After investing time and money into your websites and online brand, you’ll want to measure your Return On Investment (ROI), learn how to capture more leads, and track your visitors actions to get a better idea of how successful your new website actually is. The best way to do this is by using an analytics platform such as Google Analytics, Webalizer or AWStats. These are just a few examples of platforms available for free on the web you may have heard of, but today we’re taking an in-depth look at Piwik Open Analytics and why it may be the best choice for you!
What is Piwik?
Piwik is a free (GPL Licensed) downloadable web analytics software platform. It provides detailed reports on your website and it’s visitors. This includes search engine and keyword tracking, language and location information, what pages and files are most downloaded, and so much more. Piwik uses PHP and MySQL and has an easy installer, so it’s ready to be used on any standard web server and at HostUpon we have a one-click installer for Piwik.
Piwik Unique Features
- Full control (and privacy) of the data
- Easily accessible via API to integrate with your apps
- Custom variables, segmentation, and manual queries to generate custom reports
- Analytics for e-commerce
- Advanced Geo-Location
- Site speed and performance reports
- and much more!
For a full list of features, visit Piwik’s website here: http://piwik.org/features/
One of the best parts of Piwik is that the installation process is incredibly simple and should take less than 5 minutes.
The easiest way to install Piwik from your cPanel hosting account is by using Softaculous! Simply login to your cPanel control panel and click the Softaculous icon. On the left menu choose Piwik. The last step is to click the Install link on the top menu and voila! Piwik will now be installed on your website.
Updating the Piwik is even easier, just one click within the Dashboard and it will backup your configuration, and replace only necessary files with a new version from the Piwik server.
The Dashboard and User Experience
When you login to Piwik, you’ll see the standard Dashboard layout with “widgets” for tracking your website traffic, visitor map, visitors in real-time, and more. All widgets are fully customizable, and will open up in a larger window when clicked. You can create a custom dashboard for all of your Piwik users, that only includes what you’re interested in tracking, so you can focus on the important stats.
From the dashboard, multiple tabs are available along the top of the page which allow deeper research into a specific set of statistics. These include Visitors, Actions, Referrers, Goals, Engagement, Location, Real-Time, etc. There are also buttons for exporting your data in CSV, XML, or other formats.
Thoughts and Piwik Review:
If you’re looking for a free, open source, and self-hosted analytics platform for you or your client’s website, you’ve come to the right place! Piwik is the easiest and best way to track your website’s success. From beginners to experienced web developers, there’s a good chance Piwik offers the features you need! It is constantly being updated with the latest security patches and features, making it extremely reliable and safe, in any production environment.
At HostUpon Piwik is included for free with all of our hosting plans. Use our one-click Piwik installer inside the cPanel by clicking on the Softaculous icon. From there you can install Piwik and start gathering statistics.
Overall, I’ve been impressed with Piwik since the day I started using it! What are your first impressions after using Piwik? Do you have a favourite feature? Leave a comment below!
With millions of people using WordPress it’s no surprise that it is one of the top targets for hackers. If you use WordPress then you’ll want to read our tips on how to secure your WordPress website. You may be curious why anyone would want to target your WordPress site, mainly if you have a low traffic website. Generally hackers are not looking to steal your data or delete files. What they want to do is use your hosting account to send spam emails.
Use The Latest Version of WordPress
The first step to securing your WordPress website is to make sure you are using the latest version. Like any software or script you want to make sure your installation is up to date and current. New versions are released periodically and they contain bug fixes and security updates.
So how do you update WordPress? Well for starters before doing any updates you’ll want to backup your entire website including the database. First you’ll want to connect to your hosting server using an FTP program. If you don’t have an FTP program you can download FileZilla which is a free FTP client. Once you have Filezilla installed you’ll need to enter your domain name and FTP username and password to connect to your hosting account. Once connected you’ll see a directory listing and will simply download all of the files in the ‘www’ folder to your local computer. This process can take a while depending on the speed of your Internet connection and how many files you have.
Now that you have your files backed up your next step is to backup your database. To do this you’ll need to be logged in to your cPanel control panel and then click on the icon labeled ‘PHPMyAdmin’. Once open you’ll find your database on the left side menu and click on it. At the top of the page you’ll see a tab called ‘Export’.
On the Export page you can download a copy of your database in .sql format. For detailed instruction on how to backup your WordPress database click here.
Now that you have your WordPress files and database backed up it’s time to upgrade. Login to your WordPress admin panel and on your dashboard you’ll see the latest version with a link to update it. Follow the steps on the update page and WordPress will do its magic and update. The process will take a couple minutes. Once completed open a new tab in your browser and visit your website to ensure everything looks correct. Keeping your WordPress install current is critical and you should always be using the latest stable release.
Keeping Themes and Plugins updated
Ensuring that your theme and any plugins you’ve installed are up to date is the next step to securing your WordPress website. Hackers tend to target popular themes and plugins as they are used by so many people. To keep your plugins updated go to your WordPress admin panel and click on the Plugins link on the left menu. On the Plugins page you will see an Update Now link under each plugin if their is an update. Plugins can be updated easily by clicking the link. I recommend checking your plugins once a week to ensure they are current. For best practice you should also delete any old plugins you no longer use. Don’t just disable them, delete them if you don’t use them. You can always download a plugin again if you change your mind down the road. Also be cautious of plugins that have not been updated by the developer for over a year. Threats are detected daily so if a developer doesn’t keep the plugin updated then you should stay away from it.
With so many different themes for WordPress it’s critical you make sure your theme is up to date as well. Most themes will notify you of updates in the Dashboard so keep an eye out and if there is an update follow the instructions from the theme developer on how to update the theme.
Quick Tips To Secure WordPress
- Use a strong password and change it once every few months. Use a website Like Strong Password Generator.
- Do not give people you do not know FTP access or access to your cPanel unless absolutely necessary.
- Scan your local computer for keyloggers, viruses and malware often.
- When uploading files be sure to use the correct file permissions. Folder permissions should be 755, files should be 644 and the wp-config.php should be 600.
- Use a unique username for the WordPress admin panel, don’t use the username ‘admin’
- Use a free service like CloudFlare which provides an added layer of security using their CDN network.
The Best WordPress Security Plugins
Here are a few plugins for WordPress that provide extra security:
iThemes WordPresss Security – This plugin has over 30 ways to secure your WordPress website. iThemes Security works to fix common security holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials. With one-click activation for most features, as well as advanced features for experienced users, iThemes Security can help you protect your WordPress website.
BulletProof Security for WordPress – This plugin has a 1-click setup wizard and has tons of features to secure various aspects of WordPress. It provides login security and monitoring, htaccess file hardening and database security.
No one wants a hacked website so follow the tips above and you’ll be much more protected. WordPress is an amazing script and keeping it updated is just one part of security. Your website is your business and for some their lively hood so being proactive and diligent is always a good thing.
Right now there’s millions upon millions of blogs set up. There’s so many, that things are starting to look rather bleak in terms of getting noticed with so much competition. You may find yourself trying to get noticed through a variety of different arenas, but at the end of the day, things are going to be increasingly difficult. One thing that you have to do is constantly look for new ideas and blogging tips. Adhere to the blogging tips that you find from established bloggers, writers, and those that have been around the internet a while. You’ll find that if you go that route, you’ll be able to gain serious leverage moving forward through the many arenas of modern blogging and promotion. Even if your goal for writing and publishing blogs is to get sales to your store or attention to a physical business, you’ll want to still take notes on blogging tips that are presented often on the web. If you want to get noticed, consider the following 4 powerful blogging tips that get repeated in different shapes and forms online today.
The most powerful thing that you can do online right now is to consider answering questions that people are asking on a regular basis. You’re going to find that this is a process that is not simple to move forward with at first. You’ll need to hunt down questions and consider what people have asked you in the past. If you’re not sure where to start, then conduct a “self interview” and see what you would want to know if you were starting out. No matter what niche you’re in, this is one of the best blogging tips that you’re going to find. You need to answer questions, because at the end of the day, that’s what people are doing with search engines, they are asking.
Create Guides and Tutorials
Tutorials are huge right now. If you’re looking for the best blogging tips, this is one of them, and most likely the best in many circles. You’re an expert at something, and if you’re not, then you could hire an article writer to help you here. You want to instruct people as to how you work within your niche, how you build market share, or how you do anything that you’re good at. If you can illustrate to others how to build certain parameters to help them with what you do best, you’ll find you will gain a good audience overall. Just remember, the key here is to speak from your expertise, because that’s something unique that you have for your business. You can also create a video tutorial and upload it to YouTube and then link the video in your blog. Video tutorials are a great way to engage across social platforms and generally get shared in social media much better than a text based tutorial.
Become A Guest Blogger
Another great thing to consider amidst the blogging tips you see online is this one, become a guest blogger. Find blogs that are good within your niche, and approach their owners. Ask if you could come in and write about the topic and your experience within the industry, niche, and format that you’re dealing with. You’ll be surprised as to how friendly many bloggers are, and how they will open up their blogs to your work. You’ll find that this is not only one way to get more attention online, but it’s a good way to network, as well as build backlinks. Don’t just post your work on any old site, make sure that you seek out a variety of options that are within the framework of your niche and stick to that. Go too far away from your niche, and it will not have that organic feel that you want to establish on the web today.
Comment On Other Blogs
One of the best blogging tips that you’re going to want to remember is this one, commenting. Commenting on blogs is a good thing, but you have to make sure that you aren’t just going around dropping your thoughts on all blogs that you find. Focus on the ones that are within your niche, and only drop meaningful comments on what you find interesting. Too often, people focus on the wrong path here, and end up posting all sorts of comments on pages that aren’t even within their niche. Focus on being friendly, commenting, asking questions, and building community. If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself marked as a “spammer”, which is never a good thing.
As you can see, the aforementioned blogging tips, are some of the more powerful options that you will have to work within in regards to making moves online. Do this within reason, and you’ll find that your blog can reap the rewards of marketing today.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is a simple way you can communicate and interact with your website visitors. The problem with online shopping is that visitors to your website will likely have questions even after they browse through your pages. Rather than have visitors leave your website because their questions went unanswered, you can use Live Chat to engage your audience providing a platform to interact in real-time with your potential customers. Live Chat gives you an avenue to convert sales and provide support to your visitors. It’s a powerful tool to grow your business and maximize your clicks. If you’re advertising your website you need to make sure that every click maximizes returns when possible and Live Chat gives you just that. If you don’t use Live Chat on your website you should definitely give it a try, it can literally increase your sales exponentially.
Benefits of using Live Chat on your website
- Ability to answer questions from your website visitors in real-time
- Save money by reducing phone and email support by answering simple questions in a chat
- Give your customers confidence in knowing you are available to help them
- Gain an edge over your competition by offering a platform to easily communicate
- Let’s your visitors know you’re a real company with real people ready to help them
How do I add Live Chat to my website?
Adding Live Chat to your website is VERY easy. There are free options but in this discussion we’ll talk about one of our favorite Live Chat companies that offer an affordable, beautiful and simple Live Chat system. LiveChat is the software we use at HostUpon and we’re happy we chose these guys. They have amazing support, a web-based platform as well as a downloadable application for both Windows and MAC users. Add to that a slick mobile app so you can literally chat with your visitors from anywhere in the world from any of your devices. They also have a FREE Live Chat trial so you can test out their Live Chat system without spending a buck.
How much does it cost?
Adding Live Chat to your website isn’t free but LiveChat Inc does offer a FREE trials so you can test it out and see if it’s right for you. They have various plans starting from $36/month which might seems a bit pricey but you need to consider how much you’re currently spending on advertising to drive customers to your website and the value of a potential sale. It can pay itself off in just one chat session with a potential customer. It’s a fact that 44% of people said they would buy from a website that offered a Live Chat system than one that does not. Another 64% of people said they were likely to return to a website that had Live Chat. The stats are there, adding Live Chat can make a significant positive impact on your business. You’ll also get a 5% discount if you prepay for 3 months and a 15% discount if you prepay for 12 months.
How do I integrate Live Chat on my website?
Customize to your hearts desire!
Live Chat Inc let’s you customize your chat window any which way you like so it seamlessly flows with your current website design. You can fully customize the color of the chat window with CSS and also add your Logo to the chat window to add a personal touch. You can also enable a cool feature that let’s your visitors rate the chat after it’s done so you can get instant feedback and make improvements based on what your customers think. You can also add a pre-chat survey so you can ask specific questions before the visitor actually engages in a chat session which can help you answer their question much faster and accurately. If you’re offline you can customize the offline message so your visitors can leave you a message.
Overall we’ve found that adding Live Chat can seriously increase sales, provide a better user experience for your visitors and turn your advertising clicks in to true revenue. It’s a simple and easy easy way to communicate directly with your visitors. If you’re not using Live Chat on your website give it a shot, it can increase sales and give you better insight on your traffic. Try Live Chat for Free!
It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we announced that we had PHP 5.3 services available. Since then however, PHP 5.4 and even 5.5 have been released, and it wasn’t long before we started getting requests for hosting with these versions of PHP on our systems. These were requests we could not grant because we did not have servers set aside for those versions.
In addition to that, anyone who wanted to move from one version of PHP to another had to put in a ticket to our Support people, and get the entire account migrated to another physical server with the right version of PHP. During the migration, the site was prone to being offline for hours at a time while propagation occurred.
We now have installed across all our servers a new feature that allows you to pick the version of PHP that you want to use at any time. The icon is named ‘Select PHP Version‘ and you can find it in the ‘advanced’ section of your cPanel right now!
When you first go there, it will tell you you’re running the ‘native’ version of PHP. For some of you, that will be PHP 5.2, and for others, it’ll be 5.3. That will depend on the server you’re on. If you change the version through, you’ll get access to all kinds of new options. First, you’ll be able to set any and all extensions you need or want for your account:
And if you click that ‘show php settings’ button, you can see this:
This lets you set settings you’d normally only configure using a php.ini file.
Just a note though: If you use a php.ini file, it will interfere with the php selector’s ability to set php settings! Please use only one method or the other to control your PHP environment settings.
Also a word of warning to phpmotion users: Do not use the selector unless you plan on reinstalling phpmotion by hand! Our phpmotion installer assumes ‘native’ php, and PHPmotion requires a specific version of PHP in order to decode properly or it just won’t run.
We have also added documentation in our knowledgebase to answer any additional questions our customers may have regarding the new PHP selector. The PHP selector is available across all of our shared hosting servers and accessible to every customer through their cPanel.
WordPress Running Slow and making your website crawl? Check out our tips below and speed up your WordPress Blog.
WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used open-source scripts. It is an extremely powerful script with a wide range of themes and plugins available. One major issue is that the majority of WordPress plugins are developed by third-party developers. This simply means that there is a good chance that the plugins you use are developed by an individual rather than the WordPress team themselves. This poses one major issue, since the plugin was not developed by WordPress the person who created the plugin likely designed it for usability and not optimal performance. With people adding various plugins to their WordPress site things can slow down very quickly if the plugin has a memory leak or is not coded for optimal performance.
If you’ve noticed your WordPress site is slow it is very likely a plugin that is the culprit. If you use a lot of WordPress plugins it can be difficult to pinpoint the plugin causing the issue. After quite a bit of testing we’ve found a pretty good solution:
PluginHog Detector (a plugin that reveals CPU stats in a table at the bottom of a page)
PluginHog is a WordPress plugin you can download and install on your WordPress site and it will show you the usage of each of your WordPress plugins in a simple table allowing you to find the problematic plugin much faster. Once you find the plugin with the highest usage you can disable that plugin and then see if your sites performance increases. Having various plugins written by different people can also pose an issue as some plugins might conflict with others. In general the less plugins you use the faster your site will be however if you do want to use lots of plugins then check out PluginHog as it can help find a problematic plugin and help increase your websites performance.
No matter what plugins you use make sure you keep your WordPress plugins up to date. This is a VERY important thing to consider. If your plugin is not updated to the latest version you are not only losing out on possible performance enhancements but you’re also opening yourself to hackers. When plugin developers release an update there is obviously a reason and in most cases it is a security update. Keeping your plugins in-check and updated is critical.
WordPress plugins can really boost your site and add various benefits and by following the tips above you can run a fast and efficient WordPress based website. Our WordPress Hosting plans are all designed to meet and exceed the requirements for WordPress.
You can download PluginHog Here
HOSTUPON Website Update
We’re excited to present the launch of the new HostUpon.com! Be sure to check out the new website, which includes a ton of new resourceful content – including even more detailed descriptions of our products and services, and an incredibly useful header and footer which makes navigating a breeze.
We have further grown our industry leading product line and introduced more competitive price points to help our customers find the perfect plan! Check out all of our new plans:
…and introducing our brand new Cloud Hosting, designed for customers with high-traffic websites that are looking for scalability+security, that might not have the technical know-how to manage a VPS or Dedicated Server – think of it like a managed hosting service.
Existing plans: Don’t worry folks, our original plans are still our legacy plans and as current subscribers you will remain on your plan with unaffected rates. If you do want to switch to a new plan, simply submit a ticket, and we’ll take care of the rest.
To compliment the overhaul HostUpon has undergone, we are proud to present the following new features, that we urge all of our customers to take advantage of:
New Live Chat – We’ve unrolled a new live chat system, which is faster, more intuitive, and extremely easy to use, which makes contacting us much more efficient.
Account Addons – We’ve made it much easier to order addons to your existing plans. You can simply visit our Account Addons page and order additional services.
And don’t forget, we offer Softaculous for free, a 1-click auto installer that gives you access to over 295 scripts…for free! You can find it inside your cPanel control panel.
Keeping an up to date backup of your valuable data is extremely important and we advise all customers to make regular backups of their website files and databases. Being prepared with an up-to-date backup is essential incase any sort of unforeseen disasters occur by means of human error or server issue.
With that being said we also wanted to offer a solution of our own. Our Premium Backup Service for hosting customers was introduced to ensure clients who subscribed to the service had automated backups of their entire account including website files, emails and databases. Every aspect of your hosting account with us would be backed up nightly for up to 5 days. Backups are done using R1soft Enterprise software to a remote server in a different data center. We’ve offered this service for over a year now and the feedback has been amazing. Clients who have been hacked or deleted files accidentally have benefited with automated restores upon request. The time and money you invest in your website is invaluable. Knowing that your website is backed up using our service will allow you to focus on building your site and business.
Clients are be able to restore a single file/folder or entire account as far back as 5 days or anywhere in between (Be it 3 hours or 4 days etc). Once a week we test the backup system with real life scenarios to ensure the backups are taking place.
You can read more about the service and signup here: Premium Website Backup Service
We also have an FAQ page to answer some of the most common questions regarding the service which you can read here: Premium Backup Service FAQ
Our Premium Backup Service can be added to any of our shared hosting, Reseller hosting, Private hosting or VPS hosting plans. Once you signup for the service there is no further action needed on your end. We begin the initial backup that same day and then you’re all set moving forward.
To request a restore simply submit a support ticket and let us know what content you wish to have restored and to which date.
You can be confident that your data will remain safe, secure and up to date with our innovative automated Backup Solution!
HostUpon is proud to announce our latest partnership with SiteLock LLC, a global provider of website security technology and products for online businesses. This latest partnership brings to the table SiteLocks renown website security services, including the patent-pending 360-degree security scanning, reputation management, and expert hardening services, to name a few elements.
Not only will HostUpon be utilizing SiteLocks industry leading enterprise protection, further enhancing the level of security we offer our clients, all existing and new clients will have the chance to take advantage of the value and security SiteLock has to offer.
Designed specifically for small and midsized companies, SiteLock scans your site for malware, injections, and a plethora of other threats that could potentially harm your business. More recently, SiteLock announced a state of the art technology called SiteLock SMART (Secure Malware and Removal Tool), the companies most comprehensive malware scanning package yet (http://www.sitelock.com/news-smart-product.php).
In addition to all of these elements, SiteLock provides malware removal, spam black-list removal, database and network security, identity theft protection, virus protection, and more. SiteLocks Daily Vulnerability Scanning protects visitors against a wide array of threats, from SQL injections to backdoor vulnerabilities.
It’s simple to use, incredibly powerful, and will give your users the added security they are looking for. Once you sign up for SiteLock through HostUpon, you’ll have access through your cPanel to set it up. You’ll be able to display the official SiteLock logo on your site, which will help gain conversions and deliver additional credibility – not only will the SiteLock service protect your site from a 360-degree perspective, it will also instill confidence in your visitors that you’ve taken the necessary steps to insure your site is safe to use, further increasing your business.
We’re thrilled to be adding the additional layer of security SiteLock offers, beyond the existing suite of added value options we currently have. Try it out now, your clients, users and visitors will be more than appreciative that you’ve taken a step further to securing their environment.
If you have any questions or concerns about SiteLock and our partnership, feel free to contact us via email, chat, or phone at any time.
Generally when a patch or upgrade to PHP is available, we try to install it immediately since there’s usually very good reasons for those patches. Most often, minor patches are either bug-fix releases or security patches. However usually it’s safe to upgrade from one minor version of PHP to another minor version as long as the major version number doesn’t change. For example, going to PHP 5.2 from PHP 4, is a major upgrade.
The reason I mention this is that major version upgrades such as the example above aren’t reverse compatible with each other. You can’t upgrade from 4 to 5 without also upgrading the site script files running on your website.
Now this is a fairly clear-cut example, and technology was actually invented to address this issue – The ability to run both PHP 4 and PHP 5 at the same time – so it wasn’t as big a deal. In fact it was addressed long enough ago that it was never a problem for HostUpon. But what if you wanted to go from the extremely popular and widespread version of PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.3? No big deal right?
Imagine our dismay when we found out that this relatively ‘minor’ version upgrade was not reverse compatible with itself. This meant that we could not upgrade our servers to PHP 5.3 since we have quite a few customers on our servers running scripts that would fail under that version. To make matters worse, that technology I mentioned above to run two different versions of PHP wasn’t designed to be able to tell the difference between PHP 5.2 and 5.3, so we couldn’t set it up to run both of these versions.
But there is some good news.
We set up a completely new server specifically so it could use PHP 5.3 instead of version 5.2. It is otherwise identical in configuration to all our other services so it can run all the same websites if they are compatible with this version of PHP. We have had this server running with a few users who have been interested in it for a few months now, and we’re pretty happy with how it’s been handling itself. PHP 5.3 has been out long enough to all of its major kinks worked out and even most of the minor ones.
At this time, anyone may ask to be moved to a PHP 5.3 service. It doesn’t cost anything extra, and there’s no fee to be moved to this server. All that is required is a ticket submitted to support, or if you’re setting up a new account let our Billing staff know ahead of time that you want 5.3 service for your site.
If you have any questions about this new service, You can contact us by phone, chat, or our ticket system at any time!