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  • What is VPN? Why use it? How do I get it?

    No comments February 15th, 2018 5

    The internet is still a pretty unsafe place. Hackers and other criminals are stealing information all the time, governments and big telecom companies are trying to pry into our browsing habits to control and capture what information we access. There are a whole host of unsavory things out there and a VPN is an effective tool to help protect you from it all.

    Public networks are where a lot of attacks happen. Notoriously, criminals lay traps found freely on public networks. Working remotely might be opening you up to a whole lot of nasty things. Your personal information, your companies private information, your financial information and your job are more often at risk than you are probably aware.

    So What Is VPN?

    A Virtual Private Network (otherwise known as a VPN) is a slick method in which a person like you or I can avoid the booby traps that seem to be everywhere now. They have become a standard security practice for many people in various industries but there is a real need for more people to learn how they work and how to protect themselves. Too many people are still vulnerable to easily preventable security threats.

    VPN’s have become the gold standard with big corporations for 2 simple reasons. VPN is not just effective, its also cheap. Because it is a dedicated connection and encrypted, even if a thief was able to capture some of your data in an attack it still wouldn’t make sense to them because they simply wouldn’t be able to decrypt it. Furthermore, a personal computers IP address is replaced by their VPN providers IP address. Meaning your browsing habits, your downloads (yes, including torrents) and what videos you watch are now anonymous. Want to watch a new episode of a TV show in another country but keep getting warnings like “This content is not available in your country.”? Simply switch your VPN to one with an IP located in that country and voila. All of the regional videos with none of the hassle of being geographically located within that countries borders.

    How to get a VPN.

    Establishing any connection with a VPN is essentially the same. You would connect to whatever network you wish to use and turn it on. That is basically it. Everything else is done for you by the client software. Companies like ASPnix offer premium VPN service for between .13 and .14 cents a day ($50 a year). The service just runs in the background. Most users don’t bother to turn it on or off again. There isn’t any change in speed or performance so nothing is really lost by staying safely behind the VPN all of the time afterwards. I use it myself and can’t say enough nice things about it.

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  • Stay Ahead of SEO in 2018

    No comments February 14th, 2018 7

    This article is intended to talk a little about SEO and some best practices I recommend. As the year moves on we might revise this post a few times. Check back again in the future to see if its changed and please chime in below in the comments if you would like to contribute at all.

    A key focus in Google’s algorithm will always be On-Page SEO. Because of this it is a great place to start in an article like this one. This type of SEO is necessary to provide context. Organizing your content and making it easy for visitors to navigate to other relevant places on your site will always be important.

    You can start by making compelling and descriptive titles. Although it may seem like a good idea to stuff as many keywords in as possible, be aware, the user experience must not suffer in exchange. Try and make use of simple descriptive keywords to gain the attraction of actual people and not just Google and its crawlers. Don’t forget to make descriptions and meta- titles.

    Would you read a newspaper without headlines? Don’t neglect this. Practice writing attractive headlines for everything. Headers and sub headers also give a lot of the context to your website. Try and use the H1 as often as possible for the header.

    Internal Links
    A little focus on helping users navigate better is certainly a necessity.

    Be Ready for Mobile Users.
    Mobile users make up 60 percent (or more) of the traffic on the internet right now. Some people have even voiced a concern that in the very near future Google will probably prioritize mobile friendly sites over the others.

    Furthermore, reducing image sizes, optimizing videos and making certain to design your page with responsiveness in mind will do nothing but positive things for your page and its traffic. Faster loading time can make a big impact.

    HTTPS is Here to Stay.
    SSL certificates are easy to install and there are free options like Lets Encrypt available. Google has been clear about how it plans on penalizing those who refuse to embrace it this year. With no real drawbacks to using it, there isn’t anything to lose. In the end your visitors and customers will feel safer on your website. Trust is especially valuable in E-commerce and that is what matters.

    Make Content
    The last thing you should do is make sure that you are making continuous original content. Even if your site has great search rankings if you don’t have any content people wont stay long or they will pass right on by you.

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  • Optimizing Images for Websites

    No comments March 30th, 2016 1098

    Images are an essential element when it comes to grabbing readers’ attention and breaking up long paragraphs of text. Images educate, emphasize, and elaborate. The more images used, however, can gradually slow your browser’s speed, increase the size of your pages, use up storage on your server, and ultimately increase the page load time for your visitors.

    The answer is optimization.

    The first thing to pay attention to is the image format. Most images will allow you to save them in various file picturesformats. Typically JPEG or PNG are used for the web. JPEGs are prime for photographs as they compress the colors well and don’t lose quality. PNG works better with screenshots or graphic images. Because of PNG’s higher compression quality, however, those files will be larger. Sometimes this payoff is worth it for the clear quality. Even though GIFs are usually used for animated files, the format also can be used for low-quality pictures with few colors or smaller files. Avoid putting larger pictures in GIF format, as this usually significantly reduces the quality.

    Another aspect to note is which category the image compression is: lossy or lossless. A lossy compression loses quality while taking up a small amount of space. Lossless gives you the exact quality of the original image but uses a greater amount of memory.

    JPEG = Lossy

    PNG = Lossless

    GIF = Lossless

    Most graphic editing applications allow you to save your image for the internet, usually labeled something like “save for web & devices.” You want to select the lowest size possible without losing image quality. Try to keep your images under 70kb.

    Decorative images such as buttons, banners, and borders can take up more space than you can afford. Avoid this by putting simple patterns in GIF or PNG-8 format to reduce the overall size. Look for areas where you can replace pictures (such as colored sections or backdrops) with CSS styling. Are you using a wallpaper background image? Try playing around with the size. There is usually a bit of wiggle room between how much you can decrease the size before it starts visibly decreasing the quality as well. A neat trick is to crop the center of the background image out or replace it with a filled color. This will reduce the size considerably and, as long as the content covers the center, your viewers will not notice a difference!

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  • Minecraft Update for Duel-Wielding

    No comments March 8th, 2016 1018

    minecraftMinecraft Update 1.9 now allows your character to fully utilize both arms. This might not sound like much, but it will dramatically enhance your method of playing. Now you can grasp a sword in one hand and a shield in the other or dig tunnels while placing a road. This will simplify the building process and allow for more efficient multi-tasking, eliminating the need to toggle between tools for simple tasks.

    As you try this out for yourself, note that the system recognizes a main hand and an off-hand. The automatic setting is the right hand for the main and the left for the off-hand, but this can be switched under Skin Customization for those who favor playing left-handed.

    This is useful in more than just combat situations, where it provides convenience and efficiency. A user can also utilize the dual wielding option during eating, mining, and building.

    How does this work? On the bottom right side of the player avatar, you will find a slot with a shield outline, which represents the off-hand slot. Anything you place there should appear in your character’s left hand (on the default setting). For speedy use, press “F” to equip your left-hand and switch items out of your inventory into that hand.

    You can use the item in your off-hand while your right hand is empty or unusable. The main hand always takes priority. Two actions cannot be completed simultaneously, as there is always a slight delay between using the first and second hand. While empty, the off-hand is invisible in first-person.

    This update is exciting and useful. It does remain optional, as you can choose to ignore the addition of the off-hand and play as before. The choice stays up to the player to decide what is the most convenient and useful method to employ.

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  • News Popup

    Comments Off on News Popup February 12th, 2012 1799

    October – We are very proud to be one of the first hosting providers to offer SQL Server 2017 on all Windows-based hosting packages!

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