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5 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING SERVICE

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If you are relatively new to the world of web hosting, you will be bombarded by advices and tips once you start looking into ways to host your brand new website (or indeed, even when you are at the planning stage or trying to find out whether you actually need a website or should simply go to a website builder). This article will hopefully help you avoid making them.

1. Using a free hosting service
A free hosting service might be useful if you are running your blog/website as a hobby or a community group. It will likely come with banners and pop-up ads though and search engines tend not to like websites hosted on free services. Note that there are good free web hosting services too but it is a very tough market to survive.

They are notoriously unreliable when it comes to speed, uptime and availability and because you haven’t paid for anything, don’t expect any compensation if they disappear or suffer from downtime.

Expect support to be minimal with no advanced features like free databases. You also risk losing credibility, particularly if you are hosted on a domain name like yourbusiness.get-free-hosting.com, rather than using a genuine domain name (although, some free web hosting providers do allow you to park your domain).

The bottom line is you usually get what you paid for and if you paid nothing then don’t expect much. And web hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. We even compiled a list of the best cheap web hosting services here.

2. Choosing a web hosting package with no refund guarantee
Some web hosting companies do not provide a refund guarantee for their starter packages. Choose one that offers a money back guarantee in case you select the wrong package.

A good hosting company will gladly refund you or move you onto a new package that suits your needs. After all, it is in their interests to make sure that you are a happy customer even if you leave them as you may well come back in the future should your circumstances change.

3. Choosing a shared web hosting package when you need a VPS, or vice versa.
The two main types of web hosting packages you can select are shared or VPS. If your website is small and straightforward, shared hosting is the one for you. A Virtual Private Server is only required for websites with high traffic. If your small website grows in the future, you can always switch over to VPS or dedicated hosting, in the meantime save your hard-earned money with some shared hosting.

4. Buying based solely on price
There are two different ways you could go with this:
1. Assume all web hosting is the same, so buy the cheapest you can find
2. Assume the best hosting packages cost more, so go for a higher priced package in the hope of getting better quality hosting.

Hosting is a commodity, so it’s tempting to go for the cheapest plan available, on the other hand you might be tempted by some of the marketing jargon used to up-sell more expensive packages.

In a very competitive market, price cuts and special offers will often be used to win customers, so don’t pay more than you need to and keep your eyes open for discount codes. The saying “you get what you pay for” doesn’t necessarily apply to paid web hosting, as a cheap package will quite often be perfectly adequate for a start-up website or personal blog.

Keep in mind that the price you see advertised is a monthly price. When you get to the checkout that figure will be multiplied by 12 months and have VAT added on top. This is standard industry practice and most hosts will advertise pricing this way. You may also get a discount for going for longer periods (annual or bi-annual).

5. Not knowing your limitations
You will come across terms like “unlimited” and “free” while searching for shared hosting packages. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. “Unlimited” bandwidth and storage will have a limit.

Check the terms and conditions to find out more, but restrictions of personal file storage are common, as are rules about certain types of media or streaming. Hosting companies have to implement these restrictions to ensure the smooth running of the service for everyone on a shared server since resources (the electricity the server consumes, the bandwidth used by the server, the hard drives) do cost money.

Ask your web host if you can do the following before signing up for a package: Maintain multiple POP accounts, add statistics to your account, install new software on your own, use a shopping cart on your website

Source: Tech Radar

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GOOGLE WILL PAY YOU $100,000 IF YOU CAN HACK A CHROMEBOOK

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Since 2010, Google has been paying money to hackers who have found vulnerabilities in its hardware or software. And after a call last year to crack its Chromebook’s security system went unanswered, Google is now doubling its reward to $100,000.

The $100,000 payout specifically applies to anyone who can crack the yet-uncrackable Chromebook, but Google also has a wide range of bounties for smaller bugs. Payouts start at $500, and if you provide a fix with your bug submission you’re rewarded with the hacker-friendly sum of $1,337 (the digits appear similar to the word “leet,” which is hacker slang for “elite hacker”).

Google also says that any vulnerabilities — regardless of whether there’s an official bounty — are potentially eligible for a reward, although the rules for qualifying submissions are relatively strict.

Bub bounty rewards programs like these are becoming more and more common among tech companies, which is good for those of us hoping for safer hardware and software. Google even ended its bounty announcement with an encouraging note: “Happy hacking!”

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THE STORY BEHIND GOOGLE’S SECRET OFFER TO SETTLE EU’S ANDROID PROBE

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European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager coolly hit Google with a 4.3 billion-euro ($5 billion) fine last week, the biggest penalty in the history of antitrust enforcement.

It didn’t have to be that way. Months earlier, when the company — already reeling from a 2.4 billion-euro fine in another EU case — made quiet attempts to settle the probe into deals it has with Android phone makers, the response was equally chilly.

The Silicon Valley search giant had waited at least a year too long to broach the subject of a settlement, the 50-year-old Vestager said in an interview. When a company wants to settle, it needs to “reach out immediately after” getting the EU’s initial complaint or statement of objections.

“That didn’t happen in this case and then of course it takes the route that it has now taken,” Vestager said of the settlement talks, which haven’t been previously reported. “So no surprises.”

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., has been one of the EU’s biggest antitrust targets, with three probes, countless headlines and a steady drumbeat of smaller rivals and customers demanding action. The company has now twice failed to strike settlements that would resolve cases into its shopping services and Android that have resulted in a total of 6.7 billion euros in fines — with a looming threat of more still to come.

Google declined to comment on the settlement attempts. Google will appeal the EU decision, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in a blog post. The company has “shown that we’re willing to make changes,” he said.

In the weeks after the June 2017 fine in the shopping case, Google lawyers began to make overtures to their EU counterparts to express a willingness to settle the probe into Android, one of the company’s flagship products. Previous attempts to start a conversation with the EU on ways to end the probe had failed to catch fire, with officials stonewalling or saying it was too early to negotiate, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The Mountain View, California-based company’s incentive to settle the Android probe was easy to see.

Google gives Android software for free to mobile phone makers but coerces them to pre-install Google’s apps if they want the Play app store, which offers more than a million programs. The search giant also pays phone manufacturers, telecommunications carriers and other browser makers to run Google’s search engine which collects user data. Thanks to those agreements, Google has captured almost $50 billion in yearly mobile ad-market sales, or a third of the global market, according to research firm EMarketer.

Google executives believed Vestager left the door open to a deal when she refused to rule out a settlement at the June 27, 2017, press conference where she announced the fines in the shopping case.

“Each case is separate,” she told reporters. “And obviously I have taken no conclusions in the cases that are still open.”

 

Google Fined Record $5 Billion by EU

 

Vestager said Google must end its “illegal practices” within 90 days.

Source: Bloomberg

Encouraged, Google’s lawyers drafted a letter suggesting possible changes to address the EU concerns, according to the people familiar with the discussions.

Some people said contacts started in August. Two others said a discussion started later in the year and a formal letter wasn’t sent until shortly after Pichai’s Nov. 16 meeting with Vestager in Brussels.

Google said it was prepared to adjust contracts to loosen restrictions the EU didn’t like, even weighing distributing apps in two different ways going forward. The letter didn’t go into detail, only setting out an outline to kickstart talks, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the initial conversations with regulators were confidential.

The lawyers never received a formal response, hearing from officials by phone months later that a settlement was no longer an option. That prevented them from even discussing whether the company would be willing to pay a fine as part of a deal, the people said.

EU officials didn’t find the offer convincing and viewed it as too little too late, two other people said.

Moving to a cease-and-desist order for Google “seemed to be the best thing to do in this case in order to enable mobile manufacturers to have a real choice,” Vestager said in the interview. “It’s a very serious legal infringement and you see how it has worked. It has cemented Google’s position in search and it has de-facto locked down Android in a completely Google-controlled ecosystem.”

Vestager indicated in the interview that any settlement offer should have been made in 2016, after the company received the EU’s statement of objections, which detailed the antitrust problems with Android. The EU said the company might breach competition rules by unfairly pushing search and browser apps onto Android phones.

That might have been the narrow window to settle the case, but Google’s legal team were spinning dozens of plates in 2016. They had deadlines to respond to the Android charges, the shopping probe was still a major priority and there were new complaints filed to the EU by News Corp. and other rivals.

After the rebuff, the EU stepped up its probe, sending a formal “letter of facts” in November 2017, adding new evidence, two people said. There was little substantive contact between the two sides until Google representatives talked with EU officials in April during a so-called state of play meeting about the case, which was well on the way to the record fine.

Google hasn’t had much luck trying to find a path to peace with the EU. It spent two years trying to negotiate a settlement in the shopping probe. But a tentative deal came under heavy fire from publishers and politicians, forcing the EU to abandon it shortly before Vestager became commissioner in November 2014.

One of Vestager’s first acts was to restart the Google shopping investigation, putting a final end to the botched settlement attempt. She quickly racked up a fearsome reputation as the scourge of U.S. tech giants, She ordered Apple Inc. to pay 13 billion euros in back taxes and fined Facebook Inc. 110 million euros over allegations the company misled regulators during a merger review.

“Android, as compared to shopping, is a Vestager case, one not inherited,” said Nicolas Petit, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and a law professor at the University of Liege in Belgium. “Her incentives to make this case the emblem of her tenure were presumably higher. So the odds of a settlement were, to me, lower.”

The EU isn’t always averse to thrashing out a deal even after a long investigation. The nation’s state-controlled gas export giant Gazprom PJSCside-stepped a potentially huge EU penalty after seven-year-long probe by agreeing in May to change how it sells gas to Europe. Vestager said Gazprom had “reached out very very quickly” to the EU to negotiate a settlement after receiving objections in April 2015.

Google had a better time in Moscow. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service fined the company $7.8 million as part of an April 2017 settlement to end a probe into similar Android concerns.

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KATY PERRY AND OBAMA LOST MORE THAN 2 MILLION FOLLOWERS OVERNIGHT THANKS TO A NEW TWITTER RULE

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Celebrity accounts on Twitter have seen a big drop in numbers overnight, thanks to a rule change by the company.

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it would no longer include “locked” accounts in follower numbers in an effort to boost user trust in the service. Twitter locks accounts when they display a sudden change of behaviour, like sending lots of unsolicited replies.

According to social media analytics service Socialblade, the nine biggest Twitter accounts — Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ellen Degeneres, Christiano Ronaldo and YouTube — all saw drops of more than 2 million followers each.

Here’s Katy Perry’s follow count — check out the sudden drop at the end:

Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s followers dropped by 2,816,619 on Friday.
 Social Blade

The size of the drops were not directly correlated to the amount of initial followers. Justin Timberlake rounds out the top 10 accounts with the biggest followings, but he’s lost around 1.8 million overnight.

Meanwhile Britney Spears (14th in terms of followers) did lose more than 2 million, and Twitter’s own corporate Twitter account (16th) lost more than 7 million.

Here’s Twitter’s follower count according to SocialBlade:

Twitter
Twitter saw the largest drop of all with 7,731,910.
 Social Blade

The most popular accounts have more than 100 million followers, and Donald Trump is far down the list with 53.1 million. His follow count remains relatively unscathed. He lost just 326,118 followers on Thursday, the day before most accounts saw a drop, and on Friday he regained 5,339 followers.

Here’s Donald Trump’s follow count:

Trump Twitter stats
Trump had a small loss on Thursday, but started regaining followers on Friday.
 Social Blade

Although losing 2 million followers is undoubtedly a significant drop, proportionally speaking it’s not necessarily huge. Katy Perry started off with 109 million followers, and a 2.8 million drop represents a decline of approximately 2.6%. Twitter initially warned that its culling of fake followers would affect about 6% of all follows, so Perry actually may have got off lightly.

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