LetsHost.ie are an Irish hosting provider who power over 40,000 websites around the country. In business over 10 years, they are the 3rd largest host in the country and currently register approximately 20% of all .IE domains.
Their typical hosting customer is a small business which needs a website hosted and email services provided, and from that viewpoint, we spoke with Daragh MacLoughlin from LetsHost to discuss some of the topics that are most relevant to this type of customer.
Can you tell me roughly how many websites LetsHost look after?
LetsHost host over 40,000 websites and this is growing all the time. This means our staff look after hundreds of physical and thousands of virtual servers on a day to day basis from our Galway & Dublin offices. We have 7-10 people on customer service at any one time and our cover extends right around the clock.
The prerequisites for registering a “.ie” domain seems to cause a lot of confusion for people. Can you briefly explain what the criteria are?
There has always been some mystery about what is required to register an IE domain. Thankfully the process is getting quicker, cheaper and easier overall. The documentation required to register a domain depends on the applicant specifically and the goal of this document request is to ensure the applicant has a genuine connection to the domain. As a result there is less “domain squatting” when it comes to IE domains (although it does exist).
We put together a simple domain wizard here: https://www.letshost.ie/irish-ie-domains/ie-domain-wizard/ which walks customers through what is required based on their applicant type (A business / Club / Sole Trader etc).
Some interesting stats for you on IE domanins: There have been approx 204,000 domains registered to date and approximately 13,500 have been registered this year so far!
An increasing amount of sites are being created using WordPress these days. What security risks are you seeing due to this and what advice would you give people to keep their websites safe?
Like any popular piece of software, exploits which have a large number of potential targets (websites) will always be a threat. As wordpress is made up of both its core files and plugins from 3rd parties, there is more scope for hackers to take advantage of exploits.
Our advice is always to keep your WordPress install up to date and to check in weekly to upgrade any plugins which might also have a new version available.
WordPress itself offers mailing lists to keep abreast of any new releases and there are various free plugins such as “ithemes Security” which can help lock down your install further. LetsHost is also happy to have partnered with Cloudflare which means customers can avail of a free exploit firewall and content accelerator from within their cPanel.
A mixture of these techniques can make sure you are always one step ahead of the bad guys!
From your experience, how common are DDoS attacks on Irish sites and is there a common trend among the targets?
Thankfully the instances of focussed DDoS attacks against our Irish customers is limited. That said in the last 12 months we have seen over 30 credible attacks focussed at customers within our network which aim to exploit weak coding or just take down a server hosting many websites.
Some attacks are limited in duration and size, although we have seen sustained attacks last 3 days at more than 5 GBps!
Preventing against these attacks can be quite costly compared to the relative ease of carrying one out. However, LetsHost is committed to continue to invest in the hardware and network capacity to combat this threat.
If people find their site has been compromised, what should they do first and what can be done to undo the damage caused?
If you find your website has been hacked here are a few things to check/do:
1 – Contact your host to find out if a website restore is possible. LetsHost maintain several backups to facilitate customers in these situations.
2 – Note the versions of your CMS (wordpress etc) you are using and compare these to the current release version
3 – If you are versions behind in either the core WordPress code or any plugins and themes, contact your web developer to arrange an upgrade post restore of the unhacked version
4 – Once you have your ducks in a row, action the restore of your files and then get your developer to update the website to the latest versions
5 – We also recommend a local PC scan with any antivirus software and to routinely change your FTP and control panel access passwords.
6- Talk to your developer about scheduling regular updates to keep ahead of the latest exploits which exist for older installs of WordPress / Joomla etc
There are several different levels of hosting available to consumers from shared all the way up to dedicated. Can you detail the different options you offer and what the pros and cons of each are?
LetsHost provides shared hosting which entails many users sharing the same physical server resources as well as virtual and dedicated servers where the resources purchased are dedicated to just that customer. Our virtual and dedicated servers facilitate more complex hosting arrangements such as load balanced ecommerce websites where as our shared hosting is not suitable for this.
The type of hosting you require depends on your business need. If you have an office with 10 staff members using email every minute of the day, you require a more advanced solution to the GAA club who has a website with the latest fixtures posted weekly. LetsHost provide 2 levels of shared hosting (standard and business shared) and after that we cater for more resource intensive requirements through our VPS and dedicated hosting plans.
When a customer makes contact with LetsHost we examine what they will use their hosting for and make recommendations based on this. As our customers grow from new to established businesses, we have the capability to seamlessly upgrade their hosting. Unfortunately, many customers do not fully understand hosting before purchasing and can sometimes make the wrong decision based on their requirements. If this happens, our team will work the customer through their options so as their hosting fully meets their needs.
Can you explain what an SSL cert is and why it’s important for ecommerce sites?
SSL certificates facilitate the secure transfer of information between a website visitor and the server where the website sits. This is particularly important when a customer is purchasing something online and is sending their credit card details via an online form.
The presence of SSL is known to boost customer confidence even outside the checkout process. SSL has come further into focus recently where Google has hinted preference is given to sites which enable SSL on their pages and not just ecommerce sites. As more and more information is exchanged online the importance of secure transfer of data has never been higher. LetsHost is happy to offer SSL certificates for both customers who are hosting with us and hosted elsewhere.
To find out more about LetsHost and the services they offer, please visit www.LetsHost.ie