Posts by Patrick Coombe | All Hands Hosting

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Below you will find a tutorial on how to sign up for All Hands Hosting. Begin by choosing a hosting package. If you aren’t sure which package to sign up for, just choose the smallest one.

step 0

After you’ve chosen a service, next you’ll need to begin the sign up process. The most important part is to enter your domain name correctly.

step 1

 

This next part is pretty easy, just enter in your name and address, choose a password and make some security questions and answer.

step 2

 

If you chose PayPal, it’ll take you to this page. Just wait a few seconds and it will take you to PayPal payments.

step 3

 

If you have an account, enter it now if not sign up to a new account.

step 4

 

Once you are finished it will give you a transaction ID and you are good to go!

step 5

 

From there, you will get a few emails. The main one you want to look for is the welcome email, which will give you your account username, password, and name servers. Please note these for your records.

step 7

After that, you can return to All Hands hosting and go to the client area where you can log in to pay your bill, view your services, manage your affiliates, or open up a service ticket.

step 6

 

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As of January 3, 2016 All Hands Hosting has added automated backups to an off-site location to all servers company wide. Prior to this, we’ve been archiving and backing up data using our servers, but in the spirit of true redundancy we’ve added the necessary infrastructure to enable off-site backup as well.

Why off-site backup is important?

Think about something tangible such as family photos or a birth certificate. It is great that you have it stored in a safe, safe deposit box or even a storage unit but what happens if the safe gets stolen? Wouldn’t it be better to store a copy in your safe and your Mom’s safe? that way even if something bad happened to yours (or hers) you would still have another copy.

The same thing goes for websites. Anything could happen to any computer no matter who it is: Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft etc. Can an armed guard protect against an Earthquake or a sudden flood? The answer is no, nothing can protect from a natural disaster.

This is why we’ve implemented off-site backups. No one can guarantee the safety of their data at all times, so the next best thing is to backup the data in a totally separate location.

 

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This is yet another extremely popular and common question that we get from people everywhere and our #2 most common support ticket request.

Let’s jump right into things.

To begin, you must have the following:

  • A valid Gmail.com account with username and password
  • A hosting account with email / password with user name and password

We will assume the hosting account is a basic *nix server with cPanel access.

Create your email account

use domain email with gmail

Always make sure to use a strong password.

domain email gmail

Once setup, go back to cPanel and click on forwarders. You will need to create a forwarder from your company email to your Gmail address.

send email from domain using Gmail.com

forward email using Gmail example.com

Input your email address, then select the destination (your Gmail).

send email using gmail your domain

Head on over to Gmail, go to settings, Accounts and Import then “add another address you own.”

email alias using gmail example domain

Go back to cPanel, Email, then select “configure email” in order to get the settings you need for the next step.

custom email address using gmail

Go back to Gmail, and use the settings from cPanel for this step. Different servers have different settings.

gmail personal email address dot com

You’re done! You can now go to Gmail and send from either your Gmail address or your @domain.com address. All email will forward to Gmail. This will also synch up if you have a Gmail app on your phone.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

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In the past few years, we’ve seen 100’s of websites hacked, including our own! We don’t claim to be security experts, but we have learned a few things the hard way in our years on the web.

1. Use the default “admin” as the username. Hackers use brute force programs to “guess” your credentials. Leaving your username as “admin’ is the equivalent to giving them 50% of your credentials. Don’t do it.

2. Use an easy to guess password. Hackers literally try every word in the dictionary to guess your credentials when brute forcing your site. Use a combination of letters (upper and lower) numbers, and characters in all passwords, especially your admin passwords.

3. Don’t update your plugins. We’ve seen 100’s of sites hacked and probably the #1 reason they get hacked every time is due to outdated plugins.

4. Don’t update WordPress. Same goes for WordPress itself. WordPress does incremental updates anytime a security bug is found that they patch. Don’t wait on this one.

5. Use “nulled” themes. Using a nulled theme is not only unethical but it can leave your website vulnerable as well.

6. Trust everyone with credentials. Be careful who you allow in your site. If you have someone do work on your site, make sure you vet them properly. Always give people the least amount of access possible.

As a final note, always back up your website. With most hosting companies this is as simple as a 1-click solution, and only takes a few seconds.

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Recently a good friend of ours sent us a message on Facebook asking the question:

“…As you know I love to write and you may have seen my blog. Right now it is on Tumblr but I want to make the next step into buying a domain and maybe getting it hosting. The thing is, I’m not very technically savvy and really don’t need anything complicated. When I went to sign up for hosting I don’t know (and no offense, don’t really care) about gigabytes, megabytes and all that jazz. Either way, I just want something simple. What do I do?”

Our reply:

“Hi Mark, hope you are doing well. I definitely hear where you are coming from. To keep things really simple, since we are a small hosting company, we have the ability to basically ‘do everything for you’ and get you all set up. We definitely don’t mind doing this and are quite happy to help a friend especially if you are hosting with us. I’ll walk you through the full signup process on the phone. After that, we will go in and setup your website. We recommend using WordPress since you are a writer. You can choose from a number of free or paid “themes” that are quite easy to configure. We can also help you with this since we also have web developers and designers in-house.

Once it is all setup, we will give you 2 sets of credentials:

  • 1 set to log in and manage your hosting account / billing
  • 1 set to log into your blog, so you can create content

Once you have that, it is as simple as logging in, hitting “add new post” and writing. Once you are finished you hit publish and your post is live. Simple enough, right?

Of course, we are also available with all of this, we have bloggers on staff that can help you get setup and everything. Thanks again for thinking of us.”

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Since the dawn of the internet and long before that, there have been hackers with all kinds of different motivations.

There are hackers that are generally curious and don’t want to hurt anyone. There are also “blackhat” hackers who have more evil intentions and want to deface websites or steal money.

More recently a new breed of hackers have emerged with more subtle intentions. These new hackers scan websites en masse in hopes of finding vulnerable software (such as WordPress like this site). Once they’ve procured a decent list, they will hack the website and instead of defacing it, create a link or a redirect to a site that they own.

This hack accomplishes one of two things:

  • will drive more traffic to the hackers websites
  • will create more links to the hackers website which will help boost it in the search engines
plant hack

This is what a horticulture website looks like when it is hacked

Protect yourself before you wreck yourself

Being armed with this knowledge is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Sure if a hacker is personally out to get you, thats not good. Protecting yourself from distributed attacks is more doable. It starts with the basics.

Updating to the latest software version

If you are running a CMS platform such as WordPress or Jommla or an eCommerce platform such as Magento, always make sure to update your software anytime their is an update.

If you are running any kind of addons, plugins, or extensions update those as well.

Use strong passwords

Many websites are protected by multiple layers of security. You have FTP, SSH, cpanel, WHM, and application layer passwords to worry about.

My general rule of thumb is this: never use a dictionary word, make sure it is 8 characters or longer, and use letters, numbers, symbols and at least one capital letter.

In addition stay away from common usernames such as “admin” or “root.”

Limit login attempts

If someone can’t log into your website in 5 username / password attempts they are most likely an attacker. Talk to your webmaster about enabling this functionality.

Trim the fat

If you have any sort of plugin or addon that you don’t need, get rid of it. The more code you have running on your website the more likely it is that some of it will be vulnerable.

Make sure you don’t keep backups stored in the open. I’ve seen many people backup their entire site via zip in the public directory. They have no idea they most likely just gave away the house on this one.

Get a consultation

If you are really concerned about your data, get a consultation from a network security consultant. Also FYI our preferred domain name search tool (particularly for NZ domain names) we recommend.

Final thoughts

I recently heard the quote “there are 2 types of people, those that know they’ve been hacked and those that don’t.”

If the NSA, the Pentagon and the White House have all been hacked, your website is just as vulnerable.

A lot of website security is up to the website hosting company, but they can really only do so much.

If you forget to lock your front door, do you fault the police department or your neighborhood watch for getting robbed?

Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the back-end of a lot of websites. The majority of people don’t update their website. With this most recent form of hack, you could be hacked for weeks, months or even years without anyone even noticing!

As I said before, knowledge is power. If you are reading this you are on the right track.