The most important task of every server administrator or web admin is to keep OS (Windows or Linux), Applications and Control Panel up-to-date. It does not only make your infrastructure more secure but also you can take advantage of new features. Microsoft and other software companies are constantly working to release patches to fix vulnerabilities, applying the patches in a timely manner increases your server security significantly and saves you a lot of time and money to restore your server from backup. If you are using a control panel to manage your website and emails then you should keep Plesk and cPanel up-to-date to not only keep your site secure but also you can take advantage of latest applications and tools offered by Plesk and cPanel. In this blog, I cover how to update the OS and Plesk / cPanel.
- Updating Windows 2012/2016 VPS: As you now Microsoft Windows offers automatic OS update download and install; however as a server or web admin you prefer to manage server load and have a say on how and when to download the updates, install and reboot the server.
- RDP to your VPS as Admin or with your own username and password if you have administrative privileges
- Click on start or point your mouse to the lower-right corner of the screen and on Search
- Type “Windows Update” and click on “Windows Update”
- Click on Check for updates, windows looks for latest updates available.
- You have the option review the available updates, you can either install all the available updates of select those you would like to install at this time. Click on update and install.
- Updating Linux VPS: Linux update is simple and straight forward
- Lunch a terminal emulator like PuUTY to SSH to log in to your Linux VPS
- To update the sever type the following
|RHEL / CentOS||Ubuntu|
|# yum –y update||# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade|
- Upgrading Plesk to the next release: Upgrading the control panel is a bit tricky, to be safe I suggest that you take a backup of your entire website on your local computer and also to avoid any surprises/glitches just wait a few days after the new release to update your control panel. Please check the new Plesk version is compatible with your VPS OS version. If you are using Plesk 10 or 11 please consider migrating to a new setup than upgrading Plesk. During the upgrade process, your websites will be down and your Plesk panel will be unavailable.
- Log in to your Plesk panel
- Click on “Updates and Upgrades ”under Tools& Settings”
- Click on “install or Upgrade Product”
- Choose a Plesk version from the drop-down list and click Continue.
- Upgrade cPanel / WHM: I suggest that you take a backup of your entire website on your local computer and also to avoid any surprises/glitches just wait a few days after the new release to update your control panel.
- Log in to WHM
- Type “Upgrade” in the search bar and click on “Upgrade to Latest Version”
- Click on “Click to Upgrade”
The holiday season is fast approaching and I am sure you are working hard to make more money this season!!! You have secured your suppliers, reviewed all your processes from order fulfillment to defining your shipping policy to promotions and advertising but what about your online store?
Can your site handle the traffic spike?
First thing first; take a look your historical data and with a simple analysis you should be able to identify when the website traffic spike could potentially occur; to stress test your site you can use performance-testing applications to simulate the traffic (please communicate with our hosting provider before stress testing your website site). If you are hosting your website on VPS or Cloud VM you should be able to scale up your resources for a month or two to handle extra higher demand.
Make it easy to order
Make sure your shopping cart page is optimized, simple to navigate and easy to make a payment. Well, optimized shopping card should load quickly, should contain all the important information about the product, shipping, and ToS. It should also be easy to read and displayed on a single page. It is vital in today’s competitive online business world to give your customers different payment options for instance Credit Card, PayPal and if you want to be adventures you can accept BitCoin.
Business continuity and Redundancy
It is a nightmare if your website goes offline during the holiday shopping season; you should start putting together a business continuity plan. Conduct a risk assessment of your operation and come up with strategies to safeguard your business against the preventable risks. Make sure all your plugins are up to date and you have applied all the security patches; make sure you are using strong passwords and you have the backup of your website on your local computer. If you are hosting your website on a cloud VM with a reputable hosting company like cirrus hosting your server should be immune from hardware failure, because your data is not tied to a single server and in event of hardware failure your VPS or VM will be loaded on new hardware in a matter of minutes. You can also consult with your hosting provider to explore load balancing option so that you can distribute traffic between multiple servers. Load balancing is a cool option but it requires advanced technical know-how and it is much more expensive.
Website load time
Speed matters!!! In average a well-optimized e-commerce site should load under 3 seconds. There are a few simple steps you can take to reach the load speed of 3 seconds or thereabouts. In my opinion, the most important step is you should choose a light theme and compress your images – you can use Google Page Speed toll to see if your site benefits from compression, consider enabling caching feature and reduce redirects.
Site security and customer trust
An important aspect of any business let alone e-commerce is earning customers trust. One way of achieving that is by securing your communication between your client computer and your server through SSL. You have the option to use a free, open source SSL certificate like Lets Encrypt or a commercial SSL certificate like Comodo. You can learn more about SSL certificates here
The web/cloud hosting industry is an extremely competitive market; Hosting companies invest heavily in enhancing their infrastructure to provide reliable services and assist customers with implementing their business continuity plans. Studies show implementing a robust backup and restore solution -on dedicated and virtual machines – is the most pressing tasks of IT departments. At Cirrus Tech we partnered with R1Soft to provide reliable backup solutions to small business and corporate customers.
We interviewed Ali Mirdamadi, CEO of Cirrus Tech Ltd. to find out more about Cirrus Hosting Backup solution.
Q: Why taking the backup is important?
Ali: In IT world, data protection is basically the most important task that a customer faces. I’ll give you an example If the server breaks like CPU failure or faulty memory you can always change those parts, However if you have a bad drive then you are mostly in the situation where your data is impacted somehow, It’s either lost or corrupted which is why data protection and backup is extremely important and for that, backup solutions are needed so that you be sure you have something to go back to.
Backups are not just for disasters recovery but they are also important when you face with other challenges like a fallen victim to cyber-attacks specifically where your data/website is encrypted or defaced by a hacker, or maybe your server is infected with a virus and you want to go back to your original data. Even human errors can cause data loss; people accidentally delete files or folders.
Q: Why we choose R1Soft?
Ali: We used to provide an in-house backup solution but we felt that the R1soft solution offers additional features that may appeal to most of our customers. In developing our corporate services, we always partner with leaders in the respective fields to offer more value-added services to our customers. We also wanted to choose the product that offers support for protecting various lines of business applications like Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange Server.
first and foremost R1Soft is a very robust solution that actually WORKS all the times, we do not have to worry about backup failing on us, if you can’t use the backup to restore your data then what is the point of having a backup in the first place! Based on our own experience, R1Soft came to our rescue in a few occasions.
Q: What are the R1Soft features?
Ali: R1Soft has unique features that make it ideal and extremely suitable for our business and our customers.
- Continues Data Protection – R1Soft reads the data directly from the disk or volume and uses block-level backup which drastically reduces the disk and network I/O.
- Control Panel Interface – R1Soft has a web interface which allows our customer to manage their backup and restore.
- Quick Restore – R1Soft also allows the customer to restore individual files. Or restore the entire server from scratch meaning your operating system, configuration, an application and data. So in one shot you basically restore the entire server.
- Multi-Platform Support: R1Soft supports a variety of operating systems. We are not worried about OS compatibility.
- Data Retention Policies – R1soft give you the option to specify the frequency of “recovery points” (backups) and customers are able to create as many recovery points as they choose. You can take backups that are 15 minutes apart or weeks apart. And since it is taking incremental backups it always backups the changes.
- DB Backup- R1Soft supports taking backups directly from databases, which give customers a peace of mind that all backups are consistent. In another word, if you have a database open and you take a backup at the same time, that backup may not have all the information in the database. R1Soft allows you to actually get a direct backup from MySQL databases that are another important point that R1Soft offers. (this is an add-on service)
As a hosting provider, we offer flexible pricing to our customers and our customers have the option to choose onsite or offsite backup regardless where their actual server or virtual machine resides. For detail information about our backup plans please click here.