. It is easier to move a website hosted on the Linux server to the Windows server than doing it the other way. The choice of web hosting depends completely on what a website needs.

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting