Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk

New Year, New Adventure: What Comes Next

For 17 years the WHIR has published news, insights and thought leadership around web hosting, cloud computing, security, e-commerce and data centers. In many ways, we grew up with the industry. We followed small startups as they grew into billion-dollar companies and we chronicled web hosting prodigies as they moved from dorm rooms to data centers. Later, we marveled as millions migrated workloads to the cloud in a massive shift from on-premises infrastructure. For many of us, the WHIR was the ride of a generation. But like all adventures, this one has come to an end. Today is the last day of publishing on the WHIR. What is more, our local WHIR networking events will cease. For the past five years as editor of the WHIR, I have had the pleasure of engaging readers and supporters of this fantastic website. I enjoyed learning about the successes you have achieved in your businesses, and admired the many challenges you have overcome, including the rapidly changing market that is brimming with competition and churn. As your businesses evolve, we believe that your information and events needs are better served through other brands in our Informa portfolio. This includes Web Hosting Talk, Channel Futures and Data Center Knowledge. If, for example, you seek detailed analysis of web hosting business and technology, then Web Hosting Talk will provide you the peer engagement and information you need. Likewise, Channel Futures is a place you can trust to give you the latest on technology

U.K. Consumers Lead E-commerce Holiday Shopping Surge: Report

Holiday shopping is continuing to move rapidly online, with an 18.1 percent increase from 2016 to this year in the U.S., according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. The global shift in shopping habits is led by consumers in the U.K., however, who a Nomura analyst says did 15.7 percent of their retail shopping online in 2017, Business Insider reports. Data from Barclays shows online shopping in the U.K. is rising by more than 1 percent per year, suggesting that half of all credit and debit card transactions will be done online by 2050, and the Office for National Statistics says Britons now spend an average of £1.2 billion online weekly, up over 10 percent from just a year ago. In a study of U.S. consumer spending from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, Mastercard found holiday sales increased by 4.9 percent, the largest increase since 2011, with online shopping surpassing traditional "brick and mortar" gains in numerous categories. "Evolving consumer preferences continue to play out in the aisles and online sites of retailers across the U.S.," said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard. "Overall, this year was a big win for retail. The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase." December 23 was the next biggest day to Black Friday for overall shopping, bringing the holiday total for U.S. online spending

Dealing with Digital: Why ‘Offline’ Is Now the New Luxury

I'm sure this is going to hit home for a few of you. We're all technologists, or at the very least, users of technology. Being a millennial, I love leveraging new systems, methods of communication, and advanced technologies designed to make life easier. However, I also remember that there was a time when we could simply "disconnect." I remember it was easy for one simple reason - there was nothing to connect to. Our world is increasingly becoming connected and digital. The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index indicates some interesting trends going into 2021: Annual global IP traffic will reach 3.3 ZB by 2021. In 2016, global IP traffic was 1.2 ZB per year or 96 EB (one billion Gigabytes) per month. Global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next 5 years, and will have increased 127-fold from 2005 to 2021. Busy-hour internet traffic is growing more rapidly than average internet traffic. Busy-hour (or the busiest 60-minute period in a day) internet traffic increased 51 percent in 2016, compared with 32-percent growth in average traffic. Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2021. In 2016, PCs accounted for 46 percent of total IP traffic, but by 2021 PCs will account for only 25 percent of traffic. Smartphones will account for 33 percent of total IP traffic in 2021, up from 13 percent in 2016. By 2021, traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for more than 63 percent of total IP traffic. A study done by We Are Social found: More

When it Comes to Online Communication Tools, Context Matters

I was deep in thought, working on an advanced customer cloud scenario and discussing the topic with one of my architects on our unified communications tool, Jabber. At the same time, a fellow analyst replied to a question of mine on Google Hangouts. A few minutes later, a friend of mine dropped me a note for our weekend plans on Facebook Messenger. I didn't give this too much thought until I was talking to a friend of mine who has siblings all over the country. What did she use to communicate? A relatively newer tool called Google Allo. At just over a year old, Allo is yet another platform that people use every day to communicate, chat, share content, and connect with others. Why are there so many different types of communication platforms? Why haven't we invented a ‘Babel Fish' communications platform that can unify our digital world together? The answer might not be that simple. If you were a kid or young adult of the 90s you'll remember AIM, which was recently discontinued. AIM was more than just a communication tool. It was a part of our culture, featured in movies, songs, TV shows, and other places. Back when there weren't so many chatting tools AIM was king of the hill. But that changed very quickly. The World Is More Social The new Digital in 2017 Global Overview report from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that that more than half of the world's population now uses the internet. This year's Global Digital report found that social media use

Apple Revises App Store Revisions to Allow Legitimate Template Use

Apple has made changes to revised app store guidelines that threatened to block a wide range of small business apps created with templates, DIY tools, and SMB app platforms. The guidelines were originally revised earlier this year to ensure a minimum standard of quality and uniqueness for apps accepted to the App Store, and to make sure that they are not simply "wrapped" websites or social media pages. The revisions were also intended to limit spam in the App Store. A number of developers and app-creation companies catering to SMBs and non-profit organizations that had thought they would be unaffected by the changes, however, were recently informed that their apps would be banned as of January 1. App store review guideline 4.2.6 previously said: "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected." The rule has now been amended to read: "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app's content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or "picker" model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant,

Web Host GMO Internet Offers Employees Part of Salary in Bitcoin

Japanese web hosting company GMO Internet is offering to pay part of its employees' salaries in bitcoin, in part to improve understanding of the cryptocurrency within company ranks, the Guardian reports. GMO Internet launched a bitcoin exchange and trading business in May, and plans to begin mining the cryptocurrency in January. It is also planning an initial coin offering (ICO) for its own GMO coin, according to Futurism, redeemable for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency mining gear, or shares in a cloud mining business. See also: The Risks and Rewards of Accepting Bitcoin Payments for E-Commerce Starting in February, GMO Internet employees will have the option of receiving 10,000 to 100,000 yen (roughly $88 to $890) of their salaries in bitcoin. The option will be available to some employees to start, and eventually roll out to the company's workforce of more than 4,000 people. Bitcoin's volatility makes it risky to accept or offer payment in, as it has fluctuated between less than $1,000 and more than $18,000 during 2017. GMO Internet is offering a 10 percent bonus to employees who accept the offer of pay in Bitcoin, which could help make that volatility less intimidating for workers. Acceptance of bitcoin by businesses is considered critical to the cryptocurrency's long-term prospects, but unlikely, by some analysts.

Five Trends That Define the Cloud in 2018

As the new year approaches, it's easy to forget how far we've come when it comes to cloud computing. Moving forward, cloud as we know it isn't only on a path of transformation; it's also a path for transformation. IDC predicts that by 2020, public IT cloud services will account for 58 percent of the $355 billion combined spending on traditional plus public cloud applications, development and deployment tools, infrastructure software, storage, and servers. However, the future won't be dominated by public cloud services. In fact, the dominant cloud model for the foreseeable future will revolve around hybrid cloud systems. Gartner analysts said that by 2020, cloud, hosting and traditional infrastructure services will come in more or less at par in terms of spending. "As the demand for agility and flexibility grows, organizations will shift toward more industrialized, less-tailored options," said DD Mishra, research director at Gartner. "Organizations that adopt hybrid infrastructure will optimize costs and increase efficiency. However, it increases the complexity of selecting the right toolset to deliver end-to-end services in a multi-sourced environment." Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90 percent of organizations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities. "This means that by 2020 traditional services will coexist with a minority share alongside the industrialized and digitalized services," Mishra said. Let's look out to

LeaseWeb Expands into H5 Data Centers Phoenix Location

LeaseWeb USA will expand into H5 Data Centers Phoenix location under a wholesale data center agreement announced Tuesday. The data center, which H5 will continue to own and operate, offers private data center suites for 125-kilowatt and 250-kilowatt installations. "The expansion and partnership with LeaseWeb is a win-win," Josh Simms CEO of H5 Data Centers said in a statement. "LeaseWeb can offer enterprises a full suite of retail colocation and hybrid IT cloud solutions, while H5 Data Centers can continue to innovate and deliver world-class wholesale data center solutions. We look forward to working with this globally-renown IT services partner." The deal will facilitate LeaseWeb's U.S. growth and expand the portfolio of products available to H5's Phoenix customers, according to the announcement. "LeaseWeb USA and H5 Data Centers come together with this Phoenix transaction at a similar scale in the U.S. with a shared focus on delivering excellent service and hybrid cloud technology located as close to our customers as possible," said Lex Boost, CEO of LeaseWeb USA. "We see great joint opportunities in the Phoenix market, with the potential for an expanded partnership to come across our national footprints." LeaseWeb also recently announced the opening new data center facilities in London and Sydney to offer cloud services to the UK and Australian markets. H5 expanded its Seattle data center capacity earlier this year.

Docker CEO Tries to Navigate Business Threat From Google

(Bloomberg) -Docker Inc. helped establish a type of software tool known as containers. Thanks to the startup, containers have become an essential part of many companies' app development process, and they've made the company rich. Venture capitalists have poured about $240 million into the startup, according to research firm CB Insights. Then along came Google, with its own free container system called Kubernetes. Google has successfully inserted Kubernetes into the coder toolbox. While Docker and Kubernetes serve slightly different purposes, customers who choose Google's tool can avoid paying Docker. The startup gives away its most popular product while trying to convince developers to pay for extras, notably a program that does the same thing as Google's. "Kubernetes basically has ruled the industry, and it is the de facto standard," said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC. "Docker has to figure out how do they differentiate themselves." It's up to Steve Singh to escape a situation that's trapped many startups battling cash-rich tech giants like Google, dangling free alternatives. Singh was appointed chief executive officer of Docker in May. His focus is on convincing customers to buy a collection of software to set up and manage their containers. And he needs to persuade them that his startup can offer things Alphabet Inc.'s Google can't. "Google's business around Kubernetes is around Google Cloud," Singh said. "There's a

U.S. Says North Korea Was Behind WannaCry Cyberattack Attack

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. blamed North Korea for the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected hundreds of thousands of computers globally this year, offering further justification for the White House's campaign to step up international pressure on the regime. "After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea," White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told reporters Tuesday. "We do not make this allegation lightly. We do so with evidence, and we do so with partners." WannaCry crippled parts of the U.K.'s state-run National Health Service and compromised companies such as FedEx Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. After WannaCry began infecting computers powered by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows via the internet on May 12, users had 72 hours to pay $300 in bitcoin, or pay twice as much. Paying didn't unlock their computers, Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that was published Monday. "It was cowardly, costly and careless," he wrote. "The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible." While calling the public attribution an initial step in holding North Korea accountable, Bossert said President Donald Trump had already exhausted many of the tools available for punishing the regime in Pyongyang as he seeks to halt its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. "North Korea has done everything wrong as an actor on the global stage that

What’s Next for Net Neutrality Fight?

The rollback of net neutrality regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has inspired vigorous argument, mostly along partisan lines in the federal government, and also between various industry stakeholders and advocacy groups. Just like the initial passage of the regulations bringing broadband internet access under Title II jurisdiction, however, the decision is not necessarily permanent. What it means, and when it will mean it, depends on several factors. Federal Register The "Restoring Internet Freedom Act," by which the FCC repealed Title II classification of broadband services, is not official until it is entered into the Federal Register, which could take a month or more. Lawsuits could be filed before that happens, but may also be delayed until the change is official. The Courts New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has already announced his intention to file a multi-state lawsuit to block the changes, for reasons he explained after the FCC declined or failed to provide information about alleged corruption of the FCC's public comment system. Schneiderman indicated last week that the suit will drop "in the coming days." The Internet Association urged the FCC prior to the vote to either delay it or vote against the Act, and is considering filing suit, the New York Times reports. Other advocacy groups considering lawsuits include Public Knowledge and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Congressional Action Boston.com reports that Senator

The Risks and Rewards of Accepting Bitcoin Payments for E-Commerce

Bitcoin has been front-page news over the last few weeks because its value has skyrocketed. On Jan. 1, 2017, a single bitcoin was worth just under $1000, an all-time high. As I write, a bitcoin is worth $17,872.  For those of you who aren't aware, bitcoin is a digital currency, also known as a cryptocurrency — it's completely electronic, distributed, and no one has control over it. Bitcoin can be used to make purchases and other transactions, and can be converted into more traditional currencies, such as dollars or euros, via bitcoin exchanges. Since its introduction in 2009, bitcoin has earned a place in the public consciousness, particularly among more technical users. A number of large e-commerce and online service providers adopted bitcoin as a payment method, including companies like Newegg, eGifter, Overstock.com, and Steam. See also: What Service Providers Need to Know About Bitcoin Bitcoin offers significant advantages compared to credit card payments, some of which I'll discuss below. In principle, bitcoin should be a no-brainer for e-commerce merchants, but in practice I'd advise retailers to be careful about adopting bitcoin in the short term. The Benefits Of Bitcoin For E-Commerce Bitcoin is fast Bitcoin transactions typically take just a few minutes to complete. Retailers get the money immediately, without the wait associated with credit card payments. E-commerce merchants benefit from immediate access to the payment. There are no chargebacks Credit

Upgrade to 5G Costs $200 Billion a Year and May Not Be Worth It

(Bloomberg) — In the wildest dreams of wireless engineers, the mobile network of the future controls our cars, lets our refrigerators talk to the grocery store to order more milk, and provides fast, reliable broadband connections to our homes so we can sever ties with cable companies. But it's going to cost the mobile-phone companies, chipmakers, device manufacturers and software developers about $200 billion a year in research and capital spending to get to that point, with engineers laboring to work around interference from trees and rain and provide a strong enough signal to handle so much demand. Even if they're successful, making a profit on that investment will be difficult in an industry that isn't growing much anymore. In most developed countries, like the U.S., the wireless market has reached saturation, and there are few new subscribers to sign up without undercutting rivals on price. "Historically, 1G to 4G, it's been a pretty straightforward evolution from the point of view of business and technology," said Chetan Sharma, a wireless consultant. "The revenue grew proportionate to the usage." The future of 5G, as the next-generation wireless network is known, is already beginning, as a handful of carriers including Verizon Communications Inc. move from trials to deployments. The first technical standards everyone can use to design their networks, phones and chips for 5G will be released at a summit that starts Monday in Lisbon. Most

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: 35 Tech Gifts for Every Budget

Happy Holidays everyone! It's that fateful time of year when snow comes around (even in Texas) and we scramble to check off our holiday lists. If you're like me, you may be stuck on what to gift your favorite people. This challenge becomes even more of a head-scratcher if you're a techie and everything new coming out looks so cool. Before we get into this year's awesome list, a couple of points to remember: Creativity goes a long way. It doesn't have to be large and shiny for your friends and family to enjoy. In fact, the more thought you put into it, the more valuable your present will become. There are so many cool, inexpensive, ideas out there for you to get creative. Let me give you an example: Star Wars gadgets and gifts. There's a fun Star Wars BB-8 USB Car Charger, or maybe an awesome Millennium Falcon Star Wars Lighting Gadget Lamp. Both are under $50 and are super fun. If you're a slightly bigger Star Wars spender, definitely check out the Sphero Star Wars BB-8 App Controlled Robot with Star Wars Force Band. The fun doesn't have to end there, there are other super fun ideas around popular shows like Stranger Things and even Doctor Who (check out this Doctor Who TARDIS Bottle Opener with Sound FX Effects). Before you get them a gadget, exercise some caution. I've mentioned this before, but it's an important yearly reminder. Just because you think it's awesome and amazing doesn't mean your friends or relatives will like the gift. Put yourself

Cybersecurity for Novices Has U.K. Firm Trouncing Silicon Valley

(Bloomberg) — In a world where protecting against cyber crime is high on most big business agendas, a U.K. provider of IT security to clients as small as dentists and neighborhood stores is outpacing the best that Silicon Valley has to offer. Sophos Group Plc shares have more than doubled in 2017, beating every other stock in the Nasdaq CEA Cybersecurity Index, including larger California-based peers such as Symantec Corp. and Palo Alto Networks Inc. The stock has also left domestic equities trailing, being one of the top five performers in the U.K.'s FTSE All-Share Index. Investors' appetite is understandable. After this year's global WannaCry ransomware attacks and headline-grabbing hacks at Uber Technologies Inc. and Equifax Inc., demand for cyber security has never been greater — whether you are a multinational corporation or a local shop owner. It's a platform that's giving Sophos some lofty ambitions in a British technology sector that was jolted by the $32 billion Japanese takeover of ARM Holdings in July 2016. "We should be, we will be, the U.K. tech champion," Chief Financial Officer Nick Bray said in an interview. To get there, Bray will need to overtake software giants including Sage Group Plc and his former employer Micro Focus International Plc, whose market value of about 10.8 billion pounds ($14.5 billion) dwarfs Sophos's 2.5 billion pounds. The executive's optimism is mostly shared by analysts, with nine out of 10 having

Net Neutrality Rules Swept Aside by Republican-Led U.S. FCC

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission swept aside rules barring broadband providers from favoring the internet traffic of websites willing to pay for speedier service, sending the future of net neutrality on to a likely court challenge. The Republican-led commission voted 3-to-2 on Thursday to remove Obama-era prohibitions on blocking web traffic, slowing it or demanding payment for faster passage via their networks. Over objections from its Democrats, the FCC gave up most authority over broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. and handed enforcement to other agencies. The changes won't take place for at least two months. "It is time for us to restore internet freedom," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was chosen by President Donald Trump to lead the agency, and who dissented when the FCC adopted the rules under Democratic leadership in 2015. "We are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence." "This decision puts the Federal Communications Commission on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public," said Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member who voted against changing the rules. The change frees broadband providers to begin charging websites for smooth passage over their networks. Critics said that threatens to pose barriers for smaller companies and startups, which can't afford fees that established web

Squarespace Is Said to Raise Funding at $1.7 Billion Valuation

(Bloomberg) — For years, Squarespace Inc. has been a leader in the old-school art of designing websites. Its main rival, Wix.com Ltd., has been public since 2013, but Squarespace remains private. Now in its teenage years, Squarespace is giving early employees and investors a way to cash out. The New York-based company said General Atlantic LLC, an investment firm and Squarespace backer, is injecting a new round of funding, most of which will go toward buying stock from other investors and employees. General Atlantic will commit about $200 million to the deal, and the new shares value the business at $1.7 billion, said a person with knowledge of the deal. Squarespace Chief Executive Officer Anthony Casalena declined to comment on terms of the funding. As many technology companies postpone initial public offerings indefinitely, early backers are getting restless. The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer, an index tracking the private technology industry, shows IPOs and acquisitions are at a three-year low. More startups are arranging deals similar to Squarespace's to appease shareholders. Uber Technologies Inc. recently offered stockholders the option to sell to a group of investors led by SoftBank Group Corp. at a 30 percent discount to the most recent valuation. At least two high-profile backers have already agreed to participate. Unlike Uber, Squarespace is profitable. "If anything, we actually would have been interested in buying more," Anton Levy, managing

Mirai Botnet Creators Plead Guilty to Cybercrime Charges

Paras Jha and Josiah White have pleaded guilty to federal cybercrime charges in an Alaska court for creating the Mirai botnet and launching attacks including the one that took down Dyn in October of last year, ZDNet reports. Jha, who was unmasked by cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs in January, was indicted along with White in early December, court documents unsealed Wednesday said. "Jha conspired to conduct DDOS attacks against websites and web hosting companies located in the United States and Abroad," according to his plea agreement. The document also says Jha managed to infect more than 300,000 devices. See also: Andromeda Botnet Brought Down by Law Enforcement Agencies, Private Sector He also admitted to releasing the source code in order to create "plausible deniability" in case he was caught in possession of it. Having done so, Jha has allowed the threat to be reused and repurposed by other hackers, as Akamai detailed in a report earlier this year. A justice department spokesperson indicated to ZDNet that further indictments in the case will be unsealed soon. As was suggested by Krebs when he identified Jha, Dyn appears to have been collateral damage in a DDoS attack on game servers, as Jha and his co-conspirators, presumably meaning White, and possibly others, attempted to extort the companies hosting them. Fast-growing botnet "IoT_reaper" was discovered to be using some of the Mirai code in October.

Keylogging Malware Infects More Than 5,000 WordPress Sites

The cloudflare.solutions domain has been taken down after infecting thousands of WordPress sites with cryptocurrency mining and keylogging malware posing as script from trusted web services, according to a Sucuri blog post. The malware had infected at least 5,492 WordPress sites, SC Magazine reports. The keylogging malware was added to malware distributed from fake Cloudflare website cloudflare.solutions which Sucuri wrote a blog about in April. It captures data entered by users, potentially including login and payment information. The malicious code is given away by two long hexadecimal parameters, which are the keyloggers, following cdnjs.cloudflare.com URLs, which are fake, according to the report. Sucuri noted the obfuscation tricks being used by a CoinHive JavaScript Monero miner in another recent blog post, including the use of non-decimal notation for the host name, a fake jQuery name, and names related to Google Analytics. The script resides in the function.php file of the WordPress theme, and both scripts were found on many sites by Sucuri, but it was not clear that they were present on all 5,492. "You should remove the add_js_scripts function and all the add_action clauses that mention add_js_scripts," advises Sucuri Senior Malware Researcher Denis Sinegubko. "Given the keylogger functionality of this malware, you should consider all WordPress passwords compromised so the next mandatory step of the cleanup is changing the passwords (actually it is highly


Recommended Content