Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access, is there really such a thing? There are many tools, features and applications that promise to protect a user’s privacy, but do they really work? How do they work? Are they protecting the things a user thinks are being protected? Let’s take a look at one of the most commonly used privacy tools, Google’s Incognitobrowsing tool.

What It Is: By clicking on the three little dots at the top right corner of a Chrome browser window, users can opt for Incognito mode. This opens a new browser window that is considered private. Chrome doesn’t save a virtual breadcrumb trail of the sites a user visits.

What It Does: As a user browses from site to site, search history and site visits are erased. Any tracking cookies that are picked up along the way are dumped.

Is It Really Private: Google says, “Yes, it is really private.” But what Google may not tell you is that users can leave breadcrumbs in other places. So, although a user’s trail is erased on their own device, this is not the case for other devices and sites. For example, an employer can still track an Incognito user’s online travels. Internet service providers and the visited websites also retain a record of visits.

Is It Still Useful: So, if evidence of a user is still left in key places, is there any real usefulness to using Incognitomode? Here are 3 key benefits of going Incognito:

Private Internet Access Does it really exist?

Private Internet Access
  • Elude Paywalls: Online news junkies are always browsing for great articles to read. Many websites allow free viewing of a limited number of articles then a user has to pay a subscription fee in order to access more. Incognito browsing can get a user around the paywall feature. By eluding cookies, every visit to a site with a paywall seems like a first-time.
  • Public PC Protection: For users who browse through public access PCs, such as a library or institution of education, it is important to do so privately. Personal information that is left behind can lead to disaster. By browsing Incognito, not only is browsing history erased, but no personal login information is accidentally left behind.
  • MYOB: There are more reasons to erase history than the embarrassment of being exposed as a fan of porn. Medical history should always remain private. When researching information about a medical condition, a user protects themselves from snoops by opting for Incognito browsing. What about plans for a big surprise party for a loved one? Leave browsing history behind on the family PC and the party becomes no surprise at all. And then there are those who live with naturally nosey roomies. Help them mind their own business by going Incognito on shared computers.
  • Pesky Pop-Ups: In some cases, the incessant tracking of Google is a good thing. For example, it is a good thing when a user is automatically advised by Google that their flight time has changed. However, no one appreciates pesky pop-up ads. Suggestions are generated by a user’s browser history. Go Incognito, accumulate no browsing history, and enjoy an uninterrupted Internet experience.
  • Freedom Of Speech: Although there are many places in the world who believe in protecting a person’s freedom of speech, there are other places that persecute those who express independent opinions. Even in countries with a history of respecting freedom of speech, there are still agencies that will track and even harass those whose opinions and views are perceived as posing a possible threat to the status quo. And don’t forget about employers who are known to fire those with a political viewpoint that differs from the company’s public image. For a user to enjoy the strongest protection of their person, property and livelihood, they need privacy on the Internet.

Use anything else on the web other than OrangeWebsite’s VPS service and expect to sacrifice much of your online privacy. If you want to say “no” to Chrome’s minimal privacy through Incognito, then why not try a VPS option for an online experience that truly hides user identity while providing the broadest Internet freedom? Please contact us for more information about cyber-security and how it affects your freedom of speech protection.

What is a 503 Error? Understanding the Error and How to Fix It

what is a 503 error

What is a 503 Error? Understanding the Error and How to Fix It

what is a 503 error
It’s a nightmare scenario for users and website providers alike: the entire website fails to load, producing a 503 error instead. As a result, potential visitors find their information out there, and the publisher loses out on valuable traffic.

But what is a 503 error in reality? How does the error come into play, and what can you do to fix it? Often, working with the right web hosting company is a crucial first step. This article will explain the nature of this error message in more detail, while also providing potential solutions on how to make sure your audience won’t have to see it.

What is a 503 Error?

As Lifewire details, a 503 error essentially states to the user that your website is currently unavailable because the server that hosts it is either down for maintenance or due to an error. In other words, the error is on the server side, not the user end.

Like most other HTTP errors, 503 messages are customizable – which means the visitor might come across a number of variations of the same basic underlying message. 503 error, service unavailable, HTTP 503, and other variations all denote the same thing: the server that runs the website is currently offline.

The Causes of 503 Errors, Explained

Two underlying causes generally determine whether your audience will see an error of this nature: server overload, or server maintenance. Let’s examine each of the two in more detail.

Each server is built to accommodate a specific number of users without significantly compromising its performance. When that limit is reached, the server has met its maximum concurrent connections – and will begin to show 503 errors to future visitors who want to visit the site.

The other potential reason for a 503 error is maintenance on the web server. As outlined by the HTTP error experts at CheckUpDown, the very presence of the error means that the server is still functioning on some level. However, the website that runs on it and that your audience is trying to reach is unavailable until the maintenance is complete. The server is, in other words, closed for the duration of the maintenance.

There is one caveat to these two options. While 503 denotes a server-side error in the vast majority of cases, it can be the result of a user-side error as well. Malware and faulty internet connections can be the reason for the error, though maintenance and maximum users reached are the most common causes.

In either case, the error occurs during the last step of the HTTP loading cycle, when the URL that the visitor typed in seeks to return information from the server to load. Because of either of the above reasons, the only data communicated back is the error itself, suggesting that the cause of the problem is the server. That, in turn, should guide your efforts to avoid and minimize 503 errors.

What is a 503 Error (Service Unavailable Error)

what is a 503 error

How to Fix Existing 503 Errors

Users and website publishers can take a number of steps to fix 503 errors once they are reported. For users, solutions can be as simple as refreshing the site or restarting the modem to make sure the error is not occurring through the internet connection.

It also makes sense to run an anti-virus program, just in case the error is caused by malware. TopPCtech suggests a few other, more advanced solutions that can help users rule out the unlikely but possible user-side occurrence of this type of error.

For website publishers, the error might be a configuration issue. If your code is set up to accommodate only limited users, errors can pop up quickly even if the actual capacity is larger.

If the problem is maintenance, it makes sense to publish a more detailed error message. This message can explain the work done on the website and providing a general estimate on when the maintenance might be complete.

Proactively Avoiding 503 Errors

Of course, the best fix is proactive prevention. Ideally, you should work with your hosting company to ensure that 503 errors are minimized to begin with, which you can accomplish through one of two ways.

First, your server needs to accommodate a potentially large amount of traffic. That means moving away from hosting your website in-house, instead working with a hosting company that can increase your capacity and reduces your chances of reaching your limits.

When looking for an external partner, it makes sense to find a service that allows for dedicated or at least virtual private servers. With these hosting options, your chances of reaching a maximum limit of users will be drastically reduced.

Solving the problem of maintenance can be prevented by scheduling that maintenance during low-traffic time frames. Through a platform like Google Analytics or directly through your hosting company, you can find the times and dates during which your audience is least likely to visit your website and schedule your essential maintenance accordingly.

Finding the Right Hosting Company for an Error-Free User Experience

Most 503 errors can be avoided through the right hosting company as well as strategic maintenance planning. At the same time, unexpected errors do occur, and when they do, it’s vital to act quickly.

That’s why it makes sense to partner with a hosting service that prides itself on rapid tech support. We have built a world-wide reputation in just that area, with an average answering time of only 15 minutes. As a result, we will be able to take care of and fix problems like the 503 error quickly and efficiently.

If you already host your website with a different service, don’t worry. We offer a free channel migration of your website to our server for free, ensuring a smooth transition to a better experience for both you and your web visitors. To learn more about our services, and to start talking about a potential partnership, contact us.

What’s The Difference Between Whistleblower & Leaker?

Whistleblower
Whistleblower

Americans who get labeled a “whistleblower” become a hero. Get labeled a “leaker” and you could get branded a traitor and end up in jail. What’s the difference? It all depends on the status of information shared and the channels that the information travels through to become public.

Whistleblower Protections: In essence, a whistleblower is a leaker of information that certain parties would have preferred to remain secret. To encourage people to come forward with information out of concern for public safety, there are U.S. statutes that protect whistleblowers. However, there is a fine line between being a protected whistleblower or a criminal leaker.

Status Of Information: Any American citizen can disclose corporate or government information so long as it is not federally classified information or disclosures prohibited by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

  • Trade Secrets: A patented product or process is one tangible example of a trade secret. Patent information is protected for 17 years. But companies and individuals enjoy protection of certain trade related information other than what is covered by a patent. However a trade secret is specifically defined, it enjoys legal protection.
  • Federal Information: There are generally three categories of federally classified material: sensitive, secret and confidential. Category is determined by who might be harmed if the information went public. However, material must be de-classified after it ages past the 25-year mark unless it meets a narrow exemption, such as designs for nuclear weapons.
Whistleblower

Lifting The Veil: But what if it is in the best interest of the public that legally protected secrets be revealed? The difference between a whistleblower and a leaker is defined in the key decision on how to go about lifting the veil. To enjoy legal protection, a whistleblower must go through proper channels to bring the information to light. A leaker goes straight to the public. A whistleblower is legally protected from prosecution via the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. A leaker doesn’t have the same protection. That is why leakers often exercise their freedom of speech in ways that protect their anonymity.

Information might be leaked anonymously to a news agency or journalist. Leaking directly to the public through the Internet is also popular. Platforms like OrangeWebsite are committed to supporting freedom of speech and make it easy to go public in a global forum.

Why Go Rogue? If there are legal protections in place that allow a concerned citizen to bring important information to the public’s attention, why risk legal trouble by becoming a leaker? There are usually three different circumstances that inspire a person to go rogue with classified information or trade secrets.

Whistleblower

1. Frustration: A person trying to serve public interest by first going through the proper channels may become frustrated if they experience stonewalling. The wheels of bureaucracy oftentimes churn quite slowly. A concerned citizen may have had every intention of being a protected whistleblower. They had a reasonable expectation of believing in “the system”. They wanted to put an end to improper corporate practices, abuse of authority or other circumstances they felt endangered the public or violated public trust. However, should they become anxious, awaiting results from their appropriate action of bringing attention to the matter within the proper channels, they might decide to go rogue. Especially if they believe that lives are at stake.

2. Money: Where trade secrets or military intelligence is concerned, the pay-out of a lifetime could become an irresistible temptation even for the most scrupulous concerned citizen. Enemies of the state and eagerly competitive entrepreneurs understand the value of such information. They are willing to pay to get their hands on what will surely be the information that will make their careers. The average citizen is no match for highly skilled negotiators tasked with securing sensitive information.

3. Political Motives: Although it is easy to ascribe political motives to many leaks that reveal embarrassing or compromising information about politicians, political motives can run much deeper. Sometimes there is real villainy attached to political motives behind a leak of classified information and trade secrets. Traditional politics can inspire a person to leak information that can endanger military and intelligence personnel. For countries engaged in wars, within the populace of their own country are those willing to do anything to resist and interfere in military action. But the definition of politics is more nuanced. Even a corporate environment has its own politics. A leaker of a trade secret could simply be a disgruntled employee seeking to sabotage an employer as a form of retribution.

Whistleblower

Where The Government Stands: Although it may seem that the U.S. government is always up to something nefarious, the truth is that agencies strenuously encourage blowing the whistle on misconduct or wrongful acts. There are hotlines provided, such as the Office of Inspector Generals (OIG). Presidential directives prohibit employer retaliation toward a whistleblower. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a whistleblower website. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is tasked with investigating and prosecuting allegations received from whistleblowers. By making it easy to communicate to federal officials about concerns, the government is signalling to concerned citizens that the State does, indeed, care about doing the right thing. But a whistleblower must be patient, understanding that the investigative process is tedious, lengthy and, by its very nature, quiet. It may seem like nothing is happening when the exact opposite is true.

The Risk Of Going Rogue: Should a whistleblower throw their hands up in the air, grow impatient and cross the line to become a leaker, they put themselves at risk for prosecution. Should a case be made against them, their motive will be the hinge upon which their case will turn. Even if a motive is concern for the public, but a whistleblower became impatient with the process, the mood of the country could still result in the full weight of the law coming down. In a national climate that is strained by war, hostile politics, and a number of public actors who became notorious leakers escaping justice, it could be that the federal government seeks to make an example of a leaker and any leaker will do. Even a leaker with noble intentions.

For more information on issues related to freedom of speech, security and online privacy, please contact us. That is our mission, to provide the world with a platform for the words they wish to share with the world.

Freedom of Speech Amendment

Freedom of Speech Amendment
Freedom of Speech Amendment

Freedom of Speech Amendment

How Orange Website Policies Promote Your Right to Publish Anything.

You may not be located in the U.S., but you know that nation has a freedom of speech amendment that protects individuals from being able to talk or publish on any topic — even controversial religious, political or sexual subjects. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sets an ideal for the world in protecting your right to say what you think.

At the same time, under certain circumstances, even courts in the U.S. can require internet service providers or web hosting service providers to release data about their customers. One example is in cases where copyright may have been violated. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), companies who claim copyright violations can ask an internet service provider to remove websites that may contain copyrighted materials and can sue for information on the person who posted it. The problem with a DMCA Takedown request is that the requesting party may not even need to prove the copyright violation and it can be used to silence or remove controversial material. In some cases, the material in question was covered under fair use guidelines or was not even owned by the requester.

Outside the U.S., other nations may place tight restrictions on what you can say, even online. In March, an city civil court in India ruled that a news website had to remove two articles that criticized a local politician. Last year, news websites in Ecuador were told by the government to remove stories and images, and some sites suffered suspicious Denial-of-Service attacks that shut down their sites after publishing stories about potential corruption.

No matter where you’re located in the world, you want a truly free web hosting company that will completely protect your right to publish without harassment, censorship or legal threats. That’s where OrangeWebsite hosting comes in. We’re based in Iceland, where freedom of expression is protected by the constitution. In the global community, Iceland’s legislature is known for strongly advocating freedom of speech and a free press. Bloggers and journalists have the freedom to publish virtually anything without fear of being uncovered or legally prosecuted.

Freedom of Speech Amendment
Freedom of Speech Amendment - DMCA Take Down Notice

Freedom of Speech Amendment

OrangeWebsite can’t protect you from legal prosecution in your country, but we can ensure that your website that reports on the government won’t be taken down on the whim of an angry politician. We also do not respond to DMCA Takedown requests; any legal action to censor your website must be filed in Icelandic court and approved by an Icelandic judge. Because of our very lenient laws, this is rare.

Security and privacy matters. We don’t release your information to others and we don’t allow you to be censored, even if your published material is controversial. We do require that you follow our terms of service and the very liberal Icelandic laws to be our customer, but we think you’ll find there’s no better home for your site, no matter what you’re saying.

Want to know more about why we’re the best fit for you? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • We’re located in a convenient geographical location. Because we’re halfway between North America and the European continent, we can offer blazing fast connection speeds to customers in either location. (At last measure, you could connect from Europe in 29 ms and the U.S. in 39 ms — pretty speedy.) That means your site will load quickly and perform well for visitors from either location, and for that matter, around the world.
  • You don’t have to provide personal data. Well, we do need an email address so we can contact you, but we don’t ask for any other details. We’ve found we can provide excellent service to our customers without needing to know names, addresses or other contact information. While we take every possible step to protect our servers, we also know you’ll be happy that hackers can’t ever access your personal data — because it’s not there to take.
  • We don’t reveal any of your information. We don’t have to legally make any customer details available to the Icelandic government — or any other government or organization in the world. Even though we don’t store your details, we don’t have to give up even the little we do have to anyone who asks. Your identity is protected with us.
  • We accept BitCoin. BitCoin is the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. You can use BitCoin to pay your invoices without sharing any personal details. Plus, there are no transaction fees for using BitCoin. We use the current exchange rate between euros and BitCoin.
  • We’ll keep your website safe from attack. Attackers have increased as their methods have become more sophisticated and widely shared. If you’re running a controversial website, it may be more likely to be targeted by folks who don’t like you or consider themselves your competition. We’re one of the few companies in the world to offer high-end DDoS protection methods, including against Layer 7 (application layer) attacks. You pay for the level of protection you need.
  • We require two-factor authentication. Another way to protect against your information being stolen or used, or your website being taken down, is to require two-factor authentication. Each time you log in, your phone gets an automatic text message with a code that you use for access. Use any number capable of receiving SMS data — it doesn’t have to be connected to your name in any way. Two-factor authentication virtually guarantees that even if your password gets cracked, an intruder can’t get into your website files.
  • We’re proactive against all types of security threats. Our team includes server security specialists and “ethical hackers” who are constantly checking our systems for issues. We also keep our software updated with the latest security patches and perform regular audits to ensure there are no easy ways to access our servers. Every connection to our servers goes through a 256-bit SSL layer just to make absolutely certain your information isn’t getting viewed or captured by an outside source.
Freedom of Speech Amendment

Freedom of Speech Amendment:

Picture of the Bill of Rights First Amendment.

What’s more, we are there for you, no matter where you’re located. Our 24-hour response team is available to help if you run across any issues with your service, and an authorized staff member is always keeping an eye on our security. Our professional support staff can customize solutions for you if you need specialized assistance.

You may also be pleased to know that we do all this with a focus on sustainability. While it doesn’t impact your ability to remain private, you should know our servers run on 100 percent green energy. Iceland is home to many options for renewable resources and we take full advantage of these to power our servers and reduce pollution from traditional energy sources.

Do you have more questions about Freedom of Speech Amendment and how we can maintain your privacy and security as a publisher, blogger or journalist, no matter where in the world you’re physically located? We’d be happy to talk to you and set up a custom plan that meets your needs. Contact us for information about our security or our server plans.

The Importance of Using Anonymous Website Services Online

Anonymous Website Services
Anonymous Website Services

In a world that is becoming more interconnected with more and more powerful governments and corporations moving through it by the day, anonymous internet services are becoming increasingly more and more critical. Here’s some information about these types of services, including why they are important and how they can be used.

Internet Hosting Anonymity Services Tips: Overview and Bitcoin

Anonymity should be one of the most important things you focus on when you go to look at potential web host options. After all, this is going to be one of the areas where you could have your identity revealed or have sensitive information get out if this is something that you’re worried about currently.

This means that you have to focus on a few particular options within this area in order to from the basis of your decision. For example, one question that it’s worth asking early is whether or not a hosting company takes Bitcoin or not.

This is important for a number of reasons. It’s important for the obvious reason, which is that this would allow you to pay for your hosting with Bitcoin, which is a more anonymous way to pay for everything than the other common means of payment which often include PayPal and credit cards right at the top of the list.

These aren’t especially anonymous because they both tend to require that you hand out full details about yourself such as address and name. In the case of PayPal, there’s even a push to connect it with a bank account in order to get full functionality.  When it comes to credit cards, many of them even ask for a whole lot of information such as your social security system in the United States, for example.

But, with Bitcoin, once you fund your wallet, you can divorce the payment from yourself a bit. There are strategies to swap around coins too in order to make it even more anonymous. You can pay with cash at certain terminals that accept conversion from cash to Bitcoin directly.

Internet Hosting Tips: Other Markers to Look For

Besides Bitcoin or other anonymous options, there are other services within the hosting service that can be important in your determination about whether a company is going to be worth it to you if anonymity is your primary concern. For example, the country that a company is located in can make a major difference in terms of how safe you feel getting hosting services from them.

One example of this is OrangeWebsite, which has operations in Iceland. This country is often lauded for their privacy laws so this could be a good choice if you check out Iceland yourself and come to the same conclusion. Other people might simply try to avoid hosting services in countries they don’t trust due to poor privacy laws. There are also other nations out there that might be good for this such as Canada, which has user privacy protections, or Switzerland, which is often known for being neutral and not accepting demands for information from other countries that easily.

Anonymous Website Services

VPN Services

Another important privacy service worth mentioning is a Virtual Private Network. This is something that connects your computer’s Internet to a third party before it connects to a website. As a result, you’re able to make it seem like a different IP address, that is, a different computer other than yours connects to wherever online.

This extends to all of your connections, including anything you download or upload with other programs, for example. It can protect the security and privacy of a Skype video call, Facebook Facetime, or anything else that you want to keep protected. These services often use much higher level encryption than they would have otherwise, even the AES 256-bit encryption that’s known as being so secure plenty of corporations used it. This is actually important with services like Skype because they don’t really offer encryption on their own much of the time. The person you’re talking to will also not automatically get your IP address so you can keep it private.

Many people online speak of the importance of making sure that you pay for a VPN, because if you try to use a free one, there’s always the chance that the VPN is selling your information because, the idea is, if they don’t sell a product, then the product could be you and your data.

If you have some reason especially to make sure you can’t be traced, such as dealing with a government that has reason to snoop on you, then it’s important to try to have the whole package deal when it comes to your security and anonymity. That’s exactly why it’s helpful to pair a privacy and security conscious hosting service with a VPN for added security when you’re running a website and are trying to make sure that you can say what you want without being snooped on by governments, third party organizations, hackers, or anyone else that has no business looking into yours.

Proxy Services

One alternative to a VPN if you don’t need or don’t want to secure every connect, is to instead use another type of Internet privacy service called a proxy. These will mostly just secure your web browsing itself directly.

It can be a secondary option that will work well for you if you find one in a country you trust with a company you trust so that you can do what you have to do online anonymously, including running your website through a reputable company, for example.

For more information on privacy services including secure hosting and others, please contact us today.