Category: Website

Opera – a free VPN Browser

Opera Browser (free) now includes a free VPN. Apart from the security benefits, this can also be handy when it comes to testing your own website from another location, especially when doing web development.

Read more about the VPN security features in this post discussing the release of Opera Browser 40: www.opera.com/blogs/desktop/2016/09/free-vpn-in-opera-browser-40/

How does this work?

A VPN routes all your traffic via the VPN server. Opera Browser allows you to choose the location of the VPN server. For example, you could choose a USA located server and test your own website from the USA. Currently VPN server options are: Netherlands, Germany, USA, Singapore, Canada.

There is also an ‘optimal location’ choice which in my case, uses a VPN server in Australia (closest to me).

Opera Browser is not a new player in the Web Browser space and while it’s not as well known or popular as Google Chrome for example, it is a solid product with an excellent mobile app on many platforms.

How could you use this?

You may wish to use this to browse the internet anonymously, or avoid the security policies your workplace/office or ISP has in place. As I see it, a more ‘useful’ option is to use this to test your website from various locations around the world.

You might want to do this just after updating your DNS, or after updating something on your website to check how it’s being seen by everyone else. Often time, your own ISP’s DNS server (which you probably use by default) may take up to 24hrs to update when changing your websites DNS or nameservers. Using Opera Browser might be handy for you in a situation like that.

Why not download and give it a test today. It’s a free download of course. Grab it here: www.opera.com/download

Email essentials

@_symbol.svgWe all use email, and probably these days simply take it for granted. Are there some things to be aware of when choosing how to setup your email? Yes! Let’s explain.

Email is like a mobile phone number, it’s not something you want to change often (if at all) and it’s also something you want to move with you, wherever you may work or live. Do you want to have to manage 2, 3 or more phone numbers? I doubt it, the same goes for email addresses. Therefore, give some careful thought to your email address.

Give some careful thought to your email address

Gmail is probably the most widely used free email service, and to be honest, you can’t get much better. If an @gmail.com email address is one you think suits your needs, go for it. There is no better spam filtering email service out there.

Here’s why this could be a wise and versatile choice: Gmail allows you to check other email accounts. You can have multiple email accounts behind the scenes, but can check them all in one single place, namely your Gmail account. For our existing customers, you can follow our Knowledgebase Article on this subject here: Checking Your Email From Your Own Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail Account

You can have multiple email accounts behind the scenes, yet check them all in one single place!

If a Gmail account is not quite the ‘personalized’ email address you want, why not consider purchasing your own domain name and then setting up an email address (or as many as you like) on that domain. That way, you can have [email protected] as an email address and that never needs to change. There are a huge range of domain names available now. See an article we wrote on this subject Is the .com all there is?  for more details.

Pro tip: Google offers an excellent product called Google Apps. Essentially, Gmail and all other Google tools @yourowndomain.com. For as little as $5 per month, per email address you could have the power of a Gmail account (including world leading spam protection) merged with the personalization of an email address @yourowndomain.com. This is the setup we recommend. Contact us for help in setting this up, we can make it happen for you.

UPDATE 13 Oct 2016: Google Apps is now called G Suite but the features are the same as mentioned above

Outgoing email (sending)

Your email has to be sent by a server somewhere, usually the one that hosts your domain name, or via your internet service provider (ISP). While this is the default setup for most people, using a proper outgoing email service can allow you to track email deliveries and even if emails have been opened/viewed or not. For newsletters as well as transactional emails (such as the ones we send from our helpdesk xyzuluhosting.com/myaccount ) you should use a service like Sendgrid or Amazon SES (simple email service). These systems can easily be integrated with your website to ensure any “contact us” emails and newsletters sent via your website, are going to be delivered correctly.

Some configuration is required, but we’re equipped to handle this for you. Why not contact us today to discuss how we can help you setup your own business outgoing email system. For a very small cost, you’ll be able to track your email deliveries and ensure your emails are arriving where they need to.

While we take email for granted, knowing that your emails are being received (and filtered for spam) as well as being assured they are being delivered correctly, is something essential to your growing business.

We look forward to hearing your questions in the comments below.

Does your web host offer multiple versions of php?

211px-Webysther_20160423_-_Elephpant.svgWhat is php? Why is having access to use multiple versions of php so important? Does XYZulu offer multiple versions of php?

What is PHP?

According to Wikipedia, “PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to server-side web development, in which case PHP generally runs on a web server. Any PHP code in a requested file is executed by the PHP runtime, usually to create dynamic web page content or dynamic images used on websites or elsewhere.”

Why should you be interested in this?

your website will load faster, and run more efficiently if you are using PHP 7

Your website will load faster, and run more efficiently if you are using PHP 7. Think of is as the fuel that powers the engine your website uses. Use the right fuel, and your web site will run at it’s best.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, that elephant is the official PHP mascot. 🙂

Why is having access to use multiple versions of php so important?

PHP is constantly being updated and deployed on web servers around the world. Usually these updates are to patch security holes and optimize the delivery of website content. Each new version of PHP however, usually brings a greater jump in speed as well as well as additional features for developers. A case in point is PHP 7, which is a big jump forward in performance.

Most major scripts like Joomla, WordPress and Drupal already support PHP 7. Utilizing the performance improvements is as simple as ensuring your website scripts (Joomla, WordPress etc) are up to date and enabling PHP 7.

Aside from the benefits of PHP 7, having access to multiple versions of PHP also means that you can run scripts that support older versions of PHP as well as the latest version of PHP. The choice is up to you. A shared web host that is not running multiple versions of PHP yet, is probably one to avoid for security and performance reasons.

Does XYZulu.hosting offer multiple versions of php?

XYZulu Hosting offers multiple versions of PHP

Yes! You can choose your version of PHP from cPanel > Select PHP version. If you need a hand checking to see if your script or website supports PHP 7, please be sure to contact us from our Support Portal.

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