The Zinc team work within a wide range of Content Management Systems, but one of our favourites is WordPress. For businesses of all shapes and sizes, WordPress offers a flexible way to manage your site without compromising on functionality. Nevertheless, with the open source nature of WordPress comes its own risks; security is often highlighted as a risk factor for WordPress sites.
The reason that WordPress is sometimes considered less secure is because it’s open source. This means that the code used to build WordPress is available for anybody to view, study and develop for. This enables WordPress to become the open market of plugins, themes and ideas that it is, and for businesses to have a site that looks exactly the way it needs to. Unfortunately, this openness has a downside. With the source code available for viewing, it’s possible to find and exploit weaknesses within it.
With the right precautions, WordPress is a fully secure option. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the most used CMS in the world. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep your site secure by protecting it with the following measures.
Update it regularly
Wordpress is run by a core team of people who manage the platform, alongside teams of independent developers who created each plugin and theme. Updates are sent out consistently for WordPress itself, which then instigate a wave of updates for each plugin and theme. These are to patch up any new security issues that have been discovered or protect against known malware. It’s important that whenever you see an update button on WordPress, you press it.
Protect your login page
Unless you change the address, everybody with a knowledge of WordPress can find your login page. Changing the URL of the login is one option, but it’s a good idea to stop this being an open door if it were to be discovered. Start with the basics: don’t use ‘admin’ as your username and make sure your password isn’t easily guessed.
Secure your site
An SSL should be a step one requirement for all sites. They protect the information being sent from the site with encryption; this means that any forms that contain personal information, payment details or contact information aren’t easily found and read. We recommend this across the board, but it’s even more important if there’s any risk that the site itself could become compromised.
Choose your plugins carefully
The open market of WordPress plugins enables you to build a site without any real knowledge of coding. From functionality to appearance, it’s likely you can find a plugin to add to your site to achieve this. With this freedom comes risk. Ostensibly, anybody can add a plugin. At best, it could be low quality, but at worst it can have been created with malicious intent. Make sure that you check whether it’s compatible with your current version of WordPress, whether the reviews are good, and the usage numbers when choosing your plugin to avoid adding poor or dangerous code to your site.
Backup your site regularly
If you get website maintenance, make sure that a regular backup is part of it. If you’re organising it for yourself, try services such as VaultPress, BackWPUp, and or BackUpWordPress. This enables you to recover anything that might be lost in the event that there is a security issue.
When you’re working with an agency like Zinc, there’s very little risk associated with a WordPress site. We create our own themes from scratch and offer ongoing maintenance that includes backups and updates as standard. If you’re concerned about security, it’s best to work with a provider that understands the system and removes the risk.
If you’d like to discuss a new WordPress site, or improvements on your current one, speak to the team at Zinc. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Most people who have made an account online in the past few years knows that a secure password is vital for your online security. Nevertheless, year after year, we see lists like this with easy to guess, unsafe passwords. The problem is finding a balance between a password that is secure enough to protect you, but not so secure that it’s impossible to remember.
Security should be at the top of your list when it comes to a password. Here are some things to bear in mind.
Make it long
One of the techniques that’s used to try to break a password is to run a computer programme that ‘guesses’ every combination of letters until it hits the right one. For passwords that are three letters long, this would take less than a second to break. That’s why it’s recommended to choose a long password that would present more of a challenge to these softwares.
Make it nonsense
There are a few easily guessed passwords that most people with access to your social media could guess. If you’ve got your maiden name on your profile, tagged yourself at the house you grew up in, or posted a picture of an old pet, there are clues to the passwords you might use. This is even more true for the names and birth years of your children, your hometown or your school, all of which tend to be easily found online.
Make it unique
31% of people use the same password for multiple sites. This means that one breach can become ten very easily, with each new profile containing personal information about you. If you’re able to, make each password different. This isn’t to say it can’t be a variation of a theme – choose a core word or phrase that you’ll always use, then add in something that will always change like the colour of the site’s logo or letters in the company name to make it a unique password each time.
Make it new
If you’ve been using the same password for years, there’s a very good chance it’s been collected by a cybercriminal along the way. One of the most common ways that breaches occur is through the sale of credentials online. On a yearly basis, a good habit to get into is a password overhaul. Update everything to a new password, then if your information is out there on the internet, you’re safe.
If you’re worried about remembering everything, consider a password manager. There are plenty on offer, both free and paid, that can become your toolkit for a safer online life.
The Zinc Support Desk manage users for apps, portals and more for a range of businesses. The security of these is paramount, so if you’re starting out as one of our users, make sure you take our advice to keep your account locked down.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to use our portals safely, speak to our support desk today. We’d be happy to help.
In the online landscape, site speed matters. You might think that a few seconds of loading time never hurt anybody, but in reality it can have far more impact on your bottom line than you might think.
In fact, a slow loading website could be the reason you are losing customers and money. Research by Kissmetrics found that the average attention span for a site to load is short. 47% of people expect a website to load in two seconds or less. By three seconds, you’ve lost 40% of your original audience.
What’s more, a slow load time starts the customers who do make it onto your site out on the wrong foot. The same research showed that just a 1 second delay in load speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. This means if your business earns just over 33,000 each month, your load speed could be losing you over £120,000 every year.
Although loss of traffic and revenue should be more than enough to convince you that speeding up your site is a good idea, there are even more reasons why site speed should be on your radar. Since the implementation of the Mobile First Index last year, site speed is a ranking factor for SEO. Not only does Google want to promote excellent user experience, but a slow site will be slower to crawl, which will negatively effect how many of your site pages Google can find. Therefore, a slow site will rank lower, further reducing your traffic and conversions. Slow sites are a slippery slope.
There are a number of reasons why a site would be slow to load. Perhaps you have too many large images, lots of products to load, or slow hosting. Sometimes, it’s simply the case that your site was built a long time ago, and was never optimised for speed. Many of the actions that we would recommend to speed up a page’s load time deal directly with the way the site is built. It’s never recommended to make changes to your CSS or HTML without knowing how to fix a site if you break it.
Speeding up the site requires an audit to analyse exactly what is taking the site so long to load, and then working on the site. It’s likely you’ll need to minify the css, reduce image sizes and clean up the plugins you’re using, in addition to a multitude of other internal fixes. We’d always recommend you get an expert to do this to make sure that you get the most improvement on your site.
Is your site slow to load? The Zinc team will be able to help you. Whether it’s a quick cleanup or a full rebuild, you’ll see the benefit immediately. Talk to an expert today to get started.
We’re all guilty of ignoring that persistent little pop up or the exclamation mark in the corner. Updates always seem to arrive at the wrong time; when you’re in the middle of a task or a meeting. It’s so easy to click the ‘Remind Me Later’ button over and over, until it becomes a habit.
There’s a reason that updates seem unrelenting. The developers of the software you are using are constantly working to improve it. As a technology company, we know just how much work goes into every update we send out. Our flagship product, Synapse, is always undergoing work to keep it at its best. We send out an update every few months to add functionality, patch bugs, and keep the application clean. If you spot that little notification on your app, make sure you update it!
Updating is more important than a lot of people give it credit for. Here’s why:
You’ll get the newest features and functions
In technology, there’s no such thing as a finished product. There are teams of researchers, developers and testers planning out the next addition to a software. There could be a redesign in place that makes the processes that you don’t love far easier, a new piece of functionality that you didn’t realise you needed, or a way to speed things up.
The older your version of the software gets, the worse it is. If you’re keeping up to date on your device but not the software, or vice versa, the two will become incompatible and you’ll experience a lot of problems in the way it all looks and works.
It’s not just about features – it’s about security.
A lot of work goes into making sure that an app is safe to use and protects the data it holds. Nevertheless, a product as expansive and complex as an app can still have flaws that their developers never found. Ongoing testing is usually going on behind closed doors to push the app to its limits, finding back routes in and getting them solved before they’re found elsewhere. In the event that somebody on the outside world finds a security flaw, it’s often reported to the developers to be fixed. If you’re using an older version of an app or software, there’s a good chance that you aren’t protected from the security issues that have been solved post-launch.
There is a very real threat to devices from unsecure software. Especially once an issue has been found, it’s not unusual for it to be exploited by cybercriminals to target those who have failed to update. This is known as a zero-day vulnerability. Last year, 76% of successful attacks on organisation endpoints made use of this type of vulnerability.
All the prompts and prods to update come from the creator’s need to protect the devices of those using their product. They know that it’s their responsibility as a developer to protect their users from data breaches and security risks, but can only protect those who accept the help.
If you’re known to click the ‘remind me later’ button, take a second now to go into your settings and update the device you’re reading this on. Use it as an excuse to take a screen break or make yourself a drink – by the time you get back, your device will be more secure.
If you’d like to talk apps, security, or technical support, Zinc are the team for you. Get in touch with us on the contact page here.
Whilst browsing the internet you may have noticed that upon occasion you open a website and are faced with an alert from Google: ‘Your Connection Is Not Private’. It’s alarming, and usually most visitors do the same thing – they consider the site untrustworthy and exit the site immediately.
In truth, the sites that are displaying this message haven’t been hacked and aren’t usually trying to steal your data – they simply don’t have an SSL certificate.
An SSL (or a Secure Socket Layer) Certificate is a way to protect the information that a site is sending and receiving. If your site has a form, a login facility, a file upload, or an ecommerce platform, it’s transmitting data that contains personal information to other servers. Whilst the data is moving from your site to the destination server, it is at risk. The SSL ensures that during the journey between the two points, there’s no chance of anybody else accessing that data.
You can check if your site is secure quickly and easily – simply navigate to the site and look in the top right hand corner, in the URL bar. You’ll be able to see a padlock, or a ‘Not Secure’ marker.
At Zinc, we recommend installing an SSL as standard for multiple reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the protection it offers it vital. The business impact of a data breach is severe, both financially and from the perspective of a customer who no longer trusts a company with their business. Especially with GDPR, it’s no longer worth the risk.
What’s more, the amount of customers who will bounce straight from a site that’s being reported as ‘Not Secure’ is incredibly high. Some aren’t aware of how to bypass the alert in the first place, and those who are won’t necessarily want to browse a site that isn’t protecting their information. Research showed that 84% of users would abandon their purchase if they realised the site wasn’t secure. Are you willing to lose that number of your site visitors?
Finally, from an SEO point of view, Google takes its responsibility to show safe, useful sites to its users very seriously. Sites that don’t have an SSL will be considered as less secure, and therefore rank in lower positions than sites that can offer their visitors the protection of an SSL.
With an SSL Certificate, your site will have an ‘S’ (for secure) after the http:// at the beginning of the URL, display the ‘Secure’ padlock and badge, and stop displaying the warning upon entry to the site. It’s an inexpensive process that can save you a data breach, lost customers and poor Google rankings.
If you’d like to talk about your site security, get in touch with the Zinc Team – we’ll be happy to help.
It’s springtime, and in most homes that means one thing – a spring clean. We like to treat our websites with as much love as our homes. If it’s not had much TLC in the long winter, why not try to bring it into the summer with a fresh new look.
Nothing ages a site like an outdated visual. Design trends come and go, so it’s easy to tell when you’re in need of an update. It doesn’t have to be a whole new site – just a few new banners can make a world of difference when it comes to the look and feel of a site. The people and products in your photography might not look the way they do now either. Be honest with yourself regarding whether this is a good representation of your business, and if not then book yourself a fresh photo shoot.
How old is your site? Would you say that everything you do is the exact same as it was when you wrote the copy for it? You’d be surprised about the things you say that are out of date, products that aren’t there any more and statistics that are so old they are now obsolete. We’d recommend updating your copy on a yearly basis – little tweaks can help keep everything correct. If it’s all looking a bit old, it’s time for an overhaul.
An SSL Certificate
An SSL displays to your customers and to Google that you’re a website that’s secure. It stops anybody being alerted that your site isn’t private, speeds up the site, helps you rank more highly and protects the information coming and going from your address. It’s a vital part of a well-managed website, but is often overlooked. If you’ve got one, make sure you know when it will run out. If you haven’t, it’s time to get one.
Mobile traffic is making up an increasing number of your visitors – we can say this with confidence because it’s a trend that’s consistent across the internet. The phone is the go-to for a quick, easy search. You want to make sure that your site can deliver the answers that your visitors are looking for no matter what, so if your site isn’t responsive, this should go to the top of your list. Mobive design can come in many shapes and sizes, but the Zinc team recommend you develop responsive (not adaptive, which is tailored to specific screen sizes or a separate mobile URL). This will provide the best experience for a user, whilst maintaining one domain.
That Thing You’ve Been Putting Off…
Maybe this falls into one of the suggestions we’ve already made – in which case, that’s one thing off your list! Every site has a job that’s needed doing for a while but never gets done. What starts out as a housekeeping task becomes constantly moved to the bottom of the list, and then it becomes a problem. Don’t let it get to this point – get the little jobs off the list as soon as you can.
If you’re looking to freshen up your site, talk to your Zinc Team today. We’ll be able to help you from your SSL to your imagery – let’s get going!
Are you the kind of person who loves technology, problem solving, variety and a fast paced working environment? You could be the perfect person for a Technical Support career path. It’s an exciting line of work that enables you to learn and experience everything in the world of IT first hand. The industry is always growing and always looking for new talent.
There are three levels of support on most Service Desks, including the one at Zinc: First Line, Second Line and Third Line. These operate as you may expect, with the First Line Support Analysts being the first port of call for any ticket and escalating this up the ladder in the event that it’s a larger issue or something time-consuming.
The beauty of a career in technical support is that it allows you to build the job you want. Love being reactive and jumping on many problems? Be on the phones solving issues as they come in. Prefer to investigate and devote all your time and attention to one thing? You’ve got the skills and the knowledge to walk easily into a new role. Your Technical Support training has prepared you to move towards several other paths, or to become an expert on everything that a good Technical Support Analyst should know.
If you’re at the beginning of your journey, you’re likely to begin as First Line. You’ll need a base level of technical knowledge, such as Microsoft troubleshooting and an understanding of both software and hardware, but the main thing is to have excellent communication skills and an ability to work in a fast paced environment. To stand out from the crowd, consider these helpful hints from some industry professionals at Zinc:
Technical Support requirements comes in many shapes and sizes. Have a look into the sectors available to you and see the things each job description has in common. You might need an understanding of HTML, CMS, Servers or all of the above. Make sure that you’ll be able to answer some questions, even if you can’t answer all of them.
The reason for the tiered structure on our Service Desk is that often, a Third Line Support Analyst is there to handle the trickiest issues. They’ve usually sat in both a Second and First line seat, and can help for the tickets that arise on those desks too. Ask them and remember what they say – this way you can learn from somebody who has figured out the quickest and most effective way to do things. Write things down whenever you can, as a Service Desk always needs fast learners.
Train at home
There aren’t any qualifications that are a requirement for First Line Support roles, but some organisations will have their own requirements. The At-Home training you can do is to read and learn about coding, servers, CMS, and networking so that you can hit the ground running. This shows interest and drive that will be valued moving forward.
Train at Work
Moving up, there are many other qualifications from CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, ITIL and more. These can be expensive and require a higher level of knowledge, so are often supported by organisations who need their Service Desk to have this expertise. If you can find a company that will offer this, prove yourself as a good candidate by working hard, learning independently as much as you can, and requesting it when you reach the opportunity.
Don’t forget customer service
At their core, Technical support is a customer service role. You need to make sure that you are always professional, polite and considerate, even if they aren’t always. At a job interview, they’ll be looking at this just as much as any technical knowledge. If you can discuss a time where you handled a challenging situation well and diffused an upset customer, you’ll be able to prove you’ve got the attitude you need as well as the knowledge.
If you’re looking for a technical support role that’s all about learning, development and teamwork, see if Zinc are hiring.
We’ve all had that awful moment where the computer has crashed and everything is lost. Suddenly, it’s as if everything you’ve been working on for hours never existed.
Now, imagine that for your entire business.
There are many ways that your business could lose the data that keeps it running every day. Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report tells us that malware is getting more intelligent every day. What’s more, the goal isn’t always simply profit, but the destruction of data. Local authorities and governance are often operating on outdated systems and downloading files from people they don’t know – opening them up to become one of the thousands each year who fall victim to a ransomware scam. It’s not just data and revenue you can lose. Over 20% of the businesses that experience data loss or a cyber attack lose customers.
It’s not simply limited to an online threat. Everything from a fire or flood, theft, or a simple spilled drink could wipe an important computer. This is why, as a business, a corporate backup strategy is vital. A data backup is simply a copy of the information on your computer, from software to files. In an ideal world, as a business, you’d have multiple regular backups that are securely stored in different places (such as the cloud and in an offsite physical copy) so that no event could take down every copy of your data. This enables you to:
Recover data simply
Especially with cloud-stored information, recovery can simply be at the click of a button. This is especially useful for short-term recoveries – open an email you shouldn’t have? Simply cycle back a few hours and you’ll barely be missing anything.
Quickly provide information for audits
Keeping business records is a big enough job without the need to scrape old information together if it’s been lost and then requested. With regular backups, you’ll be able to gain access to everything that’s relevant to a particular time or department by simply scrolling through the years. This is useful for for audits, which can arise following a data breach. It’s also great for taxes and for simply maintaining a line of sight of how your business has progressed.
If you were to lose every piece of business information you have, how long do you think it would take to build that up again? A week? A month? A year? Realistically, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to have the same database of information available, but the time it will take you to try to recreate it instead of growing and maintaining your businesses as you could have before is often the end of a business. The downtime it takes to get a business back and running after data loss can be extensive and detrimental.
Do your work once
There’s nothing more frustrating than pointless repetition. Losing the work you’ve already done is a tiresome task that’s completely avoidable with a backup. Even one document could have months of work behind it – now imagine this with every file your business uses on a regular basis. By making sure you’ve got a copy of these files securely stored, you’ll save yourself hours of time and frustration.
Gain a competitive advantage
The main casualty after a data loss isn’t something tangible such as finance or files. It’s trust. Your customers and clients have entrusted you with their information, and you’ve demonstrated that you don’t know how to keep it safe. If you have the ability to bounce back immediately, you’re showing your customer base that you’re reliable and responsible with their personal and sensitive information. If your competitors aren’t so prepared, their customers will become yours.
Our Support desk manage thousands of users for the apps, websites and portals that we’ve developed. A part of that is helping recover and reset passwords – and in that time we’ve heard some creative passwords!
We’re all guilty of recycling passwords or choosing something that’s easy to remember over something that’s difficult to break into. Nevertheless, every year there are thousands of cases of preventable identity theft from easily guessed passwords.
A cybersecurity firm has released a list of the most hacked passwords from 2018. This list was gathered from millions of accounts that had experienced a hack. It’s thought that around 10% of people have used at least one of these passwords. There are some repeat offenders, with ‘123456’ and ‘password’ reaching the top two places for the fifth year in a row.
Take a look at the top 25 least secure passwords of 2018
If any of these passwords look familiar, it’s a good idea to rethink the passwords you use on a daily basis. This is especially true if you tend to use the same password across many sites, as one good guess from a hacker can lead to a breach that affects you significantly. At the very least, it’s vital that you choose a unique password for anything financial or that handles sensitive personal information.
To choose a strong password, try following our Support team’s Top Tips:
More characters equals more security
The best choice for a password is a long password. Many hackers use a dictionary based system, so combat this by combining two random words or misspelling them with numbers and special characters.
There’s a reason that there are cliches about birthdays and first pets – this information is easier to find than you might think. The best thing to be when choosing a word to build your password around is unpredictable.
Don’t get into habits
We’re all creatures of habit. This is something that hackers love to take advantage of. They know that the password they’ve guessed for one site is likely to be used elsewhere, and will try to access other accounts with the same credentials. It’s best to change your passwords so that the same one isn’t used all over the internet.
Consider a password manager
Most people choose a repetitive, unsafe password for the simple reason that they know they won’t remember a different, complex password for every account they create. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to use a password manager that can help you keep track. You’ll be able to securely store your passwords in an encrypted program that does the remembering for you.
Your password is the first step to online security. With a weak password, or a one-size-fits-all solution, accounts are easy to break into. Following that, one data breach leads to many as the same password opens account after account. Nevertheless, a strong, secure password for every site seems like a big job. Remembering every special character and capital letter and what works for each site is a quick way to the ‘Forgot Password’ button.
Zinc Digital’s Service desk support a number of platforms, and with that many users it’s natural that we get a lot of calls about lost passwords.
This is where a password manager comes in. It’s a piece of software on your computer that’s there to remember every password so that you don’t have to – no matter how complex. Depending on your needs, there are a lot of options on the market. Here’s what to look for in a good one:
As with any product, price is a factor for both sides. Most password managers have a good free offering, but you’re likely to be limited when it comes to the amount of passwords you can store or the number of devices you can use. If you’re only going to be logging in from one place, or just need to remember a few passwords, a free password manager will do just fine. Otherwise, pinpoint what you need from your password manager and choose one that gives you the best value for money when it comes to that service.
The encryption is arguably the most important part of the password manager you choose. If this isn’t offering sufficient protection, all the extra features in the world aren’t worth it. There are several levels of encryption – make sure that yours is protected with AES standard encryption as a minimum. If you’re looking for the highest level of protection, go for AES 256 bit encryption.
Local or Cloud
Password managers vary regarding where they store their information. Some store the password locally on the device, and some are kept on the cloud. With local storage, you’re only able to store your passwords in one place, but a cloud storage solution is more vulnerable simply because it is in the public domain; although there will always be encryption in place. There is no right or wrong – it’s about what works for your needs. Some of the higher-quality password managers will do both, so you can decide what is kept where.
2 Factor Authentication
Any additional security in the place where you keep your passwords is priceless. 2 Factor Authentication confirms your identity with a second round of security checks, whether it’s a fingerprint scan, SMS, or pin. It’s a one-time measure on each device that will help keep your data even safer.
Inputting every password can become a mammoth task if you’ve got a lot and they’re stored all over. Some password managers can import your passwords in from your browser so that you don’t have to trawl through and input them individually. Some also come with autofill so that once your passwords are in, there’s no more searching.
Password managers come with a wealth of additional features – they could help you generate secure passwords in future, double up as a digital wallet to store your payment information and even digitally store secure data like birth certificates and passports. The most basic, most important feature however is security.
2018 has been an incredibly exciting year for everybody here at Zinc. In the past two years, we’ve experienced more growth than ever before, with lots of exciting new clients joining our books and bringing us plenty of projects to work on. As a result, we’ve welcomed a lot of new faces into the Zinc office to keep us delivering a great level of service.
Meet the newest members of the Zinc Digital team:
Sam Malloy – Product Architect
Our in-house CMS, Admin247, has been around almost as long as Zinc has. It’s had updates, improvements and additions over the years, but never a full overhaul. Sam has been working on both Admin and our incident reporting app Synapse to give them a whole new look and an even better experience for our users. He’s an expert in working with Angular, making him the perfect person to work behind the scenes on our products.
David Moorhouse – Head of Technical Services
With an ever-expanding technical team and plenty to do, we brought in David to help us keep us as efficient as possible. He joins us from a background as a Lead Business Analyst, supporting our busy team by applying his expertise in both technology and management to help keep the developers, support team and projects team communicating throughout. With his years of experience and his dedication to working to a client brief alongside the needs of the team, we’re excited to see where David will take our Technical Services Department.
Sandeep Jella – Lead Tester
Quality Assurance is a vital part of every technical project. It ensures that the end product has been put through its paces, working out every bug and making sure that everything does what it should do. With the amount of technical developments we’re now dealing with, a dedicated QA tester was at the top of our list. Sandeep is well versed in all types of testing, from UAT to GUI. With his skill set behind us, we’ll be able to continue to maintain a high level of quality throughout our development process.
Zinc is always on the lookout for talented people to join our team. If you’re interested in being a part of a dynamic, innovative team, take a look at the careers page on our site today.
The Zinc Support desk is one of the busiest parts of the company on a day-to-day basis. Our phone rings more than 200 times a week, bringing us questions about passwords, security, site changes and everything in between. With this many calls, it’s natural that we find ourselves saying the same things over and over. Sometimes it’s a frequently asked question and sometimes it’s simply a technical term that isn’t commonly used. Our Service Desk wrote up a helpful guide to make sure that there’s no such thing as technical jargon.
Back End & Front End
In the online world, there are two ways to work with a website: the Front End or the Back End. Using Zinc Digital as an example, the website itself is what is referred to as the ‘front end’, and our Content Management System Admin247 is what is referred to as the ‘back end’. If one of our Support Team tells you they’re making changes to the back end of the system, it means they’re working on the part of the site that the user doesn’t see. These changes tend to be reflected on the front end in a more user-friendly way.
A browser is the tool you’re using to access the internet. There are a few that are commonly used: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. We’ll often ask what browser you’re using, as websites often behave differently depending on the browser you’re using. If you’re not sure, check on www.whatsmybrowser.org
Clearing the Cache
As you use the internet, the browser you’re using stores information about the sites you visit. To keep loading times at a minimum, the browser remember parts of a website so that the next time you go to that site, it can provide the information quickly. If we’ve made a change on your website, or something isn’t loading correctly, we might ask you to clear your cache to make sure that your browser is loading the most recent version of the site. If you’re not sure how to clear your cache, take a look at our quick guide here.
The best way to describe a DNS is by imagining a phone book. When we type in a website address, there’s another address which is known as your IP, which is what shows your computer where to go. Just as we find it much easier to read zincdigital.com, a computer finds it easier to read an IP. A DNS is the place where the two are matched together, making it easy to know which IP address leads to which site.
It’s common to confuse a website with a domain. Your domain is the name and address you’ve chosen for your website, but it’s possible to have a domain without having built a website. This simply means that you now own the name you’ve chosen, and could operate a website or emails from this domain if you wished.
Just as you might be asked to clear your cache, we’ll often ask our callers to do a hard refresh. This will clear the cache for the page you’re currently on, loading the newest version so that we can see if there are any issues with it. To quickly do a hard refresh, press Ctrl + F5 on Windows or Cmd + Shift + R on Mac.
Domain or DNS propagation is the process of transferring a domain to its new location. This can take a while to complete as every server in the world is updated with the new information. Usually we’ll ask for a day or so to make sure that everything is fully propagated and that your site loads correctly every time.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a way to add an extra measure of protection to your website by encrypting the information it transmits. Our Service Desk are responsible for installing these and ensuring they are functioning properly. If you’d like to learn more about SSLs, take a look at our blog here.
There are many types of server – for websites, emails, networks and more. Put simply, this is a powerful computer located elsewhere that is responsible for providing your computer the data it needs to function. When you visit a website, you’re asking your computer to access the server that stores that website so it can load on your end. In the event that there’s a problem on the server, there may be a problem loading the emails or website that it stores.
It’s more common than you’d think to lose an email. The first port of call should always be to check in your Spam or Junk folders to make sure that your email provider hasn’t automatically categorised the mail as malicious. Usually, this can be found beneath the Inbox, Outbox and Sent folders in your email client.
Your URL is essentially your address on the internet. The URL bar is usually located at the top of the browser, and is the place that you’d usually type in an address such as zincdigital.com or google.com. If we ask for a URL, we’re asking for you to highlight the link in this bar and send it to us.
Uptime & Downtime
Uptime and Downtime are terms used to describe when a server is functioning or isn’t. In an ideal world there wouldn’t be any downtime, but in the event of a server issue or an attack there can be time when the site isn’t working. If this happens, we’ll let you know how much downtime there was.
Our Support Desk will be happy to help if you have a technical issue with a site, an SSL, or any other service we’ve provided to you. Give us a call on 01604 598999 for help.
As a digital agency, Zinc build and host hundreds of websites each year. Hosting is, essentially, where your website is stored. The site is kept on a server, ready to be connected to when a user goes online to visit it. There are many options when it comes to hosting, but Zinc offer the two that suit the needs of our customers the most: shared cloud or dedicated cloud.
Zinc only host our sites on the cloud. This is because cloud hosting provides us with better flexibility, scalability, performance and pricing options that we can pass onto our customers. It’s important to us that the sites we host are easily backed up, and can be recovered in the unlikely event of a server failure. With cloud hosting, we’re able to offer you more security and stability than with other forms of hosting.
We’ll always discuss your needs and requirements with you, and make a recommendation based on our experience. We want to make sure that you understand the options available to you from Zinc, and can always make an informed decision.
Choose shared cloud hosting if:
You have one or two sites that aren’t expected to have high amounts of traffic
- With a shared cloud server, you are sharing the resources with the others hosted there. Most sites with normal use won’t have any negative effects on their performance by being on a shared server, but if yours is going to need an unusually high percentage of the shared resources, it may be better to choose dedicated cloud hosting.
You are hoping to keep the costs down
- For most people, the main reason that they don’t opt for the higher levels of security and resourcing that a dedicated cloud hosting solution provides is the cost. A server requires management and maintenance, the cost of which is divided between those who are using it. Therefore, if you have no need for the extra benefits of a dedicated cloud server, shared hosting offers a low-cost alternative.
Choose dedicated cloud hosting if:
Security is a priority
- Shared hosting is still a secure solution, and in most cases your site will have no issues. Nevertheless, it is still a shared space, and is therefore more vulnerable than a dedicated server that is yours alone. If you store a lot of sensitive data or (something), a dedicated cloud solution is a good choice.
You’ll be taking up a lot of capacity
- If you will be hosting several sites with us, or are going to be launching a network of portals or intranets, a dedicated hosting solution is a good option. It means that no matter how much resource you’ll need to use, your server will be ready to handle it without any other requirements being made of it.
At Zinc, we’re experts in everything digital. Our hosting is designed to give our customers the highest level of service with minimal downtime. That’s why we always make sure to recommend the hosting solution that works with your needs.
To talk about what your businesses needs from its hosting, talk to the Zinc team today.
The cache is a local copy of the from a web page. Some of the text, images, and data from a site is stored to enable a quicker load time . It’s used by browsers to keep load times minimal, enabling pages to load without having to download all the information from scratch.
Clearing a browser cache deletes the data that your browser has stored on a website. This forces it to load a brand new version of the site, so that you can be sure that you’re seeing the most recent version.
Internet Explorer (9,10 & 11)
Click on the Gear icon and go to Tools > Safety > Delete browsing history.
Make sure to uncheck Preserve Favorites website data and select both Temporary Internet Files and Cookies then Delete.
You will get a confirmation at the bottom of the window once it has successfully cleared your cache and cookies.
Exit and re-open your browser.
Go to Safari in your Menu Bar, then select Preferences > Privacy and choose Remove All Website Data.
Confirm it by clicking on Remove Now.
Exit and re-open your browser.
Go to your Menu Bar and choose History > Clear Recent History. If your menu bar isn’t visible, hold Alt to make it visible.
In the box that appears, choose the date range you’d like to clear – for your whole cache you’ll need to select ‘Everything’. Check all of the boxes in the Details section to make sure that the entire cache is cleared.
Click Clear Now.
Exit and re-open your browser.
Go the Menu in the top right hand corner of your browser.
Click on Settings, which will open a new tab.
Click on Advanced > Privacy and Security > Clear Browsing Data.
Choose the date range and data you’d like to delete, making sure that Cached images and files is checked before you click.
Exit and re-open your browser.
Go to the Menu (three dots in the top right hand corner)
Choose Settings and then Choose What To Clear beneath the Clear Browsing Data header.
Choose the data you’d like to delete and confirm by clicking Clear.
Exit and re-open your browser.
As a technology company, Zinc have always had to be proactive about data security. We’re currently working towards our ISO27001 accreditation, and advise hundreds of clients each month on how to keep their businesses secure.
Businesses carry an enormous amount of vital data, from information about your employees and operations to the clients that you have. It’s your responsibility as a company to protect this data.
Here’s what you need to know about protecting the data your company holds.
Your WiFi may be more vulnerable than you think
When a device connects to your company wifi, it has a connection to every other device on that network. In a business, these other devices are very likely to have sensitive data from both your company and your customers.
In order to protect your business from this kind of threat, a guest wifi is a good idea to ensure that the company data is isolated. This way, you have complete control over who is connecting to your network.
Generic passwords are everywhere
In the annual list from SplashData in which the most common passwords are named and shamed, ‘123456’ and ‘Password’ are still holding the top two spots. These passwords may be easy to remember, but they’re also incredibly easy to crack.
It’s best to choose a password that includes both upper and lower-case letters, as well as some special characters. We’d also recommend changing this password regularly, and varying it for different sites, so that one breach doesn’t lead to several.
Educate your employees
Almost two thirds of data breaches are caused by human error. By clicking on a suspicious link, downloading something they shouldn’t, or connecting their device to an untrustworthy network, employees expose their company to online threats. Education is the best security measure that can be taken here – many don’t realise the risk that they’re exposing their company to.
Keep your machines clean
It might seem like your machine is constantly suggesting updates, but this is for a very good reason. Often, these updates are a steady stream of patches for the security issues that have only just been discovered. If you don’t update, your software isn’t prepared to defend against risks that are now known to people who will want to take advantage of them.
Always keep a backup
Most companies have a contingency plan for disasters such as a data-centre outage or a physical problem, but it’s common to overlook a cyber-attack. It’s important to consistently backup your files to avoid any data loss. A regular backup is vital, but many companies don’t have one, or fail to store it in a safe place in preparation for an online attack.
Here at Zinc, we keep a daily backup so that we can restore everything we’ve been working on. This is stored on the cloud, so that it can be recovered in any event.
Zinc’s technology and support departments depend on good security measures. Make sure that your company is taking care of its data, and the data of your customers by speaking to our support team.
Pictures are a vital part of any web page, but they can become problematic when it’s time to add one to your site.
In many CMS systems, including Admin247, there is a maximum image size for uploads. This can become a problem when trying to upload high-res images that are often much larger than 2MB.
Similarly, headers, footers and site images often need to conform to specific size limits, to keep the site looking the way it should.
Knowing how to crop or resize an image to suit your needs is a helpful skill. There is no default tool on Windows that allows you to do this easily. Although it’s possible to crop or resize using Preview on a Mac, the tool also has limitations.
For this reason, we recommend using picresize.com. This allows you to choose a maximum file size, as well as cropping to specifications such as a certain banner size.
For more tips from our Support team, follow the blog and our social media. To learn more about the support we offer, check out our Support page.
Zinc Digital has a dedicated support team that is always on hand to help our clients. We take hundreds of calls each week that span a whole range of topics, from questions regarding admin247 (our bespoke CMS) to the SSL certificates and hosting services we provide.
A Hard Refresh is something we ask clients to do regularly. We often get calls about site amendments or pages that are not performing as they should. After the necessary changes have been made, we may ask you to visit the page to ensure that they are loading correctly.
Modern day browsers make a cache of information from each page to help it load quickly. This means that some changes may not be reflected, as the new information isn’t being loaded fully. This is why we ask for a hard refresh.
A hard refresh temporarily clears the cache for the specific page you’re looking at. This ensures that the browser will load the most recent version, and you should be able to see the changes made.
The keyboard shortcuts for a hard refresh change depending on what sort of computer you have.
CTRL + R
âŒ˜ Cmd + â‡§
The QuickTip series is written by the Zinc Support Team to help solve some of their most frequently asked questions.
For more information, or to find out about the support we offer, have a look at our support page.
At the Service Desk, one of the first things we often ask is what operating system you are using. We ask this because some issues are specific to certain system versions. When we try to replicate your issue, we need to know the age and version of your OS to do so.
Although you might know the kind of computer you’re working on, or the name of your OS, most people don’t know the version number. Luckily, it’s a simple process to find this information out.
Click the Apple menu at the top of your screen then click About this Mac. The version number is beneath the OS name
Windows 10 – Go to Start, enter ‘About your PC’, and then select ‘About your PC’. Look under PC for Edition to find out your version and edition of Windows.
Windows 8 – On the Start screen, type Computer, right-click on Computer, and click Properties. Then look under Windows edition for the version.
Windows 7 – Click Start, right click Computer then click Properties. Look in System to see the version number.
Windows Vista – Click Start, then click Control Panel->System and Maintenance->System.
Windows XP – Click Start -> RunType winver then click OK. If Windows prompts you to verify drivers, click No.
Open a terminal program (get to a command prompt) and type uname -a. This will give you your kernel version, but might not mention the distribution you’re running. To find out the distribution (e.g. Ubuntu) try lsb_release -a or cat /etc/release or cat /etc/issue or cat /proc/version
Mobile and Devices
Go to Settings -> General -> About. Scroll down to look at version
Go to Settings -> System -> About Device -> Software
Here at our Service Desk, we receive hundreds of Service Requests each week. One of the most common reasons that clients contact us is for help making changes to their site, updating content or fixing minor issues.
At Zinc, we try to get these Service Requests solved as quickly and effectively as possible. We want to ensure our clients have the minimum amount of downtime, so to get things fixed quickly, we ask that you include some important information in your Service Request.
Here’s what we need to know from you to get a Service Request solved.
The easier it is for us to find the issues, the quicker we can sort it out. When submitting your Service Request, always add in a URL to the page where you see the problem so that we can go straight there and see exactly what you mean.
When it comes to understanding the problem, there’s rarely such thing as too much detail. Describe what’s happening and anything you’ve tried yourself. If necessary, add screenshots for more clarity. That way, we don’t have to follow up with you to figure out the issue.
When it comes to site changes and content updates, it’s important for us to know exactly how you’d like your changes done. If you let us know exactly what you hope is done, we can either get things done easily, or discuss your options with you.
For more information on the Digital Support we offer at Zinc, click here