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Free vs Paid SSL Certificate

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate primarily establishes a secure link between the client and the server. When you send data over the internet, there is the possibility of the data getting copied or stolen by someone else on the internet. This is an undesired outcome, especially if you are buying online with a credit card or uploading private information to a government website. To solve this issue, almost all kinds of website owners install an SSL certificate on their website. There are different kinds of SSL certificates available but for the purpose of this article, we will only differentiate between free and paid SSL certificates. Let’s dive into the details.

Free SSL Certificates

A free SSL certificate makes it easy for you to have a certain level of security without giving away any money. This option may not be suitable for all, but it does suffice for the average blogger and a vast majority of other businesses that have set up an online presence.

Here’s what a free SSL certificate offers:

Security: With a free SSL certificate, you can make use of the https protocol.

Less management: Since the certificate is free, you don’t have to manage payments or renewals with the service provider. While it’s true that you have to renew a free SSL every 90 days, you can automate this process.

Improved SEO: https protocol is SEO friendly so if you have it on your site, chances are, your SEO task will be made easier.

Paid SSL Certificates:

If free SSL certificates did everything, then the paid ones wouldn’t exist, would they? There are good reasons why companies go for paid SSL certificates.

Lifespan: Free certificates need to be renewed every 90 days. Premium SSL certificates, however, have a lifespan of two years. The extended validity offers some peace of mind to the site owners so they can concentrate on their business, rather than on the security of their website.

Verification and Trust: There are many different types of SSL certificates out there. Some offer a unique validation level while others have their special purpose. With premium SSL certificates, you can also get your ID verified and obtain the green address bar; a sign of trust on the internet.  A green address bar is obtained through an EV SSL certificate. This certificate can only be obtained after a rigorous verification process, proving the reliability and trustworthiness of the site owner.

Customer Support: With a free SSL certificate, you are left on your own. You have to install the certificate yourself and renew it on your own. If you opt for a premium SSL certificate, you get the full service. In case your certificate isn’t working as expected, you can always contact the provider and ask for assistance. Similarly, if there is a security incident on your site despite the presence of a paid SSL certificate, you can claim damages through the service provider or insurance. While this is rare, it can happen and if you process a lot of important data, you don’t want to take the risk without insurance.

Conclusion:

In short, free and paid SSL certificates carry their distinct advantages and disadvantages. It comes down to your personal preferences as well as professional requirements. If you are just starting with an online presence, you can get started with a free SSL certificate and get things going. You can switch to a paid one as soon as you realize you need more security, or can afford better security.

Choose the right hosting provider

Choosing the right hosting provider and package can give proper satisfaction to you as well as your audience. Also, it can save money. Hosting providers offer several plans to their clients. So, think about your content, visitors, and services before buying web hosting.

Server

Which server would you prefer? Windows or Linux? Most of the websites are running by Linux bases web server, and it is easy to access. Now the question is, would you go for a shared server or dedicated one? This will depend on your demand. Small business or company websites run well in a shared server where some visitors can fluently access the website without any obstacle. But, if you are planning for something big, then choosing a Virtual Private Server or Dedicated Server would be the best choice. A large number of visitors would access the website easily.

Storage

Storage quality and capacity should be the first and foremost priority of choosing a hosting package. Your content will determine how much storage do you need. Two types of storage mostly available for web hosting. One is ‘Hard Disk Drive (HDD)’, and another one is ‘Solid-State Drive (SSD)’. For not having any moving parts, SSD is faster than HDD. In one sentence, SSD is lighter and consumes less process than hard drives. Choosing an SSD storage type based web server would be the best choice for your hosting plan.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the rate of data transfer process of a server. A good amount of bandwidth capacity allows users to access the webpage within a short loading time. Bandwidth capacity depends on your webpage quality, content, and number of visitors. For a new website where contents and visitors are limited, it does not need to have a large bandwidth capacity. But, if your website contains high-quality graphics, images, video, audio and downloadable content, and if you have a significant number of visitors, then you need to be concern about your bandwidth capacity.

Uptime

Uptime reliability is extremely important for a website. It means how long the server is accessible and operational. Uptime depends on server configuration and the machinery products that are used to build the server. A good uptime facility will provide uninterrupted services to your visitors. Ensuring 100% server uptime is almost impossible, but renowned hosting providers ensure 99% uptime service. Think about this before buying hosting services.

Backup

Backup is very essential for your server. Most of the hosting providers provide free monthly or weekly backup to their clients. For daily backup or to store the previous backup, clients need to pay extra money. It varies from provider to provider. But a paid backup service is highly recommended for a dynamic website, where information is stored regularly.

Security

Security is the issue where any sort of apathy may lead your website to unexpected data compromise and interrupt your service. Not only this but also it may cause permanent damage to your data and website. A highly secure and updated web server is a must for your website.

Importance of regular backup, how to perform it?

Backup is a regular process to keep your website safe from any unfortunate incident. The basic idea is very similar to a computer file backup process. We take backup to make sure our files and data are safe and this is true for web hosting as well.

Almost every hosting company provides backup services to their clients, whether it’s free or paid. Most of the companies store monthly or daily backup for a certain time according to their plan and policy. In many cases, those are very limited. The better option is to take regular backup or set your custom backup plan. This will depend on your website’s function, facility, and activity.

If you update your website once a week or month, you should take weekly or monthly backup respectively. For users oriented websites where many people are involved, and they process data regularly, a daily backup is recommended. Moreover, performing a backup before any update is necessary to avoid human error during update.

However, there many cloud-based backup service providers are available to perform periodical backup. They will take care of your data from being compromised. It is effortless and you don’t need to spend time on it. They will perform backup behind the scenes, and your data will be stored on a remote server.

On the contrary, if you are interested to perform backups on your own, you need to go to cPanel of your website first. In the ‘Files’ section, you will find ‘Backup Wizard’. Three options are available in ‘Backup Wizard’- ‘Backup/Restore’ to choose what is needed, ‘Full/Partial Backup’ to select whether you need a full backup or selected data backup. The last option is ‘Download’, and it uses to save an existing backup to your hard drive.

Here is the process in one line- cPanel > Backup Wizard > Backup/Restore – Full/Partial Backup – Download

Backup feature allows to download a compressed copy of the entire website which includes-

  • Home Directory
  • MySQL Databases
  • Email forwarding configuration
  • Email filters configuration

Four more features are available to select where to preserve the backup. You can select one from Home Directory, Remote FTP, Remote FTP (passive mode) or Secure Copy (SCP) as your backup destination.

After selecting the destination, click on ‘Generate Backup’ to start the process, and it will start working in the background. Once your backup is generated, you will be notified by email if you provide one.

You may need to restore the backup at any time. For this, first, you need to go to ‘Backup Wizard’ again, and there you will find restore option. It’s a very easy process to perform. Just select the file which you have generated previously and click ‘Upload’. Your backup will be restored automatically.

What is a cPanel and Why do I Need One?

When you buy a hosting account to host your own website, you need a portal to manage all the services that it offers. These services include emails, FTP accounts, creating sub-domains, managing databases, and many other services that are essential in the day to day workings of a website. Since not every website owner has the technical know-how to handle the backend of a website, it is important that the control panel, the portal one needs to manage the site, is easy to use. This is where a cPanel comes in. It makes managing the website so easy that even non-programmers can handle it.

Useful Features

Installing Applications

For non-programmers, a Content Management System like WordPress is a must-have. These systems allow people to create websites without the need to learn to code. With a cPanel, installing these CMSs is a breeze. Most of the time, you will have a one-click install service that will install the application on your website with a single click! The most popular modules in this category include:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • phpBB

Managing Domains

It is quite common for people to own multiple websites. However, you don’t need a separate hosting account for each website. One hosting account is usually sufficient for unlimited emails. For such people, add-on domains make it possible to host multiple websites on the same hosting account. Other important tools that are of interest n this category include:

  • Aliases
  • Redirects
  • DNS Manager
  • Sub-domains

Security

The security of your website is perhaps the most important issue you will have to deal with. Security issues come up more often than one expects, so it is vital that an easy to manage security system is in place. cPanel allows you to manage all your security details from one place. It offers the following modules for your website’s protection:

  • Hotlink Protection
  • SSL/TLS
  • SSH Access
  • IP Blocker

Metrics

Keeping an eye on your website’s performance allows you to make it a success. If you don’t know which areas your website is underperforming in, you are unlikely to be able to improve those areas. With the metrics modules available in the cPanel, you can easily read the analytics of your website, where the visitors are coming from, what errors are there on your site, how much resources your website is taking, etc. The popular modules in this category include:

  • Errors
  • Visitors
  • Bandwidth
  • Awstats
  • Webalizer

3 Common server errors and solutions

When a server could not establish a proper connection to process data, it shows errors. This includes- 404 not found, 400 Bad Request, 500 Internal Server Error and so on. Lets’ take a look at different common server errors and their solutions.

404 Not Found

This is the most common error among others. This is not a major issue or technical failure of a server. This occurs when the requested file, page or data could not be found on the server. This could happen because of both client and users failure to locate a file, page or data properly. If one file, page or data is moved to another direction, but the URL is not modified, this could appear to the browser. Not only this but also users failure to type an URL correctly may cause this issue.

Solution: Reload the page again and check the URL is entered correctly. For further issues, it is advised to contact the webmaster or site authority.

400 Bad Request

400 Bad Request is a HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) error response which is occurred in clients end. This happens when a server is unable to process a request due to syntax error. Besides, this could happen due to an explicit file size which crosses the bandwidth and other resources limit to process.

Moreover, an invalid or expired cookie of the browser can also be responsible for this problem. Web server identifies you via browser cookie and process requests through a session cookie. If accidentally your session token matches the session token of another request, 400 Bad Request could happen. Also, malicious cookies could cause this problem.

Solution: First, check your requested URL before going for further steps. If the URL is correct, then clear the relevant cookie. If this problem happens while uploading a file, try uploading a small file. Logout and log back in may give you the solution while using any user authentication form. Don’t forget to clear the relevant cookie before log back in.

500 Internal Server Error

Like above, this 500 Internal Server Error is another HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) error response, which means something has gone wrong in the webserver. When the server could not specify the exact problem, it shows this error message.

Solution: This is a sever end problem. So, users don’t have many things to do. If your site faces this error, then check your file permission first. Incorrect permission of PHP and CGI script may cause this problem. Generally, the right permission is 0755 (-rwxr-xr-x).
Check your .htaccess file if you are not using any common .htaccess. Custom .htaccess with error may cause this issue.

What is IP? Benefits of dedicated IP hosting

IP stands for Internet Protocol. Every device, including mobile phone, computer, laptop, smart television or tablet that is connected to the internet, has it’s own IP address. Similarly, a web server has an IP address. In a shared hosting server, all hosted websites use the same IP address. On the other hand, assigning a dedicated IP to a website means getting a unique address that allows to access the website like a domain name.

IP address is associated with the Domain Name System (DNS). In one aspect, DNS is a huge address book that contains domain names and IP addresses systematically. When we request to load a webpage through URL, our internet service provider looks for IP addresses. Then it sends a request to the server. After that, the hosting server provides data according to that request.

Dedicated IP is for your use only. This is a solo component that is tied to your website. Some hosting companies offer free dedicated IP included their plans. But, in most of the cases, those plans are highly budgeted. Or, you need to purchase your dedicated IP.

Why Dedicated IP for your website?

Dedicated IP is needed for ensuring better features for and easy accessibility to your website. It will give you a direct File Transfer Protocol (FTP) feature to access your server remotely whenever you would like.

Moreover, some web applications need it as an initial requirement. Without a dedicated IP, those applications will not work out. Though most applications will run smoothly in a shared IP address, you will need a dedicated IP for specific purposes like online transactions.

Besides, a dedicated IP is required for SSL installation. It depends on your hosting configuration, but in most of the cases, you will need it. This enhances your data transmission protocol security as well.

Furthermore, a dedicated IP is very important for personalized email feature. When you are sharing an IP address with others, there are chances of being blacklisted for their mischiefs. In such cases, Your IP can be banned and this can affect your mail delivery process.

Apart from these, dedicated IP can slightly boost your search engine optimization performance. Dedicated IP processes server requests faster than those websites which are subjected to shared IP. This plays a role in SEO capability. Though it is not a notable affair, it makes the difference when the data is in a big volume.

Finally, this is important to know that, you don’t require a dedicated hosting for a dedicated IP. These are completely different things. Where a dedicated server is related to your hosting, a dedicated IP is subjected to DNS. You can use a dedicated IP to your shared web server without any obstacle.

Secure your WordPress website

WordPress, the most popular content management system, is serving over 1.3 billion websites across the world. Though the core framework of this system is highly secure and always monitored by their security team, there are many things to do for better security. This will help to save you from any unexpected compromise of your website data by hackers. Lets’ look forward to add extra security to your WordPress website.

Keep your WordPress updated

WordPress releases regular updates for its content management system. Using an updated version of WordPress will give you extra features as well as security patches. Using an old version of WordPress may cause unexpected errors and the security vulnerability of your website.

Use a backup plugin

A backup plugin is highly recommended for your website. Several plugins are available by many developers in WordPress. Go to plugin options and search a high rated backup plugin for your website. This will take regular backup on a regular interval basis.

Think before using third-party theme or plugin

Always try to use the official theme and plugin for your WordPress website. If you need to use any third-party theme or plugin, please make sure the theme or plugin does not compromise in its security measures. We strongly recommend you not to use any nulled version of a premium theme or plugin. Nulled scripts may contain malicious code that is a major security threat to your website.

Limit flase login attempts

The best way of making safe your website from a brute-force attack is to limit your login attempts. Hackers try to break your password by trying different combinations of passwords. Using a strong password is always advised indeed. ‘Limit login attempt’ feature will limit the false login attempt of your website. There are several plugins available for this. Or, a web application firewall will take care of it automatically.

Make wp-admin folder password protected

WordPress admin portal functions via wp-admin directory. This is a secured portal of its own. Only site admin and authorized users can access this. For applying second level security, you may add an extra password to the entire wp-admin directory from cPanel. Remember, WordPress login deals with databases, but this directory password protectin is related to cPanel. Even though your database is being compromised, hackers would not allow to access the admin portal without that directory password.

Disable directory browsing

Directory browsing allows hackers to know the name, type, size of files. It will give an advantage to gain information from those files. This may give the necessary opportunity for finding vulnerabilities to exploit your website. Indexing all directory can save you from this. You can easily make indexes for all directories from .htaccess. Simply add Options -Indexes command to .htaccess file and it will take care of your directory.

Think before using pirated or nulled scripts

Forbes publish6ed, ‘On average 30,000 new websites are hacked every day’. They have also mentioned, a huge percentage of websites among these fall in danger due to pirated applications. Mostly these are small business websites. The unwillingness of using the genuine copy of the application is the main reason for it. There have other reasons like coding error, weak password, and server misconfiguration as well.

Now, are you searching for a pirated web application? Stop and think twice before using pirated or nulled copy of any web application. It may create a serious security threat for your website. Your website can be affected by malware. We strongly recommend not to use any pirated or nulled script by any means.

Premium web applications by renowned companies offer premium services, and you need to purchase those by money. They monitor security measures and release updates regularly to ensure your website security. When you are using any pirated copy, you will miss their updates. Any backdated application is always a good target of hackers.

Almost every premium application issues a unique serial key for each customer. It is valid for one user/website only, or it depends on providers plans and offers. However, Someone might find a way to modify the script so that it could be used on multiple websites. Firstly, this is unethical and unlawful. Secondly, there have possibilities that the person who has cracked this can inject malicious code or backdoor into the application. This will put your website in danger.

Furthermore, An application without a regular update is like a flowless river. Most developers issue frequent updates. They improve application interface, add features, and patch security bugs. Using pirated applications means being limited and make yourself an easy target of hackers.

Premium applications and services require money. If you want to cut costs, you may try free or opensource applications. But using pirated applications and scripts means you are taking poison knowingly. Be aware of it.

What is DNS? how does it work?

Domain Name Server (DNS) is a decentralized navigation protocol which allows us to access websites. It works like a directory that matches names with numbers. Here, names are domain, and numbers are IP addresses.

In simple words, we send requests to visit a webpage through URL. Then the browser transfers the request to the Internet Service Provider (ISP), and ISP converts the URL to IP addresses and transfer it to DNS. After getting a request, DNS finds the match webserver. Then we get the data to our browser. This is a complex process but it happens within the blink of eyes.

How DNS works

More specifically, two IP addresses are involved here. One is our device IP, and another one is the webserver IP. Our device sends an URL request. Later, it transforms into IP. Here, DNS works like a matchmaker and sends data feedback when it is a valid request.

Apart from these, four DNS servers are involved to perform a human sent request. They are-

  • DNS Recursor
  • Root Nameserver
  • TLD Nameserver
  • Authoritative Nameserver

DNS Recursor performs the first task of a request. We can call it a receiver. It is designed to receive queries from the client’s device through a web browser. Recursor makes additional requests to other parts.

After that, Root Nameserver resolves human-readable hostnames into IP addresses. Typically, the Root Nameserver serves as a reference to specific locations. Root Nameserver works like a translator.

TLD Nameserver performs the next task, which is the finding process. It searches for an IP address and hosts the last portion of a hostname. For example- in sudonode.com, the top-level domain server (TLD) is .com.

Authoritative nameserver is the final nameserver which processes the final task. If it has access to the requested record, it will return the IP address to the first process.

If we consider the process with a library, The Recursor can be said as a librarian who is asked to find a book. Root Nameserver can be said as an index of the library that indicates different racks of different types of books. Again, TLD nameserver can be considered as a rack of books. Lastly, Authoritative Nameserver can be thought of as a dictionary on that rack of different books.

Subsequently, DNS stores four types of records, and each has different requirements.

  • The A records require Hostname, IP address, and TTL.
  • MX records require Hostname, Priority, Mail Server, and TTL.
  • TXT record requires Hostname, Content, and TTL.
  • CNAME records are used when A record could not be found, and their requirements are similar to A record.