SiteGround.com Redesigned

If you happen to be one of those SiteGround-true fans who have the SiteGround.com as their browser homepage, you can't have missed it: We've had a redesign.

siteground_before_after

We've introduced the new design of SiteGround.com to bring it more in line with the company's identity today and, generally make it cleaner and easier to get around. We've been meaning to do this for a long time now, but finally found the time to do it right.

There are structural as well as aesthetic differences to the website. Structurally, we have tried to make things simpler and clearer, with better labelling and easier navigation. We've also added some new sections to the website as well as re-arranged and expanded some of the old ones. Here are some of the major changes in short:

The SiteGround Homepage: So, whereas in the past, you would find general information about our company and services scattered on several different pages all over the website, it now all goes into one place: the slides on our index page. This is an uninterrupted, 5-slide run of the most important things to know about SiteGround web hosting services.

About Us section: We've also expanded the About Us section of our website. The idea here is for our pages to reflect the company culture at SiteGround. We are an ever-developing organism. Behind the SiteGround brand stand people with their ideas, knowledge, skills and hopes. What we aim to provide are details of the few that, in our opinion, you will really find interesting. It's also an attempt to give readers some short, sneak peaks of what's cooking in the SiteGround kitchen and shed some light on what makes us who we are.

Resources section: We've gone out of our way to compile valuable and comprehensive information and make it easily accessible to both our clients and our website visitors. So far we have created and compiled thousands of free website templates to download, hundreds of tutorials to read, videos to watch, Knowledge Base questions to look up. The idea of our new Resources section is to act as a portal. It's an attempt to give readers some short, easily-digestible snacks of information of where to find what.

The new Siteground.com is already live. And we'd love to hear what you think about it! That is why we decided to ask you to vote on how you like the new website design. To show your support or simply to congratulate us on our new look, please vote in the voting poll below. All other comments are welcome as well, so do drop us a line in the comments section.

[polldaddy poll="1734734"]

Google Apps @ SiteGround

google_appsI guess that most of you probably already use, have tried or at least have heard of Google Apps. Yes, Google’s online office suite - a set of web applications through which you can organize your emails, documents, presentations, calendar events, etc.

The main advantage of Google Apps is obvious - your documents are always available online. Thus you don't need to install any additional software on your computer- all you need is an Internet connection and a standard web browser.

We know that many people would love to use Google Apps, but they find it difficult to configure their own domains for services such as Google Docs for example. After all, some users do not understand how DNS works, what CNAME and MX records are and how to create and manage them.

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TELMeMobi

tel_me_mobi_domainsIn a hurry? Read the short story then: I am happy to share that .TEL, .me, .mobi are the three new domain extensions we are offering to all of you as of today. I know that the fact about the 20% discount on the new domain registrations will make the news even more attractive. So, enjoy 20% discount on .TEL, .me, and .mobi domain registrations.

Got more than a minute? Then read the long story: The first quarter of 2009 showed nearly 183 million registered domain names across all of the top level domain names, which shows a three percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 12 percent increase over the same quarter from last year. (VeriSign report). This served to alarm us that domain registration is attractive to a growing number of people and we had nothing else to do but respond to this demand. Yet, we wanted to offer new extensions that are not only attractive but also opening new online business opportunities for our customers. So, we have chosen .TEL, .me, and .mobi.

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SPAM? Who said SPAM?

You do know what spam is, right? Well, if you don’t – open your email. I am sure you will find out a dozen emails there, that you did not request to receive and don’t have ANY idea who their sender is. They are annoying, irritating and can drive you crazy with their high volume – that is SPAM.

So, how do you fight SPAM? Well, there isn’t any universal method that can get rid of ALL the Spam you receive. However, there are some things you can do. And certainly, there are some things your email provider can do to prevent SPAM emails being received by YOU, the End User.

SiteGround as a web hosting provider aims to prevent most of the SPAM emails which are sent to or by our servers to reach their destination. At first, we do the common and obvious things:

  • We check the sender’s domain name and IP address versus several large RBL (Real-Time Blackhole List) lists. If we find out any of them is listed in any of the lists, we discard the email message.
  • We check if the message contains a valid ‘HELO’ request. By RFC (Request For Comments) definition, each email client should start the email communication with a ‘HELO’ request. If no such are present, we ban them.
  • We check in an internal database if the IP address of the sender or the domain name of the email has tried to send too many emails for a short period of time. If it has, we discard the emails and send a warning message to the customer.
  • We screen each message and the sender's address and identify it as spam.

So, let’s assume the email passes our phase-one checks. Then, it is relayed to the Spam Assasin (http://spamassassin.apache.org/) daemon which gives a SPAM score to each email. Emails with score lower than 7 are directly delivered to the customers’ mailbox. Emails with score higher than 7 might be flagged for a manual or automatic review by our internal in-house built systems or might be discarded.

If the email passes the Spam Assasin score system, it’s checked for bad attachments (for example .dll or .pif files – which may and will harm your computer) and is discarded if such are found.

We further check if the user trying to send emails to any of our servers is brute forcing email addresses and if we catch him to do that, we automatically discard the email. The same applies to a user trying to identify to the server with too many usernames and passwords for a certain period of time.

The latest addition to our Anti SPAM filters is an ACL (Access Control List) filter which denies sending emails from a spoofed domain name. This means that if you, for example, host the domain name yourdomainname.com” with us and “yourdomainname2.com” with another hosting company, you would not be able to send emails from the yourdomainname2.com” domain from any of the SiteGround servers.

With all that said you should already know that SiteGround has invested a lot of time and effort to build automatic systems to prevent SPAM. And we'll keep doing more and more. Fighting spam is a continuous process and we make sure we stay ahead!

New feature: videos added to knowledge base articles

Bored reading how to set up your email or point your domain? Yeah, I know, many of us prefer watching a short video on the how-to instead of reading long tutorials. Surprise, surprise! The most recent project we are working on is adding short videos to our knowledge base articles.

But, we need your help! We are stuck on choosing the best narrating voice. Check the following 2 videos and tell us which voice-over you prefer by voting in the poll right after them:

Video 1

Video 2

Voting time!

[polldaddy poll="1562651"]

Want to help us further? Currently SiteGround knowledge base hosts more than 1300 articles in 16 categories. It will be rather difficult to record videos for all of them at a time. Tell us which category we should start with – maybe domain & DNS issues, or email issues? Or you prefer cPanel & Fantastico, or other?

We always want to deliver services that will best suit your needs, so your comments and suggestions are highly appreciated!

You talk, we listen: new features at cPanel Crystal

When we launched our new Cpanel theme Crystal some time ago, we asked our customers for feedback and suggestions. The top two features suggested by you were free backup and multilanguage support. So we did that.

You can now use Crystal in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. Just login at Crystal (yourdomain.com/cpanel), go to Preferences and look for the Change Language icon. Choose your language, hit “Change” and you are done. Simple enough, right?

cpanel_language

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Server security and reliability – Kernel Upgrades

There are so many new and interesting things happening around here that I just didn't know where to start my post. So, I thought I should go talk to Marian. He is our chief system administrator and is a real source of inspiration when it comes to servers and technology. After an hour spent chatting with him, I decided that "the kernel" is the answer. Marian’s team has just upgraded our kernel again and was quite excited about the new tweaks they made.

For those who haven't encountered the term 'kernel", here is a brief explanation I took from Wikipedia: -– “A Unix kernel — the core or key components of the operating system — consists of many kernel subsystems like process management, memory management, file management, device management and network management.” Although you may run a system with a default kernel, the well- built, stable and secure kernel is essential for offering top notch web hosting services.

Nowadays it’s not that big of a deal when you say you are using the “Latest Linux Kernel”. Everybody does that and most of the modern Linux OS will update their kernel with a click of a button. So, “What’s so special about SiteGround’s Kernel then?” you will ask. Read on and you might just find out:

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What are we working on?

siteground_team_work

We promised that this blog will be about life behind the scenes. So, this time I will tell you about the main projects our team is working on. Here is what’s next in line: 

1. Brand new automated server monitoring system – the current server monitoring system performs server checks within 9-10 seconds and in case of server load signals to the system administrator to fix the problem manually. The new monitoring system will practically solve problems on its own and will reduce the need for human action – artificial intelligence software. In the end of the day most of the problem resolution will be invisible for you and you will experience much shorter, if any at all, service interruptions due to high server loads or service instability issues. 
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