YunoHost: Everything you need to host your own apps

YunoHost is an all-in-one OS based on Debian. It is primarily designed for making self-hosting accessible to everyone. With YunoHost, it is easy to host your own mail server, web server, LDAP server, DNS server, backup server, CMS platform such as wordpress, or anything and everything easily with few mouse clicks

FEATURES:

  • Based on Debian
  • Administer your server with a friendly web pag
  • Easily install applications on your server
  • Manage users (Based on LDAP)
  • Manage Domains
  • Create and restore backups
  • Connect to all apps simultaneously through the user portal
  • Includes a full email stack (Postfix, Dovecot, Rspamd, DKIM)
  • Instant messaging server (XMPP)
  • SSL certificate management system (intergrated with Let's Encrypt
  • Security systems (fail2ban, yunohost-firewall)

I instantly fell in love with YUNOHOST. It was so simple to get setup and running for kick ass apps like Rocketchat I can save a ton of money hosting my own apps instead of paying per user with single use application provider.

Whats with the Name?

YunoHost was created in February 2012 after something like this:

"Shit, I'm too lazy to reconfigure my mail server... Beudbeud, how were you able to get your little server running with LDAP?"

Kload, February 2012

YunoHost All that was needed was an administration interface for Beudbeud’s server to make something usable, so Kload decided to develop one.  Finally, after automating several configurations and packaging in some web apps, YunoHost V1 was finished.

Noting the growing enthusiasm around yunoHost and around self-hosting in general, the original developers along with new contributors decided to start work on version 2, more extensible, more powerful, more easy-to-use, and one that makes a nice cup of fair-trade coffee for the elves of Lapland.

 

SECURITY:

The utmost effort is made to keep YunoHost secure, and the communications encrypted, you can read more about this subject on the related page: https://yunohost.org/security

Form and Function

You get all the great tools from the original my.hostirian.com control panel with all the easy to configure and manage control from YUNOHost, coupled with state of the art NVMe virtual servers it is a fantastic solution. 

5 Reasons to Choose NVMe over SSD Drives

Why NVMe

You may have seen our NVMe product on our website and wondered what the big deal is.

What does “insanely fast” mean for you? How does it work and why is it better than regular SSD technology?

As a brief primer, NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a relatively recent technology protocol. It accesses high-speed storage media and has several advantages as compared to legacy protocols such as SATA.

The earlier SSDs that utilized SATA aimed to minimize any changes in the legacy HDD (Hard Disk Drive) enterprise storage systems. The limitation is that SATA was not designed for high-speed storage media. By contrast, NVMe utilizes parallel, low-latency data paths to media, offering higher performance and lower latencies. (Latency is the term we use to refer to the delay between requesting and receiving information).

What does this mean when you’re making a decision between choosing between NVMe and other technologies? Here are some clear advantages:

Download our NVMe fact sheet here

#1. It’s geared for enterprise workloads

Many enterprise-level companies are data-heavy, requiring some serious heavy lifting from their computing solutions. For example, look at any company that might require a large data analytics load to be operating at any second. Or, consider a busy online trading platform, where thousands of requests per minute may need to be processed.

Any enterprise that is sensitive to data latency is a good candidate for NVMe technology. How does it achieve better speeds? It uses parallel, low-latency data paths within the back-end of flash arrays.

To give a specific example, legacy SCSI is a serial protocol, meaning that it can only talk to one disk device at a time. NVMe allows you to have up to 64,000 simultaneous requests and access storage capacity much more efficiently. The NVMe drives provide significantly more IOPS – Input – Output per second. What this means is the you can write more data per second to the hard drive and you can read more data per second.

In terms of cost, NVMe consumes a lot less power than other solutions and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprises less as well.

Source

NVMe is a top choice to cater to enterprise workloads Click To Tweet

#2. Better website user experience

Higher IOPS means better performance in the eyes of your website users. As you will know, user experience can make or break the success of a website. Our website visitors expect to be able to do what they need to within seconds and that the website renders well for them.

Imagine a lot of people arriving on a website at once. For example, if you run tax services and it is tax season, or if you have a popular ecommerce store and it is Cyber Monday. Legacy technologies can lead to significant performance issues when there are multiple site requests simultaneously.

Some websites operating on older technology will outright crash with heavy use, while others will slow down so significantly that users lose patience with them. Overall, not only is this a poor experience for the user, it can be costly to your business. The chances are people will leave if they can’t achieve what they need to quickly. NVMe provides more outputs per second, meaning your website renders faster in the browser of the user.

Consider the types of websites where data needs to be saved or uploaded too. If a user is hitting a “submit” button, NVMe allows this to happen much faster and assures them that their data has been received. This is because there are more inputs per second writing to the hard drive.

From the perspective of website users within the company as well, NVMe can provide a superior experience. Consider for example companies with large databases that want to pull a lot of information from the hard drive at any one time. Sometimes a “show all” command involves thousands, even millions of rows of data in a database. With legacy SSD technology, this will usually involve several minutes of waiting around, whereas NVMe cuts that wait time right down.

To give a specific example, we have some clients that use Quickbooks on their NVMe servers. They like them because they can pull up all of their customers much more quickly. They also report that generating invoices is a much quicker process than it used to be under older technology.

#3. Better bottom-line business benefits

We can infer from better customer experience and faster performance for the business that there will be better bottom-line benefits too. In fact, there is some data to suggest this is so.

To backtrack slightly, a lot comes down to customer expectation of performance. While internet speed and device performance have improved, they’ve also lead to increased expectations around website speed. Data shows though that websites have become more technology-heavy and have slowed down overall, especially when we look at large ecommerce sites and other traffic-heavy websites.

Research shows that 57% of website visitors will leave if the website doesn’t load after three seconds. 80% of those people will never return. Of that 80%, half are likely to tell other people of their bad experience. This means that not only is a slower website impacting the number of conversions you get, it’s affecting your overall reputation. Would a speed boost from NVMe be worth it from this perspective? We think so. You could potentially expect more revenues, more commissions and better overall customer service.

Even if your website is mostly used for internal purposes, you can get better benefits for your bottom-line. Consider the workload of team members and how it may be impacted by website speed. Are they waiting around for thousands of lines of data? Or, does the data arrive quickly allowing them to get through their work speedily.

Better business efficiency allows for more focus on activities that drive your bottom-line. We’d say that’s a great reason to opt for NVMe over other choices.

#4. NVMe has unique features

There are several features that are unique to NVMe and very helpful to businesses – we’ll mention just a couple here. One of those is that no custom device driver is required. Early SSD versions would often require the deployment of a completely new device driver to access the SSD any time a user upgraded their operating systems, or even made a simple security patch.

NVMe is supported as-is by all major modern operating systems. The standardized interface supports any NVMe from any manufacturer.

Another feature is that NVMe can increase device lifetime. With older SSD technology, SSDs have a finite lifetime dictated by the number of write operations known as program/erase (P/E) cycles NAND flash can endure. NVMe uses multi-stream writes which reduces device management writes to improve device lifetime.

#5. NVMe is the technological future

Consider this extract from a Network World article:

“As NVMe technology matures, costs decline, and storage performance requirements rise, enterprises will move toward flash-based storage systems that implement NVMe end-to-end and can support mixed workloads. “There’s a TCO argument around a system for mixed workloads that’s built out of NVMe instead of SCSI. It still has flash, but it’s flash that you talk to over NVMe versus flash that you talk to over SCSI. You can build a more powerful system in a smaller footprint that uses less energy with the NVMe-based version,” Bergener says.”

The overall implication is that NVMe will eventually replace other storage options anyway. More and more enterprises are shifting to NVMe already, although it hasn’t yet reached the 50% threshold.

If you’re looking for new solutions anyway, you could look at NVMe as a future-proofing investment. If you want to be able to scale easily and require higher infrastructure density, then NVMe will deliver you the best possible performance. Importantly, NVMe is upgradable for newer storage technologies so you can be certain you’ve made a good choice for the long-term.

Get our NVMe fact sheet here

Final thoughts

NVMe is next-level when you’re looking for superior and reliable website performance. Speed matters, and NVMe is what we’d describe as “insanely fast.”

If you’re making choices about your website infrastructure, we’d put NVMe near the top of the list as a solution. It has longevity, performance and a range of features that push it ahead of other solutions.
To learn more about our NVMe hosting solution, click here.

Want a Hands-Off Website? Here’s What You Need to Manage for Success

Hands-off website

Many of our clients see the appeal of a hands-off website.

You’ve got a lot of other activities to get through in the running of your business, and you don’t want your website to be another task on the pile. There are many different maintenance requirements that go into a website, and you don’t want to do any of them yourself.

This makes a lot of sense – a fully-managed website allows you to get on with the business of doing business. However, there are some important things you’ll need to manage to make sure your website is a success.

Having a fancy website won’t automatically mean that people turn up. You have to be savvy about marketing and messaging, which are things that your website hosting company do not usually do for you.

Here are some things to consider for your website:

Claim local business listings online – get our quick guide here

Your messaging

Did you know it takes about 50 milliseconds for visitors to your website to form an opinion of it? Within that flash of time, they want to be able to grasp what your site is about and whether your business might be of interest to them.

Messaging is something that you need to come up with for your business unless you’re also planning on hiring a separate marketing firm to take care of it (even then, they need to know what you’re trying to achieve in order to formulate the right messages!).

A common mistake that businesses make on their websites is trying to have a catchy slogan or interesting design, but not sending a clear message. Website visitors need to know what you do and who you do it for very quickly; otherwise, they may give up and leave.

Great homepage messaging considers the target audience and includes a value proposition for them. This means that you communicate with visitors how what you do or what you sell can make a positive impact on their lives.

You will need to work with your web host to ensure that your website displays the clear messaging that you want to communicate. It’s a good idea to define who your target audience is first, then come up with a few ways to communicate with them. Take a look at websites that do this successfully – for example, in the screenshot below, Evernote does a great job of stating exactly what they do succinctly and immediately.

Make sure your website messaging is clear to visitors Click To Tweet

Your content

Besides the messaging for your website, you need to look deeper at the rest of the content you will provide. Most web hosts will manage the website and put up content for you, but they won’t create the content themselves. You will need to either produce it yourself or hire a content strategist to do it for you.

Why does content matter so much? For starters, it can help to show your company in a good light. Your content can demonstrate your expertise and (should) deliver value for your target audience. When people gain something of value, they also start to trust your business and consider using your services.

Secondly, website content helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website. Basically, the better-optimized your website is, the better it does in terms of search engine ranking. This means that when people type in a search term that is related to your business in Google, your website features somewhere in the results. It takes time to rank highly in results, but having good quality, relevant content helps.

What is “quality content?”

What exactly does “good quality” and “relevant” mean? Your content should answer to the needs of your target audience and be relevant to your business. For example, there would be no point in producing content on an irrelevant topic just because that topic is popular. If your website is for an accountancy service and you’re trying to game the system by putting up “funny cat pictures” it can come back to bite you in the form of being penalized by Google.

Google and the other search engines aim to deliver a quality experience to their users. This means that they want to display the most relevant results first. If you are an accountancy service, something like “how to prepare your small business for tax season” would be much more relevant, and needed by your clients. It’s much better for your business to attract qualified traffic too!

Of course, you can also look at the overall quality of the written content. The best content is technically well-written and delivers an actionable or thought-provoking message, without resorting to writing fluff. Consistency is also important, in terms of tone, quality and frequency, especially if you are producing a blog.

Many business owners look at this and say, “but I don’t have time, I want a hands-off website without having to commit to the content.” If this is you, then it is possible to outsource your content, but you’ll still want to ensure that your messaging and business goals are at the heart of it. You can then get your content person to work directly with your fully-managed web host.

Your marketing

“Build it and they will come” is not a theory that usually works with websites! You still need to work on the marketing side to make sure you get traffic and make your website a success.

A managed website does not include the marketing of that website. This is something that you will need to manage to make your website worthwhile. If you are a bricks-and-mortar operation, then that probably involves online and offline advertising methods.

Here are some examples:

Online marketing

  • Build an email list and regularly send out a newsletter or updates.
  • Setup pages on social media – be active with posting and engaging.
  • Consider paid advertising online. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or Google advertising.
  • Claim your business listing on local directory sites (such as Yelp and Yellow Pages).
  • Use content marketing – create blog posts, guest post on other websites or syndicate content.
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce to be featured in their local directory.
Get our quick guide to claiming local listings here

Offline marketing

  • Include your website on business cards and brochures.
  • Sponsor local events.
  • Take out paid advertising in newspapers or magazines.
  • Send out direct mail campaigns.

Testing your website

How do you know which messaging or website layout gets the best results? How do you know overall whether your website is a success?

You can clearly define your target audience, make website layout and feature decisions, and ensure that your messaging and marketing activities seem to be a good fit, but you won’t really know unless you test out different elements of your website.

A/B testing is the most basic form of testing a website. It involves pitting one version (A) against another version (B) and checking if one does significantly better than the other. For example, you might test out headlines, calls to action, web copy, sign-up forms, your checkout flow, layout… there are a huge number of things you can test, so it’s a matter of focusing on what you think might get you the best uplift.

This doesn’t sound very “hands-off” does it? Fortunately, A/B testing is another thing you can outsource. Why would you bother with it? Because optimizing your website can make a huge difference to the results you get. For example, you might find that people weren’t checking out as often due to a long or difficult checkout flow. Testing a different flow may bring better results.

If you do decide to outsource A/B testing, one thing you will need to contribute is your goals for the site. This helps to focus the testing on the areas most likely to impact those goals. You can then work with your web hosting company to make any changes.

Final thoughts

A hands-off website is the ideal situation for many businesses, but it’s important that you still partake in some activities that help your website to be more successful.

When you’re having your site fully managed, you can expect a website that operates well, is designed attractively and has requested changes made by your host. You will still need to get the tasks done that help to draw traffic to your website.

Some of these may be outsourced too, but it’s worth thinking about so that you make the most of your website investment. How will you achieve your desired website goals?

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