Not another update

Apple store updateYou open up your phone/tablet/computer in the morning and notice the familiar “update available” notification. Should you just put off the update to another time? Or do you worry that if you update, it may create other issues for you? Read on for the important things you should consider.

The short answer is YES, you should update asap. However, more explanation is needed due to the myths about updates floating around.

Why are updates even released?

Most updates are going to address one of two things. 1. Add new features, or 2. Patch a security issue. While you may not be that excited about new features (oh no, something else to learn), security updates are something you should be interested in. Believe me, each day I see multiple websites and users having their accounts and data compromised due to not installing security updates. Please, install your app updates asap.

What about this notion that updates slow down your computer, phone etc?

While it’s true that some updates may introduce other issues (new problems), usually they have been tested prior to release and are likely to actually provide far more benefits to you (security especially) than the risks of not installing them. As a general rule, provided you keep up with updates, you should be less likely to encounter issues such as this. Again, it’s still much more risky not installing an update.

Further to this. Both app/program developers as well as the system software vendors like Apple, Microsoft, Google and many others will not continue to support all devices indefinitely. This means that in around 3 or 4 years your device will stop receiving updates. Until this happens, you should continue to update your device.

A balanced suggestion

As a suggestion if you are reluctant or worried about updates, especially system updates, why not just wait a few days (for system updates) to see if any major issues are reported. Even if they are, usually within 24hrs a replacement update would be pushed out.

.. and finally

Provided you have a backup system in place (subject for another blog post sometime) you need not be “scared” about updates, even system updates. If the worst does happen (and it hardly ever does) you’ll be able to roll back your computer/phone to a time before the update and then install it, or the next one again.

Do you SSL/HTTPS? You should. Find out why

First of all, what even is SSL/HTTPS?

You can read the nitty-gritty over on Wikipedia if you like, but basically SSL/HTTPS refers to a secure connection to a website. You will have seen it being used on many other websites. A (usually) green padlock icon next to the domain name you are visiting (lookup and see it on our site) indicates the website is using SSL/HTTPS and that your connection to the site is secure. It’s becoming more and more common on websites, even those without a login section.

yWhy should you ?

  1. Visitors are assured that they can browse your website with the traffic between their browser and your website being encrypted. ie no one can intercept the connection. This is especially important if your website is one that allows you to manage your website via a login.
  2. Google cares. SSL/HTTPS sites are used as a ranking mechanism by Google. Read the details here: HTTPS as a ranking signal This means that having a SSL/HTTPS website could mean you will be better ranked on Google. Do you need any more reasons not to go SSL/HTTPS?
  3. There are other reasons, but the 2 above are the ones you should care about the most.

How?z

It’s not as complicated as you may think. SSL/HTTPS can be enabled on most websites for free. These days SSL certificates can be obtained for free that are just as strong and secure as those that would have cost hundreds of dollars only a few years ago. If you host with us and you don’t have SSL/HTTPS enabled yet, please contact us and in most cases we will be able to make it happen for you.

If you have any other questions about SSL/HTTPS please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them in the comments below.

 

Edit: an update from Google on this subject makes it even more important your website is using SSL/HTTPS asap.

Domain name renewal emails, legitimate or not

If you own a domain name, sooner or later you will receive domain renewal notices. Sometimes emails about retaining your spot on search engines will also be sent to you. How do you know if these are legitimate? Read on and we’ll try to explain. Please note, your domain name is a VERY important part of your online identity. You do not want to lose access to your domain name and website.

Here is an example of such an email (this is one I received not long after setting up this site):

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: xyzulu.hosting

ATT: Brad Baker
xyzulu.hosting
Response Requested By
14 / May. – 2016

PART I: REVIEW NOTICE
Attn: Brad Baker
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
This Notice for: xyzulu.hosting will expire at 11:59PM EST, 14 – May. – 2016 Act now!

Select Package:
http://{removed domain name}.com/?domain=xyzulu.hosting

Payment by Credit/Debit Card

Select the term using the link above by 14 – May. – 2016
http://xyzulu.hosting

So, how can you tell this is nothing more than an attempt to scam you out of money?

Here are a few “warning bells”:

  • The email is lacking a header/footer from a company you are familiar with and have dealt with before
  • The ‘from’ and ‘reply-to’ email address is not likely from an email account you have ever corresponded with
  • No reputable search engine charges you to list your domain ie Google, Bing, Yahoo etc
  • It’s unlikely your own domain registrar would send you just a single warning email regarding your domain name or hosting

You can take a few more steps to confirm that this is a scam email. Here are some:

  • When did you register your domain? Usually domains are renewed on an annual or 2 year basis. Can you find the original registration email?
  • Who do you usually pay to renew your domain names? Can you get in touch with them to verify things?
  • A reputable domain name registrar or host should not be sending you only a single email on the day your domain expires, you should have had plenty of dealings with them already (usually via email)
  • Read more on these kinds of scams here on the Australian Government Scamwatch site: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/buying-or-selling/false-billing
  • Do you know your current domain name registrar and host? (You should, your domain name is a very valuable part of your online identity) Why not contact your domain name registrar if you cannot access your domain name control panel and ask them to assist you. If you are a customer of ours we’ll be more than willing to help and educate you in this regard. For XYZulu domain name and hosting customers our Customer Portal is here: https://my.xyzulu.hosting

If you are still not sure, now is a great time to get in touch with your domain name registrar or host to get access to and double-check your domain name is active and under your control. Once you have access to your domain name, check that your (registrant) email address is up to date. This is the email address renewal notices and reminders are likely to have been sent.

Don’t be caught by a scam like this. Take the time to gather the information you need to be able to access your domain name management panel and protect yourself from giving away your money or potentially having your domain name stolen in the process. While you’re doing this, be sure to also save your login passwords in a password manager. See more about this in our post: Overwhelmed with passwords?
domain names

If you have any other questions on this post, please let us know in the comments. If you are an existing customer who wants to protect their domain names, please contact us to discuss this. We can even help you transfer (for free) and manage all your domains with us, in one place, to make the likelihood of you being scammed even less. Contact us today to find out more specific details.