Your Focus: Application Development - Our Focus: Your Success

150315---AppDev At Intrahost we know the importance of pace, reliability, flexibility and security to application developers.

That’s why we’ve built our services with you in mind. Let us help manage your infrastructure so you can focus on what’s important to you - developing applications.

We can help customise your development and test environments to suit your needs - from dedicated servers to virtual or cloud servers – or even a hybrid of all. With our portfolio of hosting options, you can start small, with a ‘pay-as-you-use’ development and test environments, then move into production when you’re ready, and expand as you need to.

Requirements on testing environments are volatile, with frequent short-term, unplanned resource requests. An intrahost solution enables developers to reduce or eliminate underutilised capacity and equipment and supports all software development phases, including unit test, systems test, and scalability testing to increase responsiveness in responding to development and test environment requests from your customers.

We use a network of data centres around the UK that are ISO27001 accredited and securely monitored and manned 24x7. We use only premium, branded hardware such as Cisco, HP and Dell. This ensures the reliability and performance of your servers. All our cloud servers run on physical servers that are fitted as standard with dual power supplies, connected to independent power sources (separate UPS and generators).

Our network is highly resilient with multiple levels of redundancy. In the unlikely event of either a hardware or network failure your cloud server will seamlessly route through an alternative network. We are fanatical about network performance and our set-up means that we can offer an incredible 99.99% uptime guarantee.

We also offer 24x7 Fast and Friendly Support, plus services to help you migrate, architect, build, and manage your environment.

If you need failover and replication of your environment and secure backups of all your data, we have all the expertise you need.

Whilst you can buy many of our services online, we would recommend a free consultation with one of our team over the phone so that we can truly understand your requirements and help you to build a bespoke solution that will meet your needs exactly.

Call us today on 0800 321 3812 for your free consultation or to ask any questions you may have.

How good is Plesk as a control panel?

150315---Plesk Both cPanel and Plesk are popular choices as server control panels. Opinions are divided on which one is better. For the uninitiated, Parallels Plesk Panel is what is commonly referred to as Plesk. Plesk has a number of main benefits:

  • It is extremely easy to use. It has a very clean interface.
  • It is considered highly stable control panel as compared to its peers.
  • It offers support for multiple platforms including the Windows and the Linux platforms.
  • It uses the HTTPS protocol and offers a high level of security.
  • It provides automation at various levels.
  • It lets you move accounts from other control panels conveniently.

Looking at the above-mentioned benefits, one could say that Plesk is an ideal choice for a control panel. We would say it is a matter of convenience and choice. What one may like, another may not. There is another reason, however, that makes Plesk popular. It is said that Plesk makes all types of users comfortable. You don’t need to be a technical expert to work with this control panel. So, it is as good to the server administrator as it to the non-technical end-user.

Plesk navigation and capabilities

The Plesk Control Panel boasts an easy-to-navigate web hosting automation interface. Navigating through its multiple sections has been facilitated to the maximum, so that you could quickly find the functionality you need at any given moment. The Control Panel memorises all most commonly used functionalities and brings them to you anytime you access its interface. As far as the management process is concerned, Plesk offers numerous features for efficient administration of the available hosting resources. Some of the most noteworthy administrative options include an auto-update mechanism and an auto-component updater, a migration manager, as well as a web-based installation for quick deployment. With those administrative features Plesk users will be able to handle all the necessary updates automatically. Apart from the functional side of Plesk, you will have the opportunity to customise the layout of your working environment by selecting from a variety of additional skins, or by creating your own fully branded skins through a web-based interface. Plesk is the only control panel with native support for Windows Server 2008 and Server 2012, which is definitely a unique selling point and for customers of intrahost is probably the main reason for choosing Plesk over cPanel.

If you have any questions or would like further information on Plesk visit our website or call us on 0800 321 3812

Support for Windows Server 2003 ending!

150315---Windows2003End Microsoft has announced that it is discontinuing it's regular support and updates for Server 2003 is ending on 14th July 2015.

How might this effect me, you might ask? Well if you are still running Microsoft Server 2003, you'll need to take some steps to migrate to another solution ASAP. If you've already done that, then fantastic!

This discontinuation of service actually gives you the opportunity to push more dynamic and cheaper cloud based solutions to your clients, to replace the old software.

If you need any support with doing this, contact us today!

CPanel - Opencart

150120---OpenCart Many of our customers at intrahost use the cPanel Control Panel to manage their online presence. In this series of posts we thought we’d share some of the most popular applications that people can access free through the Softaculous Auto Installer on cPanel.

OpenCart is an open source eShopping cart that is completely free to download and use. That said, you’ll likely want to budget in the cost of buying extensions and paying a credit card processor. Unless you’re comfortable working with a level of code you may need to hire a developer to help you launch.

Product Features:

OpenCart comes out of the box with usable, merchant-minded basics instead of a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. You can upload unlimited categories and products (be sure you choose a hosting package that allows for ample bandwidth and storage or you may get charged with overage fees when you exceed monthly limits.)

OpenCart includes space to insert keywords, metadata, and site maps to aid with SEO and plugins are available to download. Several postal providers are built into the software and shipping weight and flat rate calculation tools are offered. Other highlights include multi-store support, solid international options, discount coupons and the ability to include product ratings and reviews.

Web Design:

OpenCart’s default frontend template has eye-pleasing fonts and intuitive page navigation that should work well for users who are just starting out or are selling products that don’t necessarily require a hyped-up theme. If you decide to install a different skin you’ll find more than 2,000 options available to buy.

Although the built-in reporting tools are helpful, you can integrate Google Analytics in the admin panel in order to view more in-depth metrics.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

OpenCart offers a whole range of extensions. The basic software arrives feature-light but does include Google Analytics, Facebook, and Twitter integrations, which means your store can start off lean with room to add the functionality you want. The OpenBay Pro extension can integrate your store with Amazon, play.com, and eBay. You should be able to find most if not all of the other extras you want via third-party vendors, including accounting, shipping, and SEO add-ons.

Plug-in examples include:

  • Amazon Payments - Integrates with the payment processor.
  • Social Media Bundle - Allows customers to login to your store via Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram.
  • SEO Pack Pro - Contains several tools to optimise your shop.
  • Quickbooks Integration - Connects your admin to the popular accounting software.

Payment Processing:

In order to accept credit card sales you’ll need to open a merchant account. OpenCart integrates with most major payment processors, including PayPal (and PayPal Express Checkout). In addition 700+ gateways are available via the extension directory. You can also process cash orders and offer discounts from the admin panel. Multiple currencies are supported as well.

We hope you found this useful. If you have any questions or would like further information on how your business can benefit hosting with intrahost...

...please visit our website intrashost.co.uk or call us today on 0800 321 3812.

The A to Z of Hosting - Part 1

150120---AtoZofHosting Choosing the right hosting provider can be a minefield so we thought we’d produced this A to Z to help you decide on which hosting provider is right for you. We’d love you to become an intrahost customer and hopefully within this article we can prove to you that we have all the bases covered.

A – Accreditation

Our data centres are accredited with ISO27001, the international standard for Information Security Management, which assures customers of the physical and logical security of our hosting facilities. They are also accredited with ISO14001, the international standard for Environmental Management, which allows us to control the impact of our operations and facilities on the environment.

B – Backups

Intrahost offer free backups as standard for customers buying Cloud and VMware Servers and as an optional extra on our dedicated servers. Web Hosting customers can backup easily via their control panel free of charge!

C – Cloud Servers

Cloud server hosting enables you to enjoy all the benefits of a dedicated server while reducing your monthly overheads. With a cloud server you share the expense of acquiring the server hardware and network connections and to eliminate the difficulty and cost of maintaining them.

Cloud server customers share the same hardware node, or physical host computer, they do not have access to each other’s hardware resources (RAM, CPU and disk storage). In other words the cloud server has its own operating system, dedicated application software and complete directory structure. You can restart the cloud server without it affecting any other virtual machines which share the same physical host server.

D – Dedicated Servers

A dedicated server is a physical network-grade computer optimised to 'serve' web pages, database queries, etc. to end-users. Intrahost dedicated servers are mounted in a tall rack/cabinet in one of our four data centres.

Dedicated servers still have a place alongside cloud options It also gives you the best value for money for the resources that you receive and we can customise the hardware to meet your exact requirements.

You can either use a dedicated server as a stand alone box, combine a cluster to create a highly-secure private cloud or add them on to your cloud package and create a hybrid system with the best of both worlds.

E – Ecommerce

According to the Aberdeen Group, page load delays can cost an ecommerce website millions of pounds in sales per year. Host with intrahost and make sure your site loads quickly year-round—even during your busy seasons.

F – Fast and Friendly Support TM

Our infrastructure team can recommend and design your full hosting solution or build a system based on your exact specification. Our Fast & Friendly approach guarantees that you will always speak to an expert, UK based senior engineer who speaks in plain English. Our Investors in People Award testifies to our commitment to staff training and full involvement with company direction and management.

G – Guaranteed Service

At Intrahost we offer:

  • 99.99% Network Uptime Guarantee
  • 99.99% Server Uptime Guarantee
  • 99.99% SLA Guarantee

H – Hosted Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is an email server with calendar, contacts, tasks and notes functionality. Traditionally this software is run from a server within an office which can be very complicated and costly to maintain. Our hosted exchange service offers all the powerful features without any of the complicated set-up and maintenance.

Our exchange experts have configured our packages to include everything that you could possibly need from your exchange server.

Our Hosted exchange solutions offer:

  • Scalable (from 1 up to 1000’s of users)
  • No specialist knowledge required
  • Award Winning Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus solutions included
  • Uptime SLAs and guarantees
  • Instant ‘Push’ Mobile Technology
  • Outlook Web Access
  • Migration Service
  • Triple Hosted Mailbox

I – Industry Leading Hardware

The quality of the server hardware plays a silent but critical role in the loading speed and performance of your website. This means you should make sure the web hosting provider for your ecommerce site uses advanced and best quality hardware to power your website. If the hardware configuration is not mentioned on the site, you may have to check it out with their customer support to ensure this. Better server hardware will provide better navigation of the website without any kind of degradation of service. So, it is better to steer clear of those who use outdated hardware.

We use only premium, branded hardware. This ensures the reliability and performance of your servers.

J – Judge for yourself

If you’re thinking of moving to a new hosting provider, why not give us a try. Above all else, Intrahost provides a high quality service that you will be proud of. We are so confident about our services that we offer a full, no hassle 30 day money back guarantee on managed web hosting and cloud server hosting if you are not satisfied with the service provided.

K – Knowledgeable

Intrahost engineers are Microsoft, Citrix and VMware qualified and we have decades of hosting experience across the team. Our pre-sales team are trained to deal with your enquiries however complex and are on hand to advise you on the best solution for you or your customers.

L – Load Balancing

Your business's website, applications, and web-based workloads depend on high availability. Intrahost Cloud and VMware Load Balancers enable you to quickly balance the workload of multiple Cloud Servers for optimal traffic management and maximum failover protection. Load balancers distribute workloads across two or more servers, network links, and other resources to maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid network overload.

 Check back for Part 2 next month, or click here to look at our hosting packages!

David Vs. Goliath

141216---DavidVsGoliath How start-ups and small businesses can have the edge over enterprises through use of hosting solutions from intrahost.

Every day business headlines focus on large FTSE 100 and 250 companies, but as you probably already know, the true engine driving the UK economy is overwhelmingly small businesses. Thanks to technology small businesses had the capability to create a brand and compete – particularly online – on the same level as larger, more established companies.

As you build your company’s first website, or even more importantly, you’re planning a redesign and update of your existing site, your number one priority is designing a professional, polished look and feel. It may sound like common sense, but online, your website is your business. When potential customers visit your site, they will develop an opinion about your business – not based on the service or product that you actually provide – but based on the appearance of your website.

With common web tools, templates, or affordable website design services, your website can put you on the same level with your competitors – even competitors with much larger teams and experience.

First Impressions Count

So, how do you figure out the type of site you want or what your redesign should look like? First, you should check out the competitors in your field. But, be aware, their site may also be starting to show its age…don’t stop here. If you’re selling something online or creating an ecommerce site, check out the top ecommerce sites online – Amazon.co.uk, Asos.com, B&Q (diy.com) and many others. Again, there’s no reason that you can’t aspire to build a site that will look and feel just as big as some of those companies. You might be a small business, but with the web, you don’t have to “look” small.

Make notes about the things you like and dislike. And try to figure out what elements appeal to you about the sites that you really like. You don’t have to have a degree in visual design to figure out what looks professional and what doesn’t. As you finalise the design of your site, you should almost always err on a design that’s professional.

It’s absolutely fine to develop a unique, web personality for you and your business. But, as noted above, throughout the design process continually remind yourself that your website is the first impression that someone will have of your business – and what you’re selling.Finally, remember that despite the huge growth in high-speed internet connectivity, there are still potential customers signing on with a lower connection speeds. And, more and more people are surfing the web on mobile devices. If you’re tempted to add a resource intensive graphic or applications on your home page, keep in mind this could limit the potential customers that can view your site. For these potential customers that’s the equivalent of putting up a “Closed” sign on the front page.

With a little planning and research the possibilities of what your business can do online are endless. We love to see the innovative ways our small business customers have created their online brands.

At intrahost, we cater for businesses of all sizes and have a range of services suitable for all budgets and requirements. From the simplest content web-site to the most complex eCommerce site with large volumes of traffic we’re here to support you 24 x 7.

If you have any questions or would like further information on how your business can benefit from hosting with intrahost, please visit our website intrashost.co.uk or call us on 0800 321 3812.

Find out more information about our hosting here

Three reasons why your in-house servers could be putting your business at risk

141216----3reasons If you’re continuing to host your servers in-house, you could be putting your business’ future on the line. Why not spread the risk?

Do you have a plan for hardware failure?

Yes, you’ve invested significantly in the technology you’re using, and the environment you’re keeping it in, but with your application running over just one server – where’s your continuity plan? You may even have insurance to protect the hardware, but when the server blows up and your business systems go down – have you calculated the cost to your business in terms of day to day operations?

The truth is, you can only ensure business continuity if you have a failover system in place – and that means more than doubling an already large IT bill. Most businesses can’t afford that level of infrastructure which is precisely why buying in to a third party’s hosting network provides a much more reliable solution.

What happens in the event of disaster?

Hardware failure is one risk, but what about fire, flood or theft? As a business, you’re more than likely to have insurance to cover such events but again, think about the issue of continuity. Your insurance will pay up – eventually – but what happens in the meantime? With your server onsite and eliminated by the disaster, your business is off-line and off the radar for as long as it takes you to get up and running again. And you’ll be starting from scratch.

Outsourcing server hosting means all your data, processes and operating systems are stored remotely, meaning the whole backbone of your business is totally unaffected by any local disaster. In fact, you could be up and running again in just five minutes, via a laptop and wifi connection. Nothing gives your business a better Disaster Recovery solution than that.

How secure is your backup?

Backup is essential to protect from both hardware and software failures, infection or major disasters – but it needs to be a secure system that takes the back-up copies off site. Many small businesses just aren’t equipped to put in a safe enough system to ensure they’re not at risk.

Over half of businesses that lose data, never recover. If you’re backing up to disc – what if the discs are lost or corrupted?

If you’re using external hard drives – where are these being stored? Do you have members of staff taking backup drives or discs home with them for safekeeping? If they are stored in the office, you’re no safer in case of major disaster – yet if they leave the office at all, how secure are they during transportation?

New laws were passed recently in the UK putting any business – no matter how small – at risk of a £500,000 fine for data breaches. No business wants to find itself subject of unfavourable press coverage involving lost data.

Hosting your servers externally automatically moves your data offsite, in total security. What’s more, choose a good system and you’ll find data backup to a second off-site location is part of the hosting package. Not only can server hosting keep your business operating systems available, but some solutions will automatically back up data for you too. It means that pay-as-you-go price tag is doing two jobs for you.

We hope you found this useful. If you have any questions or would like further information on how your business can benefit hosting with intrahost, please visit our website intrahost.co.uk or call us today on 0800 321 3812.

What is cPanel and why do many web designers use it?

One of the factors most website designers look for when they are choosing their web hosting service is whether the hosting service comes with cPanel.

What is cPanel and why do people look for cPanel hosting providers?

cPanel is a web based hosting control panel provided by many hosting providers to website owners  or designers allowing them to manage their websites from a web based interface. This powerful application gives users a graphical interface from which they can control their portion of their server. The tools provided are designed to simplify running and controlling a website. It uses a tiered structure that allows different levels of access. Administrators and end users can control the different aspects of the server and the website directly through their browser.

cPanel

At Intrahost we offer a choice of cPanel or Plesk for Linux servers and Plesk for Windows and Linux servers.

cPanel allows you to manage your hosting service in an efficient and in the most user friendly way. Even someone that is not web savvy will be able to manage his or her hosting service with this control panel.

cPanel is one of the most widely used control panel in the world. Website hosting companies will not be subscribing to cPanel if it were not to be the best tool available in the industry. Website owners will be able to accomplish even the most complex hosting tasks with single click operation through cPanel.

cPanel users will be able to manage the entire website. They will be able to take back up of their entire site in single click, manage their files, set up FTP accounts, create email accounts, access website server statistics, set up and manage databases.

No other hosting control panel gives the users with such an elaborate hosting management solution. As you can manage your cPanel hosting all by yourself you will not be required to contact your hosting company too frequently for assistance. The entire cPanel hosting has been designed to help the users serve themselves.

Choose a reputable hosting company for your cPanel hosting requirements so that they will not only host your websites on secure and reliable servers but will also provide you with cPanel control panel with access to its full range of capability.

If you have any questions or would like further information on cPanel visit our website http://www.intrahost.co.uk/web-hosting/technical or call us on 0800 321 3812

Cloud Servers vs Dedicated Servers

Are you considering a move to the cloud? Presenting many benefits, cloud hosting seems an obvious choice for your hosting requirements. Sharing the resources of many servers, it offers a dynamic and highly scalable form of hosting that will grow with your business. However, there are many types of cloud and traditional dedicated hosting solutions available. Careful consideration should be given to each and every one. Both cloud and dedicated server hosting have unique features and benefits and the correct match between technology and business objectives is critical to gaining competitive edge.CloudServers

The cloud offers the ideal hosting solution for many businesses, offering high resilience and flexibility. For maximum performance, a dedicated server is still the most suitable option, safeguarding and improving your business's online presence.

Many see cloud hosting as a cheaper alternative to dedicated servers, however, this depends upon the requirements of your business.

Your business can also achieve benefits from both hosting solutions, by combining cloud and dedicated servers to create a bespoke hybrid solution.

Whether you choose public or private cloud, dedicated servers or a hybrid hosting solution, you can rest assured that with us you will benefit from increased performance, speed and support. We take time to understand your needs and can help you through the buying process. Alternatively if you know what you want, simply place your order online via our simple purchase process and we’ll get you up and running in no time!

We would recommend Dedicated Servers if:

  • You need a lot of disk storage (dedicated server storage is cheaper than cloud server & web server storage)
  • You need a lot of CPU/Processor power (dedicated server processor power is cheaper than cloud server & web server CPU cores)
  • You don't need high-availability (if the motherboard fails in your server, it may take several hours to replace the motherboard or transfer your data to a new server)

We would recommend Cloud Servers if:

  • You need to deploy your website quickly
  • You need to be able to restore from backups quickly
  • You need backups included for free
  • You need minimum downtime for memory and storage upgrades
  • You need to be able to reboot through a control panel
  • You need to be able to re-image your server through a control panel
  • You require server and disk resilience (if a server or disk or even an entire SAN fails on our cloud platform, your website will still continue to run)
  • You do not require lots of disk storage, memory or CPU (resources on a cloud platform tend to be more costly than with a dedicated server)

Whatever your requirements, no matter how complex, we can provide an ideal hosting infrastructure to meet them. With 24x7 monitoring and support as well as ISO27001 compliant data centres you can sleep easy when using intrahost.

Call us today on 0800 321 3812 to see how easy and cost-effective it would be to migrate your current hosting infrastructure to intrahost!

>>> Find out more about out Cloud Servers HERE

Sell Web Hosting Without the Hassle

Intrahost has recently introduced a partner scheme ‘friends of Intrahost’ designed for those who want to earn extra revenue and have customers looking for hosting services. This is a great opportunity to add an additional revenue stream without the hassle of maintaining their own servers. The web hosting business is a competitive one and it can be difficult for digital agencies to recommend services to their clients if the company doesn’t itself use a host. There are so many on offer at wildly varying prices that, for the layman especially, it can be an incredibly difficult choice.

Cheap hosting is rarely useful for businesses who are looking to have a reliable web presence, but many try to cut costs by choosing them. As a digital provider, you’re in the position of being able to influence that decision and point customers the way of a business-grade, and reliable, service.

Why Sell Hosting?

These days there can often be many companies dealing with a firm’s website in one way or another. You may sell digital content for example, or SEO services, but have little say in the servers that the company’s site actually lives on. This in turn can affect the services you provide. For example, if you’re selling SEO services and the hosting company servers perform poorly, then this will affect the bottom line – profits.

A study carried out by Kissmetrics found that most people leave a site that’s not loaded in 30 seconds and this is worsened if the user is viewing the site via a mobile device. Since we’re rapidly moving forward as a race that’s rather addicted to all things mobile, in order to compete a company must then ensure that the site loads quickly.

Likewise, an unreliable hosting service can mean that a customer arriving at a site that goes down once a week is unlikely to have much faith in that site and the company behind it.

So if you’re a:

  • Web designer
  • Marketing agency
  • Digital services agency
  • IT consultancy

Then get in touch to see what services you can offer to your customers through Intrahost. Take a look around the site first and you will see that all of our current customers are more than happy with the service that we provide.

Types of Hosting Available

We offer a range of hosting packages suitable for small sites on a shared server, to large ecommerce sites on a dedicated server and everything in between. Of course, we also offer cloud hosting and VMWare hosting too, as well as Hosted Exchange for those who want a decent and reliable email service.

Our UK data centres are open 24/7 and is backed up by fast and friendly support for those times when your customers need that little bit extra help. Intrahost are pleased to be able to boast 99.99% uptime and for those businesses that need more, we also offer bespoke hosting services, ensuring that you can offer your customers the complete service whatever their needs.

In the Business of Digital

As the number of digital agencies in the UK increase rapidly to meet demand, it’s now important for these businesses to offer a more integrated solution that can meet all of the needs of its clients.

digital agency surveyAccording to a benchmark study carried out last year, more than half of all digital agencies in the UK now offer the full range of digital services. For the most part, many of these services surrounded marketing and all of its accompanying services such as social media management and SEO. However, the agency that can also offer web hosting is one that will have an additional string to its bow that provides better value for clients.

When it comes to SEO services, including PPC, it’s a discipline that’s rapidly evolving. Many of the techniques that it used to be perfectly acceptable to use no longer are, thanks to the search god that is Google. This has meant for many agencies that they’ve had to seriously rethink their business and what they offer.

What better thing to offer then is there than a service that’s completely managed for you and all you have to do is put forward a recommendation and then sit back and wait for the commission to come in?

In business, especially when it’s concerned with the web, the company that offers a rounded package will be the winner, so why not get in touch to discuss our partner program today and see what we can do to help make your company one that offers an integrated package.

Why buy a .uk domain?

This will probably be my shortest post yet, as it needs no major explanation. These are the reasons why I think people and businesses in the UK should buy a .uk domain. 1. To protect your business brand from competitors that would register it first.

2. Short domain names are better - cooler branding. fred.uk is more appealing than fred.co.uk

3. Shorter domains are less likely to be mistyped.

Any unique ‘example.uk’ domain name (e.g. one that does not have an equivalent name already registered as a .co.uk or a .org.uk) will be available on a first come, first served basis from launch.
Check who has rights to a .uk domain here... http://www.dotuklaunch.uk/im-existing-customer

If you haven't already, grab your new .uk domain now!

order-uk-domain

2 directors. 1 brolly.

Two of our directors. One (the mean one) stays in his car to avoid the rain. The other (the kind one) rescues him by offering his brolly. Watch what happens next!!!

Quick Guide to Choosing a Web Host

choosing a web hostChoosing a web host can be a difficult decision for those not overly familiar with the technical aspects that are involved, not least because of the sheer volume on offer. Web hosting packages tend to vary quite wildly too on the surface of things, when it comes to price, making the choice even more confusing. With that in mind, here’s Intrahost’s quick guide to choosing a host to help you to make a decision quickly. We also sell web hosting, so this will be a completely unbiased guide. ;-)

How Low Should You Go?

Price is of course at the top of most people’s priority list, we all want to save money. However, be very wary of choosing the lowest priced hosts as often, this is reflected in the service, no matter what uptime the hosting company may claim.

Recently, a Twitter follower suggested to me that I should move my web hosting to a company that’s free. I politely declined. Free services are great if you’ve got a hobby site, but they’re never a business solution and neither are many of the services that charge around £0.99 – 1.99 per month. For business, you need a service that’s secure and reliable and in my experience, the really cheap end of the market is neither.

However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t shop around, but you should be aware of what you need and always choose a business grade package for company websites.

Ups and Downs of Web Hosts

Many companies claim to have an up time of 99% or more and to be fair, most do. Again, companies that offer a lot for very little appear to have the worst outages. Have a look around and make sure that you read testimonials from existing customers before committing.

Ask if the web host:

  • Guarantees the uptime
  • Offers a Service Level Agreement
  • Bases its offers on a long-term or monthly contract

If you’re covered by a guaranteed uptime then you can be fairly certain that the company has a stable network that doesn’t experience many outages. Likewise, if you’re not tied to a long-term contract, then you can switch in the event of any problems without too much trouble.

Security Matters

Security is increasingly important to your website and absolutely vital if you accept credit card payments on your site. With this in mind, ask what security measures are in place at the data centre where the servers are stored. You should go for a host that chooses high-end hardware and software solutions, as well as physical security at the data centre premises.

Bang for your Buck

Pricing is important but so is what you get for your money and you should pay attention to this when checking out one package against another. The features that you need will depend on what kind of website you have, including:

  • If you need more than one site – some of the cheaper sites offer unlimited sites for as little as £1.99, but are generally not worth it in terms of outages and support
  • Email – how many mailboxes does the host allow
  • How much storage is allocated – will it be enough to host your site once you have a blog uploaded with lots of images and video, for example
  • How many databases are you given
  • How much CPU/memory are you allocated and what happens if you use more? Many hosts don’t allow you to go over your allocated resources but some will bill you. Others might have a service where each user isn’t measured and you could then find yourself sharing the server with a resource hog, which will slow your site

If you have a large site, then shared web hosting is probably not for you, as the resources won’t be enough. Likewise, if you have an ecommerce site then it’s a better, more secure bet to invest in a dedicated server where you are not sharing space and resources with other sites.

Pay attention to whether the host offers SSL certificates too, some people choose their hosting and when it comes to the certificates, find that they have to pay for an upgrade before they can get them.

Is Web Hosting Support Good Enough?

Choosing a host which is located in the same country as you is the best bet when it comes to support, as although most hosts claim to offer 24/7 support, this is often not the case. If your site goes down in the middle of the day, or you have some other problem and your host is located on the other side of the world, there’s not much you can do if nobody’s answering the phone.

I’ve had many different experiences when it comes to support and again, the bargain basement hosts are the ones to avoid. I’ve waited days for support, or even had my questions on an issue that the hosting company didn’t have an answer for completely ignored. This is clearly unacceptable and of course, this is a problem I’m citing from the past, but it is something that you will come up against if you choose a host that doesn’t really do business grade hosting.

Again, look for testimonials when you’re checking out web hosts online and check out forum posts too. A company with a bad reputation will easily be found, there’s nothing people that who have had a bad experience online like doing more than letting the rest of us know.

Choosing a web host isn’t particularly difficult, it’s really just the sheer amount of hosting companies that are around that muddy the waters. However, follow these tips and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

It’s a competitive market and hosts don’t tend to vary wildly on price if it’s a professional service, but do be aware that free doesn’t always equal good and if something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is.

We did say that we do web hosting, didn't we? :-)

Image: Spiceworks (CC)

We're hiring!

Interested in joining an experienced team of hosting pros? We're expanding our team. Customer and Technical Support Engineer

Download job spec

Intrahost have an exciting new opportunity for a Customer & Technical Support Engineer to work across our Intrahost and GoCloud brands supporting our national business and partner customers across a range of hosting services.

This role is ideally suited to a friendly and pro-active person with good analytical, technical and problem solving skills with a customer and delivery focused attitude.

They need to work well within a team and excel in providing exceptional customer service. Previous technical support experience would be preferable.

We offer a competitive salary with an exciting range of benefits, and due to the nature of the role there are many opportunities to develop and widen your technical skills.

Occasional UK travel and out of hours working will be required.

Location: Hull

If you would like to enquire about careers at Intrahost please email your CV to: 

careers [at] intrahost.co.uk

Warning: CryptoLocker virus

We thought we should alert you about a trojan virus which is spreading rapidly. Essentially it encrypts your data and the only current fix is to restore from a previous backup or pay a ransom fee of $100 or $300 (there are two known variants that we are aware of), at which point your data is decrypted.So far, we are aware of cases where it has encrypted Google docs and file server documents, including those with these file extensions:

*.odt, *.ods, *.odp, *.odm, *.odc, *.odb, *.doc, *.docx, *.docm, *.wps, *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlsm, *.xlsb, *.xlk, *.ppt, *.pptx, *.pptm, *.mdb, *.accdb, *.pst, *.dwg, *.dxf, *.dxg, *.wpd, *.rtf, *.wb2, *.mdf, *.dbf, *.psd, *.pdd, *.eps, *.ai, *.indd, *.cdr, ????????.jpg, ????????.jpe, img_*.jpg, *.dng, *.3fr, *.arw, *.srf, *.sr2, *.bay, *.crw, *.cr2, *.dcr, *.kdc, *.erf, *.mef, *.mrw, *.nef, *.nrw, *.orf, *.raf, *.raw, *.rwl, *.rw2, *.r3d, *.ptx, *.pef, *.srw, *.x3f, *.der, *.cer, *.crt, *.pem, *.pfx, *.p12, *.p7b, *.p7c

We advise all our customers to be extra vigilant when opening email attachments, files from social networks and unknown or unexpected sources. Also, please ensure you have good backups of your data.

Earn extra revenue: become an Intrahost Affiliate!

If you have your own website, you can earn an additional revenue stream by signing up to our new and improved affiliate scheme. And just to show you how grateful we are, we’re offering a £10 bonus just for signing up! The bonus will be added to your affiliate account and will get you off to a flying start before you begin to earn additional revenue on up to 70% commission. We pay out regularly, there are absolutely no set up costs and you can choose from a wide range of banner designs to suit your website.

Why choose Intranet affiliate scheme?

You can earn 70% if you sign up to our cloud servers and web hosting scheme direct, or 55% when signing up through Affiliate Future. For dedicated servers, hosted exchange and SSL, we pay 10% commission direct, or 10% through Affiliate future. For domains with pay 10% through Affiliate Future.

Here are some examples:

Intrahost Direct

Affiliate Future

Windows Plesk Cloud Server

£40.56

£31.87

Business Plus Web Hosting 12 mth plan

£38.30

£32.83

Getting started with the Intrahost Affiliate scheme

If you haven’t already, create an Intrahost account and then go to the banners area to choose and download one of our banner ads to place on your website. Go to the Affiliates sub-menu halfway down the Intrahost site, to the right of “Open Ticket”, ensuring that you’re logged in.

On this page you will see your Unique Referral Link; copy this code and use it as the URL link for the banner on your site.

It’s that easy!

How do I get paid?

When a visit clicks thorough on the banner ad on your site and goes on to place an order within 90 days, you will receive commission on that sale. Once your account has earned £50, you can then log a ticket to request a credit on your hosting account, or we’ll send you a cheque.

As you can see, there really is nothing to becoming an Intrahost affiliate and you don’t have to put any more work into your website than you normally would. However, if your site attracts a lot of traffic then of course people are more likely to click and you earn more.

Why choose Intrahost?

98% of our customers are still with us 12 months after first signing up for hosting services. Additionally, we offer the following:

  • 99.99% Network Uptime
  • 99.99% Server Uptime
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • 24/7 Fast and Friendly Support™
  • State-of-the-art UK Data Centres
  • Enterprise Grade Disk Storage

We offer all of our customers a full money-back guarantee if they are not 100% satisfied with the service we provide, meaning that you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re involved with a company who are ethically sound. This also gives you peace of mind that placing our banner on your website won’t result in your customers complaining about the products you advertise.

We’re proud of the high-quality services that we provide and guarantee you and your visitors will be too!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start earning extra cash, whilst knowing that you’re also offering your customers a great service through your website.

New OS Templates for Intrahost Cloud Servers

With immediate effect, we have updated our Cloud Server platform to include the following additional Operating System Templates.

Linux Cloud Server

Ubuntu 12.04 LAMP x64 Ubuntu 12.04 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 x86 Ubuntu 13.04 x64

See the full list for the Linux Cloud Server plan.

Windows Cloud Server

Windows 2012 Standard Edition x64

See the full list for the Windows Cloud Server plan.

To upgrade your Cloud Server VM to one of the above templates, simply rebuild your server. Note this will destroy your data, so plan your migration carefully.

If you want to upgrade, we can offer you a free 30 day voucher code, allowing you to time to copy your data across to the new server. :) Just log a ticket and let us know.

Windows 2008 Server will be supported for a long time yet, so there's no rush.

ICANN: Pre-registration of new gTLDs not possible

Domain owners are being advised against pre-registering for new domain names on the new gTLD program this year, as under ICANN rules, this is not actually allowed before the domains are released. Numerous sites have popped up recently offering businesses and individuals the opportunity to pre-register top level domain names which will soon become available under ICANN’s new gTLD program.

According to ICANN:

“ICANN does not accept reservations or pre-registrations of new gTLDs. ICANN also does not endorse any third parties to do so.”

This means that third-party companies are unable to guarantee that the domain will be available to you, even if you pay a fee. It is not possible to pre-register your brand name and whilst many websites claim that this is possible, you may find yourself disappointed if you attempt to do so.

What is the new gTLD program?

It’s an initiative that enables the introduction of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) such as .app, .web, .music, .brand and so on into the domain name space.

The new program is being introduced to promote competition within the industry, as well as ensure the security and stability of the internet as a whole. This will also allow for more consumer choice when it comes to registry service providers, affording companies, governments and communities the opportunity to operate a TLD registry of their choosing.

This is not the same as registering a domain name, which are generally second or third level domains. For example, “in a URL such as maps.google.com, "google" is a second-level name and "maps" is a third-level domain”. The application for a gTLD is more complex than registering a brand domain name and involves the operator of the gTLD to essentially run a piece of “visible internet infrastructure.”

Applications for registering a new gTLD closed some time ago and it’s now become apparent that many sites are claiming they can register a second or third level domain before the gTLD has been released.

How about my trademark or brand name?

It’s not possible to reserve or pre-register your trademark or brand with ICANN and therefore anyone else. However, for the protection of intellectual property under the new program you should see ICANN’s section 5.4.1 of the Applicant Guidebook for details.

So, that website you’ve seen claiming to enable you to “protect your brand name” or “reserve your gTLD now” are completely unable to guarantee that they are able to carry this out for you.

This means that the sites are misleading at best, or a complete scam at worst, and you should take special care when the sites claim to be able to do this for a fee. It bears repeating, ICANN allow no pre-registration of gTLDs.

What can I do to ensure my domain is available?

For the upcoming TDL releases, there are a number of online services that offer the opportunity for you to track a specific domain name using a “watchlist”. All that’s required is that you input the top level domain to track (such as .london) in order to receive regular updates on registration timelines.

Intrahost will be accepting orders for the new domains as soon as they become available and advise against pre-registration. In the meantime, you can order any existing domains from us.

Order domain