Why I Shifted Back to WordPress.com

It was in the year 2010 that I first created a free blog at WordPress.com. Didn’t have my own domain back then and used to post on ehtis subdomain, but eventually got one a couple of years later. That was the time I started to think I’ve outgrown the features that I need on the hosted platform, and would need to move to my own self-hosted WordPress install—AdSense and the ability to add popup plugins was on my mind.

Fast forward to 2015, after years of being on a self-hosted blog, I began to realize that I didn’t actually need the features which were initially on my mind, for a personal blog. Taking care of updates, themes, server administration (I have my own VPS server) and uptime was an unnecessary labor for a personal blog, where the intention is just to write and not worry too much about customization, geo-targeting and capturing leads. I finally made the switch and following are the main reasons for it.

Stability and Uptime

It wasn’t like my VPS server was going down every other day, the situation wasn’t this bleak, but my web host used to be a target of an occasional DDoS attack, resulting in degraded service or downtime for a few hours. Most mid-level hosts don’t have the bandwidth to thwart several Gb/s attacks, and this is where WordPress.com shines. They have the bandwidth to deal with waves of traffic and hold their own against the menace of DDoS—many top websites rely on them to serve millions of page views. The infrastructure is obviously scalable, which includes load-balancers, memory and bandwidth to name a few.

Here are a few uptime stats which I’ve gathered:

Recent stats of all Automattic websites
Recent stats of all Automattic websites
WordPress.com uptime stats from 2014
WordPress.com uptime stats from 2014

WordPress.com has almost 100% uptime since October 2014, not even one day of downtime in 10 months. You can check out the complete history here, which shows 99.97%+ uptime since September 2012, the only anomaly was February 2013 with a 99.91% figure.

Where your blog gets ranked in Google depends on several factors, uptime and speed are one of those signals. You’ve got them covered here, so just focus on creating quality content!

Security and Updates

Critical security vulnerabilities can strike your installation any time as they’re discovered. Recently an XSS bug was discovered, which prompted the release of version 4.2.3 on July 23rd. Goes without saying how much damage they can cause, from sensitive information leakage to defacements.

Yes, you can set your blog to auto-update, but that may cause issues with your theme or plugins in some cases, so many like to take the manual route. Being on WordPress.com’s hosted platform, there’s a bit of peace of mind in this regard, you’re not exposed and the platform is timely updated.

Reader and Community

Just like other social media sites, WordPress.com has its own ecosystem of bloggers and readers who can find relevant content through the Reader. It’s a nice little way to get more visitors to your blog, who I’ve found will be more engaging than the search engine audience. Expect a comment if they find your content interesting!

I’ve been having a good time in the community, moving has also helped me learn many new features of the platform which is helpful because I’m trying to get into this amazing company Automattic—the brains behind WordPress.com. 🙂

And Wait, Everything is Not Perfect!

These were the prime reasons which prompted me to move my personal blog. Your scenario can be different, perhaps you’re looking for a platform where you have the ability add third party plugins. You could be looking for revenue through AdSense (there’s a WordAds program here too, just in case) or just have a requirement which is not supported here. In that case, you’re free to go the WordPress.org route, have your own hosting and customize all you want! 😉

Slow PTCL DSL Solution during Submarine Cable Cut

Many internet users in Pakistan, particularly those using PTCL Broadband were left in extreme agony last night when their internet lines started failing—connections timing out, websites not loading and the refresh button getting abused!

It was due to a submarine fiber optic cable fault, one of those high-speed undersea cables through which PTCL runs its traffic. The particular culprit was SEA-ME-WE-4, also called SMW4. It’s not the first time that PTCL users had to bear this torture of slow internet due to a cable fault, last time it occurred was in 2013 and that too was a fault in SMW4.

Thankfully, though, Pakistan doesn’t rely on only one cable to connect to the outside world. It has multiple submarine cable links like TW1 (which is operated by Transworld Associates) and SEAMEWE3.

Solution

During cable outages, which mostly occur on SMW cables affecting PTCL users, the ISPs using Transworld Associates’ fiber optic cable (TW1) are Continue reading Slow PTCL DSL Solution during Submarine Cable Cut

List of KMU Students for KPK Laptop Scheme Naway Sahar

This is the list of selected students for Naway Sahar laptop scheme of Khyber Medical University (KMU) including all its government institutes like KMC, KGMC, KCD, KIMS, AMC, Gomal Medical College and the rest. Links for each institute of Khyber Medical University are listed below.

For the list of students from rest of the universities, please open this link. For details regarding specs of laptop and distribution dates, scroll below.

You will also have to fill and submit an undertaking available here. According to this, you cannot sell your laptop received under this laptop scheme. Continue reading List of KMU Students for KPK Laptop Scheme Naway Sahar

KPK Laptop Scheme: List of Students (All Universities)

List of selected students of all universities has been uploaded and can be accessed via the links mentioned below in the post. Under this laptop scheme, termed as “Naway Sahar” by the KPK government, a total of approximately 23,000 to 24,000 laptops will be distributed among the students who were short-listed on the basis of their GPAs.

The laptops are rumored to be Dell Inspiron 14 3420, equipped with Intel Core i3 CPU, 500GB HDD and 2GB RAM.

Students List For Laptop Scheme (University Wise):

Continue reading KPK Laptop Scheme: List of Students (All Universities)

QMobile Noir A10: Review & Specs

The wait is finally over—QMobile has officially launched Noir A10. It also has 3G technology which Noir A8 lacked. The question is, can this phone outperform Noir A8? Read below.

Some of its features are:

1GHz dual-core CPU

Android OS – Ice Cream Sandwich

512MB RAM

4GB ROM (2GB usable)

5 inch IPS screen

MTK6577 chipset

8MP back camera and 1.3MP front camera

And rest of the perks that come with usual Android phones including GPS.

To read more, click here (Lab Android). Detailed review & comparison with Noir A8, Sony Xperia is done there.

Google.com.pk Hacked — Technical Details

Google.com.pk (Google Pakistan) website was hacked early morning today, and from the last several hours is still inaccessible. This domain gets all the traffic from Pakistan; people get redirected to it if a Pakistani IP opens Google.com.

Not only Google, other big names like Yahoo, Microsoft Pakistan and Apple are also apparently “hacked”. The domains Microsoft.pk, Yahoo.pk and Apple.pk remain inaccessible.

Turkish hacking group/individual “Eboz” has claimed responsibility by uploading a defaced page. The question, however is, were they all really “hacked“? Nope, not really. Let’s analyze a few things.

Performing a simple WHOIS lookup on Google.com.pk reveals the following DNS records, as of 9PM PST:

DNS records

name class type data time to live
google.com.pk IN A 127.0.0.1 3600s (01:00:00)
google.com.pk IN NS dns2.freehostia.com 3600s (01:00:00)
google.com.pk IN SOA
server: dns1.freehostia.com
email: support@freehostia.com
serial: 1353750918
refresh: 28800
retry: 7200
expire: 604800
minimum ttl: 86400
3600s (01:00:00)
google.com.pk IN NS dns1.freehostia.com 3600s (01:00:00)
google.com.pk IN MX
preference: 10
exchange: mbox.freehostia.com
3600s (01:00:00)

 

As you can see, the NS records, responsible for resolving a domain name to IP address have been changed freehostia.com’s nameservers. It’s a free web hosting provider, and Google, Apple or other affected big brands surely won’t be using a free hosting service!

What this reveals is that the hackers managed to take control of the domain registrar/registry and changed the DNS records. In this case, .pk domain names are handled by PKNIC.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean those hackers actually gained access servers of these companies. It’s highly unlikely! Rather, they just pointed the domain names to their own DNS records and people accessing these websites were redirected to the pages setup by hackers.

Google.com.pk is not opening because the IP address to which it points has been changed to 127.0.0.1. That’s a local loop IP address and if you try to open it, you just access your own computer’s port 80.