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  • SmarterMail Upcoming Maintenance

    No comments February 2nd, 2018 33

    This evening, Friday the 2nd at 10PM MST we will be performing an update to the SmarterMail service on our primary SmarterMail server. This issue resolves a threading related issue (deadlock) that impacted the delivery spool causing delays in sending or receiving email.

    During this time, our incoming gateways will process and hold any incoming email and deliver them once we have completed the update.


    All dates & times are listed as UTC.

    Scheduled Date: 
    Scheduled Time:
     
    Max Outage Duration: 1 hour


    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our support department.

    Thank you again for choosing ASPnix as your web hosting provider!

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  • How does an SSL Certificate work?

    No comments February 2nd, 2018 31

    Before we start, what is SSL?

    SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer”. This is a standard technology used to create an encrypted channel between a server and a browser. This is meant to allow sensitive information to pass securely between a user and a server without being at risk of data theft or “man in the middle” attacks.

    How does an SSL Certificate work?

    SSL Certification builds a secure connection that will ensure visitors are safe and secure, meanwhile browsers offer us visual cues like the lock icon or a green bar to let us know when we are safe.

    These certificates use a pair of keys; a private and a public key. These keys work together in a way that enables an encrypted connection. The SSL Certificate also contains the identity of the owner of the website.

    How is an SSL Certificate made?

    To get an SSL Certificate you can make a CSR or “Certificate Signing Request. This will provide a private and public key on your own server. The data file from your CSR is then sent to a SSL Certificate issuer otherwise known as a CA. In this case CA stands for “Certificate Authority”.

    What follows next is that the CA makes a data structure meant to match up with your private key. This is done without the CA ever even seeing your private key.

    Next, after you have an SSL Certificate you will need to install it onto your server. Different instructions are necessary depending on your server.

    In the end it is of the utmost importance that an SSL certificate is trusted and signed by a CA. Browsers will not trust a SSL Certificate that isn’t trusted by a CA. This means that in order to be a fully trusted SSL Certificate the site must undergo an audit to be further held up against standards that the browsers and Certificate Authority both agree are necessary.

    Did you know that ASPnix provides multiple SSL vendors as well as multiple certificate types to its customers? Check out their SSL Certification services.

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  • What exactly is SMTP?

    No comments February 1st, 2018 26

    SMTP is an abbreviation for “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol”. SMTP is a type of accepted protocol which allows different computers to exchange information in a previously agreed upon and understandable way. Through the process of standardization over time we all hope to increase efficiency overall. This protocol improves our lives everyday but you may not have noticed until now.

    In this instance the standard we are talking about is an accepted internet standard. In the past there were mostly messaging systems for internal use only. Over time computer systems became much more powerful and the internet grew out of these types of systems into ARPANET and eventually evolved into the modern internet. Standard procedures and protocols were eventually agreed upon that would make sending and receiving messages across networks efficient and simple.

    SMTP and UUCP were both eventually made the standards we know today. SMTP is better for permanently connected networks. UUCP is still used in Usenet newsgroups.

    The rules that define how messages are sent back and forth electronically is defined by SMTP. A message sent via SMTP first needs to know an IP address. The sending computer will reach out to a domain name system, commonly known as a DNS. It will retrieve the intended IP address. That IP now serves like the address on your house to tell the mailman where to deliver directly to.

    After that your computer can connect.

    During this process the two computers give a call and response. This is called SMTP return code. This is the way in which the computers can tell each other that “the command was executed successfully” or that a command “Failed to execute”.

    Today companies like ASPnix provide Email Hosting to users around the globe. Take a look at what they have to offer if you get a chance. ASPnix Email Services

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  • How is a server any different from an ordinary computer?

    No comments January 31st, 2018 40

    A normal desktop computer such as the one that you have at home or in your office runs a user friendly OS and applications focused on day to day desktop uses. A server on the other hand is an entirely different beast. Meant to manage network resources, a server is dedicated to only those types of tasks.

    A server is specially engineered to process data 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It is designed for longevity and reliability by comparison to our desktops and home computers. This specialization of course gives way to features that are not available (or even necessary) to the average user.

    What Constitutes as Server Hardware?

    One of the common decisions small businesses make is between shared hosting, virtual dedicated or a dedicated hosting service. A dedicated hosting service would mean a higher cost but would include a number of benefits to the customer. While a shared hosting solution is much more affordable it leaves some things to be desired. Overall, that is a topic to discuss in another article (like this one).

    If you were to decide to build a dedicated server your concerns would be 4 fold:

    1. Shape and size – For smaller businesses I would recommend using an entry level server. A tower configuration is best
    2. Processing Power – Don’t skimp. Buy a server processor. It will boost your performance and therefore positively affect the speed of data passing through your system.
    3. Memory – You are going to want as much as you can afford to buy.
    4. Storage Capacity – Do not use IDE. SATA or SCSI are ideal.

    Operating System

    The choice between operating systems is not an easy one. Depending on your use, there are options suited to different tastes, tasks and duties. For file servers try to choose an OS that members of your team will be comfortable with.

    Final Considerations

    For most small businesses a desktop just won’t work for these tasks. Most small businesses would not want to trust their data on a consumer level machine. If your data is important you should focus on making sure its reliably accessible and safe. If you are seeking information about server colocation, virtual cloud servers, or even shared hosting space, ASPnix has various options available.

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  • Earn Money With Affiliate Marketing!

    No comments January 30th, 2018 38

    Ever wanted to make money from your website? Maybe you have dreamed about making money from a podcast or from your blog. If you have ever wondered how product reviews, or tutorials on YouTube could generate steady income, or wondered how to make money on social media, you are in the right place.

    The term is “Affiliate Marketing” and it’s probably a lot easier than you think to make money this way. Today I will walk you through the process. We can discuss the upside and the downside, and you can judge for yourself if it’s right for you.

    What exactly is Affiliate marketing?

    To begin with, an affiliate marketing strategy is when a business pays others to promote their products or their services. For instance if you promote a particular brand of suitcase on your YouTube Channel and a visitor buys the same suitcase then in this instance the suitcase company would give you a commission.

    There is a whole economy of people making money on the internet this way. It costs nothing to become an affiliate in most cases. You simply sign up, and start sharing the companies links to their products.

    How does it work?

    Joining an affiliate program is great but don’t just join any affiliate program. Look for higher quality items to recommend confidently. Don’t blindly join everything you come across. Most affiliate programs give you the choice to promote what you want to. Promote what makes sense to you, and remember to only recommend products you can trust. Furthermore, a lot of advertisers will offer different size banners and advertising graphics that you can pick from. This is nice because you can do whats right for you. Use only what fits with your preferences and ignore the rest.

    Whenever a viewer clicks on one of these special banners or links, the advertiser will be able to track and give you credit for any purchases that they make.

    Different kinds of companies will offer a few kinds of options for you to earn money. Below are some examples:

    1. Pay Per Lead: Payment is offered when a visitor provides contact info to the advertiser. (This is the hardest to make money at but still quite possible to succeed at.)
    2. Pay Per Click: Payment is offered when a visitor clicks on the merchants link
    3. Pay Per Sale: Payment is offered when a visitor buys something from the advertiser. Typically this can be in the form of a commission and tend to be the most lucrative.

    Where to start? What affiliate programs should I look at first?

    If you can justify it or it seems relevant to you and your following start with hosting. Hosting affiliates pay rates are some of the absolute highest rate or earning.

    ASPnix and other hosting companies offer pretty competitive commission rates. For instance ASPnix offers a 50% commission on all sales.

    Should I quit my day job?

    In 2018 the field of affiliate marketing is still growing like a fire. For a number of reasons it’s really replaced a lot of other kinds of marketing on the internet but there are a few catches you should know.

    -It’s really cheap to get into. There is no product to manage. No shelves to stock.

    -It can be whatever you want it to be. Nearly anything on the internet can be made to earn money through affiliate marketing if done the right way. It all depends on you.

    -It’s a passive form of income. Meaning, depending on your level of success you don’t need to manage it all of the time to generate income. Don’t take this to mean it doesn’t take any work at all. Like anything hard work and diligence pays off.

    -You work from home. Those who find success in this field can work at their own pace and without the daily commute.

    A final warning: You probably aren’t going to get rich overnight. Just because it’s a good opportunity to earn money doesn’t mean that you should necessarily quit your day job or give up your career. Don’t forget that like any new opportunity there is a learning curve. As you learn you will get better. As you get better you will make more money.

    Pro Tip: Rookie mistake #1

    Don’t forget to take your time. Don’t sign up for 3 dozen affiliates on your first day and find out afterwards that you can’t manage that many. Start slow, pick just a few good ones. Get comfortable with them before you start to grow some more.

    In the end the real key to success is diligence and practice. Treat affiliate marketing like any other business and you will go far. As an honest way to drum up a little side money it really can be great but if your want to make this your full time gig you will need to invest yourself.

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  • How to launch a new website with WordPress.

    No comments January 29th, 2018 52

    Today I am going to walk you through the whole experience of building a website with WordPress. If you aren’t particularly tech savvy or just have no experience with building websites than you are in the right place.

    Let’s get started.

    You will need:

    • A domain name

    • Hosting

    • A little bit of time to work on your site.

    Will building my website cost me money?

    The answer is maybe. How much you want to spend is up to you. ASPnix has a free Linux hosting option if you just want to practice, learn or get started making websites. This is a great option that gives you a chance to try something new without costing you anything. This is especially for people who are just dipping their toes in the web design pond. It can always be upgraded if you realize at some point down the road that you want to do a lot more than just the basics.

    My suggestion is to spend less at first. A lot of places will try to sell you a stack of crazy addons and stuff that you wont ever need.

    Will WordPress cost me money?

    Nope. It’s open source. That means anyone can use it and nobody has to pay for it. Everyone from teenage bloggers to huge companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Disney use it for their websites every day.

    Step One: Hosting Service

    First we need a place to put our website. As mentioned before, there are various ways to do this. Most of which cost a small amount of money. If you are just starting out look at a cheap or free solution. ASPnix has a $5 per month option, a $50 a year option or a FREE option on Linux hosting. Pick whatever makes sense for your needs and your budget.


    Click Order when you have decided on an option.

     

    Step Two: Getting a Domain Name

    If you already have one, you can connect it to your new hosting service for free. Go right ahead and skip this part.

    On the other hand, if you don’t already have a domain name than you might want to spend a couple dollars to buy one to get started. A domain name is the way people will find your site. Try to get one that is easy to remember and isn’t already taken. Different domain names have different prices ranging from a few dollars up to $20 or $30 sometimes. Again, pick whats right for you.

    Afterwards, finalize the process. Check out and pay if you bought anything.

    In the image below I chose to buy a domain name for $20.00 for 1 year.

    Step 3: WordPress Installation

    After you log in to your account for the first time, you will see the client area. This is the very first screen you will see.

    As you can see, there is still one more step. For security purposes you need to open your email and verify yourself. Afterwards comes installing WordPress.

    WordPress is software intended to make your website building experience quick and easy. It was originally designed to help bloggers build attractive websites quickly with minimal frustration. Installing WordPress is actually the easiest part of this tutorial.

    Below is a tutorial video of WordPress being fully installed in 1 minute and 10 seconds flat.

    That’s it. Welcome to your new home on the internet.

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  • SmarterMail Upcoming Maintenance

    No comments January 26th, 2018 58

    This evening, Friday the 26th at 10PM MST we will be performing an update to the SmarterMail service on our primary SmarterMail server. This is a bug fix release with some minor improvements and resolves some issues that customers have reported, including…

    • An invalid message attachment filename causes a “This message does not exist” message in web interface.
    • Changing the interface language from the login page modifies the language for other accounts logged in on the same browser
    • Emails containing very large recipient lists were slowing down the messages area
    • In Firefox choosing the ”Not Now” browser notification permission does not redirect from the login page
    • Mail attachments with invalid characters were causing the email not to load
    • Added a progress bar for Mark as Read / Unread message actions
    • Unable to sync calendars in Mac calendar app when using EWS

    During this time, our incoming gateways will process and hold any incoming email and deliver them once we have completed the update.


    All dates & times are listed as UTC.

    Scheduled Date: 
    Scheduled Time:
     
    Max Outage Duration: 1 hour


    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our support department.

    Thank you again for choosing ASPnix as your web hosting provider!

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  • What is VPS Hosting?

    No comments January 26th, 2018 40

    VPS stands for virtual private server. A virtual private server is just like a dedicated server except its actually being virtualized in a shared host environment.

    That can sound a little confusing so lets be clear. Traditionally there are just a few types of hosting. A shared hosting environment is one where different customers share the same server. A dedicated server is when only 1 customer has control of a server dedicated to their own use.

    A virtual private server is both at the same time. The customer has full control over their own system but the entire system is running virtually in a server shared by others. If you have ever used VMware or Virtual Box you have probably familiarized yourself a little with the idea of virtualization but for those who have not had this experience I will explain.

    Virtualization is the process of running multiple operating systems on a single machine at the same time. In this way each operating system running from inside the hosts operating system functions just like an entire computer.

    By this method. A customer can have access to most of the benefits of their own server but for significantly less cost and difficulty. This method can provide added security, an extended level of customization may be available and further control over your servers software.

    Security:

    In this scenario, because you are not sharing a single operating system there is no way for anyone to potentially access any of your files

    Customization:

    With your own operating system at your disposal you have full access to your own applications. PHP, MySQL, etc. You can make changes to suit your own particular needs and necessities whenever you would like.

    Added Control:

    Overall, you would have a lot more control in this instance. For example rebooting your virtual server is simple and wont affect anybody else but you.

    For more information check out ASPnix Virtual Cloud Hosting.

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  • PHP, SQL – A simple introduction to Databasing

    No comments January 25th, 2018 40

    What is PHP?

    PHP is a popular scripting language for the web. It is most often used to add different kinds of functionality that HTML can’t really do.

    PHP can do math calculations well, Including dates or extra long equations. Right out of the gates PHP can do math using operators and operands. Most math can be done without any extra installation required. PHP core has almost everything necessary.

    If you wanted to collect info from visitors like cataloging addresses or allowing participation in a survey then PHP is the way to go.

    PHP and MySQL work together very well. When PHP is used with a MySQL database the sky is really the limit. You can place and retrieve information from the database, build a login system, automate things, make a customized photo gallery. You can really do whatever you want using these two tools together.

    One example is using cookies to identify users, or store other info. PHP is used to create, delete, or modify cookies.

    So what is SQL?

    SQL stands for structured Query Language. It is a standardized programming language that we use to manage, store and perform operations with our data. It started in the 1970’s and is used by web developers for scripts and database administrators to run queries or to analyze stored data. It became the standard in the 80’s. With the International Organization for Standardization (also known as ISO) adopting it in 1987.

    RDMS

    RDMS stands for relational database management systems. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, MySQL and others all fall into this category. Software like these examples are meant to help create, update or manage relational databases. These all depend on SQL.

    Check out Database Vault at ASPnix for more information on how we can help you backup SQL Server or MySQL databases.

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  • What is WHMCS and what can it do for me?

    No comments January 24th, 2018 45

    If you are a hosting reseller searching for modules to handle billing or customer support ticket requests WHMCS can be pretty great. It works with all the major payment gateways like PayPal, and Authorize.net. You can use all kinds of currencies, make your own promotions, or form invoices with WHMCS.

    Below is a list of most of optional WHMCS you can expect to find as ASPnix:

    Coinbase Payment Gateway

    Using the coinbase gateway module will help you to accept Bitcoin payments with your WHMCS billing system. It uses the Coinbase API. Your coinbase wallet and its balance will be available to you from the WHMCS Administrator homepage as well.

    Braintree Payment Gateway

    With the Braintree Payment Gateway you will have a secure credit card gateway which features a 2.9% rate (+$0.30 per transaction). You can use it in a similar way to Stripe with the biggest benefits being the speed of deposits. Funds are deposited in 2-4 days. Stripe on the other hand is about 7 days. This is a great way to accept credit/debit cards directly from your customers.

    ACH Direct Debit Payment Gateway

    Offering payments through Braintree as a payment processor is easy and could be a little as 0.75% each transaction. You can accept ACH bank transfers from any customer in the US. Particularly helpful if your business takes in large annual payments from customers who prefer to pay directly from their bank account.

    Apple Pay Payment Gateway

    Start offering Apple Pay through Braintree! Payments are processed for 2.9% (+$0.30 per transaction). This process has an instant approval process. The benefit of this process over Stripe is also deposited within 2-4 days. Like others in this list, much faster than the 7 day period necessary when using Stripe.

    G2A Pay Payment Gateway

    This payment gateway module allows WHMCS billing to accept G2A payments. Particularly convenient for clients with G2A Pay and with the added benefit of NO MERCHANT FEE. It’s basically plug n’ play. After supplying your G2A merchant account info you are free to start accepting payments right away!

    Authy Two-Factor Security Module

    As you can gather from the name this module provides two-factor authentication to your WHMCS. Customers and admins can all breathe a sigh of safe relief. Authy is FREE for 30 days until the trial period runs out. Which is plenty of time to see if it is right for you. The pricing is pretty simple and FREE for those with less than 100 verifications.

    Twilio SMS Two-Factor Security Module

    Twillio adds two-factor authentication supported by its own text messenging services. SMS is a great way to add this type of security and Twilio offers a low cost solution. In the US expect to pay less than $0.01 per SMS message.

    Google Auth Two-Factor Security Module

    The name is pretty self explanatory but there is more you should know about Google Auth’s two -factor authentication… This is the same system that WHMCS offers for $1.50 per month, now with no monthly charge! This module is a great deal and only charges a single 1 time fee.

    Pushover Push Notifications Addon

    Want to send push notifications to your clients who use the Pushover application on their various mobile devices? Using the Pushover API now you can! Invoices, refunds, tickets, etc. It can even send administrators notifications if you would like, delivering new orders, affiliate activations, new tickets and more.

    OneSignal Browser notifications Addon

    This addon will allow you to send browser notifications to clients who allow this feature. You can reach out and notify your customers instantly! Supported for all the major browsers including Chrome, Safari, Firefox and others. New invoices, Paid invoices, Refunds, Payment Reminders, Support tickets and more.

    GeoIP Order Blocking Addon

    Have you ever needed to block orders from certain countries? With this tool you can easily prevent orders based on the geographic location of the clients IP address.

    Public Pay Addon

    The Public Pay Addon makes it easy to accept public payments. Especially helpful for groups sharing the cost of a of domain registration or other items billable in their WHMCS. Clans with multiple members sharing costs together will find this especially helpful. A public link can be posted on a website to accept anonymous payments or even donations to pay for hosting!

    Client Area Hide by Status Addon

    This addon helps to eliminate clutter from terminated services, cancelled invoices or expired domains easily and simply. Customers will be able to hide anything in their way.

    Check out these modules and more at ASPnix WHMCS Modules

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