whats-newOn November 11th, 2013 we are introducing some plan changes. Check your email for details. To summarize what’s happening:

Quota increases!

- Basic plan: disk space quota will increase from 2GB to 3GB
- Max and Ultimate plans: we have removed disk space and bandwidth limits. Both plans will offer unlimited space and bandwidth.

These increases will take place automatically on November 11th.

Changes to payment plans and prices

In order to make the plan changes, we are updating the pricing and payment options. You can find details in the plan change email.

While the quarterly and yearly payments will increase slightly, we have introduced a new two-year payment option that allows you to pay as little as $3.95 per month for the Basic plan. Even less than the old price.

The two-year payment option applies to every WinHost plan, so no matter which plan you use, you can decrease your monthly price by up to 20% by choosing the new two-year payment option.

And you can make the switch right now in Control Panel, before the new quotas and pricing go into effect on November 11th.

As we mentioned in the email, the price increase was a difficult decision for us. We never want to increase prices, but we want to continue to make improvements to the hosting services, and this will allow us to do that.

We hope the two-year payment option – which actually lowers current prices – and the quota increase will help ease the transition for some of you.

 

Google-CheckoutGoogle announced that they would be closing Google Checkout over a year ago, but now they have announced the date when the service will close permanently; November 11, 2013.

If you use Google Checkout on your site they have a FAQ to help you transition to another system.

 

Here’s our newest round of updates for our App Installer tool in the WinHost Control Panel:

  • Kooboo CMS 4.2.1
  • mojoPortal 2.3.9.8
  • Orchard 1.7
  • Shopping Cart .NET 2.5   New!
  • Umbraco CMS 6.1.4
  • WordPress 3.6.1
 

datamine-logoToday, we’re talking to Ron Gholson of DataMine Internet Marketing Solutions. DataMine is a web development company in Indiana. Ron Gholson implements marketing strategies for clients.

Hi, Ron! Tell us a bit about DataMine.

DataMine builds websites and web applications for clients across industry segments in both profit and non-profit sector, right here in Gary, Indiana.

DataMine is an internet marketing solution provider. It is our mission to establish a long-term relationship with each client, so that as our clients grow, we grow with them. Ongoing consultation, targeted online reporting and long term market planning are part of our services as well. We empower our clients by sharing our expertise and experience. Our willingness to serve and educate our clients sets us apart from other web developers, consultants and solution providers.

In addition, we offer licensed standardized software applications for content management, scheduling, membership, fundraising, and online marketing. Unlike many firms that outsource services offshore and domestically, our in-house team provides all services and is accessible directly for training and support. We can customize any of our standard solutions to suit specific needs, as well as develop proprietary solutions.

Since 1996, we have developed over 500 solutions across all markets.  Examples of our range include: garychicagoairport.com, countylineorchard.com, circlecityclassic.com, indianaparentinginstitute.org, chicagocrusader.com, regionalfcu.org, foxrentacar.mx, ibeonline.com, marquetteparkgary.com, garycsc.k12.in.us and chestertonchamber.com.

There seem to be quite a few non-profit sites in your client list. Do you do something to attract these clients?

As part of our mission of giving back to the community, we offer discounts (50% to 75%) to 501 (c)3 and 501 (c)6 organizations.   These clients range from small community development corporations and churches to national membership and event driven organizations.  It is our experience that many of these organizations do not have the support staff and funding necessary to develop a high-quality, effective internet presence without additional guidance.

Our experience with NPO’s has enabled us to grow our level of service and commitment, streamline our processes in production and customer service, and better understand the relevance of the organizational conditions we face with each unique client and project, for all market sectors.

What is DataMine’s marketing philosophy?

We use the phrase “We Flex the Web.” Jason (Beres, co-owner of DataMine) and I, were working late one hot summer night in July of 2011.  We decided to take a break, drink a cold one and relax for a moment outside on the front steps.  Well, right in front of us was a beautiful banana spider spinning its web between our bushes in front of our building. As we watched for what seemed like hours (actually 20 – 30 minutes) this spider meticulously and precisely  spun its web (service and attention to detail). We were wondering and contemplating how can we improve our system, our processes, and our company.

Well, lo and behold, just when we thought that the spider was finished after it anchored itself in the middle of the web to certain web lines (touch points of communication), it started to pull on these main web lines (core services) and then released them all of a sudden.  The spider did this numerous times.  We were wondering what in the hell is this spider doing?

Well, this spider was bending its web in the reflection of the outside porch light.  It did this to reflex the light within its web to attract more prey (customers). It worked.  The web became inundated with all kinds of insects.

So we decided to “Flex the Web” with our core services to attract and retain customers. We used to host client sites on our own servers, but decided to move our hosting and email services because of the time lost in troubleshooting and managing our servers.  After looking at a few companies and their service lines, we decided that WinHost would be our best fit. We moved 60% of all of our websites to your service (roughly 175).

We were then able to concentrate on SEO, which contributed to our growth.  So freeing up our time lost in hosting and email management services allowed for us to do what we do best – web design, mobile applications, and branding design. Since then, we have grown 3-fold.

Why did you choose WinHost as your web hosting solution? 

Your service lines are similar to ours (hosting platforms, compatible application hosting, SmarterMail, Google Analytics, etc.). Other reasons include:

  • Affordable ASP.NET hosting
  • Using the latest Window and SQL versionSQL
  • SmarterStats
  • Easy to use Control Panel
  • nopCommerce compliant
  • SiteLock

What do you consider to be the key benefits of using the WinHost web hosting solution?

WinHost is affordable, scalable and support-driven.

Which future technologies or trends are you most excited about?

Custom mobile applications. We are seeing more and more of our clients wanting to reach and target all aspects of their perspective audiences.

What do you do outside of DataMine?

I love golf. I’ve been playing for 4 years and I shoot in the 90′s. I love going to church and participating in the service and the community based ministries. I serve on numerous civic organization within my city (as a board / executive member). I mostly enjoy being with my family (wife and 3 daughters). we travel a lot and enjoy one another’s company. And I’m expecting my first grandchild! And yes, it’s another girl!

That’s great, Ron! You must be very excited! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

 

One can never underestimate the importance of upkeep and routine maintenance, especially when it comes to web sites and applications. When we do not practice due diligence or neglect our web applications, hackers can find holes, weaknesses, and exploits in our so-called “secure” sites.

That holds even more true when it comes to “canned” applications such as Joomla. We have learned that Joomla version 2.5, and 3.1.x have a security hole that can allow anyone to upload malicious files through your application.

The malicious files can perform cross-site scripting (injecting a string of code to your web pages, which can redirect users to a phishing site), or distribute malware or Trojan files that can affect your visitor’s computers.

The security hole in Joomla is its Media Manager, which offers you a tool to upload files to the website. This is a necessary function in a CMS such as Joomla. Joomla comes with its own filtering mechanism that prevents anyone uploading files with specific extensions that can be malicious in nature. Files with extensions such as .exe or .php should not be uploaded as they can infect your web application.

However, the bug is that a trailing dot on a file name can circumvent the filtering mechanism. Normally Joomla will prevent the upload of files with a .php extension such as document.php. However, include a period at the end, such as document.php., and the file no longer fits the .php criteria.

Nasty bug to say the least. What is more frightening is that you do not have to be a registered user or have administrative privileges to the application to exploit the bug. If the Media Manager was set to be available to the public, anyone can inject your site with a malicious file.

The simplest way to solve this problem is to go to Joomla’s website, download the most recent version, and upgrade. This should have the latest patch to this security threat.

http://joomlacode.org/gf/project/joomla/tracker/?action=TrackerItemEdit&tracker_item_id=31626

http://www.joomla.org/announcements/release-news/5505-joomla-3-1-5-stable-released.html

If an upgrade is not an option for you, you can manually add the code that will prevent users from uploading files to your application with a trailing dot.

Navigate to /Libraries/Joomla/Filesystem and open file.php. Scour the code to find where the makeSafe function starts. Add the line:

// Remove any trailing dots, as those aren’t ever valid file names.
$file = rtrim($file, ‘.’);

If this line already exists then your Joomla application is immune to this specific security hole.

That doesn’t mean that you should not routinely follow up on the most recent news concerning your web applications. To really secure your site it is important to stay informed of the most recent patches for your web application.

Here are links you may want to check to stay up-to-date with Joomla’s security fixes. Keep in mind that some security patches may not apply to you depending on the version you are running.

http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-3496/product_id-6129/hasexp-1/Joomla-Joomla.html

http://docs.joomla.org/Vulnerable_Extensions_List

Let me lastly say that we here at WinHost take this threat seriously. As of today, we have updated our App Installer to the most recent Joomla version (3.1.5) with the security patch installed. If you installed your Joomla application with this newest release, you are protected from this specific threat, however if you have installed an older version from us you may want to check file.php within Joomla and make sure the appropriate line is added.