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Importance of Securing Mission Critical Resource of Your Web Server

There can’t be any two opinions about significance of securing a web server since it the single most important support to keep maintain online presence of any business. Hence implementation of multiple security measures is an important function of an enterprise that depends on performance of its web applications for its own survival.

Importance of type of web server

From the point of view of website’s security as well as control, it would be advisable to choose the most robust server such as a dedicated server. It enables website owners to exercise total control and also allows unlimited freedom to install security related applications to protect their mission critical business processes.

Another vital aspect of security applications is to make sure that these are always updated to the latest version by way of updates. The most critical component of a dedicated web server is its operation system such as Windows and Linux. Updating operating systems is therefore an essential security measure.

Stringent password strategy

Modern technologies do not only help web hosting services and website operators. Hackers and other cyber criminals also leverage advanced tools to break into security environments of websites. This necessitates adoption of uncompromised security practices by creating strong passwords to prevent hackers from gaining access to digital assets such as personal credentials of customers and their transaction history.

In addition to maintaining strength of passwords you should also make sure that these are frequently changed from time to time. Password allocated by service provider of web server is only a default password and it can be a source of vulnerability because hackers can easily gain entry into the server environment by hacking such password.

Generous use of upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numerical should be the highlight of your web server account’s password. It would be blunder to coin a password that reflects personal identity such as name, date of birth, vehicle registration number and so forth because these can be easily guessed by hackers.

Security tools and patches

Thanks to a plethora of security tools offered by Microsoft that provides additional security layer although the process of configuration is usually a time consuming one. Any software which is not updated regularly is home to multiple vulnerabilities. Patches and updates are aimed at securing your system by upgrading their ability to thwart intrusion attempts.

First and foremost, you need to go for the latest version of any application that is going to be installed. This way, your web server would not be exposed to hacking events. Additionally, routine patching will further protect your server from new types of malware attacks. Another important tip for maintaining security potential of your system is to perform scheduled server scans to prevent any possibility of security breach.

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Backing up data

Recent attacks of Ransomware and WannaCry have highlighted the need to backup mission critical data by way of copying the same at on-premise or remote locations. The backed data files can be accessed whenever there is any malware attack for ensuring continuity of business processes.

On site data website owners due to the convenience and economy of the backup process have traditionally used backups. However, one can never predict hardware failure particularly if the data is being restored to a pen drive, or an external hard drive. This underlines the importance of plan B to restore data.

This brings us to implementation of data backup plans at offsite locations. Off-site data backup facilities should not be perceived as replacement of on-site data backup plans. This should be rather a supportive measure to maintain data integrity. Location for remote data storage should be selected by considering several aspects including the security potential.

The place should neither be too far away nor be in close proximity to the on-site location. If it is at a long distance then physical access would be difficult. Remote location of data backup isolates the critical information from any threat of natural disaster.

Protection of databases

Security of databases assumes greater significance if the website is aimed at collecting important or personal information of visitors. This includes online stores, healthcare providers, and insurance portals. Recent cyber attacks involving SQL injection have made sever impact on the databases of mission critical websites.

You are advised to keep database users to bare minimum in terms of the privileged ones and make sure that every byte of data that is not relevant is deleted. There should be no scope for customer interacting with databases unless required.

In conclusion

In case your enterprise is short of expertise and other resources such as time, then you need to seek an expert professional assistance to make sure that your web server is secured against an array of cyber threats. Third part service providers can depute highly experienced professionals to remove vulnerabilities and monitor web servers by prioritizing security aspects.

In case of any hosting requirement, you can easily contact us for Hosting Requirement.

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Importance of an MSSP and Tips to Choose a Trusted Security Partner

Evolution of cloud has encouraged advent of an impressive spectrum of solutions including cloud security and associated services. Cloud applications demand effective mitigation of cyber threats through real-time monitoring. It is therefore hardly surprising that more enterprises are planning to leverage proven and reliable option for outsourcing cloud security to keep hackers and cyber criminals at bay.

Look before you leap

Cloud adoption is marked by the tendency to jump on the bandwagon and adoption of Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is no exception to this. Companies need to exercise utmost caution before choosing a security partner because they need to hand over control of majority of digital assets in the bargain. It would be better to insert an exit clause in the agreement to make room for you to regain the controls and exit if you sense any kind of threat to your data assets.

This calls for an established Cloud security service provider with demonstrated capabilities of managing security of some reputed organizations. These vendors are also known to have experienced and professional security experts on board. You must be able to differentiate between an MSSP and automated security provider because a right MSSP is able to identify security logic flaws specific to your business by implementing tailor-made security checks and accordingly executes the process of blocking attacks.

Instead of going by a broader perception of a highly reputed MSSP, it would be logical to look for a provider that has earned sound experience in securing data of enterprises that are operating within the same vertical as that of yours such as healthcare, insurance, or banking to name a few.

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Established MSSPs are a busy lot and you should never grant them the responsibility of looking after your in-house security operations as well. Ideally, an enterprise should make the MSSP align its operations to comply with your procedures and policies. In fact, before starting to search for a Managed Security Provider one should have a clear idea about what to expect from the vendor.

Unless an enterprise is capable of defining the security issue and an associated goal or an objective in terms of which particular applications, or database must be secured, there is hardly any point in engaging an MSSP. Secondly, your organization must have some responsible and knowledgeable person who would be acting as a point of contact with provider of managed security service.

Vital qualities of right MSSPs

Evaluation of a proposed MSSP must be carried out by making sure that the vendor is capable of offering a scalable model of managed security service. The present market conditions are extremely volatile and one should always anticipate a merger or acquisition. Scalability must accommodate upward as well downward movement to facilitate flexibility.

Proven managed security vendors are prepared to work with clients by understanding their varying security requirements and offer to make relevant adjustments in plans so that there is an optimum utilization of fees. This is particularly applicable whenever an unexpected forensic bill is due and the budget does not permit additional expenditure. In such situation, the MSSP must rearrange the breakup by throttling back some of the services of lesser importance. If any single cloud security service provider is not consumed, then the expenses should be allowed to cover other services with greater consumption rates.

Prior to appointment of an MSSP, an organization is bound to have made considerable investment in terms of internal security arrangements. This may include staff, equipment, and software applications. There is no point in substituting the entire gamut of such cost intensive infrastructure with new services of MSSP. The best approach would be to combine the current in-house infrastructure to its maximum with new solutions provided by MSSP.

What to expect from a right MSSP

Your chosen Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) must empower your security team with a broader knowledge and solutions that are backed by state of the art technology with seamless compatibility with the existing security arrangements at your site. It should be easy to collect references if your future MSSP has been associated with enterprises of repute. However, you should select your security vendor with past record of serving organizations that are identical in terms of size and category of your business venture.

In the very beginning, users of MSSP must define their security needs as well as vendor’s responsibilities by including these in well laid out Service Level Agreements. MSSP must provide a detailed list of the internal resources that can be accessed by users by thoroughly understanding their individual requirements. There is no point in getting associated with an MSSP with poor financial background because this may jeopardize your data security in the event of any future events or unexpected closure of MSSP.

Takeaway

Security of your digital assets can only be appreciated by you in terms of its value to the organization’s existence. This calls for a careful assessment of any outside agency, which is going to take over controls of such mission critical data.

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Securing Sites with HTTPS and SSL

Websites which had not been dealing with ecommerce transactions or sensitive data like patient health records or financial data like customer banking information never bothered much about HTTPs or SSL. But things have changed now, and Google itself recommends securing all websites with these protocols. This is not only going to be important for sites which wish to have higher rankings in search engines, but it also means that customers will be expecting all sites to have these certifications for data security. So, site security no longer remains the concern for only those dealing in online financial transactions. It is a much needed measures for businesses which are keen to optimize their SEO performance and enhance credibility amongst visitors.

How can you describe website security?

A website can be called secure only when many areas have been considered. What one will look for primarily is whether the site has SSL certification. SSL means Secure Socket Layer which is a standard technology capable of establishing an encrypted connection between the browser and a web hosting server. Here, the URL will be prefixed with an extra S besides the regular HTTP. This SSL certification will ensure that all data which is shared between you and the site which you view or interact with is completely secure.

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How does SSL and HTTPS work?

Whatever information you give to a website may be interpreted by an attacker in transit. So, SSL will encrypt this data which you give to a site in such a way that even if the data gets intercepted in transit, it cannot be read. SSL had always been considered imperative for websites which processed transactions involving sensitive or confidential information like credit card details. But today, it has become the standard certification for all sits in general, even those which may not be handling sensitive data.

It was in 2014 that Google introduced HTTPS everywhere and suggested that sites which used this would also be given better rankings. However, in spite of this incentive, not every website turned to this protocol. The ecommerce sites which had been using HTTPS continued to be the only ones following Google’s recommendation. However, in 2016, Google update the Chrome browser and explicitly identified those sites that were not using HTTPS as being “unsecure”. There are many desktop browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer which show the lock icons signaling that a certain site is secure through HTTPS. This is making online surfers more and more conscious about the need to visit only secure sites. They know that when a site is using HTTPS, it is credible and professional.

How to secure your site with HTTPS and SSL:

To ensure that the site is secured with HTTPS, you must have the SSL certificate installed properly on the server. You must also confirm that web pages in your site have been converted to HTTPS versions. It is also easy to find out whether the SSL has been installed correctly or not. When you type https:// in the address bar and give your domain name you must be able to see the lock icon which means the SSL has been installed.

Besides ensuring that the SSL has been set up properly, you must also ensure that all the pages have been changed to the secure HTTPS versions. If this does not happen, the site will never be regarded as being “secure” by Google. So, you can achieve this through proper configuration of the server, using redirects and testing. To make sure the pages have been redirected to the HTTPS version, you may try to use the earlier HTTP version to see if they are getting redirected.

Google may be concerned about making your website secure and that is why you resort to HTTPS and SSL. But, besides Google, your own users will also benefit from this change. When your site pages fail to redirect to HTTPS versions, it means that the data on your site is not completely secure. In short, it is exposed and can be intercepted by someone with a malicious intent. This data may be obtained from chats, forums, logins or browsing behaviors. No business owner will be willing to take such risks and expose his clients and business to that kind of danger.

So, online shopping or online banking would never be feasible if there was no way to make sensitive data like usernames, passwords or credit card details safe from cyber criminals. At the same time, HTTPS will protect your data when it is transit but not at rest, when it is stored inside files. So, you must also have proper ways to store information securely on the website itself. This all the more vital because criminals today can get HTTPS certificates from CA or Certificate Authority and imposter sites often show the HTTPS URL with padlock icon. What is worrisome is that these imposter sites are quite capable of infecting user desktops with malware.

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What Problems Can Surface From Similar Content on Multiple Sites?

According to a renowned Google Expert Mueller, many websites having the same IP does not really pose a problem. What however causes problems is when many sites have the same content. The problem came to the fore when discussions started to find out possible reasons why there could be a drop in web traffic when many sites had a common IP. Besides having a common IP, another point of concern was that the sites contained similar content and a duplicate structure. Mueller is of the opinion that as far as Google search goes, having the same IP should not be a threat. But, when content is the same and when websites are trying to attract buyers to similar products, there can be a problem.

How does Google tackle the problem of similar content on multiple sites?

In such a situation, what Google can do is to show the content from only one of the sites out of this set of “doorway” sites. Doorway sites of pages are typically the low quality web pages which have only the sole purpose of getting a high placement in any search engine rankings. This is largely a SEO technique for getting attention of search engine spiders and uses keywords that are most likely to be picked up by the web crawlers. Secondly, in case Google thinks that the similar-content websites are all doorway sites it can bring down all of their ranks. So, according to Mueller, it is imperative for the webmaster to focus on creating unique content instead of getting worked up about many sites having the same IP.

Mueller says that having a common IP for multiple sites has never posed any problem. Incidentally, there are many Content Delivery Network which use similar IP address for different websites and that never interferes with their performance. What can of course pose an issue is when you find that all the sites are just replicas of one another. This is when algorithms start to identify them as “doorway” sites. In the opinion of Matts Cutts who was the ex-head of spam team at Google, nearly 30% of total content which is found on the Internet is actually duplicate content. But users cannot see the other URLs containing duplicate content simply because they all have the same domain. So, web masters typically make use of conical tags and other methods for reorganizing websites and managing similar content on one domain. The Google algorithms have been programmed to sort through these but when filters are disabled; there are instances when many URLs dealing with the same content show up.

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Similar content on different domains can also be a major issue. When there are two distinct websites you have two separate domains and at time, the same content on different sites becomes unavoidable. This happens when they re-publish blogs or press releases. If carried out in a proper way, this is not going to harm the site. But there are certain instances when same content on diverse domains can end up damaging your site. Some of these instances include stealing competitor’s content, or site scrapers reposting copied content or recycling content from one domain to another that you own or re-using product descriptions given by manufacturers.

What problems can you face because of duplicate content?

– Often the same content on different sites tries to compete for the same types of keywords. So, it becomes very difficult for the original website to get a high rank on the search engine results page. Google may detect this problem of duplication and demote all the duplicate sites.

– Back links are a key component of SEO and when you have other reputed sites offering links to your web page, your site gains credibility and authority. But, when any copycat site starts to use the same content, other sites will not link their pages to your site because they cannot be sure if this is original content.

– When there are duplicate product descriptions in different sites, consumers can get confused. So, they end up buying from some other store because of the mix-up.

– When you own all the content on different sites there is no threat of copyright infringement. But you will always face risk of reproduction. This is because content thieves will select content which has been duplicated already thinking that the owner is careless. So, when you steal phrases from competitors or use a fill-in template from them, you are at risk of a copyright lawsuit. Moreover, duplicate content from competitors’ sites will never describe your business to customers.

– When you have sites using duplicate content, they will rarely give any new or relevant information to clients. When users have gone through the content previously they click away and this increases bounce rate for your website. High bounce rates are undesirable as they can lower web page rankings.

– When the same content on multiple sites use similar keywords for similar topics, users will also find these side by side on any results page. So, the original cannot be identified and users cannot be sure which site is secure. So, they stay away from all duplicate sites.

The trick is to create few sites but make these strong and with unique content. This will never pose a threat to your site credibility.

For more info – How Many IP Addresses Can I Have

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Gravity of DDoS Attack and Smart Tips to Overcome its Threat

Thanks to the ever increasing level of cyber threats, every website deserves a robust DDoS protection for its safe and reliable operations. There is an unprecedented increase in intensity and frequency of cyber attacks that are backed by sophisticated techniques.

Brief insight about DDoS

An attack that results in denial of any service including email or web connectivity to the general users or institutions is considered as DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attack. These attacks are executed by bombarding the targeted server with a huge volume of requests with an aim to block its actions.

DDoS attack is designed to cause widespread damage to normal day to day functioning of the enterprise or institute. Principal motive of the perpetrators of DDoS attack may be related to a revengeful attitude, or to extract money by causing nuisance or blackmailing. It is also observed that the attacker may not be targeting the website per se because the actual victims are the individuals who are depending on its services.

Whatever may be the motive behind a DDoS attack, the main victim or target of such activity is the server. This can be achieved by congesting the traffic and bandwidth, or attacking hard disk and database storage space with flood of requests. DDoS attack is also found to cause damage to CPU usage as well as server memory.

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Need for a sound protection

In the absence of any effective protection, your website is destined to vanish into the blue by going offline. The only choice left to you is to get it up and running by manual methods in the event of a successful DDoS assault. The gravity of such scenario can be overwhelming because it can severely impact your customer base, reputation, and finances.

It must be clear by now that the only way to deal with DDoS attacks is to thwart them before they can inflict damage to your online presence. Prevention is the best defense against most of the potentially dangerous cyber attacks including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults.

Reinforcement of bandwidth resource

This may sound to be a far-fetched solution for improving security quotient of the website but a higher bandwidth can certainly help your website sustain a DDoS attack without being pushed offline. Web servers are in a better position to deal with DDoS attack if there is sufficient amount of bandwidth at disposal.

The proof of the bandwidth’s ability in terms of security can be tested by observing websites of large businesses including Facebook or Google that do not suffer from downtime due to DDoS attacks. In addition to a large array of security measures such as firewall protection, the bandwidth of these sites as sufficiently large to reduce impact of DDoS assault.

Detection of an impending DDoS threat

One of the most effective measures to prevent an incoming DDoS attack is to detect any unusual activity. The attack can be mitigated by ensuring that the particular IP address from where the DDoS attack is originating is blocked. The blockade will prevent access of IP address and safeguard your site from the devastation.

DDoS mitigation is the proven and tried method of detection and prevention of the attack by identifying the source of assault in advance. Detection of the attack is also possible with some help from your own Internet Service Provider.

Whenever you are suspecting a possibility of a DDoS attack you can request the service provider to redirect the traffic if any attempt of the attack is detected. Reliable Internet Service providers have been of great help in nipping the DDoS at an early stage. In fact, there are several ISP companies that have designed packages that include these services at an extra cost to customers.

Prevention by detection and mitigation is an ideal way to eliminate possibility of a DDoS attack. These options are worth considering because of the value being provided in terms of securing the site against the major threats of DDoS attacks.

Smart and versatile CDN systems

Content Delivery Network systems not only enhance the user experience by positioning multiple edge servers close to the end users’ locations, but have also a remarkable potential to maintain the website’s performance in spite of a successful DDoS attack.

Thanks to the Points of Presence or edge servers that form the network of CDN systems, these can be used to provide redundancy to maintain online presence of the website in spite of any of these edge servers being impacted due to DDoS attack.

Other servers can be made to provide continuity of website operations till the time the affected server’s performance is restored.

In conclusion

Although DDoS attacks are growing in terms of audacity as well as frequency, there are several ways to deal with such emergencies. The oft repeated cliché of prevention is better than cure aptly sums up the range of solutions available to gain immunity from DDoS.

A Right Web Host Can Help Accentuate Business Growth

In today’s high-pressure environment, every organization needs to have a website that can speak volumes about their authenticity and differentiated value. A website provides an organization an ideal platform to showcase its products and offerings to prospective clients globally. A lot of aspects float in the minds of decision makers wanting to launch a website; marketing being the top priority. An efficiently created website can help in growing your business significantly by bringing more and more customers to you; enable product/service seeker to locate you; explain how embracing your business offerings can leverage them; and it can generate interest of investors, industry-biggies, and media in your service area.

Going forward, with any marketing material that your organization produces, the excellence of your offerings is arbitrated by multiple factors – right from the web security to fast, reliable, and low-latency connections. Regardless of whether you are planning to index your online presence for the first time, or update your existing one, there is a multiple parameters that you need to pay heed to, ranging from website designing to content posted and search engine optimization (SEO) amongst others. Unfortunately, some of the organizations need to face the failure even when they put all aforementioned endeavors, reason – they forget to ensure whether the website hosting provider they have selected is compatible and competent to support their proposed business agenda. Overlooking this aspect can have serious consequences. How serious? It can throw your business out of the market realm–that is how serious repercussion it can cause.

This blog attempts to throw a light on valuable insight that makes running your organization a breeze:

Remember, your business’ website is one of the most powerful assets as it will help you capitalize on ample amount of opportunities, augment revenue cycle and generate customer leads. However, all your entrepreneurial endeavors will prove fruitful, if only you know where to start and with whom to connect to host your website?

It goes without saying that doing proper research and asking smart question to the service provider candidly will keep your business at bay from the forged or incompetent vendors. Getting stuck to a provider who provides expensive services and poor performance, you know what it can lead to…No one wants to experience horrific business association, right? But, for that it is important to table right hosting roadmap that illustrates web traffic, conversions, and other important details.

There is a host of web hosting providers in India, thus there are smorgasbord of options to select from. This can have dual-effect – good and bad. Good in the sense that you have multiple options to compare, and select from; and bad in the sense it is impossible to compare every solution, which is a mix of genuine and fake providers both. Never ever associate with a partner that lacks security, performance and doesn’t provide flexibility to foster your future growth.

Before you sign up for a web hosting plan, make sure that you ask following questions to your service provider:

How Secure Our Websites Will Be on Your Servers?

Security is one of the most important attributes that comes into mind when partnering with a web host. In the cyber-influenced business scenario, feeble security measures can cause serious consequences. It is inevitable to ensure that the provider has a hand-on experience in taking complete responsibility of your hosted website. Not only, protecting your mission-critical website against unethical attempts is important, but also your end-users or clients that have showed interest in your offerings. A vendor that employs up-to-the-minute security techniques including vulnerability and spam detectors, power-packed monitoring systems and environmental controllers is a good to go option.

What is the Uptime Guarantee?

If your website fails to remain available to your end-users, the core purpose behind launching a website gets vanished. According to Google, a website that loads slowly or often experiences downtime issue has an adverse impact on its search engine ranking results. Website downtime can switch your potential customers to your rival’s website, which leads to loss of revenue, repute, and credibility. Ensure that the vendor provides no less than 99.95% network uptime for your business website(s).

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In this regard, you can read about the various web hosting aspects important for smooth business functionality: Web Hosting Issues that Can Kill your SEO.

How Data Backup process will be rendered?

Most of the web hosting providers in India often charge for data backup, but when it comes to implement it they don’t stand by their made claims. Look for a vendor that offers automated backups, which is taken on a daily basis. You might delete some files unintentionally or encounter hacking issues. Therefore, it is necessary that you take your data backup and its protection seriously.

Apart from this, ensure that the provider has right disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place so that business goals do not get compromised.

How Scalable the Data Center Is?

The other important trait that you need to give heed to is scalability factor. It is not necessary that if a business is capable of supporting your current business growth, it will continue to support when your website gains popularity. Choose a data center provider that provides portfolio of services so that when you need to upgrade your existing platform to the new one, you can easily do so. On top of it, also look if the vendor provides you the flexibility to switch to the required plans with ease and without levying exit fees or contract cancellation costs. Herein, a scalable data center allows you to handle spikes in traffic without leading to any downtime. You can add computing resources such as bandwidth, and storage when you need it and cutback when the need gets over.

Last but not the least, you should always ask your web host about the kind of support they are going to provide. Go for a vendor that employs certified professions and provides round the clock technical support.

Don’t fall victim to mistakes that can put you out of the business, instead be smart to conquer challenges.

How to Save Your Blog from a Bad Web Hosting?

It hardly matters how much knowledge you have about web hosting or how much you do research before purchasing the right web hosting. Chances are there that you may end up selecting the wrong web hosting provider and wrong web hosting. Sometimes it happens that once you hired the hosting service, then you get to know about the bad management or their degraded services. Thus, do you think that a perfect web hosting is a myth? This blog discusses some of the easy ways to save your website from your hired web hosting provider and switch into other compatible web hosting plan.

The question arises that how can you do that. WordPress is a CMS that is supported and used by all the web hosting providers. The migration of a WordPress blog in a website is easier and you can do it on your own. Some steps to follow while you switch your WordPress blog in a website.

First, you should take up the backup of all documents of the existing site which include; Theme files, Uploads, Plugins, Database and more. Next, you should copy the database to the new site. It depends upon you whether you do this manually or you use a program like phpMyAdmin to import it into the new site.

Have a look into these steps how you can get started with a new WordPress blog site.

  • First, you need to install WordPress on the new site
  • Once you configure WordPress CMS then you should use the database you have
  • Then you make should copy theme files, uploads and plugins
  • Be sure that everything is working fine and nothing is missing.

Finally Some Important Notes about WordPress:

WordPress is one of the CMS which have export/import tool built in. You should try these tools instead of doing manually. But, you should copy your upload manually for safety measures.

You need to be sure that you have downloaded the latest version of WordPress. It may cause error when you are shifting your database from one version of WordPress. Thus, you should feel free to take all the technical assistance.

Finally, a bad quality web hosting can be a nightmare, but one should not be bothered about that. All you need to do is to find another quality web hosting and move your blog as soon as possible.