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Outage report – Thursday 26th April

Friday, April 27th, 2012

We experienced a major outage yesterday afternoon upstream at our data supplier. The problem affected our entire network meaning that no websites would load and no email was flowing – this lasted a little over thirty minutes.

We’ve now had a report from our upstream provider explaining that a customer on our wider network has beed targeted by a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Like all Internet providers, we experience DDoS attacks against customer services on an occasional basis. Procedures are in place to deal with such events in order to prevent attacks from affecting customer service and we’ll continue to work with our suppliers to ensure these continue to be dealt with effectively. This is the largest such attack we’re aware of in our ten years of trading.

The best way to keep abreast of network issues is via our Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/simplestatus

The Importance of SSL

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, encryption is the most commonly used method of encrypting web pages. It ensures that any personal data or often payment details entered into a website is safe from being accessed by unauthorised parties. Thus, it is very useful for any website that sells products to people through an online payment system (see our article on ecommerce) to have SSL encryption.

Websites that are encrypted using SSL can be identified in several ways. Firstly, the prefix of their web address is usually “https://”, signifying that they operate over a secure server. Also, the website can be identified as secure by the fact that there is a padlock symbol in your browser’s status bar. If neither of these signs is present, then the website is insecure and it is not advisable to put sensitive personal information into that website as it may be possible that an unauthorised third party could obtain access to the data.

Protecting your website using SSL encryption is definitely a practice that we recommend to all webmasters who regularly ask their visitors to input sensitive information. Of course, the most obvious benefit to you as a webmaster is that it ensures that all of the data that your customers enter is safe, secure and inaccessible to anyone other than those who are authorised to have access to it.

Encrypting your webpages in this way ensures that you, as a webmaster, have peace of mind and know that the data provided by your customers is secure and protected against unauthorised access.

As well as the peace of mind for you, the fact that there are visible signs of how secure your website is means that customers will feel more comfortable. If they can visibly tell that your website has a layer of security protecting it, then they will be far more likely to input their details and thus they will be more likely to buy products from you online.

This in turn means that you will earn more money and sell more products, which is exactly what any online business wants. SSL encryption for your website will definitely pay for itself after a very short time indeed, making it a worthwhile investment for the security-minded webmaster.

Reputation is another aspect of your web presence than can be improved by adding SSL encryption. If your website asks people to enter payment details, then it cannot be reputable unless it is secure. A website that is clearly secure will instantly have a better reputation than one which appears to be  wide open for cybercriminals.

So to conclude, in this security conscience online age, SSL encryption is something that is definitely worth the investment for your website. Without the padlock symbol, potential customers will not have enough confidence to input their sensitive personal information into your website and thus they cannot purchase any of your products. However, the addition of encryption quickly puts their minds at rest and soon your SSL encrypted website will have the customers flying in.

Why You Should Have a Professionally Designed Ecommerce Website

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ecommerce is becoming a must-have for websites. Pretty soon, the amount of people buying from high street stores will have dwindled almost to nothing as the popularity of online retail flies through the roof. These days, you are far more likely to generate revenue with a well-designed and perfectly functioning ecommerce system than with a shop on the high street.

Any business worth its salt now has (or will soon have) an ecommerce system embedded within their online presence in order to provide an extra stream of sales for their company. A well-crafted ecommerce system guarantees you the ability to bring in far more sales than a shop on the high street would, also allowing you to reach a far wider audience eventually.

Unfortunately for the less technically able webmasters amongst us, ecommerce systems are rather complicated to implement. For those who do not have the technical expertise required to code and maintain such a system, it can be a difficult process and any system they design may be inadequate for its purpose. A lack of technological and design skills can lead to the system not functioning at all or being far too basic for the complex purpose that it needs to serve in order to be effective.

However, there are now huge numbers of professional developers who specialise in producing bespoke ecommerce solutions for businesses. These people have spent years honing the technical skills required to create the systems that sell your products to a massive online audience. They will provide you with an excellent, easy to use system that makes it easy for customers to buy from you and also find information about the products before they make a decision as to buying them.

An ecommerce system should contain a simple, yet attractive shopping interface whilst also maintaining comprehensive information about the product. This allows the user to ensure that they can access all of the information about the products on offer before they make a decision on whether to buy your stock or not. The more information you have, the better and products with more information are more likely to be bought as the user knows exactly what they are paying for.

A professionally designed ecommerce system should also contain an interface that allows webmasters to maintain the system themselves. Developers put these in so as to allow the users to keep the system up to date on their own, without having to have the developers repeatedly carry out updates. This ensures that the system can carry on being effective over time as the products and prices the company offers changes.

So to conclude, ecommerce systems are now massively important to any business that wants to maintain its sales into the future. Professionals are now located all over the internet that will ensure the quality of your system and so you should certainly go to one of these instead of trying to cobble together a system yourself.

Ecommerce certainly is the future and your company can be at the forefront of this wave.

Happy Easter from simplewebhosting.co.uk

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our web hosting, web design and domain name customers a very Happy Easter and we hope you enjoy the long weekend holiday (if you have one!)

Our offices (including telephone lines) will be closed Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Easter Monday but we will continue to offer e-mail and ticket support throughout the holiday period and, of course, be monitoring your web servers to ensure they all work as they should.

What a Blog Can Do For Your Business

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

With the surging power of the Internet, businesses are now being forced to harness the power of the web in order to show that they are in touch with the modern age. The Internet also allows for a second level of communication with prospective customers, which can humanise a business and make your organisation and therefore your products more personable as a whole.

Also, it is important for companies to ensure that they have regularly updated content on their website. This is the only way that people are going to return to the website regularly and therefore it is the only way they will come across information on new services and offers that your organisation has set up.

Without doubt, the best way for a company to provide content that is engaging and can be updated is to set up a blog. This means that they can not only boost their content levels, but they can also give the impression of being personable and ready to communicate with customers on more than simply a business level.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what kind of content you should put on a company blog, but usually your content should centre around the subject that you have expertise in. This usually means that your blog content should focus around the product you are trying to sell. Of course, this does not mean that you should limit your content stringently to that one specific subject, but in fact that everything you write should relate to your product in some way. Irrelevant content will not help anyone, least of all your company.

As well as the personal layer a blog adds to your organisation, it also has benefits in terms of search engine optimisation. Blog posts containing key words are always useful to drive traffic to your website through search engines. The more times a certain key word is used, the higher your site will rank in the search pages. Obviously, you have to integrate these words into your work; otherwise it is clear that your content has not had very much effort put into it.

The main danger with blogs is that it is easy to forget to update them and this means that the entire concept of engaging and regularly updated content is thrown out of the window. It is important that you have someone dedicated who you can rely on to produce regular content to the same high quality as they began with. There is nothing worse than a blog which goes off the boil after the first month or so. A blog that does not get updated is absolutely no use to anyone and isn’t going to do your company any favours.

Nonetheless, a blog is a fabulous tool for any company as the benefits of it are huge and it gives your website a more interesting feel and gives prospective customers some information about why your company has the expertise required and why they should buy from you.

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