Web Hosting

I was recently given a short article from a consumer magazine for small businesses. This article was about choosing a web hosting company. While many of the points in the article were valid, some were questionable.

Yes, there are different sizes and prices available in web hosting companies. You do need to make sure that a web hosting company can meet your needs. If they can't provide a service that's critical to you, what good is that web host for you, no matter what the price? Discuss your needs with us and we will let you know if we can fulfill them.

Those of you familiar with LCR already know that we never hide behind marketing fluff. We'll let you know if we can't meet all of your critical needs.

But what questions weren't included in this article? You need to know if the company you're investigating does the hosting themselves or if they farm it out to someone else. I have seen many ads for web hosting and usually I can tell by reading them if they do it themselves or subcontract it out. By the way, we do our own web hosting. It's all right here in Woodstock and not 'somewhere else'.

Another question we consider very important is "Do you provide e-mail virus scanning?" Very few ISP's can answer yes to that question. Here at LCR, we do provide virus scanning on all e-mail accounts.

The article asked questions about maintenance and support. This goes hand in hand with the question I posed above. Do they do their own web hosting or do they farm it out? If they subcontract it, are you even allowed to know who is doing the actual hosting?

Telephone support? Are we here 24x7 to answer your questions? No. We admit that right up front. But our systems are monitored locally and remotely, not only to see if they are up and online, but also to check for security breaches in the systems. We have text messages sent to our cell phones, so that if something goes wrong in the middle of the night, we can fix it before you find out in the morning!

Over the years, we have always tried to be able to maintain to the highest standards of reliability. Along with that we have worked on being able to maintain our systems even if we are off site. So far that we have been sucessful in having very good uptime and there are very few issues that we can not quickly care for even when off site.

IPv6 Ready.

Yes, we are Ipv6 ready! If you need more info on what IPv6 is a good source is the wikipedia on IPv6. It's coming as the current IP numbering scheme is running out of usable numbers. Here at LCR, we are not sitting around waiting for the change to be forced on us. We have taken steps to be ready NOW.

If you have any questions about our IPv6 readiness, just contact us and ask!

watching your site?

Looking for a place to keep your web site? Want to know who really maintains the web servers? Many companies advertise web hosting, but farm out that task to the lowest bidder.

We do it in house, right here in our offices. We have reliable Linux servers running Apache. We have generators for when the power goes out. We have redundant Internet connectivity. We test all of our backup systems periodically. Nothing is worse than claiming backup connectivity to the Internet and then finding when you need it, it doesn't work!

Seriously, we recently worked with a client that lost their website during their most critical week of the year. Then without any direct contact with the hosting company, we saw the site move from California to Florida. Now they lost at least two days of up time during the single worst week of the year from them and they still don't have a clue what the hosting company was doing.

Here we control our own destiny. The servers are right here and you talk to the person who is fixing/analyzing any problems or difficulties you may be experiencing and he is most likely the person who installed and configured the web server. You are not talking to the person who sold you the package, who has to call the support number at the hosting company and then hope to get a call back within the next 24 hours. And hope he gets to talk to someone that knows what a web server is.

Why do we use and recommend Apache over Microsoft's IIS for web services?

Recently we have become aware of articles written for ZDNet's eWeek online IT news service. These articles are critical of Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services). IIS is the package behind Microsoft's web server and other Internet services running on WinNT or Windows 2000 and soon .XP.

Follow these links to read
the actual articles:

IT bugs out over IIS security

Apache avoids most security woes

The problem is in the security area of IIS vs. Apache. We here at LCR, agree with two of the more basic premises that assist Apache in being more secure than IIS.

1) Apache runs as an unprivileged user. The advantage of that is if there is a flaw in the basic security and a hacker gets to the operating system, they don't have the rights to do everything. The hacker is limited to his ability to do nasty things to the operating system of the host computer.
2) Apache is Open Source software. We like Open Source software. For one, it's cheaper (as in free). But that is not the best part. Open Source means the source code that Apache is built with is available for anyone to look at. And lots of people have looked at the source code for Apache ever since it was first written. That means lots of eyes have poured over every line of code in there looking for security flaws. Do you think Microsoft would give you the source code for IIS just by asking for it?

There are other reasons, but security is the overriding reason for us to select Apache over Microsoft's IIS for our web servers. We don't want hackers defacing your website or taking down your website because we failed to install the last patch or security bulletin from Microsoft that was released yesterday or that we did install it and the patch took down the webserver...




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