Categories
Linux Server Administration Tips

Put process in background by nohup command in Linux

For example, a command like this could run a few days if there are so many images:

tar zcf xxxx.images.tgz *

So it’s best to put it in background when started, by nohup:

nohup tar zcf xxxx.images.tgz * > nohup.log 2>&1 &

Categories
Linux Server Administration Tips

Whitelist server IPs for SSH connection against ERROR – ssh: connect to host port: Connection refused

If you have multiple servers you’d probably need rsync to transfer files among servers via SSH. An error like this, however, will occur when CSF protects the servers against malicious SSH connection attempts:

ssh: connect to host example.com port 9999: Connection refused
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (0 bytes received so far) [Receiver]
rsync error: unexplained error (code 255) at io.c(226) [Receiver=x.x.x]

The solution is very simple. Just whitelist each server IP on the other server and vice versa:

csf -a 1.1.1.1

Wherein 1.1.1.1 is the other server. And perform the same:

csf -a 2.2.2.2

On the other server.

That’s it. Now you can freely SSH from and to the 2 servers.

Categories
Business and Marketing How I Do Marketing

10 Best Mass Emailing Tools

Many studies have been done, all with the same results. The average email marketing campaign yields low conversion rates. Marketing Insider reports that only 1 in 5 of your email recipients are going to open your email, and even worse, for every 100 marketing emails you send, 3 will convert to a subscription, purchase, or just a click on a link. That’s only 3%.

As dismal as that sounds, mass email marketing campaigns cost less than other digital marketing methods, so the cost per conversion is less. To reach a profitable goal, it takes a lot of emails and work to pull off a successful email campaign. The good news is, you don’t have to do all the work. There are plenty of products and services to choose from to manage every step of a mass email marketing strategy.

After examining many of the options available, this article presents the 10 best mass emailing tools, their pricing, pros, and cons.

1. Sendinblue

https://www.sendinblue.com/

Sendinblue is an all-in-one tool for a small business. Its features include those you would expect to find in any email marketing tool, including A/B testing, analytics, reports, email editor, templates, segmentation, and bulk and transactional email delivery.

Sendinblue offers a free version that gives you 9,000 emails each month, but you can only send 300 per day. Their Lite version is $25/mo. The limit per month is increased to 10,000, and the daily limit is removed.

The Lite version includes A/B testing and advanced analytics. An important difference between the free and the Lite version is the option to remove the Sendinblue logo.

Pros:

  • Easy to use plugins for WordPress, Magneto, and other platforms
  • Simple, easy to use message creation tools
  • Simple and intuitive methods to select your recipients
  • Uses a machine learning-powered send time optimizer

Cons:

  • Creation tools lack features provided by their competitors

There are no hidden fees for longer contact lists. Their pricing structure allows you to send up to 20,000 emails per month for just $65, if 10,000 isn’t enough for you. With pricing by the number of emails sent, you can work with an extensive list, sending smaller monthly bursts to control your budget.

2. Elastic Email

https://elasticemail.com/

Elastic Email enables you to create multiple campaigns with different send times, scheduling, and more. In addition to great analytics, Elastic Email has a drag & drop editor, making it simple and easy to use their templates to create great-looking emails.

Elastic Email offers two plans, Unlimited and Unlimited Pro. The Unlimited Pro plan provides extra features not available in the Unlimited plan (i.e., extended logs, faster delivery, and webhooks.)

With the Unlimited plan, you can send unlimited emails to a list of up to 5,000 contacts for $15/mo. Between 5,001 – 10,000, the cost is $25/mo.

Pros:

  • High delivery rates
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Low price point for small and big companies

Cons:

  • The user interface is outdated
  • Some customers report high delivery rates while others report emails going to spam
  • Customer support needs improvement

3. Moosend

https://moosend.com/

Moosend has an award-winning user interface accessing a powerful email marketing platform. It manages multiple email campaigns, as well as multiple mailing lists. Moosend includes a built-in, intuitive editor to create your emails and newsletters.

Moosend offers a free option for up to 1,000 subscribers. With lists longer than 1,000, the price increases with the size of your list. For example, $10/mo supports 2,000, $30/mo for 5,000, and $125/mo for 20,000 subscribers. There is no limit on the number of emails you can send each month.

Pros:

  • Pricing is easy to calculate and competitive
  • Excellent customer support
  • Technical support is very responsive

Cons:

  • Not as many integrations as its competitors

For a small business just starting to build its customer base, the free plan provides all you need. As your business grows past the limitations of the free plan, pricing is easily calculated and competitive. When starting something new, you never want to leave money on the table. With Moosend, there is no investment required as you learn about digital marketing.

4. EmailOctopus

https://emailoctopus.com/

EmailOctopus is a low-cost email marketing tool. It is rated high for deliverability, which means more emails get through to your recipients. If someone doesn’t receive the email you sent during a campaign, it is an opportunity lost.

EmailOctopus includes great segmentation features, which helps you create segments within your list based on customer data. EmailOctopus provides segmentation at a price most new businesses can afford.

Pros:

  • High delivery rates
  • Spam complaints are rare
  • Integrated with Amazon’s SES web service

Cons:

  • Not competitive when it comes to automation features

5. Campaign Monitor

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/

The quality of the messages you can create with Campaign Monitor’s drag-and-drop builder will improve subscribers’ engagement and promote loyal readership, leading to more conversions.

Campaign Monitor does not have a free plan or a free trial. Their Basic plan is only $9/mo and allows up to 2,500 emails, but with limited features. Automated time zone sending, a countdown timer, and unlimited spam testing are available in the $29/mo plan, which is worth considering as it includes unlimited emails.

Pros:

  • The email builder creates memorable emails, increasing loyalty and conversion rates
  • Schedules timed email sends, increasing open rates

Cons:

  • No free trial or free plan
  • Templates for the editor are not free

6. GetResponse

https://www.getresponse.com/

GetResponse includes automation tools for small and big businesses and makes use of customer behavior data to improve conversion rates with personalized email messages.

GetResponse offers a free 30-day trial of any of their plans. Their Basic plan supports an email list of up to 1,000 for $15/mo. $45/mo supports up to 5,000. You only need their Basic package unless you are building a larger, integrated marketing team. The number of emails you can send is unlimited.

Pros:

  • Most features are available in the Basic plan, including automation
  • Easy setup
  • Works well with affiliate marketers, allowing cold lead emails
  • Offers an affiliate program

Cons:

  • Does not offer a free plan
  • Needs better analytic data
  • Limited automation capabilities

7. Constant Contact

https://www.constantcontact.com/

Constant Contact is a great solution for smaller businesses with simple email marketing needs. Real-time tracking tools report who’s opening, clicking, and sharing your emails. Constant Contact includes customizable, responsive templates.

Constant Contact does not offer a free plan or trial period. Their starting plan, called the Email plan, is priced at $20/mo for a list of 500 subscribers. If you need email automation, the Email Plus plan is $45/mo, also for a list of 500. Their pricing is based on the number of contacts on your list. The Email plan for 2,501-5,000 subscribers is $65/mo.

Pros:

  • There are a large number of templates available
  • Clean and easy to use interface
  • A dashboard providing key metrics to plan your next campaign

Cons:

  • They do not offer a free plan
  • The UI is outdated
  • Difficult to access old campaigns

8. AWeber

https://www.aweber.com/

AWeber is best suited for individuals or small businesses growing their subscriber lists. AWeber provides analytic tools to track everything. They have an award-winning support team providing assistance via phone, email, or chat.

AWeber offers monthly, annual, and quarterly plans. They all provide the same features, the only difference being the number of subscribers. They offer a free plan for up to 500 subscribers. AWeber has a Pro plan starting at $16.15 billed yearly, $16.33 billed quarterly, and $19 monthly for up to 500 subscribers. The Pro plan costs $49/mo for a list between 2,501 – 5,000.

AWeber allows unlimited emails with no hidden caps. You can try any plan for free or 30-days, but you have to provide payment information before your trial period begins.

Pros:

  • Free plan for up to 500 subscribers
  • Includes an email auto-responder
  • No caps on “unlimited” number of emails each month
  • No hidden costs, or as they say, “no funny business”

Cons:

  • In many cases, template designs are outdated
  • Support for A/B testing needs improvement
  • Cannot include or exclude multiple segments in a campaign

9. SendGrid

https://sendgrid.com/

SendGrid is a Twilio company. SendGrid benefits from the extensive support organization Twilio has created. SendGrid offers many product and service integrations, an award-winning API, and actionable analytics.

SendGrid offers a free version supporting 100 emails per day. Their plans are all email-based. They have an Essentials plan for $15/mo for 50,000 emails and $30/mo for 100,000 emails per month.

Pros:

  • Manages unsubscribe emails
  • Displays an email reputation indicator
  • High delivery rates

Cons:

  • No customer surveys
  • Limited automation functions
  • Free tier uses shared IPs – one bad actor can result in your emails being blocked
  • Only keeps 3 days of email history by default, extra charges for more extended history data

SendGrid’s free plan will cover the needs of most individuals or small businesses. Because the free plan uses a shared IP with others on the free plan, you are at risk due to a complete stranger’s poor email practices or a company sending 50,000 spam emails each month.

10. iContact

https://www.icontact.com/

iContact closely follows anti-spam and opt-in requirements. This is helpful for a business or individual just starting their email marketing plans, saving them from making costly mistakes.

iContact offers a 30-day free trial. No credit card is required. Plans start at $15/mo for a subscriber list of up to 1,500. The prices increase based on the number of subscribers in your list. With iContact, you can send unlimited emails to the subscribers.

Pros:

  • Support for drip campaigns and segmentation
  • Provides an email auto-responder
  • A low-cost solution for basic email marketing

Cons:

  • There are hidden charges based on add-on features
  • No “ala carte” pricing – you have to subscribe to a plan just to get one feature
  • Templates are designed mainly for sales teams
  • Needs more integrations

Summary

The factor that will drive most decisions when considering a mass email marketing tool is the cost. If you have an email list of 5,000 or less, paying based on the size of your list works well. You can send unlimited emails to any or everyone on your list any number of times each month. If this model fits your needs, Moosend would be a good selection.

If you plan a one-time email blast using an extensive list, such as every email in the Yellow Pages, paying by the number of emails is the better option. For these types of mass email events, Elastic Email or Sendinblue would be excellent choices.

Any of the email marketing tools we looked at will work for your business. From practically any list, you can tailor precise delivery dates and times to send personalized messages targeting specific segments. You can track your emails, measure performance, and make immediate adjustments to improve your success rates.

The real value from these products is the time you will save and the frustration you won’t experience. Executing a mass email marketing campaign requires a lot of planning and many steps in the preparation, delivery, and tracking stages. Focus on your business and leave the email marketing to the experts.

Categories
Guest Posts

What is Code Signing? How it Works?

Background

Times have always been changing, bringing newer opportunities and challenges for us to explore and learn more. It is a similar case with technology, we have experienced a steep spike in technological evolution over the last few decades, this has come with its own set of challenges. We are seldom buying software products we need from physical stores. Everything has moved up to the web and more recently all services and products are turning cloud-native.

We download products and services from the internet. Therefore, the safety, security, and authenticity of software products and services procured online are important. To give you a broad overview, code signing solves the trust issues generally associated with software products. Whether you are a thriving software development organization, service provider, budding entrepreneur, or a start-up, you must acquire code signing certificates.

What Is Code Signing and Its Significance?

Code singing is a best practice that every technology professional or enthusiast should prioritize in their line of software development. Whether you are a software developer, company, or an end-user, you will experience code signing and its importance in your day-to-day life. It is a digital signature issued to your software programs by a Certificate Authority (CA).

Software developers and publishers use the hash function to encrypt and sign-off their code. The signature not only authenticates the software program but also covers the intellectual property (IP) of the product. Software codes that are not code-signed can raise eyebrows and often prone to malicious activities.

Unsigned code-based programs show the Unknown Source dialog box, if you choose to proceed then you are agreeing to risk your systems. Often the software programs that are not code-signed are blocked by anti-virus installed on your system.

Code signing generates trust among your clientele. Assures them about the authenticity of your product that it is not carrying any malicious program. Therefore, you cannot publish a certificate to yourself. Cheap code signing certificates are also not available off the shelf, you need to submit your request for a code signing certificates to one of the trusted CAs, which are as follows:

  • Custom
  • Entrust
  • GlobalSign
  • Sectigo (formerly Comodo)
  • Digi cert
Code Signing Types

Before we dwell on how code signing works? Let us take a quick look at the types of code signing certificates issued. There are two kinds of code signing certificates:

  • Standard
  • Extended Validation

Standard: The standard code signing certificates are the type that displays Microsoft SmartScreen warning message to your customers. The warning dialog box persists until you gain enough market trust via downloads and a reduced number of defects.

Extended Validation (EV): The EV code signing certificates are obtained after a detailed verification. Post EV, users do not experience frequent warming messages.

The Code Signing Process

After thorough verification, CA issues a code signing certificate which is a public and private key. Use the key to sign your software products and secure the code. The keys are valid for a limited period, provide legitimacy and authentication to your software products.

You must be curious to know how the code-signing process flows, see the following steps for a quick understanding:

  1. You start by deploying a software product with a trusted code signing certificate.
  2. The product code, if code-signed, carries is a digital signature ( a hash mark).
  3. When the software product is downloaded and you agree to proceed further, the digital signature is displayed.
  4. On your clients’ machine, the public key is used to decrypt the signature and ascertain the code signing certificate-based authentication.
  5. The hash values are validated, if the validation is a success, then download and further usage are allowed by client-side systems.

Note: Any hash mismatch results in an error message that prompts users to stall the usage. This is subject to user-side security and protocols.

Since the process is known to you now, let us try to sum up how to code singing works.

  • If you are a publisher, then you apply for a code certificate by sending your requirements to one of the trusted CAs.
  • Choose the type of certificate you want, CAs will do verification of your documents, digital, and physical addresses.
  • After detailed verification, if the verification is successful, you can generate a hash executable file that you can append to your software programs.
  • Use the private key to encrypt your code and prevent hacking and other malicious cyber activities.

You can now download the product with trust and confidence. The public key issued to your code signing certificate decrypts the hash. If the public and private keys match, you can use the program. The successful match only affirms that your software product and its code is safe to use. The program is code signed, without any hacks by unverified users.

Categories
Domains Manage Your Own Server

CloudFlare and SSH Connection Timeout

Switched one of our sites to CloudFlare DNS and in our code routines, we connect to the site via SSH by its domain as the host.

Apparently it kept timing out as we were connecting to the wrong IP resolved by CloudFlare DNS which wasn’t the real IP for our server at all.

So we had to switch to DNS Only at CloudFlare for the A record of the domain and everything is working correctly again.

It took us a while to figure it out. It’s a tricky one. 😉

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

Archetypethemes.co Review: 5/5 Best Premium Shopify Theme I Know of Thus Far

I have started several Shopify stores that are now still online and making money for me since 2017. It’s been a terrific experience as Shopify has made so many things so simple after the golden old days when you had to provision and manage a server yourself with hand coded websites on your own garage computers.

Now I just find the perfect theme and install it on my Shopify store and I would have everything ready without worrying about nothing technicals or uptimes.

I used about 30 different themes since I started my first store and bought about 10. Up until now I can say the best ones are by Archetype Themes: Motion and Impulse, both of which I purchased for my stores.

Reason 1

Over 300 5-star reviews which is really rare among Shopify premium themes. Those users can’t be wrong.

Reason 2

I’m a perfectionist who changes and refines everything that doesn’t come good enough for me or the users, e.g. font sizes, color contrasting, checkout experiences, button sizes, page navigation easiness, etc..

The issue I found in a lot of themes in the market, be it for Shopify or WooCommerce, especially those at ThemeForest.net, is that they are made by designers who have no experience in eCommerce at all, and that the themes are actually bad in conversions.

They look good but don’t work well for human.

In most cases, I had to do a lot of customizations to get the theme right in user experiences so it doesn’t work against conversions in sales. However, surprisingly, I needed to do zero improvements to Archetype themes after examining and testing both of Motion and Impulse inside out.

Yes, zero, nothing at all. From my experience in eCommerce for the past 6 years, they did everything right in the first place.

Reason 3

Rich features and functionalities are the final reason why I loved the themes. Everything just works out of the box. Saves me a lot of time.

I also love about their flexible sections for promotions and pictures.

Conclusion

From my experience, these are absolutely the 5/5 themes for Shopify that you must get for your next store. Highly recommended by an enthusiastic user.

You may want to check out the stores I built with Motion and Impulse. One is ChicksHQ and the other is TheDepts.

Categories
Business and Marketing Linux Server Administration Tips

Clone any static site by a simple Linux command WGET

Just use this and the WGET command will start crawling the target site and download certain levels of pages from the starting URL, including all its assets such as images or CSS files.

wget -k -K -E -r -l 1 -p -N -F --convert-links -H -Dcdn.shopify.com,v.shopify.com,www.yoursite.com,your-site.myshopify.com --restrict-file-names=windows https://www.yoursite.com/

The -D option specifies all the hosts that WGET should download the resources from in local files. Resources of hosts not specified in the option will be kept as is.

The issue for now is that I don’t know how to make it download dynamic images in data-src attributes, such as the images that will only show when scrolled into view.

Other that that, it’s a perfect command.

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

New Amazon Affiliate Site: Men’s Winter Boots dot Com

As someone at NamePros suggests with some of my exact match .com names, I created this affiliate site with the domain MensWinterBoots.com and see what kind of business or cash flow I can get.

Exact match domains used to dominate in Google search results but no more. I’m skeptical of how this would turn out but I try to build an as beautiful and usable site as possible with Shopify and the Spreadr app.

Imported thus far about 100 products from the category of winter / snow boots for men on Amazon. All look good with the free Shopify theme Debut which I highly recommend. I talked with some of the high selling store owners and they seemed to use this theme quite a bit.

Also used Google Fonts to find the perfect typography and created the Men’s Winter Boots logo for the site.

Installed Google Analytics for traffic analysis and added the site in Google Search Console for rankings monitoring.

I will update how the site performs in this blog and document exactly what I have done. Make sure you bookmark or subscribe to Kavoir.

Day 1 (2019.10.25)

Google indexed the site but it’s far from ranking in the results according to https://www.serprobot.com/serp-check.php

Day 3 (2019.10.27)

I don’t have a screenshot but Google indexed slightly over 200 pages on 2019.10.27 by searching site:menswinterboots.com

Day 4 – 5 (2019.10.28-29)

Added a few more navigations to the site so it’s a breeze to find any boot, by brand, by use cases, by color, etc. and created couple of collections by popular keywords found via Google auto-completion and related searches, e.g. affordable men’s boots, clearance men’s boots.

Started a tiny SEO campaign for 15 days by one of my outsource buddies in Pakistan for $100.

Day 9 (2019.11.2)

Google indexed 688 pages of the site. Organic impressions and clicks are on their way according to Google Search Console:

Day 20 (2019.11.13)

Search traffic seems to be picking up and CTR is not bad. Top impressions and clicks are from search of “men’s winter boots clearance“.

Google Search Console

However, the number of total indexed pages in Google dropped to 85:

Google indexed pages dropped to 85

Day 40 (2019.12.3)

Organic traffic is climbing up slowly. I may need to spend more time on it but an affiliate site isn’t worth so much in marketing. It’s just an experiment.

Bounce rate is not bad at just 44%, thanks to the abundant navigations across the site.

Google seems to start indexing many of the long tail pages of the site, a.k.a. in-depth pages with 3 or more keywords of a very specific category for the winter boots.

Day 90 (2020.1.22)

CTR all right. Positions climbing a bit.

Mostly long-tail traffic. Not much exact match search traffic, namely “Men’s Winter Boots” or similar.

The last 30 days the site made about $25 via Amazon affiliate program. It’s not bad if the site is NOT on Shopify as that costs me $29 per month and I’m NOT spending any time for this.

Amazon affiliate program is not worth it any more in my opinion, at 4.5% commission. It used to be 6.5 – 8%.

I think it’s definitely going to make real money if I source the products and sell my own boots, because:

  • 5 times more profits (10 times more profits, times 50% of the current conversion rate)
  • More money to invest in SEO

We have given up on the site as it’s making far less than what we expected without investing hundreds of dollars on SEO.

Categories
Microsoft Windows Web Applications & Online Software

Office.com Office 365 Creating Shared Mailboxes by the Same Name under Different Domains

When you have multiple domains under the same Office 365 admin account, e.g. domain1.com, domain2.com, etc., you can’t directly create these emails:

  • support@domain1.com
  • support@domain2.com

Which would give this error when you try to create emails by the same name already used by another domain:

Now you can have a little circumvention to get around this by first creating the email with a unique local name and then creating an email alias to use the name you want.

Do as the following:

Done!

Categories
WordPress How To

Add SSL / HTTPS for WordPress Network sub-site as cPanel Alias Domain

Site Address (URL)

We first change the Site Address (URL) of the sub-site.

Go to WordPress Multi-site: “My Sites” => “Network Admin” => “Sites” => Click “Edit” of the sub-site, and change the Site Address (URL) to the top level domain URL like this:

https://www.example.com/

Click “Save Changes“.

Domain Mapping (plugin)

A top-level domain is added to WordPress Network / Multi-sites via the Domain Mapping plugin. Add these top-level domains:

  • https://example.com
  • https://www.example.com (Primary)
  • https://www.example.com

However since the domain is not in the cPanel as an addon domain, AutoSSL will not issue SSL certificate for it.

cPanel Alias Domain + AutoSSL

The solution is, after adding the top-level domain in the Domain Mapping plugin, add it in cPanel as an Alias Domain for the WordPress Multi-site main domain (independent cPanel account).

Therefore AutoSSL will issue and install an SSL certificate for the alias domain. Go to “Manage AutoSSL” in WHM and “Run AutoSSL For All Users” to manually request SSL certificate for the alias domain.

It may take some minutes for the new certificate to be installed.

Really Simple SSL (plugin)

Now install the Really Simple SSL plugin, network activate it, and choose per site mode.

Go to the sub-site dashboard: “Settings” => “SSL” => Activate SSL

Done!

Optional .htaccess config

If you haven’t done the above step, below is optional and NOT required at all, otherwise below is required.

You can force HTTPS on the top-level domain in .htaccess of your WordPress network installation:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} yourtopleveldomain\.com
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

# BEGIN WordPress
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule . index.php [L]