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Spring 2018 Slabmedia Newsletter

Spring 2018 Slabmedia Newsletter

The Butter Lamb, the surest sign of Spring! (Thanks to Aaron Tait for the image).

Welcome to the Spring 2018 Slabmedia Newsletter. From the Easter Bunny to the SPF 50, Slabmedia has your spring web hosting needs covered.* (*Easter Bunny and sunblock not included).

In This Newsletter:

  • Check Your Domain Name
  • SSL, TLS, SEO & You
  • Rolling Releases of Slab9
  • Refer a new client to Slabmedia and get a year's worth of hosting and service free!

Check Your Domain Name!

Creating and maintaining a great web presence takes a lot of moving parts. We're here to help you design, develop, and host your website. But what about your domain name? Doesn't Slabmedia take care of your domain name as well? The answer is no, and there are good reasons why.

A bit of backstory first. There are two components to your web presence, 1) domain name registration and 2) web (and email) hosting. Slabmedia does the second. We host the files that your domain name points to. That means when you sign up with us, you provide us with the means to update your domain name account to point to our servers. However, we do not take control of your domain account - you retain all control over your domain name account.

We do this because it's important for your company or brand to retain ownership rights to your domain name. Also, if we controlled and paid for your domain, we could try to lock you into our platform (which we would never do, but technically we could). We want you to be so happy with your website that you voluntarily choose to stay.

That means that it's critically important to stay on top of your domain name registration account. Things to keep handy are a username, password, and expiration date. If you don't know who your domain registrar is, let us know and we'll help you look it up.

Without regular care and feeding of your domain name registration, you can find yourself with no website and no email (and email sent to an expired domain is lost forever!). Please take extra good care of your domain account!

Your domain name is yours, managed by you, and if it expires your site and email will disappear. Please check it *right now* and put regular check-ups on your calendar. Know your who your registrar is, your account username, password, and the expiration date of your domain! If you don't know your registrar, contact us and we'll help!

SSL/TLS, SEO, and you.

Please bear with the jargon, in this case, it's pretty important. As we suspect you're aware, TLS, or as it's commonly referred to, SSL, is a layer of encryption which is created between your browser and the web server at your bank or Doctor's office, when you type "https" at the beginning of the URL. ("SSL" [Secure Socket Layer] is the older name for what is now known as "TLS" [Transport Layer Security]). It protects the data in transit between your browser and the server with encryption.

The technology behind SSL has evolved as the web has matured. With security and privacy increasingly become concerns, more and more websites have implemented SSL, and large companies (notably Google) have incentivized sites to install SSL encryption by increasing the visibility of SSL encrypted sites in their search results (in essence, they improved SEO for SSL enabled sites).

We are quickly approaching a turning point (if we're not already there), when non-encrypted sites become actively distrusted by browsers (Chrome and Firefox will display "NOT SECURE" in the area where the "green lock" indicating a secure site would otherwise be). Additionally, site visitors are coming to expect SSL encryption and will be skeptical of a site without it. We think these changes, while somewhat disruptive, are for the better.

These changes mean is that it's time to reconsider the security of your site, and to implement SSL. We'll handle the installation for you. You'll get better search placement and, most importantly, your visitors will have trust in your site or your brand. We have two options available. The first is a Free Certificate, which is compatible with most browsers (but not all, see below). Secondly, we have a Standard Certificate, which is compatible with all browsers, for an additional monthly fee of $5. This will ensure your site security is compatible with the widest range of browsers.

With the Standard Certificate, we can redirect your site to only show the https:// version. This is preferred, as it prohibits non-secure connections. With the free SSL certificate, we cannot force a redirect because some older browsers will simply not show your site if we do:

The following browsers are not supported by the free certificate:

  • Blackberry < v10.3.3
  • Android < v2.3.6
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Windows XP prior to SP3
  • Java 7 < 7u111
  • Java 8 < 8u101
  • Windows Live Mail (2012 mail client, not webmail)
  • PS3 game console
  • PS4 game console with firmware < 5.00

If any of your visitors are using any of the above and we force the https:// with the free certificate, the website will not display for them. This is not a problem with the paid certificate.

Upgrade the security on your site by contacting us to install SSL/TLS on your domain. Standard is $5/mo.

Rolling Releases for Slab9

Lastly, we're very excited to announce that we'll be moving our software to a "rolling release" cycle. What this means is that all of you, our customers, will be on the same modern version of our Slab9 software. This is a big step for us, and it will mean smoother development processes and fewer bugs. Recently, because the Flash plugin entered "end of life," many older sites lost the ability to upload files. We have fixed that and it has motivated us to keep everyone on Slab9 up to date. This will mean the end of upgrade charges for the foreseeable future. We're really excited about this, and we hope you will be too!

Slab's moving to a rolling release cycle. More stable, fewer bugs. We're excited, and we hope you will be!

Finally - refer a client in 2018 and get a FULL YEAR of service charges waived.

    If you refer a new client to Slabmedia and their site gets built, we will credit you up to $330 of hosting and service charges for the upcoming year. This is a larger incentive than we have offered in the past, but it reflects the new custom webdesign market, and we are happy to pass along the finder's fee to you.