Freshen Things Up!

Many moons ago a good man (and long-time FlockHoster) named Josh Renaud gave FlockHosting an amazing rebrand of FlockHosting, we went from this logo (lovingly created by me!):

flock_lgo

And transformed it into the awesome little square you all have come to know when visiting FlockHosting:

 

fresh-logo

 

Well over the last 24 hours I’ve worked to freshen things up a bit, not a ton but a subtle re-branding to smooth out some edges, and prep some things like the first batch of 20 T-Shirts to give away in addition to the give away still on-going for the ChromeCasts & Chromebook, I present what you likely see across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all FlockHosting services:

FlockHosting

It’s the start of some freshening up of things around here! Just like my desire to really beef up posting here on the Blog, I do hope to add some things like T-Shirts, Sweaters, Mugs, etc. some cool goodies to further get the word out about FlockHosting!

More awesome services are coming to FlockHosting.com too, new packages including things like tuned up VPS packages, Reseller Packages, Dedicated Servers, and Managed WordPress with all the bells and whistles included, no more “Add-on” pricing! Help me really grow FlockHosting this year, it’s going to be a BIG year!

Check back here on the Blog tomorrow for updates on the final days of the contest to get new banners, promo codes and more reveals of giveaways to come!

 

Trouble Ticket Wisdom: Is my email/site down?

knowledgeA common trouble ticket that finds its way to the support desk is

“I can’t seem to get email, my website is down! Why is everything offline?”

Well there are a few reasons as to why things could actually be offline:

  • Scheduled Maintenance
  • Unplanned Server Outage
  • IP Blocked by Firewall

So what do you do when these things occur? How do you know? Well let’s go over a few ways that your ticket would be cleared up:

Scheduled Maintenance

It happens sometimes, there are software updates which require a little downtime, some are quickly scheduled for safety’s sake, others planned weeks in advanced to address bigger issues, or even just general housekeeping! So how do you find out about these sorts of outages? Email! First and foremost I email customers about LARGE outages – so be sure your email on file is to an address NOT associated with your service.

Now for quick and priority always be sure to check Twitter or Facebook, chances are if it’s quick you’ll see a notice, and sometimes a rundown of what’s going on.

Unplanned Server Outage

This happens! I’m sorry, sometimes things outside of my control, hardware failure, power issues, datacenter server attacks, you name it! So when things go completely wrong and my hands are tied waiting for the datacenter I tend to keep updates on Twitter and Facebook, if it’s something major it is posted here at the blog too!

IP Blocked by Firewall

You set up a new email address and the password won’t take – after about 3 tries because you may of just hit S instead of D you realize that it is giving you a new error – chances are you got blocked by the firewall which likely thinks with all this password failures you are up to no good!

Previously I’d of sent you to another website, but now I send you to FlockHosting’s website to find your IP address give the number in green to me in a ticket, and ask to see if you have been blocked, if it’s not a firewall block the IP still helps me determine what is going on!

There you have it!

You’ve just read up on several scenarios related to outages and being unable to access your website, do remember you can check on the fleet server status by checking in the customer zone – but usually the above will help you stay up to date!

Have a question? Trouble Ticket Wisdom will come from tickets but too if you have a question about how to do something, open a ticket and let me lend you a hand! Who knows your issue may appear in one of these posts!

Posts, Posts and More Posts!

I have a few posts in the works, one of which is a series of posts which will then be a downloadable PDF on how to build a Church Website using Church Hosting – a lot of the same things would apply to a normal website, but with 110+ churches hosting for free now, really working hard to build some guides to help churches really build up their websites!

The old FlockUpdates may be back now and again to see this silly mug of mine, but rest assured more good things are coming! Soon too going to be re-opening the Crowd Funding site to see if anyone is up for helping grow Church Hosting even more! So excited to see so many churches getting hosted for free, one even told me a story of another provider offering “FREE” but by the end of the sign-up well over $100! Oi! Let’s get the word out about Church Hosting and keep our churches free on the web!

In Other News…

Yesterday on Facebook & Twitter today I posted this picture:

Acer Chromebook & 3 Chromecasts!

Acer Chromebook & 3 Chromecasts!

I’m giving these away as mentioned in a post wrapping up 2014, basically I’m looking to bolster up business without big advertising and I need your help, if you can help you may be one of the lucky winners to get some free hosting and these cool prizes! There is a mystery prize I plan to hand out too, again the target is 5 folks referred and it’ll be a random drawing, let’s just say, it’s rather exclusive and only 2 other people have it…. anywhere. Too if we get a HUGE surge of sign-ups then there will be additional “Thank You” prizes including but not limited to T-Shirts, Stickers, Account Credits and More! So help make this huge!

Want an easy way to convince folks to sign-up? How about some coupon codes for 2015! There’s one for Personal (2015-6M-PER) and one for Business (2015-6M-BIZ) – these are both 6 month packages! For personal it’s $20.15 for 6 months, and for business its $40.30 (Double 2015) all in all some great savings! And it sticks with you, not some one shot discount, you get it for as long as you have an account, so every 6 months great savings! Looking for a year to spread the word for? Our regular pricing is great as well, but more promos are coming!

So stay tuned for more posts! They are on the way!

2015: State of Spam

spamSpam is a thorn in everyone’s side lately, even a long time customer of FlockHosting recently changed her email to have a auto-response of:

Because of excessive SPAM, I no longer monitor this email account. If you need to reach me, please call me at:

Oi! This shouldn’t be happening, but every system we’ve used thus far has failed many users, for some the ASSP script was too intense, while yes spam was pretty much non-existent, so was some of their legitimate emails, and it wasn’t always easy to get it out of the lock-up, and a few users had so much spam, it used up all of their storage! Filtering was good, but too many folks had issue.

I’ve also tried to get MailCleaner going which has done a LOT and as I posted last Thursday to Facebook and Twitter  there were two systems I was monitoring which was helping spam, the latest kid on the block is called MagicSpam (no it’s not providing you magical spam, it’s magically removing it.) – It’s a small investment to try and eliminate spam, already with one server (Grace) it’s knocking down a TON of spam since it’s deployment on New Years Eve I’m seeing about 2,847 pieces of spam blocked on average per day! Wow!

Now the big balance I’ve been trying to work on is a balance of filtering as well as user control, and this new setup is doing a pretty decent job, where it falls short SpamAssassin jumps in to help the last leg!  So hopefully this new configuration if by the start of February has been doing awesome, I may slowly decommission Cleaner, and simply opt for MagicSpam as a new standard on the fleet.

How’s your spam lately? Seeing more or less? Need help? Remember I’m but a email away! Get in touch with me today and let’s see how I can help you eliminate spam!

Wrapping up 2014

It has been quite the year – busy to the point that I didn’t even have customer appreciation! We’ve had server migrations, network changes, hardware upgrades, and one of the biggest years of growth for Church Hosting on record – Over 110+ churches now being hosted without limits or costs! Not to leave out the fact that I had my first year of marriage and welcomed an addition as well!

While I did see a HUGE jump in Church Hosting, normal hosting has sort of taken a back seat to this year, 2015 will be on the forefront of the year bigger plans, more options, including more server options for folks looking to get in the server world, but options as well for Resellers & Designers to have partial servers and some great additions to the standing $5 & $10 plans!

So to wrap up 2014 let’s go out big! Every account has been upgraded, even Church Hosting! What’s new for paid accounts? 10GB more storage and 10GB more bandwidth each month! For Church Hosters you are no longer started out at 1GB, 5GB is now the standard for you, but as always it grows as you need it!

Starting 2015 off right!

Growth is on the radar for 2015, this past year I’ve laid the groundwork for some serious growth, now I just need a hand in getting it in place! I can use paid advertising till I’m blue in the face, but I’d love for all FlockHosters to lend a hand because Word of Mouth is so much more effective, and it’s how FlockHosting has managed to stick around for over a decade is with your help!

So I’m starting off the new year asking you to help me let folks know about FlockHosting! Easiest way is if you could add a little something to the bottom of your website that says “Hosted by FlockHosting” – simple easy, no annoying blasts to your twitter followers, Facebook friends, or spamming your address book, nothing obtrusive, just help get the word out, plain and simple!

If you are feeling super helpful, a tweet, blog, facebook post etc. about 10% off, by using the code “FOF” or Friends of FlockHosting provides 10% savings to a year or more of hosting, let your friends who have web hosting needs get to the right place and become a FlockHoster with the rest of us!

Lastly, at the end of January I’d love to give a little something away, nah let’s do three little somethings! Oh okay, you’ve pulled my arm 1 big thing, 3 little things, and a touch of hosting! How does that sound? Top three prizes are the following:

  1. Grand Prize: Google Chromebook + Google Chromecast + 6 free months of hosting!
  2. Second Prize: Google Chromecast + 3 free months of hosting!
  3. Third Prize: Google Chromecast + 1 month of free hosting!

How do you get a chance to win these great prizes? Simple, it’s all based upon the above help I’d love, and you can even earn money while doing it! Get your referral link from your customer zone login, link from your site, tell friends to mention you in the notes at sign-up, and anyone over 5 people is entered to win, grand prize however goes to the most number of people referred! So you have one month to spread the word and earn as many referrals and visitors! This is only up for FlockHosters, sorry you must be active customer in good standing to win.

big-heartLastly if you’ve made it this far and aren’t completely asleep :-) I’d like to say thanks! FlockHosting is a big blessing to me, it not only allows me to serve churches but it helps support me and my family – that’s huge to me! So if there is anything I can ever do to help your website, or even if you have a prayer request or three, do let me know! I’m here to help!

Have an awesome 2015! Look forward to building with you!