cPanel AutoSSL – Automatic Free SSL for All Domains

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AutoSSL PadlockAutoSSL is going to change how webmasters secure data transferred to and from their sites.  For the longest time SSL was an additional expense that many webmasters chose to forego as it wasn’t required for the operation of their websites.  The time when not having SSL is the norm for most sites is coming to an end.  Generally SSL has been reserved for usage by those that send or receive private information such as your name, address, email address, and phone number or even your credit card information.

Google and other search engines are already giving preferable ranking to sites with SSL.  For quite some time we’ve offered Let’s Encrypt to our customers so that everybody has access to freely accessible SSL for any site they wish.  cPanel has taken this a step further and created what they refer to as AutoSSL.  AutoSSL generates and installs a domain validated SSL certificate on all active domains on a server that are not already protected with SSL. Read more


Running WHMCS v6.3? Saving Product Details Bug & Resolution

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whmcWe recently identified a bug in the latest versions of WHMCS including version 6.3.1.  The bug consists of unexpected behavior when modifying a client’s product details and using the “Enter” key to submit the changes when the product is a cPanel Account.  In previous versions of WHMCS you could change a field, such as the renewal price, and press “Enter” to submit the form.  Over the years we had become accustomed to changing client product settings in this manner as we found it was the most efficient way to do it.

Due to this bug when modifying the details of a client’s product you have to use the “Save” button at the bottom of the form or WHMCS attempts the new “cPanel Single Sign-On” to access the cPanel account of the product.  On the surface this may not sound like a huge deal but over the course of the day the productivity lost over such a simple issue can add up fast.  In some cases the changes entered into the product are lost and even worse the representative may not notice it happened!

As we have also identified a fix we could put in place prior to WHMCS resolving this internally – we wanted to make that available.  This fix applies to both the “blend” as well as the “v4” WHMCS Administration templates. Read more


What is the HOSTS file & when should I use it?

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Editing HOSTS file on OS X via NanoWhat is the HOSTS file?

The HOSTS file is used by your computer’s Operating System (Windows, OS X, Linux, etc) to map hostnames to IP Addresses.  In layman’s terms your computer will check this file for any domain it needs to resolve to an IP Address prior to querying public DNS resolvers.  The HOSTS file can be used to point a domain name to an IP Address regardless of the DNS settings for the domain.

An example of a HOSTS entry to load “www.example.com” and “example.com” from the IP address “93.184.216.34“:

93.184.216.34    www.example.com example.com

Windows may require two separate lines like so:

93.184.216.34    www.example.com
93.184.216.34    example.com

When the above records are added to your HOSTS file the result is that if you try to load that domain in your browser it will connect to that IP to make the request.  If you try pinging the domain you will find that it pings that IP as well.  What this means is that you can use this to test your site on a new server before you point your world-wide DNS there. Read more


WordPress Security – Plugins & Themes – If you’re not using it, remove it!

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wordpress-logo-notext-rgbOver the last few years I have seen more accounts compromised due to outdated default themes like  “Twenty Twelve”, “Twenty Thirteen”, “Twenty Fourteen”, etc.  When a user installs a new copy of WordPress more often than not they proceed to install a new theme that they prefer over the default offerings.  The big issue is the result of two missing steps that all webmasters should perform.

First and foremost is keeping everything up-to-date which can prevent the vast majority of account compromises we have seen over the years.  We keep the servers themselves secure from intrusion and we even work to protect your usernames, passwords, email accounts, etc. but there is a limit to how much we can shelter you.  If, for example, you have an outdated theme or plugin installed even if you aren’t using it – it can be used against you and your site.

Read more


What does “Unlimited Storage” mean at MDDHosting?

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logoI want to start out by saying that not having a limit does not mean infinite usage is possible.  We’re all smart enough to know that no matter what storage technology we’re using to power your sites there will ultimately be a finite limit.  What “Unlimited Storage” means to us is being free from an arbitrary limit that you have to keep in mind and be careful not to cross.  There are several analogies I can make but the best that I can make is to “Unlimited Calling” on cellular providers.

When it comes to a cellular provider offering “Unlimited Calling” it does not mean that you can talk an infinite amount of minutes within a month as there are obviously a finite number of minutes in the month for you to talk.  The key here is that you no longer have to worry about how many minutes you have used, how many minutes you have left, and whether you are going to run out and have to upgrade [read: pay more].  “Unlimited Storage” is the same in that while it’s not infinite – you no longer have to worry about running out or having to upgrade your storage to keep running your site.

Many see “Unlimited Storage” as a “marketing gimmick” or a “trick” to “fool those that don’t know any better,” into signing up.  With many providers this is often unfortunately the case.  There are a lot of providers out there that offer “Unlimited Storage” but when you read the Terms and Conditions there is either an arbitrary limit specified or, even worse, there is an ambiguous “fair use” clause that essentially says that if they decide you’re using too much they’ll kick you off or force you to upgrade.  These providers have unfortunately damaged our industry as well as damaged providers that want to offer “Unlimited Storage” to simplify the lives of their customers.

Read more


New WordPress Recommendations – Google Search Console, Caching, XML Sitemaps

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WordPress LogoThere are a few resources and plugins that I recommend for any new WordPress powered sites.  When I start a new site one of the first things I want to do is set up the Google Search Console.  You can read more about the Google Search Console on Google’s Support Site.

With the Google Search Console you can do the following and more:

  • Verify Google is able to access your site and and has no errors to report.
  • Submit new content to Google and remove content you do not want Google to list.
  • Be made aware of any malware or spam issues by Google if they detect it. Read more

Are your sites up to date? It is very important that they are. Find out why!

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Update!Many of us run websites using pre-made scripts such as WordPress, Joomla, or Xenforo. Far too often people forget to keep these scripts up-to-date. In other cases, they choose not to upgrade as they feel updating can be difficult.

Whatever your situation, please take a moment to ensure all of the scripts (including themes, plugins, mods, and so on) are fully up to date. Check right now – I’ll wait.


Are you up to date?

If anything isn’t up to date, it’s a good time to start planning on doing those updates. If you already know what you’re doing, you have good backups, and the risks of updating are low, do the updates as soon as possible.

Read more


Configuring W3 Total Cache, W3TC, for Optimum Performance with Disk Cache for Shared Hosting – Optimizing WordPress

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WordPress LogoIn this article I will be explaining how to configure W3 Total Cache, hereafter referred to as ‘W3TC’, to cache your site and to serve that cache statically via mod_rewrite for maximum performance.

You will need to install W3TC via your “wp-admin” -> “Plugins” -> “Add New” if it is not already installed.  One the installation is complete you will want to activate the plugin.  Once activated you can click on “Performance” in the left navigation of your “wp-admin”.  This will drop you at a dashboard where W3TC is trying to sell all kinds of upgrades.  I will not be discussing those upgrades in this article.

Read more


Configuring WP Super Cache for Optimum Performance – Optimizing WordPress

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WordPress LogoIn this article I will explain how to optimize your WordPress Super Cache to use mod_rewrite to serve your cache files fast and efficiently.  The installation defaults are not ideal and will only help with the most resource-intensive sites.  When optimized properly WP Super Cache can greatly increase visitor concurrency as well as reduce your bounce rate.

We have users running WordPress on shared hosting and getting anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 unique visitors per day without issues while we have other customers that seem to struggle to handle more than a few concurrent users at once – both on the same type of plan!  The difference between the two comes down to optimization.

One of the most important things you can do to increase the performance and reduce the resource usage of WordPress is to install and properly configure a caching plugin.  The plugins we see most often are WP Super Cache ans W3 Total Cache.  In this article I’m going to be discussing WP Super Cache.

Read more


Willing to put in some time to get free hosting?

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I’m not afraid to admit that I often have a hard time finding topics to write about and that more often than not I tend to rant and rave than write anything really useful.  We’re really looking forward to adding some useful content to our new MDDHosting Blog and, as such, if you feel you have a solid article you’d like to provide for our blog we’ll be more than happy to compensate you with an account credit or some free hosting.  How much credit or hosting depends entirely on the topic of the post and how in-depth it is however we’ll work those details out with you before ever putting the post up.

Should you decide to try and take this on, simply submit a comment to this post (providing your real email address) and we’ll get in contact with you directly.  Oh… In case you were wondering, we will definitely give you credit and will be more than happy to link to your site if you wish, just let us know!