How good/bad is Network Solutions as a host?

  • JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi!

I've been hosting my own web sites (five) for the past seven years but now feel that hosting services are sufficiently cheap and fully-featured that I would sooner offload everything.

Network Solutions appear provide all that I need for a reasonable cost (much cheaper than I've been paying my ISP these past years!) and they offer up to 50 'Point External Domains' so I'm summizing that I can write a servlet that will use the URL in HTTP requests to determine the desired domain name and return corresponding content, i.e. it will look like I have separate web sites but they will all be hosted at the same IP address. Obviously, there's still an overall download limit!

Also, the e-commerce package provides a shared SSL certificate so that's another cost saving.

I have always used NetSol as my domain name registrar and they have a good deal of money so I am guessing that their service should be second to none. I don't know this for sure though and I have never spoken to anyone who has used NetSol as a host.

I would be most grateful if anyone could provide personal experiences with NetSol, good, bad or indifferent.


Thanks,

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well I moved all but one of my domains from them as they are too expensive. There simply is not any justification in paying 2-3x more for accredited registrar services. I also think you should consider Semi-Dedicated/Reseller plans which allow you to host unlimited domains in your allocated space and bandwidth. In case you are wondering the one domain I did leave there was renewed for 10yrs to mitigate cost and furthers my belief in not keeping all my marbles in one basket.
  • CartikaHosting
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello JL - as a hosting provider, I have always felt that it is bad business for a registrar to sell hosting (biting the hand that feeds them) - however, as far as their hosting goes, I have heard that they do provide a good service.

UH makes a very good point however - there are probably better solutions available for what you are trying to accomplish...

Quote:
Also, the e-commerce package provides a shared SSL certificate so that's another cost saving.


I simply cannot stress this enough - DO NOT use a shared ssl certificate. Aside from the obvious lack of professionalism, there are serious security risks associated with shared ssl. Many many reasons for this - however, the sheer fact that it needs to be accessible by multiple applications inherently means the cert needs to be stored in an area that isnt as secure as a dedicated ssl - lots of other security concerns as well, but, this is the most obvious.

Merchant providers are beginning to drop support for shared ssl's already - and many banks in Canada will simply not issue a merchant account for a site utilizing a shared ssl - I would expect thsi trend to countinue as more and more financial institutions are taking proactive measures to mitigate the risk associated with ecommerce...
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Uncensored-Hosting wrote:
Well I moved all but one of my domains from them...


Hi Uncensored-Hosting, thanks for taking the time to reply :-)

Yes, I agree, NetSol always have been expensive registrars. I have never considered that their prices were too high though. My domain names are old and, therefore, pretty valuable (at least to me). Given the downside of losing a domain name to a hacker/criminal, I simply have no wish to use another registrar. Call it paranoia, maybe even stupidity but NetSol's costs are not an issue for me.

Having said that, I was really interested in finding out about their hosting capabilities.


Thanks again,

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi, CartikaHosting, thanks for taking the time to reply :-)

CartikaHosting wrote:
...there are probably better solutions available...

Fine. That's great. Does anyone have experience of NetSol versus a better host?

Quote:
DO NOT use a shared ssl certificate.

Okay, I wonder why...

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Aside from the obvious lack of professionalism

I don't quite see this but go on...

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there are serious security risks associated with shared ssl

That's a concern. What issues?

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Many many reasons for this

Right. But what, exactly?

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the sheer fact that it needs to be accessible by multiple applications inherently means the cert needs to be stored in an area that isnt as secure as a dedicated ssl - lots of other security concerns as well, but, this is the most obvious.

Sorry, but it's irrelevant where a certificate is stored since it is a freely available resource and it's authenticity is guarenteed by the Certificate Authority in exactly the same way as every other X.509 certificate. I suspect that you might be thinking about is the private key. Although the PK services client calls for a bunch of hosted applications, it must do so as an opaque service, i.e. unless NetSol are complete idiots (which is unlikely, given their VeriSign division), then the PK will be inaccessible to hosted applications.

Quote:
Merchant providers are beginning to drop support for shared ssl's already - and many banks in Canada will simply not issue a merchant account for a site utilizing a shared ssl - I would expect thsi trend to countinue as more and more financial institutions are taking proactive measures to mitigate the risk associated with ecommerce...

Can you cite instances of and references for this? If this is the case, (i) I would certainly have to reconsider and (ii) I would like to know their reasons; beyond blind emotion, that is.

I really don't see that there is any security risk whatsoever from a shared SSL certificate but I would welcome any example of a genuine issue. I don't have a problem with using my own certificate BUT please note that the PK would still be stored on a NetSol server, of course (NetSol provide details of how this works)!

I am much more interested in NetSol's quality of service and whether it would be possible to use phpBB, for instance.


Thanks again,

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
Quote:
Aside from the obvious lack of professionalism

I don't quite see this but go on...


Quote:
Sorry, but it's irrelevant where a certificate is stored since it is a freely available resource and it's authenticity is guarenteed by the Certificate Authority in exactly the same way as every other X.509 certificate. I suspect that you might be thinking about is the private key. Although the PK services client calls for a bunch of hosted applications, it must do so as an opaque service, i.e. unless NetSol are complete idiots (which is unlikely, given their VeriSign division), then the PK will be inaccessible to hosted applications.


A shared ssl uses a server-wide URL instead of a customer specific domain (lacks professionalism - at least in my opinion). This is exactly the difference - its the ramifications of this that are not widely understood - single "point of failure" for all domains piggy backing off of a server-wide URL -
What happens if someone gets access to the servers ssl private keys - how many domains are now compromised? How many potential credit cards are now exposed?

Additionally , ssl Private Keys are usually stored in an area which is accessible to the application. By utilizing a shared ssl certificate, the location of this encrypted file just cannot be as secure as a private ssl (ie - needs to be accessible in some manner by multiple applications) - the less "protected" this file is, the greater the chance of it being copied, altered or deleted - which ultimately increases your risk of ssl compromise.
  • JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi, CartikaHosting,

Quote:
A shared ssl uses a server-wide URL instead of a customer specific domain (lacks professionalism - at least in my opinion).

Frankly, I have never heard of you before and I am certain that you haven't heard of my web sites either! So, unless we are well-known then our names in a digital certificate are not going to impress people as much as seeing Network Solutions there. Virtually all of my customers are naive about these things so most of them won't even look at the certificate. Of those that do, most are going to be more impressed by seeing Network Solutions.

Quote:
single "point of failure" for all domains piggy backing off of a server-wide URL
Quote:
True but this does not change the vulnerability of my web sites. Security is a big issue but I feel happier about entrusting it to NetSol/Verisign than to most others.

Quote:
ssl Private Keys are usually stored in an area which is accessible to the application...he application. By utilizing a shared ssl certificate, the location of this encrypted file just cannot be as secure as a private ssl (ie - needs to be accessible in some manner by multiple applications)

This is false. Dual-key pairs are typically generated by a utility of the web server software. The private key is definitely stored in a location that is innaccessible to web applications. (My experience is with IIS and Apache Web Server so if you are using web server software for which this is not true then I suggest you switch!) The location of the private key is no different whether or not the certificate is shared.

Quote:
How many potential credit cards are now exposed?

Let's face it, any web sites that use NetSol's web hosting solutions with a shared certificate are going to be small fry. A whole bunch of them isn't going to store anywhere near as many credit card credentials as a web site that warrents a dedicated server. Also, web site applications should not be storing credit card credentials: that data should be sent to a payment gateway and following the transaction it should be discarded (unless it's some sort of subscription service but that's not what I do). Furtermore, if we are that concerned about credit card security then it's the big guys that are mist vulnerable to attack. Only last week we saw a huge security breach of this nature.


I really need to know how reliable/flexible NetSol is as a web site host :-)


Best wishes,

JL
  • Nem
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
I really need to know how reliable/flexible NetSol is as a web site host :-)


http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1747444,00.asp

Hope it helps.
  • JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Nem wrote:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1747444,00.asp

Hope it helps.


Hi Nem,

Thanks. I saw this review earlier. NetSol comes out on top but I was wondering if anyone had any real-world experience as to what NetSol is like week-in, week-out.

If I cannot get that sort of feedback here then I have will to go with NetSol on an entirely new project that isn't critical to me and see what happens before I move my important web sites over.


Best wishes,

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Regarding their hosting - I have a client who utilizes them for some personal email accounts and a family site - overall, I have not heard anything negative about them. Their support is timely and helpful and their service appears to be stable and reliable..


Quote:
Frankly, I have never heard of you before and I am certain that you haven't heard of my web sites either! So, unless we are well-known then our names in a digital certificate are not going to impress people as much as seeing Network Solutions there. Virtually all of my customers are naive about these things so most of them won't even look at the certificate. Of those that do, most are going to be more impressed by seeing Network Solutions.


Its not actually the name on the digital certificate - rather it is the URL itself..

A shared SSL will have something like:

https://ssldomain/some-other-string-of-variables

whereas a dedicated ssl will have:

https://yourcompanyname

Every single cart abandonment study will show a higher rate of abandonment with a shared ssl vs a dedicated ssl

Users dont care if the name on the digital certificate is netsol or joeblow - however, they do care if they are being redirected...

Quote:
Quote:
single "point of failure" for all domains piggy backing off of a server-wide URL
Quote:

True but this does not change the vulnerability of my web sites. Security is a big issue but I feel happier about entrusting it to NetSol/Verisign than to most others.


Of course you should have confidence in netsol/verisign - they are a premier provider - however, this in no way alters the fact that a shared ssl with netsol/verisign is less secure then a private ssl with netsol/versign - again, take a look at TD & Moneris (largest merchant providers in Canada) - they require a security compliance audit with every internet merchant account and one of the stipulations is a private ssl certificate - they simply will not issue a merchant account to shared ssl - expect this trend to countinue and propogate - especially when these sorts of occurances countinue to happen (see link)- this isnt related to ssl - but, these sorts of stories are prompting financial institutions to take every measure against exposing a large number of credit cards with a single compromise

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u ... rds_breach

Quote:
This is false. Dual-key pairs are typically generated by a utility of the web server software. The private key is definitely stored in a location that is innaccessible to web applications. (My experience is with IIS and Apache Web Server so if you are using web server software for which this is not true then I suggest you switch!) The location of the private key is no different whether or not the certificate is shared.


we ustilize both IIS and Apache Web Server ..

There is a distinctive difference between where a private key is stored with a shared vs a private ssl..

I suggest you research the ssl handshake a little more throughly - here are some good resources to get you started:

http://www.systemexperts.com/tutors/The ... dshake.pdf

http://www.rainbow.com/Library/3/rnbo-c ... ssl_wp.pdf

I wish you all the best with your projects...

Overall, Id say you cannot go wrong with netsol - both for hosting and as an ssl provider. Im certain that you will be fine with a shared ssl - however, I do think its important people understand the differences so that they canmake an educated decision when venturing into ecommerce...
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You should also search webhostingtalk.com for reviews/feedback.
  • JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

CartikaHosting, that was really helpful. Thanks.

You've convinced me to go with a dedicated SSL certificate.


Much appreciated,

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Uncensored-Hosting wrote:
You should also search webhostingtalk.com for reviews/feedback.


Thanks, Uncensored-Hosting, that link took me off to a whole bunch of useful resources.

JL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

My company has used Netsol for the past 2 years at least and they have been 100% reliable and responsive on tech support.

As a side note, since you persist in quoting replies and had bbcode disabled in your profile I took the liberty of modifying things so your bbcode displays correctly now.

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