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UK2 review
1:38 am | October 28, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Website Hosting | Comments: Off

As the name suggests, UK2 is a UK-based host, headquartered in London, and it has been in the web hosting industry since 1998. During more than two decades of operation they’ve registered more than one million of domain names of websites in more than 200 locations around the globe, so there is definitely a reason why they are considered one of the largest web hosting companies in the UK and why they're listed on our best UK web hosting guide.

The UK2’s main website is not quite as intuitive as it should be and many users might spend considerable time navigating around while forgetting what they were looking for in the first place. The first search window you encounter upon entering the site isn’t related to knowledgebase, FAQ or similar information source, but rather a way to check availability of your desired domain name. If anything, the website is responsive and appears to be updated regularly.

UK2 has a decent-looking blog filled with the various interrelated subjects, some of which are highlighted by the criteria of popularity and publication date. It appears to be active and updated on a monthly basis.

As for the social media, they have presence at Facebook and Twitter, and both profiles seem to be active and available for customer interaction.

Pricing

Upon entering the site, you will be offered a hosting a plan that is currently on sale with details about pricing, discount and additional features. Scroll down and you will be prompted to “design your perfect hosting solution” by picking the options that define you as a user and your professional requirements. Following this, you’ll be offered three hosting plans that ought to suit your needs, varying by the hosting type, price and added features. Basic shared hosting, WordPress, Cloud, Managed, SSD VPS and dedicated server are all at your disposal. 

UK2's basic and most budget-friendly Starter WordPress plan starts at £4.99 ($6.47) a month, but if you choose a year or two, the monthly price drops to mere £2.00 ($2.59) which is £23.95 ($31.06) for a whole year or £47.90 ($62.12) for two. This will get you one domain name, access to FTP, 5GB SSD Disk Space, five 10GB Pro IMAP Emails, Cloudflare CDN (which is always included with WordPress hosting plans) as well as backups and automatic malware removal. 

Pricing

UK2 offers a variety of plans to meet your hosting needs (Image credit: UK2)

If you are more ambitious, you could go with Business Hosting, which will allow you to build up to a 100-page website and up to 1000 x 10GB email addresses to share with your contacts and customers, all within reasonable prices. All previously mentioned plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Although VPS Cloud Hosting is consider to be aimed at the tech-savvy, UK2 will throw in “state-of-the-art” cPanel and first-rate 24/7 customer support to make everything much easier.

When paying methods are concerned, the options include direct debit, debit/credit card and PayPal, which is more than what is usually available.

Ease of use

Upon picking out your plan, you’ll be immediately offered a few add-ons such as Website SEO Guru (a marketing tool) or SiteLock (which should improve security of your website) and all for an extra price. After this, you’ll be prompted to choose your domain or use an existing one, add your personal details and select a paying method. At every step of the way, a “Having problems?” window will pop up, offering you to contact customer service via telephone or live chat, which may be needed because some parts of the process are not as intuitive as they could be.

While selecting the paying method you are offered a checkbox choice to store it, which is quite refreshing to see. The last step is creating an account password monitored by quite rigorous strength meter, after which the sign-up process is finalized.

cPanel

UK2 lets you manage your website with the industry standard cPanel (Image credit: UK2)

Since UK2 uses an industry-standard cPanel, if you’ve used web hosts in the past and are familiar with the layout, you’ll have no trouble navigating around. Even if you haven’t, cPanel makes for a largely easy-to-use experience. If you’ve selected VPS or a dedicated server, you’ll be able to decide between a selection of cPanels, depending on whether you use Windows or Linux as an operating system. 

In any case, with CPanel you’ll be able to efficiently monitor and manage everything, from variety of tools and add-ons to domain, checking or changing your account details, upgrading your hosting plan or contacting your customer service. Installing WordPress, MediaWIki, Magento, Softaculous or similar apps is only a click or two away.

Although the UK2 doesn’t provide any kind of website builder with its standard account, the website builder feature is offered through the main website and throws in social media integration, search engine optimization, editing tool for digital media and SSL certificate with support, which is always nice to have.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the performance of our UK2 site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

Following the test run with GTmetrix, we found that UK2 passed the speed trial, at least judging by the performance of their main site. It took 6.9 seconds to fully load from the average of 8.2 and 74 requests from the average of 89, which shows a good performance.

Interestingly, when it comes to uptime, UK2 doesn’t make any definite promises, besides pointing out that “performance and ultimate uptime are their top priority”. Despite that, during the uptime test that run over two weeks on their main website, we recorded no downtime at all and an insignificant amount of oscillations. Although the period we tested is relatively short for a definitive judgment to be made, all things considered, UK2 is clearly off to a good start.

Support

UK2's knowledgebase has some helpful articles but finding them can be difficult (Image credit: UK2)

Support

On first impression, the knowledgebase is as confusing as the main site. They offer an alphabetical index in the center of the page, a list of “Recently updated articles” on the right and the tree of categories on the left side. To find a desired piece of information you’ll need to make your way through several subcategories. In its defense, there is search box in the top right corner, but that will get you plenty of articles that only deal with topics in brief, so you will be forced to invest more time in your research.

To avoid that, you could, as suggested on the same page, simply contact the customer support. Luckily, UK2 provides 24/7 support 365 days a year via telephone, live chat or ticket and it is truly one of the highlights of the company’s offer. 

UK2 Help Centre currently doesn’t have a support forum.

The competition

Both UK2 and Tsohost are web hosting companies originating from the UK and with more than decade of experience behind them. They offer more than a decent array of features and extras, a newbie-friendly approach, as well as competent support. However, cPanel that Tsohost offers is their customized version, so if you are looking for the industry-standardized one, UK2 might be a right choice for you.

Bluehost is an equally competent host from the US, with years of experience behind them, a great deal of features on offer, more budget-friendly prices than UK2 and all of their plans including unlimited bandwidth. Therefore, if data centers inside the UK are not a must for you, Bluehost can provide you with everything you are looking for.

UK2 as well as Hostgator are newbie-friendly, but all plans offered by the latter include a free website builder, which is a great tool to have at the start. In addition, although both of them offer 24/7 support, Hostgator’s website is more user-friendly and its knowledgebase is better organized, so if that matters to you, Hostgator might be an ideal choice. 

Hostinger also have some really great value VPS plans but they're unmanaged. They may not be a UK hosting brand but they do have servers in the UK and a range to top hosting features for beginners.

Final verdict

UK2 certainly isn’t the most affordable host to have, but it offers competent customer service and a cPanel packed with helpful tools which will boost the morale for beginners. If you want all of the abovementioned features with the addition of unmetered bandwidth and more budget-friendly prices, then Hostgator or Bluehost could be a more suitable choice for you. 

Advanced Uninstaller PRO review
12:00 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

Uninstalling software on Windows 11 is straightforward, but not always successful. To combat the various bits of data and registry entries that get left behind, various third-party tools are available. 

One of these is Advanced Uninstaller PRO, developed by Innovative Solutions. Based in Bucharest, Romania, this software company has been producing Windows utilities since 2000, although Advanced Uninstaller PRO currently appears to be its only product.

To find out if this is the uninstaller utility that will work for you, we’ve reviewed the software based on pricing, features, usability, customer support options, and how it compares with competing apps.

Advanced uninstaller pro: Plans and pricing

Advanced Uninstaller PRO review

(Image credit: Advanced Uninstaller PRO)

Almost all of the functionality from Advanced Uninstaller PRO can be enjoyed for free. 

While it has a subscription option (in the form of a Daily Health Check), which adds startup virus detection, application leftover cleanup, priority support, Windows log files removal, and Windows memory dump cleaning, the main purpose of the tool and its features can be used without this.

The Daily Health Check has three options available. The 30-day plan is $14, the 1-year plan is $29, and the 2-year plan is $39. Note that various discounts may be available depending on what promotions are available at a given time.

Note that the paid option is essentially a scheduler that automates the app’s main features to run on a daily basis.

Payment is via credit card, PayPal, wire transfer, or Webmoney. Note that payments are recurring, with repeat subscription fees charged at the end of the billing period.

Advanced uninstaller pro: Features

Advanced Uninstaller PRO review

(Image credit: Advanced Uninstaller PRO)

Advanced Uninstaller PRO is arguably the most feature-packed free tool of this type we’ve reviewed.

In addition to the standard uninstall option, various file and registry management options are also included.

Uninstall programs

The core purpose of Advanced Uninstaller PRO is to remove software from your computer without a trace, which it does via the primary feature. However, it does this by first initiating the uninstall wizard of the software you wish to remove. This is then followed by Advanced Uninstaller PRO closing for the completion of the uninstall, without subsequently restarting automatically. As such, you don’t immediately know if the uninstall has worked without restarting and checking.

We tested by uninstalling an app and a Microsoft update for the Edge browser. Both were removed, with the update requiring further interaction as it was extracted from the registry.

We noticed that, unlike some other tools, Advanced Uninstaller PRO does not remove pre-installed Windows 11 software.

General tools

Various general tools include a Windows startup manager, easy access to the Windows services (usually accessed via the Windows Computer Management interface), and a Start Menu cleaner. There is also a Monitored Installations tool to help you keep an eye on how software is uninstalled, maintain a log, and use that log for complete removal.

File and registry tools

In many ways, Advanced Uninstaller PRO is a complete Windows app and file management tool, and this is never more evident than in the selection of utilities it offers a duplicate file checker, file compression, a file shredder, and a tool for cleaning up temporary files. A collection of three registry tools is also included: a cleaner, an optimizer, and a backup and restore tool. Temporary internet files can also be removed with this software.

System requirements

We were unable to find specific hardware minimums for Advanced Uninstaller PRO. However, the software is specifically stated as running on Windows 11 and Windows 7 through 10. It also apparently runs on Windows XP and Windows Vista and is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions.

Quirky user interface

The first thing you notice running this software (and from the accompanying screenshots) is the odd user interface. Evoking the Windows XP era, you get the feeling that a “one hat fits all” approach has been taken here. The result is software that boasts features and performance but stands out (in the wrong way) alongside other software.

We’d even go so far as to say that the way Advanced Uninstaller PRO looks might put you off. It shouldn’t, but there may be an inevitability about it...

Advanced uninstaller pro: Interface and in use

Advanced Uninstaller has a big, bright interface right out of the Windows 98 era. Its varied tools are spread across four menus, and nothing about it is too complicated to understand. A major feature of the Uninstall Programs tool is the ability to queue up multiple uninstalls at once. This can save time if you have a long list of programs that you want to get rid of. We were able to uninstall 29 programs in a row, only needing to click a button occasionally.

However, Advanced Uninstaller PRO works on the assumption that each uninstall is successful. When something goes wrong when you’re uninstalling a program, you’re not presented with any alternative options for removing it. You do have the option to run a cleanup scan after each uninstall, and invariably, Advanced Uninstaller PRO will find a few stray registry entries or files.

By default, Advanced Uninstaller PRO runs a service in the background that watches for the uninstallation of programs. It scans for any files and registry entries left over. In practice, we found that this resulted in constant disk checking that slowed down our test machine. Thankfully, you can disable it in the Settings menu.

Advanced uninstaller pro: Support

Advanced Uninstaller PRO review

(Image credit: Advanced Uninstaller PRO)

Should you have a problem using Advanced Uninstaller PRO, your options are limited. While other apps have comprehensive support portals, Innovative Solutions provides a simple web form for you to complete with your details and queries. A response can be expected “within two business days.” 

While priority support is available for paid users, the lack of any substantial support materials is surprising and disappointing.

Advanced uninstaller pro: Competition

The Windows app uninstaller market is split between paid tools and free software with paid versions. So, you might opt for something like Bulk Crap Uninstaller, Ashampoo Uninstaller, or IObit Uninstaller PRO, or prefer something that doesn’t require a subscription for long-term use, such as Wise Program Uninstaller, Geek Uninstaller, or Advanced Uninstaller PRO.

It is important to recognize that third-party uninstaller tools should all have the same basic level of functionality. The additional features and any bells and whistles in the subscription or support area are what typically set them apart.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO’s dated appearance and lack of support options are definitely factors that might leave you looking elsewhere. But its basic app removal and general performance features are in its favor.

Advanced uninstaller pro: Final verdict

Poor support options let this software suite down, and the user interface is friendlier to those fond of Windows XP. But if you can get past those issues, you will have the pleasure of using an almost complete suite of Windows file removal and data deletion utilities.

The paid scheduler option is only necessary if you need specific tasks to be checked or performed on a daily basis. Otherwise, Advanced Uninstaller PRO will find the apps you want to remove and delete all related data and registry entries. No, it won’t handle Windows’ preinstalled apps and games, but otherwise, it functions as required.

Pro-ject Debut Carbon Evo review
1:00 pm | October 24, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Gadgets Hi-Fi Turntables | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: October 2020
• Launch price: $499 / £499 / AU$879
• Target price: As above

Update: February 2024. The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is an update to one of the best turntables available (the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, which is itself based on the firm's original Debut, launched in 1999) and despite being a fair chunk of money more than its older 2017 sibling, this September 2020 looker is easily still worthy of a spot in our guide. It's devoid of preamp (so you're going to need one) and it's not the deck for your if you want Bluetooth connectivity (look to the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2) or new-fangled Sonos connectivity (see the Victrola Stream Carbon) but what it does do exceptionally well is play your vinyl records, within a hi-fi system. And that is timeless – because vinyl is going nowhere. The day will likely come when a turntable arrives that can do this specific job marginally better for the same money. But Pro-Ject can rest assured that it still hasn't happened yet. The rest of this review remains as previously published.


Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Two-minute review

Pro-Ject introduced its first Debut turntable at the end of the last century, and it’s been refined, upgraded, and become increasingly expensive ever since. This Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined and upgraded model so far – and it’s also the most expensive.

In terms of specification, though, the Pro-Ject goes a long way towards justifying its price. The carbon fibre tonearm is supplied with a very capable Ortofon (or Sumika) cartridge. A new motor design, some damped and adjustable feet, and automatic speed change contribute no end to improved performance and improved ergonomics. And with a choice of nine finishes, including five very attractive new ‘satin’ options, there’s sure to be a Debut Carbon Evo to fit in with your interior decor choices.

Setting up is simple: attach the drive belt, put on the platter, and attach counter- and antiskate weights to that single-piece tonearm. Attach to your wider system with the high-quality phono leads that are included, plug into the mains, and you’re good to go.

record player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

And it doesn’t matter the sort of music you like to listen to – the Debut Carbon Evo laps it up. In every circumstance it’s a detailed and revealing listen, able to focus on the minutiae even as it describes the complete picture completely convincingly. 

It has all the warmth and weight the vinyl format is famous for, but it’s not musclebound and it doesn’t get bogged down – instead it simply motors along in the most natural way imaginable. There’s a sort of instinctive correctness to the way the Pro-Ject makes music that goes a long way to explaining why vinyl has endured as a format all these many decades.

It’s not the last word in absolute precision, and there are other similarly priced turntables that offer a little more bite and aggression. But if you value a smooth, informative ride from a beautifully engineered and nice-looking record player, don’t spend any money until you’ve heard the Debut Carbon Evo. 

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Price and release date

  • Available now
  • $499 / £499 / AU$879

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is on sale now, and priced at $499 / £449 / AU$879.  That makes it far less of an entry-level proposition than 1999’s original Debut – but then Pro-Ject has covered off the entry level with its Elemental and Primary models, while the Debut Carbon Evo is a much better specified device than the original Debut could dream of being.

At this price, the Pro-Ject goes up against some very capable and very well-regarded alternatives. The likes of Rega (with its Planar 2) and Thorens (and its TD190-2) are ready to turn your head – but Pro-Ject’s reputation is the equal of that of any competitor, and the company is always an option at this sort of money.

turntable

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Design

  • Carbon fibre tonearm
  • Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
  • Choice of nine (!) finishes

Nobody in their right mind messes with the design of a turntable, do they? Ever since the record player did away with the need for a trumpet horn, they’ve all looked the same (apart from those self-consciously ‘wacky’ designs that are odd for the sake of it). A record player is a rectangle with a circle on it – and, if you’re feeling adventurous, a plastic dust-cover on the top.

And that’s how it is with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo. At a glance, it looks just like every other record player – certainly it looks enough like the original Debut Carbon from 2017 to make you wonder why the price has risen from the original’s $400 / £349 / AU$550. But like pretty much every record player, a lot of your money goes on the stuff you can’t see: the bearing, the motor, the damping and all the other necessities.    

The Debut Carbon Evo has – ahem – evolved from the original Debut Carbon in a number of places. The new model features the same height-adjustable damped feet fitted to Pro-Ject’s $899 / £749 / AU$1190 X1 turntable, and a new motor design with some hefty decoupling incorporated – the motor’s now barely in contact with the main body of the turntable. 

record player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Its steel platter is now heavier, thanks to a thermoplastic ring on its inside edge – it’s a technique to reduce operation noise and was popularized by, among others, Technics. And there’s now a suggestion of convenience in the shape of a speed-change switch at the bottom of the plinth – previously you’d have to take off the platter and move the drive belt to change speeds, but now 33.3rpm can become 45rpm (or vice-versa) at a press. Of course, if you’re the hands-on type (and you own some properly elderly records) you can change the drive belt itself in order to play at 78rpm. Both belts are included in the package.

The one-piece tonearm is made of carbon fibre, and comes fitted with a very capable Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (except in America, where it features a Sumiko Ranier cartridge instead. Quite why the United States requires a different option is anyone’s guess). All that’s required is for the belt, platter counterweight and antiskating weight to be attached and the Debut Carbon Evo is ready to go.

Mind you, before you get to that point you’ll need to choose between the Pro-Ject’s numerous finishes. As well as the wood veneer and glossy white, red or black of the previous model, the Debut Carbon Evo is also available in five satin finishes: black, white, yellow, blue or green. 

Our review sample is in Fir Green, and very nice it looks too. The finish is flawlessly smooth, and as reassuring as the build quality.    

record player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audio performance

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Audio performance

  • Full-scale, nicely unified sound
  • Detailed and revealing
  • Warmth and weight to spare

Despite the only branding on the entire product being a discreet ‘Pro-Ject’ logo on the dust-cover, anyone who’s familiar with the Pro-Ject family sound will have no trouble picking out the Debut Carbon Evo as a bit more of the same. And that’s meant almost entirely positively.

The Debut Carbon Evo is a luxuriously full-bodied listen, but that’s not to say it’s in any way languid. It has plenty of the warmth and richness that’s so often held up as an unarguable vinyl virtue, but it doesn’t wallow or slur. It’s easy to listen to, but it’s not uninvolving.

And it’s nigh-on impossible to wrong-foot. From A Tribe Called Quest’s I Left My Wallet In El Segundo to Father John Misty’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, from Leonard Bernstein’s Gee, Officer Krupke to Nina Simone’s Pirate Jenny, the Pro-Ject sounds both right at home and thoroughly engaged. 

turntable

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Like any worthwhile turntable, it’s very adept and tying everything together. There’s a tangible sense of performance from the Evo, even when it’s playing cut’n’paste collages from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest. The unity of a recording, the way the midrange rides on the low-frequency underpinnings, and the way the treble balances securely on the top, allows every record to sound coherent and convincing. Even with the most processed, machine-derived recordings, this Pro-Ject glides along with the sort of casual authority of sound that can only come from a well-sorted record player.

There’s heat in the low frequencies, certainly, but they’re not overcooked and it’s certainly not at the expense of detail or texture. There’s a similarly lavish amount of detail retrieved in the midrange – it reveals so much about the glee and malevolence Nina Simone imbues her performance with it’s almost hair-raising – and while the top end is rolled off just fractionally, it’s far from a blunt instrument.

The Pro-Ject handles tempos and rhythms with equal assurance. Oh, you’ll get a straighter edge and a more martial approach from a similarly priced Rega turntable, but the Evo counters (and strongly) with its unfussy nature and the almost ostentatious amount of detail it digs out.

It’s not lacking anything where dynamics, both great and small, are concerned either. The sparer and more low-key a recording, the more the Pro-Ject reveals about the harmonic details – and the more full-on and instrument-heavy a recording, the more the Pro-Ject enjoys giving every element full expression.  

Should I buy the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo?

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Should you buy it?

turntables

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: October 2020 

Squarespace website builder review (2023): Pros and cons, features tested
1:40 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

If you've been keeping an eye out for easy-to-use, all-in-one solutions to create a stunning website, you've surely stumbled upon Squarespace website builder somewhere along the line.

It's hardly surprising since it's one of the best site builders for setting up beautiful personal blogs, online photography portfolios, and small online shops. For starters, all essential ecommerce website builder tools you'll ever need are part of the package you'll get with Squarespace

As soon as you land on Squarespace’s official site, you'll notice it's particularly pleasant to look at. It's also simple to use as it benefits from a clean, modern, user-centric design which makes navigating around the site as simple as anything.  

The company behind the site builder, New York-based Squarespace, Inc. has been part of the SaaS industry since 2004 - so, it was set up almost two decades ago. Its founder and CEO, Anthony Casalena, came up with the idea of Squarespace while still at the university and turned it into the famous, full-fledged platform we know today. As we write, Squarespace's team consists of over 1,600 talented individuals, and the platform itself is utilized by millions of sites across the world.  

So, Squarespace is a pretty popular, beginner-friendly web platform with more than a handful of handy features, but could the same be said about its site builder?

To answer this question, we'll cover core facts about this site-building solution as well as its pros and cons.

What is Squarespace website builder? 

Squarespace started life as a simple tool for building static sites but soon evolved into the all-in-one web platform we got right now. This solution covers everything from domain name registration and cloud hosting service to full-scale site builder with built-in ecommerce features. 

As suggested, this is a hosted solution, which means it runs on its own servers and you don't need to purchase a separate web hosting service. Thanks to its beginner-friendly content management system (CMS) and incredibly intuitive user interface (UI), Squarespace site builder lets even the most clueless rookies create eye-catching sites in a short time. It's as simple as selecting a pre-built template and customizing it until you're captivated by it. Then, you can add blogging site tools, ecommerce elements, and custom code to expand its functionality further. 

This site builder is a superb choice for professional-looking personal blogs, professional creative sites, and small to mid-sized online stores.  

Squarespace options page

Here's a screenshot of Squarespace's page settings once we signed up (Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace features

Similar to most “up-to-the-minute” site-building solutions on the market, Squarespace strives to have a bit of something for everyone. A newcomer with a new site on the way will be supplied with all of the tools they need to do the trick, while well-versed designers and developers will get a secure space and freedom to create whatever they had in mind. However, since Squarespace was created with beginners in mind, it’ll appeal more to its core audience. 

Squarespace benefits from beginner-friendly drag-and-drop UI which makes it simple to customize any of the awesome ready-made templates without any coding skills. Currently, there are over 100 of these templates and new ones are added fairly frequently. So, whether you’re planning to start a cute membership site about cats or an e-commerce business site, you’ll find the thing you need. 

Since all templates are responsive, they’ll look as terrific on a screen of any size. So, whether your visitors are using a smartphone, tablet, or computer your site will seem the same, both in terms of looks and functionality. On the downside, if you want to change the template you’re using, you’ll have to start everything from scratch.  

As for additional features, all Squarespace plans come with a free custom domain. However, you’ll have to subscribe for no less than one year and it’s one free domain per site only. 

We’ve mentioned above that Squarespace solutions include a cloud hosting service but we didn’t point out that this web hosting features unlimited bandwidth and storage on all plans. So, it will probably be able to support a high-traffic site at any point.

Also, most packages include some media marketing features (such as Video Maker, audience management tools, and promotional pop-ups and banners) and fully integrated ecommerce features. Plus, you can add as many products as you want. 

Unfortunately, there’s one drawback with the “Business” plan – Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee for all sales, which might not seem as significant at the start. However, once your sales kick off, this charge will start getting in your way. To break free, you'll be prompted to upgrade your plan to one of the pricier ones.  

Squarespace site content page on the dashboard

Squarespace site content page on the dashboard (Image credit: Squarespace)

If you go with these pricier plans, you'll also get an advanced site and ecommerce analytics so you can work out where your site traffic is coming from, what your visitors are searching for, and how they interact with your content, products, and services. 

Squarespace tools

Here's an example of templates you can personalize (Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace tools

If you’re into blogging, you’ll be glad to hear that Squarespace provides a full set of blogging features such as built-in blog pages, a comment section, and content promotion tools. However, if you’re making a blog as a means of making money, Squarespace shouldn’t be your first choice. First off, to get hold of ecommerce features, you’ll have to purchase the “Business” plan or up, and it will set you back $23 (£18.70) per month (if you subscribe for a year) or $33 (£26.80) for one month. 

This plan will let you integrate a shopping cart into your blog with ease, as well as sell physical products, digital downloads, online services, and subscriptions. However, if we take the 3% transaction fee on sales and the plan’s initial price tag into account, this solution doesn’t seem particularly pocket-friendly. So, if you plan to become a professional blogger on a tight budget, it’s better to use WordPress instead. 

Also, Squarespace isn’t as strong as some of its competitor (like Shopify) when it comes to shipping and payment options – for instance, manual payments isn’t an option and you can’t sell in multiple currencies.

Squarespace also offers superb search engine optimization (SEO) features, which will help you get your site in front of your core audience. There are also multiple options for social media marketing, email marketing, and custom post designs. So, it seems Squarespace has everything a small business could wish for.  

However, Squarespace doesn’t take too kindly to third-party tools – while there’s a decent variety of versatile tools it’s not up to scratch – so, you might feel like you’re stuck with Squarespace's ecosystem.

Squarespace template screenshot

The integrations and blogging tools are excellent features (Image credit: Squarespace)

We should also talk about Squarespace’s up-to-date, drag-and-drop editor called Fluid Engine, a superior version to their old editor. As soon as you add an element or change something on the template you’re using, it will become visible straight away. It also offers a decent level of customization choices, so you can adjust your template to suit your needs and desires. 

The only major drawback is that you can’t place elements (such as images or text) wherever you want them to be - you can position them in pre-built places bounded by grid lines. Also, while you’ll be prompted to save your site after each change, you won’t enjoy the convince of the autosave functionality.

Is Squarespace website builder easy to use? 

At the start, you’ll be supplied with a simple-to-understand setup menu, where you can choose between a variety of templates based on the categories - online store, membership, blog, art & design, and photography to name a few. 

After this, you can shape the way your site looks and you have the freedom to personalize every element of it. However, as explained a bit earlier, your freedom will be confined to a somewhat limited grid system. Because of this everything is superbly streamlined, making both setup and editing as simple as can be. 

We should also note that the new Squarespace 7.1 version is superior to the 7.0 version when it comes to ease of use. While the previous version got a whole lot of criticism, there’s scarcely anything to complain about with the latest version of Squarespace.

Squarespace pricing

(Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace website builder pricing: is it a good value for money? 

The site builder’s price tag is on par with similar all-in-one solutions on the market and it provides plenty of bang for the buck. However, if you only wanted a pocket-friendly site builder without other components of Squarespace, we’re sorry to say you won’t find this here.  

If you’re in for an all-in-one solution, you can choose between four plans ranging from $16 (£13.30) to $49 (£40.65) per month, if you opt for an annual billing option, that is. If you choose a one-month-only option, the price will spike significantly. 

While Squarespace doesn’t offer a forever-free edition of its site builder, there is a 14-day free trial with all four plans and no credit card details are required.

As for payment methods, Squarespace accepts all major credit/debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express included), JCB, Diners Club (in USD only), and SEPA direct debit (in EUR only). As you already suspect, you can’t pay via PayPal or Bitcoin (BTC).

Squarespace operational security page

(Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace website builder safety and security 

Squarespace will safeguard your site and its visitors with a strong set of safety and security features. All Squarespace sites are kept on the safe side with SSL certificates, two-factor authentication (2FA), protection against denial of service (DoS) attacks, page passwords, and a login activity panel. While log activity won’t protect your site by itself, it’ll help you discover if any logins were made from suspicious or unknown devices.  

Squarespace’s security staff is monitoring all Squarespace sites round-the-clock for threats and vulnerabilities to make sure your site is properly protected. Still, if you discover a vulnerability, you can report it to the security staff and they’ll conduct their investigation on it.

Squarespace support page

(Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace help and support

If you get stuck somewhere during your Squarespace journey, you can seek assistance from Squarespace’s support staff via live chat, email, and Twitter. Sadly, phone support isn’t available. 

Live chat is available Monday to Friday, 5 AM to 8 PM, EST, and once you contact the staff, someone will get back to you in a matter of minutes. In contrast, email support is available 24/7, but the response time can sometimes be sluggish.

 As for self-service, you can visit Help Center which contains a well-supplied knowledgebase, video guides, and an avidly active community forum you can conveniently browse by topics. 

Squarespace website builder alternatives

Wix is an awesome alternative for those who want to build their site on a tight budget or entirely free - it offers a forever-free edition of its site builder. Plus, it’s super simple to use, packed with features, and provides automatic backups. 

If you’re searching for a cheap yet completely customizable site builder, WordPress is the solution of choice. Since it’s an open-sourced software, it has thousands of themes, templates, plugins, how-to guides, and a committed community that can lend you a helping hand. While it’s not as beginner-friendly as Squarespace or Wix, it makes up for it with a fabulous level of flexibility and freedom. 

Shopify is built for ecommerce from the ground up, so if an ecommerce solution is what you’re looking for, it might be the best choice. While Squarespace offers all essential ecommerce features, it’s better suited for a professional site or a blog. 

Is Squarespace website builder right for you? 

Squarespace is a splendid, simple-to-use site builder with terrific templates and it gets better each time a new version crops up. Hitting high marks in all major areas, Squarespace site builder qualifies as an amazing all-arounder in the market, and it’s also fit for small and mid-sized online stores.   

However, Squarespace keeps its users on a short leash with a low level of customization and the inability to switch between templates without starting from scratch. Also, the lack of auto-save features makes it less convenient than some of its competitors. 


 Squarespace website builder FAQ 

Is Squarespace better than Wix?

Well, it depends on what you’re looking for in a site builder. Wix offers more templates overall, but the ones you’ll get with Squarespace look better. Also, Wix has a forever-free edition, while with Squarespace you can make use of a 14-day free trial, and that’s about it. 

Both site builders are easy to use, offer robust ecommerce features, and provide superb value for money. However, Wix is cheaper while Squarespace has more additional tools for growing your site.

Is Squarespace good for beginners?

Yes, Squarespace is one of the best site builders for beginners. Its intuitive, drag-and-drop editor is backed by simple-to-follow guides in case you get stuck. And if that doesn’t do the trick, you can rely on rather responsive customer support staff.  

What are the downsides of using Squarespace?

The primary drawbacks of using Squarespace are the shortage of customization capabilities, the absence of auto-save features, and the lack of phone support. Also, there are cheaper options around and some of them offer a free edition of their site builders too.  

vpnjack review
7:44 pm | October 23, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

With hundreds of VPNs on the market and most of them promising to do the same thing, it can be difficult to decide what will be the best VPN for you.

Today we’re looking at vpnjack, a division of Jack512 VPN & VoIP Solutions headquartered in the United States. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the least privacy-friendly countries in the world. This is due to the fact that the US is a participating member of the Five Eyes, which enables US authorities to obtain user information from the company with a warrant if they so desire.

As of the time of this review, we do not know how many servers they have. vpnjack claims to have servers located in several cities in the USA, which means you can only access their service if you are also based in the US.

Pricing & plans 

vpnjack in use

(Image credit: vpnjack)

vpnjack is designed to be a cheap service, although not suitable if you’re looking for a free VPN. It currently offers six packages, depending on how long you want to commit for. You can subscribe to the service on a daily basis for $0.99, weekly for $1.99, monthly for $4.49, three months for $11.99, six months for $19.99, or on an annual basis at $29.99. Plans can be purchased through PayPal or with Bitcoin.

Payments made to this service are generally non-refundable, which is very unusual compared to competitors. For you to test the service and determine whether you want to purchase any of its plans, they offer a free trial that lets you use the VPN for 60 minutes every day for 24 hours. When compared to other VPN services, which permit you to test their VPN for at least thirty days, this is subpar.

Privacy & encryption 

The official website states that your data is only collected to the extent necessary for proper accounting and system health monitoring, such as the length of your VPN connection and average bandwidth. However, it should be noted that as of the time of this review, they have not requested an independent VPN audit to check the servers' logs.

Remember that vpnjack is based in the United States, part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This is a group of countries that exchange surveillance information. Your privacy might be jeopardized as a result of vpnjack's obligation to turn over your data to the government upon request. If you desire a privacy tool which can offer confidentiality and anonymity, you might prefer to try an alternative.

No information is provided regarding the encryption used or any extra security measures employed to safeguard your privacy. We were only informed on the website that the provider uses PPTP and L2TP VPN transfer protocols

Streaming 

You shouldn't expect to be able to access international services like BBC iPlayer, because vpnjack has a US focus and only allows you to stream content from US streaming platforms. If you use streaming applications for an extended period, The service would limit your connection speed because of its fair usage policy. This makes it less desirable if you want a VPN for Netflix or other streaming. 

vpnjack in use

(Image credit: vpnjack)

Speed & experience 

Since all the servers are located in the same nation, our speed tests produced identical results. We noticed that you would receive a relatively high server speed if you were close to the US, but results would be slower if you were halfway around the globe. 

Apps 

Although vpnjack doesn't provide any native desktop or mobile VPN apps, it can be manually enabled on a variety of devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, by following the set-up instructions on its website. Linux, routers, smart TVs, and game consoles are all incompatible. 

Customer support 

Both a support ticket and a 24/7 LiveChat window are absent, leaving email as the only method of communication, which takes a lot of time. The FAQ section on the website is sparse and not sufficiently comprehensive to assist you. 

vpnjack in use

(Image credit: vpnjack)

Alternatives to vpnjack

Nord VPN

Nord VPN,  gives you access to geographically restricted content from anywhere in the world, offers an app that has strong encryption to add an extra layer of security to your online activities and gives you features like a kill switch, peer-to-peer networking, web threat management, and multiple concurrent device connection.

Read our full NordVPN review 


Cyberghost

Cyberghost VPN supports up to seven simultaneous device connections, unblocks major streaming platforms, offers 1200 servers spread across more than 50 countries, permits torrent downloads, and offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Cyberghost review


ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and has thousands of servers dispersed throughout the world. It’s secure, does not keep any logs, unblocks streaming websites, allows for five connections at once, and has a quick speed.

Read our full ExpressVPN review


PureVPN

PureVPN is the best protection against ISP speed throttling. It allows you to access blocked websites and protects you from third-party spying, while also giving access to features such as intrusion detection systems, anti-spam, IP protection, and web threat monitoring.

Read our full PureVPN review 

Verdict

vpnjack doesn't have any exciting features or even P2P support for torrenting. The website doesn't give so many details about the product, so we could not tell what kind of encryption it uses. 

Although they have a low subscription price, they operate in just one country, don't support multiple connections at once, and can't boast of a secure service. In our opinion, vpnjack isn't worth your time. 

Zoho Desk review
7:06 am | October 22, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Zoho Desk is a customer service help desk product that bills itself as the first “context-aware” solution in the industry. That means that every interaction with a customer is guided by a range of information that Zoho has about them, including their history and past issues and activities—anything that will help an agent understand the issue more quickly, which in turn brings about a quicker resolution. 

Zoho Desk pricing page

Zoho Desk offers a choice of a free plan and four paid plans (Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho Desk: Plans and pricing

Zoho has a range of plans to suit most business needs. You can test each of them out in a 15-day trial. You can change between subscriptions during this time and Zoho actually encourage you to do so, so you can try out different features.

The good news is that Zoho offer a free plan, which they describe as being suitable for "minimal support needs" This plan can encompass up to 3 agents. You also get basic e-mail ticketing and a knowledge base.

Zoho also offer an 'Express' plan costs just $7 per user per month if you pay annually or $9 per user per month if you pay annually. This supports up to 5 users and also includes a basic ticketing system, analytics and social media integration.

Both the free and 'Express' plans are nestled further down the pricing page and we had to hunt around for them. This is in contrast to our original review of Zoho Desk in 2020 when the features of the free plan were listed alongside the paid tiers at the top of the page. 

The current page lists the top 3 pricing tiers. The 'Standard' plan costs $14 per user per month if billed annually or $20 per user per month if you pay monthly. Perks include five e-mail channels, your very own help center, a feedback widget, five advanced web forms, social media support for 1 brand (Facebook and Twitter) and Instant Messaging. There's also no limit on the number of agents you can have on the 'Standard' plan provided you're able and willing to pay the subscription fees.

Zoho Desk review

Zoho Desk’s slogan is to “save the world from bad customer service" (Image credit: Zoho Desk)

The 'Professional' plan costs $23 per user per month if paid annually or $35 per user if you pay monthly. It includes all of the above along with other perks like the ability to 'follow' tickets and customers as well as add ticket resolutions to your knowledge base.

The 'Professional' plan also has safeguards to avoid ticket 'collisions'. Zoho Desk can alert you if another agent has begun responding to a ticket and you can even chat with them.

Crucially this is the tier that allows you to integrate your help desk with approved telephony providers and create custom workflows.

The 'Enterprise' tier costs $40 per user per month if billed annually or $50 per user if you're paying monthly. It includes everything in the above-mentioned plans plus some heavy-hitting extras.

These include support for up to one hundred e-mail channels, no fewer than twenty web forms for each of your departments, as well as integration for up to two brands for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most importantly this tier supports live chat, so you can interact with customers directly on your website and convert conversations into tickets.

We've only been able to scratch the surface of the vast number of features available with various Zoho Desk plans here, so encourage you to visit the main website for a detailed comparison.

Zoho Desk: Features

The Enterprise plan clearly boasts an impressive feature list, but even the free plan comes with features that make it worthwhile considering. These include the multilingual email ticketing and customer management system which is at the core of the software, a help center with a private knowledge base, macros for executing repetitive tasks automatically, mobile apps, and 24/5 email support.

Zoho Desk review

The Zoho Desk ticketing system is at the heart of the software (Image credit: Zoho Desk)

Zoho Desk’s ticket management system is multichannel meaning that email, phone, social media, and live chat can all be used for customer support interactions. Tickets are automatically organized, and a number of handy tools exist to increase ticketing efficiency, and by extension, agent productivity.

Zoho Desk also has an artificial intelligence feature called Zia that can speak to your customers and share relevant knowledgebase articles with them, automatically tag tickets, alert agents to unusual activity, and be trained to carry out actions specific to your business.

Zoho Desk: Interface and in use

When you first log in to your Zoho Desk dashboard, you’re presented with a list of your tickets. The other main tabs in the dashboard are for knowledge base articles and customers.

Zoho Desk review

Zoho Desk provides a lot of different editing and action options for tickets (Image credit: Zoho Desk)

Similarly to many online helpdesk apps, Zoho Desk provides you with a lot of control over what can be edited for each ticket – for example, status, owner, priority, classifications, and channel. You can also view a ticket’s activity history and apply various actions to it.

At the bottom of the window when viewing a ticket is a button for Apply Macro. However, when you click on it, it says “macros aren’t created yet,” and there’s no indication as to how to create one. Other helpdesk software apps we’ve looked at have a default set of macros included, and you can add others if you need ones specific to your business.

The lack of help with the macros is just one example of how Zoho Desk doesn’t feel as intuitive as other helpdesk solutions we’ve looked at. There are many different links and buttons scattered all over the dashboard, and it feels a bit overwhelming to find your way around. Some of the links and buttons are also tiny and thus difficult to read.

Zoho Desk support plans

Zoho Desk offers both free and paid support options (Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho Desk: Support

Zoho Desk is a bit different from other helpdesk software providers in that it provides different levels of support. There are three tiers, with the first being free and the other two costing either 20% or 25% of your license fee.

 The free option only offers live chat and toll-free phone support during business hours, while the others offer those options for 24 hours. You can also e-mail or raise a request in the self-service portal. Zoho Desk claim the maximum response time for this is 24 hours. The Enterprise plan is available seven days a week as opposed to the five days for the Premium plan.

The two paid plans introduce remote and configuration assistance and product onboarding. Meanwhile, the Enterprise plan gives you your own account manager, along with a quarterly report on your usage of features, with suggestions on how to optimize your business processes.

Zoho Desk's support plans also include 'onboarding' to 'Premium' and 'Enterprise' subscribers for 45 or 60 days from the date of purchase respectively. This involves an onboarding specialist working with you to set up Zoho Desk, learn about different features and get assistance with customization and automatization.   

Zoho Desk security page

Zoho takes the security of its platform and customers very seriously (Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho Desk: Security

Zoho, the company behind Zoho Desk, produces many different software products and takes the same high-level approach to security for all of them. One of the ways it does this is through the 'Roles' feature which allows you to manage what information is visible to which agents and/or departments. You can also create profiles to save you having to manually set permissions per worker.

For instance, you can create a profile for new agents which allows them to change the ownership of tickets but not close them.

Zoho Desk's security page also touts its 'field security' feature. This allows you to set permissions about which fields can be edited by certain workers. 'Enterprise' plan subscribers can also benefit from 'field encryption' whereby sensitive data entered into fields can be encoded. Zoho's comprehensive knowledge base informed us that this is done using industry standard AES encryption. 

Zoho Desk also claims to be GDPR compliant. One strong point in their favour is that all subscriptions (including the free plan) give users the choice where their data is stored. When reviewing other help desk platforms we've only ever seen this feature available as a paid extra or for higher tier subscribers, so were very impressed. Current data center choices are the US, EU, India, Australia and Japan.

Parent company Zoho has also published an extensive Security Whitepaper, detailing the stringent measures they take to keep their own customers' data safe.

For instance, they specify their facilities have 24/7 monitoring, video cameras and biometric access. The company is ISO 27001, ISO27017 and ISO27018 certified.

We were also very pleased to see that Zoho has a detailed page on exactly how it encrypts customer data. In brief, all connections between users and Zoho's servers are protected by the latest versions of TLS (1.2 / 1.3). 

Databases are protected using ultra-secure 256-Bit AES encryption and Zoho claim they also use full disk encryption on their hardware. 

Like the free choice of data centers, this is refreshing change from other help desk platforms who claim to use encryption and secure data but don't provide exact details on the type of encryption or password hashes used. 

Zoho Desk: The competition

If you like to shop around before deciding on a purchase, there are plenty of alternatives in the online helpdesk space for you to consider, including Freshdesk and Zendesk.

Freshdesk is another solution offering a large range of features. There are a selection of plans, including a free option that can be used by unlimited agents. Its paid plans range in price from $15/agent/month up to $79/agent/month, and all plans come with a 21-day free trial. 

LiveAgent is another option with a free plan that has no limit on agents, while paid plans go from $9/agent/month up to $69/agent/month. Like Zoho Desk and Freshdesk, as you move up through the plans, more features are added to those available from the previous level.

Zoho Desk: Final verdict

Zoho Desk has competitive pricing, with its high-end plans cheaper than those of many competitors. However, its free plan has a small limit on the number of agents and you have to pay to get better levels of support.

The software’s feature set is impressive but we found the app itself a bit overwhelming to use and lacking in tips or guides on how to make the most of it.

We've also highlighted the best live chat software.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review
6:14 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Although having your identity stolen might seem unlikely, over 10% of American adults experience identity fraud each year. In 2021 alone, these occurrences resulted in damages totaling more than $6.1 billion, demonstrating the financial vulnerability of identity theft across the 5.88 million reported events.

Today, there are numerous choices available to consumers who want to secure their identities. We'll examine the platform's features in detail in our Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review to help you decide if it's the best choice for you. Bitdefender is one of the most effective identity theft protection services currently, although it lacks some of the technologies offered by its rivals.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: Plans and pricing

As of writing, for the lower Standard tier, an annual subscription for Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection is priced at $6.99/month for the first year, before switching to $12.99/month. However, there is also the option for an annual discount savings by paying $69.99 for the year, which reduces it to $5.83/month for the first year. This plan includes a smart SSN tracker, a credit score tracker, lost wallet protection, and up to $1 million of identity theft insurance, along with 1 bureau credit monitoring.

There is also a higher, Premium tier, which increases the cost to $9.99/month for the first year, or $99.99 annually. It adds features such as court records monitoring, change of address monitoring, and up to $2 million in identity theft insurance. It also increases the credit monitoring to all three credit bureaus.

Bitdefender doesn’t offer any short-term subscriptions or free trials.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review

You can contact Bitdefender directly for a full refund within 30 days of starting a new subscription (Image credit: Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection)

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: Features

With Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection, your information is continuously monitored throughout both traditional and dark web databases, ensuring that you are notified whenever it appears online. Emails, passwords, social security numbers, credit card information, and phone numbers are just a few of the data pieces it may locate.

The program also has top-notch capabilities for keeping an eye on your digital footprint. Although it's difficult to gauge how well they work in practice, the program's main objective is to make it easier for you to keep track of all of your personal data, such as your name, phone number, home and email addresses, as well as any associated photographs and URLs.

In addition, Bitdefender continuously scans 25 social media platforms for impersonation. Unfortunately, a list of the supported platforms is not displayed on the website. They probably cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other well-known networks, but without more details, it's impossible to determine for sure. After waiting for more than a week, we asked a support person for clarification, but regrettably we did not hear back.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review

Bitdefender makes it easy to track and visualize your digital footprint (Image credit: Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection)

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: Interface and in use

Bitdefender is super simple to sign up and only requires your phone number and email address to begin monitoring for identity theft. Although Bitdefender Mobile Security includes mobile apps for both iOS and Android, they do not apply to the platform's identity protection capabilities since this is solely a web-based platform.

Overall, Bitdefender provides consumers with all the information they need to protect their identity, and also looks and functions nicely. If you don't consider the lack of a mobile app to be a deal-breaker, Bitdefender is a very simple service to use.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review

The Bitdefender interface enables you to quickly visualize data and view suggested actions (Image credit: Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection)

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: Support

Like several other identity protection companies, Bitdefender includes a rather comprehensive support page with solutions to frequent inquiries regarding the settings and functionality of the program. If you require assistance with Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection, start by visiting the Support Center.

Bitdefender offers several other options beyond the answers available in the Support Center. You can contact the company’s support team directly via a choice of phone, email, or live chat.

Although there are no specified hours for live chat assistance, English-language phone support is offered around-the-clock. The Bitdefender support system may be able to address any issues you run through, however we never received an answer to a question that was quite simple.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection review

The Bitdefender Support Center contains detailed articles on a number of topics (Image credit: Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection)

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: The competition

Although Bitdefender is substantially less expensive than many other identity protection services, its feature set is also more constrained.

For instance, Norton LifeLock is one of the most well-known and reputable companies in the sector. Depending on your demands, subscriptions are offered for $124.99, $239.99, and $339.99 annually, though each plan is considerably less for the first year.

That’s obviously much higher than Bitdefender’s $69.99 for the first year, but LifeLock might be worth the extra money for some users.

Furthermore, the three subscription tiers at LifeLock start at $1 million in identity theft insurance, and offer additional features such as buy now, pay later alerts.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection: Final verdict

With a respectable feature set at a reasonable cost, it's understandable why so many customers rely on Bitdefender to safeguard their identities. However, people seeking more security should think about Norton LifeLock or another company with an even larger feature set. Of course, your demands and budget will ultimately determine whether such amenities are worth the extra money.

As a well-known provider of cybersecurity services, Bitdefender can find any dangers to your identity with ease.

We've listed the best free antivirus.

Chrome River Expense review
11:48 pm | October 21, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

Chrome River Expense is just one of several productivity software packages available from this provider. In fact, Chrome River offers a wide range of business-focused options that cover everything from invoicing and corporate credit cards through to travel management and analytics software. Chrome River Expense is, unsurprisingly, tasked with helping your business make better use of the time spent on handling expenses.

Being a SaaS based solution means that Chrome River is easily scaled if you need to use it more as your business grows. At the same time, it offers plenty of convenience for both administrators and managers, as well as employees. Indeed, the latter will find that the mobile edition of the software will allow them to stay on top of expenses no matter where they happen to be.

Other expense trackers in this marketplace include QuickBooks, Expensify, Hurdlr and Zoho Expense all of which are worthy of investigation.



Chrome River Expense

Chrome River Expense can be used alongside other products in the portfolio (Image credit: Chrome River Expense)

Pricing

Anyone looking to move over to Chrome River Expense can get a guided tour of the package thanks to a demo option. Pricing, meanwhile, comes in three different variations currently, with something to suit any kind of business. It’s possible to base your costings on the volume of monthly expense reports that you expect to need, or the number of employees submitting expenses within your company. 

Larger businesses, however, will probably want to make use of the unlimited volume option that gives them the freedom to process as much as they want when it comes to expense admin. Whichever option appeals you’ll need to contact them and talk through the options after getting the demo as specific pricing details are not revealed until you do.

Chrome River Expense

There's a Chrome River Expense app for iOS and Android (Image credit: Chrome River Expense)

Features

There’s everything you need to get on top of expenses within the Chrome River Expense software framework. It features automated spend control, in-application feature training and assistance, plus automated approval routing too. You get embedded OCR technology, which means faster scanning of receipts, plus credit card integration for a more streamlined workflow. 

Another benefit with Chrome River Expense is that it can be integrated to work with other popular financial systems, which will be a bonus for businesses that ideally want a seamless transition if they sign up for it. The SaaS package can also work in harmony with other products in the portfolio, thanks to its modular system that enables the integration of purchase orders and so on. 

Employees can carry out the majority of expense-related tasks from their mobiles, and there’s the ability to get approvals on the go. Meanwhile, administrators can also authorise the likes of cash advances and personal expenses from anywhere while the whole system can be configured to suit individual business needs. There’s international appeal too, as the system can also support 173 different currencies.

Chrome River Expense

Chrome River Expense offers secure access from any location (Image credit: Chrome River Expense)

Performance

The Chrome River Expense experience has been designed to be as smooth and seamless as possible, with a cloud-based SaaS philosophy that also includes excellent mobile appeal. 

In fact, the designers have made sure that you get the same experience no matter what device you’re using to access the system. For anyone going down the mobile app route there’s the option of using biometric authentication to log in to accounts. 

Better still, there’s no real crossover between using the desktop edition and the mobile app, so employees get the same experience with the system when they're out in the field. Being cloud-based also means that updates are automatic and can be applied company wide, so everyone is on the same page.

Chrome River Expense

Chrome River Expense's mobile functionality means quick and easy scanning of receipts (Image credit: Chrome River Expense)

Ease of use

Employees who need to stay on top of their expenses invariably want convenience and the Chrome River Expense app takes a lot of hassle out of the equation. The software allows anyone within a company to carry out the same tasks and duties on the road in the same manner as they’d do it back in the office. 

Administrators can set everything up in advance, so the configurable business rules features allow employees to just get on with the job without having to worry about spending limits and so on. 

Chrome River Expense is certainly focused on speed and efficiency, with the Snap application for example allowing employees to get receipts digitized and into the system within seconds. In addition, much of the day-to-day work involved in filing expenses is done by the system itself, which makes it a very efficient all-rounder.

Chrome River Expense

There are also plenty of analytics options within the Chrome River Expense package (Image credit: Chrome River Expense)

Support

Subscribers to Chrome River Expense will get all of the usual levels of support, including teams who are able to respond to queries via the phone and email. The package also comes with a large collection of instructional videos and other supporting literature aimed at getting business owners, administrators and staff alike familiarized with the workings of this cloud-based package.

Final verdict

Chrome River Expense is one of numerous products that sit under the Emburse umbrella, and what that gets business owners is consistency. It’s possible to run all of their cloud-based packages in tandem, which helps join up a lot of the dots when it comes to things like expenses, travel and reporting too. 

There’s also the benefit of being able to integrate the system with Emburse Cards, which allow businesses to roll all of their outlay into one place and make sure that spending limits and other company policies are all adhered to. 

However, there’s also card reconciliation for the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express and more. Another appealing aspect is the powerful reporting capabilities of Chrome River Expense, which allows finance departs and business owners alike to really drill down into company expenditure.

SalesTrip expense tracker review
9:29 pm | October 19, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

SalesTrip is a popular expense management and travel booking system that, despite the ongoing coronivirus crisis, will have a place in the workflow needs of many businesses. The big benefit, as is the case with many expense trackers, is that it can minimize the amount of manual effort needed to keep on top of claims, and process them and other administrative tasks with ease.

Better still, SalesTrip is listed on the Salesforce appexchange platform, and that brings it in line with other practical business software tools found there. Indeed, it might make sense in many cases to mate SalesTrip with the Salesforce CRM for a nicely rounded system. The bonus is that it provides a comprehensive experience for both employees, who need to file travel expenses, and administrators who have to make travel arrangements and more besides.

Variations on the expense tracking software theme include Certify, ExpensePath, ReceiptBank, Abacus, ExpensePoint, Pleo, Declaree, Spendesk, QuickBooks, Rydoo, Expensify, Hurdlr, Zoho Expense and Pocketguard



SalesTrip

SalesTrip is available for both the UK and US markets with prices to suit (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Pricing

It’s currently possible to experience SalesTrip for yourself without actually signing on the dotted line. They offer 15 days of unlimited access to the service, which gives you time to experience every facet of the software. Or you can request a demo. 

If you feel SalesTrip is a good fit for your business then its subscription-based pricing starts out at $5 (£4) per user, per month. There’s actually a handy savings calculator on the Pricing page that lets you explore just how much you could potentially save by using a system that combines travel booking, ticketing and expense management all into one. 

In fact, it’s easy to see just how much time you can save if you explore the Opportunities tab within the system, that effectively allows you to work out travel arrangements, flights and all the rest of it, and pay within the space of a few minutes. As a timesaver it provides great value as a business can bypass using a standalone travel agency.

SalesTrip

Users can interact with SalesTrip using a web dashboard and their mobile device too (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Features

There’s plenty to be impressed with as you pick through the feature set of SalesTrip, with a very well-rounded selection of options that could be useful. There is, of course, the full expense management setup, that’s native on Salesforce, which will be useful if you already use their systems. 

Employees can therefore submit and review their expense claims, while administrators can approve them. The benefit here is that the data can be analysed alongside your existing Salesforce information, although the service also integrates with the likes of Quickbooks and FinancialForce. 

In addition, you get corporate card reconciliation and import options plus automatic tax reclaim while the system is also GDPR/PCI compliant too. Employees will obviously find the unlimited receipt scanning functionality beneficial while there’s also the option of searching for travel and booking it when needed. Topping it all out is real-time reporting and lots of analytics.

SalesTrip

SalesTrip is particularly efficient at helping you book travel including flights (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Performance

Businesses that are already using the Salesforce appexchange platform should find that there’s a real benefit of running the SalesTrip system in that it can be combined with other packages in the collection. The added benefit is that the cloud-based platform that SalesTrip runs on is also native to Salesforce, so you can be confident that it comes with a good level of security and all of the other expectations that are a given for this brand. 

Adding to the appealing nature of SalesTrip is that it’s intuitive, both for administrators working back at headquarters and employees who have to dip into the mobile application when they’re out in the field.

SalesTrip

Administrators can approve expenses via the dashboard once they've been submitted by employees (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Ease of use

Using SalesTrip offers a similar experience to many other expense trackers in this burgeoning marketplace. For the desktop, browser-based edition you’ll find that the dashboard is clean, simple and has all of the obvious features and functions right to hand. The main menu within the interface carries one-click access to the likes of Accounts, Trips, Expense and Bulk Expenses, which are all areas that are commonly accessed by administrators. 

The mobile aspect, meanwhile, allows employees to file expense claims on the move, with another clean and simple environment that makes uploading scanned receipts and the associated claim a quick and easy procedure. As for the bigger picture, business owners can easily use the analytics provided by the cloud-based solution to keep firm tabs on travel expenditure, which is more critical than ever given the current economic climate.

SalesTrip

SalesTrip is well equipped to cope with high volumes of expense claims making it suited to larger companies (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Support

The SalesTrip support hub follows a similar theme to many other systems in the expense tracker arena. It comes with an exhaustive collection of information that can talk you through all of the features and functions found in the system. You can also use this area to find out what’s new. 

Being a pretty dynamic operation as part of the Salesforce appexchange portfolio you can be pretty sure that there’ll be new improvements appearing here before long. That aside, users with other queries can submit a ticket to the support team if the issue isn’t covered by any of the topics contained in the online support hub.

SalesTrip

The SalesTrip dashboard has a wealth of useful information that businesses can use for forecasting purposes (Image credit: SalesTrip)

Final verdict

SalesTrip might be finding demand for this kind of software service might have slumped during the coronavirus crisis, but this is a package that still has its place. The really useful thing is that SalesTrip can be used to combine a raft of business tasks including expense tracking, and using the data from what’s in the system can also be used to accurately forecast company spend moving forwards. 

Despite the fact that these are unpredictable times, and travel and expenses might be less of a concern for companies, this is a valuable aspect of SalesTrip. Of course, there are the day-to-day convenience trimmings too, such as OCR receipt scanning, integration with corporate and personal cards along with the ability to use the Salesforce hierarchy to maintain consistency for expense approvals and other common business tasks.

Solarwinds Service Desk review
6:30 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Solarwinds Service Desk is a software solution for IT service management (ITSM) aimed at supporting a company’s own employees. It can be used for incident and asset management, cataloging and fulfillment, and as a single portal for the submission of tickets and requests.

Even though the focus of a service desk is more internal, it still has the same end-user focus as all the best help desk software solutions. In this Solarwinds Service Desk review we help you decide whether it could be useful for your business as we take a look at its pricing, features, support, and ease of use.

SolarWinds pricing

Solarwinds Service Desk has a choice of four plans (Image credit: SolarWinds)

Solarwinds: Plans and pricing

SolarWinds offers a very simple pricing structure, offering a choice of three plans. The 'Essentials' plan is designed for 'growing teams' and is priced at $39 per month, per technician. There's an additional charge of $0.30 per month per device.

This includes features like Incident Management, as well as your own Knowledge Base and a Service Portal where teams can collaborate on work. SolarWinds 'Essentials' plan also makes it easy for you to respond to user feedback, offering both Satisfaction Surveys and Real Time Agent Feedback.

There's also a helpful Service Catalog for users, as well as a 'Service Request' feature which allows you to capture all service requests along with any relevant details. The plan also supports SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and management of requests and approvals.

The 'Advanced' Plan starts at $79 per month per technician, with an additional fee of $0.50 per month per device. It includes all the features of the 'Essentials' Plan plus superior features such as custom fields and forms, contract management, license compliance, scheduled reports and API access. Crucially the 'Advanced' Plan also supports automation of work flows as well as benchmarking.

The 'Premier' plan is touted by SolarWinds as being for 'full customizability'. Subscriptions cost $99 per month, per technician plus $0.70 per device. It includes all the features bundled with the 'Essentials' and 'Advanced' plans plus a visual CMDB (Configuration Management Database) with Automatic Dependency Mapping. Other perks include a 'Premier' Virtual Agent, up to 1500 API calls per user, per minute and automated runbooks

The pricing plans are clearly laid out. Our only complaint is the higher charge per device for more expensive plans, as it would be more intuitive to offer greater discounts to customers who are paying a higher charge per user.

All plans support an unlimited number of users and can be tried out free of charge for 30 days.

Solarwinds: Features

Solarwinds Service Desk has a large selection of features including tools for incident, IT asset and problem management, an employee service portal, and a knowledge base.

Incident management software is used for streamlining ticket submissions, with tickets able to be submitted by email, phone, the service portal, live chat, or in person. The software also includes the ability to automate simple tasks and route tickets to the right people so that incidents are resolved more quickly. Built-in artificial intelligence can also speed up ticket resolution by recommending solutions.

Solarwinds ServiceDesk review

A sample of some of the features available from Solarwinds Service Desk (Image credit: Solarwinds)

Problem management functionality allows your agents to easily group similar incidents together to avoid multiple agents working on the same issues and prevent redundancy. Automation features mean that tickets can be categorized and routed to the correct technician without manual involvement.

The employee service portal is a web app that employees can use to submit and track service requests or find answers to questions that may have been asked before via the integrated knowledge base and other resources. Not only is the service portal helpful for employees, but it gives technicians all the data they might need to resolve incidents quickly in one place.

Solarwinds: Interface and in use

Solarwinds Service Desk has a very clean interface that we found easy to navigate. Access to all of the main sections of the dashboard is hidden behind a hamburger menu icon in the top left corner of the window, but the menu itself is very responsive, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

Solarwinds Service Desk review

The Solarwinds Service Desk dashboard can be customized with widgets (Image credit: Solarwinds)

The dashboard comes with a pre-selected group of widgets displaying your organization’s data, but you can add new ones or edit or remove the existing ones. You can also create completely new dashboards if you don’t want to add too many widgets to a single page.

When viewing a list of incidents, you have a lot of control over how the data is filtered and sorted, and you can customize the columns that are displayed. Once you’ve selected an individual incident to view, you again have a lot of control over its settings, and the user interface makes it easy for even novice users to figure out how to update and add to an incident.

For those that do need a little extra help, every page you visit has a text and video tutorial that can be accessed by clicking on the ‘?’ button near the top right of the window.

We were impressed at how easy Solarwinds Service Desk was to use but did find that sometimes pages, or parts of pages that displayed data, were a bit slow to load. In particular, we found building reports to be very slow, even at the very beginning of our testing, when we only had a handful of sample issues.

Solarwinds support page

Support for Solarwinds Service Desk is offered on a separate site (Image credit: Solarwinds)

Solarwinds: Support

SolarWinds offers varying levels of support to customers based on their subscription plan. If you choose the lowest 'Essentials' tier you benefit from 'Community Support', where other SolarWinds users can offer advice and assistance via a dedicated forum. 

If you don't want to trust your business to other customers' goodwill, you'll be pleased to hear that both e-mail and chat support are available via Service Desk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you've signed up for either the 'Advanced' or 'Premier' plans then you'll also benefit from phone support, which is also available round the clock, 365 days a year. Advanced and Premier users can also avail themselves of a CSM (Customer Success Manager) ℅ Service Desk, who apparently can answer any question your company has about "using the solution". It's unclear what a CSM would offer over and above a regular Service Desk query but presumably it's safer to have a dedicated Success Manager and not need one than need one and not have one.

We were blown away by SolarWinds free online Resource Center, which includes brochures, white papers, helpful videos, datasheets and demos to name just a few. The pages are easy to navigate as you can filter down by subject category and/or resource type.  

Solarwinds Service Desk review

Solarwinds takes a rigorous approach to secure its web applications (Image credit: Solarwinds)

Solarwinds: Security

As with most providers of helpdesk software, Solarwinds takes a rigorous approach to security, which applies to the various layers that go into developing web apps. 

Employees sign confidentiality agreements and undergo specific security training. World-class data centers are used, protected by fire suppression systems and security guards. All changes are logged and regular audits are carried out. Networks are protected by firewalls and malicious code protection, and disaster recovery systems are in place. 

SolarWinds confirm all of the above on their dedicated 'Information Security' page, which includes a link to their 'Security Statement'. In this they confirm that they follow the voluntary NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which is designed for companies that form part of the critical infrastructure of the USA. 

Unfortunately if you're looking for specific examples of how data is encrypted during transmission and in transit e.g. TLS and AES, then you'll need to contact SolarWinds directly to ask how this is being done.

On the plus side, if you're an administrator configuring the SolarWinds platform, there's an extensive 'best practices' guide on how to secure it, including:

- A recommendation to use at least 2048 Bit RSA encryption for SSL certificates.

- Confirmation that SolarWinds supports encrypted database connections via SSL.

- Support for TLS cipher suites and certificate validation. 

- Lockout of accounts after 10 failed login attempts.

SolarWinds also has an extensive policy on data protection requirements for their vendors and affiliates, which include provisions banning shared user accounts and requiring encryption of customer data in transit and at rest.  

Solarwinds: The competition

The ITSM market is smaller than the overall helpdesk software market, but there are still some competitors worth considering, like Freshservice by Freshworks and Jira Service Desk by Atlassian.

FreshService has a very similar feature list to Solarwinds Service Desk and also has a choice of four plans that go from $19/month/agent up to $119/month/agent if you're willing to pay annually. There's even a 21-day free trial period and you can book a live demo of the service if you want to try before subscribing.  

Jira Service Desk has a different (and rather more complicated) pricing structure, including a free plan, and offers both cloud and self-managed versions of its software. 

The free plan is for up to three agents. The Standard plan is $21 per month per agent.

You can also pay $600/year for up to three agents but then increases to $1050 per year for up to 5 agents. 

After 15 agents, the price starts to come down slightly. The Premium plan starts at $47/agent/month but you can also make some savings if you have multiple agents and want to pay annually. The paid plans support up to 10,000 agents if you're able and willing to pay for them. All plans also support an unlimited number of customers but only one site, unless you sign up to a bespoke 'Enterprise' plan. 

Solarwinds: Final verdict

Solarwinds Service Desk is ideally suited to companies with large IT departments that are looking to provide high levels of service for their own employees and internal customers. It is reasonably priced and comes with a generous free trial so you have enough time to evaluate its capabilities.

While we did find the web app to be a bit slow sometimes, in general, we were impressed by how easy Solarwinds Service Desk is to use and the level of control offered over how data was presented and updated. 

The Resource Center is magnificent and we were impressed to see that even customers on the lowest pricing tier can benefit from 24/7 e-mail and chat support. The forum also contains some excellent resources on getting started and customizing the platform for your needs. For the most part other documentation is extremely helpful and detailed. The one exception to this is SolarWinds 'Security Statement', where we would have appreciated more specific information on the type of protections in place, such as how data in transit is secured.

There is no 'free' tier but as we said, it's not likely an SME would need to sign up for so extensive an ITSM, as the range of resources and data customization is better suited to larger organizations.  

We've also highlighted the best live chat software.

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