What Are Domains?

Domains create your address on the internet. When you own a domain, you can tell people to go to the URL mysite.com and they will see whatever content you’ve associated with that domain. Every domain name is matched to an IP address and follows the Domain Name System (DNS).

Without a domain, every website would only be identified by the IP address. Imagine that instead of typing liquidweb.com into your web browser, you had to remember, Liquid Web’s IP address. Now imagine remembering strings of numbers for every website you ever want to visit!

example of domain name and site

Domain names make it much easier for people to use the internet. It’s the difference between using latitude and longitude to get somewhere and using a street address to get somewhere.

Let’s use support.liquidweb.com to show how domain names work. Even though it is a little confusing for most people, domain names are technically read from right to left. No one reads them like this when telling you to visit support.liquidweb.com, of course! But reading from right to left creates a funnel: the address goes from the very general (top-level domain) to the very specific.

Top-Level Domains

Top-level domains (TLDs) like com, net, and org hold the right-most position in a domain name. Every country can have their own TLD, too. Every domain name must end with a TLD. In support.liquidweb.com, the TLD is com.

example of TLD

Second-Level Domains (and Beyond)

Whatever is directly to the left of the TLD is called the second-level domain. In the example support.liquidweb.comliquidweb is the second-level domain. Anything to the left of the second-level domain is the third-level domain. In this case, support is the third-level domain. This can go on and on as long as there are more domains to the left. The more levels you use, the more specific your address is.

example of second-level domain

When you purchase a domain name, you buy the right to use a specific TLD and second-level domain. So, you’d buy the right to use mysite.com (or whatever you’d like your domain to be). If you want to add further domains like blog.mysite.com, you don’t have to pay for another domain name. This is considered a subdomain and you can set it up through your domain management system, like cPanel.

example of subdomain

Now that you know the basic concepts surrounding domains, you’re ready to learn how to register your first domain!

Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin

Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin

What is WHMCS & how it can optimize your business

The WHMCS software suite is an all-in-one client management, billing & support interface for web hosting businesses. WHMCS can be used to automate the billing and provision of Web Hosting Services. Most often utilized by resellers, WHMCS can simplify and streamline the process of providing hosting service. To learn more, read our “What is WHMCS” article here.

What does Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin do?

WHMCS has a lot of useful features right out of the box, however most of these features are based on control panels such as cPanel or Plesk. This is perfectly fine if you just want to sell shared hosting but if you’re looking to resell cloud based VPS / VMs you will need to install additional plugins / addon modules that contain this additional functionality.

Liquid Web’s WHMCS plugin talks to our Storm API, and exposes this to WHMCS, allowing you to:

  • Create cloud based products using our Cloud VPS, Private Cloud, and Cloud Dedicated product lines. Don’t pay for anything until you’ve sold it!
  • Automatically provision these products when your client places an order.
  • Automatically bill and invoice for these products based on your preferences.
  • Expose cloud like features to your clients via WHMCS client area!

If you’re looking to expand your current shared hosting product line, or start up a brand new, 100% cloud based hosting company, you should definitely be using our plugin!

Step #1: Installing the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin

Liquid Web’s plugin is compatible with Version 6.x and Version 7.x of WHMCS.

Installing our WHMCS plugin is a rather simple process, simply download the latest version of the plugin, extract it in your WHMCS install directory, then move the files to the modules and includes directories. This can be done via SSH, FTP or even the cPanel File Manager! Here we’ll use the SSH method, however you can use any method you’d like.

Our WHMCS plugin can now be found on a publicly available GitHub-based repository. Or a direct download link to the latest installation Zip: Liquid Web for WHMCS.

The directory may not be the same for everyone, so make sure you update the $WHMCSUSER part bellow. Here’s an example of how it’s done:

Via SSH (command line) on the server…
cd /home/$WHMCSUSER/public_html/WHMCS/
wget https://github.com/liquidweb/LiquidWeb-WHMCS-Plugin/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip
cd LiquidWeb-WHMCS-Plugin-master/
rsync -avH includes/ ../includes/
rsync -avH modules/ ../modules/

Of course you can always ask our support team to assist with the plugin install, simply contact our support team and we’ll get you all set up.

Step #2: Activate the LiquidWeb WHMCS plugin

With the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin now installed all that’s left is to activate it. To complete the activation, login to the WHMCS admin page.

  1. Click on the “Setup” tab near the top of the page. Then select the “Addon Modules” option.
  2. Once the page loads, find the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ and ‘Liquid Web Widget for WHMCS’, then click “Activate” for both items.
  3. After activation you will see a grey ‘configure’ button next to each module. Click “Configure” and then ensure that “Full Administrator” is checked in each item. Once checked, click “Save Changes” for each module.
  4. The final thing we need to do is enable the Liquid Web Cloud Server Widget, which is displayed in the main dash of WHMCS.
    1. To do this, click on the “Setup” tab; then find the “Staff Management” area and select “Administrator Roles”.
    2. Click on the edit icon for “Full Administrator”.
    3. Near the bottom of the page you will see an unchecked box in the Widgets area called “Liquid Web Cloud Servers”, check this box then click “Save Changes”.

At this point the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin should now be active and you should be able to start setting up packages and products within WHMCS.

If you’d like to report issues, or provide feedback of any kind, regarding this plugin you can feel free to do so byutilizing the project’s GitHub Issues page.

Step #3: Party Time

Congratulations! You’ve just installed and activated Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin. You are now equipped with the Cloud, not just any Cloud, Liquid Web’s Cloud.

I suggest you reward yourself somehow, take a break even. Then come back and learn how to create cloud products with Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin!

Liquid Web WHMCS Plugin Installation Methods

In our main series on WHMCS we cover installation using CLI, as the directions are easy to copy and paste. However, as not all users are comfortable in a CLI, here, we will cover other methods that can be used to install the WHMCS plugin.

While written specifically for the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin the installation methods used here can work with almost any WHMCS plugin.

Continue reading “Liquid Web WHMCS Plugin Installation Methods”

What’s the difference between Private Cloud and On-Premise?

Private Cloud hosting services include two primary types: hosted solutions and on-premise ones. The primary differences between the two being: the level of support required for maintenance and features available.

On-Premise vs. Hosted Solutions

Everyday more and more SMBs are looking into private cloud solutions. The Private Cloud provides compelling benefits from improved security, increased flexibility, and eliminating potentially complicated server management.

On-Premise Private Cloud

On-Premise Private Cloud, often called Internal Cloud, is hosted within an organizations own offices, or data center, and provides an internal solution for hosting needs. Since an Internal Cloud is completely controlled in-house this means you often have more flexibility. If you need to have things setup in a very specific way, with specific hardware, you have that control.

However you also have to carry the full burden of server costs and maintenance. You’re all in. From the initial up-front hardware costs, software licensing, and even the unfortunate hardware failures. While providing more control On-Premise solutions don’t come without their own downsides.

Additionally, to ensure successful operation you’ll need to have qualified System Administrators on staff to maintain and monitor the systems. For organizations already staffed with Admins this maybe less of a concern, however this can be a tough hurdle in some cases.

Hosted Private Cloud

A hosted Private Cloud solution is owned and operated by third-party service providers. (Like Liquid Web.) Since the infrastructure servers a much larger population customers benefit from the economies of scale. Another huge advantage of Hosted Private Cloud solutions is that with large scale comes more resources; this provides more on-demand scalability options for end users.

For some SMBs requiring PCI or HIPAA compliance a hosted solution can also help simplify securing web infrastructure. In cases of on-premise hosting requiring such compliance organizations may have to expand security and control practices. However with hosted solutions the service provider will manage and control physical server access and security.

Last but not least, a huge benefit to hosted solutions is the provided support and management. The cost of maintaining an on-premise solution can cost big for both equipment and any necessary staff.

Weighing the Costs

Ultimately every organization will have to factor the pros and cons for themselves. There is no one size fits all for finding the perfect hosting solution since every organization has varying needs.

It’s clear that Private Cloud solutions, of all types, provide greater control and security. However, not every organization can afford to deploy, maintain and expand an On-Premise solution. That’s where hosted Private Cloud solutions come in!

For more information please feel free to contact our Solutions team today. We are eager to assist you in finding the right solution. Our Solutions team can be reached at 1-800-580-4985 (1-517-322-0434). You can also learn more on our Private Cloud product page where you can look over a list of our available Private Cloud servers!

Editing Files Using Cloud Sites File Manager

Once you upload your website and database files to your site using the Cloud Sites File Manager, you may want to edit them from time-to-time. Forget opening that external text editor! Use the Cloud Sites File Manager edit function and edit to your heart’s content and have the changes save immediately, making simple changes to your site and files as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. First, log into your Cloud Sites Control Panel.
  2. Next, log into the Cloud Sites File Manager in the site you’re working on.
  3. Click on the file you want to edit by clicking on the name of the file in the directory.file to edit highlighted
  4. A drop-down menu will appear with file options. Select Edit from this menu.file edit menu highlighted
  5. The text editor inside the Cloud Sites File Manager will appear. Edit the code you need and click Save when you are done.gif showing text edit and save
  6. To return to the File Manager, click the Close button at the bottom of the page.

Uploading Files Using Cloud Sites File Manager

Now that you’ve seen how to log into the Cloud Sites File Manager, let’s explore some of the functionality. One of the most used functions of the file manager is uploading files. Instead of using an FTP client to upload files to your site, you can now manage these uploads right within your control panel.

  1. Once you’re logged into your Cloud Sites Control Panel and select your site, log into the File Manager.cloud site file manager home page
  2. Click on the Upload icon upload icon at the bottom of the page.upload button highlighted at bottom of page
  3. A pop-up menu will appear after clicking on the icon. Select the type of upload you want to perform. See our article Unzipping Files Using Cloud Sites File Manager for instructions for zipped files. Otherwise, follow the instructions below.upload menu pop up
  4. A window will open with a listing of your files. Once you locate the file to upload, click Open to begin the upload.
  5. A file transfer pop-up will appear giving you the status of the upload.upload progress
  6. Once the upload is complete, the file will show in your directory in the File Manager.file uploaded showing in list


Introducing Cloud Sites File Manager

Introducing the newest feature to our Cloud Sites product, the Cloud Sites File Manager. The Cloud Sites File Manager provides you the ability to upload, edit, delete, and backup your website files through one, easy interface. No more need for an external FTP client to manage your files, just log into our file manager and start getting to work!

Let’s take a look at logging into the Cloud Sites File Manager:

  1. Log into your Cloud Sites Control Panel.
  2. Select the site you want to open the file manager in from the list on the home page.cloud sites control panel home with site highlighted
  3. Open the FTP section by clicking on it.gif showing ftp section closed and opened
  4. Click the link in the File Manager section.file manager link highlighted
  5. This will open the File Manager login page. Enter your FTP user credentials and click Connect.file manager login page
  6. You are now logged into the File Manager! Next, let’s take a look at Uploading Files Using the Cloud Sites File Manager.file manager home page

What Is HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. Any company handling protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all required security measures are in place.

Essentially, you can think of HIPAA like PCI compliance, except with health information instead of financial info. HIPAA compliance ensures that companies handling PHI follow proper security practices and procedures. Continue reading “What Is HIPAA Compliance?”

The 8 Step Checklist to a better migration

8 Tips to a Smooth Migration

A recent Liquid Web survey revealed that businesses are often held back from choosing a better hosting partner by the “what-if” situation when a migration presents. Nearly a quarter of consumers who decide not to switch to a new provider cited fear of the migration as the biggest reason for maintaining the status quo. Even if they believe that the new hosting provider would be better. Continue reading “The 8 Step Checklist to a better migration”