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9 New Year’s resolutions smartphone manufacturers should make

Some of you may be working on your 2019 resolutions. Want to try being vegan for a month, start doing to the gym again or stop stealing from the stationery cupboard at work because it’s all getting a bit out of hand? Good for you.But, as we all know – hand on heart – giant companies are citizens too. According to the 14th amendment, corporations are afforded some of the protections of personhood. So why shouldn’t they have to make some New Year’s resolutions too?Here are the 2019 resolutions the smartphone giants should adopt. For their phones. For us. And for the world. Amen.
Stop assuming we can spend half our income on phones
One of the scariest developments in phones over 2018 was the flirting with the $1000/£1000 price boundary. Heck, Apple even sailed right across it with the iPhone XS Max.How about we get real, and realize that most of us can’t, don’t want to, or really shouldn’t, spend this much on a phone? Sadly, this one is likely to happen as your pledge to go to the gym four times a week, every week.The latest news suggests we’ll see even more expensive phones next year, with 5G models reportedly commanding a $300 premium over this year’s priciest phones. For those willing to spend that much we ask: how fast do you need to stream YouTube videos, exactly?
Bring back the headphone jack (what did it ever do to you?)

Changes in mobile phone tech usually get us a bit excited. But the whole “ditch the headphone jack” thing? There’s not much to excite there.And why is it happening? You can make water resistant phones with headphone jacks, last time we checked those sockets don’t cost $100 in parts, and claims phones can no longer fit them in seem deeply suspicious when the things didn’t suddenly get smaller when jack sockets were wrenched out.Some lobbyists from big headphone must have some dirt on the big phone-makers or something. Saying that, most phone-makers now make wireless earphones or headphones too. You won, we all bought wireless sets. Can we just have the jack back now?
Get over this glass obsession
For the past two years, phone makers have nailed glass designs. We’ve seen matte ones, super curvy ones. There are even phones, like the Google Pixel 3 XL, that you could mistake for aluminium from a distance.It’s time for an intervention. Phone companies need to get over this glass obsession in 2019.Let’s not just roll back onto the familiar combination of aluminium and plastic, though. There are other options out there in the world. The obvious one, as tried and tested as glass or plastic, is magnesium.There are magnesium alloy tablets and laptops. And this metal is tougher and lighter than aluminium. And unlike glass it won’t smash if you drop it on the sidewalk from the wrong angle.
Expandable storage for all
Phone developers can act like annoying live-in parents sometimes. Bear with us on this one.Don’t use something for a while and they quietly file it away into the bin while you’re not looking. It happened to IR blasters, now headphone jacks and microSD card slots are in the great cleaner-upper’s targets.Granted, a lot of phones now have lots of storage. But with a half dozen flavors of apocalypse looming, you’ll want a good amount of local content stored, loads of storage space and a solar charger handy. Well, unless we manage to scorch the sky, but a stack of 90s club classics and every episode of Friends won’t get you too far then anyway.Bring back the headphone jack. Bring back the microSD slot. The IR blaster can stay in the past, though.
Get over the notch obsession

We’re over 18 months into the era of the notch. And phones like the Pixel 3 XL prove maybe it is time for something new. Or old, like no notch at all.Remember when phones didn’t have miniature trunks hanging down from the top of their screens? A half-desperate way to convince us our last phone was out-of-date and in need of a cab to eBay, or the dusty drawer in the spare room? Notches make it seem like your screen is bigger without actually making it more useful, as movies, games and articles don’t flow around those lines.But what will we actually get in 2019? The notch will still be around, but top phones will also use punch holes, which are like notches just large enough to fit around the front camera.
Don’t forget security
Here’s one for the Android phone makers. Android security updates are like taking a ten-minute meditation during busy weeks or forcing yourself to do exercise. You might not feel the difference from missing it once, but you’ll be much better off in the long run if you stick to the plan.Google releases monthly security updates for the Android platform. And how many phones actually get them? Hardly any, not regularly at any rate. Without these updates your mobile is more vulnerable.Some phones are barely updated after launch, in any fashion. It’s time to shape up. We do have to give a prop or two to Sony here, though. Often when we return to a Sony phone to write a feature, there are often a half-dozen updates to trawl through.
Discover camera enlightenment beyond 12MP

For years almost every top phone camera has used a 12MP sensor, usually one made by Sony. Sure, we know this approach works, and increasing resolution adds its own issues, caused by a shrinking of sensor pixels that reduces how much light a sensor gets to make up each pixel in the image.But it’s now time for phone-makers to give up the burdens of 2018 and follow their 2019 bliss, as Gwyneth Paltrow might say when not trying to sell you an avocado enema.It looks like this progress will happen in 2019 too. And once again it’s mostly thanks to Sony. In July it revealed the IMX586, a 48MP sensor for phones.To the camera traditionalist, this sounds like a bad idea. Tiny sensor pixels means bad low-light performance and dynamic range. However, we’re in the era of computational photography, which effectively lets a phone bunch together several of these pixels to boost performance when light isn’t perfect.It’d likely take 12MP images, until you switch on the “Pro” mode and force the full-res capture, which could work brilliantly on a sunny day. And we can’t wait to see what the big smartphone names do with it.
Cheap phones deserve color too

Remember a few years ago, roughly 45 years in smartphone terms, during good old days of Nokia Lumia phones? Bright and colorful they were. So cheery they’d put a smile on your face just to look at the cute little palm sized things. What happened to fun, affordable phones? Today just about the only phone that brings some of that bold color to the party is the iPhone XR. And if you think that’s affordable, you’re wrong.Phone-makers are now pros at making sub-$200 phones seem like ones that would have cost $600 or more a few years ago. But it’s time to bring the fun back with some bold shades that don’t try to look like the equivalent a TV host’s shiny suit. Make it bold, make it pastel if you like. Just don’t make it all-black.
Use bigger batteries, please (again)
This resolution turns up every year. We still want phones that last longer, between charges. Break it down honestly and you’ll probably find this is more useful than 5G, more useful than a slightly better camera or a phone that folds.Oddly enough, it seems some phone makers actually listened to this one in 2018, and ended up making some real bruisers in the budget category like the Moto G6 Play. A phone that lasts longer is much easier to live with.It’s not necessarily about being able to spend four extra hours poring over Instagram and Twitter, but having the extra juice so you can forget about the thing, without worrying whether it’ll have enough power left for some Spotify on the way home. The big names in phones need to swallow their engineering pride and let a phone get slightly thicker for reasons other than fitting in a crazy camera or some new hardware most will barely use.
Folding phones: the future of the smartphone, or just another fad?

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Google in 2018: a retrospective

These days, it’s impossible to look anywhere in the tech world without seeing Google’s fingerprints. This was definitely still true throughout 2018 – even Microsoft conceded to Chrome’s web browser dominance. However, with all the news that’s constantly flying around the internet about Google, it can be hard to pinpoint the year’s most pivotal moments. That’s why we’ve decided to dive into Google’s biggest moves throughout 2018 – with a bit of a look at the future, as well.

Project Fi: all the networks
It was only a matter of time before Google launched its own cellular service – it’s been running Google Fiber, an internet service provider, in select cities for years now. Google Project Fi has technically been running since way back in 2015, but it blew up in a big way this past year. The way Project Fi works is that you’ll basically pay a flat $20 (about £15, AU$28) a month for all your regular cellular activities, like talking and texting. Then, you’re charged an extra $10 (about £8, AU$14) a month for each gigabyte of data you use. Heavy data users might notice that this would get expensive very fast, but Google put a cap on users’ bills in January, ensuring that users don’t have to pay more than $80 (about £62, AU$113) in a month.It’s also reliable, as it essentially borrows signal from traditional carrier’s cell towers, like Sprint, T-Mobile and others. One of the things that has been holding Project Fi back over the last couple years has been the lack of compatible smartphones. Which is why it was such great news when, in November 2018, Project Fi opened up compatibility with Samsung and OnePlus smartphones – oh, and iPhones, too. 

But, what about Google Fuchsia?
We’ve been on the edge of our seats anticipating Google Fuchsia for years now, and, well, it’s still not out yet. That doesn’t mean we didn’t get closer to a possible release date for the one OS to unite them all. Right at the beginning of the year, Google was testing the experimental OS on the Google Pixelbook, with a build that anyone could download and run. It was definitely an early version of the operating system, but it did give users an idea of what Fuchsia would look like, should it ever release. But, things kind of got complicated from there. Back in July, we got a report that Google was on track to launch Google Fuchsia within the next five years. But, there was a catch: neither Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Chrome and Android lead Hiroshi Lockheimer had signed off on any road map for Fuchsia’s release. Instead, the Google executives referred to Fuchsia as an “open source experiment” rather than an official project. But, because Fuchsia is an open source experiment, we kept hearing about advances made in the OS throughout the year from security implementations to the search-centric interface. Here’s to hoping all of this leads to something more concrete in 2019. 

Some assistance, please
Smart speakers are everywhere these days, with Google, Amazon, Apple and more in a race to deliver the smart assistant for you and your home. In 2018, Google Assistant made waves. Google’s digital assistant was already capable of quite a lot, but after an update in October it’s capable of more than ever. That’s good news, because the Google Assistant is virtually on everything right now. Beyond every Android phone, it’s on everything from new smart speakers, like Marshall’s Stanmore II and Acton II to Samsung’s next line of smart TVs.Google is launching plenty of its own devices with its AI software, too, including the Google Home Hub, which goes head to head with Amazon’s Echo Show.Google obviously has big plans for Google Assistant, and it wants the software running on as many devices as possible. And, if we keep hearing news about plans to bring personalized news feeds to smart speakers, we can’t wait to see what Google Assistant is capable of in 2019.

Pixel dense
Google doesn’t just make money by harvesting your browsing data and turning it into targeted advertisements, it also launches mobile and computing hardware. This year, we got two fantastic phones and a tablet. Back at its Made by Google event in October, the tech giant launched the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL and the Google Pixel Slate. The Google Pixel 3 and its bigger cousin were the stars of the show, even if it didn’t look like a lot on paper. But, the Google Pixel 3 is more than the sum of its spec sheet, bringing an even better camera – when the Google Pixel 2 was already one of the best cameras in a smartphone. But, that’s not all – Google massively improved the camera software this time around, bringing around OLED displays, even if you’ll have to deal with a notch this time around.Then there’s the Google Pixel Slate, Google’s answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro – but with much weaker hardware. It’s one of the first Chrome OS tablets on the market, with an optional keyboard cover that’ll set you back a whopping $199 (£189, about AU$280). Starting out with an Intel Celeron Processor, it’s by no means a powerhouse, but is does have its appeal as a media device for Google fans. We would have rather seen the Google Pixelbook 2, but, hey there’s always next year, right?

Conclusions
Google isn’t the easiest tech company to sum up at the end of the year, as a lot of its major moves are drawn out over time, rather than the product releases. However, Google kind of got a lot done this year, even if it’s not as tangible as Apple or Microsoft. The search engine, long the core of its business, keeps getting better and better, and is more mobile friendly than ever. And, with its expansion into ostensibly being a cellular carrier, Google has a lot to be proud of, and we can’t wait to see where Google is going to expand next. Because, 2018 went to further prove that Google’s movements aren’t as predictable as their peers. And, while there wasn’t much in the way of new hardware, the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are genuinely some of the best phones to come out in 2018. We just wish the Google Pixel Slate could have been more impressive. There is plenty of potential for a great Chrome OS tablet, we’re just not there yet. Maybe in 2019 we’ll see a true follow-up to the Google Pixelbook that redefines what the best Chromebooks are capable of. We’ve been rooting for the Chromebook from the sidelines for a while now, and with the problems Microsoft is having with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, we think there’s room for Chrome OS to steal some of the spotlight. This year seemed to see Google laying out a lot of groundwork for future work, and we think it’s going to cash in on this work throughout the next couple of years. We know we’re on the edge of our seats to see what becomes of Google Fuchsia.

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EU to fund bug bounty program for top open-source software

The European Union will help cover the expenses of bug bounty programs for 14 open-source projects according to an announcement made by EU Member of Parliament Julia Reda.The projects that will receive funding for their bug bounty programs are 7-zip, Apache Kafka, Apache Tomcat, Digital Signature Services (DSS), Drupal, Filezilla, FLUX TL, the GNU C Library (glibc), KeePass, midPoint, Notepad++, PuTTY, the Symfony PHP framework, VLC Media Player and WSO2.The bug bounty programs are being sponsored as part of the third edition of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA) project.FOSSA was first approved by EU authorities back in 2015 when security researchers discovered severe vulnerabilities in the OpenSSL library a year earlier.
Third edition of FOSSA
In her announcement, Julia Reda highlighted the importance of free and open-source software, saying:”The issue made lots of people realise how important Free and Open Source Software is for the integrity and reliability of the Internet and other infrastructure. Like many other organisations, institutions like the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission build upon Free Software to run their websites and many other things.”The first edition of FOSSA ran between 2015 and 2016 with a budget of €1m and a public survey was held which decided that Apache HTTP web server and the KeePass password manager would receive a sponsored security audit.FOSSA 2 had a budget of €2m but its bug bounty program was limited to €60,000 for the VLC Media Player app.Beginning in January, security researchers and companies can hunt for vulnerabilities in the 14 open source projects chosen for FOSSA 3 and report them to earn a monetary award.Via ZDNet
We’ve also highlighted the best open source software

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Major US papers hit by malware attack

The Los Angeles Times and several other major US newspapers, owned by Tribune Publishing CO such as the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, were hit by a cyberattack last weekend that led to major printing and delivery disruptions. According to a source with knowledge of the incident, the cyberattack, which led to distribution delays in the Saturday edition of The Times, Tribune, Sun and other newspapers, likely originated outside of the US.Tribune Publishing first discovered the malware on its systems on Friday.The West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times were also affected since they are printed on the same shared production platform in Los Angeles.
Distribution delay
Back office systems utilised to publish and produce newspapers were disrupted by the malware according to Tribune Publishing spokesperson Marisa Kollias who explained that the financial details of its customers were not accessed by hackers, saying:“There is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised.”Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldman revealed that the department is currently investigating the disruption caused by the cyberattack, saying:“We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation.”  Via Reuters
We’ve also highlighted the best antivirus

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Best CMS of 2019

Content plays a major role in the journey of building your online presence and brand. Without it, you’re going to struggle in today’s ruthless business world. In fact, digital marketing is arguably one of the most important areas of commerce, although it’s often neglected.To maximise your operation’s potential, you need a reliable content management system (CMS). You’ll find plenty of them out there, and they all allow you to create and manage your own content, website and blogs. But some are more effective than others – and that’s where we can help.With the written word and media, you have a potential way to become a key influencer in your industry, and to connect with your customers on top of offering them quality products. So in this article, we’ll highlight the best systems, which cater for different needs and budgets.
These are the best website hosting services of 2019
WordPress
If there’s one CMS most people have heard of, it’s WordPress. The platform was launched in 2003 and has become a major part of the internet since. Based on PHP and MySQL, it provides you with tools to create a feature-packed website or blog using written content, videos, images and more.You also have the ability to install a mixture of pre-made and third-party themes to personalise your website. They cater for all sorts of industries, from retail to hospitality. Although you can download the software for free from WordPress.org and install it on your server, there’s also the option to get a domain and hosting with WordPress.The business plan costs $25 a month (around £19, AU$34) and gives you full access to the theme store, unlimited storage space and a custom domain. That’s not a bad investment if you want to create a website and maintain it going forward.
You can sign up for WordPress here
Squarespace
Squarespace is another popular CMS platform (largely thanks to its omnipresent podcast advertising!), and it started out at around the same time as WordPress. The main difference is that it isn’t open-source – so you can’t download the software and install it on your own server.Instead, it’s an integrated website builder, blogging platform and hosting service. The premise is that you sign up for a subscription and Squarespace makes it easy to build a website from scratch, which is obviously handy if you don’t have any previous web development experience, or if you need to get a site up and running in a short space of time. Like WordPress, you can install different themes and build a website using text, images and videos.There’s also a commerce platform available. It lets you build and manage your own online store, without having to pay a hefty sum for a tech pro to do it for you. Again, there’s the option to go for a business-ready package. For $18 per month (around £14, AU$24) you get your own domain, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SSL security, Zapier – an automation tool, and Google AdWords credit.
You can sign up for Squarespace here
Magnolia
One of the main attractions of content management systems is that they’re often easy to set up and use. If you’re running a business, you’ll want to have a website to promote your products and services, but you may not have the technical know-how to build one yourself.The java-based Magnolia CMS is targeted specifically at companies that need websites which can do pretty much everything. It sports a hub integrating areas such as e-commerce, analytics, marketing automation, social media, CRM and ERP. The beauty here is that you can add these functions as time goes on and your business develops.Security is at the heart of the system, too, as it employs an architecture that separates your website’s public and private elements to help combat attacks. You can even define what users and admins are able to do, so you’ll always know who can write, edit, view and publish certain content. Prices are tailored to business needs.
You can sign up for Magnolia here
Weebly
Similar to WordPress, Weebly may well be a name that you’re familiar with. It’s an easy-to-use content management system that lets you set up a simple website within a matter of minutes. The platform uses a drag-and-drop format, so you can add features and media to your website easily. And by the same token, you can swiftly remove anything whenever you want.There are a load of pricing options to choose from, all based on different business and personal needs. After the basic, free option, the cheapest plan is $12 a month (around £9.4, AU$17), which provides you with unlimited storage, a domain name and Google Ads credit. There is a small business option, and that’ll set you back $25 a month (around £19, AU$34). For that, you get all the usual features, as well as handy tools like password protection and tax calculators.
You can sign up for Weebly here
Wix
Wix is a cloud-based web development platform which lets you create HTML5 and mobile-optimised websites easily. The platform offers a drag-and-drop system, and you can add more functionality by installing plugins. Wix caters for elements including email marketing, e-commerce, contact forms and community forums. As is normal for CMS platforms, you have the option to remove adverts, use your own domain name and get increased bandwidth by going for a premium plan.Prices start at $4.50 a month (around £3, AU$6), although if you’re a small business, you have the eCommerce plan which the company says it’s best for small businesses. The price is $16.50 (around £12, AU$22) and you benefit from uncapped bandwidth, 20GB of storage, a free domain, a custom favicon, an online store builder and ad vouchers.
You can sign up at Wix.com here
Bynder
Content management systems are great for publishing content online, obviously enough, but they’re also gold dust when it comes to collaborating on content across teams. Bynder is a marketing platform that lets brands create, find, use and work on content easily. It provides a plethora of high-quality workflows to help brand managers, marketers and editors produce, approve and circulate new marketing content. There’s also the ability to create a shareable style guide so all content is consistent and matches the company’s brand image. While it sports some handy features, Bynder is a lot more expensive than other offerings, although you can try out the service with the 14-day trial. You’ll need to contact the company for exact pricing, but you should expect to pay at least $450 per month (around £345, AU$570) and prices can reach thousands. That said, the software is designed to take a good deal of strain off your marketing budget by simplifying many mundane and time-consuming tasks. 
You can sign up for Bynder here
Editor’s note: Wix has asked not to be included in this article
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The best WordPress hosting 2019

Getting started with WordPress website hosting doesn’t have to be expensive, after all the 15-year old WordPress is free (and open source). Even the cheapest shared hosting plan usually comes with a one-click WordPress installer, allowing the greenest of blogging newbies to have their first post ready in less than 60 seconds (we tried it).Managing a blog over time is much more challenging, though. You’ll need to find your own themes and plugins. And also keep them, and WordPress itself, up-to-date (although you can even get that done automatically).Blogs are often targeted by malware, so it’s important you have some way to detect and remove any threats, and you’ll want regular backups to help get a broken blog working again. There’s a long list of hosting companies offering WordPress plans, but we’ve picked out five of the best to point you in the right direction. Whether you’re a first-time user or a big business, there’s something for you here, and with prices starting at around a pound per month, it’s well worth taking the time to find out more.
These are the best WordPress hosting services of 2019

Budget WordPress hosting can have a lot of appeal, but it usually won’t deliver the features, performance or reliability that high traffic sites need. If you’re the demanding type, opting for a premium hosting plan will give you much better results.Bluehost has created its own VPS-based architecture to deliver optimum WordPress performance via NGINX, a custom PHP-FPM setup and intelligently allocated resources through KVM hypervisor. (If you’re not a hosting geek, this just means Bluehost has taken the time to optimize the low-level setup of its platform for WordPress, rather than simply making do with a standard configuration.)The company doesn’t waste time by pretending to offer ‘unlimited’ resources, and instead tells you exactly what you’re going to get. For the WP Standard plan, this means 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth, and key resources – 2GB RAM, two CPU cores – which are allocated to you, and not shared with anyone else.Premium features include SiteLock Pro to keep your website malware-free, SiteLock CDN to optimize performance, a dedicated IP, and the ability to manage multiple sites with the excellent ManageWP.This isn’t cheap, with even the baseline Standard plan costing $19.99 (£15.20) a month for the initial term, rising to $39.99 (£28.60) afterwards. But you are getting a lot for your money, and if you’re more interested in power than price, Bluehost has even more available.The top-of-the-range Ultimate plan, for instance, gives you four CPU cores, 8GB RAM, 240GB storage and a monster 4TB bandwidth. SiteLock Enterprise handles all your security and CDN needs, and there’s a wildcard SSL thrown in. Ultimate costs $49.99 (£35.70) a month initially, $129.99 (£93) after that, but that’s a fair price for this spec, and Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you feel the service doesn’t deliver. Furthermore, there are also shared WordPress hosting plans with fewer features and lower performance but they are cheaper, starting at $2.95 ($7.99 on renewal) per month.

Managed WordPress packages can often feel overpriced. Many hosts charge significant premiums for impressive sounding claims – optimized servers, malware scanning – that are difficult to evaluate or confirm.The UK-based Tsohost isn’t interested in any of that, instead focusing on providing the core WordPress essentials at a very fair price.The baseline Startup plan gives you a free domain name, will migrate your existing site, includes Let’s Encrypt SSL support and has no limits on bandwidth. You get daily backups and can restore any of the last 30 days with a click. There’s 24/7 support via ticket and email, and phone and live chat is available from 7am to midnight.You get a hundred 200MB mailboxes, and the plan restricts you to 15GB storage and 100,000 page views a month. If that’s enough for you, the plan costs ~$4.15(£3.16) a month paid annually, or ~$3.8(£2.92) if you pay for two years upfront.If that’s just too underpowered, opting for the Business plan gets you 50GB of storage, 100x1GB mailboxes, and up to 500,000 page views over a maximum of eight websites. That’s significantly more capable, yet still very reasonably priced at ~$11.50(£8.78) a month, ~$9.62(£7.33) a month paid annually or ~$8.65(£6.59) a month paid biennially.The  ~$31.50(£23.98) a month (~$26.20 a month paid annually or ~$23.60 a month paid biennially) eCommerce plan supports 100GB storage, 1,000,000 page views and unlimited 10GB mailboxes.Tsohost doesn’t offer all the frills and extras you’ll get with some products. There’s no talk of SiteLock malware protection, optimized WordPress add-ons or a custom CDN. But it’s hard to complain at this price, and Tsohost is still delivering a capable service with more than enough power for smaller sites.

Most web hosts offer only a few WordPress plans, and even these might be set up to point you in a particular direction. You’ll often see an underpowered plan, an overpriced one, and a special deal on the mid-range plan they really want you to buy. That makes it easy to decide, but it also limits your upgrade options if your site grows over time.InMotion Hosting is unusual in offering six WordPress plans, covering everything from small personal blogs to resellers and big business. Figuring out which is the best product for you will take a little more thought, but at least there’s room to upgrade – or downgrade – if your circumstances change.Better still, InMotion hasn’t artificially limited the low-end plans by removing key features. Even the baseline WP-1000S plan – which costs $6.99 (£5.3) a month initially (1-year plan), $9.99 (£7.70) on renewal – gives you 40GB storage, unlimited bandwidth and email addresses, preinstalled WordPress, SSL, backups, automatic updates, SiteLock security, cPanel site management, and extras like BoldGrid and WP-CLI. The only significant issue is InMotion’s suggestion that the plan works best for blogs with up to 20,000 monthly visits, and even that won’t be a problem for many smaller sites.Upgrading your plan gets you some extras – premium themes and plugin subscriptions, a dedicated IP address, support for hosting more sites – but it’s mostly about giving you more resources. For example, the top-of-the-range WP-6000S plan supports 1,200,000 monthly visitors across up to 20 sites for $114.99 (£87.6) a month initially (1-year plan), $142.99 (£110) on renewal.There are cheaper deals around, but in previous reviews we’ve found InMotion to be reliable, professional and honest, and any price premium is likely to be worth paying. You don’t have to take our word for it, though – an exceptional 90-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of opportunity to find out for yourself.

Web giant 1&1 IONOS seems to have a hosting product for every possible need, and WordPress is no exception. Novice users can try out its service for a nominal $1(£0.75)  a month over the first six months ($9 or £6.90 afterwards), yet the plan still outperforms many competitors.The bundled 25GB of storage means you won’t be running out of space in a hurry, for example. There are no bandwidth or visitor limits, and you can set up as many email accounts as you need.1&1 IONOS offers the core WordPress management functions that you would expect: a setup wizard, preinstalled plugins, automatic updates and 24/7 support (including by telephone). Also, you get a personal consultant free of charge. All this is built on a capable platform – NGINX, PHP 7.2, OPcache, up to 2GB RAM guaranteed – to enhance your blog’s performance.There’s SSL included and even a free domain thrown in, which is ridiculously good value at this price.If you’re a WordPress novice, it might be worth taking out the plan for an initial year, claiming your free domain and taking the time to learn how the blog works. When you time is up, renew if you’re happy, or if you’re not, use your knowledge and experience to find a better plan.1&1 IONOS isn’t just about newbies, though: there’s value for more demanding users, too. In particular, the Pro plan gives you 5 managed WordPress sites, 200GB SSD storage space, 50 databases (1GB max), and 500 email accounts. Bonus features include a CDN and SiteLock malware scanning, as well as RailGun content delivery network, and the price looks good at $1(£0.75)  a month for the first six months, $15(£11.50)  on renewal.

Choosing the best WordPress hosting package can seem like a complicated business, with a stack of low-level details and issues to consider. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you don’t have special requirements then opting for a reliable web hosting company will get you capable mid-range products that can handle everything most users need.HostGator generally delivers powerful hosting plans for a fair price, and its managed WordPress range is no exception. Its Starter product may only cost $5.95 (£4.25) for three years, $9.95 (£7.10) afterwards, but you still get a free site migration, an SSL certificate, automatic malware detection and removal, unlimited email addresses and unmetered storage and bandwidth, and it can handle up to 100,000 visits a month.Ramping up to the high-end Business plan gets you more CPU power, support for up to three sites and 500,000 visits a month, yet still costs only $9.95 (£7.10) a month initially  (first three years), $22.95 (£16.40) a month afterwards.Smart caching and a CDN are on hand to enhance your website’s performance, 24/7 support helps keep your site up and running, and surprise bonus features include free domain privacy to protect from identity theft and reduce annoying spam.We’ve had good experiences with HostGator’s service, but if you’re not so lucky, there’s a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. As with other hosting companies, this won’t cover any domain registration fees, but it’s still a better deal than you’ll often find elsewhere.
You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:
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The best email provider of 2019

Getting hold of an email account is easy. Sign up with an ISP and you’ve got one account for starters. Creating an account with Google and other big names will get you more. Buy a decent web hosting package and you’ll probably get enough email addresses to power a large business, all for no extra charge.Getting the right email account is more difficult, as there’s a lot to consider. What are the spam filters like? How easy is it to keep your inbox organized? Can you access the account from other email clients? And what about using the service with a custom domain and address of your own (yourname@yourdomain.com)?Keep reading and we’ll highlight some of the best email providers around. All have decent free services, perhaps with ads and some limits, but we’ll also talk about their business-friendly commercial products which deliver the power, functionality and enterprise-level extras that demanding users need.
The best email services of 2019 are :

First released back in 2004, Google’s Gmail has become the market leader in free email services with more than a billion users across the globe.Gmail’s stripped-back web interface is a highlight. Most of the screen is devoted to your inbox, with a minimum of toolbar and other clutter. Messages are neatly organized via conversations for easier viewing, and you can read and reply to emails with ease, even as a first-time user.There’s plenty of power here. Messages can be automatically filtered into tabbed categories like Primary, Social and Promotions, helping you to focus on the content you need. Leading-edge spam blocking keeps your inbox free of junk, you can manage other accounts from the same interface (Outlook, Yahoo, any other IMAP or POP email), and there’s 15GB storage for your inbox, Drive and photos. You can also access Gmail offline, although you’ll need Google Chrome for that to work. Furthermore, there is a neat snooze feature that allows you to, well, snooze an email for a specified amount of time (it also automatically labels that email as important).Other features are more questionable. Instead of organizing messages into folders, for instance – a simple metaphor which just about every user understands – you must filter them using a custom labelling system. This works, and has some advantages, but isn’t popular with all users. Still, Gmail is an excellent service overall, and a good first choice for your email provider.Google makes a paid business-oriented version of Gmail available in the shape of its G Suite product.This more professional product drops the ads and allows using a custom email address on your domain (yourname@yourcompany.tld). Business-oriented migration tools can import mail from Outlook, Exchange, Lotus and more. Storage space doubles to 30GB on the Basic plan, and you get unlimited group email addresses, 99.9% guaranteed uptime and 24/7 support.G Suite is Google’s answer to Microsoft Office, so of course you also get apps for working with documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Shared calendars keep you better organized, there’s video and voice conferencing for online meetings, and again, there’s 24/7 support to keep your system running smoothly.This more Office-like power makes for a more expensive product than the email-only competition, with prices starting at $5 (£3.60) a user for the simplest plan. You’re getting a lot for your money, though, and if you’ll use G Suite’s features then it could be a smart choice. A 14-day free trial provides an easy way to help you find out.
You can sign up for Gmail here
Check out the best web hosting services for 2018

Outlook’s web interface follows the same familiar style as its desktop incarnation, and most other email clients: folders and organizational tools on the left, the contents of the current folder in the center, and a simple preview pane on the right (with adverts in the case of the free account).A toolbar gives you speedy access to common features, and right-clicking folders or messages shows you just about everything else. If you’ve ever used another email client, you’ll figure out the key details in moments.Despite the apparent simplicity, there’s a lot going on under the hood. The service automatically detects important emails and places them in a Focused Inbox, keeping any distractions out of sight. Events including flights and dinner reservations can automatically be added to your calendar. It’s easy to share that calendar with other Outlook.com or Office 365 users, or you can save your events to a Family calendar that everyone can access.Excellent attachment support includes the ability to directly share OneDrive files as copies or links. You can also attach files directly from your Google Drive, Dropbox and Box accounts, and a chunky 15GB mailbox allows storing plenty of files from other people.This all worked just fine for us, but if you’re unhappy with the service defaults, there’s a chance they can be tweaked via Outlook.com’s Settings dialog. This doesn’t have quite as many options as Gmail, but they’re well organized and give you plenty of control over layout, attachment rules, message handling and more.If that’s still not enough, Microsoft offers a bunch of app-based integrations to take the service further. You get built-in Skype support via the beta, and apps give you easier access to Evernote, PayPal, GIPHY, Yelp, Uber and more.Upgrading to Office 365 gets you an ad-free inbox, 50GB mail storage and a vast 1TB of OneDrive storage. Extras include offline working, professional message formatting tools, phone or chat-based support, file recovery from malicious attacks like ransomware and more. Oh, and the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All this can be yours for the equivalent of $7 (£5) a month on the single user Office 365 Personal plan or you can pay 70$ (£52) for a year.
You can sign up for Outlook here

Yahoo Mail doesn’t make the headlines so much, these days, but its latest version is a polished and professional service which stands up well against the top competition.The well-designed interface resembles Gmail, at least initially, with a large view of your inbox, one-click filters for common messages and content (Photos, Documents, Travel), and easy browsing of all the emails in a conversation. But you can also organize mails into custom folders, and the layout can be tweaked to display a message preview in a couple of clicks. Mobile users have some additional features like the option to unsubscribe to newsletters and such, without ever leaving the Yahoo Mail inbox.A powerful underlying engine can integrate with Facebook, supports sending SMS and text messages, is accessible via web, POP and (in some situations) IMAP, and can forward email to another address. Valuable extras include disposable email addresses to protect your privacy, and a mammoth 1TB of mailbox storage means you can keep just about everything you receive, for a very long time.Demanding users might find issues, over time. Mail organization can’t quite match the flexibility of Gmail’s labelling scheme, for instance, and there aren’t nearly as many low-level tweaks, settings and options as you’ll often see elsewhere. But overall, Yahoo Mail is an appealing service which needs to be on your email shortlist.As with other providers, Yahoo offers a Business Mail plan with more features. The highlight is an option to use the service with a custom domain (yourname@yourdomain.com), although there are other advantages, too. The service can import contacts from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook and more. You can view all your mailboxes on the same screen, and there are all the usual business-friendly productivity tools (multiple calendars, document handling, analytics and more).Prices start from $3.19 (£2.30) per mailbox per month, billed annually, and they drop as you add mailboxes – $1.59 (£1.15) for 5, $1.19 (£0.85) for 10, and for 20+ you’ll need to contact them.There’s even a free domain name included, and not just the initial registration: Yahoo will also renew it for as long as your subscription is active.
You can sign up for Yahoo Mail here

Signing up with an email provider will often involve some privacy compromises. Yahoo Mail asks for your name and mobile number, for instance. Gmail and other services might scan your messages to carry out useful actions (such as adding events to calendars), and just about everyone serves you with ads.ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service which focuses on privacy above all else. You can sign up anonymously, there’s no logging of IP addresses, and all your emails are end-to-end encrypted, which means there’s no way ProtonMail (or anyone else) can read their contents. Also, address verification (which allows you to be sure you are securely communicating with the right person) and full support for PGP email encryption is available.There are some significant limits. The free product has a tiny 500MB storage space, only supports sending 150 messages a day, and is distinctly short in terms of organizational tools (no folders, labels or smart filters). As the end-to-end encryption is specific to ProtonMail, it also ensures that you can’t use the service with other email clients.Still, it seems a little unfair to complain about a service which is no-strings-attached free, and doesn’t even show ads. In reality, ProtonMail is a specialist tool which is intended for use alongside services like Gmail – not to replace them – and overall it performs its core tasks very well.If you do need more, ProtonMail’s $5 (you can choose to pay in USD, Euro and CHF) a month (or 48$ yearly) Plus account gives you 5GB storage, a 1,000 message-per-day allowance, custom domains (you@yourdomain.com) and support for folders, labels, filters as well as some addition features like contact groups.A further Business plan brings more storage, email addresses and a second custom domain, as well as adding a catch-all email address and multi-user support. It’s priced from $8 per month per user (75$ yearly), which is reasonable if you need ProtonMail’s security, although it’s also notably more expensive than the business accounts of the big-name competition.
You can sign up for ProtonMail here

Zoho Workplace is a business-oriented email service which throws in an online office suite, document management, and a host of collaboration tools and other extras.Zoho’s free plan supports up to 25 users (there’s an extra 25 available if you can refer others to the service. Update: they are currently remodeling the referral program so this isn’t available at the moment), each with 5GB of mailbox storage, and can be used with one domain of your own. These are features you’ll normally only find in commercial products, and when you factor in the spreadsheet, word processor, presentation and other tools, it looks like a real bargain.The email service is easy-to-use, and provides a decent set of features to help organize your emails: folders, tags, filters, smart searches, and more.The free plan is still a little basic. It gives you web access only, for instance, and there’s no support for email forwarding.Fortunately, the Zoho Standard plan fixes that. A mere $3 (£2.3) per user (paid annually) gets you IMAP and POP access, email forwarding, active sync, multiple domain hosting, domain aliases, 30GB storage, a 30MB attachment limit (up from 25MB with the free plan) and some major improvements elsewhere (the ability to send cloud files to non-Zoho users, for instance). You also have Lite plan which is a cheaper Standard plan ($1 per user) with less features, and a Professional ($6 per user) plan which adds more features.A number of these features are available elsewhere for free, of course, but businesses or anyone who will use the custom domain support or Office tools will find a lot to like here. Well worth a closer look.
You can sign up for Zoho here
Also check out our roundup of the best WordPress hosting providers

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The best iPhone 7 deals in the January sales 2019

It may now be in its terrible twos, but Apple’s iPhone 7 remains one of the best mobiles we’ve ever used and the price of iPhone 7 deals is way less than its successors.
So forget those iPhone 8 deals. Laugh in the face of iPhone XS deals and move on from those iPhone X deals If you like the idea of buying an iPhone but aren’t that enthusiastic amount the kind of costs attached to them, then the iPhone 7 could be an ideal middle ground.That said, other than the fantastic 20GB+ tariffs knocking around on EE, none of the other networks are proving very competitive on the iPhone 7 at the moment. We’re especially disgruntled with Vodafone at the moment, as its really sexy sub-£25 per month deals have now been cruelly ripped away. They still exist, but the upfront costs have really shot up.On this page you’ll find all of the best iPhone 7 deals you can get right now. Whether you’re looking for unlimited data, a free phone or any other type of tariff, you can use our comparison chart below to choose the cheapest option out there. Scroll down to find the best deal for you.And don’t forget that you’ll get £10 off the handset cost if you get your iPhone 7 from Mobiles.co.uk – you just need to enter our exclusive 10OFF discount code when you get to the checkout.
See also: iPhone 8 deals | iPhone 7 Plus deals | iPhone 7 SIM-free | Samsung Galaxy S8 deals | Best mobile phone deals

Top 5 best iPhone 7 deals in the UK today
At the top of our guide you’ll see what we’ve chosen as this month’s best value iPhone 7 deals in the UK. These are chosen purely on the basis of value – unlike some other sites we don’t manipulate the order of these deals for commercial gain! And if you’re loyal to a particular network, we’ve picked out the best deals on the four major networks – those being EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

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The best Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals in the January sales 2019

So the Galaxy Note 9 has been out for a little while, making the Note 8 old news. Right? Well that’s what you would think. But the 2017 model is so incredible that it still performs just like a new model and not to mention it is so much cheaper than its successor. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals are definitely still well worth a look. And it’s still getting cheaper!
When the Note 8 first came out, EE had deals locked down tight but now there is a pretty good spread across providers, Although EE still does have some of the very best deals on this device – what else would you expect from the UK’s fastest network. Samsung Note 8 deals are now under the £900-mark in total over the two-year contract and can go as low as £750, and our clear Editor’s Pick now offers 30GB of data a month instead of 20GB.The Note 8 is not by any means a budget device, however. It’s a absolutely massive  smartphone, not just in size but also in raw power. It’s got the screen size and specification smarts to be a competitor to the highly praised iPhone X or iPhone’s new massive iPhone XS Max and neither of those come cheap. But there are now some excellent Note 8 deals floating around. Check out our comparison chart and handpicked favourite Note 8 deals below.Now we know some of you may have fiery memories of the Galaxy Note 7 in your head when looking at this device but leave those worries behind. Both the Note 8 and 9 have massively improved their batteries and you won’t be facing overheating problems anymore. The Note 8 truly is miles ahead of the 7 in every way.
Check out today’s best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 deals to orderThese are the best mobile phone deals in the UK right now
Our top 5 best Galaxy Note 8 deals in the UK today:
Should I get the Galaxy Note 8 SIM free?
Are you determined to get the very best price? Always looking to see how you can trim a few pounds off your new favourite gadget? As you probably know, you can now pick up cheap SIM only deals for as little as £4 a month, which could make it worth buying a SIM and handset separately or if you’re willing to pay a bit more, how about Three’s unlimited SIM deal for £20The Galaxy Note 8’s RRP has dropped massively recently to £649. That is much cheaper than it used to be but you will still be putting up a big chunk of money upfront. Even if you get the cheapest SIM card (usually around £4 a month for 500MB data), that would still cost near to £800 over the two years. You’re probably better cranking up the upfront cost in our price comparison chart above, imposing a low maximum for monthlies and finding a cheaper deal in the long run.To get the best price on your new SIM free Galaxy, you can head to our cheapest unlocked Note 8 deals page.

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Well the fervour for the Note 8 is probably doubled due to the fact that the Note 7 was pulled from shelves soon after release. But it doesn’t take more than one look at the Note 8 to see that it justifies the hype.The huge 6.3-inch ‘Infinity Display,’ is gorgeous to look at, the 6GB RAM innards go like a train and there are two best-in-class rear cameras. It’s expensive, but we think the Note 8 is worth it. Read TechRadar’s full Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review

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The best iPhone SE deals in the January sales 2019

The iPhone SE may have been officially removed from the Apple Store, but the budget Apple smartphone continues to sell at some seriously rapid speeds. That’s largely because the cheapest iPhone on the market recently had yet another price drop – and on this page you’ll find the best iPhone SE deals in the UK.Following Apple’s product launch back in September, it feels like the iPhone SE 2 is still no closer to being released. But that hasn’t stopped tariffs falling and you can now get iPhone SE deals on contract for a mere £15 per month – that means around £400 over the course of the contract!The tech world rejoiced when the iPhone SE was released. Finally, a new Apple phone that doesn’t require you to remortgage your house – unlike the iPhone XS Max! It looks and feels exactly the same as the iPhone 5S. But instead of sporting two-year-old hardware it’s fully up to date, with a super-fast CPU and graphics, and the 12MP iSight camera straight out of the iPhone 6S.If cheap iPhone SE deals are what you seek, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. Use TechRadar’s comparison chart to easily find the ideal plan, or scroll down further to find our pick of the best SE deals on the market.More options: iPhone 8 deals | iPhone 7 deals | iPhone 6S deals | iPhone deals | Best mobile phone deals | iPhone SE review
Best iPhone SE deals across all UK networks:
Lower down the page you’ll be able to read about all of the best iPhone SE deals on a model-by-model and network-by-network basis. But first of all here are the best deals so you can instantly see what the best offers are from EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Launched back in March 2016, the ‘Special Edition’ iPhone SE was a rare example of Apple dropping its entry-level price to allow bargain-hunters a piece of the iPhone pie. It reduced the screen size from the iPhone 6, but kitted it out with the same camera as the iPhone 6S. In short, it’s a premium smartphone with a lower price tag – and we like that!Read TechRadar’s full iPhone SE review

Now let’s break down the best iPhone SE deals by network…

Best iPhone SE deals on EE
Best iPhone SE deals on O2
Best iPhone SE deals on Vodafone
Best iPhone SE deals on Three

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