Showing posts with label internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label internet. Show all posts

Thursday, June 21, 2018

16 Qualities Every Great Webmaster Has

I have been a webmaster for 6 years, for now, I have learned a lot in the past 6 years. Here are the qualities I think every successful webmaster should have:



Great Webmasters Know Basic Programming

You can't be a great webmaster if you don't know basic PHP, basic JS, basic BASH, basic PYTHON and basic HTML/CSS. You can't be code-illiterate if you want to be a great webmaster. Many times, you have to handle code yourself, and you can't always hire someone to write basic tasks for you.

Great Webmasters Don't Rely on cPanel

We all have started working cPanel, but a successful webmaster doesn't just rely on cPanel to manage a website. You will need to have root access to a server and some point and execute many commands that generally cPanel can't easily do.

Great Webmasters Don't Use Shared Hosting

Seriously, if you use Shared Hosting for any website,  you should consider moving to a dedicated hosting. The 'Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage' is a classic, old-fashioned and misleading hosting scam that has been going on for decades.  Shared Hosting generally goes down many times and limits the number of users you can have on your site at a time which is the opposite of what you want. 

Great Webmasters Don't Break US Laws

If you run pirated (movies, music or torrents) or rogue websites, then your profits will be short-term and eventually, you will be charged and your domain would be seized. There are thousands of previous websites which operated illegally and now are seized. You should hire American lawyers and make sure you are compliant with US laws; you should also register your website in the DMCA copyright office and handle any copyright violations that occur on your website.

Great Webmasters Hire

Good webmasters aren't afraid to hire people when in need. You can't expect yourself to do it all, and if you expect that, you are destined to fail. A website is very demanding (on the front-end, back-end, database, server maintenance, etc...) and at some point, you will want experts to handle specific issues on your website.

Great Webmasters Care About Profit

You're not a charity. Great webmasters care about profit and don't operate websites that generate small to no profit. If your website is not generating good income or good traffic, you should not give up and keep trying until you achieve your goals. Not all websites are destined to succeed, so if a website has failed for years, it might be time to launch another one.

Great Webmasters Don't Mess With Google

If you're a webmaster, then you should know that Google plays a huge part in your success. Almost half of your traffic could be sent from Google and you should know that you should never mess with Google Webmaster Guidelines in order to boost your ranks. The only way to rank up in Google Search is to have original content and trigger a good user experience - that is all. Many webmasters dive into Black-SEO in order to attempt to cheat the system and eventually almost get punished and lose their rankings. There are no magic formulas to rank you up on Google.

Great Webmasters Put User Experience on Top

If your profits are at the expense of user experience, then definitely you are doing something wrong. User experience should remain a top priority on the website and plays an important factor in a website's success. You should make sure that you create the best experience possible for users that visit your site. As Google once said: "Focus on the user and everything else will follow".

Great Webmasters Don't Sell Personal Information

It is very easy for a webmaster to be able to collect personal information such as email, IP addresses, names, addresses, etc... Great webmasters don't sell personal information no matter how much it could be profitable. This is a matter of ethics and you should be very careful not to fall into this trap.

Great Webmasters Don't Mine Bitcoins Without User Consent 

If you're secretly mining bitcoins on your user's CPU, you're a dick and a moron, period. Great webmasters don't engage in this malicious activity which could push away your users permanently.

Great Webmasters Don't Get Hacked 

Your website, database(s) and server(s) are your own responsibility and you should ensure that you use high-security standards (such as two-step authentication, public and private keys, etc...) in order not to get breached. Getting hacked or breached could be extremely embarrassing or cause permanent data loss.

Great Webmasters Backup 

You should be doing daily backups to your servers, and most importantly your database. If you don't backup very often, you should know that you're playing with fire and data loss is more frequent than you think. 

Great Webmasters Care About Speed

Users aren't patient. If your website is taking more than 2s to load, you could be losing up to 50% of users on mobile. This is quite serious. You should do your best to load your website as fast as possible and use caching and other means to make this goal achievable.

Great Webmasters Adapt to Change

Adapt or die. If you're not adapting to the changes that are happening on the web, then you're going to flop soon. For example, many websites still use Flash Player on their videos and don't support HTML5. Can you believe this? This is one of the worst things you could do to a website.

Great Webmasters Don't Go Down

This is 2018 and not 2000, going down (even for a few minutes) is not acceptable and could have a huge impact on your website on Google search rankings. If your website is not optimized to handle significantly high traffic, you're not going to make it far. Your code and database should be optimized to run high traffic. Many times one server isn't enough so you might consider using cloud resources such as Cloud Instances (Servers), Cloud Databases and Content Delivery Networks.

And finally...

Great Webmasters Don't Give Up

You're not going to have a straightforward path and each webmaster's journey is unique but almost all have hardships and obstacles. Great webmasters never give up... no matter what. 





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Friday, April 13, 2018

Dealing with FirstChoicePay's retirement


On 1/11/2017, Payoneer announced that they would be launching a service called FirstChoice Pay:




On 2/1/2017, my FirstChoicePay's debit card has been shipped to me:



This Tuesday, I've been informed by a party that FirstChoice Pay is ceasing its service: 


Yesterday, FirstChoice Pay informed us formally that the service is stopping: 



But, why?  

The problem is caused, as you may have guessed, the latin american bank, Choice Bank. Apparently, the bank has been forced into “liquidity-constrained position”. The bank provides credit cards for FirstChoice Pay, without that bank, the service cannot operate.

“With a view to enable the bank to manage cash flows in an orderly fashion to work through the current liquidity situation, in the interest of depositors and other creditors as a whole, the bank has taken the decision in its view as a matter of necessity, with immediate effect, to temporarily suspend all withdrawals from deposit accounts with the bank and other outbound payment activities (save for payment of employees, suppliers essential for core operations, consultants and advisers) until the bank and/or its relevant regulatory authorities (as the case may be) are satisfied that such suspension is no longer required,” Choice Bank said according to an article by XBIZ.

“The liquidity challenges the bank currently faces is truly a short-term one. As it progresses through this process, the bank is confident that all its depositors, cardholders and creditors will be kept whole,” Choice Bank also said.

Now, what?   

The first step is taking my money out immediately from the credit card. Even though FirstChoice said the money is still available to use; their statement is alarming and I wouldn't want to have any relationship with that bank or their services in the future. 

Taking my money out... NOW  

I remember I asked someone to drive at my 2:00AM to the nearest ATM, where I withdrew initially a part of the payment (1,800$). The second day I withdrew another sum (1,800$). The third day I withdrew (2,400$). All the money on the card, almost totalling for (6,000$) was withdrawn.

I used more online services to empty my card until it had $0.41. This means I am done with this service. The generous 41 cents left on the card can be used by First Choice to deal with their issues.



Moving on... 

It is time to move on.
The news were indeed shocking; I have had 0 problems with FirstChoice Pay and I really enjoyed that service.

No words can describe how good that service is with excellent customer support which includes Chat, Ticket and Telephone.

Even though my card is set to expire in 2020, I will be keeping their debit card in archived. Furthermore, I will be exporting and archiving all my statements and account details.

I am grateful for the service they have offered for years and now that I've withdrawn all of the funds it was time to move now to other solutions. Businesses succeed and fail and in that case, we all been unfortunate to witness such a great service cease.
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Monday, March 26, 2018

How to install cPanel on existing centos 7 server

Warning: Installing cPanel on an existing server/configuration/installation is a huge risk and doing mistakes might cause you to wipe out or make your server unusable, do this at your own risk.

I really wanted to install cPanel on a dedicated server running centos 7. The server doesn't serve any websites and just existing to help me accomplish some tasks.

You will need to uninstall httpd, and remove any mysql databases or installation throughout the process.

However, no support was given from my host and everything online said you need to wipe our your server before installing it, here is how to install cPanel on an existing server without wipeout.

Step 0: Log in to the root account via SSH to your server, command:

ssh root@1.1.1.1 

Make sure you replace 1.1.1.1 with your server's IP address.

Step 1: If you haven't set your hostname already, do it now.  The hostname is any domain or subdomain linked to the server, in that case, I will assume it is called www.example.com. To set up your hostname, type this command:

hostname: www.example.com

If this works, the terminal will remain silent.

Step 2: If httpd is installed (highly likely), remove it by typing this command:

yum remove httpd

Then, you will be asked a question, type:



Here is a screenshot:



Step 3: If mysql is installed (highly likely), remove it by typing this command:

yum remove mysql mysql-server -y 

Here is a screenshot: 


Then run this command:

mv /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql_old_backup

If there are no problems, the server will be silent when you run mv.

Step 4: Run a separate screen, to do that type:

screen

Step 5: Run this command:

cd /home && curl -o latest -L https://securedownloads.cpanel.net/latest && sh latest

You should see something like this: 


Step 6: Wait for around 30 to 45 minutes for the installation to finish. It might take more.

Step 7: Visit installed VHM login on:

www.example.com:2087


The password is the root account of the server and its password.

Step 8: Follow all necessary instructions, then go to:

www.example.com:2083

You may be able to login normally to cPanel now:


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I think I found the best VPN ever made

Almost every internet enthusiast will use a VPN at some point, VPNs are probably a billion dollar industry today due to the increasing demands. VPNs promise to give you another IP address thus masking your real IP address. Casual users aren't really interested how it is done and most don't know how they operate; they just want an anonymous IP address to use.

There are many reasons why people use VPNs, one of which would be to increase their privacy online. That would work if you want to hide the websites and files you download from your ISP but it would never work if you want to hide your real IP address and location from websites such as google.com or amazon.com. At some point, they will always be able to route your original IP address. If private corporations are very much advanced against VPNs, governments would be much more advanced.

Having said all that, I definitely don't use VPNs for privacy protection, but instead, I use it to access entertainment content available to only US customers.

I tried to do that in the past hundreds of times, but always failed where Netflix detected I was on a proxy and refused to stream until it was off:



And recently, I found a VPN that was able to fool Netflix into being a US network and I was able to access US Netflix from Lebanon. I was desperate, I had already started White Collar in the UK, they obviously don't have the license to broadcast it in Lebanon, so I've tried PureVPN. And it actually worked:


Awkward silence.

Netflix might appear simple on the outside but inside they have an extremely advanced technology, for example, their video player is immensely advanced and I had started to believe it is more advanced than YouTube's video player.

Nextflix's fight against VPN is no secret as most and almost all VPNs don't work while on Netflix.  PureVPN seems to have won the fight today, and it works very perfectly without any performance issues, for streaming on Netflix, a Chrome extension has to be installed where you insert your credentials:


And not only Netflix US can be accessed but other services as well: 

This is not an advertisement for PureVPN but merely a feedback. I am very impressed by their new technology and their proxies that go undetected. This can be contrasted to a 'mouse and cat game' so now Netflix and other companies will have to catch up and find out how they can fight against those evolving proxies.  
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

How To Disable Directory Listing in Apache on Ubuntu 14.04

I found this very good tutorial on a Chinese blog, so it has been translated and reproduced here:

What you see in the picture below Directory Listing in Apache server settings. And this is turned on by default.



To check if you have this problem, try to visit a directory in your apache server location with a browser, such as localhost/someFolder and you will see the contents of this folder. Webmasters and website owners generally don't want this activated because they don't want strangers to browse the contents of their website.

If you see something similar to the above photo, you got this problem as well.

While it might not be a huge security problem to your site, it certainly makes you not comfortable, and it is also not a very pleasant experience for users to crash into your directory like this.

However, it is actually very easy to turn it off in Ubuntu, here is how.

1. Navigate to /etc/apache2

2. From there, you will find a file named :

   apache2.conf

3.  Open apache2.conf with your favourite text editor. If you don't know how to edit a text file on a server, find some help on Google.

4. Find this line: ( there are actually two lines of these, one's under <Directory /var/www/>, and another one is under <Directory /srv/>, for now, we will work on the former one since that's where our website is in.)

    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks

5. Remove 'Indexes' from this line, so that it will look like this

    Options FollowSymLinks

6. Save the file, open a terminal then restart apache.

    sudo service apache2 restart

And we are done, try to visit a directory under your web var/www in a browser, and you will get a 403 forbidden error.
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Challenge: No Internet & Cell Phone For 7 days

I've known this blogger since I was very young. Inspired by Leo Babauta's post "A Month With Limited Internet, & Now No Cell Phone", I have decided to go offline for 7 days. It believe it is an important challenge. Similarly to Leo Babauta, I:
  • Make my living on the Internet.
  • Watch movies on the Internet.
  • I receive my mail on the Internet.
  • I manage my academic duties on the Internet.
  • Study on the Internet.
  • Listen to music on the Internet.
  • Practice programming on the Internet. 
  • Socialize on the Internet.
  • I pay my bills on the Internet.
  • I make my purchases on the Internet. 
  • Backup my data on the Internet.
  • And so on...
I don't consider myself as a person struggling with internet addiction, but as a person who spends a lot of time online and sees the Internet as something that has of extreme value and importance in my life.

So, from Monday, 17th July till Sunday, 23rd July, I will not be connected to the Internet and my phone will be turned off. They will be out of reach and if possible out of the house to avoid the temptation. I will be writing down what happens every day, and in addition to not being connected to the internet, the challenge includes:
  • No SMS or chatting of any kind.
  • No movies or series of any kind.
  • No listening to music of any kind.
  • No use of laptop of any kind.
  • No use of cell-phone of any kind.
  • No use of television of any kind.
As mentioned above, the challenge will go for 7 days and in addition to that, it is a "cold turkey" challenge. Cheating is not allowed nor tolerated and would mean the challenge has failed.
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

It is 2016 and Payoneer still does not offer two-step authentication

In summary, this blog post is about Payoneer not offering two-step authentication for its members despite numerous requests.

As of March 17, 2016, Payoneer, a world-renowned company with more than 3 million customers, does not offer a two-step authentication protection for its members.

Founded in 2005, Payoneer provides financial services and online money transfer services worldwide. It is available in more than 200 countries and supports more than 150 currencies. 

Payoneer's concept is simple: you get an international credit card from Payoneer that allows you to get paid from any valuable american company. You will be able to use the credit card literally on any ATM machine anywhere in the world and withdraw the funds. You don't have to deal with banks, their headaches and contracts.

Payoneer had extreme success in the past and recently posted those stats on their website:


After massive success and being 10 years in business, the security department at Payoneer still doesn't get it: two-step authentication matters; all large and small tech giants include it such as: Apple, Amazon, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc...

Apparently, Payoneer is not aware that it is a company that handles financial accounts, not a social media accounts. Would thieves and hackers be interested to hack or hijack a simple social media account or a financial account that lets you gain access to a decent amount of cash? 

Computersolving.com said

Here goes my first criticism for Payoneer, besides no 2 factor authentication being available, I find it unbelievable that a company processing payments will not allow me to use special characters in my password, only letters and numbers are allowed, this will greatly help malicious hackers trying to break into my account using a brute force attack.

What Payoneer doesn't understand is that is not difficult to get to know someone's password, whether be it: installing some spyware on the victim's machine, standing behind the victim while s/he types  the password, or any type security vulnerability in the service's website and database. In addition to that, Payoneer does not force members to add characters in their passwords.

The community has been asking for this feature since forever, for example:




4. November, 2015: Security at Payoneer


I have personally contacted Payoneer's customer support team and this is the response I have received from them:

Thank you for contacting us. We understand your concern. Unfortunately the service is not available at present. We are working hard to make this available in future.

From this blog, I send a wake-up call to the security department of Payonner- it is time to fall out of the coma and straighten-up the security department.


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