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  • Top 10 Tech Trends to Watch in April 2017

    Thursday, April 6, 2017 by
    Tech news april 2017 Entrepreneurs have so much on their plate that staying on top of tech news is hard to fit in. But tech influences business, which means falling behind could have an adverse affect on your ability to run your business effectively. To help you stay on top of the fast-moving tech world, here’s April’s entry in our series on top tech trends to watch each month.  

    1. Consumers Express Concern About Loss of Internet Privacy

    This is quite possibly the most talked about tech issue in the country right now. The Congressional vote at the end of March reversing an FCC privacy law that prohibited internet providers from selling customer data has left many US citizens feeling shaken. The move makes it possible for companies like Time Warner and AT&T to sell data on their customers’ browsing habits to the highest bidder and has unleashed a backlash of concerned citizens who aren’t comfortable with the idea of their private internet use becoming a product for corporations.  

    2. Windows 10 Creators Update Launches

    The next update for the Windows operating system goes beyond your typical OS update, rolling out whole new features and programs designed to change how people think about the Windows operating system. The Windows 10 Creators update will launch April 11 and provide users with an app for 3D painting, new gaming features, and intuitive browsing features. Based on early reviews, this is an update Windows users can look forward to.  

    3. Twitter Says Goodbye to Egg Icons

    The Twitter egg avatar has become iconic, but not in a good way. Twitter eggs have increasingly become associated with online trolls and harassers who critics accuse of hiding behind the generic avatar rather than showing who they are. In an attempt to alleviate the issue, Twitter has changed the default avatar from an egg to a nondescript figure on a gray background with a generic floating head and shoulders. The goal is to make the icon explicitly less interesting in the hopes that people treat it more as a placeholder than an avatar for long-term use. Of course, critics aren’t all that confident the change will get at the root of the larger problem of anonymous harassment on the platform.  

    4. Twitter Increases Reply Lengths

    The Twitter character limit is part of the service’s appeal, but also oftentimes a limiting frustration for users. It becomes an inconvenience when replying to threads that include multiple people, since each username takes up some of the available character count. Twitter decided to tackle that issue by removing usernames from reply Tweets  themselves, and instead letting users know with a little note above the tweet who it’s in reply to. Reply to on Twitter  

    5. Facebook Adds Personal Fundraising Feature

    Taking a cue from the popular website GoFundMe, which people use to help raise money for needs like health procedures or educational expenses, Facebook now provides a personal fundraising option within the social media platform itself.  Users can raise funds for projects that fall within any one of six categories: education, medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergencies, and loss. This is one of many functionalities Facebook has been building into the platform, giving users more reason to turn to Facebook for an ever growing number of uses.  

    6. Reviewers and Consumers Explore the Galaxy S8

    One of last month’s big tech stories was the release of Samsung’s Galaxy S8. This month, we can expect to see a preponderance of articles from consumers and tech journalists that examine the smartphone’s features. Journalists have already written pieces on the weaknesses of the product’s facial scanning technology, its display size, and its wireless speed. More opinions are sure to come.  

    7. Google Home Launches in the UK

    Little by little, smart home technology is making its way into the bedrooms and living rooms of people around the world. This month, Google announced that their smart assistant, Google Home, will now be available to people in the UK as well as the US. The product helps connect the different smart devices a customer has in their home and provides Siri-style answers to voice commands. This is one more step in the move toward smart homes becoming more of a norm for people around the world.  

    8. Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles Become Available

    Elon Musk announced via Twitter that Tesla’s solar roof tiles will become available for sale this month. The technology resembles regular roof shingles and Musk has suggested they’ll cost a comparable amount as well. The availability of this technology could pave the path to solar power becoming mainstream in homes throughout the US.  

    9. Cloudera, Yext, and Okta IPOs

    A new month means new IPO offerings and this month we can expect to see three big tech companies go public. The enterprise data company Cloudera already announced their IPO filing and early estimates put the IPO at about $200 million.  Yext should be joining the stock market this month as well, probably at around $100 million. And the identity management company Okta has filed as well for a value of $100 million. Tech investors have a few new and promising options to consider for their portfolio this month.  

    10. NAB Show Meets in Las Vegas

    Media, entertainment, and technology will converge from April 22-27 in Las Vegas at the NAB show. Exhibitors include a number of key tech players, particularly those in the fields of online video, mobile media, audio, and radio. Sessions will cover subjects like the future of broadcasting and the influence of new technologies on the media.   Like most months, April is a busy one for the tech world. Check back next month to see what tech trends to look forward to in May.
  • Top Tech Trends to Watch in March 2017

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 by
    Tech Trends to Watch in March 2017 The tech world moves fast and entrepreneurs have every reason to pay attention. Some of the big tech stories of the month may have little to do with your particular industry or business, but others will likely point toward big changes to come that you want to be aware of. Our series on top tech trends to watch can help you stay on top of what’s happening in the tech world month to month. Here’s what you should know about what’s happening in tech in March. Dedicated Server  

    New Products and Projects Announced at MWC

    Tech Events March 2017A new month means a new tech conference (or sometimes several) and March is no different. Tech companies and enthusiasts have already converged on Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress to survey new releases and products that are expected to make their mark on the world of mobile technology. As you’d expect, many makers of smartphones were there, some of them showing off new smartphone models that consumers can expect to see hitting the market in the coming months. But the mobile industry is growing to include so much more than smartphones. VR headsets and drones were a big part of the show, and discussions around faster internet options, better video streaming, and autonomous cars abounded. Mobile technology has become a huge part of how we all live and do business today. Every business owner should be keeping a close eye on what’s coming in the mobile industry in order to be prepared for how people shop and browse in years to come. Stories and articles from the Mobile World Congress provide a glimpse at what that will be.  
    • Speaking of tradeshows... HostGator is attending Engage (#EngagePDX) on March 9th in Portland and Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW17) from March 22-24th in San Diego. If you'll be there, come say hi and meet Snappy and the team in person!
     

    Snapchat Launches IPO

    Snapchat IPOThe beginning of March brings one of the most anticipated and discussed IPOs of the year. The social media app Snapchat certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone, but the people using it (mostly a young demographic) use it enough for the app to have seen steady growth in ad revenue since its launch. If you're on there, follow us @HostGator! It’s often hard to predict which social media platforms will take off, and more importantly, which will have real staying power. Investors can now weigh in on whether they think the app’s current popularity is a temporary fluke or if they expect it to have the longevity its most popular competitors like Facebook and Twitter have shown.  

    The Tech Community Gathers at SXSW

    SXSW 2017SXSW is a conference devoted to ideas and creativity, and the conference’s tech industry sessions this year promise to include plenty of both. There are sessions covering topics familiar to anyone who’s been attending or following other tech conferences this year, like self-driving cars, robots, and AI. One of the biggest themes to emerge in this year’s tech sessions is the idea of applying tech to the world’s economic and political problems. Presenters will tackle the role can tech play in addressing issues like poverty, LGBTQ equality, health policy, and immigration. The tech community has always been inclined to think big, and this year’s SXSW tech sessions point to a larger intention to think beyond product ideas and IPOs and apply the industry’s brainpower to issues that touch people around the world. This year’s conference promises to leave attendees with plenty to think about and is likely to drive some of the ideas that shape our world in the months and years to come.  

    Apple Smart Glasses Set to Debut Soon

    apple glassesWhile they haven’t provided a hard release date yet, there’s speculation that the smart glasses Apple is working to develop could be released as early as this month. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been vocal in interviews about the company’s commitment to augmented reality. While Google Glass never really took off, if a player as big as Apple is still confident that AR will be the wave of the future (or at least a wave of the future), then there’s at least a strong possibility for the tech to improve and become a part of our lifestyle in the way smartphones did.

    Uber Responds to Accusations of Sexism

    uberWhile much of this month’s tech news is about looking forward, some tech stories point to aspects of the industry where progress has stalled or even seems to be moving backward. One of the biggest stories in tech that took social media by storm late last month was about the public accusations made by a former Uber employee about rampant sexism at the company. News outlets like the New York Times have spoken to others at the company that confirm the woman’s description of a sexist work culture and, in some cases, provided their own anecdotes of similar treatment. The company is taking steps to respond to the accusations, including hiring the well-known attorney Eric Holder to perform an investigation into the issue. While Uber does damage control, other tech companies are starting to find themselves in the crossfire for similar issues. Tesla’s currently being sued by an engineer who says she’s experienced sexism in various forms while working at the company. Whether or not these tech companies (and others who may well face similar accusations in the days to come) will respond in ways their employees and customers deem adequate remains to be seen.  

    SpaceX Ramps Up Plans to Send People Around the Moon

    spacexThe possibilities of space tourism continue to look more and more ambitious as Elon Musk tests the limits of what his company can handle. This past week, he announced his intentions to send tourists around the moon by the end of next year – a feat professional astronauts haven’t managed in over 40 years.   While limited budgets around the world place limitations on the space exploration that used to fall to government organizations, space tourism may be just the thing to keep people exploring the stars and beyond.  

    Samsung Galaxy S8 Release

    Samsung March 2017Samsung just announced that their new model of the Samsung Galaxy phone will become available to consumers on March 29. After last year’s model was famously recalled due to phones catching fire, people are curious to see what the new Samsung Galaxy model will bring. Details on the features and functions of the phone so far are scant, so consumers and tech insiders alike will have to wait and see what makes the new model different (other than presumably being more fireproof than its predecessor). But you don’t have long to wait - by this time next month the phone will be in the hands of its first customers.   March will likely bring some surprises we didn’t foresee, but we expect these stories to be some of the most important for the month. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for interesting and important tech news to bring you next month. Which event are you most excited for in March? Are you attending any tech conferences? Let us know in the comments!
  • 8 Tech Gifts for Your Online Valentine

    Thursday, February 9, 2017 by
    Tech Gifts for Valentine's Day Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just chocolates and rose petals on the bed. Although many have criticized the holiday as being another excuse to go out and spend wads of cash, it can also be an excellent opportunity to provide your significant other with something both useful and close to the heart. If you know your SO to be digitally savvy, then surprising them with the right gadget can be far more meaningful than flowers from the grocery store. We’ve hand selected gifts for a variety of budgets that should be able to satisfy anyone with an affinity for cool stuff. Most importantly, they’ll show how creative and thoughtful you are! HostGator Website Builder  

    Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $50

    For those of you with a budget in mind, do not panic! These three gifts under $50 will seem like you splurged, yet they’re incredibly practical.  

    1. Tile Mate - Key Finder, Phone Finder, Anything Finder ($24.99)

    Tile Mate Valentine's Tech GiftFor those of you with an iPhone, there may have been a time (or two, or three) when you were delighted to find your phone using Apple's Find iPhone feature. If your partner has a reputation for losing other important items, namely their keys, wallet, or dog, then that little fantasy you’ve always had about built in GPS has finally come true. Tile comes in a variety of sizes and quantities, providing a discrete homing device that won’t become detached easily. The Tile app works both ways as well. For instance, if you have your keys but can’t find your phone then you can press the Tile to sound off where your phone was put. We love this gift because saving yourself from moments of stress when you're running late can really have a positive impact on your life. Available on Amazon.  

    2. 365 Day Custom Tearaway Calendar - Social Print Studio ($40)

    Valentine's Day Photo CalendarDoes your Valentine love Instagram? How about photography? Maybe just photos of the two of you, every day of the year? Social Print Studio has developed a web page that easily imports your social media photos and turns then into a tear calendar for the entire year. Several companies have already offered Instagram booklets and keepsakes, but considering most avid social media users have over 365 post-worthy photos, it’s a glorious idea to be able to reflect on all your best moments over the course of a year. What’s more, Social Print Studio uses a thicker paper weight, so if you'd like a more permanent keepsake than a tearaway calendar, you can tear and place the photos on your wall in a mosaic of memories.   Available on SocialPrintStudio.com.  

    3. Google Chromecast ($35)

    Google ChromecastTechnologically speaking, we’ve gone from large bulky devices down to compact smart phones, and now we've found ourselves desiring the capability to watch streaming content on bigger screens again.  Google saw an easy opportunity to bridge the gap between devices large and small. With the Google Chromecast you can stream any content from your smaller devices right to your TV using Bluetooth and an adorable device the size of a fifty cent piece. Available in coral, lemonade, and black. Available on the Google Store.  

    Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $100

    $100 is stepping into a price range with wide open possibilities, but for the sake of thoughtfulness, we honed in on a couple items we think have a particular relevance to couples and the time of year.  

    1. Fitbit Fitness Trackers ($79.99)

    FitbitIf there’s one thing tech enthusiasts find sexy, it’s well organized data. Pair that with body sculpting fitness motivation and you have a Valentine’s Day gift beneficial to both partners. Sleek in design and function, Fitbit has a dominant stake in the fitness tracking industry. Some of its popular features include measuring steps, duration and quality of sleep, heart rate, and calories burned. Plus, it pairs with your smart phone to display caller ID, texts, and reminders, so you don’t have to pull your phone out in the middle of exercising. This gift is perfect for the active, or seeking-to-be active, couple. Having just started a new year it can be very easy to lose the fitness motivation by February 14th. Don't be a cliché - keep up with your New Year's resolution for a healthy 2017! Available on Fitbit.  

    2. Portable Cell Phone Charger - Mophie Powerstation ($60)

    Mophie Portable Phone ChargerIt's not uncommon for your cell phone to die with regular use over the course of a business day, and what says I love you more than “I want to be able to call you no matter what!”? Portable charging devices have been on the market for some time, yet their popularity has been underwhelming at best. Having just gone through the most brutal January of my life in Lake Tahoe, with an unusual abundance of power outages, I can personally testify to the usefulness of this device. Spare your SO the hassle of being without mobile connectivity and give them some backup power. Available on Amazon.  

    Valentine's Tech Gifts Over $100

    Sometimes it’s fun to buy a gift not just for your partner, but for the "us," if you catch my drift. These gifts are perfect for unique couple experiences, and those who like to travel light.  

    1. Portable Mobile Projector - RIF6 Cube Mobile Projector ($275)

    Valentine's Tech Gift Mobile ProjectorNothing says James Bond more than pulling out a mini projector in times when you want to cozy up to your movie buddy. Two inches square and powered by 50 lumens, this projector is capable of screening full 1080p with 90 minutes of battery life. The RIF6 comes with HDMI and MHL connection cables, a USB charger, Remote control, flexible mini tripod, and a comfortable 1-year warranty. Potential uses include movies in the backpacking tent, screening parties in your hostel abroad, or impressive client displays for your business life. Available on Amazon.  

    2. Portable Photo Printer - HP Sprocket ($129.99)

    Valentine's Tech Gift Portable Photo PrinterNowadays we’re taking more photos than ever before thanks to smart phone cameras, but how often do we print our photos? A portable photo printer makes it easy. Snap a photo on your smart phone, and then print it out immediately for your loved one to put on the fridge. The photos print at 2” x 3” on sticky back paper via Bluetooth. What’s nice is you don’t have to make the extra investment buying a new-age Polaroid. All you need is a smartphone! Available on Amazon.    

    Bonus Gift: A Brand New Website!

    Sure, the gadgets above are neat, but if you want to really impress your valentine, consider getting them a gift that's all digital. How about powerful web hosting that includes a free website builder, one-click script installs, and 24/7 support? We may be biased, but we love the idea!

    Get Started with HostGator!

  • Top Tech News of January Roundup

    Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by
    January 2017 Tech News Roundup The tech world moves fast. To help small business owners like you keep up with the most important news in tech, we’re starting a monthly roundup of the tech stories that people are talking about the most. Here’s a roundup of the top tech news of January 2017. HostGator WordPress Hosting  

    New Products and Updates Introduced at CES

    The International Consumer Technology Associate Conference (CES) met from January 5 to January 8 and gave many of the world’s tech companies a chance to show off new products, updated versions of familiar products, and exciting advancements they’re working on for the future. Conference attendees witnessed a ton of new gadgets, too many to talk about here, but there were a few main highlights that got a lot of attention. Drone cameras that can capture pictures of your travels for you, robots for home use, and cars of the future (including several looks at self-driving cars) all made an appearance. All in all, CES gave people a glimpse of a pretty cool possible future.  

    The Country’s Biggest Corporations Commit to AI

    While large companies conducting AI research isn’t in itself a shocking development, some big players in the tech space did make some significant moves signaling their commitment to developing artificial intelligence. Earlier this month, Microsoft acquired a Toronto startup called Maluuba, a company that focuses on AI research, specifically on natural language processing. Their AI system has reached the point of being able to comprehend writing at a level comparable to humans – a big step forward in AI research. Just last week, Apple moved to join the Partnership on AI, a group devoted to instituting best practices in AI research. This group already includes many of the largest tech companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM.  

    The End of Vine

    Remember when you were reading articles about how to best use Vine in your social media marketing? If you hadn’t quite gotten around to using the popular Twitter video feature, no need to learn it now. Twitter decided to shutter the program in October and this past month was the last chance users had to save their old vines before the feature went away. If you were using Vine and are worried you’ll feel its lack in your social media marketing efforts, don’t worry too much. Twitter plans to replace it with a feature called Vine Camera that’s relatively similar in functionality.  

    Social Media Channels Begin Working Against Fake News

    One of the biggest news stories of 2016 was the rise of fake news. That wouldn’t likely be a tech story, except that one of the primary ways people were exposed to fake news was through the social media sites we all know and love. In response to criticism, Facebook is making moves to reduce the reach of fake news by working with journalists and outside groups to fact check stories that show up on Facebook’s feed and help bring more attention to legitimate journalism. On Twitter, some individual accounts have made waves by providing facts and definitions in response to inaccuracies shared in the press. The Merriam Webster Twitter account was one of the most talked about of the month for its clever posts sharing dictionary definitions of words used (often inaccurately) by politicians and media throughout the month. And a number of rogue social media accounts have popped up that are presumably run by people working in government agencies that no longer feel they can share facts about issues like climate change on the official government accounts. While not a social media platform, it’s worth also mentioning that Google itself joined the fray by instituting a policy to kick publishers off one of its ad networks if they were found to be spreading fake news.  

    Slack Introduces Threaded Messages

    On a lighter note, the popular platform for business collaboration responded to customer feedback about the difficulty in following conversations on the platform by releasing a threaded messages feature. The threaded messages are meant to make it easier to separate out and follow a specific conversation happening within the larger public feed. So far response to the feature is largely positive.  

    The Transition of White House Social Media Properties

    Chances are, you’re well aware of the biggest non-tech news story of January, the inauguration of a new president. As the first new administration to take power after White House social media accounts had been established, this was the first time in history that figuring out how to transition social media accounts to a new presidential administration was a story. The White House announced plans in October to make all the White House social media handles available to the incoming president on inauguration day, while archiving all old messages and updates and making them freely available to people in the days and years after. On January 20, the transition was made as promised and the social media profiles of the White House took on new ownership. This month saw a lot of interesting and important technological advancements and stories. Next month’s sure to bring its share as well. Check back for future additions to our new series of monthly top tech news roundups.
  • Top 10 Blogs of 2016

    Friday, December 23, 2016 by
    Top 10 Blogs of 2016 It's the end of the year... that special time we spend spreading holiday cheer with friends and family, reflecting on cherished memories from another year gone by, and, of course, reading round up "Best of 2016" posts online. Without further ado, here's our list of HostGator's top posts of 2016. Enjoy!  

    #10 Ultimate WordPress Plugins for E-Commerce

    Best Wordpress Plugins for eCommerce

    WordPress started as a simple blogging platform, but has since grown into a full-fledged website building machine. Whether you're just selling a few products on your WordPress site or building a full-fledged e-commerce store, you can simplify the process with any of these six trusted plugins. Keep reading...

     

    #9 How To Monetize Your Blog in 5 Steps

    How to Monetize Your Blog

    The mere thought of being able to write about something you’re passionate about and have that result in actual money in your pocket is enough to make anyone smile. But making money from your blog doesn't have to be a pipe dream. Let's dive into a process that will help you monetize your blog and turn your passion into a real-life business. Keep reading...

     

    #8 Shared Hosting vs WordPress Hosting - What's the Difference?

    Shared Hosting vs WordPress Hosting

    Hosting is an absolutely critical aspect of any online business. Without the proper hosting, you won’t have a website, it’s as simple as that. However, choosing the right kind of hosting package for your needs is another thing entirely. In this post we review the key differences between two popular options: managed WordPress hosting versus a basic shared hosting plan where you’re just using WordPress as a CMS. Keep reading...

     

    #7 Happy Birthday, Snappy!

    History of HostGator This year we celebrated another year of being in business! In honor of our fourteenth birthday, we present to you a timeline of our favorite milestones in HostGator and Snappy’s history. Keep reading...  

    #6 Introducing Cloud Hosting from HostGator

    HostGator Cloud Sites Banner In January, we launched our cloud hosting platform. The platform offers customers increased reliability, scalability and performance while still giving them full access to the cPanel features they know and love, in the cloud! Built on pooled compute and storage resources with features that allow us to respond quickly and easily to any hardware issues that arise, our cloud platform also includes a fully-redundant storage array with three copies of your data mirrored to ensure optimum data integrity. Keep reading...  

    #5 Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

    Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

    If you want to get organic traffic to your site, optimizing your blog posts for search engines is critical. WordPress SEO plugins can really help to simplify and speed up this process. However, with the myriad of SEO plugins available, it can be overwhelming to know how to choose the best one(s). Keep reading...

     

    #4 No Motivation To Blog? 4 Habits To Keep You On Track

    No Motivation to Blog

    Blogging can be incredibly valuable, whether you’re writing for yourself or trying to bring additional traffic to your business. However, it’s easy for the initial burst of inspiration to die off, and you’re left with the long work of building a popular blog all on your own. It can be very hard to stay motivated, especially in the early stages when your blog is getting little to no traffic. Here are a few tips for how you can stay motivated when you’re feeling discouraged. Keep reading...

     

    #3 Make Your Own Minecraft Server

    Setting Up a Minecraft Server

    If you’ve been gaming online for anytime at all, then you’ve probably been drawn into the world of Minecraft. Playing Minecraft is fun, but what about when you want to customize the rules of the game and have your friends join in on the fun? The answer is running your own Minecraft server. Keep reading...

     

    #2 Top WordPress Plugins for Sending Push Notifications

    Push Notifications From WordPress Push notifications are simple alert messages that inform you about the latest entries from the platform that you signed up for, whether it be the latest blog articles, new feature releases, or straightforward ‘special’ offers for you to take advantage of. Getting your latest blog posts out to users’ mobile devices as soon as they are published via push notifications is a sure way of keeping your audience engaged. Keep reading...  

    #1 The New cPanel Paper Lantern Theme At HostGator

    HostGator cPanel dashboard In fall of this year, we announced the launch of the new HostGator Paper Lantern cPanel theme, with the goal of providing a better user experience to our valued customers. Explore the key features that come with this release. Keep reading...   What was your favorite HostGator blog of 2016? Let us know in the comments! Thank you for reading and happy holidays!