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Feb
18
Chrome release reveals "insecure badge" for websites without SSL
Posted by Paul Nesbitt on 18 February 2017 04:26 PM

Chrome release reveals "insecure badge" for websites without SSL

Chrome Browser

On February 1, Google rolled out the latest version of its Chrome internet browser. Labelled Chrome 56, the updated browser features a significant change in the way in which it displays websites that are delivered without the HTTPS protocol – or, in other words, websites without an installed SSL certificate. 

Starting with this update, websites that do not run on HTTPS will be labelled in the browser bar as ‘Not secure’. From Chrome 56, the browser will display the warning on pages that ask for your password or other confidential information – like your address or credit card number. This is, however, a staged release that will eventually see all non-HTTPS websites labelled as ‘Not secure’ with a red alert icon to prompt users to exit the website.

The impact on your website

Visitors to your website may be surprised upon their next visit when a ‘Not secure’ symbol appears in their browser bar; they could even interpret the message as a sign that your website has been compromised or hacked.

Therefore, it’s important to take the time to implement an SSL certificate onto your website. At present, the ‘Not secure’ symbol will only appear on pages with form fields for passwords and credit card information, but a full rollout is expected in the coming months.

Installing an SSL certificate

Although Google has outlined a technical description of implementing SSL on your website, the process can be challenging for those without prior technical knowledge. It can, indeed, be tough to convert your website from HTTP to HTTPS, particularly if you have a lot of web pages that deliver external content on an unsecured protocol.

In November 2016, British newspaper The Guardian confirmed that it had converted all of its web pages to HTTPS, but that the process was not as straightforward as first thought. One issue was that advertising agencies avoided adopting to HTTPS and that embeds such as videos and other external content had to be removed, or updated, in order for pages to be fully delivered in HTTPS. For large websites like The Guardian, other issues such as old interactive content and an extensive search engine optimisation strategy also had to be taken into account.

Luckily, advancements in technology have made the adoption to HTTPS and SSL seamless. The majority of external content hosts (like Facebook, YouTube and SlideShare) now serve their content securely on HTTPS, and you can even find WordPress plugins to help you convert existing web pages to their HTTPS counterparts.

Free SSL certificates from PAC Web Hosting

At PAC Web Hosting, we care about helping our customers meet the demands of search engines such as Google – as well as playing our part in creating a safer, more optimised browsing experience. All of our web hosting packages now include free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ SSL certificates which cover all of your domain names – including your main domain names, aliases and subdomains. What’s more, these certificates are automatically issued and renewed so that you don’t have to do a thing.

To find out more about the benefits of SSL, and to arrange assistance in installing an SSL certificate on your PAC-hosted website, get in touch with a member of our team today.


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Jan
16
IPv4 vs. IPv6: Which one should you use?
Posted by Sam Thomas on 16 January 2017 02:12 PM

IPv4 vs. IPv6: Which one should you use?

IPv6

What is IPv4?

IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol Version 4. It is, in short, the essential technology that makes it possible for us to connect our devices to the web. Whether it is a PC, a Mac, a tablet or a smartphone, whenever a device connects to the Internet, a unique numerical IP address is provided, enabling us to communicate and send data via the web.

Routing most of the Internet traffic today, IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, which means it can support 2^32 IP addresses in total; approximately 4.3 billion addresses. While this number may seem a lot, due to the demand of the ever-growing Internet, the need for a newer and more advanced version is now required as the web continues to expand.

What is IPv6?

Developed in the 1990s and introduced in the early 2000s, IPv4's successor is IPv6. A system that "will not only offer far more numerical addresses, but will simplify address assignments and additional network security features,” IPv6 is the answer to the limitations caused by its predecessor.

Designed to supplement and eventually replace the 25-year-old IPv4 protocol, the biggest benefit of IPv6 is that it offers a much longer 128-bit address. The expanded capacity will enable trillions, instead of billions, of new Internet addresses to be readily available, supporting the vast expansion of the Internet not only as we know it today, but in the future.

The connectivity among Google users is continuously being measured and monitored. In the past five years particularly, there has been a massive increase of users of IPv6 vs. IPv4, from just over 1% in early 2010 to just fewer than 16% measured today.

How can you use IPv6 as a consumer?

Should you invest in IPv6 as a consumer? Definitely! With the diminution of IP addresses, it could mean that, eventually, your favourite Internet programmes, online games, and applications may slow down or even stop working altogether. Internet-connected devices will struggle to communicate with each other, thus making video or audio difficult to run.

Increasing the IP address pool was always the main drive in the development of IPv6, and with a lot of systems already supporting IPv6, dating as far back as Windows XP SP 1 and Mac OS X 10.2.

To make the swap, check your devices support IPv6. Most operating systems and network systems today do so, but if your networking equipment isn’t IPv6 capable, you may need to upgrade your devices. You can also ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for an IPv6 address if you’d like to be ahead of the curve.

Using IPv6 on your website

At PAC Web Hosting, we offer unrivalled website hosting services to power your website. If you’d like to use an IPv6 address for your website, get in touch with a member of the PAC Web Hosting team today. With years of experience in the industry, we can help you migrate to a new IP address safely and effectively, eliminating downtime and ensuring success.


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Jan
5
The Ultimate Guide to WordPress for hosting
Posted by Sam Thomas on 05 January 2017 05:47 PM

The Ultimate Guide to WordPress for hosting

 Wordpress Guide

Used by over 60 million people worldwide, WordPress has become the most popular blogging platform available on the market. Its sophisticated interface and vast array of features have propelled its popularity into the stratosphere in recent years. From installation to utilisation, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to WordPress.

A couple of clicks with Softaculous

It’s up to you how difficult the WordPress installation has to be. You could, for example, install the software manually, or you could use Softaculous to auto-install the software – a feature that comes as standard on all PAC Web Hosting plans.

Manual installation of WordPress involves downloading the software and unzipping it. After this, you are required to upload the unzipped files and create a database before finally configuring the files to connect to the database. Working through this laborious process, and can be particularly difficult if you do not have prior experience using databases.

Another, much simpler process, is using the Softaculous auto installer. Specifically designed for the control panel available on all our hosting packages, Softaculous auto install eliminates the tedious process of manually installing apps. Simply submit your details and create a username and password, and you can then enjoy a fresh installation of WordPress on your website. The entire process takes just a couple of clicks and allows you to install the software in multiple directories and with themes and plugins preinstalled for added convenience.

Using Softaculous means that you’ll spend no time on database creation or file unzipping. Softaculous simultaneously allows you to dedicate more energy towards vital tasks such as content creation and layout design. In the long run, it could prove a very useful aid for your website or blog by allowing you to concentrate your efforts towards improving content or other aspects of your online presence – particularly if you are planning to install WordPress on multiple websites or root directories.

Compatible even with scripts that were not installed by Softaculous, the versatility of this software is staggering. Alongside blogging scripts such as WordPress, social networking scripts Dolphin and Wikis like MediaWiki are also readily available for optimisation on your website. Combine this with numerous e-commerce solutions and forums, and Softaculous gives you a tremendous number of scripts to choose from.

Softaculous comes included on all of our standard web hosting packages, but for those using a VPS or dedicated server, two license packages are available. Free, which offers 55 scripts at your disposal, and Premium, which offers an impressive 413 scripts alongside WordPress. The Premium version is available to purchase through a number of flexible monthly or yearly pricing plans. WordPress auto-install is only available in the Premium Auto Installer, however, a free one-month trial license can be used to give you a taster of the precious time that you can save installing apps and scripts using Softaculous to help build your website in the future.

If a single license is not enough for your business needs, you can consider the Softaculous NOC Partner Program, which available for those who require more than five licenses. This particular program is ideal for Datacentres, Large Web Hosts, VPS Providers and Dedicated Server Providers. The benefits of this program include discounted pricing, immediate licence reviews and purchases, along with consolidated invoices.

The Softaculous auto installer is an important tool for web hosting, and here at PAC Web Hosting, we believe it is essential for optimising operations when building blogs and websites.

Why exactly WordPress?

Simply put, WordPress is one of the most sophisticated web content management applications available on the market today. Powering over 23 percent of all websites worldwide, according to recent statistics from Business2Business community, WordPress enjoys a stellar reputation in the online blogging and business community. They have some illustrious users too, including NBC Sports, CNN and TIME, to name drop but a few listed on the official WordPress website. Having some of the most trusted and regularly visited news outlets in the world as advocates of their software is a huge boost to the validity of WordPress as a web content management system.

When browsing their respective websites, the sleekness of the pages is quite striking, with colour schemes and page features that differentiate them from competitor news websites with content that, obviously, will be the relatively similar. That’s part of the beauty of WordPress, as it offers the tools to create a wonderfully individual website that can set you apart from the crowd. When looking at some of the 350 theme examples WordPress have displayed on their official website, it's easy to see that there's an almost infinite amount of design possibilities available. What's more, with dedicated platforms such as ThemeForest and ElegantThemes set up to offer premium WordPress themes, finding a solution that works for your business doesn't have to be difficult - and it's more cost-effective than relying on a web designer to create something bespoke.

Importantly, apart from the website aesthetics that using WordPress is capable of achieving, the features available are equally as impressive. This content management system can be customised to your exacting requirements, giving you the tools you need to create a truly bespoke website. Categories, blogs, forums, pages and contact forms are just a few of the features available from the off, and plugins and themes can be installed to offer even greater customisation and flexibility over both design and functionality of your website.

On all our web hosting plans at PAC Web Hosting, WordPress is already pre-loaded and its performance optimised by the latest web hosting technologies we have at our disposal. This includes Free SSL certificates, a LiteSpeed Web Server to attain incredibly fast performance of your website, and the latest HTTP/2 Web Protocol to offer speed and compatibility.

Get started with WordPress

Getting started with WordPress’ simple user interface is a breeze. Choose from one of 350 themes to begin with, or use a third party website to buy a bespoke theme that’s just for you. Don’t worry; no specific design skills are needed here, and you don’t need to be an expert in web design to create a website using WordPress. Templates are available, but the ability to build your design from scratch is also present. Uniqueness is key when it comes to building a website, and because of the sheer amount of customisation features on offer, you can ensure your website stands out from the crowd. Background, colours and layout can all be changed to best suit your needs, and you can add sliders, images, unique content and widgets to give your pages more flexibility.

Editing your website can be done from anywhere via mobile and desktop apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux. Updating when on the go, therefore, is a capability. Also, support is always on hand with web hosting, both from ourselves at PAC Web Hosting via our 24/7 support service, and from the WordPress community You can, therefore, be sure that if any problems occur, support is on hand.

Widgets and built-in social sharing options are also available to increase interaction with your followers and visitors. You can interact automatically with Facebook and Twitter, auto-posting new content and giving your users the option to share articles, photos or videos from your website. You can also rely on plugins like Jetpack and Yoast SEO to add markup for Twitter and Facebook cards.

Statistics and security

This leads to the SEO benefits that can be reaped when using WordPress. Search engine optimisation is already built-in on a WordPress-created website, and you can rely on SEO tools and plugins to provide an even greater boost. Immediately, your site becomes more visible to Google, Bing and other search engines which increase the scope of possible hits.

Keeping track of those visitors on your website is easy. In-depth statistics are on hand, and it's easy to integrate tools like Google Analytics into your WordPress theme. The standard Wordpress Statistics feature included as part of its Jetpack plugin provides data in a simple, non-technical manner, so that you can see where they are from, what content they looked at and what particularly attracted them to your website. This amounts to invaluable information when it comes to altering your content to drive traffic to your website along with attracting and retaining visitors.

Security is paramount to your website’s success, and WordPress offers features such as anti-spam protection and automatic backups to ensure that your content is always protected.

Convinced?

There you have it – our ultimate guide to using WordPress. If you’re still considering whether or not the content management system is right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the PAC Web Hosting team today.

With years of experience in web hosting and WordPress management, we’re best placed to offer impartial advice that will transform your website. Whether you’re looking to build a single website using the CMS or you’d like to start your own network of websites, we can provide cost-effective, managed WordPress web hosting solutions to give you the tools and flexibility you need to thrive.


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Jan
3
HTTP/1.1 vs. HTTP/2: What’s the difference?
Posted by Paul Nesbitt on 03 January 2017 02:48 PM

Speed up your website with HTTP/2

HTTP/1.1 vs. HTTP/2: What’s the difference?

Whether you're new to web development or you're looking to make simple tweaks to improve the speed and performance of your website, we've put together the differences between HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2. Read on to find out more.

What is HTTP/2?

Originally proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, HTTP was first released in 1991 to perform high-level data communication functions between web servers and clients. Although the HTTP/1.1 protocol has served the web for more than fifteen years, the technology is beginning to age. In 2015, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) came together to revise HTTP/1.1, and developed the next generation of the application protocol, to be known as HTTP/2.

What are the benefits of HTTP/2?

Loading a web page is resource intensive, as HTTP/1.1 only allows one outstanding request per TCP connection. With HTTP/2, multiplexing was introduced, allowing multiple requests at the same time, and therefore speeding up the process of delivering web pages and content.

The technology also means that only one connection to the server is used when loading a website, which remains open as long as the website is open. This reduces the amount of round trips that are required to set up multiple TCP connections.

Additional benefits include server pushing, allowing additional resources to be sent to a client for future use, and prioritisation, allowing requests to be assigned depending on their level of importance to a particular web page. Header compression with HPACK compressions is also included in HTTP/2 to reduce overhead.

What does HTTP/2 mean for SEO?

The chances are that you already know about Google offering a ranking boost for fast-loading websites. With HTTP/2, your website should load faster than when using the traditional HTTP/1.1 protocol, meaning that your website should enjoy boosted rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). As Google Chrome and Firefox only allow HTTP/2 over HTTPS, you're likely to enjoy an additional ranking boost from serving pages securely.

Is HTTP/2 supported by modern browsers?

With new technologies come new concerns over compatibility, and HTTP/2 is no exception. According to Can I Use, 78.33% of all modern browsers – including Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera – support HTTP/2. A great way to determine whether a switch to HTTP/2 will benefit your audience is to visit your Google Analytics account, click on Audience, then Technology and Browser & OS. Any visitors arriving without a compatible browser would still be served HTTP/1.1 even if you have switched to HTTP/2

Aside from browser compatibility, HTTP/2 is compatible with modern server software such as Apache, NGINX, and IIS, and many of the major content delivery networks (CDNs).

How can I see HTTP/2 in action?

If you’d like to see the difference in speed between HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2, you can visit a website such as HTTP2Demo, which loads 200 small images to your browser and times the latency for your convenience. Such websites give proof that switching to HTTP/2 protocol makes sense – whether you’re running a small blog or a global enterprise.

There you have it – just some of the reasons why HTTP/2 is more effective for web development than the traditional HTTP/1.1 protocol. If you'd like to use HTTP/2 on your website, work with the web hosting experts at PAC Web Hosting today.

 


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Jan
3
A Brief History of the Internet!
Posted by Paul Nesbitt on 03 January 2017 10:28 AM

A Brief History of the Internet... Enjoy!

A Brief History of the Internet

 

 


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