A Discussion on Email Relability

Email reliability is a very central and primary goal of OCS Solutions. We have dozens of scripts and processes that run throughout the day, helping our technicians ensure that your mail is received and delivered without a hitch. Customers expect their email to work with the reliability of a utility, and, for the most part, we achieve this.

Before we dive into specifics, I need to define our services. We have two separate email services – our Workspace Mail systems and our cPanel-based shared hosting systems. The majority of the items we’ll be discussing in this blog post are related to our cPanel-based mail systems. Our Workspace Mail system is on a completely different infrastructure and is dedicated to mail. It is a completely separate product and does not come with shared hosting accounts.

On our cPanel shared hosting systems, we serve both websites and mail from these servers. The primary focus is web hosting – email is provided as a free add-on to the web hosting service. While cPanel provides an extremely robust email system, any time you host email and websites on the same server (and more importantly, the same IP address), you may have issues with email.

This is a well-known fact in the hosting industry, but is something that doesn’t get a lot of public attention. I believe most hosting companies don’t want to discuss this issue because it exposes a critical flaw in the way email is handled. In shared hosting, you will invariably, from time to time, have a website that sends SPAM. This is almost always an accident – a hacking attack on an outdated WordPress site or something similar, but the cleanup from these incidents can be extraordinarily time consuming.

We have scripts in place that prevent large SPAM outbreaks. Oftentimes a hacker is only able to send a couple of dozen mails before they are caught and blocked. Even so, large mail providers have a zero-tolerance policy, and rightfully so. Because of this, our shared hosting servers may temporary be blocked or limited by some providers. When this happens, we immediately request de-listing, but this process can take up to 24 hours. In the meantime, you may not be able to send mail to some recipients.

This is a very unfortunate cycle and keeps our support team busy. While we pursue these reports diligently, ultimately we cannot guarantee extreme email reliability on our shared hosting infrastructure. We’ve had two alternatives in place to remedy this – our Workspace Mail product and our dedicated cPanel email server.

Our dedicated cPanel email server is a stand alone system that hosts no websites. It’s only focus is to provide email and nothing else. It doesn’t get blacklisted because it doesn’t have websites and thus insecure WordPress plugins and contact forms. It enjoys an extremely high delivery rate and customers never report issues with it. And, because it’s cPanel, we can easily migrate the mail portion of an account over to it and leave the web hosting part, simplifying deployment. Passwords, webmail settings and even address books can be preserved.

Yes, this process does create two cPanel logins. But if a customer had Google or Microsoft mail, or our Workspace Mail product, this would be the case anyway. Regretfully we cannot combine the two logins, but this is the nature of the cure – if we had a way to tie the two pieces together under the same login, it would be on the same server, and thus have the same issues as the email on our shared hosting systems.

In addition to this service change, we are also increasing the frequency of our scanning scripts to clamp down on spammers even more aggressively. We have deployed a system to scan for out of date WordPress installations and insecure contact forms and will be contacting clients who have these on their sites with notices to upgrade these elements.

Despite all of these changes, we must also admit that we are not Google or Microsoft, the world’s two largest business email providers. We’ve always been very forthcoming of our strengths and weaknesses, but it is clear that only companies of that size can dominate the business email hosting industry. We prefer to engage customers on a more personal basis and provide hand-crafted solutions.

I hope that you have found this transparent glimpse into our hosting systems and policies beneficial. If you have any questions about it, please contact us.

 

 

 

You Need Private, Secure, and Reliable Email Hosting

You Need Private, Secure, and Reliable Email Hosting

Sure, but Email Hosting is Free, Right?

With free email services, you are the product, not the customer. Your email data is used to help generate a marketing profile to deliver advertising while you work and converse with friends and family. You have no support, no guarantee of service, and you can’t brand your email address.

Marketing experts have long advised small business owners to have an email address on their domain name and not with a free email service. It’s undeniable that you@yourcompany.com looks a lot better than youteamvalor8491@gmail.com. Even yourcompany@hotmail.com has significant limitations. With our email hosting, you can use your own domain.

My Email Comes with My Web Hosting

We love cPanel. It’s an excellent hosting platform. OCS has long offered email addresses on your domain as part of a hosting package. cPanel provides good support for email. That said, it suffers from several drawbacks:

  • Inadequate spam protection versus proprietary solutions
  • Email hosted on same server as website

Let’s explore both of these issues:

SPAM Protection

The first is not to knock SpamAssassin – it is a good solution. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well out of the box for most people. It requires some training and calibrating to reach the maximum effectiveness for each user. Also, it being open source, spammers can run their email through it and know how it will score before they send, giving them a huge advantage.

Separation of Email and Web

The second issue – same server email – sounds like more of a convenience than a problem, but it can quickly become an issue in a shared hosting environment. While uncommon, outbound SPAM emails do make it through the email system of a cPanel server. Scripts and processes we run on the server quickly clamp down on this, but even a handful of SPAM messages can be too much for some providers. Every web hosting company must deal with playing wack-a-mole with removing servers from blacklists to ensure maximum delivery rates.

Our Solution: OCS Email Hosting

With OCS Email Hosting, your email is your property – private and secure. It isn’t scanned to build profiles on you like most free providers do, and only US-based agents are allowed to access your email only in the event of diagnosing an issue you raise (with your consent) or complying with a valid US court order. Since this system is on a completely separate cluster from your web hosting systems, it isn’t affected by the same issues that affect cPanel email accounts.

With our new email service, you’ll enjoy secure, reliable, and easy to use email service packed with an impressive array of features. An integrated webmail system allows you to manage your contacts, calendar, and handle all of your mails from the comfort of a browser. There’s support for Outlook, Thunderbird, and most other IMAP/POP3 clients, and our service works well on the iOS or Android platform.

You’ll enjoy 24/7 phone support and the peace of mind knowing that an entire team of experts is working around the clock to ensure your email is reliable and secure.

 

 

Let’s Chat and Shared Hosting Upgrades

Let’s Chat and Shared Hosting Upgrades

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks at OCS Solutions!

Shared Hosting Upgrades

All cPanel shared hosting servers have received significant upgrades. In addition to faster processors, we have also added more RAM and faster hard drives (SSD). Your sites will enjoy a significant speed boost without you having to lift a finger!

Although our Plesk servers are running on a newer generation of hardware, they will still be receiving RAM upgrades this week.

Live Support Chat

In addition to phone, email, and text (SMS) support, we are delighted to announce that we now have live support chat available on our website. Our world-renowned expert support is available via chat from any page of our website. Simply click the Chat icon in the bottom right hand screen to speak directly with an agent.

If all representatives are busy, the Chat icon will become a Help icon, in which case you’ll be able to open a support ticket directly from any page. Your request will receive expert care and attention as quickly as possible.

OCS Now Accepts Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum

OCS Now Accepts Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum

I am pleased to announce that OCS Solutions now accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for all of our services. Any invoice that you receive from us can be paid via Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum (ETH).  We strongly believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of commerce and are proud to join the growing number of merchants who accept these alternative methods of payment.

To pay any invoice with a cryptocurrency, please reply to the invoice and describe the amount and currency you wish to use. We will send you a wallet address and instructions, and once the transaction is confirmed your payment will be credited in US dollars at the current exchange rate.

Announcing Text Message Technical Support

Announcing Text Message Technical Support

OCS Solutions has a reputation for awesome technical support, on top of our extensive knowledge of web hosting, IT mentoring and other web programming services.

That’s why we are delighted to announce our new text message technical support service!

Any message you text to 256-973-9996 will be immediately converted to a ticket and will be responded to by our support staff as soon as possible. Since there is a character limit, we will be mindful of this when replying. If your issue requires more than text can provide, we may send you an email for more lengthy replies.

Why text message technical support for your web hosting account?

  • You probably aren’t spending a lot of time in front of your computer these days and you may just need a quick question answered about an account issue, upgrade or even a billing request.
  • Maybe your website is experiencing downtime, along with your computer (that happens a lot more than people think), and you need help figuring out the problem.
  • You have clients or customers calling you about a website issue and you need an extra “computer” and support to help walk you through the troubleshooting process.
  • If someone asks you a question, you can simply reply, “let me ask my web people,” whip out your phone and have the answer in the palm of your hand. Literally.

With text message technical support, now you can carry OCS Solutions web hosting, IT mentoring and web programming services with you everywhere you go.

Our text message technical support gives you the assurance of a team of professionals in the IT and hosting industry with the care of a family that wants you and your business to succeed.

Add our text message technical support number to your contacts today, in case you need it tomorrow. 256-973-9996