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HIPAA Rules and Considerations for Dedicated and Tandem Database Hosting

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Whether you’re in the Healthcare industry or your business model lends to clients in the Healthcare industry, HIPAA is likely at the forefront of your thoughts. But what is it, and how does it affect your data specifically? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is legislation establishing rules, regulations, and potential levies around treatment and use of Protected Health Information (PHI). That’s a mouthful! Translated into lay-speak that sentence amounts to this: “If you touch private medical data, it’s your job to ensure it is kept safe.” Often there is a misconception about lines of responsibility which has caused several well-documented issues including tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements. Avoiding these fines and settlements is of paramount importance to the health of your business. The first step is learning your responsibilities. HIPAA Compliance is broken into four Rules which govern four major points of the compliance: Access Handling Notification Reach Each aspect requires its own processes and procedures to maintain that compliance. Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get more content on HIPAA compliance sent to your inbox. Access: The HIPAA Privacy rule notes several stipulations around who can access PHI, including the patient or the legal guardian of the patient, as well as detailing Health Care Providers’ steps to deny or allow access to that data. This rule also includes requirements for documentation around training staff on how to handle data and attestation of completion of that training. The Takeaway: Only the people who need to have access to private health care data should be granted access. This includes health care service industry employees and hosting business employees. Anyone who may come in contact with PHI should be scrutinized for need and granted accesses appropriately. If a specific team or individual doesn’t need access to PHI, they should not have it. Handling The HIPAA Security rule lays out standards for how data should be handled to maintain its integrity. This includes how PHI is stored, how it’s accessed once stored, how it’s transmitted, and even how the devices are physically maintained and monitored while in a Data Center. Further, this rule notes requirements for logging of access and proper means of disposal of data if disposal is ever required. The Takeaway: No one outside controlled members of the organization should be able to see PHI. While the data is at rest, it should be encrypted. Backups of the data should be encrypted, the means of access and transmission should be encrypted, and the physical security of your machines needs to be maintained and controlled at all times. Logs need to be diligently kept for every time PHI is accessed, changed, updated, or moved. Lastly, once you’re done with the data, be it account termination or a migration, any physical copies of the data (i.e., hard drives) need to be appropriately disposed of to ensure complete data integrity. Notification: Breaches usually cause the most confusion. The HIPAA Breach Notification rule sets standards for how PHI data breaches must be handled should the unthinkable happen. In general, a breach is defined as any uncontrolled access to unencrypted PHI. For example, if an encrypted transmission is intercepted, but it’s encrypted, and no one can actually see the specific data, this is not a breach. However, if a laptop with access to PHI is stolen and it is used to view that PHI, this is a breach and needs to be reported. Breaches are further broken into two types, Minor breaches, which affect fewer than 500 individuals, and Meaningful breaches, which affect greater than 500 individuals. Breaches do not necessarily equal violations. A violation is when a breach comes as a result of a poorly defined, partially implemented, loosely maintained, or generally incomplete compliance process; or as a result of direct violation of properly implemented processes and procedures. Calling back to our laptop example: If a laptop with access to PHI is stolen, it is a breach. This stolen laptop incident becomes a violation if the company didn’t have documented processes and procedures surrounding the use of that laptop OR if the owner of the computer was negligent with the device. The Takeaway: Not all breaches are violations, but all breaches need to be reported. Reach: The HIPAA Omnibus rule is a catch-all rule that controls compliance as it extends to other parties. In today’s internet business, we all understand that it’s rarely feasible to handle all processes in house, including hosting. This rule allows firms to extend HIPAA compliance responsibilities to other parties so long as those other parties are also HIPAA compliant and the two companies enter into a Business Associate Agreement, a contract which draws outlines of responsibility for both parties as pertains to the handling of PHI. The Takeaway: It’s possible to maintain HIPAA compliance even when parts of your processes are outsourced to other companies. Just make sure the other company is also HIPAA compliant, and you have executed a BAA before allowing access to PHI. How Does This All Apply to Databases? Now that all of those points are lined out, how does this affect databases specifically? Databases are the most likely place where PHI will be stored. Most modern applications and storage formats will be database driven and thereby rely on databases as their source. It’s essential to understand the structure of the app you’re using as you consider maintaining HIPAA compliance and database hosting. There are two primary styles of database hosting, dedicated database hosting, and tandem database hosting. Dedicated database hosting is the more complex and expensive of the two options. It requires a separate and segregated server that’s dedicated strictly to hosting your database service and nothing else. This server is usually connected to a private network and not open to the public internet. While accessing the data on this server, the application will often be configured to make an external connection to this database server, run its query, and return the response. That response is then processed however appropriate. Tandem database hosting runs your database service on the same machine as other services and in conjunction with those services. This is often the approach many less resource intensive applications will take as its deployment is less expensive and less complicated. The database service is usually configured to accept only local connections and performs the same queries without having to send the request or response outside the server. Hosting Type Pros Cons Dedicated Database Hosting 1. Easily scalable 2.Designed to handle large databases 3. Hardware can be customized for databases 1. More expenses 2. Requires more hardware 3. More difficult to administrate Tandem Database Hosting 1. Less complex 2. Deployed by default 3. No additional configuration 1. Shared Resources 2. Could be affected by other services 3. Scaling requires taking resources from other services Whether you use a dedicated database server or a database service running on a web server, if PHI will be stored there, the entire server is required to follow all compliance guidelines. These guidelines fall into four categories: Data handling Backups Physical Safeguards Logging Data Handling: Data Handling refers to data that is ready to be accessed, data that is being accessed, and data that’s moving so it can be accessed once received. And these processes are governed by one concept: encryption. According to the HIPAA Security rule, no one should simply be able to see PHI. That means data should be encrypted while at rest or in transit. Encryption for databases exists at several levels and is available on all database platforms. There are means by which to encrypt entire database warehouses, whole databases, full tables, or even individual columns. It would be best to investigate your current application deployments and decide the way that best fits your needs for means of access to cause the least amount of interruption. Data while in transit also requires encryption, even if it’s across a private network connection. Again, there are many ways to move and maintain the requirement for encryption. SSH, Rsync, FTPs, and sFTP, even dumping databases to a file and encrypting those files is acceptable. So long as you’re adhering to the Security rule’s requirement for encryption, you’re on the right track. The last consideration is how the data is being accessed. Again, encryption is vital. SSH, Database Administration Tools, or the secured implementations of FTP work well. Considerations for FTP FTP and its encrypted implementations require moving data from the source to a destination. If someone is using FTP to pull data to their local machine then re-upload that data, it’s imperative that the destination machine follows all HIPAA compliance requirements no matter the type: laptop, tablet, workstation, what have you. If they are not following HIPAA requirements or requirements are not set up around this type of access, the organization is in violation and at risk of legal action.   Considerations for Database Administration Tools There are many stand-alone and web-driven database administration tools, all with their own pros and cons. No matter the application, DBeaver, SQLite, MySQL Workbench, PHPMyAdmin, or SQL Server Management Studio; they all need to make fully encrypted connections and follow the same accessing standards: controlled, logged, encrypted. This means all web-driven application need an SSL at minimum. Backups Database backups are paramount to a company’s survival, and the governing bodies understand this, which is why HIPAA compliance has stipulations specifically for maintaining backups. First: Backups are Required A means by which to back up data and databases is not only encouraged, it’s required. Not having backups is a direct violation of HIPAA compliance. Further, those backups must follow the encryption policies for data handling. They must be encrypted, accessed only via encrypted means, and maintain encryption in transit. Backups Also Require Testing What good are backups if they don’t work and how do we know they’re failing if we don’t test them? These are essential questions, and their answers are built into HIPAA compliance. All backups must be checked regularly, those backups need to be verified, and the testing and verification must be logged so they can be submitted to your HIPAA compliance officer at the time of an audit. Physical Safeguards This is a point of much contention. In the hosting world, almost everyone pays to avoid needing physical access to a server. We rely on our hosts to handle that part and any access to the server, physical access included, requires the same scrutiny as other access. According to the Security Rule, physical access must be controlled and logged. Luckily, as per the Omnibus rule, a third-party can handle almost any aspect of your compliance, so long as they’re HIPAA compliant and there’s a BAA executed. This includes physical access! Liquid Web offers offer attestation via a BAA which covers their processes, documentation, and logged procedures surrounding physical access, its maintenance, and logging. That attestation can then be submitted to an auditor and serves as compliance when you need it. Logging Logging is another point that seems blurry to most clients and is absolutely crucial to maintaining HIPAA compliance. As part of the HIPAA compliance audit process, a compliance officer will require documentation showcasing all of the above points are followed. This means all access to your databases needs to be logged, and those logs need to be maintained. You’ll have to provide logged details about each person who can access data the data, every time the data was accessed and by whom, the reason the data was accessed, and the outcome of accessing said data; you’ll need to maintain every time the physical hardware was accessed as well as by whom. You’ll also need to show logs of your backup periods, verification of employee training, all breach awareness testing, and any breaches. That’s a lot to log! But it’s crucial. Not keeping these logs leaves you in violation of HIPAA compliance regulations and susceptible to fines and actions. There’s a lot to consider as you move toward HIPAA compliance, but Liquid Web has you covered. We offer HIPAA compliant backup solutions and HIPAA compliant server packages. We can also provide a BAA for attestation. This is only the first step in winning HIPAA compliance, but it’s an important step. The post HIPAA Rules and Considerations for Dedicated and Tandem Database Hosting appeared first on Liquid Web.

WP Engine Launches Genesis 3.0, First WordPress Theme Framework To Incorporate AMP Support in Its Core

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, Texas – June 19, 2019 – WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced the launch of Genesis 3.0, and with it bringing in capabilities to build sites using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) directly into the Genesis framework. Genesis is the first WordPress theme framework to incorporate AMP capabilities into its… The post WP Engine Launches Genesis 3.0, First WordPress Theme Framework To Incorporate AMP Support in Its Core appeared first on WP Engine.

Speed Up Mobile Performance with Genesis 3.0 + AMP

WP Engine -

The world’s most popular WordPress theme framework, Genesis, just got a whole lot more powerful. Genesis is already used by more than 600,000 WordPress sites because it comes with the security, design, layout, SEO, and performance features needed to power a professional website. Today, WP Engine is releasing Genesis 3.0,  the latest version of the… The post Speed Up Mobile Performance with Genesis 3.0 + AMP appeared first on WP Engine.

6 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media and How to Get Started

The Domain.com Blog -

Does every business need a social media presence? With few exceptions, yes. In order to succeed and thrive in today’s digital-first world, you need to have active social media profiles. Despite all the negative attention Facebook has received in the news lately, Snap’s struggling stock price, and Pinterest’s recent filtering controversy, social media isn’t going anywhere. There are roughly 14,449,000,000 active profiles (that’s right, OVER 14 BILLION) across the top 20 social media networks — that’s a huge potential audience for your business. Today, we’re diving into 6 of the most important reasons why you need social media for your business. Then, we’ll explore some approachable ways to get started with, or “re-light”, your social media accounts. It all starts with a great domain. Get yours from Domain.com. 6 reasons your business needs social media 1.     Establish Authority & Increase Business Reputation Your social media profiles exist to make your business look good. They increase people’s faith in you as a possible solution to their needs. Use your profiles to share content from your website, industry news, and other materials that prove to your audience that a) you know what you’re talking about and b) you’re a trusted resource. Depending on your business, you may find that sharing news and content on Facebook or Instagram suffices, but don’t rule out other platforms like Quora or Reddit just because they don’t make the news as often. All platforms have loyal, active users — you just need to figure out which platform(s) your customers use. By sharing content and advice you can “win over” these users and hopefully, convert them into customers. As an added bonus, social media users can re-share your content which further increases your reach and authority. 2.     Audience Discovery Have you gone through an exercise to determine what your ideal customer looks like? If not, you should — like, yesterday. Identifying your ideal customer to create a customer persona will help you to refine your marketing messages and successfully sell to your prospects. You can use social media to give insight to your ideal customer persona. Search keywords, hashtags, and other tidbits relevant to your business and look at the people who are talking about those things and engaging with them. -What motivates them? -What concerns them and gets them talking? -What types of posts do they share? These are some questions you should be asking as you review your intended social media audience. At the heart of the matter is this: Understanding your audience and customers is the key to providing them with the best experience and winning them over … for life. 3.     Customer Service & Relationship Building Consumers aren’t willing to pick up a phone and wait on hold for answers to their questions and concerns. What do they do instead? Take to social media to ask for help or air their grievances. And if you aren’t there to respond, it’s not a good look. You can use social media to capture and address these concerns and posts, both to save face for your business and most importantly, help your customer. If your customers need to share sensitive information for you to best assist them, then nicely direct them to contact you via other means or take the conversation private, and explain why you need to do that. No one likes to feel like they’re being ignored or hushed, and you don’t want your customers thinking that you’re trying to hide any negativity from the public eye. By providing timely, good service and being there for your customers you’ll build your relationships with them. In fact, American Express states that, “US consumers say they’re willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service … [and] Millennials are willing to spend the most for great care (21% additional.)” Any wild guesses as to where you’ll find many a millennial? That’s right, social media. 4.     Competitor Analysis and Business Intelligence We’re going to bet that at some point in your childhood you briefly entertained becoming a spy. Perhaps your idols were James Bond or Harriet the Spy, but as you grew older, your interests changed. Well, here’s your chance to put your sleuthing skills to work. Social media can be used to “spy” on your competitors. -What products are they promoting? -How do they position their services or offerings? -What content did they share that got the most likes? -Have they posted anything that received any negative reactions? These insights will prove valuable to your business. You can use this info to refine your messaging, understand your differentiators, and position your products for the right audience. Not sure who your competitors are? Try searching keywords relevant to your business on the different social media platforms to see who the biggest players are in those conversations. 5.     Free Marketing A lot of digital marketing platforms are pay-to-play. Now, this can hold true for social media (most platforms offer a paid advertising option) but it is not the rule. Organic, or unpaid social media posts, can bring qualified traffic to your website. The content and links you share on social media should largely lead people back to your site. As more people interact with and like those posts, their reach will increase and they’ll be shown to more people. That increases the chances of more people making it to your website where they’ll (hopefully) get sucked in with your great products, on-point messaging, and then convert into paying customers. Many small businesses and fledgling business endeavors are tight on marketing funds, so free is always a win. 6.     Boost your SEO Depending on who you ask, you’ll receive different answers regarding just how much social media affects SEO, search engine optimization. However, one thing we can all agree on is that yes, it does affect SEO in some capacity. To get to the bottom of the matter, the team at Hootsuite conducted an experiment with their blog posts to determine social media’s effect on SEO. What were their findings? “…There is an indirect relationship between social media and SEO. That is, content that performs well on social will likely earn more backlinks, which helps boost search rank.” Go ahead and share your content and keep an eye on what performs well on social media. Those posts may just see an SEO boost, too. Now you know that your business really and truly needs a social media presence, but do you know where and how to get started? There are quite a few social media platforms out there and learning to navigate them all can be overwhelming. Tips for getting started on social media Here’s a collection of tips that our social media marketing manager put together to help you navigate any murky social media waters. Quality, not quantity. Don’t spread yourself thin by creating accounts on every single social media platform that exists. Start with one or two, and remain open to changing platforms in the future. As an example, if you run a fashion boutique, bakery, or other business that lends itself well to visuals, you’ll probably want to be on Instagram. Put some thought into your audience and desired customers — what platforms do you think they’re on? You should be there, too. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin FranklinApproach social media with a plan. Take into consideration any existing time constraints you may have, what content you’d like to share, and your ideal posting frequency. Do some research into social media customer service so you have an idea as to how to handle any interactions your customers initiate on social media. (There’s nothing like dealing with an irate customer on social media when you’re utterly unprepared for it.) Remember, what happens on social media ISN’T private — you’re on a stage for the whole world to see. Manual versus automated posting.It’s difficult to stop whatever you’re doing multiple times a day to source content and post it to social media. While it may only take a few minutes to find the material and post it, it can take a whole lot longer to regain the focus you lost when you were interrupted. Consider using an automated tool that allows you to schedule your content and posts far in advance. There are many tools on the market today and a lot of them offer free plans for small businesses and those just getting started. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, allow you to schedule posts natively, or within the platform itself. Automated alerts.Time is money. Have you ever caught yourself going online or checking social media for a specific reason, only to find yourself down a rabbit hole an hour later with no accounting for your time? Resist the temptation and avoid the distractions by setting up automated alerts. You can set up alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned, if a competitor is mentioned, industry news, and so much more. Two of our favorite tools are free: Google Alerts and IFTTT. Provide other avenues for contact.We can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve gone to a social media profile to find contact information … and there’s none to be found. At a minimum, make sure your domain name is visible! If your website is clearly listed, people can always go there to find additional information about you, or even better, make a purchase. It all starts with a great domain. Get yours from Domain.com. Give your business a boost by going social Once you get started with social media, you’ll find it provides a host of benefits to your business. From customer service, to free marketing, and competitive intelligence — the world is your oyster on social media. What other benefits can a business derive from having an active social media presence? Do you have any tips for those just getting started? Share them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them! The post 6 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media and How to Get Started appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

The Guide to VPS Hosting for Beginners

InMotion Hosting Blog -

If you’re totally new to the world of VPS hosting and website design, don’t panic because you’re in good company. A lot of people are starting to develop their own websites for both business and pleasure. As such, there are many hosting providers who are willing to take you by the hand and guide you down this seemingly complicated path. Today, we’re going to walk you through everything that you need to know about VPS hosting and the world of web site creation. Continue reading The Guide to VPS Hosting for Beginners at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

A Warm Handoff: Rackspace CSO Welcomes Replacement Before Retiring

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Rackspace Chief Security Officer Brian Kelly, who has spent the better part of four decades serving in intelligence and security roles in private industry and for the federal government, is set to retire at the end of this month. Before moving to the private sector, Kelly enjoyed a distinguished career in the Air Force, retiring […] The post A Warm Handoff: Rackspace CSO Welcomes Replacement Before Retiring appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

How to Get Started With WordPress

Liquid Web Official Blog -

WordPress is a free and open source content management system that’s come a long way from its blogging platform days. WordPress powers over 30% of the web, according to W3Techs. At Liquid Web we offer Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce Hosting plans with unmatched speed, reliability, and security. Our specialized highly trained technicians are experienced in WordPress and are always available to help you set up your account and optimize your site to fit your needs. One of the features we offer to make getting started easier is simply one-click install of WordPress for your site. If you’re having trouble with that, then you can feel confident in knowing that our amazing support team is around 24/7 to help you get started with WordPress. Let’s get started installing WordPress. Installing WordPress Step-by-Step Installing WordPress on our Managed WordPress platform starts by logging into your control panel. When you signed up you should have received the login location to your admin area. If you don’t have that handy, get in touch with our awesome support team. If this is your first time logging in to our Managed WordPress platform, you’ll be treated to a note from our Managed WordPress team. You can dismiss this notice by clicking the “x” in the top corner. From there it’s time to click the “Create New Site” button in the top right-hand corner of your admin panel. Next, you’ll need to name your site, and choose an email to use with the site so that you have an admin user. If you are installing WordPress sites (plural) then you can save yourself some work later on by using a stencil that you have previously created. A stencil will copy across any changes you’ve made to your base setup of WordPress so that you don’t have to install the plugins you regularly use or make any adjustments to in the WordPress settings if you always make the same ones. Once you copy the stencil, you will be taken back to the main Managed WordPress admin panel, but you’ll have your site showing up as one of the sites you can work with. You can see below that I created a site for family photos. You should also have an email with your new username and password that our system sent to you. You’ll need to use this information to access the WordPress admin area of your site. Now that installing WordPress is complete, it’s time to move on to finding a theme and finding plugins to extend the functionality of your WordPress site.  Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get more inspiration for your WordPress projects sent to your inbox. Finding Themes While WordPress generally provides a decent starting theme for most sites, it’s not always perfect for each user. Luckily WordPress gives you the ability to find and test out themes directly from the Admin interface. Go to Appearance -> Themes and select Add New at the top of the page. From there you can take a look at the currently featured themes, or use the search box to take a look at the themes that may suit your needs better. Maybe you’re looking for a photography theme so you search photography, and the themes that have been tagged with those platforms will show up as options for you to choose from. When you see a theme thumbnail you like, click on it to get a larger preview of the theme. Once you’ve picked a theme that you think will fit your site, click “Install” in the top-left corner of the theme preview. Once you click “Install” for your theme it will take a few seconds and that same button will now say Activate. Click this button to turn the theme on for your site. Now that you’ve activated your theme you’ll be sent back to the Themes main menu area in your WordPress admin. From here you can dive into customizing your theme with any of the built-in options provided. Many themes will have customizations accessible through the WordPress Customizer and provide a button directly on the Themes main screen to take you directly to the available customizations. Finding Plugins While a theme takes care of the visual look of your site, it’s likely you’ll still want to add functionality to your site. Again, WordPress has you covered with its extensive plugin eco-system. To find free plugins for your site go to Plugins -> Add New. Much like the Themes menu, you’ll see a number of recommended plugins first. You can also search for plugins if you don’t see what you’re looking for right away. To do this use the search field in the upper right-hand corner of the Plugin admin area. When you see a plugin you want, click “Install Now.” A few seconds after you’ve clicked “Install Now” the button will change to “Activate.” To turn the plugin on, click “Activate.” After that most plugins will take you to the Plugins main area on your site. Some plugins, like WPForms used in our example, will take you to a configuration screen to help you get set up. In this case, WPForms is helping us set up our first form. At the end of the day, whatever CMS you choose, you just want it to work and to help your business gain traction in your industry. Here at Liquid Web, exceeding our customers’ expectations is the most important thing. Wendall Harness, CEO of Harness Media, moved to Managed WordPress Hosting with Liquid Web and here is what he had to say about the move: When I was hosting with WP Engine I was paying $200 more a month for slow performing websites, which forced me to pay even more money for caching plugins to fix the problem. Now that I’m at Liquid Web, my sites run much faster right out of the gate without really having to do anything. What’s even more amazing is that I’ve been able to remove my caching plugins, and not only did I save even more money, but my sites run faster now! The success of Wendall’s site is not only the result of a reliable web host but also a team of technicians on hand ready to provide support no matter the time of day. Our fully-managed 24/7/365 Support, 24×7 Proactive Monitoring, full hardware and software management, and access to a number of security advantages are what sets our WordPress Hosting Plans apart. No matter the question, we are here to help. Ready to get started with WordPress? Try Managed WordPress. Want WordPress without the hassle? Check out Managed WordPress, with one-click staging, one-click backup restoration, automatic updates, automatic backups, and free SSL included for all sites. The post How to Get Started With WordPress appeared first on Liquid Web.

6 Areas Where UX Designers Need to Improve

Reseller Club Blog -

User experience, or UX, is often used interchangeably with user interface (UI) and other design principles. However, it’s much broader than that: Your company’s UX strategies define how customers and the public interact with your brand from top to bottom — not just your website. It can be a tricky thing to nail down, which is why UX designers should concentrate their efforts on these six trouble areas. 1. Build Feature Usability Among Desktop, Mobile and Apps Step one is building a website that performs as expected across desktop and mobile web browsers. That means photos load quickly and navigation is intuitive. Step two is becoming less optional by the day: Build a smartphone or tablet app to reach users on their preferred devices, and work toward making it their new destination for interacting with your brand and products. Step three is just as important: Make sure users don’t have to jump back and forth between these platforms to use basic features. Things like shopping, checking account status, customer service, product registration, initiating returns and more should be just as functional within your app as they are on your desktop website. When it comes to fast-moving industries like e-commerce, it is important to make sure you’re providing a seamless experience across devices, at the same time it is also important to make sure you’re making yourself available to consumers. Spending too much time in development worrying about feature parity can let competitors get ahead. 2. Facilitate an Actual Exchange of Value We’ve all been there: We visit a website, and within seconds, we’re met with a screen-blocking pop-up asking for an email address. There’s no quicker way to turn off your visitors and make sure you don’t get what you need from them. Here are some thoughts about making this aspect of user experience more beneficial for both parties. First, remember that the same principle applies after a user installs a mobile app. Can they demo more than just the basic functionality before they’re asked for payment or personal details to continue? How can you prove this is something they actually want? Remember to use calls-to-action and signup walls tastefully, and only after your visitors have the information they need to make an informed decision. They shouldn’t have to hand over identification to explore your products or services. Let them learn about you and your product first. Another thing you can do is offer a worthwhile trade. Give them something of value for their email address or phone numbers — such as a trial or sample, resources like e-books and whitepapers, a future discount or something else. Source: Indochino The sign-up form above is a great example of how e-commerce sites can make collecting customer data more beneficial for both parties. With this form, Indochino is able to retrieve the data they want while creating a sense of customer loyalty. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, so offering 25% off right from the start is likely to help Indochino retain more customers and their wallets. 3. Give them a Reason to Show up in Person This is important for brick-and-mortar stores and online-first retailers alike. Your audience lives in the digital and physical world and will always have an affinity for local events and in-store experiences. One report indicates that for every chain that closed stores in 2017, 2.7 chains opened additional locations. Source: Nordstrom Customers aren’t abandoning brick-and-mortar yet — but they need a reason to come out and see you: Use your mobile app to bridge your physical and digital presence. Offer generous discounts or other perks to users who check in at your physical location using your app. Create pop-up displays in common areas. Explore new ways to develop a trade show presence to find new B2B opportunities. You could even sponsor local and charitable events to build name recognition and good PR in your immediate area. Nordstrom does a great job of using technology to bridge the gap between physical and digital. Customers can explore merchandise on their desktop or through Nordstrom’s app and request specific items to be set up in an in-store dressing room in their size. This is a great way to create customer engagement with a brand’s applications as well as engagement with their physical store. 4. Make It Effortless for Users to Provide Feedback Step one: Live by the mantra “improve 1% every day.” It’s common for us to be too close to our products, services and web properties to see their flaws clearly. However, it’s easy to provide interactive forms and surveys throughout the year so clients can suggest ways to make your products and customer service better. Step two: Providing user surveys might help curb some disappointed user reviews on your website or your online marketplace presence. When it doesn’t, make sure receiving a response is part of the expected user experience. Respond to negative and positive reviews and comments alike, whether on social media, a marketplace, a user forum or elsewhere. This goes a long way toward making your brand seem more human and amenable to change. 5. Revamp Your Search Function for Ease-of-Use Too many websites make it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for — or don’t include this functionality at all. Improve your website search function by keeping usability and user experience in mind the whole way through: Include an easy-to-find search function on every page. Provide advanced filters after the initial search results are displayed, not before. Make sure the function searches the whole website and not just the current subsection. Give users a hand with spelling errors by providing similar matches. Why does Google have a near-monopoly on an internet search? Because it consistently delivers the most relevant results Use this as your model for search feature usefulness. Want to go a step above and beyond? Take some ideas from Wayfair which is one of the few retailers who have implemented visual search on their mobile site. With mobile shopping continuing to grow, this is a great way to showcase that your brand knows how your customers are using their devices. 6. Figure Out What Your Unique Value Proposition Is Somebody wise once said, “selling is a transfer of feelings.” Given the sheer number of choices in each industry and marketplace, customers need an emotional connection with your company and brand — “this product makes me feel something” — rather than just a practical one — “this product seems empirically better than the rest.” As before, ask yourself some questions to tackle this potential user experience weak point: How can you provide additional perceived value? Perhaps by offering a smooth and appealing website, products enjoyable to unbox, etc. Tell a story. How can what you offer to fulfil a need and occupy a place in your customers’ lives? What do you do differently? Sustainable manufacturing? Zero emissions? Giving back to employees and/or the community? Do competitor research. Which similar products rank better than yours in search engine results? Is there something obvious about their presentation that sets them apart? Do you have consistent and appealing branding? Does it look like passion goes into every detail? Think about the logo, colour scheme, typography, iconography, product photos and more. Do you exude personality in customer interactions and on social channels? In short, sticking the landing when it comes to UX means you have to be more than a collection of products. You need to frame yourself as a humanistic institution, in every way you can. If there’s a tidy conclusion here, it’s to remember to put yourself in the customers’ shoes as early in your business development process as possible. It’s pretty natural to want to jump ahead to product development or focus on something else, but UX consideration can be part of a strong foundation for future success. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post 6 Areas Where UX Designers Need to Improve appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

What Kind of Hosting Do I Need for My Website?

DreamHost Blog -

For first-time website owners, figuring out which type of web hosting is right for you can be one of the most challenging parts of getting started. It can be hard to know the differences between each variety and how their features will impact your site. Fortunately, once you break down the different kinds of web hosting, it should become clear pretty quickly which one your site needs. You can then find a top-notch provider and get your site up and running quickly. In this post, we’ll discuss what web hosting is and then break down the main types of web hosting that are available for website owners: Shared Hosting Dedicated Hosting VPS Hosting Managed WordPress Hosting Other Hosting Options for Specific Purposes We’ll also provide some advice on how to choose the best web hosting company for your site. Let’s jump right in! What Is Web Hosting? Every website is stored on a server. Your site’s server is what makes it available to users on the web, and what delivers your content to them. In turn, web hosting is simply the service of storing a website — or ‘hosting’ it — on a server. Your ‘web host’ or ‘hosting provider’ is the company that owns and maintains the server that hosts your site. These companies often provide helpful resources, support, and other services such as domain registration and custom email addresses as well. Typically, a provider will offer a variety of plans (sometimes called hosting packages) you can choose from. These plans may encompass different types of hosting, which will often determine the price and additional features available for each one. Selecting the right web hosting services for your site is an important process. Your server impacts your site’s security, availability, and performance. This means that choosing the wrong plan or web host could affect your site’s ability to expand and build a user base. Similarly, your hosting company plays a crucial role in keeping your site safe and making sure it stays up and running. If your host offers poor customer support or doesn’t maintain its servers well, your website will likely suffer for it. What Types of Web Hosting Can I Choose From? When we speak about different types of web hosting, we’re generally referring to how a hosting provider uses the storage space on a specific server. Below, we’ll explain the most common ways websites are stored, as well as a few specialized types of hosting for sites with particular features. 1. Shared Hosting for New and Small Websites Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like — your website shares a server with other users. The most significant advantage of this type of hosting is that it’s the least expensive option since it provides the fewest resources and the least amount of storage space. Your web hosting provider will manage the server for you on a shared plan, so you don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects of hosting your site. If you’re not very experienced with managing a website yet, not having to worry about your server is helpful. Unfortunately, sharing a server also means that the other websites stored on it could affect your site. For instance, your site will be more vulnerable to malware attacks. It could even crash if another site experiences a traffic spike that overloads your shared server. Plus, if other sites on your server are blacklisted for spam or similar activities, your website can also be penalized. However, all of this doesn’t mean that shared hosting is a bad option in all scenarios. It’s a popular solution for new sites that are just starting out, or for very small websites. With that in mind, if you’re brand new to owning your own website, we’d say that a shared hosting account is the right way to go. You can then work on building your site without having to invest a lot of money upfront. Our Starter Shared Hosting plan costs just $2.59 per month. Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan 2. Dedicated Hosting for High-Traffic Professional Sites Dedicated hosting is the exact opposite of shared hosting. With this type of plan, you’ll have an entire server reserved just for your website. You won’t have to worry about other websites impacting your performance, security, or disk space. Of course, good things come at a price. Dedicated hosting plans tend to be expensive, with some running up to hundreds of dollars per month. If you have a small website that isn’t going to use a dedicated server’s resources to the fullest extent, this could be overkill. Also, dedicated hosting plans often require you to manage your server yourself. Therefore, it’s best to hold off investing in a dedicated hosting plan until your site has grown enough to warrant having its own server, and you’re comfortable maintaining it. High-traffic, professional websites will benefit most from this hosting. At DreamHost, we provide dedicated hosting with enough space to handle any size website. Our plans start at just $169 per month and are managed, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance. Get DreamHost’s Most Powerful HostingOur dedicated hosting plans are the ideal solution for high-traffic sites that require fast speeds and consistent uptime.See Dedicated Plans 3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting for Websites That Are Growing If you’re concerned about the drawbacks of shared hosting, but you don’t need an entire web server to yourself, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) solution provides a nice middle ground. While you’ll still share your server with other websites, each site has an allotted and virtually-partitioned amount of space. This prevents one or a few sites from eating up the shared server’s resources. It can also keep a single user from overloading your server or hurting your site’s performance. However, because it’s still a shared server, plans run much cheaper than dedicated hosting. If you’ve had your site up and running for a while and have started to build a dedicated audience, upgrading from shared to VPS hosting can help your server keep up with your users’ needs. However, you’ll also be able to keep costs down. Starting at $10 per month, our VPS hosting plans can handle unlimited amounts of traffic. You can easily upgrade whenever you need more storage, and we’ll manage security and performance for you. We Know You've Got Lots of VPS OptionsHere’s are a few ways DreamHost’s VPS offering stands apart: 24/7 customer support, an intuitive panel, scalable RAM, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited hosting domains, and SSD storage.Get Your VPS 4. Managed WordPress Hosting for Simplified Maintenance If you’re a WordPress user, you not only have to worry about whether your server is secure and up-to-date. You also have to manage your site’s security and perform WordPress core updates. A managed WordPress hosting plan can make all of those tasks easier. Due to the platform’s popularity, some hosting providers have created special plans just for WordPress users. In addition to storing your site on a server, they offer other services such as WordPress updates, additional security, and automated backups. Some even install WordPress for you. Related: The 2019 Guide to Managed WordPress Hosting These managed plans can be available for shared, dedicated, or VPS servers. For this reason, managed hosting plans vary widely when it comes to pricing. Here at DreamHost, for example, we offer managed WordPress hosting on a cloud instance, which is much more powerful than shared. With three different managed WordPress plans to choose from, DreamHost offers robust hosting solutions for every WordPress site. Power Your Site with Managed WordPress HostingHassle-free, high-performance WordPress hosting can help you grow your business. Plans start at $16.95/mo.Choose Your Plan 5. Other Hosting Services for Specific Purposes In addition to these more popular types of hosting, there are a few specialized hosting services that could be relevant to your site. Cloud hosting, for example, is becoming more and more popular. It involves storing your website on many servers, which all function together as a single server. This arrangement means that it’s very easy to scale your website as it grows. What’s more, you typically only pay for the amount of server space you use, rather than pre-paying for space you may not fill. The drawbacks are few, although cloud hosting can be expensive and is sometimes less secure than traditional hosting. Still, it may be worth looking into if you have a highly reputable provider and a website that is likely to grow very quickly. You can also find hosting plans specifically your e-commerce site. For example, our WooCommerce plans come with WordPress and WooCommerce pre-installed. We also offer WooCommerce-specific support, so you can get an e-commerce website up and running quickly. E-commerce hosting plans, including ours, are typically configured for optimal security and uptime to make sure your online store is available and safe for your customers. They’re similar to managed WordPress plans but focus on additional features that appeal to online retailers. Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest eCommerce platform.Ready to Woo? How Do I Choose the Right Type of Hosting for My Site? Even when you know what all the options are, choosing the right hosting plan isn’t always that straightforward. Generally speaking, when selecting a web hosting plan and provider, there are five things you’ll need to consider. The first is the features available on each plan you’re considering. This includes hosting services such as the amount of storage and traffic levels your server can handle, as well as additional features like those available with a managed WordPress or e-commerce plan. Customer support is another critical aspect to think about. Your relationship with your hosting provider will likely be a long one. You’ll want a host who’s available to help you fix server-related errors on your site, as well as provide specific help with your server, website, or WordPress installation. Additionally, you should look into your potential host’s server performance. Being able to serve your site’s content quickly is critical to maintaining a successful website. You can run performance tests or look for others’ test results, and note if the provider offers performance-related features such as caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN) access. Ease of use will also likely factor into your decision. A hosting company with an easy-to-use control panel will help you manage your hosting account and website more easily. Plus, plans that make WordPress installation simple or handle it for you can save some time when it comes to getting your site running. Finally, you’ll need to think about price. The rest of these considerations don’t matter if you can’t afford a particular option. Starting with a shared plan and upgrading down the line can help to keep your budget in check. It’s also wise to shop around and see which hosts offer the best price for a similar feature set. The Right Web Hosting Company for Your Site Hosting is one of the more complex aspects of creating a new website. However, learning about the different types that are available can help you make an informed decision. In this post, we examined five types of hosting that website owners can consider: Shared hosting for new and small websites. Dedicated hosting for high-traffic professional sites. VPS hosting for websites that are growing. Managed WordPress hosting for simplified maintenance. Other hosting options for specific purposes (such as cloud or e-commerce hosting). Are you interested in reliable hosting for your website? DreamHost plans are an affordable solution and include performance and security management features. Check out our hosting packages today. We have a feeling DreamHost could be the right hosting company for you! The post What Kind of Hosting Do I Need for My Website? appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

What Do I Need for eCommerce Hosting?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

As the owner of an online store, deciding on an eCommerce hosting plan is a high priority. After all, your website is your business. Without a properly functioning and secure website, your customers will be less likely to buy from you, eventually shutting down your website and possibly your business. Running an online store is much more involved than running a website that is used to display information or media. You are responsible for inventory, customer information, data processing, and creating an easy-to-navigate website. Continue reading What Do I Need for eCommerce Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Accelerating Innovation Through Integration: Rackspace Partners with MuleSoft

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Organizations rely on hundreds of cloud and on-premise applications, tools and databases — and not surprisingly, integrating them is complex and time consuming, making it one of the biggest business and technology challenges they face today. Yet how a company integrates its applications and data to deliver superior customer experiences, business agility and business results […] The post Accelerating Innovation Through Integration: Rackspace Partners with MuleSoft appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

How Many Dedicated Servers Does It Take to Run a Website?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

When it comes to picking the best hosting provider and plan for your website, there are a lot of options to choose from—shared servers, virtual private servers, dedicated servers. If you aren’t sure which one is the best for you, it can cause a lot of headaches and anxiety trying to make that decision. The bottom line is that there are plenty of options to choose from, but the top-of-the-line option is still a dedicated hosting platform. Continue reading How Many Dedicated Servers Does It Take to Run a Website? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Liquid Web Partners With WPMerge and AffiliateWP

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Liquid Web Announces New Partnerships With WPMerge and AffiliateWP to Add Additional Functionality to their Managed Application Product Lines LANSING, Mich., June 18, 2019 – Liquid Web, LLC, (www.liquidweb.com), the market leader in managed hosting and managed application services to SMBs today announced partnerships with WPMerge and AffiliateWP to bring additional bundled features to their Managed Application product lines. Liquid Web continues to redefine Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce by including WPMerge into their Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce bundles and AffiliateWP into the Managed WooCommerce bundle at no charge. Freelancers, agencies, and store owners have long known the challenge of testing changes on staging sites before pushing updates to their production websites and stores. This can be especially difficult on WooCommerce because blog posts and orders use the same data structures for storage. WPMerge helps solve this problem. WPMerge is an intelligent, automated merging solution that moves changes from a staging site to a live site without overwriting any changes made to the live site – even if changes have occurred on the production site or store. AffiliateWP, now included in Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce offering, is an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution for building a fully-featured affiliate program for any WooCommerce store. It provides online sellers with all the tools needed to launch and grow an affiliate program that drives sales and grows revenue to their online businesses. “One of the most important dynamics in bringing traffic to your store is the ability to reward people for sharing the news,” said Chris Lema, VP of Products and Innovation. “As we continue to build the most complete open source eCommerce platform, it made sense to make sure every store owner and store builder could count on AffiliateWP being available for them to use,” said Lema. Liquid Web is dedicated to the success of SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them. By bundling these two products with their Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce Hosting offerings, Liquid Web continues to create a platform that helps customers focus on what matters to them: growing their business. Visit Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce Hosting to learn more. About Liquid Web Marking its 21st anniversary, Liquid Web powers online content, commerce, and potential for SMB entrepreneurs and the designers, developers, and digital agencies who create for them. An industry leader in managed hosting and cloud services, Liquid Web is known for its high-performance services and exceptional customer support. Liquid Web offers a broad portfolio designed so customers can choose a hosting solution that is hands-on or hands-off or a hybrid of the two. The company owns and manages its own core data centers, providing a diverse range of offerings, including bare metal servers, fully managed hosting, Managed WordPress, and Managed WooCommerce Hosting, and continues to evolve its service offerings to meet the ever-changing needs of its web-reliant, professional customers. With over 32,000 customers spanning 150 countries, the company has assembled a world-class team, global data centers and an expert group of 24/7/365 solution engineers. As an industry leader in customer service*, the rapidly expanding company has been recognized among INC Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for eleven years. For more information, please visit www.liquidweb.com, or read our blog posts at https://www.liquidweb.com/blog. Stay up to date with all Liquid Web events on Twitter and LinkedIn. *2018 Net Promoter Score of 65 Contact: Mayra Pena, mpena@liquidweb.com The post Liquid Web Partners With WPMerge and AffiliateWP appeared first on Liquid Web.

.LIVE: TLD of the Fortnight

Reseller Club Blog -

‘Live’ has become quite the buzzword these days – be it Facebook Live, live streaming a cricket match, a live Coldplay concert, or simply consuming live world news from the comfort of your home. Allow me to share a few numbers from Techjury to emphasize my point: 80% of consumers prefer to watch live videos from a brand than read a blog (Source: Livestream) By 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic (Source: Go-Globe) The streaming industry is estimated to reach $124.6 billions by 2025 (Source: MediaKix) Breaking news make up 56% of most-watched live content (Source: Livestream) 35% of marketers use live video (Source: MediaKix) Viewers spend 8x longer watching live videos than on-demand (Source: Tubular Insights) In stark contrast to early years where we waitedfor information, live serves in the immediate. A .LIVE web address does just that – it puts you in the center of the action and conveys immediacy. A .LIVE brings you in direct and instant involvement with the event, the concert, the interview or that cricket match. Why offer .LIVE to your customers? Brands using .LIVE iogames.live box.live With over 560,000 websites already using the word ‘live’ in their domain address (source: WHOIS), now is the right time to start offering .LIVE! The ResellerClub Advantage With ResellerClub, you can register .LIVE at a special price of $18.99 $1.99 valid only till 30th June, 2019! Don’t miss the opportunity! Login & set prices now! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post .LIVE: TLD of the Fortnight appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Get Ready for WP Engine’s 2019 Digital Breakthrough Summit

WP Engine -

WP Engine’s Digital Breakthrough Summit is just a week away, and if you haven’t registered yet, there is no time like the present. The annual event brings together tech visionaries, agency trailblazers, and brand pioneers for two days of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and break-out sessions all geared towards helping you find your next digital… The post Get Ready for WP Engine’s 2019 Digital Breakthrough Summit appeared first on WP Engine.

Why WordPress Remains The Best Choice For Your Next Website Project

Liquid Web Official Blog -

While we’re 100% behind WordPress as the platform of choice for websites, blogs, membership sites, online courses, and eCommerce stores, we pay attention to what’s going on in the world of website platforms and content management systems. If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, business owner, or agency selling WordPress services or products, or you’re a WordPress site owner, you may have noticed that other platforms are fighting for market share and visibility through online advertising, television ads, radio ads, print ads, and podcast ads — and you might be wondering, “Is WordPress the right choice for my next website project?” As a gold-level global sponsor of WordCamps across the Americas, Liquid Web is invested in the future of WordPress and committed to helping WordPress professionals and site owners create a better experience through our Managed WordPress Hosting and Managed WooCommerce Hosting packages — and we know that WordPress is the best choice for your next website project. Why WordPress Is The Best Choice WordPress Is Open Source Software WordPress is licensed under the General Public License (GPLv2 or later) which provides four core freedoms: To run the program for any purpose To study how the program works and change it to make it do what you wish To redistribute To distribute copies of your modified versions to others This means that with WordPress, you’re not locked into an inflexible, private platform or proprietary content management system with exorbitant fees. Instead, you’re leveraging software that you can manage and modify yourself.  Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get more inspiration for your next WordPress project sent to your inbox. WordPress Is Free The WordPress software is free and there are free themes and free plugins available to extend the capabilities of the WordPress core software. While WordPress is free, you do need to purchase a domain name (your address on the Internet) and website hosting (your space on the Internet). WordPress Has A Global Community Moving It Forward WordPress contributors work around the globe and have dedicated countless hours to build a tool that democratizes publishing, making the free software priceless. A global community continues to work on the WordPress project and to serve WordPress users. In 2018 there were 145 WordCamps in 48 countries, with over 45,000 tickets sold. A total of 1,300 organizers, 2,651 speakers, and 1,175 sponsors made it happen. 2018 also saw a 50% member growth in WordPress meetup attendance, with over 687 meetup groups and 5,400 meetup events. This means that there are more professionals working with WordPress than any other website platform and that means it’s easier to find help when you need it. WordPress Is SEO Friendly WordPress is built with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. The code is written in compliance with the highest web standards and produces semantic markup that makes it easy for search bots to crawl and index your website. There are also plugins available to enhance onsite search engine optimization efforts like Yoast SEO. WordPress Is Easy To Manage To prevent security vulnerabilities, some WordPress software updates are automatic. For the rest, WordPress has a system to manage software updates built-in that: Notifies you when there is a new version of WordPress available Notifies you when a plugin has an update available Allows you to update WordPress, your themes, and plugins right from your WordPress admin dashboard. WordPress Can Scale From a tiny hobby blog to a massive enterprise-level website, WordPress can scale to any size site with any amount of traffic. New York Observer, New York Post, Walt Disney, TED, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, People, National Post, Spotify, TechCrunch, CBS Local, NBC, AMC, BBC America, Mercedes-Benz, Wired, Vogue, The Rolling Stones, Beyonce, and the U.S. Department of Defense are a few of the large sites powered by WordPress. WordPress Can Handle A Variety Of Media Whether you plan to publish text articles, videos, infographics, audio recordings, photos, galleries, podcasts, PDFs, or other types of media, WordPress can handle it with ease. Also, WordPress supports oEmbed enabled websites, which means you can embed YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, Facebook posts, and even Soundcloud audio by simply pasting the URL into the WordPress content editor. WordPress Powers 32% Of All Websites During the State of the Word 2018, Matt Mullenweg shared that throughout the life of the WordPress 4.9 branch, there were over 173 million downloads with 68.4% of all known WordPress installs running 4.9. The software currently powers 32% of the entire internet and it owns a 50-60% share of the global CMS market, which makes it the most popular content management system for the 7th year in a row. Bottom line: WordPress isn’t going anywhere and it’s only getting better. Check Out Managed WordPress Hosting We’d also love for you to check out our Managed WordPress Hosting packages and our and Managed WooCommerce Hosting packages — the first ever hosting designed specifically for WooCommerce stores and their unique needs. The post Why WordPress Remains The Best Choice For Your Next Website Project appeared first on Liquid Web.

Finding the Best Website Hosting Can Be a Challenge

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Trying to find the best website hosting can be a challenge. There are many different companies that offer hosting, but which one is best? More importantly, which is best for you? Not all plans are the same and believe it or not, you may be paying for a plan that has more features than you need for your website. In order to find the best plan, read over this guide for key categories to consider when deciding on a hosting company. Continue reading Finding the Best Website Hosting Can Be a Challenge at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

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