Steve Hanson's blog

Coming Soon - new spam filtering

We will soon be providing an additional system for spam and virus filtering. We have always provided email services for our hosting customers.  Soon we will also be providing an optional cloud-based spam and virus filtering system provided by Spamexperts. We are in the final stages of testing this solution.  It's easy to install, and will be very low-priced. We do spam filtering currently on all  of our email accounts using some very good open source filtering solutions (note that these ONLY apply to email addresses that have mailboxes on our serverrs - we do not spam filter email that is just passing through an alias on your domain).

The new cloud-based Spamexperts service scans your email before it reaches our servers and will therefore filter ALL email for your domain, whether it is delivered to a mailbox or forwarded through to a different domain.

There are quite a few differences between the two spam filtering systems -- we will write more about it before it becomes available to our customers.

Weebly is Coming!

We have been evaluating simple site building software for several months now and have decided to offer the Weebly site bulder.

We are teaming up with Weebly to pvoide you with a simple web builder.  Not all sites need the power of a full CMS system.  Some time before June 1 we will be offering a special series of Weebly-based hosting plans that let you build simple web sites with the Weebly site builder, while still hosting your sites with us. We are working on clearing up some of the issues of making this totally transparent and easy. Plans will start under $10/month for the site buildier and hosting.  Even the smallest plan will include e-commerce capabilities. More on this in a week or two.

CentOS 6.9

CentOS 6.9 was recently released.  We have quite a few VPS servers still running on CentOS 6.8 (and even more running on CentOS 7). We are in the process of doing testing on the new CentOS 6.9 release, and after we are sure it will not impact our customers we will be pushing it out to all of our servers.

CentOS 7 Update

CentOS 7 (1611) was released today. This is the CentOS version of the upstream Redhat 7.3.  We expect to be upgrading our CentOS 7 servers some time within the next week. We are currently syncing our local mirros to catch up with the new release, and will then be doing some testing of the new release before upgrading production servers.

Update -- we are in the process of updating all of the CentOS 7 VPS servers -- you may see some very brief outages as we update and reboot the VPS systems.

Webmin update on all systems

We are in the process of rolling out an update to the Webmin package on all of the servers. This will fix a few annoying issues with perl failures when making changes to your DNS configuration.  This was a relatively obscure bug, and probably was not affecting most of you - but it's time to roll the change out everywhere - we have been testing it on a few servers for a couple of weeks now. 

Drupal 8 Shared Hosting

Since D8 has come out there has been a lot of speculation about the fact that it is too big to run in shared hosting.  We beg to differ.  If you are using Drupal 8 and don't really need the benefits of a VPS, there's no reason you cannot run in one of our D8 shared hosting plans - just buy the D8 special.  This is a plan specially bulit for the requirements of Drupal 8.  It includes more recent versions of MariaDB for your database, a selection of PHP versions - you can even run in PHP 7 if your site will work there, and get the big advantages of PHP 7 performance. You get enough memory to run D8 successfully, and an editable php.ini file for your own site so you can adjust PHP parameters yourself.  Plus of course you get to deal with people who Drupal all day, so we'll never tell you "we don't support Drupal" like some other hosts will. We have recently invested in more infrastructure and bandwidth - it's just waiting to be filled up.

What Hosting Plan for Me?

We offer a range of different hosting plans, as do other hosting companies. We try to be straightforward about what our plans offer, and don't promise you "unlimited" everything. Why? Because most companies promise you unlimited, and it is unlimited until you use more resources than they can afford to provide. The dirty secret of the hosting industry is that any time a provider says unlimited, they never mean it.

In that light, we offer several stock hosting plans. Our Garden Plot plan is a small plan, with limited resources.  It is intended to be used for static sites, and Drupal and Wordpress sites with minimal requirements, particularly with minimal requirements for memory, as we only allow you 64MB of PHP at a maximum.

Most Drupal and Wordpress sites will be more comfortable in our Half-Acre plan - this allows you considerably more RAM, and more control over your account.  You get your own php.ini file, which you can edit (either from your Virtualmin control panel, or by using ssh to go right on the server and edit the file yourself.  There is a separate php.ini file for each version of PHP. You can select PHP versions in your control panel, either by domain, or even by directory. 

If you are really pumping out pages, you should be looking at a VPS plan. The VPS is not necessarily faster than the shared plans, but they are more flexible and you have complete control over the server.  You also have a guarantee of performance for your own server, and can handle a much higher number of page requests.  You can install software packages yourself on the server, and make any configuration changes you need.  VPS systesm include root access to the server and can reboot it if you wish. On all of our shared and VPS instances we provide operating system upgrades as part of the service. 

Beyond that we are unusual in that we will happily design and buld a custom environment for you.  Need redundant databases ? we can do that. Need multiple web servers? We can do that too.Need Varnish, or Memcache?  It's available. We also can provide consulting on performance issues for Drupal and help you to tune your server to get the most out of it. 

In other words, if you are looking for reliable, performant, and flexible CMS hosting, you're in the right place. 

New Fully Redundant Options

We are currently rolling out some fully-redundant server options - these are plans with two web server VPS's, two Varnish servers, MariaDB in master-master configuration, and a fully redundant file server in Glusterfs.  This will allow us to offer reasonably-priced systems with all-redundant components.  We do not have firm pricing for this yet, and are just starting to put up a few configurations for some of our bigger clients.  More news soon.

CentOS 6 servers upgrading to 6.8

We are in the process of upgrading our remaining CentOS 6 servers to CentOS 6.8 - this is a new release which has a number of improvements.  We do not expect anyone to see any issues with this upgrade, which should be transparent other than a few server reboots to install the new kernel. 

We are also slowly migrating most hosting plans to CentOS 7.  Our new CentOS 7 builds have a lot of new features including a large selection of PHP versions, and a lot of newer facilities for Drupal developers.

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