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Net Neutrality and Web Hosting

14216382643_8662684793_oNot only do I head up operations here at ServInt, I am chairman and co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, or i2Coalition. The i2Coalition is highly concerned with Net Neutrality, so I want to put some context around things that you have surely been reading over the past few weeks, months and years. I want to explain a little about what Net Neutrality is and then put it in context with how the Web Hosting industry works. Let’s start at the beginning: Net Neutrality is important, and it needs to be preserved. Equally important, however, is recognition of the fact that broadband providers are unique in the Internet ecosystem. Saying they need to be regulated doesn’t mean we need to regulate the rest of the Internet.

The concept of Net Neutrality is actually fairly simple — when it comes to consumer broadband, every packet should be treated equally. But when you look at this from a technical perspective, it ends up being fairly complicated.

The truth in the web hosting field is that we don’t have Net Neutrality. When somebody puts up a website, there are a number of factors that dictate how fast or slow it goes. There are small shared hosting packages that don’t have a lot of resources and there are massive cloud arrays that (in the aggregate) have more power than any one user could ever consume. People put content on fast networks and slow ones. Those who want their content to be blazing fast make sure they put a ton of computer resources behind their website. They put it on a fast network and then probably invest still more into distributing their content on a CDN. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, so it makes sense to try to distribute your content as close to the eyeballs you think want to see it.

Speed is critical because studies have shown that 40% of all Internet users abandon a page if it takes even 3 seconds to load. We are already in a situation where speed can be expensive to deliver. Content providers buy services from people to deliver content using a concept called “sender pays.” The providers deliver that content as quickly as they can, investing in great infrastructure and a fast network, to paid “upstream providers” who deliver the content to end users.

Now let’s talk about end users.

End users generally don’t have relationships with web hosts. They are a different part of the ecosystem. Their relationship is usually focused on their broadband provider, to whom they pay a monthly fee. Their expectation is that this fee will get them any content they want delivered to them as fast as their provider can get it to them. Their provider owns the “last mile” the fiber that connects their home to a local central telecommunications office. The provider controls the driveway that delivers content from the Internet to the home.

The question at the core of the Net Neutrality argument is: Should broadband providers be able to charge different rates for delivering different content along that last mile? Should they also be able to charge content providers and web site owners for the bandwidth required to deliver content to the end user quickly?

We’ve covered that web hosting providers sell different services for different prices, so let me explain why what broadband providers are trying to do is not the same thing.

The broadband and web hosting industries could not be more different. Companies like ours work incredibly hard to thrive in an extremely crowded field, where by most estimates there are around 35,000 competitors — most of them small-to-medium sized businesses — pushing each other to be better in order to stay alive. ServInt is at the larger end of that competitor spectrum, but we face the same pressures. We need to keep our prices competitive and our services high quality or we won’t survive.

In contrast, according to the FCC, 67% of US homes have just one or two broadband service providers to choose from. Broadband is the opposite of a competitive market; it’s a market where a few major corporations build territories to service end users. To be honest, it’s kind of natural that the market has ended up that way. It doesn’t make sense for lots of different companies to dig up America’s neighborhoods to run their own last mile fibers to try and compete with each other. It wouldn’t make any more sense than having different electric (or gas or water or sewage) companies run extra lines to your home. And yet broadband isn’t treated as a utility the way gas or electric is. And they are seeking to convince the FCC that they shouldn’t be; they should be allowed to find new revenue streams.

In short, they want to take maximum advantage of the uncompetitive portion of the Internet they control by manipulating its speed so the content ServInt’s customers pay to deliver quickly won’t actually get to its final destination as quickly unless the customer is also willing to pay the broadband providers — potentially all of them — for prioritized delivery.

Broadband isn’t like the rest of the Internet and it shouldn’t be treated like the rest of the Internet. As we look to solve this huge problem, we need to make sure we protect the whole Internet ecosystem. We do that by standing up against things like paid prioritization, but also by teaching people how the Internet works. What we don’t need is FCC jurisdiction and new regulation across the entire Internet.

The i2Coalition brings together companies like ServInt and many others to support an open and competitive Internet. Because an open Internet is key to the economic benefits provided by the Internet as a whole, the i2Coalition believes the FCC should consider the presently non-competitive transmission portion of Internet connectivity separately from the Internet as a whole. The FCC would then be allowed to impose reasonable regulations on the non-competitive portions, while allowing portions of the market that are sufficiently competitive (like web hosting and the Cloud) to remain free from regulation and open to innovation.

Join i2Coalition in the fight for an open Internet at

Phot by Mike Licht

ServInt Names New Community Manager

887903401_96e6b6ee36_oHi everyone! My name is John Kastronis and I’m the new (and first!) Community Manager here at ServInt. From today forward I’ll be one of the forward-facing contacts between ServInt and the community. I’m here to learn more about what you guys need out of your web hosting company, to make sure that gets communicated back to the guys in charge, and to keep you abreast of anything cool we’re up to. I know many of you probably look at your web host as a faceless utility like the power or phone companies, but I’m here to make things a little more personable.

My job isn’t only to hang out and chat all day, though. I’m also here to do really cool stuff, like lifting the curtain and showing you around behind the scenes at ServInt, bring you the best promos, highlighting all the awesome stuff you do with your servers, and even a few things I’m not ready to talk about yet (and likely dozens of things I’ve yet to think of).

To give you a little background on myself, I come from the video gaming industry, where I most recently worked as a part of the EVE Online Community Team (at CCP Games). If you’ve ever heard of them, then you’ve probably already gotten the correct impression: I’m not a sales and marketing guy.

I am, when I’m not on the job, a giant nerd who loves playing “hardcore” video games like Dwarf Fortress and Crusader Kings II. I love to write and have an aspiring novelist itch I can never seem to scratch; dig through Google enough and you can probably find a bunch of my stuff.

I’m thrilled to join the ServInt team and I’m looking forward to really getting to know all the people in our community, find out all the cool stuff you’re doing, and bringing you all closer together as a group.

Photo by Pablo Twose Valls

Awesome job, Desert Bus for Hope!

Desert bus imageShortly after midnight this morning, a crew of bleary-eyed gamers and assorted other cool people set down their joysticks and counted the money they’d raised for the Child’s Play charity. After 158 straight hours of playing history’s most maddeningly idiotic video game, Desert Bus for Hope had raised more than $635,000.

To this, as the humble provider of free hosting for the Desert Bus for Hope gang, we say:  HOLY SMOKES!  Oh, and: you guys are incredible.  And thanks.  And — we can’t wait until next year.

Seriously, you guys are amazing.  Thanks for letting us hop on board for the ride.

To the rest of the world, we say:  it’s always a good time to donate to Child’s Play — if you missed the barely controlled madness of this year’s Desert Bus event, don’t wait another year to donate — go do your part today!

The Linux Game

crayons-433178_1920My son’s school is offering a programming class. After my first introduction to Linux we had fun with the echo command and wrote a script that would say “Hi Fart” he was keen to learn more. He’s too young to attend the class. Instead, he has continued his journey learning Linux with me. It thought it would be hard to top “Hi Fart,” but apparently not.

I started our second lesson introducing him to the idea of the directory structure. We focused on his bedroom and tried to visualize that as /. I told him about /usr, /var, /, /etc. but that wasn’t holding his attention, I was losing him.

I decided to try something interactive. I told him about Change Directory — cd and List — ls, how they were similar and how they were different. Then, we played Linux. Starting in his room we cd-ed — changed directories — to the living room. Then we wanted to see what was in my bedroom, so we ls-ed the bedroom, peaking through the doorway without entering and listing the contents. We then ran around the house cd-ing and ls-ing the various rooms to see what was in them. It was great fun.

Next, I introduced him to some basic file manipulation commands — cat, less, and more — and we visited with our old friend echo. We again played the cd game and this time we would cat, less, and more the various objects in a room to see what was inside of them. We cd-ed into my bedroom and cat-ed the bed, dumping the contents on the floor to find pillows, sheets, and mommy, she was playing along! Then we more-ed his drawers, looking at drawers — pages — one at a time and seeing their contents. We then used less on his toy cubbies and scrolled through each cubby, back and forth, looking through his toys. I explained that you can add things to a file by using the echo command, so he decided he wanted to add a hug to the bed file for mommy.

“Hug” >> bed

>> adds content to a file and > replaces the content of the file so we cd-ed rooms again, this time to the bathroom, and demonstrated echo-ing to empty a file. This time the toilet was the file and emptied it via flushing:

“ “ > toilet

We discussed more and less and how they were different than cat and one another. I demonstrated this by using his toy shelves, which are divided into three rows of three cubbies for little drawers. To demonstrate cat we pulled all of the drawers out and saw only the last row of toys. Then for more I opened the first row of shelves only and we progressed through his toy drawers one row at a time. Then for less we did something similar, pulled open the first row, but then we also opened individual drawers as we progressed forward and backwards through the file.

I was able to turn learning Linux into a game that my son enjoys. He occasionally asks if we can play the Linux game and I of course oblige. I’m still not sure how I was able to top echo “fart,” but the Linux game is off and running. Can’t wait to see commands I can add next.

Paying for Hosting with Bitcoin

bitcoinStarting today, ServInt is officially accepting Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin as payment for its hosting services. Current customers may have noticed this option already in the billing section of the portal as it has been in ‘soft launch’ mode for a week.

As always, our top priority is making our customers’ lives as easy as possible, and a growing number of you have told us you prefer to transact your online business using web-based alternative currencies. You asked for greater choice and convenience, and we’ve responded.  It’s as simple as that.

ServInt has chosen GoCoin as the payment processor for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin transactions. GoCoin is the first payment platform to incorporate the growing alternative currency market, allowing customers to pay their bill online with the web-based wallet of their choice.

Of course, you still also have the option to make any payment via credit card, debit card, PayPal, bank account, or check. No matter how you prefer to conduct online transactions, we’re here for you.

photo by Bitcoin

We’ve updated our privacy policies. Here’s why.

2982826572_41371d83e6_bOn September 2nd, we changed our procedures to narrow the circumstances in which law enforcement can request your data from us without a warrant. In addition, we now inform law enforcement that we will disclose requests for our customer data unless a specific statute requires us to keep the request secret.

ServInt is committed to supporting the Fourth Amendment. We believe that the Fourth Amendment requires the government to have a warrant to access your content. We will not disclose your content unless we receive a warrant, or there is a law creating an exception to the warrant requirement. We do not believe that there should be exceptions to the Fourth Amendment, and we are committed to persuading Congress to change those laws that do. That may not sound like a big deal — but in our industry, it is. Read more

How to Install Node.js on a cPanel VPS

tech bench 2Editor’s Note: As third-party software, ServInt does not support node.js beyond installation. Also, to follow these instructions, users must have a working knowledge of the command line. Click here if you would like more information about logging into your server on the command line.

Node.js is an application development software written in and for javascript for real-time event-driven applications, among other things. Installing node.js on a cPanel VPS is pretty straightforward. Let’s take a look.

The first thing that you will need to do is download the latest version from


Before proceeding further, you will need to make sure that you meet the following requirements listed in the README file: Read more

ServInt Receives “Best Migration Partner” award at 2014 cPanel Conference

cpanel awardI am very proud to announce that on Tuesday at the 8th annual cPanel Conference, ServInt received the 2014 award for Best Migration Partner during the keynote presentation. We were praised for ensuring quality migrations for all our cPanel customers, and for our migration team’s seamless integration with cPanel’s migration experts.

This award meant a lot to us. We know that moving can be hard, and we take pride in doing it right — and we’re extremely proud to be recognized as one of the companies that does cPanel migrations to cPanel’s exacting standards.

More websites are hosted on cPanel than on any other commercially available Control Panel in the world. They are quite simply the most popular game in town, and they are ServInt’s preferred control panel. ServInt was also cPanel’s very first partner to achieve 100% cPanel certification, but we took it one step further and had every single customer-facing employee get certified, including myself. I still don’t think there’s another mainstream hosting provider that can say that.

I want to thank cPanel for distinguishing us with this award. We at ServInt appreciate your partnership as well. I believe we make migration easier than any other host in the industry, whether users are migrating from a cPanel based account or any other control panel.

ServInt PowerPartners get paid DOUBLE for referring new customers in October!

This Marketing VP wants to pay you money.

This Marketing VP wants to pay you money.

Okay, it’s time for this VP of Marketing to ‘fess up.  We haven’t spent as much time as we should have promoting our “PowerPartners” affiliate marketing program. The truth is, when we made it easy for customers and non-customers to join the program; when we added cash rewards (in addition to hosting credit) for new referred business — and when we added our Custom Shop one-click ordering/referral system — we kind of thought PowerPartner membership would sell itself. We already knew we got a ton of new business from existing client referrals; why wouldn’t these customers line up to get paid for doing something they were already doing for free?

Some customers (and some non-customers) already have. PowerPartners regularly make thousands of dollars a month, getting paid for referrals they probably would have made for nothing in the past. These aren’t affiliate marketing professionals, either: most of them are set-it-and-forget-it part-timers, who don’t want to be bothered with details. Frequently, our best PowerPartners are web designers who point their customers in our direction, or power bloggers who run a simple ServInt banner ad (which we provide) at the foot of their home pages.

What do these people get? A one-time payment equal to the base monthly fee paid for the new client’s server — so anything from $55 for an Essential VPS up to $1,099 for our top-of-the-line BareMetal ONE server. There are no limits on the number of new customers you can refer. They just have to be paid-up customers in good standing for at least 60 days (90 days if they use a promotional coupon).

But here’s the big news, and the reason why you’re hearing from me about the PowerPartners program today: all PowerPartner commissions for the month of October will be doubled. So each Essential VPS customer will net you $110 — and each BareMetal ONE will put $2,098 in your pocket!

If you know somebody who’s looking for a good home for their online business, send them our way. We promise to take extra good care of them, like we always do. And we promise to pay you double the commission for your referral during the month of October.

Easy instructions for getting started as a PowerPartner can be found here. Just remember that commission amounts you see on our site should be doubled this month.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you join us as a PowerPartner soon!

How to Update your SSL Certificate to SHA-2 Format

4423925748_22e0396a8a_oWith Google’s decision to sunset SHA-1 SSL certification many clients have inquired about re-issuing SSL certificates in SHA-2 format. For the validity period of the certificate, we are able to re-issue certificates which were purchased through ServInt.

If you’ve purchased a one-year certificate and have six months left until your certificate expires, we’ll be able to issue a new certificate in SHA-2 format for the remaining six months. We are also able to add the remaining months on your current certificate to a new order. For example, if you have two months left on a certificate and wish to purchase a certificate for next year, we can issue a new certificate covering the next 14 months. Read more

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