Hostinger Blog https://www.hostinger.com/blog Fri, 15 Oct 2021 13:16:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/04/cropped-hostinger-fav-32x32.png Hostinger Blog https://www.hostinger.com/blog 32 32 Network Validation Evolution at Hostinger https://www.hostinger.com/blog/network-validation-evolution-at-hostinger https://www.hostinger.com/blog/network-validation-evolution-at-hostinger#respond Fri, 15 Oct 2021 10:12:30 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2091 The network is the most sensitive part of an infrastructure. To keep it running with fewer downtimes, there is a need to validate the configuration before deploying new changes to…

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The network is the most sensitive part of an infrastructure. To keep it running with fewer downtimes, there is a need to validate the configuration before deploying new changes to the production environment.

This article provides insights on how we test and validate the network changes, and how this evolution contributes to the level of trust we ourselves and our customers have in Hostinger’s services. 

Reasons Behind

Back in 2015, we didn’t have any network automation at Hostinger. Instead, there were a couple of core routers (Cisco 6500 series) per datacenter and plenty of rather unmanaged HP switches to provide basic L2 connectivity. Pretty simple, no high availability, a huge failure domain, no spare devices, and so on.

No version control existed at that time at Hostinger, meaning configurations were kept somewhere or at some person’s computers. So, this begs the following question: how did we manage to run this network without automation, validation, and deployment? 

How did we validate the config if it’s good or not? Nohow. Just some eyeballing, pushing changes directly via CLI, and praying. Even the config rollback feature wasn’t available. The out-of-band network did not exist. If you cut the connection – you are lost, something like Facebook recently did, and only physical access can help you bring it back.

Photo by Dainius Sakalinskas

The design and implementation were on the top of two people’s heads. The changes in the production network were painful and prone to human error. We had poor monitoring with basic alerting rules, a couple of traffic and errors graphs. No centralized logging system, but that was definitely better than nothing. It’s not an exaggeration to say that nowadays, small companies use this kind of simple method to monitor the network. If it’s working well and is good enough to function – don’t touch it. 

The less you know about the state of the network, the fewer problems you have. Overall, we didn’t have any internal or external tools to do that fundamentally. 

Hostinger’s Solution To Network Validation

In 2016 we started building Awex, an IPv6-only service. Since it was being built from scratch, we began shipping automation from day 0. As soon as we noticed the good impact on automation, we started building new data centers using Cumulus Linux, automating them with Ansible, deploying the changes using Jenkins. 

The simplified workflow was: 

  1. Do changes.
  2. Commit changes, create Pull Request on Github.
  3. Wait for a review from other people.
  4. Merge Pull Request.
  5. Wait for changes to be deployed by Jenkins to the switches.

The drawback of this scheme is that configuration changes are automated but not validated or even tested before the deployment. That can cause substantial blast-radius failure. For instance, if a wrong loopback address or route-map is deployed, it can cause BGP sessions to flap or send the whole network into chaos. 

The main reason for adding automation and validation is to save time debugging real problems in production, reduce the downtime and make end-users happier. However, you always have to ask yourself: where do you draw the line for automation? When do automating things stop adding value? Just how to put the automation process to the point where it makes sense.

Since then, we have focused on how to improve this process even more. When your network is growing and you build more and more data centers, maintenance is getting harder, slowing down the process of pushing changes in production. 

As always, you have to trade-off between slower vs. safer deployment. At Hostinger, we are customer-obsessed, and that clearly says that we must prefer slower process management that leads to less unplanned downtimes. 

Every failure gives you a new lesson on improving things and avoiding the same losses happening in the future. That’s why validation is a must for a modern network. 

While most of the changes basically involve testing 2, 3, 4, 7 layers of the OSI model, there are always requests that should be tested by Layer8, which is not the scope of this blog post.

A couple of years later, we already have a few fully automated data centers. Over that time, we started using CumulusVX + Vagrant for pre-deployment testing. Now, catching bugs faster than the clients’ report is the primary goal. 

Pre-Deployment Testing

Basically, this is the real-life testing scenario where you build virtually a fresh data center almost identical to what we use in production except that the hardware part (ASIC) can’t be simulated (programmed). Everything else can be tested quite well, and that saves hundreds of debugging hours in production. More sleep for engineers:)

So, when creating a Pull Request on Github, the pre-deployment phase launches a full-scale virtual data center and runs a bunch of unit tests. And, of course, some integration tests to see how the switches interact with each other. Or simulate other real-life scenarios, like connecting a server to EVPN and see if two hosts on the same L2VNI can communicate between two separate racks. That takes around 30 minutes. While we don’t push tens of changes every day, it’s good enough.

In addition, we run tests in production devices as well during pre-deployment and in post-deployment phases. This allows us to spot the difference when production was green before the merge and when suddenly something is wrong after the changes. 

Known problems can lurk in production months, and without proper monitoring, you can’t spot them correctly. Or even worse – it can be behaving incorrectly even if you thought it was fine. 

Hostinger’s Jenkins pipeline

To achieve that, we use the Suzieq and PyTest framework for integrating both tools. Suzieq is an open-source multi-vendor network observability platform/application used for planning, designing, monitoring, and troubleshooting networks. It supports all the major routers and bridge vendors used in the data center. 

It provides multiple ways to use it, from a network operator-friendly CLI to a GUI to a REST server and a python API. We primarily leverage the Python API to write our tests. Suzieq normalizes the data across multiple vendors and presents the information in an easy, vendor-neutral format. It allows us to focus on writing tests rather than on gathering the data (and on keeping abreast of vendor-related changes to their network OSs). We find the developers helpful and the community active, which is very important to get the fixes as fast as possible. 

We currently use only Cumulus Linux, but you never know what’s going to be changed in the future, meaning that abstraction is the key.

Below are good examples of checking if EVPN fabric links are properly connected with correct MTU and link speeds. 

Or, check if the routing table didn’t drop to less than expected and keep a consistent state between builds. For instance, expect more than 10k routes of IPv4 and IPv6 each per spine switch. Otherwise, some problems in the wild: neighbors are down, the wrong filter applied, interface down, etc.

We’ve just started this kind of testing and are looking forward to extending it more in the future. Additionally, we run more pre-deployment checks. We use Ansible for pushing changes to the network, and we should validate Ansible playbooks, roles, attributes carefully. 

Pre-deployment is crucial, and even during the testing phase, you can realize that you are making absolutely wrong decisions, which eventually leads to over-engineering complex disasters. And fixing that later is more than awful. Fundamental things must remain fundamental, like the basic math arithmetic: add, subtract. You can’t have complex stuff in your head if you want to operate at scale. This is valid for any software engineering and, of course, for networks too. 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that we also evaluated Batfish for configuration analysis. But, from what we tested, it wasn’t mature enough for Cumulus Linux, and we just dropped it for better times. Unexpected parsing failures like Parse warning This syntax is unrecognized. Hence, we will go back to Batfish next year to double-check if everything is fine with our configuration. 

Deployment

This is mostly the same as in the initial automation journey. Jenkins pushes changes to production if all pre-deployment validation is green and the Pull Request is merged in the master branch.

To speed up the deployment, we use multiple Jenkins slaves to distribute and split runs between regions to nearby devices. We use an out-of-band (OOB) network that is separated from the main control plane, which allows us to easily change even the most critical parts of the network gear. For resiliency, we keep the OOB network high-available to avoid a single point of failure and keep it running. This network is even connected to multiple ISPs.

If we lost the OOB network and the core network reachability, that’s probably data center issues. Unfortunately, we don’t run console servers or console networks because it’s too expensive and kind of security-critical. 

Every Pull Request checks if Ansible inventory is correctly parsed, the syntax is correct, run ansible-lint to comply with standardization. We also rely a lot on Git. 

Every commit is strictly validated, and, as you should notice, we use additional tags like Deploy-Tags: cumulus_frr that says only run Ansible tasks having this tag. It’s here just to explicitly tell what to run instead of everything. 

We also have Deploy-Info: kitchen Git tag, which spawns virtual data centers in a Vagrant environment using the kitchen framework, and you can check the state in the pre-deployment stage. As I mentioned before, Git is the core to reflect the changes that do test or run for this commit. 

Post-Deployment

Post-deployment validation is done after deploying changes to the network, to check if they had the intended impact. Errors can make it to the production network, but the duration of their impact is lowered. Hence, when the changes are pushed to the devices, we instantly run the same pre-deployment Suzieq tests to double-check if we have the same desired state of the network. 

What Did We Learn?

We are still learning as it’s a never-ending process. For now, we can more safely push changes to production because we have a layer that gives a bit of trust about the changes being pushed to production. If we trust our network, why shouldn’t our clients? At Hostinger, we always try to build a service, network, and software with failure in mind. That means always thinking that your software or network will fail someday, and you have to be prepared or at least ready to fix it as soon as you can. 

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Hostinger Welcomes Its 1000th Employee https://www.hostinger.com/blog/hostinger-welcomes-1000th-employee https://www.hostinger.com/blog/hostinger-welcomes-1000th-employee#respond Fri, 15 Oct 2021 04:53:14 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2085 We have recently reached an exciting number! A front-end developer has joined Hostinger as the 1000th employee worldwide! We decided to sit down with Tomas and talk about his care…

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We have recently reached an exciting number! A front-end developer has joined Hostinger as the 1000th employee worldwide! We decided to sit down with Tomas and talk about his career, his path into development, long-term dreams, and how Hostinger fits his aspirations. 

Tell us about your career path. What led you to IT?

As weird as this might sound, IT was my calling from a very young age. It was around tenth grade that I started falling in love with it. I had a wonderful young teacher who showed me how fascinating the IT world can be. He was the one who urged me to learn more about IT and pushed me to study it. After that first initial experience, I decided to join the Kaunas University of Technology, where I met people who shared the same passion.

When and why did you join Hostinger? What does Hostinger’s mission to make life easier for web developers and small-medium businesses mean to you? 

I joined Hostinger on September 1st, so you could say it was like going back to school. It was definitely a new beginning. I heard a lot of great feedback about Hostinger as an employer and a service provider, so I started researching more and more about it. One thing led to another, and I got into several interviews with people from Hostinger, where they amazed me with how happy they were with their jobs and the company environment. First, it was hard to believe that a company with so much passion could even exist, but now I am able to see it with my own eyes. I want to be part of this mission and help to accomplish it. 

How did you spend your first weeks in your new role? What surprised you the most?

I have spent my first weeks trying to get to know people that I will be working with and got familiarized with our projects. What surprises me the most is how cooperative and passionate every member was about what they do. Each of them thinks about what they can do best to reach better results in the  team, and are supported and rewarded for it by their colleagues and upper management. The teamwork here feels like one-of-a-kind. Everyone is helping each other and is willing to do what it takes to improve.

What is your go-to productivity trick?

Good sleeping schedule. Being tired won’t bring efficient results. And try to do your tasks in the morning, not the evening when you have less energy.

Are you tech-obsessed? What inspires you in the tech field?

I feel that the entire world is tech-obsessed, yet some just don’t realize it. All the new technology is moving forward and becoming part of everyone’s lives. I got this idea quite some time ago and want to be part of the driving force that improves it. Just looking back 5-10 years ago, I wouldn’t believe the variety of technological advancements we made could look absolutely normal today. What that tells me is that there is still much more that can happen. The thought of being part of at least one of them brings me joy, excitement and motivates me to try to be better every day.

What is the best thing that has happened to you recently? 

Joining Hostinger would be too simple? Another thing that brought me joy was buying an electric scooter and riding it around town with my family. It was pretty enjoyable to ride with the wind. Once again, a tech advancement that is causing a major change in the way people commute in big cities. Such an exciting time we live in. 

Striving for the highest standards and delivering results is challenging. How do you keep the equilibrium between work and life? Tell us about your hobbies. 

I love playing board games with my friends and family. From funny social ones to long and filled with complex decision making. Also, I play some RPGs (role-playing games) such as D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). It is a great leisure time for me to relax by becoming a heroic figure for several hours. Currently, it’s a form of escapism from the daily routine, an opportunity to recharge my batteries and reboot my brain. Yet, I have a long-term dream of owning my board game place to increase its popularity in Lithuania. 

If you are allowed to go to one place, where would it be, and why?

I was always interested in Japan. I’m attracted by its legends in ancient history. I wish to someday go there and visit ancient temples and all the exciting places it offers. The culture has always fascinated me as it’s quite different to Europe. The Samurais, anime, tech culture and even the food scene have their own aura, their own unique heritage and flavour. I believe it would be a unique experience. 

We all congratulate Tomas on starting his successful journey at Hostinger!

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Airbnb vs. Hostinger: Physical vs. Digital Hosting https://www.hostinger.com/blog/airbnb-hostinger-physical-vs-digital-hosting https://www.hostinger.com/blog/airbnb-hostinger-physical-vs-digital-hosting#respond Wed, 29 Sep 2021 09:56:30 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2072 How did this story find its way to your screens? Well, it all began with a Google Meets conversation on a busy July afternoon, with a word hosting repeated numerous times. As we w…

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How did this story find its way to your screens? Well, it all began with a Google Meets conversation on a busy July afternoon, with a word hosting repeated numerous times. As we wouldn’t expect in a Hostinger meeting, one of our colleagues proclaimed that the kind of hosting he cares about during this tremendously hot summer in Lithuania is the one found on Airbnb! 

As the laughter and giggles died down, we all came to a pause, realizing that there is so much more to this joke than just laughs. Two companies, two different industries, but the same keyword behind it and homogeneous working principles are the ingredients of great successful cases.

Even if it first may seem that vacation rentals and web hosting providers have nothing in common, yet we at Hostinger take Airbnb as an inspiring example. It sets high standards for the industry and moves ahead of the curve. Thus, here we are, sharing primary takeaways of this comparison leading both companies to continuous growth, and explaining the key actions needed to succeed that we are constantly learning from Airbnb. 

Reimagining The Hosting Industry

Founded in 2008, Airbnb began its crusade of reimagining the meaning and essence of the word hosting. Its context came in more literal, physical terms as Airbnb’s journey had to do with the hospitality and vacation rentals industry. 

Airbnb had to go against ideas and notions that had been ingrained in the fabric of our society. Hotels and apartments were not only a monopoly but an institution – the only reasonable way of vacationing or visiting other places. Hosting in that context was an idea that seemed to be locked, sealed, and clinched for decades. 

What did Airbnb decide to do? Change the paradigm and introduce an entirely new way of doing things. According to Airbnb, hosting should be easy, fast, affordable, and accessible to everyone. In particular, 95% of guests choose Airbnb for ease and security of payment! 

Four years earlier, in 2004, Hostinger started a journey that to this day has a straightforward goal: make website hosting accessible and easy-to-use for everyone. The company made it its aim to change the narrative around creating a website – and no, you don’t have to be a coding expert, nor should you have prior experience in web development and design. By giving the right tools for online success, Hostingerians act as backstage heroes supporting a customer in his journey 24/7.  

Hostinger had to go against an already existing and established industry standard and, most importantly, convince people that creating their website was easy, fast, and affordable. The word hosting makes up 7/9 of the Hostinger for a reason: reimagining what hosting is was and will always remain the core purpose and principle of this company

So what similar actions do we recognize that both companies take to succeed as they grow?

Appeal To The Right Audience

Do all people who come to Hostinger for a web hosting plan have the Airbnb app on their phones? Maybe. Do people that host their apartments and offer them to travelers through Airbnb need a website? Perhaps. What’s the audience for each company? 

Airbnb has over 150 million worldwide users and 4 million hosts having listings from over 100,000 cities. With an average of 6 guests checking into an Airbnb listing every second, you can get a sense of the power and momentum the company has acquired over the years. People between the ages of 25 and 44 comprise 59% of all Airbnb users, however, the fastest-growing age group among Airbnb hosts is seniors. 

Hostinger has over 29 million users in 178 countries. With 15K new sign-ups on average every day, that comes out to 1 new client every 5 seconds! Our clients could be grouped in a vast number of different personas ranging from make-it-yourself-solo-entrepreneurs finishing with SMEs, developers, web and design agencies. However, all of these could be grouped into two major categories: web professionals and web beginners.

In business terms, the overlap between the Hostinger and Airbnb audiences does not have an obvious connection but don’t let first impressions fool you. If we were to dig a little deeper and examine the psychology, personality, and consumer buying behavior of the two audiences, we would be able to quickly identify similarities as well. People who want to open their house or apartment and host people from all over the world are the ones who embrace the magnitude and diversity of this spinning blue ball we all call home. Likewise, people who want to amplify their ideas, thoughts, and business on the digital ether share the same characteristics – they want to engage with other people no matter where they are on the planet. 

We tend to think that people who want to visit different places and experience them in a more homely and personal way share similar behaviors as people who would aim to build their success online and give it a splash of their personality. There’s something about hotels and off-the-shelf websites that reeks of standardization and monotony. 

What Do Numbers Say

Growing customers’ inclination towards online purchasing tends to accelerate both markets mentioned above. It is still not the only bold similarity between physical and digital hosting. The table below summarizes the critical numbers of each industry and gives you a quick overview. 

Vacation rentals industryWeb hosting industry
Market size value in 202087,61 billion USD62,6 billion USD 
Revenue forecast in 2027113,9 billion USD171,4 billion USD
Growth rateCAGR of 3,4% from 2020 to 2027CAGR of 15,5% from 2020 to 2027
Major customersMillennialsOrganizations, SMEs, individuals
Reasons for market growthRising expenditure on travel, vacations, and accommodation among this generationGrowing number of startups, increasing internet penetration and web-traffic worldwide

Airbnb represents the vacation rentals market that is expected to grow 3,4% annually by 2027. The Airbnb research identifies millennials and younger generations, counting 75% of all consumers and travelers. Attractive price-quality ratio, decent comfort, low cost, additional privacy, kids- and pet-friendly accommodation are the pivotal elements summing up the rising interest in vacation rental property over hotels. Also, Airbnb users tend to save up to 6-17% for booking, thus as far as the hotel industry goes, it loses approximately $450 million in direct revenues per year to Airbnb. 

Additionally, the online booking mode is estimated to enlarge by 4,3% per year before 2027. This boost is explained by the convenience, detailed access to accommodation, and the value for money, which is also beneficial for Airbnb. 

Europe remained the dominant destination for vacation rental market travelers in 2019, with a share of 35,9%. However, there is an increasing tendency of the Asia Pacific region to overcome Europe by 2027. Chinese travelers (approx. 40% in 2019) are considered significant contributors to such regional market growth, yet researchers highlight the rising expenditure of travelers from other developing countries such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. 

On the other hand, Hostinger is a part of the global web hosting services market which will rise 15,5% yearly by 2027. In general, web hosting providers allow enterprises and individuals to boost their online presence by publishing personalized and business-related content on the Internet. The rapid increase in the total number of companies around the globe leads to the anticipated growth of this market.  

Unlike travel activities, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the increased Internet usage both for enterprises and individuals. Businesses experienced the need to start their business operations online, while individuals were encouraged to spend more time writing blogs, making videos, creating their personal brand presence, and showing it on the Internet.  Shared hosting (37,64% revenue share) remained the dominant segment of the web hosting market in 2019, which attributes to the shared hosting as the preferred choice among the SMEs representing more than 90% of total businesses. 

North America’s domains (35,28% revenue share) prevailed in the web hosting market in 2019. However, Europe is expected to surpass it with a 16% annual growth rate by 2027. The growing government investments in developing the IT infrastructure, expanding digitalization, and demand for online delivery websites are the key elements for continuous growth for this region. 

Set The Inspiring Goal

Customer obsession is what drives both companies. Their entire raison d’etre is centered around the customer, their pain points, and how they can create seamless, memorable experiences. 

For Hostinger, it’s all about helping customers live their online dream and encouraging them to understand nothing is stopping them from starting an online business or a blog. Each and every day, Hostinger employees are working to refine their offerings. Whether it’s affordable plans, faster responses in the customer chats, or more security features to protect your website, the customer is always the reason and the beneficiary of everything they do. 

Similarly, Airbnb seeks to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” So whether it’s adding more filters to personalize and simplify your search or working on expanding the cities listed and building extraordinary products, the Airbnb team is thinking of the customer every step of the way. 

Their mission statement says it all “Airbnb is built around the idea that everyone should be able to take the perfect trip, including where they stay, what they do, and who they meet.” To that end, we empower millions of people around the world to use their spaces, passions, and talents to become entrepreneurs.

Build a Successful Team

“I think bringing in your first engineer is like bringing in a DNA chip to the company” is mentioned by Brian Checky, Airbnb’s CEO at Stanford in 2014. As prioritizing the right people over the wish to scale business endures the attribute to Airbnb’s success from the very beginning, it took four grueling months for the three founders to hire the first employee. The company’s culture stands as an exceptional, long-term commitment to underlying principles instead of short-term growth. 

Airbnb highlights the benefits of a diverse team facing exciting challenges ahead. Whether these are new regions, technologies, or businesses, employees are encouraged to meet it creatively, with the global community’s support and guided by the company’s significant values

At Hostinger, employees are motivated to overcome challenges by working smartly, taking risks, and learning quickly. Global experience, personal growth, ambition-driven teams, and tangible impact are what inspires us the most. 10 Hostinger principles are not something new or magically invented, however, they appear as a guiding line and serve as common sense.

Customer Success people count 50% of Hostinger’s employees, and usually, this position serves as a career rocket! Even our CTO, Balys Krikščiūnas, started his career path in Hostinger as a Customer Success specialist. There is no better person to build the product than the one who truly knows Hostinger’s customers from the bottom to the top.

As venture capitalist and investor John Doerr says, “Ideas are easy, execution is everything”. Both Airbnb and Hostinger employees value openness and curiosity. By transforming ambitions into reality and continuously setting a higher bar, either team strives for the highest standards with the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Empower People To Break The Norm

Before the arrival of Hostinger and Airbnb, websites were directly related to website developers and property rentals with real estate developers. Fifteen years ago, if anyone would have told the general public that they could have their own website and rent their own property for profit in the span of a few hours without engaging with a website or real estate developer, they would have laughed. 

Both enterprises have managed to democratize the hosting space and give people the power to use their platform as an extra revenue stream. People don’t need to own multiple properties to be in the property rental business, nor do they need to pay exorbitant amounts of cash to set up an online business. 

Hostinger and Airbnb helped people understand that hosting your website or hosting people in your house could be the gateway to a better life. They managed to turn people from customers into entrepreneurs, which is a milestone moment in both industries. 

The stories of people turning around their lives using the two platforms are awe-inspiring, to say the least. Whether it’s the story of the Latinx couple who built and host a minimalist haven in Miami or the case of the Filipino host who earned over P24 million since the start of the pandemic, Airbnb is seeing its platform propel people into greatness. 

At Hostinger, the tale of the customer who ordered pizzas for the Hostinger Customer Success team to show their gratitude for the stellar service they received is a tale that will live on for years to come. 

Website or Vacation, Hosting Has a Bright Future Ahead 

It’s funny how companies, like people, might live parallel lives – be inspired by similar missions and serve their audiences without ever crossing paths. Airbnb and Hostinger are two companies that bring smiles to people’s faces and help them realize their dreams. One is carving its path digitally, and the other is doing it in the physical world, but both are doing it with class, passion, and joy. 

Whether you’re contemplating if your idea is ready to have its own online home or what your next holiday destination is, Hostinger and Airbnb are here to make it happen. And if you think that the two hosting worlds would never meet, just check out one of the newest initiatives by Airbnb, “Host an online experience.” 

The future of hosting is bright, and we couldn’t be happier to play the part of the fork in the road!

References:

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How to Prepare Your Website for Black Friday: 5 Tips To Outdo Competition https://www.hostinger.com/blog/how-to-prepare-your-website-for-black-friday-5-tips-to-outdo-competition https://www.hostinger.com/blog/how-to-prepare-your-website-for-black-friday-5-tips-to-outdo-competition#respond Wed, 29 Sep 2021 05:33:28 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2069 Black Friday is right around the corner and every single website owner is stressing over the same thing - am I doing enough to capitalize on one of, if not the busiest, e-commerce…

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Black Friday is right around the corner and every single website owner is stressing over the same thing – am I doing enough to capitalize on one of, if not the busiest, e-commerce days of the year? 

Stress is not something we condone here at Hostinger, which is exactly why we have prepared a list of things you need to address in order to smash Black Friday. Without further ado, here is what you need to do:

1. Make sure your hosting plan can handle the traffic

Let’s start with technical considerations. Before you unveil your marketing ideas and start driving traffic to your website, you need to ensure that your website can handle visits, sessions, and interactions with your website. Even the world’s most notorious brands have seen their website go down amidst sale season, so this is not such a rare scenario.

The last thing you want is spending time, money, and energy to bring people to your website, only to see them not convert because the website is not loading or is giving them an error. How do you practically prepare your website for this event? 

Once you know how much traffic you usually have and what each Hostinger plan offers, you’ll be able to know the plan that will be able to boost your website to Black Friday success.

2. Back up your website

Once again, our advice is geared towards what most online entrepreneurs might gloss over. We understand that backing up your website does not carry the same creativity or excitement as a campaign or a social media post but trust us when we say it is equally, if not more important. 

Backing up your website will put your mind at ease and let you enjoy the Black Friday season. A website backup is a snapshot of all your website’s core elements, such as website code files, databases, images, and more. It is a safety mechanism ensuring that no matter how loaded the website gets, or no matter the malfunction, your hard work is stored safely and can be recovered. 

Here are the detailed guides of how to manage and handle your website backup: 

3. Start early with your email campaigns

Starting early always gives you the chance to test the waters, see what works and adjust your approach. Email campaigns can get stressful and technical amongst the other hundred things you have to do during the Black Friday season which is why having them set up and ready to go beforehand would work like a charm. 

Sending out test campaigns is highly recommended. Make sure you send it to people with different devices, operating systems, screen resolutions, and browsers. Newsletter and email templates sometimes have a mind of their own, and you need to cover all your bases before you start sending them out to your clients.

Can you imagine the situation people don’t end up buying from you is because of the chaotic-looking email on their device? Test, test, test. Here are a few resources to help you with your email escapades: 

4. Be selective about the products on offer

Have you ever been to a restaurant that offers seafood, meat, pasta, sushi, and Mexican food? What’s meant to be an attempt to impress ends up being a confusing decision-making process. Fewer options make it easier to choose. 

The same goes for your Black Friday offer – don’t overdo it. Be specific about the products you want to promote and build your ideas and campaigns around them. Not only will you help people make a decision faster, but you create a sense of urgency and professionalism. A restaurant with three items on its menu emits confidence in doing those three things very well. Your offer should go down the same line of thinking, giving your audience the product they need the most, at the most affordable price. 

5. SEO is the competitive advantage you’re looking for

No matter what you sell, how good it is, and whether you have put together a killer Black Friday offer idea, it all goes down the drain if it’s not discoverable on search engines. SEO is a practice that e-commerce sites often fail to master because it needs time, patience, and constant evolution. It’s not something you plug in and forget but something you need to work on regularly. 

How does that relate to a successful Black Friday campaign? Setting up your SEO correctly can actually do the complicated work for you, slowly yet steadily drive organic traffic to your website. The most common thing people do during the sales season is search for offers. What you want is to be amongst the top results in those search queries. How do you achieve that? 

Here are a few pointers to get you started: 

Synopsis

Black Friday is a time of year e-commerce websites sharpen their creative chops and put their offers out there for some highly coveted audience attention. Like most things in life, what goes on backstage is mainly responsible for the success people see on the stage. 

Elements like website hosting plan, backup, and SEO are not the hottest topics to discuss or deal with, but the truth is that they might be the difference between success and failure in one of the most anticipated days of the year. 

Sure, the lead up to Black Friday can get messy, panicky and chaotic. Thus, we prepared a detailed step-by-step, day-to-today schedule of what to do – Hostinger’s Black Friday Prep Calendar, with useful links inside it. We hope this plan will help you organize, oversee and execute with precision!

Thank you for downloading our Black Friday Preparation calendar. It will reach your inbox within a few minutes.

Get a Black Friday Prep Calendar

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What Is Shared Hosting & How Does It Work https://www.hostinger.com/blog/shared-hosting-how-does-it-work https://www.hostinger.com/blog/shared-hosting-how-does-it-work#respond Sat, 25 Sep 2021 13:17:24 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2065 Shared hosting is a website hosting service that allows many websites to use the same server. Why would that happen, might you ask? The answer is simple: cost and resources. A ser…

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Shared hosting is a website hosting service that allows many websites to use the same server. Why would that happen, might you ask? The answer is simple: cost and resources. A server can host more than one website. Thus, by allocating resources to different users, the cost of maintaining the server decreases significantly. 

Before diving into more details about shared hosting, let’s break down how servers and hosting actually work. 

How It Works

In simple terms, every time you type a website’s URL into your browser, the browser is essentially searching to find the server on which this website is stored or “hosted.” Once the browser locates the server, it sends an HTTP request message to the server, requesting information and data to make the website visible. 

With shared hosting, the process just described is precisely the same. The only difference is that one server is responsible for storing/hosting the data for multiple websites at once.

Think of shared hosting as a cruise ship with different cabins. Cabins are websites, the ship itself is the server, and people are… the ones who want to reach the same destination – online success. 

While everyone uses the same server, the same mode of transportation, their journey is different. What you choose to do on a cruise ship is entirely different from what the person renting the same cabin next to you decides to do. You share the engine to get to your destination, but you do have the flexibility and freedom for a unique journey and experience. Shared hosting is the most affordable option among all web hosting solutions which is why it’s preferred by so many people. 

Who Is Shared Hosting Most Suitable For

This hosting type is ideal for blogs, news websites, web development beginners, WordPress users, and e-commerce stores that are beginning their online journey. Sharing a server means that your website is not yet at the stage where it needs to accommodate a lot of traffic, videos, or bandwidth. 

What Are The Benefits of Shared Hosting? 

Shared hosting is one of the most popular solutions provided by Hostinger, and there is a good reason for that – it packs a lot of advantages for people that want to start their online journey. Let’s see some of the benefits that make shared hosting a people favorite. 

Budget-Friendly Solution

Budget matters whether you’re planning to book your cruise holidays, or preparing for your online journey. Nobody wants to invest a lot of money just building their website, blog, or e-shop. Shared hosting allows you to get the service you need at a fraction of the cost since other users contribute to maintaining the server. 

Think of it as booking a cruise ship ticket vs. booking a yacht. The yacht, in this case, would be a VPS server where you have the exclusivity, but at the same time, it would incur the total cost for use and maintenance. 

For a more detailed breakdown of Shared Hosting vs. VPS Hosting, refer to one of our latest articles, “Shared Hosting vs. VPS Hosting: Which One Is for You?

Easy to Manage & No Prior Experience Needed 

Hosting a website when you have no prior experience might sound like a very technical and challenging obstacle to get over. Shared hosting was put together to simplify both the setup and management of your website’s hosting. 

Once you acquire the plan, the process that follows is simple and can be followed by anyone. Hostinger will set up the shared server, install and upgrade the necessary software, monitor the servers to avoid downtime, and effectively take care of the back end. Thus, you don’t need any coding or development experience. What you’ll get is a beautifully designed panel that is intuitive and easy to use – from setting up your email to managing your domain, every detail will be laid out for you in a simplified, digestible manner.

Do you ever get on a ship thinking about your lack of maritime or nautical experience? Nope. It is precisely the same with shared hosting. It is an ideal way to start your online journey. We would love to have you on board!

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An Exclusive Webinar With Neil Patel: Learn How To Monetize Your Blog https://www.hostinger.com/blog/an-exclusive-webinar-neil-patel-learn-how-to-monetize-your-blog https://www.hostinger.com/blog/an-exclusive-webinar-neil-patel-learn-how-to-monetize-your-blog#respond Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:56:56 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2060 Neil Patel is a New York Times Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and top web influencer, recognized as one of the top 10 marketers by Forbes. By helping businesses with innovative…

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Neil Patel is a New York Times Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and top web influencer, recognized as one of the top 10 marketers by Forbes. By helping businesses with innovative strategies, Neil Patel has gained immense popularity with his entrepreneurial and digital marketing skills.

This time, we are thrilled to announce him as our webinar speaker sharing expertise on how to make money blogging. Explaining the whole concept in detail, Neil Patel will discuss the hands-on proficiency and knowledge acquired over his career course and provide helpful tips on starting your own online business. Thus, whether you’re a beginner without a website or a professional eCommerce business owner, this event will have something valuable for everyone.

A discussion-based webinar will cover:

  • The process of choosing a profitable blog niche 
  • Exploring ways of building a website without having technical knowledge (hosting & domain, control panel, blog theme, customization)
  • Discovering branding and ways of producing quality content
  • An introduction to a digital toolset that can help you manage your growing blog (Google Analytics, Pageviews, Google rankings) 
  • Q&A session and more insider tips

Live webinar will take place on Hostinger Academy channel on 14 October 2021, 5:00 PM (UTC+3). Register here to add this event to your calendar and set reminders not to miss this opportunity! 

Neil Patel answering your particular question during the webinar sounds exciting, right? Thus, we encourage everyone to ask him everything that interests you in this topic in the comments section

If you cannot attend it live, check Hostinger Academy channel and Hostinger Blog for recorded videos and our post-webinar key takeaways. 

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Success Driven: Hostinger, CyberCare and TransferGo https://www.hostinger.com/blog/success-driven-hostinger-cybercare-and-transfergo https://www.hostinger.com/blog/success-driven-hostinger-cybercare-and-transfergo#respond Mon, 06 Sep 2021 06:22:36 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=2053 Hostinger, CyberCare and TransferGo teams joined forces to spark the conversation about customer support. The result of this friendly collaboration is 100% customer-obsessed - thr…

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Hostinger, CyberCare and TransferGo teams joined forces to spark the conversation about customer support. The result of this friendly collaboration is 100% customer-obsessed – three videos discuss the hard work, motivation, and expectations that lead Customer Success specialists from day one. 

Making Customers’ Experience Quality and Easy

Making the tech world easy is what the online customer support experience is all about. And we are not talking only about the speed-of-light reply time here. All three companies recognize the trend of flexibility, personalization, and approachability of customer services as the key factors leading to the wow effect to clients. 

Nowadays customers do not expect to get good and decent service. They actually expect to get personalized, supersonic and wow customer service every time they contact the company.

Justina Kekienė, Head of Customer Care at TransferGo

Supportive Environment to Build a Rocking Team

This collaboration emphasizes the importance of ambition, trust, empathy, and a supportive environment when building a Customer Success team. Adventures await for brave, communicative, open-to-feedback employees who are ready to skyrocket their careers.

It’s all about ambitions. If you have no clear ambitions in customer support, it gets boring very fast. And if you have a very clear ambition that you want to create an exceptional experience, this is where the game starts. This is where dynamic kicks in. It gets interesting: you start challenging yourself, you start seeing every situation from different aspects, different points, and this is where the interesting part starts.

Juozas Vaičikauskas, Operations Manager at CyberCare

The Future of Customer Support

The common ground is shared between Hostinger, CyberCare, and TransferGo when giving their predictions for future customer support. Notwithstanding the increasing tendency of Artificial Intelligence and self-learning, humans will still remain the main characters. Thus, the human touch is a secret sauce needed to succeed in customer service.

We can’t live without human interaction when we need help and support. You can’t just lock out your customers between layers of custom chats and articles and no human interaction at all. If you want to provide the best possible customer experience, you must have a Customer Success team caring for your customers personally.

Ričardas Kudirka, Customer Success Team Lead

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Cloudprober Explained: The Way We Use It at Hostinger https://www.hostinger.com/blog/cloudprober-explained-the-way-we-use-it-at-hostinger https://www.hostinger.com/blog/cloudprober-explained-the-way-we-use-it-at-hostinger#respond Thu, 02 Sep 2021 05:34:37 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=1991 Cloudprober is a software used to monitor the availability and performance of various components of the system. Here at Hostinger, we use it to monitor the load time for our custo…

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Cloudprober is a software used to monitor the availability and performance of various components of the system. Here at Hostinger, we use it to monitor the load time for our customers’ websites. Initially, it began as Google’s free, open-source application, which was started to help customers monitor their projects or infrastructures.

Cloudprober’s main task is to run probes, which are meant to probe protocols such as HTTP, Ping, UDP, DNS to verify that the systems work as expected from the customers’ point of view. It’s even possible to have a specific custom probe (e.g. Redis or MySQL) via an external probe API. Hostinger focuses on the HTTP probe.  

Probe Settings

Every probe is defined as the combination of these particular settings:

  • Type – for example, HTTP, PING, or UDP
  • Name – each probe needs to have a unique name
  • Interval_msec – describes how often to run the probe (in milliseconds)
  • Timeout_msec – probe timeout (in milliseconds)
  • Targets – targets to run the probe against
  • Validator – probe validators
  • <type>_probe – the probe type-specific configuration

Surfacers

Surfacers are built-in mechanisms designed to export data to multiple monitoring systems. Multiple surfacers can be configured at the same time. Cloudprober mainly aims to run probes and build standard usable metrics based on the results of those probes. Thus, it provides a user-friendly interface that makes probe data available to systems that offer ways to consume monitoring data.

Currently, Cloudprober supports the following surfacer types: Stackdriver (Google Cloud Monitoring), Prometheus, Cloudwatch (AWS Cloud Monitoring), Google Pub/Sub, File, and Postgres.

Validators

Cloudprober validators permit to run checks on the probe request outputs if there are any. More than one validator can be configured, but all of them should succeed for the probe to be marked as successful. 

The Regex validator is the most common one, working for the majority of probe types. When you load the site and expect some string to be inside, the Regex Validator helps you make it dynamic. 

The HTTP validator, which is only applicable for an HTTP probe type, helps to check the Header (success/fail) and Status code (success/fail). 

Lastly, the Data integrity validator is mainly used for UDP or PINGS when we expect data in some repeating pattern (for example, 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3 in the payload). 

Targets Discovery

As it is a cloud-based software, Cloudprober has support for targets auto-discovery. It is considered one of the most critical features in the dynamic environments of today, as with it, Cloudprober can touch data from Kubernetes, Google Cloud Engine, AWS EC2, file discovery, and more. If that is not enough, it also has an internal discovery service, so you can integrate other discoveries into your infrastructure.

The core idea behind Clouprober’s targets discovery is using an independent source to clarify the targets that are supposed to be monitored. More information about the salient features of Cloudprober’s targets discovery can be found here

Reasons Hostinger Chooses Cloudprober

In October 2020, Hostinger was in search of an external monitoring system to gather uptime and speed statistics from all user websites. Consul (Blackbox consul website) was considered as one of the main alternatives to monitor sites. However, Cloudprober looked like a promising lightweight option that had integration with Stackdriver, which allowed it to easily store logs, had no performance constraints, and could be accessed by the Data Team with no additional requirements. 

Numerous factors as to why we have chosen Cloudprober as a preferred alternative have been distinguished:

  • Headless and lightweight. Most alternatives we’ve looked at had a full solution regarding the custom problem they try to solve – web interface, user management, custom graphing, forced backed/database solution, etc. Cloudprober only does one thing – launches and measures probes. The workflow is designed to be simple and lightweight to keep resource usage low. Deployment is just one single statically linked binary (thanks to Golang).
  • Compossible. Advantageous baked-in tools are included in this monitoring software, however, additional configurations can be configured to do more. 
  • Extensible. The extensible nature of Cloudprober allows users to add features to the tool if required to better fit their individual needs. Also, extensive support documentation and a community of users is available. 
  • Live and maintainable. Before committing to a technology it is wise to determine whether its Github projects are still active. Another factor is determining how community-oriented it is – issue and PR count, external contributors, and overall activity. Cloudprober passed all of these.
  • Supports all modern ecosystems. Cloudprober, as the name would suggest, was designed for cloud native applications since day one. It can be run as a container (k8s), supports most public cloud providers for metadata and target discovery, and is easily integratable with modern toolings like Prometheus and Grafana. IPv6 is not a problem for Coudprober either.

Testing to Check if It Works for Hostinger

Cloudprober testing was a continuous process at Hostinger. To decide whether Cloudprober fits our needs, we checked the metric fidelity and possible setup/configuration scenarios for our scale.

We tried changing the Cloudprober code to add basic concurrency control. Different patterns were attempted to keep moderate load during latency measurement – a concurrency of 5+5 (HTTP+HTTPS). On largely loaded servers, it took approximately 30 minutes to crawl around 3900 HTTPS sites, and approximately 70 minutes to do the same for around 7100 HTTP sites.

The main challenge that we recognized was probe spreading – Cloudprober waits for a configured check interval and starts all the probes at the same time. We did not see it as a huge problem for Cloudprober itself, as Consul, Prometheus, and Blackbox Exporter share the same feature, but this may have an impact on the whole hosting server. 

Later on, Cloudprober was launched on approximately 1,8 million sites, and we found out that a GCP instance with 8 cores and 32GiB or RAM can handle it well (60% idle CPU). 

How We Apply Cloudprober at Hostinger

Here at Hostinger, HTTP metrics are pushed to PostgreSQL (technically, CloudSQL on GCP). Metrics filtering is used and Cloudprober’s internal metrics are exported to the Prometheus surfacer. To check whether the sites are actually hosted with us, we send a specific Header to every site and expect another Header response. 

Metric Output (Surfacers)

Initially, we thought that we would use a Prometheus surfacer. However, all collected metric was around 1 GB in size. This was too much for our Prometheus + M3DB system. While it’s possible to make it work, it’s not worth it. Therefore, we decided to move forward with PostgreSQL. We also evaluated Stackdriver, but PostgreSQL was a better fit for our tooling and purposes.

By default, the Cloudprober PostgreSQL surfacer expects this kind of table:

CREATE TABLE metrics (
  time TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE,
  metric_name text NOT NULL,
  value DOUBLE PRECISION,
  labels jsonb,
  PRIMARY KEY (time, metric_name, labels)
);

There are few drawbacks with this kind of storage:

  1. All labels are placed into the jsonb type
  2. The jsonb type is not index friendly or easy to query
  3. More data is stored than we need
  4. All data is put into one big table which is not easy to maintain
  5. All data stored as strings which takes up lots of storage

At first, we mangled all the inserts into a table. PostgreSQL (and many other RDMS) features a powerful technique – triggers. Another notable technique is called enums and it allows storing “string-like” data in a compact way (4 bytes per item). By combining these two with partitioning, we solved all of the drawbacks mentioned above.

We created two custom data types:

CREATE TYPE http_scheme AS ENUM (
  'http',
  'https'
);
CREATE TYPE metric_names AS ENUM (
  'success',
  'timeouts',
  'latency',
  'resp-code',
  'total',
  'validation_failure',
  'external_ip',
  'goroutines',
  'hostname',
  'uptime_msec',
  'cpu_usage_msec',
  'instance',
  'instance_id',
  'gc_time_msec',
  'mem_stats_sys_bytes',
  'instance_template',
  'mallocs',
  'frees',
  'internal_ip',
  'nic_0_ip',
  'project',
  'project_id',
  'region',
  'start_timestamp',
  'version',
  'machine_type',
  'zone'
);

We created data insert function for trigger:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION insert_fnc()
  RETURNS trigger AS
  $$
BEGIN

  IF new.labels->>'dst' IS NULL THEN
	RETURN NULL;
  END IF;

  new.scheme = new.labels->>'scheme';
  new.vhost = rtrim(new.labels->>'dst', '.');
  new.server = new.labels->>'server';

  IF new.labels ? 'code' THEN
	new.code = new.labels->>'code';
  END IF;

  new.labels = NULL;

  RETURN new;
END;
$$
LANGUAGE 'plpgsql';

And the main table:

CREATE TABLE metrics (
  time TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE,
  metric_name metric_names NOT NULL,
  scheme http_scheme NOT NULL,
  vhost text NOT NULL,
  server text NOT NULL,
  value DOUBLE PRECISION,
  labels jsonb,
  code smallint
) PARTITION BY RANGE (time);

For partition creation, we can use the following script (creates partitions for next 28 days and attaches trigger):

DO
$$
DECLARE
  f record;
  i interval := '1 day';
BEGIN
  FOR f IN SELECT t as int_start, t+i as int_end, to_char(t, '"y"YYYY"m"MM"d"DD') as table_name
	FROM generate_series (date_trunc('day', now() - interval '0 days'), now() + interval '28 days' , i) t
	LOOP
     RAISE notice 'table: % (from % to % [interval: %])', f.table_name, f.int_start, f.int_end, i;
	EXECUTE 'CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS  m_' || f.table_name || ' PARTITION OF m FOR VALUES FROM (''' || f.int_start || ''') TO (''' || f.int_end || ''')';
	EXECUTE 'CREATE TRIGGER m_' || f.table_name || '_ins BEFORE INSERT ON m_' || f.table_name || ' FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE FUNCTION insert_fnc()';
  END LOOP;
END;
$$
LANGUAGE 'plpgsql';

We are currently in the process of automatically performing host monitoring by taking all hosts and website information from the Consul and using the consul-template to generate dynamic configuration. 

We partition data by day for reason management and lockless operations. We also use PostgreSQL triggers and enums to filter, rewrite, and de-jsonb rows to save storage space (up to 10x savings) and speed things up. The Data Team imports such data from PostgreSQL into BigQuery and uses data mangling or modification to meet our needs. 

How would the actual configuration look? The dynamic data from the consul-template is seen in the file path, and Cloudprober will re-read this file in 600 seconds, so one file with all targets that have labels for the probe will be filtered out. Also, we use “allow_metrics_with_label” to expose different types of metrics to different surfacers. Prometheus for Cloudprober itself and PostgreSQL for probes. To save network bandwidth, we use the HTTP HEAD method. Not all our customers have up-to-date TLS certificates, so we have to skip validity checks for them.

Cloudprober.cfg:

disable_jitter: true

probe {
	name: "server1.hostinger.com-HTTP"
	type: HTTP

	targets {
  	rds_targets {
    	resource_path: "file:///tmp/targets.textpb"
    	filter {
      	key: "labels.probe",
      	value: "server1.hostinger.com-HTTP"
    	}
  	}
	}

	http_probe {
    	protocol: HTTP
    	port: 80
    	resolve_first: false
    	relative_url: "/"
    	method: HEAD
    	interval_between_targets_msec: 1000

    	tls_config {
     	disable_cert_validation: true
    	}

    	headers: {
      	name: "x-some-request-header"
      	value: "request-value"
    	}
	}

	additional_label {
    	key: "server"
    	value: "server1.hostinger.com"
	}

	additional_label {
    	key: "scheme"
    	value: "http"
	}

	interval_msec: 57600000
	timeout_msec: 10000

	validator {
  	name: "challenge-is-valid"
  	http_validator {
    	success_header: {
      	name: "x-some-response-header"
      	value: "header-value"
    	}
  	}
	}
}

surfacer {
	type: PROMETHEUS
	prometheus_surfacer {
    	metrics_buffer_size: 100000
    	metrics_prefix: "cloudprober_"
	}

	allow_metrics_with_label {
  	key: "ptype",
  	value: "sysvars",
	}
}

surfacer {
	type: POSTGRES
	postgres_surfacer {
  	connection_string: "postgresql://example:password@localhost/cloudprober?sslmode=disable"
  	metrics_table_name: "metrics"
  	metrics_buffer_size: 120000
   }

   allow_metrics_with_label {
  	key: "ptype",
  	value: "http",
   }
}

rds_server {
  provider {
	file_config {
  	file_path: "/tmp/targets.textpb"
  	re_eval_sec: 600
	}
  }
}

/tmp/targets.textpb example:

resource {
name: "hostinger.com."
labels {
	key: "probe"
	value: "server1.hostinger.com-HTTP"
  }
}

We only have a single request pending to meet our needs to use Cloudprober properly, and Cloudprober runs on a single instance of 8x 2.20GHz and 32 GiB RAM.

Sources For Further Interest

Interested in giving it a try and exploring Cloudprober’s possibilities? We recommend checking the following sites:

Commits

This article is inspired by our R & D Engineer presentation on Cloudprober and its usage at Hostinger. 

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hPanel vs. cPanel: Everything You Need to Know https://www.hostinger.com/blog/hpanel-vs-cpanel-everything-you-need-to-know https://www.hostinger.com/blog/hpanel-vs-cpanel-everything-you-need-to-know#respond Thu, 26 Aug 2021 05:55:21 +0000 https://www.hostinger.com/blog/?p=1956 Control panel is a popular tool used to manage your hosting package. It allows users to manage domain names, install applications, create and manage email accounts, upload website…

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Control panel is a popular tool used to manage your hosting package. It allows users to manage domain names, install applications, create and manage email accounts, upload website files, and more. Of course, while all of this can be done directly simply by logging into the server, that requires some development knowledge, as a single mistake could lead to the whole site becoming broken. 

Thus, control panels serve as intuitive, user-friendly, and straightforward tools that can save your time, energy, and resources. While cPanel still remains the most popular control panel, Hostinger has developed a custom control panel of its own in order to lower the fixed costs and prices and provide more efficient services to our customers. We do believe that cPanel is not as user-friendly as it could be, therefore, hPanel provides customers with a more aesthetically pleasing dashboard, menu, and icons so they can more easily browse through their settings. 

This article compares cPanel and hPanel, and provides a detailed presentation of major hPanel features.

What is cPanel?

cPanel is one of the most popular Linux-based control panels for web hosting accounts, which still remains the industry standard for most web developers. Its intuitive interface allows users to manage web hosting accounts with maximum efficiency. The same as with other well-known hosting control panels, cPanel has its advantages and disadvantages:

cPanel advantagescPanel disadvantages
Easy to learnThe number of features can be overwhelming
Easy to useRelatively easy to accidentally change important settings
Saves time and moneySome hosts run outdated software
Tried and tested, acquainted by most web developers Can cost more and is rarely offered with free hosting
Includes software auto-installersLack of flexibility
Plenty of tutorials/support available onlineRisk of losing data during major updates

What is hPanel? 

hPanel is a custom-built hosting control panel designed by Hostinger that empowers users to access and make the most of such primary functions as domain, email, file and database management, and more. It is available with all web hosting plans

hPanel stands out from the alternatives due to its ease of use, advanced features, and UI/UX. It’s a convenient tool that allows you to utilize the file manager, manage web hosting accounts, FTP users, email accounts, monitor bandwidth, disk space, sub-domains, park domains, install software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and much more.

If you’re curious to see how it looks, there’s a live demo of the newest version available. Also, we suggest checking out the comprehensive hPanel guide

Differentiating hPanel

From the easy-to-follow auto installations to MySQL databases, hPanel might appear very similar to cPanel. In essence, the main differentiator between the two is the developer – hPanel is Hostinger’s own product, developed in-house, striving to make the online experience as smooth as possible. 

hPanel’s main differences compared to cPanel or other web-based admin tools:

  • The customer-facing part of hPanel is Cloud-Based and Highly Available (HA). This includes the visual aspect of the panel, the action queues, and the UI/UX, all of which make the hPanel interface better organized and visually more appealing.
  • Each server only has API end-points, which connect to the front-side of hPanel (cPanel is fully hosted on each server individually). This means the panel itself does not use much of the server’s resources in order to have a better scaling economy (more users per server without performance loss as hPanel is not using any).
  • cPanel mainly uses APACHE or LiteSpeed. We, in comparison, have the freedom to choose any web server. Currently, we use OpenResty (nGinx+LUA and Redis) to handle initial web requests that are then routed to APACHE. The benefit of this architecture is a much faster response time due to multiple layers of caching, also allowing to host more accounts in a single server, reducing the fixed costs. 

Ready to dive right into hPanel features and explore them in more detail? 

Hosting

After logging into hPanel, a few menu options appear at the top. Clicking on the Hosting tab directs you to the Hosting section, where a clear list of your websites under their relevant hosting plan is displayed.

From this point on, you can add additional websites or renew/upgrade your hosting plan. The CTAs are appropriately marked with the different options to make your life easier. 

Emails

Moving on to the emails section, you get a clear overview of your active email accounts, their expiration date as well as the option of ordering a New Email Plan. 

Domains

The domain segment of the hPanel contains all Hostinger-registered domains. A few of the available options for you in this space are acquiring new domains, transferring existing domains, and changing nameservers and contact details. 

Servers

The Servers section allows users to compare and contrast pricing, benefits, and features amongst different VPS plans and find the most suitable one. On the same page, you can manage your virtual private servers, install one of many offered operating systems and control panels, and track the usage of the server.

SSL Security

Security is taken seriously at Hostinger, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it gets its own tab in hPanel. To give you a quick intro to the SSL security layer, it is a protective cloak that helps your website’s credibility, ranking, and overall security. All trustworthy and high-performing websites you visit daily have SSL installed, and it goes without saying that you should too. 

In the SSL section, you can manage and set up SSL certificates for your web pages in a matter of seconds. 

Billing

As far as admin and operational organization, you don’t need to go through emails looking for answers. The billing section keeps you updated on the plan status and payment history, and allows you to renew domains and manage payment methods. 

Customer Support

One of the most valuable parts of the hPanel is the help section. It offers access to the Hostinger Knowledge Base and Tutorials, as well as allows users to directly contact our Customer Success team for answers. Here at Hostinger, we seek to leave no questions unanswered, and the help section is specifically designed to assist in finding the solution to your online challenges. 

Store

Hostinger’s Power Store provides you with the opportunity to elevate your website’s performance, practicality, and appearance. This could be achieved by applying features, add-ons, and upgrades such as Cloudflare Protection, Daily Backups, Business Email, and more. The Store is a great way to take your website to the next level, make it stand out from the competition, and give it the best chance to rank higher and attract more traffic. 

hPanel Possibilities

Let’s get some more details about the hPanel and the possibilities it offers. To access it, navigate back to the first tab, the Hosting section, and click Manage near the relevant web page. Once you do so, the entire hPanel dashboard will appear. On the left side, you will see your hosting plan quick overview info. The Search bar is on the top right corner, and in the middle are your controls.

WordPress. The WordPress section allows users to control WordPress installations, manage WordPress site plugins, enable a secure website connection, turn on/off maintenance mode, and oversee WordPress automatic updates.

Order. The Order section allows for the daily tracking of website performance statistics, plan usage, and website data. From processing power and memory to processes and website errors, you get access to every single detail you need to monitor and understand. You can also quickly renew or upgrade your current hosting plan.

Accounts. The accounts icon leads you to all of your hosting technical information such as nameservers, IP addresses, FTP details, and more. If needed, change the FTP or SSH passwords of a hosting plan from here.

Emails. The Hostinger Email service could be employed to create and customize email accounts, dealing with details such as setting up forwarders, catch-all emails, and auto-responders.

Domains. The hPanel Domains part gives you greater access and control over details. It includes managing subdomains, parked domains, add-on domains (add additional websites to your hosting plan), or even redirecting your websites and installing CloudFlare for improved security and loading times.

Website. This part of the hPanel has multiple options that give control over various aspects of your website. For example, use Auto Installer to install over 50+ different applications, including WordPress, automatically. 

Additionally, importing from file or migrating your website from other providers to Hostinger is also an automated process, free of charge, and super fast. You can customize error pages,  help your page rank higher with the SEO Toolkit, or delve into the coding world with Fiverr

Fiver is an online marketplace for freelance services with low-cost providers worldwide. There you can easily hire people to do all sorts of services, starting with WordPress and logo design, programming or even voiceover tasks. Digital Marketing is the main service offered by Fiverr, while Business Service is a premium service made for larger teams and businesses. Be sure to check this article for more information. 

Files. The File Manager gives you direct access to website files and allows users to edit, delete, extract, move within folders, or import files directly to the server.

Use the powerful backup feature to reserve and restore websites or see your detailed Backup History. Access FTP details, change the account password, or create a new FTP account according to individual needs.

Databases. Create, import, and edit your databases using the most popular administration tool, PHPMyAdmin. Connect to your databases remotely and implement changes on the go. What previously seemed like a highly technical process is now a matter of a few clicks. You don’t need to be a developer or a website expert to deal with the more technical aspects of your website. 

Advanced. The advanced section is dedicated to those who are not afraid to step further! Edit your hosting DNS zone records and change the hosting PHP configuration settings, whether it be choosing the PHP version, turning on/off different PHP extensions, managing the host timezone, or clearing Cache. 

It also allows cron jobs to automatically run scripts, connecting via SSH to transfer, edit, rename, extract files, install new softwares remotely, and deploying your applications directly from the Git repository. Also, you can install and manage SSL certificates for that crucial security as well.

Other. Additional features of the hPanel include allowing or blocking IP addresses from accessing your site, protecting your website or page with a password, blocking direct access to specific file types of your website, as well as seeing under the hood of folder indexing. 

Here, you will find an activity log that keeps track of actions taken on your websites. Reset your account, wipe all the files and information from the account, and go back to default or You can even deactivate your account entirely and cancel files, emails, and all related websites without the possibility to restore. Everything is smooth, easily accessible, and user-friendly.

To summarize, hPanel is the place where you, as a user, can find anything you want regarding your domain, website, and plan. Hostinger continuously focuses on hPanel improvements by releasing updates and new features constantly. This allows for the custom-tailoring of the user experience based on actual user feedback. Additionally, no license fees are incorporated, which results in even better prices for our customers. 

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