We’re offering free SSL for our premium hosting clients

In 2017 we’ll be setting up SSL certificates for all of our premium* web hosting customers’ sites and changing things over so they use encrypted https connections

What does that mean?

Short answer

People visiting these websites will see https and a padlock or ‘secure’ message in the address bar of their browser.

Longer answer

When you visit a website your web browser and the web server hosting the site talk to each other and exchange information.

Browser: Hello. I’m checking out your page. Nice. Can I have the header image please?
Server: Certainly, here you go.
Browser: Thanks. I’d like to log in now please.
Server (slightly suspiciously): OK, what’s your username and password?
Browser: Here you go.
Server: OK, just let me check… Great, that’s correct. Here’s the private page you asked for.
… and so on.

Over a standard (also called non-encrypted or http) connection there’s a chance this communication could be intercepted and if so anything sent – like that password for example – could be stolen. Over a secure (encrypted or https or SSL) connection the browser asks for the server’s SSL certificate, makes sure it checks out and

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Census 2016 – what exactly is a hack, a DDOS attack, geoblocking?

The jury may still be out on the exact cause of Australia’s #censusfail but whatever happened that fateful evening has brought up a few terms that are often misunderstood.


A hack, generally speaking, is when someone gets into places they shouldn’t on a website or server. This can be by exploiting a security weakness in the actual site or on the server that hosts it.

DDOS attack

A Distributed Denial of Service attack is when a huge amount of requests are made on a site with the aim of completely overloading it. Sometimes these are undertaken by ‘botnets’ of infected computers from all over the world.

A website can also fall over if a huge number of perfectly legitimate people are trying to get to it at once, as anyone who’s tried to buy Splendour In The Grass tickets when they go on sale knows. This could well be what happened on Census night. 


Geoblocking is a way of stopping people from particular locations accessing a website. It’s pretty effective at stopping legitimate traffic but is easily circumventable as it relies on checking the IP addresses of users which can be manipulated.

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A guide to migrating your email to Google Apps

Google Apps for Work is Google’s business grade suite of tools and is a good choice for dedicated email hosting. Splitting your web and email hosting using Google Apps for email gives you

  • 30gb of storage per account
  • the ability to access your emails through any web browser, through mobile apps, and in some cases through your existing desktop email program
  • access to Google’s full range of tools including Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, Docs and more, all ad-free
  • phone and email support 24/7

Read more about Google Apps Email →

At time of writing pricing is $5/month/email account. (Google Apps is free for non-profits and education providers).

Here’s a guide to moving your email hosting to Google Apps from and separating it from your web hosting.

What you need to do

1. Set up an account

Create a Google Apps account →

2. Set up each of your email addresses in Google Apps

Add user accounts in Google Apps →  

3. Set up any forwarders you want

Aliases (also called forwarders) are virtual addresses that send messages to a ‘real’ email address. For an example you could use an alias like and when people send an email to this it is directed to real address.

Add an email alias in Google Apps → 

4. Work out when

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What’s the difference between web hosting and email hosting?

I’m often asked to explain the difference between web and email hosting.

Web hosting is server space where your website lives. When someone types into their web browser the elders of the internet direct their browser to a web server and your website is served to them.

Email hosting is server space where your emails are stored. When someone sends an email to the elders of the email world send it to an email server and it’s stored there for you to look at.

Together or apart?

Traditionally smaller businesses had their web and email hosting on the same server, while larger organisations  had them split between dedicated web and email servers. Splitting the services like this used to mean you needed inhouse mail servers and IT staff but over the past few years many businesses have been getting the benefits of dedicated email hosting by utilising cloud services like Google Apps.

It’s pretty easy using the DNS system to set your domain name up so that it talks to one server for websites and another for emails.

Why use a dedicated email host?

  • Dedicated email hosting usually offers more storage space and better options for accessing email via web browsers and mobile devices than all-in-one

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Hick’s Law and making your menus smaller

You might have noticed that over the past few years the main navigation menus on websites are getting smaller. There’s a reason for this and it isn’t because website are getting smaller too. On the contrary – it’s because when you have too many choices your brain gets overloaded.

Hick’s Law is named after British psychologist William Hick whose work in the 1950s showed that the more choices people are offered the longer it takes for them to make a decision. If you offer too many choices people are more likely not to choose any of them.

Most people understand the idea of ‘chunking’ website information into logical groupings – like having a top-level About page with subpages for History, Team, Values – but it’s also important to not have too many top-level pages. Traditional wisdom – based on cognitive load theory’s ideas about the size of people’s working memory – is that your menu should have seven items at most. I’d suggest less if you can get away with it.

The smart approach is to feature prominently the main things people are looking for when they visit your site (or the things you want them to find) and put those in your primary

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Giving website design feedback

At the risk of stating the obvious, design is subjective. Blue really works for some people but for others… meh. Same with Arial, or circles, or ‘flat design’, or fullscreen background images, or … you get the picture.

Getting something designed is an exciting collaboration between you and the designer. But what’s the best way to give your feedback? Here are a few tips I’ve learnt from many years on the receiving end…

1. Give feedback thinking about the overall aims for the project

The best feedback is specific and focussed on the aims for the project (“I think the ‘Join Now’ button should be more prominent so we can get more signups”), rather than vague (“It needs to feel more, I don’t know, relaxed”).

2. Trust your designer

Of course I’m going to say that, aren’t I? But the reality is that you’re paying someone for their advice and experience and you should trust them. Good designers care about the end result and they’ll strongly argue their case if they believe a decision is wrong.

3. Remember websites aren’t fixed

Websites aren’t like printed documents – text and images change all the time, different browsers and operating systems display things in different ways. In the smartphone age responsive designs scale and change

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What’s the deal with WordPress upgrades?

* Important bit: if we host your website we deal with upgrades for you.

From time to time you may have noticed info in your WordPress admin dashboard about upgrades – ever wondered what that’s all about?

What are upgrades?

Upgrades fix bugs and security vulnerabilities and sometimes add new bells and whistles. There are so many nasty people out there that it’s essential to keep everything running your website up to date because otherwise it may be at risk.

What type of upgrades are we talking about?

There are upgrades to WordPress itself and to the plugins that add extra functionality to your site.

WordPress upgrades

Major new releases come out two or three times a year. These bring improvements to the way WordPress runs and sometimes new features and/or changes to the admin interface.

Since late 2013 the WordPress core now updates itself automatically with what are called maintenance releases, on average once a month or so. These are usually fixes for small things and won’t even notice them.

If you want to get technical major releases have two digits (WordPress 3.9) and maintenance releases have three digits (3.9.1). In 2013 there were three major releases and six maintenance releases.

WordPress updates are generally well-tested and if there are important changes we know well

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Stopping support for Internet Explorer 8

Like Google, WordPress and most other web companies before us Go4 is officially ending support for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as of April 30, 2014.


In a world where responsive, mobile-friendly design makes up the majority of our work the reality is that we can’t build websites that look and work great on tablets, smartphones and new desktop web browsers and still have them work perfectly on old browsers. It’s like trying to build a new car engine and then make it run in a Morris Minor (ok, so that’s a laboured analogy, but you get the point).

Need an example?

Here are screenshots of the homepage of popular website AV Club taken in Google Chrome and IE8. Can you guess which is which?

Some facts about Internet Explorer 8

  1. IE8 was released released in 2009 to run on Windows XP, at the birth of the smartphone era so it’s not surprising it doesn’t support modern web development practices.
  2. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP and IE8 in early 2014. The current version of Internet Explorer is IE11
    “Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported… if you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats.”  –
  3. The most popular browser used in the world today by a long

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Go4’s new responsive website

go4 responsive website

You know the apocryphal stories about builders with half-finished houses and plumbers with leaky taps? I bet those apocryphal builders and plumbers are so busy working for their lucky apocryphal customers that they have trouble finding the time to do their own stuff.

Hence we’ve seized the quieter post-Christmas lull time to finally finish a responsive rebuild of our website. So we can stop blushing and muttering about workload when we advise everyone else to get a mobile-friendly site.

Anyway, excuses aside, you’re looking at it. Maybe on a tablet, maybe on a phone, maybe on a whizzbang postage stamp-sized doodad that’s not even conceived of as I write this. Enjoy…

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The Art of Travel newsletter

Although Go4 Mailouts lets you manage all of your email marketing yourself once set up some clients prefer a full service model where we manage the entire newsletter or message creation and send process and help them with subscriber updates. For more complex layouts it means the customer can focus on the strategy and writing content while they leave us to deal with loading it all up, creating graphics and testing.

Executive Edge Travel’s bi-monthly leisure travel newsletter The Art of Travel is an example of this. The Art of Travel features fantastic writing and exclusive travel offers from every corner of the globe.

We work closely with Edge’s Marketing & Communications Manager Kimberly Rosbe on this and are taken on a journey around the globe while we edit pictures and add content. We love doing this newsletter!

After being sent to Edge’s clients the email newsletters are also archived on Executive Edge’s website (where you can also subscribe to receive these in your inbox).

(Warning: viewing these newsletters may induce an urge to book a holiday. Mandy’s wishlist includes Song Saa Private Island CambodiaFour Seasons Resort Punta Mita Mexico and Azura Benguerra Island Mozambique…)

Want to know more? Talk to us.

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