Web Hosting Blog

Apr 15

  • Created: Apr 15, 2014 10:09 AM

WordPress Is The Perfect Platform For Podcasting

Podcasting is undergoing something of a renaissance. It’s always been popular among a certain demographic, but in the last couple of years, podcasting has gained mainstream acceptance. The number of high-quality podcasts has grown. Traditional media outlets have jumped on the podcasting bandwagon. Skype and Google Hangouts have made creating video and audio podcasts with multiple guests relatively straightforward.

Advertisers now recognize the value of podcast audiences. They are usually smaller than those of traditional media outlets, but they are highly targeted. If you listen to Mac Power Users, advertisers can be confident of the products and services that will appeal to you. MPU doesn’t generate a big enough audience to justify a show on a national radio network, but it can generate a loyal international niche audience that advertisers will pay good money for access to.

Podcasting is also an effective content marketing channel. Unlike text, podcasts are a passive medium that don’t soak up all of a listener’s attention. If a business is capable of creating a podcast that offers valuable information presented by charismatic personalities, it’s likely to be greeted more enthusiastically than yet another white paper or ebook. Read more

Posted in: WordPress / Tagged: ,
Apr 9

  • Created: Apr 9, 2014 5:07 PM

Heartbleed Update

You’ve possibly heard about the OpenSSL exploit (commonly referred to as “Heartbleed”) affecting many web servers across the world.

We at Nexcess wanted to update you on what we are doing to address the issue.

We have already patched any of our servers that could have been affected. For more details about the patch, please see our blog post from yesterday:

http://blog.nexcess.net/2014/04/08/cve-2014-0160-heartbleed-patched-on-nexcess-systems/

Since there is no way to detect if a site had any data exploited due to this recent OpenSSL vulnerability, if you purchased the SSL certificate through Nexcess, we are going through all affected servers and automatically submitting a re-key request on your behalf. All you need to do is validate the ssl re-key request when you receive the SSL validation email.

Please note, other clients are also requesting re-keys, so it might be a few days before the certificate is re-keyed and installed. We appreciate your patience in this process as our SSL vendors are also dealing with a high volume of re-keys at this time.

If you did not purchase the SSL through Nexcess, you will need to contact your SSL vendor and ask them to re-key the certificate for you. We will then be happy to install the re-keyed certificate if you need assistance doing so.

Once your SSL certificate has been re-keyed and installed, we then suggest changing your passwords (and not just on our systems, but everywhere on the web).

Please feel free to email support@nexcess.net if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in: Nexcess
Apr 8

  • Created: Apr 8, 2014 6:04 PM

March’s Roundup of the Best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento Content

March 2014 Blog Roundup

You may have noticed that the 25th anniversary of the web just came and went in March. Looking back at some of the old news reports and videos, it is amazing how far eCommerce, web design, and blogging have advanced since those early days. And as far as we’ve come, the next twenty-years will take us even further. That’s why it’s important to stay up on the latest news and make sure you don’t fall behind in a quickly changing world. To help you out, we gather together the best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento posts each month. These are the best from March, and if you’d like more great content on a day-to-day basis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know what you think in the comment section! Read more

Apr 8

  • Created: Apr 8, 2014 9:13 AM

CVE-2014-0160 (Heartbleed) Patched on Nexcess Systems

As of 1:45AM EDT on April 8, 2014, all Nexcess managed systems vulnerable to CVE-2014-0160 (Heartbleed) were patched. This security vulnerability is widespread with multiple operating systems globally and not a Nexcess-specific issue.

CentOS released an official OpenSSL patch removing the recently discovered vulnerabilities. OpenSSL was upgraded seamlessly. However, all services linked against the older vulnerable version of OpenSSL had to be restarted to apply the newly patched OpenSSL version. These services include: Apache, PHP-FPM, InterWorx and mail services (imap4-ssl, pop3-ssl, smtp, smpt2) and there was a very brief service interruption as these services were restarted.

The online Heartbleed testers such as http://possible.lv/tools/hb/ simply connect to the server and see if the heartbeat feature is enabled. The CentOS patch installed on our systems (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/attachment.cgi?id=883475) actually fixed the issue vs. simply disabling the heartbeat feature altogether. This means while the system is indeed patched, the online checkers will still show the system as vulnerable as they can’t tell if you are running the patched version or not since there is no known PoC to test against.

Apr 4

  • Created: Apr 4, 2014 4:31 PM

TLS 1.2 and openssl 1.0.1e Frequently Asked Questions

As we’ve upgraded a lot of our servers to openssl 1.0.1e we’ve seen a handful of problems with APIs or payment gateways. The companies whose API is being used say they don’t support openssl 1.0.1e and/or TLSv1.2 is not support and the server will have to use TLSv1.0. There seems to be a lot of confusion about openssl versions, TLS versions, and how they work. This blog post will clear up the confusion and help explain how to deal with APIs that are having problems.

What is TLS?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a protocol to allow two computers to communicate securely over the internet using encryption. It is frequently called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and the two terms are used interchangeably by lots of people.

What is openssl?

openssl is an implementation of the TLS protocol which is very popular with Linux distros. There are other implementations of the TLS protocol: NSS is used by Firefox and Thunderbird, Secure channel (SChannel) is used by Microsoft. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Apr 4

  • Created: Apr 4, 2014 3:21 PM

Integrating A WordPress Blog With Your Magento Store

WordPressIt can be difficult to publish audience-attracting content on an eCommerce store. Product descriptions are essential but they aren’t the sort of content that will attract a loyal readership. As Google becomes more sophisticated and social media becomes a dominant source of referrals, it’s important that eCommerce retailers get on board with content publishing if they’re to attract new customers and retain existing buyers.

While it’s perfectly possible to blog within Magento using add-ons like the Aheadworks Blog extension, there are advantages to integrating a platform that has been built with content publication in mind. It’s also possible to turn WordPress into a eCommerce store, but Magento offers levels of flexibility and functionality that it’s difficult to replicate on a platform designed for content management.

If a retailer wants to maximize both the effectiveness of their content publishing efforts and the efficiency of their sales process, an integration that makes use of both WordPress and Magento is the optimal solution. Read more

Posted in: Magento, WordPress
Mar 31

  • Created: Mar 31, 2014 3:18 PM

Facebook’s Algorithm Changes Impact eCommerce Referrals

Facebook and ecommerceMany eCommerce retailers labor under the misconception that if they share something on Facebook, it will appear in the News Feed of their followers. That’s what happens on Twitter, where there is minimal curation of streams. Facebook is different. The social media giant actively curates its users’ News Feeds in an attempt to surface the most interesting content.

There is no guarantee that content a retailer shares is going to be seen by more than a small proportion of its followers — especially if that content is deemed by Facebook to be boring.

The more suspicious Facebook watchers consider this an attempt to increase advertising revenue. Paying Facebook will increase the number of eyeballs that shares land in front of. That’s likely to be part of the motivation, but not the whole story. The “stickiness” of the Facebook site has been declining, with people less inclined to spend long periods browsing their feed and less likely to look at it at all. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Mar 25

  • Created: Mar 25, 2014 10:50 AM

Do We Still Need RSS Feeds On WordPress?

RSS Feeds and WordPress

Do you use RSS to read content on sites you are interested in? In 2014, it might be more pertinent to ask if you know what an RSS feed is. RSS use has declined enormously over the years. It wasn’t widely used in the first place and is now even less popular.

WordPress produces a couple of RSS feeds by default — one for articles and one for comments. Because they’re not used by many genuine readers and can be used as an easy way for scrapers to steal content, it’s worth thinking about whether having RSS feeds on a site is worthwhile.

For me, RSS feeds are essential. I’m a writer and I need to keep on top of lots of information from within the industry. RSS is the perfect way to do that. Every morning I can open my feed reader — Feedbin synced to various apps depending on the device — and see a complete list of everything that’s been published by the sites that I think are important. It would take a lot more time if I had to open every site and scan through the content. Read more

Posted in: WordPress
Mar 19

  • Created: Mar 19, 2014 2:20 PM

Tech Discussion: Modular Mobile Devices

Project Ara Banner

Mobile devices are a huge part of our current culture. This is evident from the widespread adoption in America and countless other countries. Cheaper, more affordable phones are being released to work for areas that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford $400+ on a mobile device. Prices are being driven way down in an attempt to reach the widest audience possible, because through technology like mobile devices, the wealth of all human knowledge is only a click away.

What happens then, to all the old devices that have stopped working, or have become obsolete? Typically we discard them, recycle them, or trade them in to be refurbished and resold. But, in the end, many old devices are simply thrown away. And when you consider why most of those devices have stopped working, it is because of one or two components, while the rest of the device still functions. That is a huge waste of money and resources.

So, what can be done to resolve this? Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Mar 6

  • Created: Mar 6, 2014 1:00 PM

Up Your eCommerce Retail Game Or You May Not Make 2015

Time to improve your ecommerce site!

I sometimes find it hard to believe we’re in the 14th year of the 21st century, but that’s what my calendar says and who am I to disagree?

A good many online retailers appear to harbor similar doubts. They enact this stubborn temporal denial by presenting customers with online stores that look like they photocopied a paper catalogue in 1998 and asked a developer to produce an online version of the same thing.

2014 isn’t particularly special in the grand scheme of things. Or at least I hope not — living in interesting times is said to be a curse. But 2014 is special in this respect at least: it’s the year that dozens of online retail businesses will fail. They will fail because they neglected to keep up with advances in technology and the expectations of their customers. Read more

Posted in: Magento / Tagged: