Avoid Getting Spammed After Purchasing a New Domain

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

 

One of the worst things about registering a new website domain name is the inundation of spam and other bothersome emails, voicemails, and other offers that seem to fly out of nowhere in large quantities. The majority of this spam is useless and blocks you and your users from receiving more important information. Getting past the spam stage is a hurdle but this article will help you to avoid it altogether by understanding why it’s happening and providing some advice on how to stop it.

 

Why You Get Spammed

 

If your domain registrar is reputable, they likely haven’t sold your information to spam sources. So why are you still getting spammed? When you register a domain, your information is stashed in a database called WHOIS (this is not an acronym, it just means Who Is.) On WHOIS, anyone can look up domain owners and find information about you. Although this may sound suspicious or intrusive, this database serves a positive purpose because it holds web content accountable to the domain owners and helps to maintain some legitimacy on the internet.

The benefits of WHOIS do come at a cost however, and spammers are able to look up newly registered domains and target them when they are most vulnerable to spam, hacking, and other nefarious purposes.

The best way to avoid this is to opt out of WHOIS, which is possible for some but not for all. You’re able to opt out of WHOIS if you meet some narrow qualifications; such as if you’re a noncommercial or individual domain. This does not help if your domain is for commercial use, but it does help for personal bloggers and some noncommercial organizations to avoid spam.

 

How to Avoid Spam

 

The best way to protect your identity and to avoid spam is to register for domain privacy through your hosting provider. Although your information will still be available on WHOIS, the service will mask your domain registration information with general information and your private information will be hidden from the general public. This service isn’t free and typically costs about $10 per year, but the cost is well worth the service and saves you the time and inbox real estate that erasing spam would take up.

Another common (and free) method of avoiding spam is to change your email settings to include junk mail protection and spam filters. Although this may seem obvious, many people forget about this option and can benefit from taking some time to look into their email preferences. Junk mail protection looks for common spammers and low-quality emails and filters them out automatically. Still, it’s good once and a while to glance through your spam folder to make sure no real contacts have gotten filtered by accident.

 

Up Your Defenses

 

Some hackers and particularly malevolent spammers will target your new domain and look for vulnerabilities they can exploit and enter your website to add viruses and malware. This kind of software is often undetectable until it’s too late and can shut your website down indefinitely until the problem is solved. This is avoidable by downloading security software that scans files to make sure everything is okay to go before uploading it to your website. Be sure to regularly back up your content so that your files are safe in case anything goes wrong.

Another way to be proactive about your website’s defense is to be aware of common phishing scams and to be very careful about releasing any of your information. Double check email addresses and content: if something is an official email it should not have typos, all the dates should seem correct and appropriate. Don’t be afraid to question anything that looks suspicious, any business will not be offended if you ask for them to prove who they are and that their email is legitimate, especially when you clarify that you just want to protect your safety. Common spam tactics will have slightly misspelled business names in their email or use clever tactics to disguise the letters to look like something else (for example using “rn” may look on some browsers like the “m” in  “amazon”.) Also feel free to call any phone numbers listed in the email to see if you connect with a real person and if the person sounds like whoever contacted you.

 

Overcoming spammers may seem like an ordeal but taking these steps and being proactive about preventing spam will give you a head start on developing your website and focusing on its contents rather than spending time, energy, and money on dealing with spam. The key takeaways here are to take defensive and offensive approaches to protect your information and domain. If you suspect spammers, malware, or any other malicious activity, please contact your hosting provider so they can help you take care of your own website and prevent the same problems for others in the future.

What’s the Difference Between Let’s Encrypt and Purchased SSL?

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

 

Having secure encryption is a top priority for website owners, and the usual route is the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Now there’s a free alternative to SSL called Let’s Encrypt. It may be free, but does it actually deliver like a paid SSL service?

 

Certificates

 

The main idea of Let’s Encrypt is to simplify the process of getting a certificate. These are presented by web servers when you request a new SSL connection. There are a variety of different types of certificates, including Domain Validation, Organization Validation, Extended Validation, and Wildcard certificates. Basically, they specify how thorough the validation is. If the Certificate Authority can verify that someone owns the website and confirms the location and existence of the legal entity, they will issue an EV.

Let’s Encrypt will only issue Domain Validations, the simplest form of certificate. The DV is still very useful for legitimizing a website, but it won’t work for every business. For example, an e-commerce business of larger enterprise will probably require the more thorough EV certificate. That being said, DVs are great options of smaller businesses without the need for a more specialized certificate.

 

The Process

 

Even though Let’s Encrypt is has a limited certificate selection, the process of applying for and receiving a certificate could not be simpler. It does this by automating the issuance and renewal process than can be a hassle with other DV services. There are also no yearly renewal fees since the service is completely free. Unlike many CAs, many web hosts will actually offer to set some things up for you. Although Let’s Encrypt requires your certificate to be renewed every 90 days, this process can be completely automated. Paid services don’t automate renewal, but they typically offer longer certificate periods of up to 3 years.

 

The Price

 

Obviously, the main thing that makes Let’s Encrypt unique is its zero dollar price tag. It’s a great way to get a certificate in the easiest and quickest way possible as well. That being said, the higher prices of other services to come with added benefits, like insurance, which LE does not offer. If you’re not too worried about a breach in security, then insurance shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, other Domain Validation services can cost up to $50 per year, so LE will spare you some significant money in the long run. That being said, companies with bigger websites and more to lose will require an insurance plan for peace of mind.

 

Security and SEO

 

Let’s Encrypt’s security is actually pretty good considering the service is completely free: It comes with the industry standard HTTPS protocol. This protocol is relied on by large businesses like banks that require the utmost security for their customers’ information and transactions. HTTPS makes the web browser check the website’s security certificate to verify that it was issued by a legitimate certificate authority. While the system isn’t perfect, it’s a big step up from the inferior security of the HTTP protocol.

On top of security benefits, HTTPS will aid your site’s search engine optimization. Google now prefers websites that have HTTPS, which means that a site with identical specifications to your own will be ranked lower on the search engine. Increased visibility and adequate security are essential for a growing site, so LE’s service is totally worthwhile and effective for most users.

 

In Conclusion…

 

While many larger businesses will need to obtain a more thorough verification from a CA, there are plenty that will benefit from Let’s Encrypt’s free service. The lack of a price tag gives smaller sites and those who are new to encryption some breathing room to get into the Internet space. The added benefit of simplified and automated issuance and renewal processes makes LE unprecedented in accessibility.

That being said, other paid SSL services will not go away any time soon. LE’s free service is effective but only provides the bare minimum requirements for obtaining decent website encryption. Larger sites will want the added security and insurance of a paid service, even if it means more hassle to deal with.

For more help on choosing the right encryption for your website, visit Mightweb. Our web hosting plans can provide you with everything necessary to find a space and curate it to your needs.

How Often Do you Go Shopping for a New Web Host?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

 

You’ve been with the same web host for so long you can’t even remember why you chose your provider in the first place! You’re probably set up to renew the service each year and pay your hosting fees automatically. But over time the web hosting landscape changes. Are you still getting the best deal possible? Does your web host offer all the services your business needs? It’s not a bad idea to look around to see what’s available, compare costs, and make sure you are getting the best deal possible.

Know Your Needs – Present and Future

Your search for a new web host begins with a good look around your own business. Ask yourself these questions before you start investigating web hosting options. How fast are you growing? What are your current and anticipated server needs? What type of site do you want to build? Do you need eCommerce capabilities or are you more interested in SEO and blogging? How much storage do you need? What are your security requirements?

Have a List of Questions Ready

Once you know exactly what you are looking for, be ready with some questions relating to how the service provider will be able to meet your needs not just now, but down the road. Start by checking in with your current website and service provider to find out what, exactly, you are getting for your money. Once you know your current situation, you can do a better job of comparison shopping.

You Should Know

What kind of infrastructure does your provider own? Can the company provide dedicated servers tailored to your specific needs? Your server needs will change depending on whether you are looking for a development environment, wanting to run a game server or are more interested in a Remote Desktop. Likewise, your provider should be able to offer you a choice of operating system (e.g. Linux or Windows).

Do You Need a Reseller Plan?

If you are starting a hosting company, you may well want to consider a good reseller plan. It’s a cost-effective and simple way to get going and a company like MightWeb can provide not only the infrastructure but also a range of plans that include everything you’ll need to get up and running.

Look for One-Stop Shopping

Developing a website of your own means you will need a high-performance, stable infrastructure. Ideally, your web host will provide everything you need – from the space itself to one-click installers for applications like WordPress or e-commerce solutions like Magento.

Reliability isn’t Compromisable!

While good uptime is important, perhaps even more critical is reliability. Ask about how the company tests new services or systems. A static company that is always playing catch up can’t possibly provide you with the latest and best that technology has to offer. Smaller companies can sometimes be more nimble when it comes to adapting to the latest, greatest innovations.

Can the Service Relate to You and Adapt to Your Needs?

The very best companies, though, don’t just stop with being adaptable from a technical perspective. Being able to relate well and work with a wide range of customers, from experts to newcomers, is also essential. A meeting with your web hosting provider that leaves you feeling stupid and adrift in a sea of mysterious acronyms is not likely to result in the best business decisions on your end. Again, a smaller company can often provide the kind of personalized service that just isn’t possible when dealing with a huge, impersonal entity unable to relate one-on-one.

Hello? Is Anyone There?

If you do have a question or concern, how easy it it to reach customer service? Does the company offer online chat, 24-hour phone service, or email service when you need help?

 

If you already own a website, you probably owe it to yourself to have a look around and see what else is out there. While you’re at it, check out what MightWeb has to offer. You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised!

 

Why Small Web Hosting Companies Offer the Most Value

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

 

If you’ve found us here at MightWeb, the odds are good that you’ve already come across a number of our largest competitors. The major web hosting companies pour a tremendous amount of resources into their paid ads and affiliate marketing programs, and they make a lot of lofty promises about what their services have to offer. Can small web hosting companies really hope to compete?

The truth of the matter is that large hosting companies simply aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They can talk the talk, but seldom do they walk the walk — and when they do, it’s usually only for their largest customers. Small business owners tend to get taken advantage of and left behind by major web hosts, and we’re out to change that. Here are a few reasons why small web hosting companies are better than their larger counterparts:

Small Hosts Allocate Infrastructure More Logically

For large web hosts, every customer who uses a shared service is nothing more than a number. After all, why would a company with hundreds of thousands of clients, many of which may be enterprise level, worry about appeasing every low-level customer? The result is that large web hosts tend to cram as many sites as possible onto each server, resulting in poor speed, reduced security, and more instances of downtime.

Small hosts tend to take the opposite approach. Shared hosting is our bread and butter at Mightweb, and we work our hardest to contribute to the success of every site that utilizes our service, regardless of what plan they might be on. We would never compromise the quality of our reliable shared hosting experience, because the customers who pay for shared hosting are the backbone of our business.

Small Hosts are Priced for Small Businesses

Because many larger hosting companies are focused on landing clients for dedicated servers — or even enterprise clients with multiple managed, dedicated servers — they tend to raise their prices on a fairly regular basis. (Why waste server space on your least profitable customers? From their point of view, anyone who isn’t willing to pay for consistent price updates isn’t worth having as a client!)

Small hosts, on the other hand, usually work with smaller clients on a nearly exclusive basis, which means every price change they make has a profound impact on their clients. Rather than looking for ways to raise prices, most small hosting services are more likely to find ways to make special offers to accommodate potential customers with unique needs.

Smaller Hosts Mean More Responsive Customer Service

By this point in the article, you should be catching onto the fact that we don’t like the way large hosting companies treat their customers. What we have yet to share is the fact that they oftentimes treat their employees in a similar fashion. This can make communication difficult for a few reasons:

  • Rotating employee schedules can make it difficult to maintain a single point of contact with the company, which means you end up re-explaining your issue to a number of different people every time you need help.
  • Because employees are given little to no decision-making power, it’s easy to feel like you’re talking to a robot when you contact major hosting companies. You are unlikely to have a true employee advocate working on your behalf.
  • As per human nature, employees who aren’t treated well in their jobs are going to stop doing as good of a job, which only compromises your customer experience further, while perpetuating a cycle of negativity.

Smaller Hosts Have Your Back

We work hard to give you the most fair and honest treatment as a customer of MightWeb — even when that means making sacrifices ourselves. For example, we offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee for every customer who hosts their site with us, and we back that guarantee up by issuing credits to anyone affected by a lack of service. Unlimited free SSL certificates, an automated backup process, and free, seamless migration should you ever need it.

Learn More about MightWeb Hosting!

Being a customer-oriented company is part of our core philosophy at MightWeb, and this value is reflected in every aspect of how we run our business. From investing in the best hardware, to providing unparalleled uptime, to offering a well-rounded set of solutions intended to grow alongside our customers, we have stayed true to our roots, even as we’ve added an increasing number of happy customers each and every year.

We’d love for you and your organization to be our next success story. If you’re looking for more information on our affordable web hosting services, we encourage you to check out MightWeb’s pricing and hosting offerings, read the MightWeb story, or contact us to get answers to all your questions, no matter how large or small. We look forward to hearing from you!

PSA: Chrome 66 is ending support for Symantec SSL certificates issued before June 1, 2016

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Upcoming releases of Google Chrome in March and September 2018 will no longer trust certain Symantec, Thawte, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL SSL/TLS certificates. Chrome users will see “Not secure” in the address bar when connecting to websites using a distrusted certificate.

Chrome 66 is ending support for Symantec certificates issued before June 1, 2016 on the following schedule:

The ‘Canary’ release already ended support for these certificates. It was released on January 20th, 2018.
The Beta release for Chrome 66 will be released on March 15th.
The Stable release for Chrome 66 will be released on April 17th.
If you are running a Symantec certificate issued before June 1, 2016, and you do not replace that certificate, then from April 17th onwards this is what your site will look like to site visitors:

ssl-warning-symantec

As you can see, the error is described as NET::ERR_CERT_SYMANTEC_LEGACY, meaning that your site is using a legacy Symantec certificate that is no longer supported.

To check if your certificate will be affected by this change, you can visit this page: https://www.websecurity.symantec.com/support/ssl-checker.

symantec-ssl-checker-screenshot

We encourage our users to get SSL certificates at 1-year intervals as the speed of the internet is ever changing. If you need to renew a paid SSL certificate, please go here to get one issued ASAP: https://my.mightweb.net/index.php?rp=/store/ssl-certificates