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Why Web Hosting Support is a Key Factor in Selecting a Service Provider

When evaluating web hosting providers, there are many common factors educated customers use to make a final purchase decision.

  • Monthly service fees
  • Reputation for reliability, security, and performance
  • Variety of service options, such as Dedicated Server, Cloud and Virtual
  • Service availability in their region
  • Value-added options, such as backups, DDoS protection, and administrative consoles, such as cPanel
  • Third party-certifications, and/or validation of expertise

Beyond these important characteristics, hosting providers need to be extremely focused on delivering knowledgeable, friendly, fast customer support. Hosting companies can have the most sophisticated technology, and the best data centers in the world, if they aren’t willing to invest in the people to help clients make the best use of their services, they won’t be able to survive in the marketplace.

Reliability and Peace of Mind

If your website, or customer facing application goes down over the weekend, your reputation can be damaged. You may be making changes to your application, or upgrading software when the outage occurs, however you don’t want your clients to experience productivity loss any more than you want to suffer it yourself. Server Mania’s support fleet has received rave reviews from customers, and they have earned every compliment.

Providing fast, knowledgeable advice on deploying your applications and data is table stakes for a hosting service provider. Hosting clients want to have multiple channels to contact their hosting provider including:

  • Online chat
  • Phone
  • e-mail
  • Support tickets
  • Social media

Your hosting provider should be able to provide assistance to both technical and non-technical clients. Getting lost in a bunch of industry jargon is no fun for anyone. You want to focus on your business, and leave the burden of managing the technical details to the hosting provider.

Database Hosting

The value in your hosted database isn’t the application itself, it is the information which resides within the application. You don’t want to regret the decision you make of the company you entrust with your data. Server Mania has expertise with a number of database apps on the Linux and Windows platforms. Just with a great sports team, our support fleet has depth and breadth of experience, ensuring we can deploy and maintain your environment with ease.

Small Business to Enterprise Hosting

Whether your business has contracted with a hosting provider to host a blog, or a cluster of dedicated servers, your services are important to your growing business. Treating small businesses with the same level of urgency as a large company is critical. Our Service Level Agreements are guaranteed at one hundred percent across the board, not just for select clients.

As your business grows, and hosting requirements get more demanding, you want to have a hosting provider that can scale their services up to meet your needs. Our support team can scale your services quickly and easily, without interruption. Your online business web presence is open 24 x 7 x 365, so you want to be sure your hosting company has a support team which can address your needs any time of day or night, all year round.

Supporting Technology Service Professionals

Should professional services be your core business, and offering managed servers or cloud hosting be your goal, establishing a reseller relationship with the right hosting provider could make or break your company’s reputation. When you talk to our support agents, they have the expertise and resources to address your concerns with agility, speed and confidence.

Beyond the responsiveness and skill of support agents, having access to mobile and user friendly monitoring and deployment tools can make you look like a hero to your clients. Having a reliable hosting provider you can depend on, which has certifications such as PCI and SSAE 16 is a lucrative relationship to have in this highly competitive, and rapidly evolving industry.

If you are looking for a hosting provider with unrivalled live support, and effective self-service options, contact Server Mania. We deliver more than just hosting. Server Mania is Hosting Empowered.

 

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New Dedicated Server Hosting Services from Coast to Coast

Server Mania has been extremely successful over the past several years, and demand for our Dedicated Server hosting services has been particularly high.

To deliver the sort of secure, scalable, high availability services our customers have come to expand, Server Mania is pleased to announce we’ll be expanding our services in data centers across the United States. Our services are expanding to data centers in:

  • New York
  • Dallas
  • San Jose
  • Seattle

These data centers provide the network infrastructure availability,  24x7x365 support and Enterprise-grade security which enables us to provide 100% Service Level Agreements to our customers.

Each of these regional datacenters have their own unique characteristics and advantages:

New York City

nycOur east coast datacenter in New Jersey, just across the bridge from New York City enables Server Mania to provide ultra low latency services to financial services companies. The demand to support high transaction volumes for firms such as foreign exchange traders requires top tier bandwidth and security. Our strategic technology partnerships with hardware, software and services vendors, and the breadth of our expertise has earned the trust of our clients in this region. Expanding our dedicated server hosting portfolio to financial markets, and trading firms in this area is an important step in the evolution of Server Mania.

Our New York data facility meets the demands of New York area business including:

  • Redundant backup power and telecommunications services
  • The highest security for both physical and electronic environments – around the clock, every day of the year
  • Strategically located near airports
  • Equipped with innovative cooling equipment and high density cabinets and cages

Dallas

dllasThe Server Mania datacenter facilities in Northern Texas will allow us to scale up the level of services we provide to business in industries such as:

  • Advertising, mobile, and digital marketing services providers
  • Mobile, console and online game developers

Our Dallas-Fort Worth facility will provide us with the opportunity to expand our dedicated server offerings to the Central and Southern United States region, as well as the ability to serve clients in Central America. We have also equipped the best possible security safeguards, redundant power and network services to ensure  high availability, data privacy and the level of service you would expect from a top tier hosting provider.

San Jose

SJNorthern California is home to many technology startups and large, established corporations such as Google, Samsung’s North American headquarters and many fast growing Silicon Valley startups. San Jose’s transformation into a key tech hub in Silicon Valley makes the city a great location for Server Mania to expand our dedicated server offerings.

Like our other data centers, our San Jose facility is equipped with the best network connectivity, security and storage equipment. These four combined facilities are ideal for large companies which require VPS delivery from multiple locations.

Seattle

seaThe northwestern United States is home to corporate giants such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon and a number of Seattle e-commerce startups. Our Washington state datacenter also has been equipped with the best bandwidth the state has to offer, high density racks of hardware and multiple layers of physical and digital security. We will also be able to serve clients in western Canada such as Vancouver and Calgary, as well as companies in Asia from this data center.

Seattle is home to a number of mobile application developers and mobile advertising firms, and by expanding our dedicated hosting in this region, we will be able to serve more customers. We have established our Seattle data center in a facility with almost twenty thousand square feet of office and racking space.

Server Mania is proud of how we have been able to provide secure, reliable dedicated server hosting services at affordable prices over the past several years. The expansion of our services across the United States will empower us to deliver services to more clients, not only within the USA, but to customers around the world. If you are looking to partner with a hosting provider with the expertise required to meet the needs of your growing business, contact Server Mania today!

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Intel® Xeon® Processor D-1540 to Increase Performance and Scalability

Cabinets ready to house our new Xeon D-SeriesServer Mania is pleased to announce we’ll soon be providing a new tier of hosting services on the powerful Intel Xeon D-1540 processors. They are guaranteed to provide faster services for clients, while using less power. The D-1500 series is the first Intel Xeon System on a Chip. (SoC)

Keep your eyes (and e-mail inbox) open for further announcements from us on the availability of the new services offering, scheduled to debut before August 15th!

The eight processor D-1540 includes direct integration on the chip to functions such as:

  • I/Os
  • Intel Ethernet
  • Drivers
  • BIOS
  • Firmware

We feel the D-1540 is ideal for cloud server hosting, and our dedicated server hosting services, as they are made for dense, compact form factors. They run with less heat than older Intel processors, and have data security features built in. Other features Intel has paced into their Xeon Processor D family include:

  • Up to 128 GB of Memory
  • Intel virtualization technology built-in
  • Server class Reliablity, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) to ensure your data is there when you need it
  • Intel platform storage extensions

The D-1540, as you will see in the comparison chart below, the D-1540 runs on about half of the power of the E3-1240 and significantly lower than the E5-1620. Bringing servers with these processors into our Server Mania data centers provides us with the opportunity to offer a higher level of service to our clients, and more value.

Intel recommends the Xeon D-1540 be deployed for a variety of workloads, including

  • Dynamic web serving
  • Dedicated web hosting
  • Warm storage
  • Network routing

Check out how the new D-1540 powered servers line compare to the processors powering our existing servers, which are already very reliable, secure and configured for high performance!

Comparison Chart Intel Xeon D-1540 @ 2.00GHz Intel Xeon E5-1620 v2 @ 3.70GHz Intel Xeon E3-1240 v3 @ 3.30GHz
 Data from:  CPUBenchmark.net
Socket Type FCBGA1667 FCLGA2011 LGA1150
CPU Class Server Server Server
Clockspeed 2.0 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.3 GHz
Turbo Speed Up to 2.6 GHz Up to 3.9 GHz Up to 3.7 GHz
# of Physical Cores 8 (2 logical cores per physical) 4 (2 logical cores per physical) 4 (2 logical cores per physical)
Max TDP 45W 130W 80W
 CPU Mark Rating  11,164  9,507  9,288
# of Samples 6 154 323
Single Thread Rating 1434 1920 2096
CPU Mark 11164 9507 9288

If you are looking for hosting services, stay tuned and make sure you add ServerMania’s newsletter e-mail address to your safe senders list, or if you’re not on our distribution list, you’ll want to be on it as soon as you can! You’ll want to keep informed about the availability of hosting services on these high availability servers!

We’re preparing a contest to offer a select few clients great savings opportunities on pre-orders of our blazing fast, extremely reliable hosting services on the D-1540 platform. Of course, you will also get the excellent support and services ServerMania clients ave come to expect when contracting with us.

Intel’s next generation D-1540 processors will only be installed on high end dedicated servers, and we’ll be raising the bar again on hosting services, with our 100 percent Service Level Agreements!

Contact Server Mania today, to get in early on these services, as they are sure to be in high demand!

 

 

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Why You Should Consider Dedicated Hosting Following the Windows 2003 End of Support

5204579078_2cd4b50b27_mOn July 14th, the long anticipated Windows Server 2003 end of support (EOS) date came and went. If you are one of the many companies that are still running your hardware on the operating system, there are many good reasons you should consider migrating your data to a dedicated server hosting provider.

Microsoft took a long time to call an end to patching and supporting Windows 2003. Following the EOS of Windows XP, and the results of that move, you can’t blame Microsoft for making the same move on WS2003.

Not only has the Redmond, WA software giant stopped creating patches for the server OS, they will also stop issuing warnings about known vulnerabilities. They gave customers long enough upgrade to Server 2012 or another arrangement back in 2013.

If you are at a loss as to whether you should purchase new hardware, with enough capacity to support Windows 2012, or if you simply don’t have the skills or resources to do the upgrade, you should seriously consider contracting dedicated server hosting services, and migrating your data to Server Mania.

Here are some of the many reasons why contracting our services makes more sense than upgrading your server hardware and software, and continuing to manage them yourself:

Security

Managing your own data center can leave you exposed to attacks you may not be able to prevent yourself, such as:

The constant monitoring, sophisticated equipment, and technical expertise required to keep hackers out of your servers are often too much to bear for small and medium businesses. There are many known WS2003 security vulnerabilities which won’t be fixed.

Why leave your company’s information assets exposed to known vulnerabilities, as hackers troll the internet, seeking companies that haven’t migrated?

Mitigate your risk by entrusting your data to our highly trained security experts. You won’t find any other providers who are confident enough in their services to offer a 100% up-time Service Level Agreement!

Eliminate the Burden of Future EOS/EOL Cycles

In a few years, the next round of end of support/end of life announcements will take place, and Windows Server 2008 will move into its “twilight years”. Keeping up with all the upgrades can be daunting, including

  • OS upgrades
  • Databases versions
  • Applications updates and patches

When you move your data to Server Mania, our Support Fleet can worry about keeping your infrastructure up to date, providing you with superior technical assistance, and helping you access your data where, and when you need it.

Many application vendors no longer support Windows Server 2003, or will drop that support soon enough. Scrambling to upgrade your server operating system and applications all at once is no fun at all, especially if your IT personnel is already working on keeping your other systems running!

Avoid Carrier or Vendor Lock In

With Server Mania, you can select from services based on Linux or Windows, and you can choose from multiple telecommunications carriers. Avoiding the high costs of powering and cooling your data center can provide a strong case for migrating your data to Server Mania’s data centers in Chicago, Atlanta, Buffalo or Los Angeles. If you need to provide data access to clients or partners in Asia Pacific, shifting from your own hardware to our LA data center is much easier for companies across the United States who are looking for high availability in China, Japan or South Korea.

Decommission Under-Utilized Resources

You might currently be running older dedicated Windows 2003 servers, serving data and content to a much smaller audience than your hardware is capable of managing. Under utilized hardware takes up more power, rack space and requires more maintenance than the value it provides. Migrating to virtual private servers can be a more efficient and affordable arrangement. Our skilled technicians can establish virtual servers for your data which will result in a more efficient hosting environment for your critical business information.

Don’t be paralyzed by the fear of what to do if you are still running hardware on Windows Server 2003. Opportunistic hackers constantly seek networks built on vulnerable, out-of-date server infrastructure. Contracting with Server Mania eases the pressures involved with unsupported operating systems, emerging security threats, and concerns over technology which is under, or over utilized.

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Game Server Hosting: Beware Denial of Service Attacks!

exchangeDo you remember the holiday season of 2014, when the mysterious “Lizard Squad” spoiled the Christmas for many PlayStation Network and XBox Live subscribers? It laid a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the gaming giant, and got away with it for awhile, until 50,700 charges were laid. 

Considering the boldness of a single Finland teen to cripple a couple of the world’s largest gaming networks, thinking your game server hosting service isn’t a target is extremely naïveThough the Lizard Squad claimed they executed the DDoS attack on Microsoft and Sony to punish them for greed, or for “lulz”, who is to say they won’t seek out and try and cripple your game hosting infrastructure? 

The good news is, there are a select few game server hosting providers like Server Mania that provide DDoS protection services. Using DDoS security appliances from RioRey, we can provide you with peace of mind that your game servers are safe from attacks like:

Protocol Attacks

Smurfs, Teardrops and Pings of Death are all types of DDoS attacks. Really. No kidding. Protocol attacks, which overwhelm servers, firewalls and other network systems with a deluge of traffic, until finally the technology succumbs to the pressure of the volume of fragmented data packets. Technology and internet/telecom companies are often hit by protocol attacks.

Volume Based Attacks

Just as it sounds, volume based DDoS attacks are “tsunamis” of traffic or data flooding network ports, and taxing network resources to their breaking points. Gaming, financial services industry and media/entertainment companies often suffer these attacks.

Application Layer Attacks

Applications such as Apache, OpenBSD and Windows are targeted by ZeroDay, or security vulnerabilities which are unknown by the vendor. Financial services companies and technology companies can be hit by these attacks.

It can be difficult to continuously defend against DDoS attacks, because the technology used to execute these attacks is highly available, at low cost. Without virus code, or malware to defend against, it’s not like you can configure an IPS, firewall or Vulnerability “sniffer” which can solve all DDoS related issues.

Need proof that Server Mania, by implementing RioRey appliances and other security safeguards can protect your game servers against attacks by reptilian attacks by ne’er do well hackers? Check out these details.

Game server hosting doesn’t necessarily get the same sort of security attention by some providers. Server Mania realizes even though games are fun, the business of running them is serious. Subscribers can be fickle, and an stable, reliable game hosting provider is table stakes for being competitive in the industry.

Our game server hosting in Buffalo, New York has DDoS protection at the perimeter of the network, where it counts. Floods of traffic bounce off the appliances, allowing legitimate traffic through. Those gaming subscribers of yours.

Don’t let hackers play games with the future of your company. Although some of the largest game network in the business has fallen prey to DDoS attacks, Server Mania provides a secure, reliable infrastructure you can rely on. If you are gaming yourself, and you’re in an online battle with a grumpy sounding troll, or an especially melancholy opponent in a first person online shooter, and performance grinds to a halt; maybe offer good conversation instead of violence. Sometimes hackers just want to make friends.

Some experts say one of the best ways to beat game server DDoS attackers is to stop treating them like rock stars. Much like the “Don’t Feed the Trolls” motto on social media, ignoring a hacker when they make attacks like the ones on Blizzard, League of Legends and other game server hosts can deny a hacker the rush of adrenaline when they log on to Reddit to check out the buzz.

If you were a psychologist, and had a game host DDoS attacker on your couch, you’d probably get some pretty interesting reasons out of them for wanting to take down online gaming activities. Besides frustration over living in their Mom’s basement, there’s:

  • Looking for the social media spike about their activity
  • That feeling the Grinch had when he stole Christmas – they want that warmth in their cold, dark hearts
  • The feeling of being powerful enough to cause chaos, financial loss and service operation of a big company. “Sticking it to the Man”, you might say.
  • Predictable traffic patterns: Weekends, after school, around Christmas. Unlike with games of stealth, high traffic times provide opportunistic hackers with the chance to blend in with a bunch of “good guy gamers” and make a sudden traffic spike seem like business as usual. Until it’s too late, anyway.

Game server hosting generates a lot of streaming traffic. Having the flexibility to  scale out the volume of protected throughput can save your company, or your group a great deal of money, frustration, and make sure your gaming subscribers are happy with the level of performance they can play on.

Regardless of whether you are looking to secure hosting for an massive online role playing game, sports contest, or a Minecraft server, you want the biggest losses to be virtual ones. Choose a game hosting provider which effective DDoS prevention, and maintain your subscriber base!

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How Foreign Currency Exchange Service Providers Benefit from Hosting Services

exchangeIf your organization provides services related to foreign currency exchange, you will have a deep understanding about the demands on your information management infrastructure in terms of:

  • Security, including protection against DDoS attacks
  • Availability
  • Scalability to respond to elastic demand
  • Backup services
  • The need for geographically redundant services
  • Clearly defined, performance oriented Service Level Agreements

Secure Web Hosting

Due to the sensitive nature of the foreign exchange industry, you want to partner with a service provider with

  • Robust, elastic bandwidth services
  • Highly skilled Network Operations Center management teams,
  • Certifications to comply with financial and technical requirements
  • A variety of database and operating system platforms to manage heavy transaction and traffic loads
  • Multiple layers/options of power, cooling, and/or telecommunications providers
  • Sophisticated digital and physical security safeguards. We protect the infrastructure supporting your data at rest in storage, and data in motion to and from your clients and other stakeholders.

Foreign Exchange Industry Experience You Can Count On

At Server Mania, we understand the vital role data plays for ForEx service providers. Events around the globe can cause sharp increases or drops in currency valuation. Having an infrastructure in place to be able to react to sharp increases in trades requires a strong partnership between your business experts and our hosting team to ensure you have the resources available to support your web applications when there are spikes of load.

Collaborative System Management Processes

Though you can rely on the NOC technical team at Server Mania to monitor your systems based on your contracted SLA, having a dashboard application yourself to monitor and analyze your systems in our data center provides great peace of mind.  Should you need intervention from our technical team, you can open a support ticket from within your Surge control panel on the device of your choice.  You can respond to business or technical trends you see occurring, and you can be sure of rapid response to your service requests.

If there is a natural or man-made disaster in a part of the world where your clients have invested in currency, you want your technical resources to be ready to withstand a sudden steep increase in the volume of traffic and inquiries to your systems. To secure transactions and data, you want the data center housing your data to have systems in place for:

  • Strong encryption
  • Intrusion detection and/or intrusion prevention systems
  • Security event management and logging
  • Backups, firewalls and load balancing

High Availability Services, Around the Clock

Providing reliable services to ForEx service providers isn’t sufficient to optimize technology from 9 to 5. You want your services to be delivering 24/7/365. Our teams across North America will ensure we’re just a phone call, support ticket or mouse click away when you need us.

Third Party Recognition, Your Peace of Mind

Service providers who meet the exhaustive governance and security mandates of industry regulators need to raise their game above and beyond “good enough” to deliver “acceptable” levels. We have achieved the regulatory certifications required by organizations including:

Though adhering to the exhaustive standards and practices required by these organizations is a lot of work, the value of storing your data in our facilities is immeasurable. By contracting for services in our pre-certified data center, your own audit and/or certification process can be expedited a great deal.

Laser Focused on Customer Value Unparalleled 100% Service Level Agreements

By serving leading services providers in the foreign exchange industry, we have honed our service offerings for business priorities common to ForEx companies. Dedicated servers, cloud hosting and other services provide affordable, scalable environments for currency related data. Our dedication to customer service is unrivaled. We are one of a select few hosting services providers confident enough to guarantee one hundred percent up-time SLA’s.

If you are looking for a strategic information management partner for your currency exchange business, contact Server Mania. You won’t find another hosting provider in North America who is more dedicated to customer service, service level excellence, and value for your investment.

 

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Web Proxies and VPNs: How to Browse the Web Anonymously

Anonymous Web BrowsingNo matter what your motivation for browsing the internet, having the option to visit pages on the internet without being “profiled” is your right. Many savvy web browsers use web proxies, proxy servers and VPNs to keep their web surfing activities private. You might want to hire a divorce lawyer, find a new job, or find out why you have that troubling rash. (‘Nuff said)

With many popular commercial websites, you are immediately tracked for attributes like:

  • Your location – both country and city
  • Your browser, operating system and device type
  • The pages you click through
  • Your unique static IP address
  • Your ISP
  • In some cases with corporate IPs, the company you work for

In many cases, this data is gathered for entirely innocent reasons such as marketing demographics or to personalize the content they provide you based on your navigation behavior. Some users of the internet don’t mind being tracked for these reasons, at least on the majority of the sites they visit.

Sometimes you might want an entirely “fresh” browsing experience though, and not miss out on content which is offered to new visitors, or generally not want the company you are researching to see track your activities on your site. If you want to get a wake up call on how much you are being tracked, check out the Privacy Analysis site.

There are three great ways to “cloak” your activities while you are browsing. Depending on the frequency you will want to surf in private, the browsing performance requirements you have, and the content you are consuming, you can select the services which best fits your needs.

Web Proxies

Web proxies from companies like HideMyAss.com and Anonymouse offer free services if you are looking to browse static content such as text or image content, and don’t mind your browsing experience being slower for the benefit of anonymity. Web proxies are best suited for desktops and laptops, and don’t really work with mobile devices. Free web proxies also use advertising. These services need to be funded somehow, and ads are much better than bloatware or spyware that some downloads leave behind on your device.

Web proxies are free, fast and cloak/protect your information. The proxy provider retains your IP information, and if subpoenaed by government authorities, they will have to surrender your browsing behaviors. Your browsing isn’t encrypted like with a Virtual Private Network service. Make sure the web proxy you select has a good reputation, as some “black hat” proxy services pop up out of nowhere and prey on unsuspecting, innocent web surfers.

Proxy Servers

Proxy servers from Hide My Ass , Proxynova and similar companies offer higher speeds, SSL encryption in some areas, and a more configurable browsing experience than with your typical web proxy. They don’t necessarily have the advertising web proxies do, but, as with web proxies, you probably won’t want to do any online banking or other private web content activity which might compromise a user ID and password. Proxies are great for content privacy, but there are still inherent risks involved.

The use of proxies is sometimes forbidden by corporate “acceptable use” policies. Check your employer’s policies on using these applications, as if you are caught with them, you may find yourself without a job.

VPN Services

If you want a VPN which offers the ultimate in

  • Encryption
  • Fast content up and down loading speeds
  • Freedom of which device you use to browse the web
  • Protection of the data you consume, as well as your credentials for sensitive data
  • Unblocking websites when you are a corporate network, or in a café/restaurant/airport and not want snoops to see your web activities, UserIDs or passwords
  • A secure “tunnel” between you, your device and the sites and applications you are using in a particular session

PureVPN was a pioneer in the personal VPN provider space, and they offer 256 bit encryption. Further, they switch your IP address frequently, adding an extra layer of protection for you and your data. With the recent news about the activities about the NSA tracking consumer behaviors, identity theft online and global hackers, subscribing to a personal VPN service can pay for itself many times over within your first few days of use. If you are travelling, you might want to consider selecting a VPN provider which has a VPN service offering based in your home country. PureVPN also has a business VPN plan with a broader spectrum of services.

Your activities online can be as innocent as watching a movie, researching a personal health concern, or wanting to log into your bank or insurance provider’s website without compromising your private data. Don’t take a gamble on your privacy and your credit reputation. Protect your confidential information, and browse the web with confidence.

If you travel frequently for business or personal reasons, there are increased risks to accessing private data online without a trusted VPN service, or at the very least a web proxy. Make the investment in a VPN service, or in some cases, a proxy server but don’t gamble with your private identity.

 

 

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6 Ways Cloud Server Hosting Can Help Grow Your Business

Cloud Server HostingThere are many benefits of cloud server hosting, which can have a measurable impact on increasing your profitability, and controlling your bottom line costs. Entrusting the maintenance of your applications, content and data to a reliable, trustworthy provider like Server Mania is a strategic investment you can make in your business, providing six strategic advantages.

1. Accelerate Set Up Time

If you have been using an on-premises server environment for your business server, you will realize the investment of time required to:

  • Rack and stack the hardware
  • Establish the telecommunications connectivity
  • Configure the environment,
  • Install the required web server and database software
  • Deploy your application or content management software

With cloud server hosting services, many of these steps can be provisioned quickly, with next to zero chance of error. Instead of tasking yourself, or your employees with these steps with a dedicated server, you can access web services within minutes, and provide your employees, customers, partners or suppliers the information they need much faster.

2. Offload Maintenance Responsibilities

Have you ever considered the time it takes to maintain your own network computing infrastructure, relative to the other projects you could be pursuing, clients you could be serving, or business objectives you could be pursuing? Contracting for cloud services provides you with peace of mind that your technology is being monitored around the clock, your data will be available when required, while allowing you to invest your time in addressing strategic, high value business responsibilities.

3. Access a Reliable, Stable Data Infrastructure

Estimating the amount of computing capacity, bandwidth utilization and storage requirements you will need in the future is difficult when you first begin a business or implement a new business system. Cloud server hosting offers growing businesses scalable services, so you can increase capacity as you require them. A clearly worded Service Level Agreement, guaranteeing 100% up-time ensures your data and/or content will be available where and when it is needed. Instead of having to provision your own backup systems, these services are bundled in, providing additional safety for your data.

4. Innovative Data Hosting Platforms, without the Management Overhead

You may have heard about the benefits of hosting your website or business applications on a Linux operating system, the flexibility of an open source web stack, or the innovative technical benefits of running applications on Linux. Despite the many benefits of Linux environments, you might not have the in-house talent to manage Linux servers.

Or, on the other side of the coin, you may company with a need to run Windows applications, but not have IT staff with the means to manage IIS, SQL Server 2012 or related .NET based applications. By contracting cloud servers, you can have fully managed environments, with all of the redundancy and security you would want if you were setting up your own data center infrastructure. If you have a team of remote employees who need access to your data, cloud server hosting provides secure, reliable connectivity with out the high costs of owned servers and the associated connectivity.

5. Collaborate Globally with Devices of Your Choosing

Your business may be small, though the cloud can expand the scope of your customer base exponentially. Deploying applications or content on cloud servers can be mirrored in multiple data centers to reduce latency, or have local redundancy. Cloud applications provide the accessibility to your data via laptops, smartphones and/or tablets, ideally if designed with HTML5 standards in mind, or with other Content Management Systems or languages such as JavaScript or C++.

6. Open Source Applications, Delivered as a Service

As with the Linux operating system, the benefits of open source platforms, such as the Moodle eLearning platform, are out of reach because small businesses don’t always have the skills to manage them. Server Mania provides open source database applications, and other solutions which makes technology work for your business, not the other way around.

Cloud server hosting helps you reap the benefits of the cloud, without all the work associated with running the infrastructure yourself. Instead of wasting hardware capacity, we optimize physical and virtual hardware for:

  • Scalability to respond to elasticity of demand, growing as your business requires more capacity
  • Security and protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • We take care of upgrading infrastructure hardware and software, and provide you intuitive administrative controls for the application layer

Beyond the management of the core technology, businesses need help complying with standards such as PCI, without having to dedicate a l0t of employee hours to understanding what the regulatory requirements are. Beyond the on demand technology services we provide, our consultants can take the leg work out of meeting these compliance mandates, and help you keep your mind on running your business.

The ability of cloud server hosting to make information management a predictable operating cost, without the significant capital expense of on premises hardware and software, provides businesses with a great opportunity for business growth. Instead of restricting your team to a local office, with a limited potential market for your products and/or services, cloud services extend your reach to a broader market.

Your employees can access your data:

  • When they need it
  • Where they need it
  • On their device of choice

Further, as your capacity requirements grow, your business momentum doesn’t have to slow for you to build up technology capacity. You can scale within minutes, and get back to business.

Need more proof that cloud server hosting is right for your evolving business? Contact Server Mania today, and we’ll show you how our affordable service options, and awesome support team can provide your business with growth opportunities you never thought possible.

 

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Mobile Friendly Web Design – How to Survive Mobilegeddon

mobilegeddon_readyAnother Google algorithm update has been rolled out. Has your ranking been impacted? Does Google find your website to be Mobile Friendly? If you aren’t sure, there are a number of ways you can find out if your Google ranking is doing well for smartphone users, or if you have some work to do. Should there be a need to modify the design of your website for smartphones, you’ll find a number of resources here about mobile friendly web design.

April 21st, 2015 was a red letter day in digital marketing circles, after Google announced it would be rewarding websites which it deemed to be mobile friendly. Unlike the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and Hummingbird updates before it, Google provided some detailed SEO guides about preparing for the date many inbound marketing experts termed “Mobilegeddon”.

Fundamental elements of a mobile friendly website include:

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD means a common web experience across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, where page content expands and contracts to fit the size of the user’s device. This means having adequate open space on your site surrounding your content, collapsible sidebars, dynamic images and graphics and other elements which automatically configure themselves based on the device which calls up your website. Many web Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Sitefinity and Drupal make deploying a responsive website much easier.

Mobile Friendly Navigation and CTA Buttons

Many consumers are making online purchases from smartphones these days, or making their decisions of what to buy in store on their mobile devices. Making it easy for visitors to find the buttons or links to get to the information they want is critical. Having high-contrast, thumb-friendly “Click-to-Call” or “Order Now” buttons is critical to reaching the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or yes, even Blackberry user. If you want to see how your website looks on most of these devices, use a mobile device emulator or, better yet, Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing page.

Robots.txt, Page Loading Speed and Content Overload

Some of the errors you might get from the Google Developers’ Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) include

  • txt blocking the Googlebot from measuring page loading speed
  • Content not fitting the screen,
  • Links being too close together
  • Text being too small to read
  • The mobile viewport (viewing area) is not set

If some of these errors occur on your site, fear not! Google provides you with advice on how to fix your site to resolve these issues. We checked the ServerMania website for mobile friendliness, and you’ll be happy to hear we passed!

If you are using one of the popular web CMS software applications, or e-commerce engines which are available in the marketplace, you are quite possibly already mobile friendly, or there may be quick and easy ways for you to adapt your site for smartphones. If you built your site from the ground up with HTML or a more “development intensive” website builder, you may have more work ahead of you.

One caveat to keep in mind about the Google mobile-friendly web design algorithm is that it really applies to smartphone searches only. It doesn’t apply to searches from tablets, laptops or desktop PCs. Mobile SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are small as it is, so getting on to page one is a challenge in itself. If you don’t have a site which is deemed mobile friendly by Google, no amount of blogging, back linking or social signals are going to get you on to “Page One Jr.”

For further insights on getting ready for Mobile SEO, the web presence optimization wizards at gShift have a great webinar on the topic. Servermania offers a number of Cloud hosting packages for websites and applications, let’s talk!

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Mobile Marketing for Your Business – 2015 Trends

Mobile Advertising StrategiesStatistics show, mobile web browsing and searches have eclipsed that of laptops and desktops. There are nearly 1.9 billion mobile users, compared to about 1.8 billion desktop users. Capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of mobile device users takes deep expertise. Mobile marketing for your business is vastly different than traditional marketing, digital or otherwise.

Not only are your prospects using a smaller screen, you also have to consider:

  • Environmental distractions around the viewer
  • The propensity of the ad to be skipped, ignored or closed mid-stream
  • Rapidly changing user preferences for apps and platforms
  • Declining installation of apps on tablets and smartphones, increased use of mobile friendly browser based websites

Increase Ad Engagement

Getting the attention of a game player, video viewer or other mobile user means getting your “hook” early and sinking it deep. The best mobile ads, just as with other traditional advertising media, include characteristics or attributes like:

  • Videos which tell a compelling story, either focussed on the product being promoted, or explaining key messaging from your brand
  • If you can afford it, connect a celebrity, popular music, or other theme into your ad which incites an emotional response from your viewer. Kate Upton doesn’t work on the  cheap!
  • Interactivity – give the viewer of the advertisement a chance to get into the driver’s seat of your ad. Some mobile ads are allowing the users to choose the outcome of a video sequence. If you can make the simulated use of your product result in a positive outcome, and not using it results in a “not-so-happy ending”, you can win your prospects over.
  • More funny, more money – Mobile ads with an ironic twist, a winning catch phrase or a knee slapper of some kind can help your ad go viral, increase engagement and make your ad more memorable. Instead of mobile ad impressions which get fast forward or ignored, viewers will stick around for a laugh and thank your ad for a little levity in their day.

Mobile Calls To Action

Whether you are looking to get your audience to download your app, click on your landing page link, or call your 800 number, getting a mobile conversions to paid customers means providing clear, simple methods for your audience. A clear “Book Now” or “Click-to-Call” button takes up very little space, but is more effective than providing a phone number or other “passive” invitation for a user to go to your physical or online store to take action. Taking as much of the thought process out of your call to action as possible can increase your conversions. Make the size, colour and wording of “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” buttons bold, unique and concise.

For big ticket items, this “hard sell” approach isn’t as effective. Have your mobile ads invite your audience to learn more about your product on a focused landing page on your website. Have your mobile friendly landing page welcome the user from the source page, and where it makes sense, tailor the content of the landing page based on the content of the website they connected from.

Optimizing on Limited Ad Real Estate

If you are working with a mobile display ad, you want every pixel to count. If your brand isn’t a

household name, focus more on getting users to react to your products or services, and leave your company name off the banner. If you can squeeze in a logo, or match the colouring of the advertisement to your website for continuity. If your brand is a compelling enough trigger for users to take action to find out more, swap out the focus on the CTA to focus on your product or company name.

Create a Sense of Urgency

When you are trying to connect with an audience on a mobile device, create a compelling reason to act now! If your ad contains a “mobile only” discount on a product or service, it can help to move more products, and test the effectiveness of your mobile ad targeting as well. Don’t leave it to fate for your audience to move on to an article or take action – instill the fear of missing out on a great deal or opportunity!

Since mobile users aren’t chained to a desktop, or burdened by a laptop, mobile marketing for your business means making the most of a small space to incite emotion, evoke curiosity, and stimulate excitement about your products or services.

Contracting the services of an effective digital agency is the difference between turning mobile ads into a goldmine for your business, or wasting your time and money on marketing which gets overlooked and can’t convert!

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