10 Benefits of VPS Hosting for SMBs

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Over the last few years, VPS has become the hosting solution of choice for SMBs. Offering all the benefits of a small, dedicated server but at a fraction of the cost, its features far outstrip those of shared hosting and give small and medium-sized companies an affordable way to expand their capabilities. In this post, we‘ll look at the benefits of VPS and why you should consider it.

What is a VPS?

A VPS is a virtual private server which has been created using virtualisation software. Sort of a ‘ghost in the machine’, it is housed on a physical server but remains completely independent from it. Unlike shared hosting, it is also completely independent of any other VPS which may be housed on the same physical server.

Benefit 1: Improved reliability

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The independence of the VPS from other virtual servers on the physical hardware means it does not share its resources. Compared with shared hosting, this makes VPS far more reliable. On shared hosting servers, the traffic and computing activities of other customers can impact on all the others – if two or three customers are experiencing heavy traffic, for example, everyone else might be affected. This can’t happen with a VPS.

Benefit 2: Dedicated resources

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Just like with a dedicated server, all the resources of your VPS are dedicated entirely to you. What’s more, the amount of disk space, CPU and RAM available for a VPS is significantly more than you get with a shared hosting account, meaning you can handle more traffic and run more apps.

Benefit 3: Increased performance

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With more resources dedicated entirely to your business needs, you get far better server performance. Improved processing power and capacity means your website can load quicker on users’ browsers which has been shown to improve user engagement, increase conversion rates and boost your search engine ranking.

In addition, it will mean any processes you run on your server will also run quicker and have less impact on other operations taking place. Your website won’t run slowly, for example, while you back up your files or send out bulk emails.

Benefit 4: Software freedom

When you use shared hosting, you have no choice over the type of operating system you can run, everyone on the shared server has to use the same one. With a VPS, you are free to choose the operating system which best suits your needs.

At the same time, some shared hosting accounts limit the types of software you can use. Some apps are not acceptable because they may be resource heavy or because they may cause conflicts with other applications. With VPS you are free to run any applications you choose.

Benefit 5: Root access

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Opting for VPS will enable you to have root access to your server. This gives users full access to your VPS account giving you greater control over how your server is configured and over any application installations. These actions can be undertaken via your control panel.

Benefit 6: Fully managed service

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If you thought updating to a VPS meant having to manage your own server, you’ll be pleased to know that most hosting companies offer managed VPS hosting where they undertake this responsibility on your behalf. A good provider will maintain and update your hardware, the virtualisation software and your operating system. They will also apply any security patches on your behalf.

Benefit 7: Comprehensive technical support

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One of the main advantages of some VPS hosting is that it comes with 24/7 technical support, this means that should you have an issue with your server or require assistance with some of the more technical aspects of hosting, a technical expert will always be on hand to deal with the issue. At eUKhost, our support team also provides security and application performance consultancy to help keep your VPS running optimally.

Benefit 8: Server monitoring

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With the increased need for security against cyberattacks, it’s good to know that some VPS providers will actively monitor your server and associated hardware for any threats. Server monitoring ensures that threats such as hacking, malware and DDoS attacks are dealt with swiftly before they can do any damage.

Benefit 9: Multiple domain hosting

Many companies run more than one website and although this can be achieved on shared hosting accounts, it often means that already limited resources are stretched even further. The more websites you run on a shared hosting account, the less reliable each will be.

The much greater resources available on VPS means that multiple domain hosting can take place without any performance issues arising.

Benefit 10: Cloud data backups

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Backups should be an essential part of your disaster recovery plan, so it is important that any VPS hosting provider offers a backup solution that lets you configure automated, scheduled backups to meet your business needs. Solutions such as R1Soft enable you to safely back up your entire VPS server in the cloud meaning that in the case of a disaster, you’ll be able to recover in no time at all.


VPS hosting provides an affordable way to upgrade from shared hosting to a solution that offers many of the features of a dedicated server: more resources, increased control and greater flexibility. Add to this the managed services and technical support that comes with a VPS and it’s the ideal solution for small and medium-sized businesses looking to improve their IT capabilities.

6 Reasons Why Businesses Should Use The Linux Operating System

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The Operating system (OS) is the program that manages your server’s hardware and software resources and which provides the services other applications need to run. Without it, your server would not be able to function. In this post, we’ll look at the Linux OS and explain why it is one of the best choices for businesses.

1. Linux is open source software

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One of the biggest advantages of Linux is that it is open source. Unlike Windows, it has not been developed by a single company but by a wide range of contributors. As it is not owned by any individual business, developers are able to take it and make improvements and modifications to it. As a result, Linux has seen constant innovation over its lifetime, where developers have sought to iron out issues and make enhancements that have extended its capabilities. This has led to it being one of the best OS solutions available.

One of the consequences of Linux being open source is that, over time, different versions have been produced. Known as ‘distributions’, each of them takes the Linux kernel and builds their own system around it, each with different functions and abilities. This gives users a greater choice when choosing their Linux OS. Some of the well-known ones are Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS.

2. It’s free to use

The other major advantage of being open source is that Linux is free to use. As no company owns the software, you cannot be charged a licence fee. That’s brilliant news for small and medium-sized businesses who have to be careful with their budgets. This is one of the reasons that Linux hosting is cheaper than Windows hosting: if you use Windows, the cost of the licence will be included in your hosting fees.

3. It’s perfect for developers

As an open source program, Linux is designed to be played around with. This means that companies with specific requirements are able to give it to their developers to make business-driven modifications which they can trial in cloud-based testing environments. This is exceptionally useful if you are developing a new application or if you have an existing application that isn’t fully compatible with your Linux distribution. The only proviso is that any improved version that comes out of the development process must also be open source and free for others to use.

4. A robustly secure OS

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While no piece of software currently stands invincible against cyber attacks, Linux has consistently proved itself to be highly resilient. Again, this is partly due to its open source origins. With so many developers working on it around the world, any security holes are spotted and dealt with very swiftly with the quick release of security patches.

The other advantage is that Linux is much less of a priority for cybercriminals. Although it is widely used on web servers, it doesn’t feature much in other forms of computing. There are far more home computers to hack into and the vast majority of these are using Windows and Mac OS. This makes them far more appealing prey to the hacker – especially as PCs and laptops are generally less well secured than business servers.

5. A fast performing OS

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As a business, you want your server to perform as quickly as possible, whether that’s to deliver blisteringly fast website loading times or to run big data analyses. Although there are a lot of factors involved when it comes to speed, your choice of OS does play a part.

Anyone who owns a Windows PC will be aware that it can get bloated and sluggish over time. There is always a plethora of background processes hogging the resources and a regular need to defrag the drive and the registry.

What makes Linux faster is that it doesn’t format its drive using NTFS and nor does it have a registry. So, two of the things which are renowned for slowing Windows down are completely absent from the Linux make up.

6. Consider your app choices

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When comparing Linux with Windows, you also need to think beyond the operating system itself and to the wider software ecosystem. If you opt into a specific system, you may be restricted in the types of software you can use. Just as an Android phone can’t run an iOS app (and vice versa), there are certain apps that can only run on a Windows or Linux server – this even includes your choice of control panel app. If you’re a big fan of cPanel, for example, you’ll be disappointed to know it’s not compatible with Windows servers.

When making your choice, you also need to consider that the open source nature of Linux has led to the development of a multitude of open source applications which can run on it. These are also free to use.


Linux is an exceptionally popular and widely used server operating system. It’s free to use, continually updated and comes in a range of distributions, each offering their own unique features. It’s a highly secure system, fast performing and works with a huge range of other free, open source applications.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an eCommerce Business

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If you are investing time, effort and money in setting up an online store, you want to make sure it is successful. Often the focus for startups is on the products being sold and creating a website with the right brand image. While these are obviously important considerations, there are other matters which if not handled correctly can cause your fledgeling business to fail. Here are seven mistakes that eCommerce business should avoid.

1. Ineffective product photography

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For all its convenience, the big drawback of purchasing anything online is that consumers don’t get to see the product in real life. For most consumers, the biggest clue to what a product looks like is the photograph. The product image, therefore, is crucial to achieving a sale. Indeed, for 82% of Netflix viewers, it is the main factor in helping them choose a movie – so much so, that the company now serves different images to different audiences.

One of the mistakes new eCommerce business companies make is to overlook the importance of the product image. Photographs not only have to be of a high quality, but they also need to be resizable and show the product in a way that is compelling. For many products, a single image will not suffice. You may need to have a series of images showing the product from all angles and others which zoom in to show features and details. This is what customers want and those stores which provide this are going to get more of the sales.

2. Badly written product descriptions

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If a product image catches the visitor’s eye, the next stage of their purchasing journey will be to read the product description. Although no-one is looking for a long-winded essay, generally, customers do want more than a couple of lines of text. The more information you can tell them about a product the more they are likely to find a feature or a benefit that makes them want to buy it.

Any text should be in plain English with technically accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Details given must be accurate and include things such as size, colour, weight, energy efficiency ratings and part numbers.

3. Dodgy customer reviews

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After images and product descriptions, one of the other major factors that help consumers make purchasing decisions are customer reviews. Reviews are increasingly important as they let potential customers discover what others think about a product, warts and all.

However, as the BBC recently highlighted, there are some ecommerce business that will write 5-star reviews of the products they sell or pay individuals to write 5-star reviews for them. Consumers, though, are a sceptical lot: just as they are alerted by gushing product descriptions, they are equally as suspicious of a product with a perfect run of 5-star reviews. The moral is a simple one – don’t be tempted into writing 5-star reviews of the products you sell, not only is it likely to get you into hot water, it can have the opposite effect on sales to what you intended.

4. Aggressive returns policies

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From a legal point of view, online customers in most countries have the legal right to return goods bought online. In the UK, for example, the Distance Selling Act means that anything purchased online from a business (not from private individuals) can be returned within 14 days of delivery. They then have 14 days to return the products and the refund must be given within 14 days of their return.

While these protections are statutory, many ecommerce business have other clauses in their policy designed to make it difficult to return the products – such as making the customers pay for return postage or requiring special repackaging conditions. While some of these conditions are understandable, the main consideration should be on how these affect purchasers. If your returns policy puts customers off buying from you, it will lose you sales. Offering free returns may improve overall sales and help retain customers, even if it is inconvenient and costly.

5. Hard to navigate site structure

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It can be a challenge just to get customers visiting your site. When they do, you want to make the most of the opportunity while they are there.  You can’t do this, however, if they can’t easily find what they are looking for.

A user-friendly website enables customers to find products without any hassle. The easier it is, the more chance they will buy from you. For this reason, make sure you have your products correctly categorised and that you use menus and search bars. The search feature, in particular, should enable visitors to refine their search by things like price, colour, size, brand, etc.

6. Complicated checkouts and unexpected surprises

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You will be surprised by the number of people who abandon a sale at the checkout. There are two main reasons for this. One of the big issues is that some eCommerce business companies hide their shipping costs until the very last part of the process. When customers suddenly see how much more things are going to cost, they bail out of the sale. It is always better to include shipping in your product pricing and state that you offer free shipping. If you can’t do this, be upfront and transparent about what the costs are before customers get to the checkout.

The other chief culprit is an over-complex checkout process. Forcing customers to register on your site, fill in detailed forms or having list after list of last-minute bargains thrown in front of them can leave some customers just to click on the X. If you have a sale in the bag, don’t lose it by making customers jump through unnecessary hoops. If you want this information, ask for it after the sale has been completed.

7. Poor website loading times

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This is a problem we have mentioned numerous times before: a slow loading website sells fewer products. Even something as small as a one second delay has been shown to reduce conversion rates and website revenue by 7% and cut the number of page views by 11%. Quite simply, in the age of superfast broadband and 4G, consumers don’t wait around for a hanging website to load.

With increased competition meaning ever-smaller profit margins, improving your site speed by one second can be the difference between success and failure. To solve this problem, visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to discover how fast your site is loading and what you can do to improve your site’s speed. In addition, make sure your site is hosted with a service provider that uses high-performance servers that are optimised for website hosting, this can make a real difference.


As you can see, there are a lot of mistakes that new eCommerce sites can make which can have a negative impact on the performance of their business. Hopefully, the information provided here will help you avoid them and give your site the best chance of success.

8 Strategies to Boost Your Instagram Sales

9 Types of Instagram posts Proven to Increase Sales

When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, it sent a clear signal that this was a platform with real potential. Since then, Instagram has gone from strength to strength and its increasing usage has made it a place where businesses can have a real marketing impact. In this post, we’ll look at the platform and show you eight tips to help boost your Instagram sales.

A growing platform

Instagram has grown massively in recent years, expanding its monthly user base to over one billion. That’s three times as many users as Twitter. This has made it a very appealing place for businesses to advertise their products and to run social media campaigns. Indeed, half of all businesses now use Instagram as a marketing tool and in 2017, they spent almost £2 billion on advertising. With this amount of investment, it is obvious that these businesses are seeing great returns.

Advantages of Instagram for online retailers

Instagram is a media that focuses on high-quality images and video, making it ideal for posting highly visual and creative product photographs and marketing that can link directly to your online store. In this sense, Instagram becomes an extension of that store – people stumble upon a product they like and can click through to buy it. Nothing could be easier.

And with such a large and growing audience, it can massively expand your company’s reach, enhancing user engagement while helping to improve your brand’s positioning. Add to this the option to link Instagram and Facebook accounts, so that posts which appear on Instagram also appear on Facebook, and the potential for spreading the word is even higher.

Tips on boosting Instagram sales

  1. Set up an Instagram business profile

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Instagram now lets you set up a business profile, so you won’t need to rely on using a personal account to do your marketing. One great feature of the pro-style, business profile is that you can import all your Facebook contacts. It also gives you analytics data to help you see how well your posts are doing.

  1. Take advantage of the selling tools

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There are many tools now available that help you to sell products on Instagram. Essentially, these use a variety of techniques to let users click on your photo and go buy what they see. These clickable shopfront tools include ‘available to buy’ icons, item prices or ‘shop now’ buttons. All a user has to do is click on an icon or button and they are taken directly to the store or to your Instagram bio URL.

  1. Post photos that attract attention

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With millions of photographs added every day on a platform that aims to promote great photography, you need to post images which stand out. The better the visual experience you provide for users, the more your brand will get noticed. Experiment with different techniques of taking photographs and use filters and editing tools to create an identifiable brand style of your own.

  1. Promote your website in your pictures

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A creative way to get people to visit your website is to show your URL in the photos you post. Some do this with added text or through watermarking, however, there are more ingenious ways to do this – have someone wear it on a t-shirt or have it graffitied on a wall in the background, for example. Subtlety like this is intriguing and will develop curiosity without users feeling over-marketed to.

  1. Make the most of your captions

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Aside from the image, you can also add a textual caption to your photo. With up to 2,200 characters available, including the use of emojis, captions are a valuable opportunity to develop your brand’s identity, engage your audience and slip in those important calls to action. You can also add numerous hashtags, too, helping your post turn up in relevant searches.

  1. Use hashtags wisely

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Just as on Twitter, hashtags are widely used on Instagram, enabling people to search for them. For this reason, all your marketing images need to have relevant keyword-style hashtags added to their captions. Doing this helps your products get seen by a wider audience and ensures that searchers have a better chance of finding them.

  1. Attract Instagram influencers

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Influencers are a big deal on social media. If they like or share your marketing material, it can have a massive and instant effect on your sales. This is why many of the famous vloggers and bloggers now have lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands. However, if you can grab their attention they may like your products without you having to pay them huge sums of money. To do this, mention them in your captions and give some positive responses to the things they post in order to try to establish a relationship. While getting a positive response back is never guaranteed (these people have millions of followers) the potential results can be worth the work.

  1. Use Instagram ads

How brands are using Instagram ads | Econsultancy

Finally, you should consider paying for advertising on Instagram in the same way you would on Facebook. Instagram ads are more direct than a social media campaign and can have a quicker impact, helping businesses get established on the platform sooner.

One reason for advertising on Instagram is that, statistically, its users are sixty times more likely to engage with your ad than users on Facebook, leading to a much higher ROI.


As you can see, Instagram is a highly useful platform on which to market your products. Is it ideal for every business? No, you’ll need to research whether your target audience is part of the Instagram diaspora. If they are, however, following the tips given above should help you boost your online sales.

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