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2MHost – Web Hosting

For many years now, I’ve maintained my own domain for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is that I find it very unprofessional for a business to use gmail.com or outlook.com or some other domain for their emails, and a website that is basically a personal site (domain.com/~mybusiness) feels shoddy. It’s also nice to be able to create email accounts and email forwarders — more on that later.

For my hosting, I’ve been using 2MHost.com. Although they advertise rates as low as $2.75/month, they actually have an even cheaper option. They do free SSL certificates (to get the coveted “lock” icon in the address bar, and end-to-end encryption of traffic) and have a number of other perks. Monthly bandwidth is “unlimited”[1]Unreasonable traffic will be flagged and they have a nice webapp installer (including WordPress).

I have found their customer service to be responsive and helpful.

I believe their datacenters are in the US. I have been very pleased with their policy of always renewing at the same price. If it’s a good deal today, it’s likely to remain so.

NameSilo – Domain Name Services

While 2MHost provides Domain Name Registration, I use NameSilo for my registrations. Part of the reason is that I was using them before 2MHost offered the service. Part of the reason is compartmentalization. I prefer not to put all of my eggs in one basket in order to make changes easier. I’ve changed hosts a number of times before settling on 2MHost. Having control of the domain registration separately from the hosting makes that easier.

OwnCloud – Self-Hosted Cloud Services

I previously used NextCloud for my self-hosted cloud services, but something in my server setup changed, and it wasn’t working. OwnCloud is a separate fork of NextCloud [2]technically the other way around, and both are offered in the software installation section of 2MHost. OwnCloud allows me to host my password database on a server that I control, and it also gives me address book and calendar options that are mine. There are other things it can do, some of which are limited by my host (which has graciously grandfathered my “unlimited” account, so limits it to “typical” webhost traffic and use).

Enpass – Password Management

If you’re not using a password management tool, you should be. Enpass is nearly perfect for what I want. It keeps the passwords in an encrypted vault, it has browser plugins, and it even has an Android app with integration to fill passwords in other apps.

The Desktop app is free, and as I noted above, you can easily sync passwords among desktop computers using a service like OwnCloud. (It also works with corporate cloud options, if that’s your thing.) However, if you want to use their cloud, it will cost you from $2-$4/month, depending upon whether you want the individual or the family plan. If you think you’d use it for longer than a few years, it might be worth paying the $80 lifetime license. The one thing you wouldn’t get with that is the easy sharing of passwords with other users, but since you can make multiple vaults, that can be worked around.

I got the license during the beta period, so it didn’t cost me $80. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d pay for it now[3]although I did pay for 1Password on Mac for years. In any case, it’s very flexible, allows me to import my software licenses from 1Password, and generates strong passwords.

Because you can create templates, you can also manage other sensitive information. I will admit that, at least using Brave as my browser, Enpass isn’t good at filling in credit card information. However, it keeps it handy, and I can easily copy and paste from the Enpass window.

Quite frankly, if it weren’t for the license fee, I would recommend Enpass without any hesitation as the Password Manager you should be using.[4]I’ve tried to use and like KeePass and Bitwarden, but the latter is hard (for me) to self-host, and KeePass is difficult to sync. Neither of them is as nice for non-password data as Enpass (or … Continue reading

Brave – Web Browser

Since I mentioned Brave, I’ll say I think everyone should use Brave as their browser. It uses Chromium as its engine, so it’s compatible with most of the sites you want to use, but it comes installed with ad and tracker blocking. In addition, it uses a Basic Attention Token (BAT) crypto-currency — paying you to opt-in to non-tracking ads, and then using that currency to pay tips to sites that you choose. You won’t “get rich from surfing the web”, but it’s a better model than the standard one, which too often tries to install malware on your computer.

Brave supports Chrome plugins, so Enpass (and KeePass and Bitwarden) all work, and it supports Chromium’s multiple profile structure, so you can work even harder to keep certain companies from tracking all of your activity. It’s also helpful for, for example, staying logged in to github on two different accounts at the same time, or using a business Youtube account in one profile and a personal one in another.

Brave also has its own secure sync, so you can sync bookmarks[5]Separate lists for separate profiles and even load pages that are being viewed on a different synced device (including mobile).

Brave supports private windows, multiple search engines (I use both Brave’s own search and DuckDuckGo, for the most part), built-in Tor and Torrent support, etc. The built-in tracking and add protection is claimed to save bandwidth and time: my browser tells me it’s saved me 2.02GB of bandwidth and 1.2 hours of time by blocking 88,783 trackers and ads.

While you can “lower the shields” to use Brave without protection if needed (you can always do it in a private window, if you like), it’s been fascinating to see that, for example, AT&T wants to load 20-some trackers and ads in my browser before it will let me pay my bill.

Well, this update was kind of wordy, so I’ll leave it at that for now. Next time, maybe I’ll talk about my fitness tracker.

References

References
1 Unreasonable traffic will be flagged
2 technically the other way around
3 although I did pay for 1Password on Mac for years
4 I’ve tried to use and like KeePass and Bitwarden, but the latter is hard (for me) to self-host, and KeePass is difficult to sync. Neither of them is as nice for non-password data as Enpass (or 1Password) is.
5 Separate lists for separate profiles

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