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Has your email address been sold?

has your email address been sold?You will be aware of the data losses by big companies over recent years such as T Mobile, Sony Playstation, Morrisons supermarket, Mumsnet, Talk Talk and many others.

As we get more “connected” and use our data more widely to make things easier to buy, to be “remembered” by our suppliers, personal or business, then we expose ourselves to losing control over some of our personal data.

Our email addresses are mainly “harvested” to go into spam activity. Spam has been decreasing in recent years yet it is unfortunate to still note that spam accounts for some 50% of all email received every day.

In this article I wanted to to give you a useful tool to assess if your email address has been sold in the past few years and from which data loss it may have come from.

I’ve tried it and wasn’t surprised to learn that my email address had been sold several times. My email address has been available in the public domain for many years so this came as no surprise.

However, if you are concerned that someone may have more info on your than you are comfortable, this website can help you identify which services that may have “lost” your data. If you find a hit on your details then at least you can ensure that your password is up to date.

Take a look at https://haveibeenpwned.com/ (as always, we cannot be held responsible for any external websites).

Perhaps you should let your friends and colleagues know about this? And don’t forget to check your personal email addresses as well as work ones.

Can’t vote in Euro In/Out referendum!

Euro Referendum Register to VoteI have been ‘banging on’ about the quality of hosting for years now. When I come across a story that highlights this matter I can’t help but mention it.

Apparently, the servers that run the voter registration system on the Government’s own servers crashed last night; within 2 hours of the deadline to register.

The government has taken the rather unusual step of extending the deadline to vote, getting very close the deadline to do so to allow local authorities to check the applications in a bid to stop vote rigging etc. I’m not sure that has ever happened before, let us hope that the younger target voters respond accordingly.

Back to the main point. If your website crashes due to server load or “spikes” in traffic numbers then your website disappears. If you sell online or have messaging that is visitor critical then this has to be a very bad thing.

If your website shares a server with other high hitting websites, then you could be at the mercy of the traffic loads on those other websites, as it will be the whole server, including your website, that goes offline while the server struggles to deal with simultaneous connections.

Database driven websites can generally handle thousands of users interacting with a website at one time but, as has been proven in this instance, your server is only as good as its software, capacity, setup and fail over protection.

Your hosting provider should be able to give you a stable platform that can take various actions to reduce the likelihood of downtime. These actions include for example, load balancing. When a website is hit hard by numbers, it can siphon off some of them to a duplicate copy sitting on another separate server, or multiple ones if required.

It can also be made to “slow” the connection numbers by “throttling” the traffic and visitors will notice a slow down but it will still eventually work without falling over and needing human intervention.

In reality, most business websites will not have these issues, unless your website is a high hitting ecommerce platform. So you don’t need to unduly worry.

My main worry is that with websites becoming more complex, with multiple levels of software running at once, and imagery and multi media now being the norm, the problem will only get worse as the load put on servers is, in general, increasing.

The question is: Can your business cope with your website being offline? If it can’t then you need to investigate proper commercial hosting solutions from someone like our preferred supplier, Rackspace.

We pay a lot of money per month for our four dedicated servers. I do this not because I like paying a lot of money, but to ensure that I can sleep at night knowing our hosting is robust, stable and has superb support available should there be any problems.

Worth looking at yours maybe?

Is your eCommerce site ready for the surge?

Shopping online has now become a day-to-day normality for most households and businesses whether you’re buying your groceries, gadgets or a new computer for the office it can all be found out there on the World Wide Web. Online shops saw a huge surge with Christmas sales and this demand really put some eCommerce websites and their hosting providers to the test.

Can your ecommerce website cope with the sudden rise in traffic and activity?

Is your hosting provider capable of supporting a high volume of visitors?

From the buyers perspective there is nothing more frustrating that finally finding that perfect gift and the website not working or the shopping cart not allowing you to complete your order. A lot of time the reason we see slow or crashing websites is the hosting provider cannot cope with the large amount of traffic seen at peak times such as Christmas. We stress to every one of our clients the importance of hosting and we pride ourselves on the high standard of hosting we provide and we urge other website designers to do the same.

As this BBC Article shows 2015 holds many new technology surges but we found the comments by Taylor Rhodes, CEO of Rackspace particularly interesting. Using Rackspace servers ourselves we will be encouraging our clients to improve and prepare their ecommerce sites to make 2015 a success for them.