Ajenti

Developed specifically for Linux environments and coded with Python, Ajenti is a great way to quickly and easily launch and configure your sites. It gets out of the way thanks to an interface that is really user friendly. You can do all the typical server management tasks with it including managing DNS and routing plus the ability to manage your databases and any app server you might have.

However your application is configured you can set it up using the Ajenti control panel which covers everything from PHP in the shape of FHM, the Unicorn edition of Ruby as well as Python – WSGI. You also set up IMAP (Courier) right when you start Ajenti, alongside Exim. It allows you to configure essential features such as SPF, DMARC and DKIM.

All-in-all Ajenti is a solid option if you are looking for a control panel solution that is capable enough to help you manage sites while also being cheap – even if Ajenti is on the entry level side of the equation.

Backup

A backup is a copy of the data vital for comprehensive recovery in case of software or hardware failures. There are different backup types including normal, copy, incremental and differential as well as various strategies suitable for certain scenarios.  In case of hosting industry routine approach is about full automation of backup processes.

Bandwidth

In computer networking circles, bandwidth means how much data a channel can carry, so the more the merrier. It’s usually measured in a multiple of bits per second (bps)—Kbps, Mbps, Gbps, and so on.

With fiber-optic cabling bandwidth is usually expressed in terms of MHz-km. So, a cable rated at 400 MHz-km could carry 400 Mbps of data a distance of 1 kilometer, 200 Mbps of data a distance of 2 kilometers, 100 Mbps of data a distance of 4 kilometers, etc.

Caching

Caching is about of storing copies of files in a temporary storage location in order to insure quicker access. CDN servers cache various content to reduce the latency, DNS servers cache DNS records to speedup lookup, browsers cache html/css/js and image files to rise the speed of website load.

Citrix Hypervisor

VMware is relatively expensive so companies often look for a lower-cost alternative. Citrix Hypervisor offers enterprise-grade features but at a lower cost when compared to VMware vSphere. Interestingly, Hypervisor is the industry leader when it comes to supporting 3D graphics in a virtualization environment which can be really important for some scenarios. Hypervisor also supports both Linux and Windows.

Most users rate Citrix Hypervisor slightly behind VMWare but the difference is not that big. Furthermore, Hypervisor is particularly popular with small and medium sized businesses. It’s a good option if you already purchase Citrix software and where there is a real mix of both Windows and Linux OS applications in your company. However, if your solutions are dominated by either Linux or Windows you might want to choose another vendor.

CLI

Users can leverage command line interface ( CLI ) for processing commands to a computer program, and viewing or managing files, in the form of text. Replies will be received in the same way.

A command line interface is significantly different to the graphical user interface (GUI) used in current operating systems, as it’s text-based.

How Does Command Line Interface Work?

As a way to interact with systems and programs, a command line interface is a popular, long-established approach. Users tend to find them helpful when completing certain tasks.

It’s a text-based interface, as opposed to the graphical user interface: a GUI allows users to interact with applications and operating systems via graphical options.

With a command line interface, users may work on tasks by inputting commands. Unfortunately, it’s not the most user-friendly option, despite the working mechanism being incredibly simple.

Users input a command, hit “Enger”, and await the response. The command line interface will process the command and present the result/output on the screen (using a command line interpreter).

Command line interface was initially released with the teletypewriter machine, which used batched processing. But today’s computers offer support for command line interface, GUI, and batch processing in a single interface instead.

Users committed to getting the most out of command line interface need to input numerous commands one at a time, and fast. A range of applications (mono-processing systems) continue to utilize command line interface for their operators.

Furthermore, certain programming languages (Python, BASIC, and Forth) offer a command line interface. Command line interpreter is essential for its implementation.

Command prompt is another key feature of command line interface. This is a character sequence used in the user interface or shell. Its purpose is to alert users when command line interface is prepared to take their commands. The best example of a command line interface is MS-DOS.

cPanel/WHM

One of the most popular hosting control panels in the United States is cPanel/WHM. We write it as cPanel/WHM because this hosting control panel basically has two parts: an interface used by users called cPanel, and the part that actually manages the server – WHM.

Note that cPanel runs on Linux, not Windows. However, cPanel does support a wide range of Linux distributions including RedHat Enterprise, CloudLinux as well as the popular CentOS. You can manage your hosting environment using both the cPanel GUI as well as command-line, while there’s also the option to use the cPanel API for further automation.

People who host websites and third-party software developers can automate many sysadmin processes thanks to cPanel’s flexibility. Further points that make cPanel worth considering include the fact that it generally facilitates high levels of overall system performance.

The command-line utilities for cPanel are a benefit too, while people also like that it support SNI and AutoSSL alongside DNSSEC and Power DNS. Finally, cPanel interfaces to PHP-FPM, EasyApache and CSF/LTD making it a very versatile hosting control panel.

DDoS

You might have heard the term “DDoS” thrown around – well, it’s an acronym for an increasingly common security risk: the Distributed Denial of Service attack, where websites are disrupted by means of large networks of bots. Hackers use anything from thousands to millions of bots in order to generate so much traffic that a web server is overloaded – and unable to respond to legitimate users. Hence the phrase “denial” of service – and the acronym, DDoS.

Hackers could use a DDoS attack to try and get money from a website owner, or DDoS can also be used for terror or political purposes. Though DDoS does not necessarily mean that an intruder has gained access to your site, it will likely mean that visitors to your website will be unable to visit your site – meaning anything from lost viewers to lost revenue.

DDoS attacks can last a long time – as much as week or even longer if not caught early. More commonly DDoS attacks can take around a day to mitigate, but during this time a website (or an application) can for all intents and purposes appear as if it is offline. Website owners could try to use a firewall that works on the DNS layer to try and stop a DDoS attack.

The different types of DDoS attacks

Hackers can use different methods to try and pull of a DDoS attack, and you need to understand what kind of attack it is if you want to successfully block the illegitimate traffic which is flowing to your website.

Volumetric DDoS attacks

Under a volumetric DDoS attack hackers focus on bandwidth: by overloading the bandwidth to your site with traffic it crowds out real users whose traffic won’t fit through the available bandwidth. The result: your website crashes and an error comes up. Increasing the bandwidth won’t fix the issue because hackers will simply generate more traffic – you need to find a way to mitigate the DDoS attack.

Application DDoS attacks

Website owners can struggle to stop application DDoS attacks because the traffic that goes to a web server can appear incredibly similar to normal day to day application traffic. A hacker would launch an application DDoS attack, hammering away until an application goes down. Often the attacker focuses on a specific application – a specific area of a website – rather than the entire website. It can be a slow and difficult process to detect these attacks, meanwhile the hacker will build up traffic until the application stops functioning.

Protocol DDoS attacks

Another DDoS attack method, but different in scope, is the protocol attack where a malevolent actor sends ordinary requests, that are synchronised, trying to connect to a server – in turn, the web server accepts the request and creates a connection – but the attacker never respond to the accepted request; simply continuing to add new requests until the server eventually overloads and crashed.

In another example, hackers can send a particular type of ping request – an oversized ping, also called the “ping of death”. As soon as a server tries to process this ping it simply crashes under the massive load of this huge ping request.

Preventing DDoS attacks can be tricky, one highly recommended option is to use something called a WAF, or Web Application Firewall. Two good examples are Cloudflare and Sucuri, both of which are able to pick up on DDoS attacks – mitigating these attacks before it is too late.

Denial of Service

A denial of service or DoS attack is a way of overwhelming your servers so that they can’t cope and are effectively stopped from working. Web servers, mail servers, name servers, and in fact any kind of networked computer system can be taken off-line with this kind of attack.

It can be set in motion from one machine, but then it will typically use a large number of others to carry out its business. Because the majority of servers have security software like firewalls, it’s easy enough to shut the door on individual systems, but with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, there can be literally hordes of systems (known as a botnet) all coordinated to simultaneously bombard a server with requests. With so many coming all at once the server is swamped and it grinds to a halt.

Hackers frequently use DoS attacks to try and cripple websites. You don’t need any authentication to flood a server with requests which means that even the most secure server can be vulnerable. One system alone won’t normally be able to achieve success with a DoS attack, hence the popularity of DDoS attacks.

Right now, there are plenty of security systems capable of detecting DoS attacks, but it’s a never-ending arms race, so you can never expect to be protected by any security provider for long.

DevOps

DevOps is an all-encompassing term, touching on everyone from developers through to IT staff and operations across a company. DevOps, as you may guess, combines “development” and “operations”.

The rationale behind DevOps is an attempt to make operations and development teams collaborate better, teams who previously may have operated in solos. By example, an ops manager could ask a development team to update the features of a website app. For a successful update the operations team will need specify as accurately as possible what feature they need. In turn the development staff will program the features and test the update internally, then release it to the ops team who will make it live for production.

Operations teams can also advise development teams when a big is found in a webite that is live or in an app so that engineers can review and fix the problem. A more structured approach to matters like bug reporting and requesting updates ensures that the request is implemented smoothly – and that updates are effortlessly published. As a result a company can push out bug fixes in a quicker and more efficient manner.

A process under a DevOps management style would look a bit like this, where a software update is concerned:

  1. The operations team receives feedback from users, and writes it up
  2. A concerted effort between the operations and development teams ensure the update is designed correctly
  3. The development team will write the code for the update, and implement it
  4. Internal tests will be run by the development team
  5. Making the update live for user is the task of the operations team
  6. Both operations and development teams are involved in the testing of an update

We’ve outlined one example of how a DevOps team could work but there are no hard and fast rules – smaller teams could skip some of the steps, with more overlap between internal teams, when compared to a large enterprise. Either way DevOps is intended to fix bugs as quickly as possible, and to roll out highly reliable software at all times.

DevOps offers a strong set of principles that work even better if some key tips are followed:

  1. Make sure the testing environment perfectly matches the production environment
  2. Try to automate some software testing efforts – consider unit testing for example
  3. Ensure your software is easy to scale, by design
  4. Always utilise version control when you make changes

As DevOps have become increasingly important to efficient technology processes a new job title has emerged – the DevOps manager. This IT position involves the oversight of both the development and operations divisions, a role which was previously separated. The DevOps manager is positioned to help development and operations departments communicate effectively, and to ensure smooth co-operation.