Web Hosting for Dummies: What is a 304 Error

what is a 304 Error

What is a 304 Error

what is a 304 Error

What is a 304 Error? – Odds are, you use of one of the “Big Five” website browsers when surfing the internet. These five (in order of popularity) include:

  1. Google Chrome
  2. Safari
  3. UC
  4. Firefox
  5. Opera

No matter what browser you favor, you are likely to encounter error messages occasionally.  If you have ever wondered what these error messages mean or if they should concern you, check out our recent article explaining a 503 error. Our series explaining some of these errors continue with this blog about 304 errors.

A Brief Explanation of Error Codes in General

Error codes or response codes are designed to let the host (server) and the client (user) know there is an issue and help them troubleshoot that error. Error codes begin with 100 series codes and end with 500 series codes. Each of these hundred code series designations addresses certain types of problems that are occurring and affecting connectivity.

What Do 300 Series Codes Indicate?

In the case of 3xx series codes, these indicate that the client would generally need to take more steps to complete the request. Many codes in this series, however, are used for redirection of the URL to another web address. In this instance, a user’s browser may carry out this additional step without any more user interaction.

What Specifically Does the 304 Code Mean?

A 304 error will generally be returned with verbiage similar to the following:

“The remote server returned an error: (304) Not Modified.”

It really is more of a message than an error. It is telling you that the page being visited has not been modified, or changed, since the last time it was visited. Therefore, it should redirect you to the page previously saved in your cache. This is exactly what the cache on your device does. It saves frequently visited pages so they will load faster when maneuvering throughout the internet.

For those browsing the internet, the 304 Not Modified message can be frustrating but there isn’t much you can do. For users, it can be largely disregarded. It is more of an indication that something has gone wrong on the server side of things. It can be a significant problem for those hosting websites.

What is a 304 Error

Diagnosing 304 Errors on the Server Side

If you feel your application is issuing 304 codes when it shouldn’t be, it could be a problem that needs to be diagnosed and addressed. A significant amount of visitors may be getting this code affecting the effectiveness of your application. There are several tips you can use to diagnose the problem.

Check the configuration files. It is possible your server software is sending unintentional redirect 304 codes.

Check server side logs. These logs keep a history of server activity like what servers connected to it, what pages were requested and other details. You can often see the status of your server’s performance by reviewing these server side logs.

Check any custom coding within your application. You may ultimately find yourself having to manually debug your application.

Of course, with any error code, there is a wealth of information available with an internet search. If none of the above provides relief from the errors, you can often find answers through a search.

Keeping Your Server Running Error Free

Error monitoring software may be available for your server that will notify you immediately about errors being issued so you can best respond. Today, users expect a more error-free experience on the internet and that includes uptime. That is why selecting a web hosting company that guarantees uptime is so important.

At OrangeWebsite.com, we have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This guarantee is backed with a superior technical team that is available 24/7 to provide assistance when you need it. But, there are a variety of other valuable reasons you should select OrangeWebsite.com as your web hosting provider.

  • Choose from a hosting plan right for you. Plans range from hosting small websites to dedicated servers. You choose the package and price to suit your needs and budget.
  • Sign up and pay anonymously. We accept Bitcoin, wire transfer, and cash by mail. You can also pay via Paypal. The choice is yours.
  • Host in Iceland. Iceland is an Internet-friendly country with modern freedom of speech legislation in place.
  • There is no risk. OrangeWebsite.com offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

You can also take pride in knowing that we are an Eco Web Hosting solution provider. Iceland derives almost 100% of its energy from renewable sources like geothermal and hydropower. Our cooler Icelandic temperatures allow for us to minimize the use of air conditioning, making us more energy efficient. Much of our staff work from home, using less fuel for transportation and keeping roadways clearer. At OrangeWebsite.com, we serve companies in over 100 countries, making better use of our servers throughout multiple time zones. Our location is perfect for those in or trying to reach visitors in European and North American markets.

In addition, to be the right thing to do, organic hosting is a good marketing tool for our clients. To help them take advantage of the trend to eco web hosting, we offer use of a variety, easy to install, “Green Seals” for placement on customer websites. These easy to install seals demonstrate the commitment to environmentally-friendly hosting and can be a good way to attract like-minded visitors to hosted websites.

We are also proud to be involved in “green” initiatives to help prevent and even reverse negative environmental impacts on our planet. We invite you to join us in our efforts.

Keep your visitors happy with responsive 24/7 technical support, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and eco web hosting solutions. Learn more about OrangeWebsite.com today.

Web Hosting for Dummies: What is a 503 Error?

what is a 503 error

WHAT IS A 503 ERROR

what is a 503 error

It is not uncommon for website users to encounter error messages when browsing. Error messages are an important way for users and hosting providers to help determine where an issue may lie. One relatively common error message is the 503 error. In encountering a 503 error message, users may not understand what is happening. More importantly, those hosting the site may not understand a 503 error or how it is resolved. In this edition of our web hosting for dummies, we will take a closer look at these 503 errors.

HTTP Errors Explained

Your digital device likely uses one of the five most popular web browsers to “surf” through the internet. These include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • Safari

Each of these browsers uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) when sending a request to retrieve a file (webpage, image, photograph, etc.) from a server on the internet. These are noted by the “HTTP” that precedes “www.” in web addresses. The vast majority of these requests result in the expected display of the desired file or webpage within the browser, usually fairly promptly. On occasion, however, an error will occur and an error message may be displayed.

Each error message is designed to give the viewer and host reasons the requests could not be completed. These error codes are group into triple-digit groups, starting with 100 numbered codes up through the 500’s. Error codes that begin with a “5” are server-side errors, meaning the problem is not with the browser or digital device of the user but with the server the website is hosted on. A 5xx error is not only an indication the problem is with the server, it tells us the server recognizes it has a problem.

What Then, is a 503 Error?

Your browser will display a 503 error when a server where the desired website is experiencing an issue retrieving your requested image or page. In the case of HTTP errors, the message seen by a user can be customized by the web host, so it may be communicated back to the user in a variety of ways. Common variations of the displayed error message include:

503 Error
503 Service Unavailable
503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
HTTP Server Error 503
HTTP 503
HTTP Error 503
Error 503 Service Unavailable

This means either the server is receiving too many requests for it to handle at once, or that it may be undergoing maintenance. What is interesting about the 503 error is that it is actually an indication that the server is operating fine. It is just deferring requests intentionally until either traffic slows or maintenance is completed.

what is a 503 error

How to Resolve 503 Errors

Users can resolve 503 errors easily often by refreshing a page or by clicking on the F5 or Ctrl+R keys. If this doesn’t resolve the issue you can try again later or take the time to reboot your device and/or modem.

For those hosting a site or sites, getting 503 errors can be more concerning. It could likely mean you are getting more traffic than your server is designed to handle. For most, this is good news but you will need to react. If you have your own on-site server or servers, a simple reboot may resolve the issue. It may also be an indication you need to increase your bandwidth or overall system resources. If 503 service errors last for more than a few minutes or become common, you will want to consider an upgrade or contact your web hosting solution provider to see if perhaps there are routine maintenance issues. They can also guide you to increased server capabilities that could also resolve the issue.

It is important for both those hosting websites and for consumers to be aware that if a 503 error is encountered in the middle of a financial transaction, multiple purchases may result. This is just one of the reasons you want to minimize downtime. It can also be helpful to note that 503 errors can be seen on a variety of digital devices including mobile ones.

The Importance of Uptime

To minimize the display of 503 errors, uptime is critical when choosing a web hosting solutions provider. At OrangeWebsite.com, we are pleased to offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee backed with 24/7 customer service. Customer service and technical requests generally get a response within minutes. This exceptional service is available worldwide as OrangeWebsite hosts websites from over 100 different countries. Users not only appreciate our reliability and quick response times but our anonymous sign-up process and acceptance of Bitcoin, cash by mail as well as credit cards.

Our data centers in Iceland give us easy and quick access to internet users in North America and Europe. Our location also allows us to provide eco web hosting solutions through the use of 100% renewable energy sources like geothermal. Users have free access to use of our Green Label for their hosted websites, demonstrating environmentally conscious initiatives. Our Icelandic location provides us with more moderate weather and minimal air conditioning costs that result in lower costs for our customers. Iceland is also a country that values its internet freedom of speech and privacy. We offer a variety of hosting and co-location services and packages to serve your expanding needs. Learn more about our green hosting solutions by visiting OrangeWebsite.com. We look forward to minimizing the errors your customers encounter when visiting your websites.

Why Even Small Businesses Should Promote Eco Web Hosting

Eco Webhosting
Eco WebHosting

When competing against larger, better-financed competitors, small businesses need to take advantage of every tool available to them. Small businesses need to be more agile and make better decisions because they have less room for error. This is true for a bricks and mortar business as well as those marketing strictly online.

Businesses, especially smaller ones, need to stay ahead of the trends in marketing and advertising and in how changing demographics are affecting how and why people make buying decisions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for example, Millennials are now the largest population group on the planet. Those born between 1982 and 2000 now make up about 25% of the population but they spend about 28% of all daily consumer spending. Forbes Magazine says that this expected to increase to 35% in the next 12 years. They already spend about $600 billion annually. That is a lot of buying power. Millennials, however, don’t necessarily make buying decisions like those before them. Understanding how they make decisions can help increase your odds of appealing to this market.

Millennials are taking longer to get married and buy a house. Many are just as satisfied renting apartments in urban areas and using bicycles or ride-sharing apps than buying a car. They also use different criteria when choosing where to make their consumer purchases. They want purchases to be simple, easy, and they expect superior customer service. They often put as much weight in online reviews as they would asking a family member about a product or service. They also want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This includes how their consumer dollars impact others and the environment.

Millennials often buy from companies who reflect their own views on life. For this generation, they frequently care more about how and where products are produced than their predecessors. They appreciate companies who conduct business responsibly. They care about FairTrade, organics, and companies who operate in an environmentally friendly fashion. They appreciate the value of “green” products and practices. Research indicates that a significant portion is even willing to pay more for products that meet their standards.

How does this impact your small business? It means taking steps to position your company as environmentally friendly can pay dividends, especially with this younger, valuable demographic. Taking steps to be green can be relatively simple, especially when it comes to eco-friendly web hosting.

Why Eco-Friendly Web Hosting Is Important

Most companies, including small businesses, choose web hosting based on some relatively straightforward criteria.

  1. Price
  2. Customer and Technical Assistance
  3. Guaranteed Uptime
  4. Features

There are reasons you should consider adding a fifth criteria to your list. That is choosing a web hosting solutions company that is eco-friendly.

First, eco-friendly web hosting can save a significant amount of energy. The U.S, Government alone says about 10% of all the energy it uses goes to power its data centers. If data centers used in the country were just 20% more efficient, the country could save more than 20 billion kWh by 2020. That is a cost savings of about $2 billion. It is further estimated that for every 1 kW of power saved in powering IT equipment, another 2 kW of power is saved in the data center itself. By 2020, data centers will potentially create more pollution than the airline transportation industry.

When you choose web hosting from OrangeWebsite.com, your website is being hosted in Iceland, a country where all of its energy is provided by renewable energy sources. In Iceland, 75% of energy comes from hydroelectric and 25% coming from geothermal sources. We are also eco-friendly because our cooler climate minimizes the use of air conditioning in our data centers. As an added bonus, Iceland is also among the world’s leaders in maintaining free speech and anonymity on the internet.

Eco Webhosting

How Eco-Friendly Hosting Can Help Your Small Business

Because eco friendly web hosting uses less energy it is often more affordable for small businesses. In addition, when you host at OrangeWebsite.com, you can display the “Green Seal” on your website. This seal tells your visitors and potential customers, that you are hosting in an environmentally friendly fashion. When consumers, in particular, Millennials, are making a buying decision, this seal could help make the difference. It is another advantage, another tool, that you should use in promoting your business. We provide use of Green Site Seals free to all of web hosting customers. Placing the seal in a visible spot on your website is easy and doesn‘t require any programming skills.

OrangeWebsite.com takes our role in protecting the environment seriously. We allow most of our staff to work exclusively from their homes, saving energy and creating less traffic. We support various environmental organizations and foundations to help their work in preserving our planet.  Through the Canope Project, we are planting 250-1000 new trees every month to reverse the deforestation of rainforests. OrangeWebsite is a smart and responsible choice to host your website.

The best part may be that eco-friendly web hosting with OrangeWebsite.com is affordable and easy to accomplish. There are no sacrifices with OrangeWebsite’s eco-friendly hosting solutions. We offer secure hosting solutions and 24/7 support. Our hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 99.9% uptime. You can even sign up anonymously. OrangeWebsite accepts Bitcoin, PayPal, Wire Transfer, and cash by mail.

Take the step to more responsible web hosting and take advantage of this valuable tool to better position your business with Millennials. Contact OrangeWebsite.com today!

The Serious Business of Guarding the Images Used on Your Website

How To Protect Your Images
How To Protect Your Images

How To Protect Your Images

For those of us who have lived through the early, “Wild West” days of the internet, we can recall the frequent lawlessness of the experience. It was not uncommon at all to come across “sharing” websites for the distribution of music, images, films, software, and other intellectual property without authorization of the rightful owners. This was, and continues to be, theft, pure and simple. It didn’t take long for lawyers to get involved. Courts quickly agreed that online intellectual theft is no different from stealing someone’s car. Companies from software producers to movie production houses began pursuing those they suspected were guilty of it.

While such dark places are still available online, more and more companies and individuals are taking steps to protect themselves. This includes those involved in the construction of websites. After all, if you’ve taken the time to make sure a website was designed and constructed using completely legal and authorized images, or more importantly, if you created the images or took the photography yourself, you don’t want someone else coming along and taking them. It’s not quite the “Wild West” it once was but it is still a significant problem and serious business. There are ways, however, of protecting yourself and your images.

Where to Start?

You can start by seeing if you have a problem with stolen images. This can simply be accomplished by typing the name of any images you use into the Google image search. Some who “borrow” images or graphics, however, know they can lessen their chances of being caught by changing the name of the image file. The Google image search may not turn up your photo or image. You can search for more generic names that may fit your image if you are inclined to investigate further.

In a Google image search, seeing the image as used on your site should be expected but if it is an original image you created or a photo you have taken and someone else is using it without your knowledge, it can be a problem. This is likely because you did not take the necessary steps to protect it.

Now, you may say to yourself “Hey, but isn’t that like blaming me for not locking my house and allowing someone to steal my property?” Perhaps. But let’s also just add that it is always better to make sure your house is locked, to begin with. In this case, let’s make sure your images are as safe as possible.

“How To Protect Your Images”

How To Protect Your Images

Better Protecting Your Images

You can take steps to protect your images, but just as locking the door on your house won’t prevent someone from entering your home, most steps just make it tougher for an image theft to occur. Here are some of the more common steps you can take in protecting your images online.

  • Disable the right-click copy option. One of the first skills we learn on a computer is that by right-clicking, we are given the option to “copy”. It didn’t take long for us to learn it works on website images as well if they are unprotected. WordPress has an easy to download and use plug-in that will accomplish this for you. The plug-in also has some other clever protective services.
  • Disable hotlinkingHotlinking is the nasty little practice of someone using both the benefits of your image and your bandwidth to share that image. For the most part, it is considered illegal but, of course, that doesn’t stop some from engaging in the practice. While disabling hotlinking may not totally prevent someone from using an image, at least it will prevent the indignity of having them use your bandwidth to do it. To disable hot linking in WordPress, use an FTP program and go to the main directory folder and open the .htaccess file. Cut and paste the following code into the .htaccess file:

/* hotlink blocking */

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourwebsite.com [NC]

RewriteCond %{HTTP REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]

RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [F]

Of course, replace “yourwebsite.com” in the 4th line of the coding with the name of your website. This will prevent someone from hotlinking to your image while the 5th line still makes your image available to Google for search purposes.

  • Use a watermark. Watermarks on an image have been protecting photographs since long before the internet. A Watermark is a discrete but visible marking over the image that usually bears the name of the owner. Most photographers use them on proofs before clients purchase the non-watermarked prints. They are still an effective way to protect your images but can be distracting to your own viewers. Those skilled at photoshopping have also been known to be able to cover watermarks.
  • Place a DMCA badge on your website. DMCA is dedicated to stopping thieves from stealing content from websites. While they have a suite of products, you can get started by placing a DMCA badge on your page that will deter theft. With a registered badge, you have the resources behind you to take down any content that is used without your approval.
  • Place a copyright notice on your website or on images. You automatically have the right to any content created for your website. By placing a copyright notice on your website you are letting others know that you know this. You should also keep proof that you created the content. While this can sometimes be difficult to prove or enforce, it is another form of locking the doors on your house. It is very easy to do, so do it.

While sharing images without the permission of the owner can be problematic, sharing solid, helpful information about making your website secure can be very helpful. If you have found this article useful or if you know someone who might find it interesting then, please feel free to share it.

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Choosing a Web Hosting Company – A lot of things in life are invisible. We can not see ethics or morals. We can not touch a wireless internet connection. We can not view the mechanics of a smartphone capturing an image. But this fact does not lessen the importance of any of these ideas or activities. The unseen aspects are essential in allowing individuals to enjoy the end product. The same is true for web hosting. It is a process that very few individuals surfing the World Wide Web think about. They do not consider where the images, text, videos, and more are stored and accessed from. But this does not make the web host any less important. Without it, or with a bad web host, people would struggle to view websites and organizations would struggle to share their information with the world. And it is for this reason that understanding and avoiding mistakes when it comes to choosing a web host is crucial for any organization:

1. Test Customer Service

Companies make a lot of promises. They ensure 24 hour customer service. They pledge to get back to customers with immediate responses. But this is sometimes a very empty promise. As soon as a customer is signed up and they need help, they will end up on hold for hours at a time. They may not hear back from a company for days on end. When you are running a business and something goes wrong with your website, this is not acceptable. Your clients and customers need to be able to reach you, buy from you, and find out more about you. If they can not, you will very likely lose them to a competitor.

A good rule of thumb is to contact the web hosting provider in every method that they allow for. This may only be one or it could be five. If they have a live chat option, test it out. If they have a phone number, call in and see how long it takes to talk to a real person. If they have an email, time them on how quickly they respond. Their expediency matters. If they fail to impress you with fast responses before you are even a customer, imagine what happens once they have your money.

2. Explore Your Limitations

As stated in the last section, web host providers can make a lot of promises at first glance. Their goal is to attract to customers with great deals. But you need to be wary. Many providers will offer special promotions and deals that are excellent value for money. However, to make sure that you are getting one of these deals and not wasting your time and money, look a little deeper into what the web host offers. Ask if ‘unlimited’ really means ‘unlimited’. Ask if shopping cart will work on your website, if you can use Secure Shell (SSH), if you can maintain multiple POP accounts, and more. Find out what your website and customers need and then see if the web host provider offers that and what the true cost will be over the long-term.

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

3. Get A Refund Guarantee

Choosing a web hosting provider is a big decision. For many businesses, especially small ones and entrepreneurs, they may not know exactly what they are looking for. They were just told that the next step is signing up with a web hosting provider. So they choose one.

Unfortunately, sometimes businesses learn that they need a specific privilege that either the package they chose or the host that they went with does not allow for. Alternately, maybe the business grows so fast that they need a host that can accommodate the unforeseen additional needs. Whatever the reason, if there is no refund guarantee money must be thrown out the window. It is always safer to partner with a web host that wants you to be happy and is willing to give you your money back if you are unhappy or unsatisfied in any way. This type of policy also makes it much easier to switch to another package that that same host provides.

Before making any permanent decisions, it is always a good idea to look through the return policy and see the terms and conditions. Make sure that the policy provides enough time for you to really check if the host is for you. Decide whether a pro-rated refund is enough or if a full refund is really what you need. If you know all of these details and you are comfortable with them, you will not be unpleasantly surprised if you do need to switch packages or to another provider. It also proves to you just how much the company cares about your satisfaction.

4. Understand The SEO Implications

Not all web host providers are created equally. And the packages that these providers offer are also not created equally. You need to be careful when picking the one for you, especially when it comes to just relying on guaranteed uptime. Uptime is far from the only concern. If a host is unreliable it can do significant damage to a website’s ranking on search engines, not to mention how customers view the company. Even if a business has the best SEO team in the world, a host that has slow site speed, poor quality shared hosting, and database connection errors will undoubtedly de-index your website from Google—and repairing this type of damage can be nearly impossible.

When you are choosing a web host company for your website, make sure you understand the basic ins and outs. Look into the host, read customer reviews, and speak with customer service. One company that seems to be passing all of the quality tests is OrangeWebsite. To see if OrangeWebsite is the right web host for you, please contact us.