23 Jun 2016

What Is Icecast?

What is Icecast? Icecast servers are the most diverse open source software for streaming radio broadcasts online. Even though not the most popular, candidly, Icecast servers can run circles around Shoutcast servers or any other streaming media out there. Read more on that topic in our Shoutcast versus Icecast article.


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The Icecast configuration file itself is completely comprehensive: listener authentication, burst on connect, queue size, mountpoints, fallbacks, master relay, etc. Installation is somewhat difficult due to dependencies. Yet, then again, that’s why the compatibility of so many audio formats play nice: MP3, AAC, WebM, Ogg, Theora, Real, the list goes on and on, you name it. Of course, as an Icecast server hosting provider, ROCKHOST.COM deploys Icecast servers for the end user.

The community is great too. Contacting the developer(s) is as simple as reaching out the forum. I don’t know how many problems I’ve solved thanks to its moderators and members.

Icecast servers are continually being improved by a proactive web dev. Icecast isn’t so much of a product as it is a labor of love. Please donate.

How to Icecast? Well, ROCKHOST.COM welcomes you to our Icecast hosting family, where, Icecast server hosting experts help guide newbies every day.

Icecast hosting packages start for as little as just $9.99 per month.




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18 Sep 2014

Writers Write

I’ll never forget the methodic tick tacking and pecking of my Father’s electronic typewriter each morning as I woke before school. As the son of a French and English teacher I was planning to inherit these skills. But, apparently, I’m not a writer. Or, not much of one anyway, because I haven’t checked in on this blog for a half year easy. The goal was to amp up ROCKHOST.COM’s social media and SEO strategies with keyword rich content like “band web hosting” and “shoutcast server hosting”, but I’m done chasing Google search down the rabbit hole. It is what it is. You need a spark, a hit, popularity. That’s what lands first page listings, plain and simple. And should, I suppose, but that doesn’t help me, the little guy.

Instead I wisely chose to take a break and come back fresh. The Be Heard newsletter is practically dead. Then again, a little revival never hurt anyone.

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01 Oct 2013

Shoutcast Reseller Hosting

When I grow up I want to be an audio engineer. Ok, I admit it. Don’t tell my wife. Yes, I am a thirty eight year old child. I sit at the card table with my nieces amid adults on Thanksgiving. I still play with toys: Transformers, Star Wars Legos, etc.

Sound though, sound is something magical for all ages that you can not touch or see. Some say music is a drug. I am an addict. Before I could legally consume alcohol, before I had hearing loss, I was a student of The Recording Workshop in Chilicothe, OH. Not exactly glamorous surroundings, the locals were violent hillbillies…Still, the twelve hour sessions stuck. I learned a trade.

I didn’t exactly hit the big time, fumbling my resume from studio to studio begging for an internship. Then again, I use the skills to my advantage all the time. During tracking, mixing, or the most recent example shown here – The new ROCKHOST.COM Shoutcast reseller hosting promo. Lots of effort went into the voiceover, yes that’s me, and background music which I’d like to personally and publicly thank Steve Hammond for sharing. It’s gold Stevie, gold. If there was ever one guy who I’d like to see “make it”, it’s you.

The concept for this marketing video came to me as I was standing in my garden, in Kansas, in the summertime…The script wrote itself. Enjoy!

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13 Sep 2013

Don’t Deal With Dead Air

When consuming cecastnternet content, no one wants to go to a website that is not efficient. As a heavy Internet user I often come across streaming audio and video websites that offer the service I desire but I when hit the play button I see buffering and the spinning wheel of death. This is one of the most frustrating times for me as I purposefully bought the high speed Internet access from Time Warner Cable in my area. I can download at 50 mbps and upload at 5 mbps so there is no reason I should see a website slow to download audio or video content. Fortunately, for websites that serve streaming audio or any type of media there are Shoutcast server hosting options available at ROCKHOST.COM. Avoiding downtime or buffering could help a website increase viewership tremendously.

Internet Users Love The Music and Radio

When I was in college in the early 2000s I can clearly remember downloading WinAMP and trying to find music online. There were very few band websites. Music websites that would allow you to play music straight from a web browser were non existent. This was back in the day of Netscape Navigator and Webcrawler. Google, Apple and Facebook were not players yet. In fact, Google was just getting off the ground and Facebook wasn’t even an option. Apple was digging out of the brink of bankruptcy and the Internet was a free for all.

Things have changed drastically in the last decade. Many bands recognize that they need to promote some of their music online through a streaming option. When looking for the right type of hosting or servers many of these bands will seek out Shoutcast servers as it will allow them to avoid dead air or downtime. If a potential fan finds a band’s website and they cannot listen to the music it is comparable to going into a movie theater and none of the movies will actually roll film. Would customers walk into a Target and be pleased if they couldn’t buy a pack of chewing gum? These are problems that can be alleviated with the right type of hosting and customer support.

Hosting a Website with Music and Streaming Audio

A novice webmaster may go online and search for the cheapest possible hosting to get a website up and running. There are many common players in the industry but they offer a variety of products that may not be suitable for a website that has streaming audio files. Rather than taking the chance on a cheaper hosting plan it is a very wise decision to do the research up front. Having downtime on a website means that fans will be unable to listen to their favorite songs. Most Internet users have been on YouTube or another streaming video service when it does not work well. It can be very frustrating and we, as users, miss out on the experience of enjoying the tune or the moment.

To avoid this downtime it is suggested that webmasters look at the best options available with Shoutcast hosting. There are services available and finding the best option could be the difference in growing a fan club by 50% or losing fans. There are millions of websites that have irked potential fans so much that they will seek other options. From personal experience, I would rather go to a very well done, well hosted website even if the music is not the best. At least I can listen to an entire song or an entire album without having to see my browser jump to different parts of the song solely because the website server is not up to par.

It is important to note that bands play a big part in Shoutcast hosted websites but radio stations can benefit from this type of service. Year in and year out millions of diehard sports fans seek out radio broadcast options that are available online. This is especially true in small towns where the sporting events are not aired on TV. As consumers of content, Americans have accepted that it is now easier to find streaming audio or radio options online rather than bringing out the old fashioned radio and looking on the AM or FM dials.

Sports websites have realized this and they are willing to invest a little more money to gain access to premium hosting services. If there are any type of lengthy audio files on a website it is best to look at Shoutcast server hosting.

ROCKHOST.COM also offers a “Band Hosting” option that will make life much easier on a webmaster that wants to stream audio files. There are only so many hours in the day and band members and radio stations do not want to have to deal with the hassles of a website that is providing dead air rather than amazing music. These hours of the day should be put into creating the best music possible, not having to call customer service of a hosting company because a website is having issues handling the work load.

The Next Step

By contacting ROCKHOST.COM you will find there are quite a few options that will help fit your needs. To make life easier on bands and webmasters RockHost offers an option to submit a ticket and check server status. Being an experienced webmaster, I can assure you that some of hosting websites will force you to just wait out an issue. This is not the case at RockHost. There is also a pre sales contact form that will allow potential customers to ask any question that might be of importance. Rather than frustrating fans it is wise to get a server that will hold up during those peak traffic days.

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17 Mar 2013

The Dot Com Domain Name

I’m not a big blogger, but it’s down to either this or my 2013 taxes. So, hello, good morning, and thank you for reading.

With all the confusion as of late regarding new land rush domains, .band., .bike., etc., soothe yourself with peace of mind. Now is a better time than any to invest in .com and .net. Both TLDs are the most widely recognizable in the world. Take out the guess work. Register today.

I’m proud to say I own the .com for my band and business.

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01 May 2012

KC/DC Highway To Hell

Hello citizens of ROCKHOST.COM,

Last week I had the chance to roadtrip, server in tow, up to an undisclosed Kansas City datacenter which shall remain unnamed as I got myself into a minor social media conspiracy via a Foursquare check-in. The military like cold war secrecy of technology does exist. I can tell you that much first hand from the tour. Hell, I had to bring a passport just to get in the front door and separate premade key card for full access to the racks. The drama wasn’t exclusive to location, but rather that I identified myself in a picture against a node of mysterious hardware otherwise known as the cloud.

Now what kind’a rock n’ roll outlaw would I be if I didn’t rebel a little? ;^)

Pretty interesting field trip for a guy who works from home. Thanks to Tom L for the handshake and warm welcome.

\m/,

Seth

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23 Aug 2011

A Decade Dot Com

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of ROCKHOST.COM. Been a long time comin’, that’s for sure. Since our inception, the Internet has grown rampantly, expanding much like the universe. No literally, by about one zettabyte, or ten to the twenty first power, to be exact (NERD ALERT!). Datacenters now use 1/5 of the world’s energy. Humanity’s dependency on technology is an addiction stronger than foreign oil or the coffee at NASA. And I’m no better. I’m not gon’na lie. I sleep with my iPhone. On the rare occurance there is a server outage I receive a 911 SMS alert – a kind of pop culture pager for geek emergencies I suppose. Meanwhile, my teenage son is sending over 10,000 text messages a month. That’s a 16 year old male people. The times they are a-changin’.

In 1982 the Commodore 64 was introduced for $595 and held 320 kilobytes of data per floppy disk, which most notably had to be flipped like a record – 160 kilobytes per side. Oh, and the memory you ask? Take a wild guess (hint: 64 ???). Nowadays devices come with 1,000 times the storage if not more. Over the past decade web hosting standards have dramatically escalated as well, bringing us to what I can only describe as an excess amount of disk space at our disposal. So long story long, if you are an old school ROCKHOST.COM customer and would like to request an account review we may be more than willing to increase your disk quota and possibly your bandwidth limit free of charge. Please hit us up through the Client Portal by opening a new Support Ticket.

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23 Jul 2011

Shoutcast Versus Icecast

First off, I must confess that I’m partial to Icecast servers. Thanks in part to the bias AOL’s attorneys at law bred after harshly taking ownership of a domain name from my possession, that includes the trademark, Shoutcast. I might add that Shoutcast 2 servers comprise of mountpoints, a long time Icecast server hosting configuration, but hey, I guess the AOL legal team on retainer decides to neglect that minor detail.


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While AOL bought out the original Shoutcast creators, Nullsoft, for millions, Icecast is still the pioneer with its head hacker and code warrior, Icecast forum king, Karl Heyes. Icecast servers remain a free open source. You can donate to the development of Icecast servers on GitHub. Shoutcast servers require an authentication key and small mp3 fee.

Ok, what about functionality, you ask? Get to the point, you say. Well hell, Shoutcast v2.0 is still in beta. So, I would be careless to go too in depth, but comprehension tells me Icecast v2.4.1 is far more elaborate. Don’t get me wrong. Shoutcast v1.9.8 is solid. As a matter of fact, generally speaking, we suggest the text book basics of Shoutcast to newbies over the complexity of Icecast to old school streamers. Both are made easy through our streaming control panel, Centova Cast. Try the demo.

Last but not least, a comparison of Auto DJs would certainly land on the Ices side of the spectrum. Sc_trans is not hard to crash. Additionally, Ices is compatible with Shoutcast. Sc_trans does not return the favor.

So, that’s my two cents, which apparently I’m lucky to still own. That and the shirt on my back. Hopefully big brother won’t be reading this Shoutcast versus Icecast article anytime soon.

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01 Jul 2011

The WHIR Interview

NOTE: Below is an interview outtake from the summer 2011 WHIR issue. Justin Lee questions myself, Seth Cole, on the history of ROCKHOST.COM.

Hey Justin, I had myself all psyched up for the phone interview, ha ha, but this will probably be better for me in the long run. All these years of playing loud rock music has made my hearing rather shoddy. I probably would have been saying “what?” a lot whether your phone was cutting out or not. :^)

So let’s see here…I guess I’ll repost the questions and answer below them. Sound good? Hope so. Oh, one thing I do want to mention before I get started is the timing of this whole interview. You said the next WHIR comes out in August, right? Well, it just so happens that ROCKHOST.COM was founded in August 2001. I plan on making a big deal of our ten-year anniversary. That’s a lifetime in the hosting industry if you ask me. Anyway, without further ado, here goes nothing….

How did you get into the niche market of providing hosting services for rock bands and online radio stations?

By accident really, back in 1999 my band at the time was touring the country. Booking shows was a really tedious task because long ago you had to snail mail press kits. Nobody had their music available online. I swear I was at the post office every other day. Before long I was searching for a better way to distribute our freebies and impress the right people. Luckily, for my sake, I did because then things began to snowball. Other bands and venues were soon coming to me for help. Long story short, that’s how ROCKHOST.COM was born.

How do you find your clients, or alternatively, how do they find you?

I think word of mouth is specifically important for my business, or any business really. Bands can’t help but network when drinking beer, loading gear, and playing shows. Hell, that’s how I met many of my most loyal clients–in person at a show. I think they like the fact that they can relate to me and I’m not a suit (sorry big wigs).

Do you advertise your services on music websites?

Of course, that would be pretty hard to overlook. I think places like streamfinder.com, stonerrock.com, and radiotoolbox.com have a pretty high conversion ratio for my business. I tried MySpace but that didn’t work out so well. Plus I’m a little jaded because when MySpace first blew up, I took a pretty serious hit to my bottom line.

What services do you provide your clients?

Well, we offer the standard domain name registration and web hosting type stuff, but the thing that put us over the top is streaming media. If somebody comes to me and wants to find an audio or video solution, I can usually pull something out of my bag of tricks. Between Shoutcast, Icecast, Flash, Quicktime, and Windows we can cover almost any event or broadcast. ROCKHOST.COM has hosted live Beastie Boys dj shows, Sub Pop listen parties, medical marijuana security cams, Sunday morning church services, high school football games, you name it.

Are these services all built into a one-stop package, or is it a la carte?

Neither really, for the most part, we try to stay away from anything that is too cookie cutter. You can get the basics from us just like you can any other provider, but the real story, the real grit, goes on behind the scenes here at ROCKHOST.COM. I try to view every situation as unique. So there are a lot of special work-arounds, hacks, and custom-coding jobs. Oh, and a lot of satisfied customers. :^)

Is there anything particularly unique that goes into offering hosting services specifically for bands that you wouldn’t normally find with other clients, such as an online retail store?

To some degree all bands need the same things. Most commonly they want people hear their music online. I mean that’s the whole point, right? That is key. But yes, selling music is also a big deal which is why we offer add-on products like Payment Gateways, SSL Certificates, SEO–yada yada–blah blah.

And just out of my own curiousity, who are some of your favourite bands and artists?

Wow, that’s a loaded question, for sure. You may regret that one, Justin. Ha ha. I guess I discovered my love of music through skateboarding in junior high. So my roots go back to punk rock (Sex Pistols, Misfits, Descendents, Black Flag, etc.), but that was only able to satisfy the thirst of a hormonal teenager for so long. My tastes blossomed into the Seattle grunge genre when I was a freshman in high school: The Melvins, Seaweed, Earth, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nirvana, L7, to name a few. Then that took me deep into metal: Slayer, Motorhead, Metallica, Megadeth, and Danzig etc., which finally opened the door to all forms, types, kinds, genres, whatevers of music. I guess lastly I’ll just go into Oscar speech mode and do some name dropping of my faves: Jesus Lizard, Social Distortion, Urge Overkill, Sonic Youth, Bottom, Willie Nelson, Blondie, Motley Crue, Dinosaur Jr., Patsy Cline, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Man or Astro-man?, Fu Manchu, Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jett, The Stray Cats, The Cars, Tom Petty, The Hellacopters, Sleep, Reverand Horton Heat, Oasis, Speedealer, Zeke, and Filthy Jim…cue the music…

You don’t get to spout off at the mouth like that very often, thanks WHIR!

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06 Apr 2011

Blue Collar Web Hosting

Hey Kids, sorry for not blogging in so long. The winter blues finally got me and I found myself with no fire, no pep, no machismo! BUT, I’m back, full throttle, spring is in bloom. You may have been wondering where I have been so I thought I would show you.

On a cold January morning, where the temperature was a paralyzing negative seven degrees (that ain’t wind chill folks), the heater on my truck hit the skids. As I was driving my teenager to school with my head out the window, no heat – no defrost, I thought to myself there had to be a better way.

The next thing I know the shop is quoting me a staggering $1409 for a blown head gasket on a vehicle that isn’t worth half that much. I quickly came to the realization that I, and only I, could save this heaping mass of American steel from extinction. So, just as I have done with everything else in life, I rolled up my sleeves and turned to my callus bare hands to wort off this demon task.

Soon I was troubleshooting an engine the same way I would an operating system or support ticket and found that if I was smart enough to be technical, I was smart enough to be mechanical. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time or help to pull off a “vlog” because this would of been one fun grease covered mess. Below is a pic of my four banger 2.2L. The combustion chambers are full of coolant. Not exactly the best environment for air and gas to explode.

The point here, to tie this altogether, is that the troubleshooting and support skills at ROCKHOST.COM are unparalleled. If you have an issue, question, or concern please submit a ticket through the proper channel by visiting our Client Portal.

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