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  • Top Tech Trends to Watch in July

    Thursday, July 6, 2017 by
    July Tech News

    July 2017's Top Tech News Stories

    Every new month brings new tech news with it, and businesses have good reason to pay attention. New technologies, updates to current tech tools, and the moves of the big tech companies are all likely to have an influence on how you run your business. To help you stay in the loop, we’ve scanned the web to bring you the top tech news you should be sure to keep your eye on in July. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Uber Undergoes Big Changes

    The tech news world has Uber on the mind. The company’s not new to scandal, but the past month saw the ouster of the company’s CEO, the continuation of an intellectual property lawsuit against the company, and accusations that they ignored clear warning signs in hiring a driver that allegedly raped a passenger. In spite of all the bad press and big changes in the company though, Uber recently announced that their drivers have provided over 5 billion trips. Even as things get rough, the company still maintains a significant portion of the ridesharing market share.uber 5 million rides  

    2. Amazon Broadens Its Business Empire

    The other big story that got lots of people talking last month was the online giant’s purchase of a giant in an entirely different industry. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods suggests a big shift from the company into an industry they’ve only dabbled in so far: fresh food delivery. People can already order just about anything else they could possible need from Amazon, so why not add grocery delivery to the mix as well? While for some customers this looks like great news, for other companies in the food delivery business it’s troubling. Blue Apron’s IPO launched at about 50% less than the price they’d originally hoped for after news of the acquisition hit the news cycle. As Amazon keeps moving in new directions, businesses in a variety of industries keep having to scramble to compete with the company’s dominance.  

    3. The Petya Virus Reveals Our Cyber Vulnerabilities (Again)

    Last month we saw the WannaCry virus scare businesses and governments around the world into focusing more on their computer security. Without giving us much time to take a breath, the Petya ransomware attack hit a huge number of businesses and organizations throughout Europe and the United States. The malware program demanded $300 in bitcoin for people to save their files. If you’ve ever been lax about the security of your computer and website, these last couple of months have demonstrated the importance of acting to protect yourself. Make sure your website is secure and always back up your files.  

    4. WhatsApp Gains in Significance

    You hear about so many new apps and channels and platforms every day that it’s hard to know which ones are worth paying any attention to. A recent report suggests that WhatsApp is not one to be ignored. The app now trails only Facebook and YouTube in how frequently people around the world use it – beating out the much more talked-about platform Twitter.  If you’ve been ignoring WhatsApp so far, it might be time to familiarize yourself with the platform.  

    5. Twitch Releases Update

    The popular gaming platform has announced plans to launch an update this month that provides many features gamers have been asking for. The mobile update will include the option of streaming games directly on your mobile app, the addition of a “dark mode,” and easier navigation options.  

    6. New Video Conference Camera Goes to Market

    In a move likely to be relevant to a number of businesses, Owl Labs just launched a product specifically focused on improving videoconferencing. The new camera, called simply Owl, will record a 360º view of the room and automatically focus in on the person talking at any given time. For businesses that have a lot of meetings over video, the technology can simplify and improve the experience. And it adorably resembles an owl. owl labs

    7. Facebook and Google Move to Correct Privacy Issues

    Even as Facebook has comfortably dominated the social media space, it has time and again earned criticisms from users concerned about privacy. Google has similarly been successful in a number of areas its ventured into while also facing discomfort at times from users who feel the company goes too far in tracking and using the information they collect. Both companies are showing they’ve heard those criticisms (at least to a degree) and are taking some moves to respond to them. Facebook has released features that allow users in India to protect who has access to their profile pictures. Google has announced that those ads you see when logged into your Gmail account that creepily promote things mentioned in your emails should be a thing of the past, as they won’t have their algorithms scanning email content anymore for personalization. For those concerned about their privacy on these platforms, these steps seem pretty small, but they show that the companies are listening to user concerns to at least some degree.  

    8. Facebook and YouTube Take Steps Against Extremist Content

    Recent months have seen a rise in stories about extremist behavior. A lot of people believe that part of the blame for the rise in extremism is the accessibility of hate speech and other extremist content online. To do their part in helping curb the growth in extremist movements, both Facebook and YouTube are taking steps to identify and remove any content that’s hateful or promotes terrorist activities from their sites.  

    9. Congress Takes Aim At Internet Harassment

    For years, victims of online harassment have been complaining that the law hasn’t caught up to technology. The lack of clear laws or a process for responding to online harassment has given online harassers a lot of power over the lives of their victims, and the victims very little power to fight back. The Online Safety Modernization Act proposed by Rep. Katherine Clark seeks to change that. If the bill passes, it will outlaw abusive online behavior such as doxxing, revenge porn, and swatting. It will also provide funding to train local police in how to handle these types of crimes when they arise. While legislation likely won’t solve all the problems of people behaving badly online, it may well help the internet become a safer space for many of those victimized there now.  

    10. Companies Moving Us Closer to Having Robots in the Home

    Any tech innovation that moves us closer to the cool possibilities we saw in sci-fi movies will always be exciting, and several companies are working to move us toward a future where families can have robots in the home. The toy company Sphero is launching a company, Misty Robotics, that aims to create robot butlers that can tackle some of those pesky domestic tasks humans have to perform now. The home robot Kuri, from Mayfield Robotics, is becoming more advanced as the company continues to hone the technology. They’ve announced it’s now able to recognize pets, as well as humans, it can move around more smoothly, and it can livestream high-quality video. And finally, the German company Kuka that makes the robotics products that help build cars and machines is branching into the home robot field as well. With more and more companies moving into this space, the possibility that you’ll have an (affordable) home robot to help you out around the house in the next few years is starting to seem within reach.  

    11. YouTube Provides Better 360 Video Analytics

    A bit less exciting, but more immediately important to some readers will be YouTube’s announcement that it will be providing better analytics data to users that load 360 videos to the platform. The video platform will now use heat maps to demonstrate to video creators the parts of the 360 video that attract the most attention from viewers. If you use 360 videos in your marketing, this improvement will help you better understand what’s working.   The summer so far has been rife with exciting tech news and updates and there’s no reason to expect things to slow down now. Check back next month to learn the tech news to watch in August.
  • 25 Best WordPress Blogs to Follow

    Monday, June 26, 2017 by
    Best WordPress Blogs

    25 Top Blogs Any WordPress Site Owner Should Follow

    WordPress is an extraordinarily popular platform for running websites. A full 28% of the web is built with WordPress, meaning each time you click on a new website there’s more than a one in four chance that its owners use WordPress to manage it. WordPress appeals to so many people and businesses because it’s free, easy to use, and flexible. As intuitive as it is, for anyone using it, it’s useful to have more information on the possibilities available on the platform and the resources out there you can take advantage of. For that reason, a number of WordPress blogs have risen to prominence that all provide a wealth of useful information on how to get the most out of the popular platform. Here are a few of the best ones to follow. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. WordPress.org Blog

    The most obvious place WordPress users should turn to for more information on using the website is the platform’s own blog. The WordPress.org blog announces updates to the platform and related gatherings and events. To stay on top of notable changes to the technology your website depends on, this is an important blog to keep your eye on.

    2. Elegant Themes

    Elegant Themes provides themes and plug-ins to WordPress users, so it makes sense that their blog focuses on topics relevant to the site. They collect examples of people using WordPress well for inspiration, provide advice for doing different things with your WordPress site, and provide general tips for running a website successfully.

    3. Digging into WordPress

    Digging into WordPress is a blog with many helpful how-to posts on using WordPress. The blog (as well as the book by the same name) is a great resource for figuring out how to do almost anything you could think to want to do on your WordPress site.

    4. Codeinwp

    Codeinwp is a blog for designers that use WordPress. It highlights useful themes and templates, plug-ins worth checking out, and tutorials for people new to designing for WordPress.

    5. WP Tavern

    WordPress Tavern covers news in the general world of WordPress like relevant tech acquisitions and product updates, as well as how to articles and resources useful to WordPress users. If you’re interested in staying on top of not only the updates to WordPress itself, but also those for related products and companies, they’re a good source.

    6. WPBeginner

    Like the name suggests, WPBeginner is a good resource for anyone new to using WordPress, but the blog also provides information that can be useful to long-time users as well. They cover tips for WordPress security, how to find the best themes, and all the information you should need to get started.

    7. WPMU Dev

    WPMU Dev covers a variety of topics on running a successful website with a clear emphasis on using WordPress to do so. They have posts full of tips, tools, and best practices for getting what you need out of your website.

    8. WPKube

    WPKube is another website that provides various how to articles and highlights some of the best tools available to WordPress users. With reviews for a wide-ranging number of WordPress tools and tutorials, they can help you figure out how to do what you want to in WordPress more quickly and easily.

    9. WP Squared

    WP Squared publishes round ups of great themes to use for different types of websites and purposes and provides various tips and tutorials on how to do different types of tasks in WordPress.

    10. Developer Drive

    Developer Drive is a bit more advanced in the content it provides than some of the other blogs, but for WordPress developers it’s a valuable resource for the more complex ins and outs of using the platform that developers can benefit from.

    11. WPExplorer

    The WPExplorer blog provides lots of tips and guides on ways to use WordPress including general posts on how to make money with WordPress and more specific how to posts to talk users through the smaller tasks they’ll need to accomplish.

    12. WP Mayor

    WP Mayor is a site primarily devoted to reviews of plug-ins, themes, and services. The site also sometimes covers tutorials and WordPress news as well.

    13. Chris Lema

    Chris Lema is a WordPress expert that provides general online marketing advice for businesses, as well as more WordPress-specific tips and best practices.

    14. Themeisle

    Themeisle offers tutorials for WordPress newbies and advanced users, as well as general advice on running a business website well. They also offer a collection of themes, some free and some for pay.

    15. Torque

    Torque is a fairly comprehensive WordPress blog with content for developers, website owners, and beginners alike. They cover news, themes, and plug-ins and provide a range of helpful articles on ways to use WordPress to get better results.

    16. BobWP

    The BobWP blog is full of posts providing advice on monetizing a WordPress site. That includes covering marketing topics, WordPress updates, and ecommerce tools that work with WordPress.

    17. MHThemes

    The MHThemes blog provides information on a wealth of WordPress related topics like blogging, social media promotion, and, well, themes. They’re a useful resource for anyone running a business website, but especially good for those who use WordPress to do so.

    18. 85Ideas

    The 85Ideas blog is primarily focused on plug-in and theme reviews, but they also sometimes provide tutorials and coverage of events relevant to WordPress users.

    19. ManageWP

    ManageWP publishes posts on a wide-ranging array of WordPress-related topics, from business to security to editorials. They also provide some of the more common types of content you’ve been seeing on this list, like coverage and reviews of plug-ins and themes.

    20. Lady WordPress

    Lady WordPress offers general advice for marketing and blogging, as well as sharing her expertise on using WordPress effectively through tutorials and informational posts.

    21. JustWP

    In spite of the “just” in the name, JustWP covers a wide variety of topics, all of them related to using WordPress. For any designers (or amateur ones) they offer plug-in, theme, texture, and icon suggestions. They provide tips for WordPress security, general maintenance, and useful snippets. And they provide how to posts that answer an array of questions WordPress users may have.

    22. 87Studios

    87Studios is another site that offers WordPress tutorials, points people toward great plug-ins and themes, and provides more general tips and education on using WordPress.

    23. Wpeka

    Like many of the sites on this list, Wpeka pushes out content on WordPress tutorials, themes, plug-ins and products, as well as posting interviews with various WordPress experts.

    24. WP Superstars

    The WP Superstars blog is filled with how to content, reviews, and theme and plug-in roundups. They also highlight deals to help WordPress users find the WP tools they need for less.

    25. WPShout

    WPShout focuses on in-depth WordPress tutorials for developers. In addition to posts and quick guides, they have more in depth courses for those prepared to go a bit deeper. WordPress is one of the most important tools in the online world and those who learn how to use it well can go really far with it. Give these sites a look to learn the different ways you can start to get more out of your WordPress blog.
  • New Dedicated Server Hosting from HostGator

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 by

    Dedicated Server Hosting

    Announcing Our New Dedicated Hosting Platform

    Very excited to announce our new Dedicated Hosting Platform with high performance options including up to 16 cpu threads, 32GB Memory and 1 TB SSD Storage.    HostGator has amped up their Dedicated Platform to meet the increasing demands of doing business online.  With Dedicated Server options that literally double both the processing power and memory available on our current platform.    Dedicated Server  

    Double the Processing Power

    With more and more business being done online, your server has to be able to handle multiple processes simultaneously as the number of visitors to your sites grow, that is why we included the Intel Xeon-D 1541 processor with 8 cores and 16 threads in our new Dedicated Platform.   What is a cpu thread?  Think of cloning yourself 16 times so that you could do multiple different things at once, wouldn’t that be great!?  

    Double the Memory

    To keep up with the increased processing power, we made sure that we had the latest DDR4 Memory with up to 32 GB RAM available on our high end package.  

    Your Choice of Storage

    Of course with the increased compute power, we had to make sure that the storage could keep up the pace.  So we now offer the choice of HDD or SSD for your storage needs.   If you are looking for a lot of storage but don’t need it to be super fast the HDD option is perfect but if speed trumps space demands for your site, the SSD storage is the right solution for you.  But don’t worry with either option, the drives are mirrored in a RAID1 configuration so your data is protected in case of a drive failure.     

    Increased Scalability

    My personal favorite is the improved scalability.  We realize that the compute demands of your website change as your site’s complexity grows and your traffic increases, that’s why we made it easier to increase the resources when you need them.  With our new platform, we are able to dynamically scale the resources so adding more cpu or memory is easy; just pick the package that fits your needs and we will resize it for you right on the same server, no physical migration required.   There is one caveat, if you choose to move from HDD to SDD, we would still need to do a physical migration but don’t worry, we have streamlined that process as well.     

    Free SSL Available

    One other important item is the SSL certificate, both cPanel and Plesk offer free SSL encryption solutions that you have full access to with the new platform.  Fear not, if the limitations of the free Control Panel SSL Options don’t work for you, HostGator still provides other options as well like Extended Validation (EV) or Wildcard Certs.     

    Choice of Operating System

    For those users who prefer command line access to the Control Panel, we now offer your choice of the latest Linux distros including Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS and on the Windows side the Windows 2012 image.  

    Beef Up with a Dedicated Server!

    Our Value Server plan offers 8GB of memory and 1TB HDD. The Power Server plan comes with twice the memory (16GB) and your choice of 2TB HDD or 512GB SSD. Finally, for the ultimate in memory, check out our Enterprise Server plans offering 32GB of memory and 1TB SSD. As always our Dedicated Servers include:
    • Full root access
    • Unlimited email accounts
    • Unlimited databases
    • Unmetered bandwidth
    • 3 Dedicated IPv4 IPs
    • cPanel/WHM or Plesk Onyx Control Panel
    • Free Reseller account with cPanel
    • Fully redundant network in Top of the line datacenter
    • DDOS Protection
    • 24x7 Support via chat or phone
    We are really excited about our new Dedicated Server Platform and hope you are too.  As always if you are looking for something we don’t offer, please let us know. We are always up for designing a custom configuration to suit your needs.  

    Ready for maximum performance?

    Get started with HostGator dedicated server hosting!

  • June Tech Trends to Watch

    Thursday, June 1, 2017 by
    Tech News June 2017

    Top Tech News of June 2017

    While school kids across the country take their break for the summer, the tech world keeps moving at the fast pace it’s known for. For any business owners that try to stay on top of what’s happening in tech, you shouldn’t take a break either, and we can help. We’ve rounded up the top tech stories expected to make a splash this month. Dedicated Server

    Businesses and Governments Alike Scramble to Prepare for Cyber Security Threats

    The biggest tech story of May was the global WannaCry cyber attack, which infected over 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. Cyber security isn’t a new problem, but it’s one that seems to only become more widespread and common every year. WannaCry’s impact was ultimately minimal – it caused a scare for a temporary period of time, before Windows provided a patch and systems quickly recovered. Even so, it served as a reminder for businesses and government institutions around the world of the importance of keeping their systems and data safe against the growing threat of cyber attacks.  

    Google Offers Easy GIF Maker

    Businesses frequently struggle with finding good images to accompany their content. Google’s just made the job a little easier, at least in some cases. The Google GIF maker lets you plug in a couple of terms with related data and immediately produce a GIF that shows the data in an intuitive, visual way. The tool’s simple and will only be useful for fairly basic data visualizations, but for businesses who want to add a visual representation of a simple data set to their website and don’t have much in the way of web skills, it’s a handy tool to have. Google GIF Maker

    Governments Target Online Extremism

    One of the many topics tackled at the G7 summit that brought together leaders from around the world last month was how to address online extremism. With a growing number of terrorists being radicalized by information found online, representatives from the countries gathered agreed that it’s important to find a solution that minimizes the influence hateful materials online can have. Attendees of the summit therefore called for internet providers and social media companies to crack down on and remove extremist content as it’s discovered on the web.  

    Microsoft Mixer Broadens Game Streaming Capabilities

    Microsoft is rebranding its online gaming service both in name and functionality.  They’ve ditched the old name Beam in exchange for a new name, Mixer, that the company says better communicates how it brings players together. The new name comes with new features and functionality, including compatability on new platforms, faster speeds, and the ability to stream multiple games side by side.

    Appian Launches IPO

    In a year where more tech IPOs have launched than usual, the app maker Appian has just joined the mix. The company launched in late May and their stocks immediately took off, rising 25% on day one and putting the company’s valuation at around $900 million. In a world where mobile rules, perhaps such a strong showing should be no surprise for a company that helps businesses develop their apps.  

    Google’s AI Gets Smarter

    One of Google’s many tech projects is developing artificial intelligence that will improve their search results and the functionality of various other products they provide. They announced last month a move from a mobile first approach in their business to an AI first one. Their commitment is already showing results. Last month alone, their AI efforts made news for making never-before-heard sounds possible and winning a game of Go against the world’s best human players. And on top of all that, they just launched a venture capital program focused on AI. The company’s throwing a lot at developing in this direction and the results are likely to have a big influence on all of us in the days and years to come.  

    Thunderbolt Ports Becoming the Norm

    Thunderbolt portsAnyone that’s bought an Apple computer in the past couple of years has been faced with a new sort of a port that doesn’t look anything like the standard USB ones. Thunderbolt ports offer faster transfers, which made them an easy sell for Apple, but the technology has taken longer to win over other computer providers. A recent announcement from Intel suggests that’s about to change. The company has committed to including Thunderbolt ports in its upcoming computer models. More and more computer users will be saying goodbye to USB and hello to Thunderbolt.   While we can make some assumptions about what’s coming based on what’s happened recently, June’s sure to throw some surprises our way. Check back next month to get a new dose of tech information so you don’t fall behind.
  • HostGator Website Scholarship

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by

    Announcing Our 2nd Annual Website Scholarship

    HostGator's annual scholarship program aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs pay for their education, while sharing their thoughts and visions for a world shaped by the internet. HostGator itself was founded in a college dorm room back in 2002 (shout out to Florida Atlantic University!), so we’re happy to announce this year's Website Scholarship program for college students! Having been in the web hosting industry for over 15 years, we know firsthand how the internet has impacted the business world. Now we want to hear from you how it's impacted the world of education. Three individual students will be selected to receive $1,500 in scholarship funds based on their winning essay responses to the question, “How has the internet impacted your education?” A $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to three individual students who write the most compelling essays as judged by HostGator staff. Scholarship funds must be used to pay for qualified expenses, including tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board for the 2017-2018 academic year.

    How To Enter:

    Send an email to scholarship@hostgator.com and include the following:
    • Your completed 500-word essay response to the question "How has the internet impacted your education?" (Copied and pasted in the body of the email, or attached as a Word or Google doc)
    • Your name
    • Your college or university
    • Your expected year of graduation
    • Your intended major or area of study
    The deadline for submissions is November 30th, 2017, and winners will be notified individually and announced on or about January 14, 2018.

    Scholarship Eligibility:

    • Applicants must be enrolled in an associate's degree, bachelor's degree or graduate level program at an accredited 2-year college or 4-year university during the 2017-2018 academic year. Students of all majors are encouraged to apply.
    • Employees of or immediate family members of employees of HostGator or Endurance International Group are ineligible for this award.
    • View Scholarship Program Official Rules.
    Digital Rights Agreement:By submitting an entry to this competition, you agree that all essay and content submissions will become the property of HostGator and may be used in marketing materials, reposted or displayed online in whole or partial form without notification. For more information on HostGator web hosting, please visit our home page. To learn more about last year's program and read the winning essays, click here.