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Amazon S3 Cloud Backups

All web hosts claim to offer data protection and backups, but do you really need them? And which are the best? At T35 Hosting we only provide the best and include off-site Amazon S3 Cloud Backups with all hosting plans. Below you will find a comparison of the different levels of backups typically offered with your hosting.

Raid vs. Backups vs. Off-Site Cloud Backups

When talking about data protection there are 3 different levels and types.

RAID: Although often grouped with Backups, RAID offers redundancy, and is not a true backup solution. The way RAID works is that a single hard drive failure will not cause data loss. However, if a site is hacked or you accidentally delete a file, there is no previous revisions of the data to restore from. Nevertheless, RAID is an important feature and all of our hard drives run in a RAID-10 setup for maximum speed and reliability.

Standard Backups: The most typical offering by web hosts, this offers backups that are stored on a secondary drive in the same server. Although this offers restore solutions from a basic hacking or file deletion, it is a very mediocre solution. Situations of physical damage to the server or data center, hackings of the entire server, or power surges/outages will results in permanent data loss.

Amazon Cloud Backups: Included on all of our hosting plans, Amazon Cloud Backups are the ultimate in backup solutions. Accounts are encrypted and securely transmitted to the Amazon S3 Cloud for storage. Amazon, a pioneer in the cloud storage space, offers the most redundant and reliable storage solutions on the planet. All data is secured and can survive almost any catastrophic situation.

Amazon S3 Redundancy

amazon-s3

Website & Web Hosting Speed Test

All web hosts claim they are fast, but what does that mean? And how can a web host provide the quickest loading websites?

Web Hosting Technology

To have a fast loading website you need a combination of a couple of things:

Hardware: You need the latest and greatest in terms of hardware. Most importantly, for ultimate speed you need to be running enterprise-level SSD drives in a RAID-10 configuration. That’s something we do on all of our servers. The ensures that the data loading from the server hard drives loads without any delay. Traditional non-SSD hard drives can make websites load up to a second slower, which makes all the difference in today’s fast-loading world. Additionally, you need to be running the latest processors (the more core’s the better) and adequate amounts of ram. With enough ram, MySQL temp tables can be put completely into memory, increasing the speed of MySQL queries.

Software: Now all operating systems and http frameworks are made equal. We run a custom built Linux OS, with a custom optimized version of Apache bundled with FCGI for faster page loads, faster php executions and faster overall websites.

Optimizations: You can’t optimized a server to be the fastest at multiple platforms. For this reason, we custom build and optimized each server for each specific CMS. For example, Magento servers run a custom flavor of MySQL and are specifically built from the ground up to be optimized for Magento level queries.

Network: You can have the best hardware, most optimized server, and the best support – but if you’re hosted on a second-tier network, your sites will load slow. Our data center uses only tier-1 upstream bandwidth providers to make sure your site loads fast from everywhere in the world.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

So how do we compare? We pitted ourselves against the biggest web hosts in the world – specifically those that claim to offer the fastest hosting. In the end, the numbers speak for themselves:

#1. T35 Hosting 0.7s, 97/100, faster than 95% of all tested websites
t35hosting

#2. RackSpace 2.64, 75/100, faster than 60% of all tested websites
rackspace

#3. HostGator 2.97s, 62/100, faster than 55% of all tested websites
hostgator

#4. BlueHost, 3.06s, 74/100, faster than 54% of all tested websites
bluehost

#5. MediaTemple 3.37s, 73/100, faster than 49% of all tested websites
mediatemple

What’s the Difference Between Shared and Managed Hosting?

Shared and managed hosting are two of the main options available to host your website. Traditionally, managed hosting has been more applicable to a CMS platforms like WordPress and Magento where a certain degree of management is required for those that are not as familiar with the technical details of the CMS. However, a management component can be applied to almost any kind of hosting where the web hosting provider is able to provide extra support in setting up and maintaining the client website. At T35 Hosting, all hosting plans are “managed”, providing for the best hosting experience. Below is a quick comparison of regular shared hosting with managed hosting.

Shared Hosting

The most widely recognized kind of hosting, shared hosting is what you’ll find when you go to most major providers like GoDaddy and is often priced at just a few dollars a month. Websites hosted this way literally share server space with tens of thousands of other users, sharing the server resources between all the accounts. That means your site is using a piece of the disk space, processor speed, memory and bandwidth offered by the server while competing with tens of thousands of other accounts for the same resources.

While this setup is useful when you’re just starting out and your site is small, it can become a problem when traffic picks up or if another site hosted on the server begins to grow. There’s only so much server power to go around, and too much usage from any single user will result in slower response times or even downtime for others.

Perhaps even more importantly there is a matter of security. With so many users sharing the same hardware, if just one website has a problem with site security, all the others could be at risk. To limit this, shared hosting providers often put restrictive limits on inodes, cpu usage and much more. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help overcome the consequences of having tens of thousands of websites on a single server.

Managed Hosting

With a managed hosting account, you get what is often known as application-level management from the web host. Everything from the physical server to the programming is designed specifically to support a single application such as WordPress. That means the staff handling the infrastructure knows exactly how to take care of it to provide the best possible user experience. Additionally, the site will load quicker and more reliably since it’s on a platform specifically optimized for that CMS.

Managed hosting accounts typically have much less clients on each server to offer a more premium experience. Where most budget shared hosting plans will cram thousands or tens of thousands of clients on a server, managed hosting accounts usually have only 5-50 clients on a single server. This hosting environment can also handle a lot more traffic without sacrificing speed, making it a good choice if you’re using your site for business (where a slow or down website can cost you money).

Ultimately, you pay more for managed hosting than shared, but you get more in terms of speed, reliability, uptime and security. At T35 Hosting, we only offer managed hosting. This ensures that your website is fast, secure, reliable and always up.

How Much Would You Pay For The Front Page Of Digg?

Would you pay over $1,000 to get to the front page of Digg? Well, you’d actually need to pay more than that. According to TechCrunch, a “power Digger” charges $1,200 to get your story to the front page. With no guarantees, you put in a four figure investment and hope that your story fares well. Many have been using and abusing the giant social bookmark in an attempt to tap into some of its enormous potential. Being one of the biggest 200 websites in the world according to Alexa, Digg is one of the only ways that most webmasters have into making mainstream.

Digg however isn’t easy to conquer by yourself. The ability to get a story popular on Digg has turned into a market in itself. A story must have around 200 Diggs (no, this number is not exact and Digg does change its algorithm often) to become “popular.” Becoming a popular gives your submission endless benefits. A term called the Digg Effect has even been coined to express the aftermath of a popular story.

Automated systems such as UserSubmitter and Subvert and Profit have decided to take a tactical approach to the problem. Their system is simple: Diggers Digg stories while webmasters get their stories Dugg. Diggers get paid for Digging, webmasters pay to get Dugg, and the system gets a piece of the pie. Everyone is happy, right? Wrong.

Digg is left in the crossfire of all this exchange. A system that is made and run by people is being abused and spammed by stories that would otherwise never make it. Digg isn’t happy and neither are their investors. Having only a small portion of the users control a majority of the content poses a problem. In fact, Digg has recently banned dozens of its most active users. Their goal was to find people abusing their system – specifically with scripts and programs. However, they ended up deleting many users that have testified to never using an automated system in their life. These once loyal and active Digg members have been punished for doing nothing wrong.

So as webmaster, marketers, and bloggers alike – how should we go about to tapping into Digg’s potential? We can use automated systems and risk having ourselves and our websites banned from Digg forever. Website giants such as DigitalPoint have been banned and despite their best efforts, are still banned. We could always hire the expert from TechCrunch, but $1200 is a steep investment to make with no promises made.

There is one more service we found: SocialElves. Social Elves has connections with many power Diggers and promises to get your submission popular. At a cost of only $300, it seems like the most practical solution. Any catches? Well, there are a few. Since they do not directly pay anyone to Digg or use any automated systems, they cannot make just any submission popular. In fact, they admit to refuse most submissions. So you must have an interesting and “diggable” story before coming to them. That means no “get rich fast” schemes guys! They do have a money back guarantee – giving you $1.50 for any Diggs under 200.

Digg is a great resource and definitely something that most webmasters should try to tap into. If you have the time and energy, you can become an active Digg user and try to push your own stuff. However, this can waste hundreds of hours and take months. Alternatively, you can try your luck with SocialElves or another service. In any case, make sure to let us know how you do!

Have you had experience with Digg, SocialElves, or anything else I mentioned above? Let me know! Comment below.

T35 Hosting Updates

As some of you might have heard from our facebook page, T35 is getting a complete make-over. We have already implemented some of the new features (including web stats for free hosting members) and the rest will be rolled out with the new design in a few weeks. The design is being built from the group up with a great emphasis on the user experience. To check out the screen shots and keep up-to-date with our updates, please check out our facebook page or start following me on twitter. As always, any comments, suggestions and feedback is always welcome. The web sites stats just added to free hosting accounts was done primarily because of user requests. This is also still very preliminary, but we are also considering finally offering mysql on free hosting as well (also a big user request). As always, keep the feedback and comments coming!

T35 Hosting Facebook Page

Just a quick update about our new facebook page. We finally switched from having a facebook group to having a *facebook page*. This lets us keep everyone updated with news, coupons, offers, promotions, video tutorials and much more! Everyone that has facebook (and even those that don’t), just click below and become a Fan of T35 Hosting!

Geocities shutting down – another one bites the dust

Some of you might have already heard the news, but to me it’s still unbelievable. Frequent visitors of this blog might remember seeing a rewiew I did a few months ago about all the old free hosts and how most of them no longer exists. Geocities was actually one of the few that was still around – mostly because it was backed by Yahoo! and could absorb the millions of dollars of expenses they were accruing.

Well, even the might Yahoo! no longer wants anything to do with free web hosting. For those that were online in the 1990′s, you might recall that Yahoo! spent over $2.87 billion to buy geocities. That’s right folks, say that number outloud to yourselves. $2.87 BILLION dollars. Not to mention that $2.87B in 1999 dollars would equal well over $3 BILLION today. Ironically enough, the value of the entire Yahoo! corporation was down to as low as $12B earlier this year.

Geocities was one of the original web hosts, and was actually one of the few that was started before T35. I actually enjoyed competing with them over the years (as opposed to competing with Google and all the dirty tricks they use). Here’s the official and final word from the Geocities folks themselves:

Sorry, new GeoCities accounts are no longer available. After careful consideration, we have decided to close GeoCities later this year. We’ll share more details this summer.

Alex Melen Interview at Retireat21.com

I just finished an interview with Michael Dunlop from Retireat21.com, go check it out: http://www.retireat21.com/interview/interview-with-alex-melen-founder-of-t35-free-web-hosting

Some of the questions I cover in the interview include:

– Tell us about your main project, T35 Hosting ? Why did you launch T35 Hosting ? Where are you at now with T35 Hosting ?
– I understand that you have over 600,000 free hosting customers and a few thousand paid hosting customers, what advice would you give a young entrepreneur trying to build a membership of any kind?
– Your website has an incredible today’s alexa ranking of 7000! How have you been able to achieve such a high rate of traffic? What advice would you give a young entrepreneur trying to market their website?
– Why should people use T35 over any other FREE host? What do you offer that makes your service better than your competition?
– Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
– What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Tripod Free Hosting Closes Down

An email I received from tripod this morning:

Dear User,
As announced on the 26th of November 2008 the portal and webhosting activities of the Lycos Europe GmbH will be discontinued. Unfortunately, the free hosting service Tripod is effected. For this reason we are hereby terminating your Tripod Account as of 15th February 2009. Until the 15th February you can use your Tripod account and your Homepage as usual. After this date we will close your account and delete all your content which was stored on Tripod in accordance with legal requirements. After this date it will be ímpossible to view your Homepage in the internet or to do a Backup using FTP from your page because the content will be unrecoverably deleted. That is why we advise you to to backup all necessary data in the near future from your Tripod Account on your hard drive and if wanted to upload it to another homepage provider. Please keep in mind that we do not offer any support for the free homepages neither by phone nor by email for upcoming questions. Because of this reason we created a short description how to backup your data. We regret having to take this step and we want to thank you for your confidence in the past. Currently, we are still working on finding a solution to provide you the service through another provider. If we should succeed in doing so, we will inform you within the next 4 weeks. But as this is currently doubtful, we would like to ask you to assume the end of the service. Despite the sad news we wish you and your family a successful 2009.
Best wishes,
Your Lycos Tripod Team

For those who read my “What happened to free web hosting?” post from last year, Tripod was one of the few that was actually still around and operating. I guess I spoke too soon though. Although I haven’t used my tripod account in half a decade, it’s still sad to see another iconic 90′s free web host close it’s doors.

*UPDATE* I am still trying confirm if this applies to all of tripod, or only the European operations (tripod.co.uk). If anyone knows, please feel free to chime in.

4 Things Your Web Host Doesn’t Want You To Know

Looking for a web host for your website? Ever feel like some of the things being promised are far fetched? Check this list to see if your host has done this to you! And if they have: run, don’t walk.. get far far away! There are plenty of web hosts in the market to not waste your time and money with the bad ones.

1. WE OFFER TERABYTES OF SPACE.. ALL FOR $1.. WE PROMISE!

You’ve seen all the offers.. tens of thousands of gigabytes.. thousands of terabytes.. all for just a few dollars. Think it’s too good to be true? Well, it is. How do you think the hosts afford all that space? It’s a simple trick that is known as “overselling” in the web hosting world. Hosts sell 100x-1000x more space then they actually have hoping you don’t use it. And what happens if you start using it? Well if you read their terms of service, most of these hosts control your account based on cpu usage. At the same time, “file storage” isn’t allowed. So as soon as you upload more than 1gb, or get more then a few thousand visitors on your site, you will find your site gone. Of course none of the hosts want you to know this, so they hide it in confusing fine print and terms of service aggreements. I hate to say it, but mom & pop might have been right… if it’s too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

2. WE HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR DECADES.

I find it funny how several well known hosts claim to have been around for “decades”. Another one boldly states “In Business since 1988″. I hate to break it to you guys, but there wasn’t really such a thing as web hosting back then. I’ve been involved in the hosting industry almost since the beginning, and I know for a fact there weren’t any $5/mo hosts around in the 1980′s. Before believing a hosts claim, check the whois on the domain and see when they registered it. The funny part is that most hosts that claim to be more than 10 years old haven’t been around more than a 1 year! Obviously they don’t want you to know this, so do your due diligence and make sure you don’t get scammed by a fly-by-night host.

3. WE HAVE OUR OWN DATACENTER – THOUSANDS OF SQ FEET

Face it, no matter what web host you go to, their site has pictures of huge datacenters, thousands of servers! Unfortunatly, most web hosts are just “re-sellers”. Just people with some spare time that rent some space on someones server for $20/mo and try to re-sell the space to a 100+ people. Best way to check? Ask for the address and other information on their datacenter. The trick here is that many hosts will give you the information of their providers datacenter (who they are renting from!), but if you are persistent enough and dig around you should be able to dig up the truth.

4. OUR HOSTING IS ONLY $5/MO – BUT YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP UNTIL 2050.

I don’t know what it is these days, but web hosting used to follow the logic of “what you see is what you get”. Now you have everyone advertising plans for $5/mo, but when you get to their website you find out it’s $20/month! What’s the deal?? Well it turns out that you need to sign up for 2 years, 3 years or even 5 years to get the “$5/mo”. Is it just me, or is that not $5/mo? That would be $300/5years, not $5/mo! The worst part is that you usually don’t realize a host is doing this until you get to the final part in the check out. Do your research! Make sure when they say $5/mo, they mean $5/mo! Not $300 for 5 years divided by 60!