Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category


Twitter account @empoweringmedia

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Hi All,

Long time no post.  We had a Twitter account: @empoweringmedia for over a year, but did not formally announce this.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Managed VPS Hosting vs In-House Servers

Friday, August 15th, 2008

We’ve been doing some research lately in order to determine the relative costs that a client or potential client might incur if they utilize other hosting methods.

The results have been interesting to say the least. For instance, let’s look at the rough costs of having your own internal server for one year:

  • Hardware: $1500 Server, upgraded/replaced every 3 years = $500/yr
  • Electricity: 165 watts continuous @ .14 per kWh = $202.50/yr
  • Daily off site backups stored a minimum of 30 days: $800/yr

So, at this point we’re looking at approximately $1400 per year without even factoring in costs for:

  • Administration
  • T1 or better connection
  • Infrastructure – cooling, battery backup, firewall, and physical space to house the equipment

For argument’s sake, we’ll say that you already have a T1 connection ($450+/month), but even if so, we still need to add on the costs of an administrator. Even if we factor in very affordable system administration services ($35/hr) and estimate only 2 hours of SysAdmin time per week, we’re looking at another $3640 per year, bringing our total costs to over $5000. These estimations are on the very low-end and in reality will usually cost much more.

Considering that HostCube VPS configurations start at $960/year and top out at $2400/year for the XL plan, we’re thinking you’d need an interesting set of requirements before it would make sense to seriously consider in-house hosting over a VPS. This is especially true as the VPS configuration would significantly outperform the in-house hosting configuration noted above.

In the weeks to come we’ll be comparing VPS to dedicated hosted servers as well as trying to peer through some of the fog surrounding “the cloud.”

BTW If you’re interested in the differences between managed VPS and shared hosting, check out Shared hosting vs. managed VPS. When to upgrade?

Security For Your Managed Virtual Server

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Lions, tigers and hackers… oh my! Hackers and script kiddies are unfortunately constantly searching the Internet for insecure sites. If you have insecure or mis-configured software, it’s not “if” but “when” you will be compromised.

I’m not using this as scare tactic or as a reason to use our proactively managed virtual private servers, but as a fact from what we see every day. Unfortunately, the number of compromised servers we see hitting our network every day is staggering. For example, it’s not uncommon for us to block 50-100 new unique IP addresses daily for SSH or FTP brute force attempts. That’s just on a slow day. These are not Windows based desktops mind you, but Unix, Linux, or Windows based servers. You know, the servers that you would think are managed by system administration professionals.

Unfortunately it’s all too common for a web developer or designer think that buying a $99/month unmanaged dedicated server is all that is needed. Set it and forget it! Security is a continuous and never-ending process. Also many system administrators do not configure a server properly or too overtaxed putting out other fires. Even if you are not a HostCube customer, I strongly recommend hiring a qualified person or company to keep your server secure.

According to a Verizon Business study, the most common notification method of a security compromise is by a third party. So not only is the server software kept out of date, the software configuration is probably kept to defaults, but no monitoring exists when a comprise occurs. In this all too common case you might as well give away the keys and let the hacker do what they want with your setup!

Server security is about deploying layers; many different methods of proactive, reactive and defensive measures to protect from getting compromised. To give a high level view, here are the precautions we employ with managed virtual servers and managed servers:

  • Remove unneeded services
  • Employ best practices with software configuration (server hardening)
  • Automatic deployment of software updates
  • Hardware and local firewalls
  • Remote log storage
  • Backups (we can be used a method to audit a server)
  • Scanning for common Rootkits
  • Host Integrity Monitoring (HIM) to detect changes in operating system files
  • Unusual port and services detection
  • Monitoring services for availability and trends
  • Autoblock SSH/FTP attacks
  • Proper file and service permissions (sandboxing)

Monitoring log files and detecting server changes are some of the additional security measures we employ. We’ve just recently added Rootkit Hunter and Osiris host integrity monitoring to our list. Both tools monitor and detect attempted rootkits and any modifications to server setup. This additional monitoring makes our services fully PCI DSS compliant and just some of the features we perform to make sure a customer’s account is secure. You can rest assured knowing we are monitoring your managed virtual server very closely.

I won’t go into all of our security measures, nor details, but I will say the above list should be at least your security baseline. When choosing a provider, ask if they are really ‘managed’ and are performing these tasks for you. If not, you’ll definitely want to make sure you are addressing all these areas on your own.

New Blog

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Hi all,

I’ve created a new blog to discuss the technical side of our service and all things “tech”. The Customer Service blog will just post service interruptions, major software upgrades and new services. Technical details and other ramblings of mine will be posted to “The Dev Null Blog

http://www.empoweringmedia.com/blog/

The first post “Going from a dedicated server to a VPS. Am I downgrading?” discusses some of the advantages of using VPS technology.

Some future blog postings:

  • Puppet. What is it and how we use it to manage our computing “cloud”
  • Offering root with managed hosting
  • When to upgrade from shared hosting to dedicated

I hope you enjoy it.

No Setup fees for managed VPSes

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

We’ve just removed setup fees for all unmanaged VPSes. For pricing please visit our managed VPS section.

Now Offering LiteSpeed Web Server

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

LiteSpeed Technologies

HostCube now offers the LiteSpeed Web Server. LiteSpeed is a direct Apache replacement, with impressive features and performance. LiteSpeed works with our control panel of choice DirectAdmin. It offers these features:

  • Direct replacement of Apache
  • Up to 9 times faster than Apache
  • Fast PHP performance
  • Best Ruby on Rail performance and integration
  • Anti-DDoS: Throttling & Connection Accounting
  • mod_security compatible request filtering

To order LiteSpeed with your plan, please contact sales.