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Give Your Website A Speed Boost

Our shared Linux website hosting plans run on a cluster of servers, to make them highly available. We constantly monitor performance and response times and determined that some websites running on the popular CMS, WordPress, needed extra resources. Consequently we’ve added more hardware to the cluster and some exciting new options, to speed up your website loading time.


Firstly, we have updated the load balancing software, which has provided an immediate speed boost to every website. This has decreased TTFB (Time To First Byte) response times by more than half.

Secondly, we have added two new PHP Versions to provide a more dramatic speed boost. ‘FPM’ versions of PHP behave differently, by keeping a copy of PHP ‘warm’ allowing for faster response times and processing, versus normal PHP versions which simply load when required.

To activate this you will need to log into the HostAway Members Panel.

On the homepage, select PHP Version Chooser. Select PHP 5.6 FPM or PHP 7.0 FPM. If you have an older website, that hasn’t been updated for some time you should choose PHP 5.6 FPM. If you have a recently built or updated website then please choose PHP 7.0 FPM. Wait 20 minutes for this to take effect and watch your website load times drop!

If you experience any issues switching to FPM simply change back using the PHP Version Chooser and contact us for help.

Do you have a professional email address?

A recent study by Ireland’s Domain Registry has confirmed what we already knew: Customers are more likely to trust a company that uses a professional email domain name than those which use Gmail or some other free option.

Commenting on the research, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said:

“Our research reveals that consumers see professional email addresses and websites as indicators of trust and authenticity. For sole traders and SMEs, this is particularly important. Anecdotal evidence suggests that first-time customers are far more likely to contact the plumber or electrician who has a web presence, rather than the one who just has a phone listing. Investing in a website that lists contact details, services and prices implies openness, accountability and trustworthiness.”

Despite the abundance of low cost options (our Email Hosting plans begin at $55/year) and simple website-building tools, a large number of companies still operate without a website, conducting their business using their Bigpond, Gmail or even Hotmail accounts. Would you prefer to receive a quote from joe_great_plumber@gmail.com or joe@localplumbing.com.au? Please call us if you’d like help in setting this up for your business, it won’t take long!

Google’s free tools for your website

Click on one of the items below to explore Google's free tools and help your website stand out from the crowd:

Google Business

Manage your listing, opening hours, contact details. Essential if you want to be found on maps and searches.

Google Webmaster Tools

View and analyse website traffic, health and security issues. Find out how Google’s users find your website (search queries). An integral tool for managing SEO for your website.

Google Analytics

View detailed breakdowns of your website’s audience including their demographics, interests, behaviour and lead conversions.

Google Adwords

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Create and manage multiple campaigns and reach your users based on their search keywords.

Google Adsense

Earn passive income by placing a Google ad code in the header, content or sidebar to capitalise on the traffic your website receives.

What is Office 365?

You may have heard about Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service and wondered what it’s all about. It is basically a set of software and services that you can subscribe to, and instead of paying outright for a license you can now lease it monthly or yearly.

HostAway offers many different Office 365 licenses however the most popular are:

Exchange Online Plan 1 – Business email with none of the extras.

Business Essentials – Business email with online Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) plus 1TB of OneDrive space (Microsoft’s Dropbox equivalent), Skype for Business, Sharepoint Intranet and Microsoft Teams (chat program).

Business Premium – Business email with online AND offline Office applications, which you can install on up to 5 devices. All of the above extras are also included.

We can set you up with a domain, DNS hosting and Office 365 account and have your business email address up and running in no time! You can mix and match licenses if not everyone in your organisation requires the same services.

The business email service, referred to as Hosted Exchange, has a few pros and cons:


  • You receive a 50GB mailbox which can be expanded to 100GB if necessary.
  • Sharing contacts and calendars between staff members and devices is made easier.



  • Your data is hosted in Microsoft’s cloud, not in our data centre in Perth.
  • There is less transparency so if there are mail delivery problems we need to liaise with Microsoft, which can take longer to resolve.
  • More expensive for businesses who have many users.


If you’d like more information about Office 365 please check out our pricing here or give us a call.

How to protect yourself from ransomware

You might have read about recent ransomware attacks named WannaCry, WannaCrypt, WannaCryptor, or Wcry, which affected millions of users in more than 100,000 organisations, across 150 countries around the world – and counting. As one of the largest ransomware offensives in history, this attack highlights the critical need for businesses to protect themselves against future attacks.

The ransomware targeted computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. HostAway was not affected as we consistently apply updates and patches to all of our servers. We run anti-virus software on our mail servers to block harmful emails however there is always a delay between a new virus/malware being released and the updates to the anti-virus engine. Therefore we recommend customers protect their data by following this advice:

  • Back up your files. Preferably to an external system or hard drive so malware can’t spread to it. Back up often and test your backups.
  • Don’t open attachments from unknown or suspicious addresses. Look out for obvious misspellings and don’t click on links (hover over a link to see where it intends to take you).
  • Keep your computer up-to-date. Many people affected by the latest wave of ransomware would have been protected if they’d applied updates.
  • Use an anti-virus program. There are many to choose from, it’s often worth the expense.
  • Don’t pay ransoms. You might not get your data back and it can encourage the criminals.


Should you require assistance please contact us so we can recommend some of the professional IT consultancy companies we deal with on a daily basis.

Is Your Website Being Flagged As Insecure?

The latest Firefox and Chrome updates are labeling websites that contain forms but do not have a SSL certificate in use as not secure, i.e. HTTP instead of HTTPS.

These updates specifically deal with pages that include password fields, and in Chrome, credit card fields, and will put warnings in the address bar to explicitly indicate that the connection is not secure. This is part of a long term plan by Google to encourage website owners to deliver all of their content by HTTPS.

If you need an SSL certificate we can install one on your website for only $49.50/year, although you may need to tweak your website code to force the use of HTTPS. We also offer Extended Validation SSL certificates (green bar) and Wildcard SSLs for use on multiple sub-domains.

Free website builder now available!

The team at HostAway is proud to announce the launch of our new website builder. This tool will allow you to build and edit beautiful and responsive websites with ease, using existing templates and handy widgets to make design simple.

If you have a Linux hosting plan you are now able to click on the Website Builder link in the left hand menu of the Members Panel, or simply visit http://builder.hostaway.net.au to get started.


  • Sign up or Login.
  • Create a new site by choosing a theme, then click edit.
    • Don’t forget to give your website a proper name when saving it to your profile – this will be displayed at the page’s title to visitors.
  • Customise your site!
  • Add new sections to your page by clicking on the Blue Plus icon after every section (and select from a variety of section templates).
  • Customise and re-arrange sections on a page, using the tools on the right-hand portion of the screen.
  • Add an element to a section with the grey plus button, or click existing elements to bring up their edit menu.
  • Add additional pages to your site by clicking the top-left page field (you start at “/Home”)
  • Preview your site in different sizes (Computer, Tablet, Mobile) from the Preview menu.
  • Link the site to your HostAway Account by clicking ‘Link this site’ under the Publish menu, and authenticate using your HostAway account details (domain name & members panel password).
  • Once your site is linked, you can publish changes to your site by clicking ‘Update Live Site’ under the Publish menu – the publish process takes 3-4 minutes to complete.
  • You can add and manage multiple sites across multiple domains from your Web Builder account.

Please note that once you link this to a domain it will remove all of the old files and directories you had in there previously. If you need a backup restored just let us know.

We look forward to seeing the wonderful new websites our clients will be able to build using this new tool. If you need a more advanced website created or don’t have an eye for graphic design then please contact us so we can refer you to our talented network of local developers.



Click here to download a manual with more detailed instructions.

Why we only offer cPanel on virtual servers

We are often asked by web developers why our shared hosting system is not built on cPanel. If you aren’t familiar with it, cPanel is a hosting control panel that provides a nice interface (GUI) and many features for managing email, websites, databases and DNS records. HostAway runs its own control panel software (we call it the HostAway Members Panel).

This is because our shared hosting runs across multiple clusters of servers which are load-balanced to ensure uptime and reliability. If a server fails your website will continue to be served by one of the other servers in the cluster.

cPanel is (usually) installed on a single physical or virtual server with your website, database, email and DNS all stored on a single instance. If there is a problem with the server everything goes down whereas at HostAway we have separate load-balanced clusters for each service.  For example, a technical issue with our web servers will not affect your email hosting. Along with other unique features such as our 14 day rolling backups, DDoS protection and 24/7 monitoring, our shared hosting platform is a lot more robust than a standard cPanel installation.

Nevertheless, just because it doesn’t provide the flexibility, complexity and security that we require for our shared hosting customers, it doesn’t mean cPanel is necessarily a bad hosting platform. We offer cPanel as a virtual server to customers who want to manage their own website and email hosting environment. There are alternatives to cPanel like Plesk (we can offer licenses for this too), Webmin (free!), Direct Admin (licensed) and numerous others however we prefer to install nginx and MySQL for single websites on virtual servers, to keep things slim and responsive. Just like any software, no matter what you choose to run you need to keep it updated!

The checklist every website owner should have

Downtime can cost your business money.  If you own a domain and have website or email hosting you should know where all your data is stored and how to access it. Whilst keeping track of your website details may seem like a tedious bore, in the event that you need them you’ll be glad you spent the time filling out our handy checklist.

Some instances where this will save you grief:

  • You wisely have your hosting with HostAway but your domain was registered years ago by that web developer, whats-his-name… I think he was someone from the Accounts Department’s cousin? Now your domain has expired and you don’t know how to renew it!
  • Your website was created by a web developer who wants to charge you ridiculous prices for monthly hosting. Without the login details you can’t move your website to HostAway. Oh no!
  • You’re having a new website created and your old web developer doesn’t want to hand over any of your login details to the new guy. Awkward!
  • You wish to leave HostAway (What! Are you crazy!?) but don’t have the heart to call their wonderful and helpful team to ask them for your login details. Hehe, just kidding, no-one has ever left us but if you want to be the first we’ll happily complete this form for you…and welcome you back with open arms when you realise the error of your ways 🙂


We’ve been helping people move their domain names, websites and email addresses to HostAway for over a decade and many customers could have saved themselves a heap of trouble and downtime if only they’d documented all their login details. Download our handy checklist now and contact us if you require any help completing it.

Why you should update your website software

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
– John Donne


No website is an island (especially not if you want customers to find you!) so as the owner/editor you need to be aware that you can’t set up a website and then forget about it. Now that it’s on the Internet you need to keep it up to date. It may help to think of it like a bricks and mortar shop, which requires maintenance and occasional remodeling to remain attractive to customers.

Keeping your website up to date has important SEO implications, as relevant and recent content is a large part of search engine rankings. If your website hasn’t been updated in many years then it may no longer be visually appealing and more importantly it may not have been designed with mobile devices in mind (from where the majority of users now do their searching!).


At HostAway we are more concerned with the code that makes up your website, particularly if your website runs on popular Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento.cms-market-share Due to their widespread use, these platforms are popular targets for hackers. Updates to the core software provide the following benefits:



The number one reason to update, new exploits are constantly being discovered which are then patched by the software developers.

New Stuff

Want the latest features? Need to use a new plugin? You’ll need the latest version to be compatible (this is a double-edged sword, occasionally older plugins won’t work with newer core software so if things break, call us or restore from your back-up!).


Feel the need for speed? Improvements to load times and page performance are often a major driver for updates.

Whilst we’ve mentioned this in the past, we want to remind customers of the importance of updates due to some critical vulnerabilities that were recently exposed in Joomla, affecting versions 3.4.4 through 3.6.3. If you are running Joomla we strongly suggest updating this immediately or contact your web developer!

We understand that many of our customers don’t have the time to monitor and perform updates each week. Therefore we offer a maintenance service for $200/year where we take responsibility for keeping your website software (not content) up to date and ensuring your site remains free from malware. If you’d like more information on this service or have any questions about how to keep your own site up to date please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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