Web hosting

Web hosting

Web hosting is where your website lives so that it can be seen by anyone using a web browser. We offer very high quality web hosting at a very modest cost.

We only supply hosting that we use ourselves and have changed hosting providers several times over the years, searching for the perfect solution. We think we’ve found it, but we keep on searching!

The following is what you get as standard from our hosting package. It doesn’t matter if you have a small website or a huge ecommerce solution, all our customers get the same quality of hosting.

Cloud hosting

Our customer’s websites run on cloud hosting.

This is a technology where all the components of a computer, such as CPU, memory and disc drives are taken out of the box and placed in separate banks. This allows the system to avoid single points of failure, so the system simply doesn’t fail. Elements that break can be replaced without any down time.

It also makes scaling very easy. Should you need to increase or decrease CPU, memory or disc space, this can be done quickly and easily with software configuration.

Firewall

The whole system is protected by a firewall which stops hackers from gaining access to the internal network.

There is a hardware firewall which surrounds the whole network and a software firewall which runs complex functions and traffic monitoring. This is a sophisticated system which blocks malicious bots and attackers.

CageFS

Each hosting account is stored on the same server. If a hacker gets into one account, it is possible for them to access all the other accounts on the server.

CageFS puts a cage around every hosting account so this can’t happen. If one account is compromised, all the others are safe.

Backups

Each hosting account is backed up every day, on a 7 day rotation. You can restore from backup the entire hosting package or parts such as databases or files.

There is an easy to use control panel for this.

Apache / NGINX

Apache is the software that runs the web server. It has to deal with lots of simultaneous requests as numerous people might be visiting the same website at the same time.

If there are too many connections, Apache can fail, which is known as denial of service. Hackers try to break servers with a denial of service attack by flooding the server with requests. 

NGINX sits in front of Apache and fields the requests. It can handle 10,000 concurrent requests, which means your website could handle 1 billion customers every day.

HTTP/2

The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the technology that does the work of transferring data back and forth between your computer and the web server.

Version 1, which was designed back in the 1970’s, only transferred one thing at a time.

Version 2 can transfer everything needed for a web page in one go, making it much more efficient.

PHP 7+

PHP is the technology that creates the website by accessing databases and templates. WordPress runs on PHP.

PHP 7 is the latest version and has a host of features that help speed up and secure your website.

Free SSL

All our hosting accounts come with free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates protect information sent to and from a website by encrypting it. This helps prevent your information from being stolen.

Google like to see all websites running over SSL, so we make sure we do that.

Caching

Cache is the French word for pocket.

When someone visits a website, a programme is run to get information from a database and generate the final HTML code using templates. If no cache is employed, this process has to happen every time the website is visited.

If caching is employed, when the first visit is completed, the final HTML code is stored in a cache or pocket of memory. Subsequent visitors will be given the code directly from the cache. This is not only much faster because no processing needs to be done, it also frees up the server to do other jobs.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If your website is being served from a single server, that server must deal with every request, potentially making it work hard.

A content delivery network helps ease this workload by making copies of the website across a network of thousands of servers across the world. The website is delivered from the nearest server to the visitor’s physical location, making the data transfer quicker. It also shares the workload over all the servers, which also makes processing faster.

cPanel

cPanel is an easy to use control panel for making changes to your web hosting account. In most cases you won’t need to use this, and we are happy to make changes for you at no charge.

Additional benefits

In addition to the benefits of the high quality hosting we provide as standard, should you purchase a website from us, you will get the following additional benefits which further improve website speed and security.

Image optimisation

When preparing images for a website, it is very important that the image is sized and compressed correctly so that it takes up no more disc space than is absolutely necessary. By doing this, the image loads more quickly.

Even with correctly sized images, we have software on our servers which further shrink images file size without losing any quality. Even a small amount of reduction can be beneficial, especially if there are a large amount of images on the website, or if the website is very busy.

Browser caching

The user’s browser is capable of storing files such as images, web pages, style sheets and javascript code. By storing these files on the user’s computer, the browser does not need to keep downloading them for subsequent pages viewed. We have software which governs how browsers will store this information, and make best use of this feature.

Taking advantage of browser caching speeds up websites further still.

Combine and minify files

There are a number of different files that are needed to make a website work. Two main ones are style sheets and Javascript code. If there are a number of elements on the website that do interesting things, there can be a lot of these files.

By combining these files into one, time is saved downloading. Downloading one large file is quicker than downloading multiple small files.

Minifying is the process of removing ‘white space’ from a file. Humans like to have code formatted nicely so that it is easier to read, but computers don’t need this luxury. All unnecessary spaces are removed, reducing the file size by up to half it’s original size. 

Render blocking

When a website is downloaded, there may be elements that do fancy things, such as animating certain things. These files are typically quite large and may take several seconds to download. If the user has to wait for these to download before they see anything, it can be frustrating for the user. These files are said to block the rendering of the page.

We use software to intelligently manage these render blocking elements and ensure the initial view of the web page is as fast as possible. By loading these elements slightly later, the user gets to see something quickly while everything else is loading. This gives a better user experience, and is recommended by Google.

WordPress security

In addition to all the other security features, we offer WordPress security.

Away mode

Prevent access to the admin area of your website for a pre-defined time each day. No-one can access this, not even with the correct password. Generally, this feature is set between midnight and 6pm.

Network & local brute force protection

Brute force attacks are when someone, often using a piece of software, attempts to log in to your account by trying lots of different usernames and passwords thousands of times. This type of attack is recognised by the system locally and blacklists the offending IP address.

Network protection works by sharing this blacklist with everyone using this software. If one network member blacklists an IP address, everyone else can simply block that IP.

Banned users

There are blacklists of banned users and networks which we use to prevent malicious activity. If the website owner has their own blacklist, they can add it to the list. Anyone on the blacklist is blocked from visiting the website.

Strong passwords

Security is increased greatly by forcing everyone who needs to log in to create a strong password. This would be for admin, customers, memberships and contributors.

404 notification

404 errors occur when a page is not found. This feature automatically blocks users snooping around for pages to exploit.

File change detection

This monitors the site for any files changes. These are mostly updates to WordPress and cache files. These notifications are emailed to us, and we check them every day. Any suspicious looking files are checked out.

Tweaks

We tweak the system as follows:

  • Protect system files from being changed by the public
  • Disable directory browsing to prevent users from seeing the files on the server
  • Filter request methods to prevent automated attacks
  • Filter suspicious query strings in URLs to prevent attempts to access the admin area
  • Filter non-English characters to prevent hack attempts in foreign languages
  • Filter long URL strings to prevent attempts to hack the database
  • Disable PHP in uploads to prevent malicious code from being executed
  • Remove Really Simply Discovery header unless integration with external XML-RPC is required to prevent other systems from discovering information about the server
  • Reduce comment spam
  • Disable multiple authentication attempts
  • Restrict automated access to information on your website
  • Hide backend admin area by changing its name so hackers can’t find it

Get in touch

To buy web hosting contact Phil

01377 25 26 50
07828 056 061

Our customers

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