Why I moved from Hostgator to DigitalOcean?

HostGator offers pretty good web hosting services as I mentioned in my earlier post. But I have moved from HostGator to Digital Ocean. Here are some reason why I decided to move my blogs! (Actually, this migration was made a few months ago and after successful few months hosting I am writing this post.)

High Response Time:

WordPress is a little bit server intense software. It needs a lot of server resources when we install a number of plugins and have poorly written plugin or modifications. This is, however, funny that many web hosts suggest not to use an SEO plugin due to high consumption of RAM and CPU. But we all know, in the present world these plugins are essential need for a WordPress site.  So whatever you do with your Shared Hosting (obviously with reasonable pricing) you will not be able to bring the response time down to 200ms (For WordPress based dynamic sites this is hard to achieve this target and also keep it economical). But at least we can try to do our best.

Almost all of the shared hosting servers are based on Apache or LAMP stack. Also they are not optimized for WordPress only. So if our sites are based on WordPress then these types of hosting will not be best. They are good to start but sooner or later we will have to look for other options.

My sites’ response time was more than 500ms and many times it goes beyond 700ms. This forced me to look some other options.

Adult site hosting sucks:

Hostgator is Texas based company and porno is allowed in as per state laws. Legally they are not doing anything illegal. (It’s like smoking cigarette not illegal but it also doesn’t means we should smoke just because of that.) So, It should be avoided.

Hostgator-tos

Now, the question is, Will you take a risk of low ranking in search engine ranking just because you are site is sharing server and IP with porn sites? For me this is not good. When I took a look on reverse DNS I was surprised to see many porn sites hosted on same ip. After seeing this I asked HostGator to give me a dedicated IP. but they simply didn’t and suggested to go for SEOHosting.com (a HostGator sister company). This was rude isn’t it?

Here is the fun happening, when I asked BlueHost about adult site hosting the recommended me to sign up HostGator. I laughed and ask why they promote HostGator? They said, sorry, but you were looking for adult hosting we simply do not allow this but as per their terms they allow.

This was another reason to move live sites from HostGator to something else.

What were the choices?

Another Shared Hosting:

Actually I have no alternative of HostGator shared hosting in terms of pricing and server resources they allow. The biggest competitor was BlueHost and then Dreamhost. I have used their services. Out of the two Dreamhost given me better response time. it was around 300-400ms. But frequently my site was throttled just because of high use of resources. (Dreamhost is good and I was happy in early days of WordPress blogging). I have not tried their WordPress Hosting but heard that it is good.

And Bluehost is similar to HostGator in many ways. So what were the options for me?

A Managed VPS:

I am not a big fan of costly VPS although I know WebSynthesis and WPEngine are good (Actually awesome) in WordPress Hosting.

Due to high price WPEngine had never been in my list. That is obvious because their affiliate payout is very high they don’t have any other *options* to charge more from customers. (You may earn more than $150 from every sale, even if you make one sale in a month or year.)

Here, I have never thought about fully-managed cPanel like hosting as HostGator and many others have. The reason is they all are LAMP on CentOS. There will be no difference If I have to spend $$$ every month on such servers. The above two, especially WebSynthesis, are better than a managed cPanel hosting according to my needs but rather than that I opted an unmanaged VPS:

An unmanaged VPS:

In these type of hosting Linode and Digital Ocean are the two I had shortlisted. Many of fellow bloggers are hosted on Linode and no doubt I am also one of their customer (I occasionally hosted temp sites and used their server for testing and learning.)

But the winner was Digital Ocean. They provide good servers at unbelievably cheap rates. It is interesting that many shared hosts charges $3-4 for an IPv4 and Digital Ocean will give you 512MB instance at just $5. Well, there is also a risk about maintaining unmanaged VPS but thanks to Digital Ocean and Linode Library to make this possible.

So far, I am happy with their services and happy with my servers. I will review Digital Ocean later but here it was good to see that I managed to bring the response time to 200ms to 300 ms and my server has his own IP.

Let me know if you have any questions or just leave a comment and don’t forget to share this article if you found this helpful.

How to write a perfect guest post

A guest post is a proven idea to get recognized and make some valid backlink and sometimes money. But, after Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, bloggers and webmasters are taking extra precaution while publishing Guest posts. If any guest post smells like generated or cheap marketing call. They hardly approve any such posts.

In this guide we will discuss how to write a perfect guest post. To write a perfect guest post we will need to follow these steps:

  1. Find the right publisher.
  2. Know their audience and prerequisite
  3. Choose a topic
  4. Draft and Write guest post
  5. Send the guest post and follow-up

Find the right publisher for Guest Post:

Not all publishers in the Universe accept guest posts, but, hey many well know and well reputed bloggers still accept guest posts. Like Problogger, Copyblogger, Shoutmeloud and here BlogSynthesis. They all have their own audience, visions, expectation and needs.

We will have to prepare a guest post for their audience and needs. This is the step where most of the bloggers fails. They write guest post to fulfill their own expectation only. They just need quick backlink and writing the post in hurry. Possibly they don’t have enough time and manpower. This may cause high rejection of the posts. This is why we need to know about the prerequisite for the particular publisher we will be writing for.

Know the Prerequisites for the Guest Post:

As I mentioned earlier, every blogs and bloggers have their audience and needs, this is why the prerequisite might be different from blog to blog. In most of the cases, a blog how invites guest authors, have a general guidelines. You should must visit that page and read carefully.

Secondly, we should be writing for similar blogs, a blog or site we have and we are writing for.

Whatever, the general rule for writing guest post is,

  1. The quality of the post should be high.
  2. The post should not be published elsewhere.
  3. The length of the blog post should be long enough to complete the topic, but should not be lengthy. If your guest post is so long then it will be a better idea to split the post in parts. No one likes lengthy essays.
  4. The author should have good reputation on the web-sphere. This rule do not applies to newbies
  5. It will be better to write for a similar niche blog. (Do not write for a tech blog, if you are need backlink to recipe blog. In this condition, It will be better to link your profile from the tech blog)

Choosing a topic:

If we have chosen a right blog and know their prerequisite then it will be relatively an easy task. To choose the right topic, I will suggest you to take a look on the following Venn-diagram. You should always write on the topic of your expertise.

If you are new to blogging or at least guest blogging, I will suggest you to be a blogger not copywriter.

Drafting and Writing a guest post:

Now the real work begins, drafting a guest post is the lengthiest work and it takes a lot of time. For this purpose, I will suggest to use a Word Processor like Microsoft Word, Libreoffice Writer (or even a blog dashboard rectify spell mistakes and grammatical errors. These Word Processors are best.  Once you drafted to post then time starts to tune, tweak and remove all types of mistakes. At least you should try your best.

You may also include some relevant images and links. Again, the links should be chosen carefully. The site should be trusted and relevant to the content of your post.

Sending the guest post and follow up:

There are different ways to send guest posts. Many allow you to access the dashboard of the blogging platform and others ask for email the guest post in document format. A few have option to upload to their webserver. According to the blog owner submit your guest post.

Remember not send the same article to multiple blogs at the same time. Wait for a response or at least a week, before moving to somewhere else or publishing it on your own blog.

After submitting the guest post, you may send follow up mails after the given time or at least 48hrs. You may setup a follow-up notification or alert in your calendar.

You should have patience.

Introducing “Skyline Theme” for Genesis Framework

Many of you asked, “Which theme you have installed on this blog?” or “I want the theme you have on BlogSynthesis!” I always said that this is a custom theme and I have designed for my own blog. But this time I am here with a gift. Yes, I am releasing this theme to all of you guys. I have named the theme “Skyline”.

skyline-theme-screenshot
Skyline Theme: A free child theme for Genesis Framework

Demo Download Support

Skyline is a child theme for Genesis Framework. Well, here are some of the features of the Skyline theme.

  • Responsive Design
  • HTML5 enabled
  • 100% compatible with Genesis Framework 2.0+
  • inbuilt Floating Social Sharing bar
  • Better CTA with Homepage Widgets
  • 6 Additional Widget areas for Advertisements and CTA widgets
  • Free Support for life
  • – You may explore the rest!!

This theme is free and available to all of the visitors of this site. You will just need to sign up for a free account at My BlogSynthesis.

If you have any question about signing up and opinion about the theme leave a comment below. However, It will be better to ask the question about customization in the support forums.

Support

There is a demo site here. Post all your support question here.

[Don’t forget, Genesis Framework is not included in the package. A few customizations will be available here, depending on your requests]

Go ahead get the free WordPress theme!

How to Transfer YouTube Channel to another Google Account in 4 easy steps.

transfer-youtube-channel
Transferring a YouTube channel was not possible after 2009. But now we can easily transfer YouTube channel to another Google Account. This is now possible with a new Google+ Page and YouTube feature. Now in a Google account we can have more than one account and a Google+ page can have multiple Managers. And this trick is based on the combination of these two features.

Yet, Transferring YouTube account is not official but yes we can do this. It’s a great news for users having multiple YouTube channels. Now they will not have to maintain multiple Google Accounts just for YouTube channel or any specific Google Products.

Lets get started and discuss how to transfer a YouTube channel to another account or even change the ownership of a YouTube Channel.

Transfer YouTube Channel to another Google Account

Step 1: Go to YouTube Advanced Setting page of your Channel (which you want to transfer). Here you will find a new button titled “Connect with a Google+ Page”. Click on the button. A new window will appear asking to keep username or choose a better one.

Choose the first option to “keep your username”, accept the terms and condition and click “next”. Don’t worry if you get an error page but check if a new Google+ page has been created.

Step 2:  Now go to the newly created Google Plus page and Add a new Manager. Invite a manager by sending email. (This user will be your new YouTube channel owner at the end of the tutorial)

Step 3: At this step you or the new manager will need to verify his email id and accept invitation to be a manager. Just check email and click on “Be a Manager” button.

Step 4: Now go to Google plus page and change the privilege from “Manager” to “Owner”. You will find this page on “Managers” Tab. Also, there might be a 2 week wait time to complete the step four. If you find such message then come after 14 days and transfer the ownership of the YouTube channel.

Tested on NetRival YouTube channel. At that time there was no 14 days wait time. After a few hours when I tried to move BlogSynthesis youtube channel, it was there.

Additional tips after transferring YouTube channel:

1. If you transfer the ownership then the old Google Account user will become a manager at YouTube and the Google+ page. To completely remove accessing youtube dashboard remove ask the new owner (or yourself) to remove old account from manager. If you will do so, Old account will be completely removed from the youtube channel.

2. If you already have a Google Plus page, then youtube channel can be transferred in reverse order of the tutorial. i.e.

  • Go to Google+ settings page and invite a manager (YouTube account holder email).
  • After accepting invitation the youtube account holder will be able to link YouTube channel and Google+ page.
  • After successful linking remove the manager from Google+ Page. (Following this reverse tutorial I transferred BlogSynthesis YouTube channel)

3. Be careful while inviting a manager to Google+ page.

If you got any problem then leave a comment here or on video tutorial at youtube. Don’t forget to share on twitter,Google+ or Facebook. if you liked the tutorial.

Alternate way:

There is a possibility to some changes in the process as many of you have reported on the video comment or here on the blog. Well, as i said earlier, Google do not allow to transfer youtube channel officially but there is a loophole. That’s why the above guide and video worked. Due to the changes it might be possible that the above guide is not working for you.

However there is an alternate way to transfer the youtube channel: If you are forced to create a Google+ page with your youtube account. Then go ahead and create one. (For some people Google has already created one.) After sometime (or instantly) you will be able to add a manager or administrator to the Google+ page. Don’t forget here we are talking about the page, not the channel.

Also, Many people asked me about the video, subscribers and stats? Will everything be lost? The answer is “NO”. There will be no changes in your videos, stats or subscriber. I will be completely safe with the youtube channel.

And yes, This trick will work until Google patches the hole. So it will be better to hurry.

Microsoft Outlook Custom Domain Troubleshooting Guide

Some time ago I shared how to setup Microsoft Custom domain as Google Apps alternative. The post got quite good response, And many people like you loved that article. But then I found many people are either unable to receive emails in the newly created outlook hosted email accounts or unable to configure Outlook Application. In the post I will cover some of the basic problems and try to resolve them. However, If you still got problems don’t forget to ask questions here or in Microsoft Forum (Yes, Microsoft employees will help there. It’s awesome isn’t it!) Let’s start with some quick Questions. outlook-custom-domain-troubleshoot

Outlook Custom Domain Troubleshooting:

Q. My Account is not getting verified? A. If you have recently modified DNS records then wait for some time (up to 48 hrs). Check your DNS record propagation at www.whatsmydns.net. Don’t forget example.com is different from www.example.com Q. I have verified my account but still unable to receive mail? A. This is the most common problem with account setup at Outlook Custom domain. Check the following points:

  1. Have you setup the MX record correctly at your domain registrar?
  2. For mail setup MX record having  <____something____>.pamx1.hotmail.com is essential.
  3. The MX record should have highest priority.
  4. Also add Server Trust TXT record, If your mail is trapped by spam filters.
  5. If some of your mail is getting bounced or not received increase the TTL to 14400 (one day)
  6. It is also possible that your domain name server is filtering some kind of traffic like DynDNS does.

Q. May I setup Outlook 2013 (or older),  Mozilla Thunderbird or other email clients to retrieve mails offline? A. Yes, This is possible. If you have Outlook Application then check this else try the following settings:

  • Incoming (POP3) Server
    • Server address: pop3.live.com
    • Port: 995
    • SSL Encryption: Yes
  • Outgoing (SMTP) Server
    • Server address: smtp.live.com
    • Port: 25 (or 587 if 25 is blocked)
    • Authentication: Yes
    • TLS or SSL Secure Encrypted Connection: Yes
  • User name: Your email address
  • Password: Your password
  • If you don’t want email to be deleted from your Outlook.com inbox after it’s downloaded to your email app, select the Leave a copy of messages on the server option.

Please note: Outlook do not support IMAP

Q. Will Outlook custom domains users expire due to non use?
A. Your account will be marked inactive if you do not login to your account/s for consecutive 270 days. In such case all email and data will be permanently deleted. If you use your account using POP3 or SMTP your account will be considered as an active account, So, there is no need to sign in using web.

Q. Why I am able to get only 50 accounts instead of 500 accounts?
A. Sometime ago Microsoft have reduced the number accounts from 500 to 50. But you can ask for more accounts at https://domains.live.com/support

Q. How do I allow anyone on the web to sign up an account (or get email in my domain)?
A. Surprisingly, this is very easy with Microsoft Outlook Custom domain. Simply visit your dashboard and navigate to
Your domain > Open Membership > Setting
and turn Open Membership on. Don’t forget to create sign up module there.

Q. May I get address like mail.example.com like Google Apps?
A. Yes, This possible by visiting Custom Address under Domain setting.

Q. I have some other problem. Will Microsoft help me to resolve my problem.
A. Of Course Microsoft have dedicated employees who reply almost any type of problem related to their services and product. I strongly recommend to ask for help in the support forum. If you have any problem with DNS setup, just ask here or by commenting. Your suggestions and comments are important to us don’t hesitate to share. Help us to grow this FAQs. Just ask a question about Outlook Custom Domain problems by filling the contact form.

How to enable Google+ comments on WordPress (or on any website)

On the day before yesterday, Google launched much awaited Google+ comments, something like Facebook comments. It was also very easy to integrate the Google+ comments to any blogspot based blogs. But, people are dying to integrate this feature to other platforms like WordPress.

Here is a trick to enable the Google+ comments system on WordPress blogs (or literally any type of website):

Add Google+ comments to Genesis Framework:

Copy the following code and paste into your child theme’s functions.php:

[gist id=”5428536″][/gist]
The above code will add Google+ comments to your blog just after post comments. If you already have embedded Google+ button or badge, then you are required to include the plusone.js script again.

Just remove the line 12 containing https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js and you are done!

Add Google+ comments to any WordPress site:

If you have a WordPress site which is not based on Genesis Framework. or want to modify the theme file then copy the codes from line 12 to 30 and paste into comments.php. like below:

[gist id=”5428633″][/gist]

code screenshot

It should be noted that this is not official release and you may lose all your comments after the official release. However, the chance of loosing comments is low.

PS: I have removed the plugin link since, it removes all existing comments from the blog.

Top 7 email hosting solutions for domains

There was a time of Google Apps who offered free custom domain email hosting solution for sites and blogs. Day by day, the things got weird. Starting from 2000 free users in Google Apps, it gradually decreased to 10 free accounts. But now, Google no longer offer the free version of Google Apps and Microsoft outlook for custom domain has reduced the number of users from 500 to 50. However, there is something good inside MS outlook service. You may ask their team to increase the free quota.

Here is the list of top email hosting solutions.

Email hosting providers

Top free email hosting solutions:

1. Zoho mail

Zoho is known for its CRM service and online document and forms. Zoho is well-recognized in corporate sector. It offers 5 free custom domain email hosting and no credit card needed to sign up. I like the interface but not that much as Gmail and Outlook.

The best thing about Zoho mail is NO ad anywhere. Yes, there will be no ads anywhere in or outside email and dashboard. Perfect solution though. I have not tested the anti-spam capability.

Pros of Zoho mail

  1. No ads
  2. App like dashboard
  3. 20 Free accounts

2. Yandex Mail for Domains:

Russian most popular portal also offers email hosting for domains. It’s server is quite reliable in terms of uptime and features of the dashboard. Currently they offers 1000 free email accounts for your domain. The signup process is easy but available only in Russian. However, Chrome’s translations will be good option while this process.

Pros:

  1. Free 1000 email accounts
  2. Reliable server
  3. 10 GB free cloud storage for all your accounts.
Cons:

  1. Sign up Process is only available in Russian.

3. You Web host

Many of you are unaware that you may host your email at any web host like HostGator, Dreamhost etc. All of them are free and integrated in their dashboard. Just go to you Web Hosting Dashboard and find email or web mail link there. This is completely free and enabled in almost all types of shared hosting and VPS.

Pros:

  1. Free if you have web hosting
  2. Full html support
  3. No Ads

Cons.

  1. No spam filter
  2. Less secure
  3. Your mails could fall into spam folder

Top paid email hosting solutions:

4. Microsoft Outlook for domains:

This is no longer a free option. You will need to subscribe Office365 which is not a free service.

Yep, all knows the Outlook for domains will be at top. They offers good service and elegant dashboard. Unlike Hotmail and Live.com Outlook’s interface is decent and user-friendly and yes no crappy rich media ads. Microsoft Outlook for domains allow 50 users at sign up which can be increased further.

The best part of the service is the open registration. You can allow users to sign up for email address within your domain and act like an email service provider.

Pros of Outlook for custom domain:

  1. World class email hosting
  2. Good Anti-spam filter
  3. Virtually unlimited email accounts
  4. Act as Email service provider

Cons of Outlook for custom domain:

  1. Rich media Ads

5. Google Apps

Of course Gmail is the best free mail service. The business upgrade of Gmail will have no ads and 2.5 times more storage than normal Gmail account or Google Apps for free. However the cost is higher than other services but it is worth it. It will cost $5/month/user or if you want a vault then $10/month/user

Pros:

  1. Best Anti Spam filter
  2. No ads
  3. Multi-level Administrator
  4. A lot more than just email. (Whole bunch of apps like sites, Calendar, Google Drive)
  5. 25GB Email storage

Cons:

  1. More Costly

6. Yahoo Small Business

Yahoo Mail also do not need any introduction. They also offer a custom domain email hosting at $34.95/year for one account (no setup fee) or $9.95/mo. for 10 accounts (and a $25 setup fee).   The email storage will be unlimited with up to 20MB attachment size.

Pros:

  1. Reliable service
  2. Unlimited storage
  3. Norton Antivirus
  4. SpamGard Plus

Cons:

  1. Costlier

7. Rackspace Email hosting:

Rackspace email hosting solution is another reliable and premium email hosting allow users at $2/month. At this price users will get 25 GB storage per mailbox and can attach up to 50MB attachment. Users may also buy email archiving at $3/mailbox.

Pros:

  1. Cheap
  2. Reliable
Cons:

  1. Spam filtering could not be as good as Google, Hotmail or Yahoo mail.

It is important that all of the above paid email hosting provide you free POP/IMAP access to retrieve your mail into Outlook Express or Thunderbird or any such software.

If I have missed anything about Email hosting providers; share with use. I will include those in the next update.

How to Increase Conversions from Your Guest Post Traffic

Image credit: stuckincustoms.com
Image credit: stuckincustoms.com

This is a tricky little concept because guest post content is not exactly your best friend. You have to convince the blog owner to agree to post the guest post, and if you are just going to fill the post with a bunch of content that draws people to your blog then they are hardly likely to post it on their blog. They want people to enjoy your guest blog post and then move onto another one of their articles. They do not want their viewers following your link and leaving their blog post. Here is how you can attract people to your blog and have them become your loyal readers, all from your guest posts.

Target the blogs that are already very similar to yours

They are already attracting your target audience, so they should already have at least a vague interest in your blog’s content. You need to do some serious research into where your target audience are already going. You need to find the blogs that they attend and you need to guest post on those blogs.

Better still, you need to find the blogs that attract your target audience, but that lack the things that you do not. The ideal blogs are the ones that have weaknesses in areas where you are strong. These are the blogs where your guest posts will convert a lot of their readers into your readers.

Be personal and make a connection with people

This is no time to start writing as if you are a faceless corporation. This is the time to show your true colors and show that there is a person behind the guest blog post. People are used to reading the generic slop that comes with blogs, so if you want to stand out from the blog owner or the other guest bloggers then you need personality and a barrel full of charm.

Try to write a blog post that will stand out from all the others. Make it so that people could talk about your post if they were stuck in an elevator. Create a gripping title and come up with a topic that people will remember.

Make two passive references to your blog in the guest post

Do not overly promote your blog in the guest post because the blog owner will pick up on it and will probably not accept your post. Just be a little bit sneaky and passive with your mentions. For example, say something such as, “As I mentioned in my blogs’s November post…” The people who read your guest post word for word may be more inclined to follow the link at the bottom of the post if you reference it slightly in your guest post.

Pick a topic that is going to excite or engage with the audience

Topic selection may be the key to your success here, and this means you are going to have to be very creative or very intuitive. You have to be creative in order to think of something that nobody else has, and you will have to be intuitive to figure out what people are going to be searching for at the time when your blog post is uploaded.

Add your blog’s logo or your ugly mug to the guest post

How else are they going to recognize your work from the rest of the guest posts and bloggers in the world? If you are guest posting then it is a good idea to start building a brand. You can use a logo as your ambassador, but there is nothing stopping you from using your own picture. Lots of writers do it.

Add a bio section and sell, sell, sell your blog

If the blog owner allows you to add a bio section then you should be unashamed promotional of yourself and your blog. You should make it clear to the world that your world is so good that virgin women become pregnant at the sight of it.

Author’s bio:
My name is Sonia Jackson. I represent the web-site essays.mightystudents.com. We’ll help you to solve all problems with writing different essays and research papers in a short time; we’ll answer all your questions and give you useful advice.