Web Hosting Blog

Aug 21

  • Created: Aug 21, 2014 2:28 PM

What Can Big Data Do For eCommerce?

Big Data and eCommerce

Big Data is something of a nebulous concept, and like many ideas without a clear definition, it’s been seized on by various writers and pundits as the next big thing. It’s easy to write endlessly about something when you aren’t forced to constrain yourself to practicalities.

The eCommerce industry is nothing if not pragmatic, ever eager to grasp new technology but only if it proves itself where it matters — on the bottom line. In spite of the hype, big data is having a significant impact on how eCommerce retailers are doing business.

Big data is exactly what it sounds like. Businesses have access to far more information than ever before. That data is drawn from numerous channels: social media, customer relationship management software, web analytics, tracking, logistics, and so on. But data itself is next to useless; it’s only of value if we can harness it in ways that increase sales, customer loyalty, and conversion rates.

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Posted in: Nexcess / Tagged:
Aug 19

  • Created: Aug 19, 2014 11:20 AM

WordPress Misconceptions: Do You Need A Custom WordPress Design?

Custom WordPress Themes

I was recently talking to a friend who wants to create a site for his small business. He’s a landscaper, and needs a simple site — perhaps a few pages to describe his services, a contact form, and a blog. As someone who is fairly knowledgeable about WordPress web hosting, it’s difficult for me to put myself in the position of someone who doesn’t know anything about it, and so it came as something of a surprise that he believed he would need to pay a designer to create a custom WordPress theme for his site. His business is new, and it would be significant burden on his expenses to hire a designer. He didn’t know that buying a pre-made theme was an option and was somewhat incredulous about the idea of using one, worrying that his site would end up looking like millions of others.

First, I’d like to clear up exactly what a theme is. In a nutshell a theme is a set of files that can be installed on a WordPress site to change the way it looks, and in some cases, the way it functions. WordPress is a very flexible system and can be styled in many different ways — you probably have no idea that many of the sites you visit are based on WordPress at all.

The sets of files that constitute a theme are created by developers or designers; some are given away free, some you have to pay for (premium themes), and some are created for a particular site — a custom WordPress theme. The vast majority of WordPress sites use either free or premium themes.

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Posted in: WordPress
Aug 15

  • Created: Aug 15, 2014 3:01 PM

Don’t Fall For ICANN Domain Protection Certificate Scam

ICANN scam

In a recent blog post, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) revealed a scam in which registrants of top-level domains like .com and .net are approached by fraudsters and told that they need to buy a certificate to “protect their domain”. Although the certificates are well designed and incorporate official ICANN graphics, the scammers are not associated with ICANN, the certificates do nothing to protect domain ownership, and the offer is entirely spurious.

Web hosting clients and domain name registrants should not pay third-parties for this purported service. Nor should they pay money to any organization claiming to be or to represent ICANN, which does not sell services to domain name registrants (the individuals and organizations that use domain names).

ICANN is a non-profit organization that was created to manage the databases that allow the Domain Name System to translate the URLs we’re all familiar with into the IP numbers that machines use to route data around the Internet, as well as a number of other services connected with DNS and Internet namespace management.

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Posted in: Nexcess, Security
Aug 12

  • Created: Aug 12, 2014 2:45 PM

WordPress 4.0 Beta Is Ready For Testing

WordPress Beta

Every few months the wizards who develop WordPress put out another release. It’s always an interesting time for WordPress users and watchers, who are eager to see what benefit the new features and enhancements will bring to their site (or, if you’re more pessimistic, what new annoyances they’ll have to deal with).

In this article I’d like to take a look at the highlights of the next major WordPress release, as well as how you can get it.

First a word of warning, beta releases are, by definition, under active development — there will be bugs, there may be security vulnerabilities. I’d strongly advise you not to upgrade your production sites to the beta version. There’s a possibility it’ll hose your site or break features.

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Posted in: Nexcess, WordPress
Aug 4

  • Created: Aug 4, 2014 12:40 PM

Roundup of July’s Best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento Content

July 2014 Blog RoundupAnother month has passed and we’re back with a new roundup of the web’s best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento content. July saw the release of both ExpressionEngine 2.9 and a new WordPress beta, as well as  the official announcement that Magento Go and ProStores will be shut down. And, of course, Germany won the World Cup. Knowing it’s hard to keep up with all the great content around the web, we gathered up those stories and other relevant articles into one convenient location. 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 if we missed anything important in the comment section. Otherwise, here’s the best from July.

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Posted in: Monthly Roundups
Jul 31

  • Created: Jul 31, 2014 3:55 PM

WordPress Basics: Combating WordPress Comment Spam

If you have a WordPress blog, you will get comment spam. WordPress comment threads can become a mess of nonsense comments and link spam. Luckily there are tools available that will take care of the great majority of comment spam, although bloggers will still have to keep an eye out, both false positives and false negative can occur.

What’s The Point Of Comment Spam?

The most common motivation for comment spamming is black hat link building. Google and other search engines use the number of incoming links for a page or domain as a signal for ranking them in search engine results pages. More links is better. Comment spammers use automatic botnets to seek out open comment threads that they can use to create a link. This doesn’t really work; Google have become smarter at figuring out what’s spam and what’s not, and WordPress comment links have nofollow meta tags on by default — but that doesn’t stop spammers from trying.

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Posted in: WordPress
Jul 25

  • Created: Jul 25, 2014 2:15 PM

Recent Exploit using Fake Magento Extensions

We are publishing this post in the hope that all Magento users can utilize this information to determine if their site has been compromised and take the steps required to correct the problem.

We were recently contacted by a client regarding a Common Point of Purchase Investigation that was initiated by a credit card issuer. These investigations are used to pinpoint the source of fraudulent activity reported by card holders. Our security team immediately began a comprehensive internal investigation to pinpoint the root cause of the fraudulent activity on the client’s account. Our security team found evidence of Magento core files having been modified to skim credit card data during the checkout process. The skimmed data would then be logged to a fake image file (actually a text file) located in the media folder, then the attacker would download these text files from a remote server.

Next, our security team began a scan of our entire infrastructure to determine if any other client sites were affected by the same exploit. We found a total of 39 sites (out of 15,000 Community and 1,500 Enterprise Magento stores) hosted with us, were affected by the same exploit. We immediately contacted all of the affected clients before their credit card processing companies had even detected a problem.

We have since cleaned all of the sites that were exploited and contacted all of the affected clients about the exploit.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are hosted with us and have not been contacted by our security team regarding this issue, then we believe your site has not been affected by this exploit. We are committed to the safety and security of your data and we take these issues very seriously. As a precaution, we are running hourly scans of our infrastructure to detect any further compromises.

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Posted in: Magento, Nexcess, Security
Jul 25

  • Created: Jul 25, 2014 1:25 PM

WordPress Vulnerability: Update WPtouch As Soon As Possible

Wordpress Plugin vulnerability

We’ve discussed WPtouch before — it’s a useful plugin for easily equipping a WordPress site with a mobile theme and touch functionality. It was recently reported by the folks over at Sucuri that the plugin contains a vulnerability that could be exploited by users without administrative privileges to upload PHP files to a server.

It’s a serious vulnerability that could allow the addition of PHP backdoors and other malware to a site — if a malicious party can add arbitrary code, they more or less own the site.

Users of 3.x versions lower than 3.4.3 of WPtouch are vulnerable. The fix is contained in versions 3.4.3 and later. WPtouch users should update immediately using the update functionality in the WordPress admin interface. Users of the 1.x and 2.x versions are not vulnerable to this particular exploit. Read more

Posted in: Security, WordPress
Jul 15

  • Created: Jul 15, 2014 4:43 PM

Creating Multilingual WordPress Sites

Multilingual WordPress

Even though the web is a global network, many businesses are happy to create an English-language site and leave it at that. In some cases, that’s fine. The burden of translation can be quite high, and if the market a site is addressing is fairly localized, then the ROI of internationalizing isn’t worth the effort. The US and Europe, most of the populations of which have at least a passing familiarity with English, have long dominated the online economy, but that’s rapidly changing.

South America, India, and China are quickly growing in online spending power, and companies that fail to address expanding markets are missing a trick. Sites that are targeted at the European market will generally find that their audiences speak English, but if they can find what they need on sites in their native languages, they’ll preferentially do business there, so the international nature of English shouldn’t be relied on.

Even within the US, providing multi-lingual sites is a good idea. The Spanish-speaking population is large, and with Mexico, and Central and South America close by, there’s much to be gained from providing at least bilingual content.

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Posted in: Nexcess