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Introducing Free Hosting for Joomla and WordPress

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We’re excited to introduce FREE HOSTING for Joomla and WordPress! It’s simple: launch a FULL VERSION of Joomla or WordPress, build your website, and keep it online indefinitely for FREE. This blog explains why a free hosting option is ideal for open source web development tools like Joomla and WordPress and why we’re making this incredible offer.

A Bit of Background

In 2013 we submitted a proposal in response to an RFP to host joomla.com, a free, limited option for Joomla hosting. In this proposal we indicated that we were not in favor of offering a limited version of Joomla. When the contract was awarded to another vendor, we started working hard to turn our unique proposal into a reality. The result is a system where anyone can launch a free and fully functional Joomla or WordPress site and keep it online indefinitely.

Keeping Open Source Open

Many believe that the future of Joomla’s growth is to build a model similar to wordpress.com. In the joomla.com model, users will be able to launch a free version of Joomla without the ability to install 3rd party extensions or templates. We believe, in the spirit of open source, that people should be able to install their choice of extensions and templates. We also believe that limiting Joomla’s functionality is not in the best interest of the Joomla community. We appreciate the Joomla and WordPress communities and we realize that it’s the communities that add the most value when choosing an open source CMS. We truly hope that the joomla.com system encourages growth and awareness of Joomla, but we are fundamentally opposed to the concept.

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Understanding the IPv6 Rollout

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Internet Protocol is the set of rules that governs the exchange of information and the way traffic is routed on the web. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is the next generation Internet communication protocol that provides an identification and location system for devices, computers and networks and will replace IPv4, the current protocol that has many limitations. This blog shines some light on IPv6 and explains the impact on Internet users and how the CloudAccess.net platform is IPv6 ready.

The Growth of the Internet and the Need for a New Protocol

Originally developed in the 1970s, IPv4 is a cornerstone of the Internet as we know it. It was developed long before anyone could really imagine all of the interconnected devices that we have today. IPv4 allows for approximately 4.3 billion unique IP addresses, which might sound like a lot and certainly was a lot in 1970s standards. Nobody in 1970, however, could have predicted that the Internet would be as popular as it is or that many of us would be walking around with high speed computers in our pockets. With close to 3 billion current Internet users, IPv4 presents some serious limitations.

Essentially, the biggest limitation is that IPv4 is running out of the 32 bit addresses that each computer or device is required to have. An example of a 32 bit IPv4 address:

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A Few Thoughts about Technical Support: CloudAccess.net Support Team Leader at JoomlaDay Poland

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A good product and marketing campaign can land a client, but your focus then has to be centered on retaining the client. The key to accomplishing this in the IT industry to provide a high level of technical support for your product or service. This weekend, at JoomlaDay Poland, Derek Snieg (a CloudAccess.net Support Team Leader) will be leading a session and sharing ideas on how to build the best possible technical support team.

More About Derek’s Presentation

Are you an entrepreneur curious about providing great technical support? Are you an end user looking for tips on how to effectively cooperate with a technical support person to troubleshoot your issues quickly and effectively? Derek has been one a highly valued CloudAccess.net “support guy” for many years now and his insight is as good as gold.

Among other topics, Derek will discuss the following:

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Introducing the CloudAccess.net API

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The CloudAccess.net API puts the power of our entire platform directly into the hands of developers. Using the API, your site visitors will be able to launch a custom application directly from your website. The API is ideal for any type of web service provider and can be easily integrated into any site. The best part is that you can expand the services that you offer, attract new clients and earn a recurring monthly revenue stream.

How the API Works

Let’s say you’re a developer and you have a perfectly designed application including a template or theme that displays each of your extensions or plug-ins including your image rotator, carousel, gallery and accordion. Your clients typically have to install an application, purchase your software, install it, enable it, configure it, test it and more. At best, this process is time-consuming and tedious.

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Register for Joomla! 3 Day: a Free Online Event for Everyone

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Whether you’re a versed veteran or new to Joomla, there is an event this week that is sure to provide you with some great information. Joomla! 3 Day is like an online JoomlaDay of sorts, and with a series of 20 sessions across two days, there is definitely something for everyone. We’re excited to be an organizer of the event and even more excited to lead a session introducing our Demo API component, a new platform feature that allows your site visitors to launch custom Joomla applications from your website.

About the Event

With expert Joomla presenters from all over the world, Joomla 3 will be covered from all angles. Each presentation will be approximately 30 - 40 minutes with time for questions and answers.

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Site Sanitization: Cleaning up a Hacked Website

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We pride ourselves on having an extremely secure platform, but even the most secure hosting providers see hacked websites on a daily basis. Almost always, the goal of the hacker is to steal content, send spam, spread malware or conduct some type of phishing scam. Many times we’ll see a site administrator clean a site only for it to be hacked again a few days later, and then they come to us wanting to know why. We find that some additional steps that can secure a site and fend off attacks are often neglected. This blog explains why sites are hacked, steps for cleaning up a hacked site, and preventative measures that can be taken to secure the site moving forward.

Why sites get hacked

Vulnerable Extensions

There are several reasons a site can be hacked, but the culprit we identify most often is an outdated extension. Updating extensions is critical because hackers can easily identify vulnerabilities in older versions, which are like a wide open back door to the site. If you’re using a Joomla site, it’s best practice to visit the Vulnerable Extensions List frequently. If you see an extension you’re using on this list, download and install the patches immediately. If no patches exist, disable the extension and find something to replace it.

Outdated Applications

Another reason we see sites hacked is because the site itself is an older version of the application, like Joomla 1.5 for example, which is no longer supported with security patches. We provide a managed hosting platform, which means we’ll update versions for you when a new STS (short term support) version becomes available. When a new LTS (long term support) version becomes available, it’s up to site administrators to upgrade on their own. It’s definitely best practice to stay current with the most recent version of your application.

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Choosing a Joomla Template: All Things Considered

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Any aspiring web developer is familiar with the overwhelming number of template choices available in the community. Whether it be for an ecommerce, school, or nonprofit site, it’s critical to find the proper look and feel to give your visitors the best possible first impression. This blog offers some things to consider while you begin your template hunt.

Locate the right developer

Finding the perfect template is definitely going to involve some research. You'll want to make sure the template developer is reputable and has good reviews and ratings. You can start by browsing our list of recommended 3rd party template developers like Yootheme, RocketTheme, Gavickpro and more. We’ve already done some screening for you and we can vouch for the companies on our list. Another factor to consider while looking through template developers is to make sure there is some way to contact them. Check to see whether or not they have a call center or sort of support ticket system. This is very important just in case you ever find a bug or if you have a template-related issue. If you have a problem with the template you won’t want to be left in the dark and be forced to go through the search process again to find a new template.

Determine your skill level

Take into consideration your own skill level when it comes to development. Are you an experienced developer with knowledge of CSS or are you a novice? You might ask why this matters - the template should be ready to go, right? Templates do work out of the box, but this really should be one your top considerations in your search process because some templates may have little to no configuration settings in the administration area. For example, there may be no color picker or style presets, and if you don’t know CSS, you’ll have to find someone who does in case you need something changed. If you’re inexperienced with CSS, I definitely recommend making sure your template comes with a good set of backend features like a color picker, menu/module layout editors, and multiple presets to choose from. When these options are available, you can really customize a template with no knowledge of CSS.

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Diagnosing & Fixing PHP Fatal Errors

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Imagine this horrible hypothetical situation: you’re deep in development mode making changes all over your site. You’re in the zone - nothing can stop you as you move about the options as fast as humanly possible. Your site is going to be a miracle, you’re a genius, ideas keep flowing through your head and you’re going to change the world. After making several changes, installing several extensions, posting multiple articles, you refresh the page to see the changes live only to cry out in pain and anger because your site suddenly looks something like this:

Or this:

Also known as the dreaded “500 Internal Server Error”.

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The Evolution of the CCP: Our Design Process

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The Cloud Control Panel, or the CCP, is an easy-to-use interface used to manage each website hosted with CloudAccess.net. We recently redesigned the entire CCP and this blog describes the process we went through and offers a little history of one of the most important pieces of our platform.

In the beginning, the CCP was actually a custom Joomla component we built and pre-installed in Joomla sites that were launched through our platform. It was completely separate from what we called the “Client Area” at the time.

When Joomla 2.5 was released, we removed the CCP from the Joomla application and added those features to the Client Area, unifying account and application management tools. The result was the second version of the Cloud Control Panel, which you can see below.

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Celebrating our 20,000th Website!

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Last week we hit a big milestone as a hosting provider: the number of active hosted applications on our platform reached 20,000! Every once in a while we like to recognize accomplishments like these and to celebrate our clients because, although we’re not one of the giants in the industry just yet, each client helps us get there. Keep reading to find out who got free lifetime hosting for launching the 20,000th site!

To be honest, we didn’t expect to reach this milestone just yet - we were projecting this to happen in July or August, but we launched WordPress as a fully integrated product throughout the entire platform in March, which helped us reach this goal a little quicker than anticipated. Active websites on our platform include demo trial sites, websites that have been launched through our CMS in the Classroom program, and clients who have upgraded to one of our hosting & support plans.

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