If you are considering creating a forum, you want a platform that offers easy navigation, an attractive design, and exceptional performance. Like most people, you also want to choose one that is free. There is a wealth of open-source software to choose from, so how do you know which one will work best for your needs?
The first step is determining the type of forum you want to create. Do you want a bulletin board-style where users can post relevant content, or do you want to create a discussion forum to engage with others about the topics of interest? Discussion forums are the most popular forums, as they invite users to engage with each other. For a more in-depth guide on how to make a forum website, click the link.
The best platform for a discussion forum
Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is a free, professional, easy-to-use forum software that is designed to help users create an online community. You have complete control over the design and layout of the message board, and those on your forum can communicate freely with each other. The software is written in PHP, which is a scripting language designed for general purposes and forms the core of WordPress.
The features of SMF include:
Advanced user management options
Can support multiple languages simultaneously
Tracks new and old unread topics
Mods can be automatically installed and uninstalled
Actions are IP locked, preventing ‘hammering.’ Hammering happens when a user attempts to connect to an unavailable FTP server with no time between attempts. Most sites have policies against hammering, requiring a specific interval between each effort to connect.
The ability to disable member registration at any time
Place the board in maintenance mode which allows only admins to log in
Tracking that includes traffic, new members, topics and hits per day
Communication via email or SMTP
Ban members who violate the terms of service by their email address, username, or IP address
An “insert quote” feature allowing users to quote from previous replies quickly
Why add a discussion forum to your website
Adding a discussion forum to your website can be a powerful tool to help build a stronger connection with your audience. In an interactive forum, you provide a space for users to communicate with each other and, in doing so, you learn about your target audience. It is a great way to determine what your audience cares about and identify products or content that is irrelevant.
You can also passively learn important marketing information such as:
The type of content or merchandise that gets the most traction
What time of day users on your site are most active?
The gender and age of your average user
A forum is a powerful tool for content marketing. Introducing anything from a blog post to a new product via the forum on your website gives you invaluable insight into what your audience is thinking. A forum gives you a more in-depth look at what matters to your audience and lets you create content or merchandise customized to their needs.
A forum also allows you to build a genuine relationship with your customers, which drives customer loyalty. A forum lets you provide a feeling of reciprocity to your audience, who likes to feel that they matter to the person, company, or brand they have taken the time to visit. Taking the time to create and manage a forum on your website is a small reward to visitors and will provide an incentive for them to return again and again.
It gives you a chance to speak openly about your brand and the person or people behind it in a personalized way. No matter how terrific your marketing is, there is little that can compare to speaking directly to your customers. A forum has the potential to become a powerful voice about your brand. Two-sided interaction is a unique experience for consumers, and a well-managed forum allows you to create a space where your audience feels as though they are being heard.
A forum is also a great place to share information about things of importance to you. If you have a blog about parenting, but also love to cook, you can create a recipe board on your forum that encourages readers to interact and share their favorite recipes. If your website is about your construction business, but you are also passionate about the environment, you can create a place in your forum to discuss environmental concerns.
Using your forum for multiple purposes can have an added advantage of driving traffic to your site from unexpected sources. You might also find that when someone needs a new roof, they visit the construction website where they have been spending time talking about their concerns over global warming.
Are you handling your client’s data, or recording transaction information? What about dealing with other systems or generating new data? Or, storing data from computers, phones, or IoT devices?
In the matter concerning the use of data and their structured storage, databases have become practically essential. Of the various ways in which companies can store data, establishing a relational database that runs on cloud computing platforms would appear to be among the most straightforward.
Relational databases offer a declarative method for identifying data that are put in tables and rows. They are built based on SQL (Structured Querying Language) that helps to extract and manipulate the data from associated tables in a database.
Relational databases are useful in handling highly structured data and offer support for ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) transactions. They also allow avoiding data duplication.
Current market trends of relational databases
Over the years, relational databases have become better, stronger, faster, and easier to work with. They have become the most widely accepted model for databases. A survey by StackOverflow’s developers found that 58.7% of organizations do prefer SQL or relational databases over other databases.
Also, the relational databases will account for over 80% of the total operational database market by 2022, according to IDC.
This confirms that more and more organizations will be using relational models in the coming years.
While it is still possible that companies can opt to build their own server database in the cloud, they can preferably choose to buy a relational database as a service, like ApsaraDB for RDS offered by Alibaba Cloud. What could be easier?
In this post, we are focusing on the best relational databases and comparing them to help you select the most suitable one for your next project.
Best relational databases – at a glance
Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for RDS
Amazon Relational Database Service
Google Cloud Spanner
IBM Db2 on Cloud
Microsoft Azure SQL Database
Alibaba ApsaraDB for RDS
Alibaba Group entered the relational database market in 2016. In the overall database market, Alibaba generated the third largest cloud-only database management system (DBMS) revenue among global players in 2018.
Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for RDS is an online database service that helps you focus on your core business by controlling the administrative tasks that are related to managing a database. It supports RDBMS engines, such as MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Postgre Plus Advanced Server (PPAS), and MariaDB.
Below is the diagram of ApsaraDB for RDS
ApsaraDB for RDS manages complete database tasks such as monitoring, migration, backup, recovery, and other types of database functions. Further, it can also protect your network attacks or database threats.
Some of the main features of ApsaraDB for RDS include:
Databases are built in a high availability infrastructure for continuous database services.
Automated replication between primary and secondary instances, data backup, and log backup to assure data reliability.
It protects your data from being stolen, as well as address security vulnerabilities on time.
It guarantees the normal performance of database instances through regular maintenance and management.
The user can expand storage and memory capacity at any time.
The service is billed based on your actual resource usage via two methods: Subscription and Pay-As-You-Go. See the pricing section for more details.
Spanner is Google’s fully managed, relational database service designed to provide SQL, scalability, schema, automatic, and synchronous replication for high availability.
This relational database will look similar to those working with SQL, but with less downtime of a traditional database. Google Cloud Spanner provides features including automatic multi-site replication and failover, consistent reads, and global transactions.
Spanner can provide strong consistency and high-performance transactions globally with availability SLAs of 99.999%, even in multi-region clusters. It transforms the administration and management of the database and makes the app development more systematic.
Some of the main features of Google Cloud Spanner include:
It supports the SQL interface to read and write data.
It provides highly consistent reads with no interruption.
It lets you perform stale reads using the bounded or exact staleness types.
Replication is synchronous and highly consistent.
It secures your applications and data from fraudulent activity and spam.
It generates real-time insights into massive volumes of data in a more organized, secure, and cost-effective way.
IBM was the first-ever company to build a relational database, System R. It is leading in this market with a wide range of solutions, led by its longstanding – db2 platform.
IBM Db2 on Cloud is a fully managed, cloud database that provides strong performance and high-availability option with a 99.99 percent uptime SLA. Db2 on Cloud can independently scale and compute, and leverage security updates.
See diagram of IBM Db2 on Cloud
Db2 on Cloud supports various data connectivity methods and offers Oracle PL/SQL compatibility. It is deployable on both IBM’s own cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and you pay for what you use.
Some of the main features of IBM Db2 on Cloud include:
It provides multi-cloud deployment capabilities.
There is a 99.99 percent uptime service level agreement. This high availability option enables users to update and scale operations with zero downtime deployment of applications running on Db2 Cloud.
It delivers deployment capabilities on an isolated network, accessible via a secure VPN.
It simplifies AI-based application development using integrations with IBM AI and Machine Learning tools.
It supports independent scaling of compute and storage. With compute, businesses can scale up when demand rises, and scale down when demand falls. With Storage, businesses can expand their storage when needs grow.
It offers disaster recovery (DR) capabilities.
It supports SSL connections and rolling security updates.
Azure SQL is a fully managed, scalable, and intelligent relational database service that offers the widest SQL Server engine compatibility.
Azure SQL is developed on the SQL Server with 99.99 percent availability. It supports a built-in intelligence feature that reads app patterns and adapts to boost performance, reliability, and data protection. Azure SQL can be a great choice for cloud applications as it allows you to process both relational as well as non-relational data structures.
Below is the diagram of Azure SQL database
Azure SQL provides high performance with multiple resource types, service tiers, and compute sizes. It delivers dynamic scalability without downtime, global availability, advanced security, and intelligent optimization.
Some of the main features of Azure SQL Database include:
It continuously learns app patterns and adapts through built-in intelligence feature to boost performance, reliability, and data protection.
You can scale as you need, with zero application downtime.
It has built-in monitoring and alerting capabilities to find performance insights on a real-time basis.
Its business continuity and scalability features provide automatic backup, disaster recovery, load balancing, high availability, and automatic recovery from the datacentre scale failure, without data loss.
It protects your data with encryption, limiting user access to appropriate data, authentication, and continuous monitoring and auditing.
Azure SQL Database will charge you per database depending on their pricing tier.
This relational database comparison aims to provide you with information about different database options. We hope you found what you were looking for. In case you are still unsure or have questions, please feel free to contact us and our experts will talk to you.
Brief comparison: Alibaba vs Amazon vs Google vs IBM vs Microsoft
Leading Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools provider marketgoo has partnered with WHMCS, a leading automation solution for web hosting companies. marketgoo will be available in the WHMCS marketplace MarketConnect, a digital services platform from WHMCS that enables hosts to buy and resell value added services through one single centralized platform.
“We specialize in simplifying SEO for our users in order that they can leverage it to achieve online success. Making easy SEO tools available to WHMCS customers was something we had long looked forward to and we believe they can provide added value to any web host’s existing offerings.” said Wences García, Founder of marketgoo.
With this partnership, marketgoo’s DIY SEO tool will be integrated into the WHMCS MarketConnect platform, giving WHMCS customers access to marketgoo Lite and marketgoo Pro, enabling them to deliver an even more comprehensive solution to their end users while creating new revenue streams.
The marketgoo Lite SEO tool is the first stop for users that want to work on SEO and improve their Google search rankings. Their website is scanned every week and they receive a report with points for improvement.
The marketgoo Pro is the next step for the Customer, as it generates a report of the user’s website, presents a custom plan with prioritized improvements and step-by-step instructions on how it should be done.
User friendly, step-by-step optimization plan.
Tools and proposals focused on increasing sites’ quality traffic and inbound links.
Analytics to assist track improvements.
Mobile Optimization and improvements.
“We’re excited to see marketgoo’s SEO tools in WHMCS MarketConnect. WHMCS helps web hosts better serve their customers, and these SEO tools will further empower them to make a difference in their customers’ online presence,” said Matt Pugh, CEO of WHMCS.
Epsilon has been awarded Platinum status by the London Internet Exchange (LINX) under its ConneXions Partner Programme. The upgrade comes after a recent significant expansion of Epsilon’s managed capacity for connecting customers to the exchange via its Remote Peering service.
As a Platinum partner, Epsilon has been recognized by LINX for enabling regional and global network service providers and managed service providers to efficiently grow their presence with LINX and manage surging IP traffic demand.
The global connectivity provider serves a variety of customers which include gaming and digital media companies, over-the-top (OTT) providers and cloud computing service providers. Epsilon is able to bring global networks to two of LINX’s key interconnection hubs, London being one and also their exchange in Northern Virginia, LINX NoVA.
In March 2020, LINX saw a record-breaking peak traffic of 5.26 Tbps driven by growing internet usage in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Remote working, increased content consumption and growing usage of cloud-based applications and services have driven record-breaking traffic volumes across the world’s largest internet exchanges (IXs).
“Increased internet usage is driving the demand for remote peering. We are enabling our customers to scale-up to meet growing demand, ensuring they can continue to deliver an optimized end-user experience,” said Mark Daley, Director of Digital Strategy & Business Development at Epsilon.
“IXs and the use of remote peering are critical for keeping the global internet running smoothly in challenging times like these. We’re proud to be playing a role in keeping people across the globe connected and helping our customers benefit from peering. Our Remote Peering solution provides secure and on-demand access to LINX at the click of a button thanks to the IX-API project,” he added.
In September 2019, Epsilon became the first global connectivity provider to adopt the IX-API, developed by LINX alongside the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) and Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX).
IX-API automates the provisioning and configuration of interconnection services for peering at these three IXs. Epsilon’s customers and partners can now use Infiny to order and provision on-demand connectivity to LINX, AMS-IX, and DE-CIX in minutes.
“It is a unique and challenging time for businesses across the globe. The value of peering as well as partnership has come to the forefront of our industry. We are excited to see Epsilon become a platinum partner and continue to support more organizations to benefit from peering at LINX,” said Jennifer Holmes, Chief Commercial Officer at LINX. “The more peering options that are available to our members, the stronger our ecosystem becomes. It is great to have a partner like Epsilon to grow our exchange together and build on the initiatives that we’ve taken part in for the future.”
Epsilon offers remote peering at LINX via its software-defined networking (SDN) platform, Infiny. Remote peering allows more organizations to benefit from peering without the need to invest in physical presence at the IX. It brings users closer to where the content and services are hosted, keeping the traffic local to deliver a high-quality experience online.
With increasing technological advancements in India, the vulnerabilities in these technologies have also increased causing it to be exploited by threat experts of the cyber world for their own benefit. Cyberattacks across organizations involving phishing, malware and more have placed the critical information of governments, organizations and individuals at constant risk.
Thus, cybersecurity is gaining more attention than ever, not just in the news but also among industry leaders, policy makers and the public.
According to the estimates released by DSCI and PwC, the cybersecurity market in India is expected to reach an annual growth of 15.6% from USD 1.97 billion in 2019 to USD 3.05 billion by 2022, which is 1.5 times more than the global security market.
What are the main factors necessitating cybersecurity investments?
The report investigated the main reasons behind the high growth of cybersecurity in India. The factors contributing to this growth rate are:
Digital empowerment of the citizens by national and state level e-governance initiatives. Technology drivers involved Cloud computing, availability of information through devices, real-time information gathering via analytics, and more.
The attack on cyber security systems has increased about 292% in just two years, from 53,081 in 2017 to 2,08,456 in 2018. When surveyed, 91% respondents believed the cyber security incidents will increase in their sector by 2022.
The cybersecurity market in India will be defined by top three sectors including banking and financial services industry (BFSI), information technology (IT) and information technology enabled services (ITeS), and the government, the report estimated. Other industries apart from the ones mentioned here include energy, healthcare and automobile.
Overall, these sectors will account for 68% of the cyber market share. Some facts on the key sectors profiled in the report are:
BFSI sector is taking various steps to protect their IT infrastructure. It is divided into insurance companies, banking, and other financial institutions. According to the report, this sector has the highest investment (26%) in cyber security market. The main factors responsible for the drive involve technology adoption, increase in digital payments (annual growth – 20.2%), increased guidelines and regulations, and cyber attacks highly focused on core banking systems.
“The IT/ITeS sector is witnessing increased awareness on user privacy and is preparing for further regulations on data privacy,” as per the report.
42% respondents said that the main cause of cyber incidents in this industry is due to weak access control mechanism. Overall, this sector is expected to increase its spending on cyber security from USD 434 million in 2019 to USD 713 million by 2022.
India is among the top nations in ransomware attacks, and governments are constantly under the threat of cyberattacks all over the world. As per the same report, government in India is making strong commitment and steps to address cybersecurity issues. It is expected to invest USD 581 million by 2022.
Apart from these, healthcare is another major sector most affected by cyber crimes and is actively investing to address the issue by adopting e-health standards as well as security tools to protect electronic health data.
Apart from these, healthcare is another major sector most affected by cyber crimes and is actively investing to address the issue by adopting e-health standards as well as security tools to protect electronic health data.
Cybersecurity products and services’ analysis
Some of the key findings are:
Data security products are growing at the fastest rate (22.2%) driven by emphasis on privacy and confidentiality.
Endpoint security products such as anti-virus and anti-spam software, exploit protection, continuous monitoring, etc. are growing fast driven by concern among business executives to protect high-profile endpoints. There is high demand for real-time endpoint attack detection software, due to which there is going to be an increase in the endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions.
The IDR products will continue to be the most dominant product in the cyber security market at 32% of the product mix.
Security testing services involving penetration testing, web testing, application security, audits and reviews is expected to grow at the fastest rate (17.4%) as businesses are willing to prevent their systems from cyberattacks.
Incident response services are also growing (16.3%) due to high number and complexity in security breaches.
Security operations services is the most dominant by occupying 38% of India’s cyber security services market.
With more than half a billion people in India going online today, the need to adopt right strategies by the government as well as the organizations is important to spot and respond to rapidly evolving cyber security threats in India.
Larger and mature organizations have already recognized the need and have incorporated additional measures to prepare systems as part of their security strategies. Both central and state governments have also taken strong initiatives to mandate cybersecurity to protect against and respond to breaches.
TeleGeography, a global telecommunications market research and consulting firm, has released its annual WAN Manager Survey: Cloud Connectivity & Network Security Report. The report reveals an opportunity for enterprises to further integrate networking and security and adopt new models to prevent data breaches.
According to the survey, less than 20% of enterprises have fully or mostly integrated network and security teams. More than 40% have separate teams but work closely together on things like SD-WAN or hybrid network adoption. 15% have largely siloed networking and security operations.
“Enterprises are re-evaluating where security responsibilities sit within their IT operations. They are looking at greater integration between security and networking teams that will reduce risk while accelerating the adoption of networking technologies like SD-WAN. WAN Managers recognize the need for stronger relationships between these teams and we anticipate fully or mostly integrated teams growing over time,” said Greg Bryan, Senior Manager, Enterprise Research at TeleGeography.
Interest in Zero Trust Security remains high among WAN managers, while only 8% have actually implemented the IT security model. 31% are considering Zero Trust Security, 19% are in the adoption phase with a fifth of respondents unfamiliar with the concept.
Zero Trust Security is an IT security model where, by default, no user or device is trusted inside or outside of the network. It offers policy-based controls rather than a legacy “castle and moat” architecture. It has been designed to prevent enterprise data breaches.
“Zero Trust Security is making the move from buzzword to serious consideration. WAN Managers recognize the opportunity in going beyond legacy models and exploring the potential of Zero Trust Security in their organizations,” said TeleGeography Analyst, Elizabeth Thorne.
“The challenge for CIOs is to understand the foundations necessary to make ZTS a viable security solution. For example, in order to have user or device-based security policies, you first need to identify every user and device on your network—no small task for many enterprises. Regardless, any time a new architecture is proposed there will be hesitation and a period of assessment before adoption ramps up.”
The survey collects around 100 responses from companies ranging in size from SMEs to Fortune 500 enterprises. It includes in-depth interviews with 15 respondents across 2018-19 to contextualize survey answers.
Participating companies had a median annual 2018 revenue of about $7 billion and most were multinational in scope. In addition to security, the report covers Wide Area Networking (WAN) technologies, data center trends, and cloud adoption.
Dade2, a Managed Enterprise Cloud hosting provider, is happy to announce the launch of its Miami data center location. Immediately available in this location are Dade2’s Cloud servers, Dedicated Servers, Colocation and private cloud service offerings. The data center, located in Downtown Miami is just minutes away from Miami International Airport, provides low-latency and high-network throughput to both North America and Latin America.
Now, operating in Europe, the United States and Iceland, Dade2’s first USA datacenter location has been strategically selected to better cater to the needs of clients in both USA and Latin America. Dade2’s expansion roadmap demonstrates the strategic launching of additional regions by Q2 2020.
“We are seeing strong demand from network, cloud and content customers looking to leverage our DC in Miami for access to the Latin American market. With the Miami facility, Dade2 can offer access to the lowest latency route to LATAM and provide a full range of managed hosting and colocation services delivered by our regional partners,”Daroya said.
This Tier III+ Datacenter is HIPAA compliant and ISO 27001 certified to meet specific demand from financial companies.
one.com, a leading company in Europe that provides web hosting and domain names to individuals, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and small-office home-offices (SOHOs), declared the takeover of SYSE for an undisclosed consideration. The acquisition of SYSE represents the second acquisition one.com has made in Norway following the acquisition of Digital Garden in September 2019.
SYSE was founded in 1995 and has established itself as a leader in Norwegian web hosting. Originally created as a personal computer and hardware supplier, the business has transitioned over time to become a provider of highly technical web hosting products trusted by over 12,000 end customers.
SYSE’s impressive self-developed product portfolio includes the innovative Tornado Web Server solution which provides ultra-scalable and secure web hosting at a fraction of the cost of other cloud solutions. Further, SYSE’s fully white-label platform is deeply trusted by its reseller customers with a highly customizable control panel offering significant functionality and flexibility.
This transaction continues one.com’s buy and build strategy, backed by Cinven, following historically exceptional organic-only growth. With the support of Cinven, one.com is looking to continue to expand both organically and through acquisitions into its core markets of the Nordics, Benelux, the UK and the DACH region as well as other geographic regions.
“SYSE represents another very exciting step in one.com’s growth story – we are delighted to welcome the organisation and team into the Group. The partnership between one.com, Digital Garden and SYSE creates an excellent platform in the Norwegian market which will continue to grow,” said Stephan Wolfram, Group CEO of one.com.
“We have been highly impressed with SYSE’s ability to listen to customers and their commitment to delivering technical and innovative products to the web hosting market with outstanding support – they will complement our existing global development and support team exceptionally well,” he added.
Former Claranet Managing Director brings 20+ years of experience in IT services to supercharge Epsilon’s growth across industry segments.
Epsilon, a worldwide connectivity and communications service provider, has appointed Michel Robert (pictured) as its Group Chief Executive Officer, effective today. Having more than 20 years of technology experience, Michel will lead Epsilon’s executive leadership team to build on Epsilon’s global strategy in high-growth markets including Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States.
The appointment came at a time after Epsilon announced plans to target enterprise customers, through partners and directly, with its SD-WAN and interconnection services for secure and cost-effective connectivity between branch locations, data centres and the cloud. Michel will be joining a recently enhanced senior management team with the goal of accelerating the company’s transformation – Lee Myall joined as Chief Commercial Officer and Colin Whitbread as Managing Director, Service and Operations, in 2019.
“Michel has a proven track record for overseeing substantial business growth and played significant roles in developing new markets. His experience in hybrid cloud, networking and cybersecurity, alongside tripling the size of Claranet’s UK operation, gives us confidence in Michel’s leadership to take Epsilon’s global growth to the next level,” said Kuok Khoon Ean, Chairman, Epsilon Global Communications.
Michel succeeds Co-Founder and former CEO Jerzy Szlosarek, who stepped down after a successful 16 years with Epsilon. Since Epsilon’s founding in 2003, Szlosarek has grown the company from a regional carrier to a global leader in digital connectivity.
“Epsilon is a unique business with a diverse product portfolio and a well-established brand in the interconnection space. I’m excited to work with the Epsilon team to provide customers with flexible, scalable, on-demand connectivity and colocation services to support their cloud adoption and IT modernisation requirements,” said Michel Robert, Group Chief Executive Officer, Epsilon Global Communications.
“Epsilon’s strong telecom roots along with its ongoing innovation in software-defined technology and the Infiny portal bring a true differentiator in the Network as a Service (NaaS) market. I look forward to leading Epsilon’s growth across the enterprise segment and supporting the success of our customers and partners globally.”
Before joining Epsilon, Michel worked at Claranet, where he spent more than 12 years as Managing Director. During his time in the office, he led the business in the US, Benelux, and UK, as well as its global cybersecurity business and group operations function. Previous to that, he was European Solutions Director for Dimension Data.
WIPL, one of Asia’s fastest-growing cloud hosting companies headquartered in India, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Plesk, the leading Server, Website and WordPress management platform, proven on servers, sites, apps, hosting and cloud businesses. With this deal, WIPL will empower its customers with high-quality, affordable Plesk powered hosting services.
“In our quest to drive digital transformation, Plesk is delighted to have WIPL as a partner. We are certain that our platform’s features and scalability will enable WIPL to deliver countless seamless customer experiences,” said Nils Hueneke, Plesk CEO.
“We are increasingly extending into adjacent areas. With the unique Plesk management platform, we will offer greater convenience to our customers with the ability to manage their web apps and technologies using a single and secure user interface in the most cost-appropriate setting,” said Ravish Gupta, CEO, WIPL.
This partnership will be empowered by ZNet Technologies Pvt. Ltd. as ZNet is the distributor of Plesk licenses in India.