A busy summer!

summertimeOh what a difference a month makes! It has been a busy summer. Last month I posted a mid-year update, a quick rundown of things to come and boy-oh-boy has it been busy around here!

Email is still in transition from the enhanced system, but some folks are already enjoying the new anti-spam filter. If you are using it actively, there is a new KB article posted about it and more to come as it continues to grow and grow and grow! About 5,000 pieces of spam blocked for a handful of domains. It’s been awesome to watch bad things get blocked and the good make it through! If you would like access to this for your domain(s), please let me know! It’s FREE!

Lilly comes online fully this week! Just finished up installing Ruby on Rails, SSL Certificate for Email, FTP and cPanel – and using a new database engine and 10GB of ram under the hood. She’s handled every test I’ve thrown at her well! Even great software like WordPress, Ghost, Vanilla, and others all worked without a hitch! She’s performing beautifully and once the final tweaks are in, this weekend Solomon will slowly start migrating over to this new server! This kid is wasting no time! Even running the new cPanel Theme “Paper Lantern” which is very slick:

lilly-flock-shot

free-churchCrowd Funding got off to a late start, but with all that’s going on behind the scenes, I’m happy to have gotten it launched, however it’s fallen flat. 0 sponsors, 0 earned, but it does have 19 days left to go! If you have been on vacation or have just missed it – give it a look! If you don’t feel safe donating or have a question about something, ask away!

Lastly, the KB is slowly (3 articles is slowly) adding to it’s ranks. I mentioned posting a WordPress Themes addition, well here you go. I hope to add a Plugins option too, as some folks have provided me with some great options over the years for plugins, but hopefully between the two I can build a fair resource of themes and plugins to choose from – but more articles are slowly in the works!

More is coming soon, Emails went out last night about server migrations! Lots in the works so stay tuned. Good things are coming!

 

2014 Mid-Year Rundown!

So, here we are at the 6 month mark, and it has been a busy first 6 months of the year! The last post was posted with some of the usual “goals” that FlockHosting has. The big deal that is coming up is change. What will the last half of the year bring? Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on-going and coming up!

  • Farewell Enhanced Email  ….  Greetings Enhanced Email! Confused? Let me explain. For years we’ve used another provider to provide the service for our Enhanced Email product. However, due to some changes in their system between billing and security, that system will be retired and our new system brought online. If you currently use the service, more information will be coming to you via email by month’s end with full instructions on how I plan to make this migration quick and painless.
  • Email Filtering Service is coming back! While you’ve probably read posts or managed your ASSP settings, Spamassassin Settings, and more, you’ve likely never heard of the original email filtering service, but it’s coming back! Using the great platform from Mailcleaner, one server has been deployed and has been actively tested in relaying clean email. It quarantines and filters email easier than ever! Gone are the days of complex filtering options. Now, you can view your quarantine of spam, viruses and exploits and choose how you want to proceed. Interested? Open a ticket and it’ll be added; because the service is 100% free, it simply needs to be requested!
    quarentine report
  • New Servers are on their way! Why? Security with up-to-date software! While PHP, Apache, nginx, SSH, kernel versions and such may not mean much to you, for me I want to ensure you have the latest and safest to use with your websites! I want to also add new features that come with newer software & hardware. How do you get moved over? Just hang-tight because servers will be spun up and folks migrated slowly but surely. One is coming soon named “Lilly.” This new kid on the block is already rolling with some big specs! Lilly has more RAM than any server to-date!
  • Crowdfunding for Church Hosting is coming… no really. Launch date: June 20!
    fh-crowd
  • Plan Upgrades will be launched the first of July! More storage will be automatically added to your account and free enhanced email filtering will be offered as a free upgrade at sign-up! These upgrades will be passed on to all of you at no additional charge.
  • Plan Pricing is getting a touch-up. For years, I’ve always offered low monthly options starting at $5! Cheaper still if you go for a year! Previously, it was $54/year for Personal and $108/year for Business. Today? Shave it down a bit to $50 a year for Personal and $100 a year for Business! Let’s make it even more affordable to get hosted for a year! Pricing starts Friday on all new accounts! There’s no better time to get started with hosting!
  • Backups, Backups, Backups! Safety of data has always been a concern, so I’m evaluating some backup systems. I hope to have by year-end a new backup system that you will have complete access to! If I have a backup, you’ll be able to see it from cPanel and restore/manage files! No more are the days of sheepishly opening a ticket asking, “Uhm Chuck… I deleted file XYZ.ABC, can you restore it?” You’ll have access to what I have!
  • WordPress Themes are a staple for a lot of FlockHosting customers, so I’m going to be updating the KB, which has been long silent, with a list of great themes and plugins. I’ve considered a wiki or a forum to let others contribute, but previous attempts have fallen flat. If you would like to contribute a theme or plugin for inclusion in the KB, just email me!
  • FlockHosting.com will be 100% completed by Friday. It will further match the blog and have the latest information, look, and feel. So, stay tuned! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned… more great things are coming very soon!

So, there you have it… the run-down of what is to come! I know it’s a lot to read; it was a lot to write. :-) I hope to get back to the usual FlockUpdates soon, either via audio or video, but getting some regular info flowing to you guys can be difficult when you’re the Server Guy, Billing Guy, and Designer. Things tend to get busy! So lend me a hand while you’re reading – head over and be 100% sure your account information is up-to-date! Helps make my life easier!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned… more great things are coming very soon!

Why so quiet?

work-n-manSome would enjoy the quiet, but a few of you have actually checked in on me and asked how things are going – and it’s busy busy busy busy busy *breath* busy busy busy busy busy! We are rapidly coming up on the midway point of 2014 and there is a LOT going on behind the scenes! I have been working on a lot of infrastructure lately, trying to streamline things, improve server density and ensure customers are getting the best support possible! I’ve been in talks with 3 data centers about growth and a good building path leaning on other opinions not just my own thought of buzz words about “the cloud” which is so ominous it’s not even funny, one company even tried to sell me “the cloud” and yet their offering was a fleet of servers which was less powerful than what FlockHosting houses now! Oi!

So what am I hoping to see happen? Growth. Church Hosting has been the biggest growth over the last year or so, averaging at least 3-4 accounts a month! This month alone already picked up 3 and Fellowship quickly is filling up, and if I can get myself in gear, I’ll get the Crowdfunding going and really amp things up and increase storage and more! But I need help! I need to get the word out to paying customers as well! I need more folks hosting, blogs, eComm, etc.

The big thing I’ve been working on is VPS Servers & Dedicated Server Offerings – Why? Well above the desire to give FlockHosting customers the best hosting experience, some of you have a BIG need, and why go somewhere else? I’ve been working to give you great options to choose from a easy to deploy VPS which has a lot of great pre-fab system templates (Forums, Blogs, CRM, Analytics, LAMP, and cPanel) you can do everything from have your own Linux playground, to run your own Hosting setup using cPanel! For starters a $15 a month package will offer you a lowend box to dabble with, with slightly larger servers which include cPanel pre-configured with great add-ons much like you have here at FlockHosting, however YOU set the limits, and I’ll be here to help where you need it!

You are given the keys to the castle too! Using a great control panel which allows you to manage all elements of your VPS server, from reboots, re-installs, you can change settings as you see fit! It’s all pretty straight forward, have a look at this test box I setup!

solusvm-2
solusvm-1

All ready to be deployed, and self-managed by you! I’ll of course offer management options too – but it’s a start! You can deploy servers in Chicago, New York and Atlanta – California, and Dallas are coming soon – but these are not some 3rd party company offering us service, we own this hardware, I don’t share it with anyone else! As always never oversold, if you need to grow, there’s room left on servers to grow, and if you need to move to dedicated, I can do that too!

This all launches in about 2 weeks, still getting final hardware provisioned and setup, if you are interested now, I have 3 spots open, and if you are up for being a first timer, I’ll offer you a deal on some management and configuration all for $50 a month… First come first serve, this $50 deal won’t be offered publicly, but if you know my tendencies here at FH, you know – I’m prone to go overboard with goodies!

But more is in the works, I do want to see some customer appreciation fun this year too, and some big news coming down in August too, stay tuned for that, may give a few hints here and there, but lots to do, stay tuned for more updates, FlockUpdate will return soon too – lots of my time has been in projects and just haven’t had a ton of time to sit in front of the mic and record! Video to make soon too as I want folks to understand what the Crowdfunding is all about!

Thanks for reading! I hope some of you may be interested in your own VPS, if so please get in touch! Keep spreading the word, not just about Church Hosting, but help me get a few more $5/$10 accounts too if you can! Thanks all have a great weekend!

Spam… Ugh.

spamYou hate spam, I hate spam… Let’s be honest – We all hate spam! Unless of course you are interested in this lovely can of spam and well, you are not alone, but for me, I’ll pass :)

On the rise lately Spam is! But too sadly antiquated scripts & virused computers are sadly marking some of our servers in the fleet as spam, and not the delicious canned meat kind. So some steps are going to be taken and it’s not being taken lightly.

What’s the plan? How do we stop it? A few different ways of which #1 is run a BIG security audit on servers, namely your files & applications! This will alert me to any known exploits and common hacked file types – say your old WordPress theme, or plugin, possibly some old mailing script the kid down the street made for your website before moving away to college, it’ll find things which are up to no good, at least a good chunk of them, sadly not all – so please on the other side of the coin, please update your scripts!

Next on the list is a test for the next week (possibly less if negative effects) is to Filter Outbound Email. This one wasn’t an easy choice, but out-dated scripts, folks whose computers have viruses or even worse easy passwords get things quickly blacklisted, so we need to change things up - so the same filtering on server that scans your email as it comes in to help prevent spam, will now scan outbound, it will process your mail through filters and if it finds spam – it stops it dead – hopefully this will keep us all off blacklists and our email running smoothly through the internet!

Other options? A few in the works, including reinforcing SPF & Domainkey records! These will come in handy, but too I’m doing my part to install some new application firewall rules which will help prevent exploits even if I do find them in my scans, hackers won’t have access to your files to do damage as your domain name!

So hopefully these few things all together will create a blacklist free environment for us! I’ve been working since yesterday on updates to the entire fleet, hopefully all servers will be updated and running smoothly by Monday, Tuesday I’ll re-run all servers against email blacklists and see how we are doing in the realm of being marked as spam!

Sorry for any issues you are having, please don’t let this post stop you from opening a ticket, hitting the live chat or catching me on any of the communicate methods! I’m here to help!

FlockUpdate 2014 – Episode #7

Show Notes:

  • Heartbleed Bug
  • Got worries? Get in touch!
  • Upgrade your WordPress Install! 3.9 Adds awesome new features! (http://wordpress.org/news/2014/04/smith/)
    • Using Audio? All Servers updated to allow for larger uploads for sermons! Not enough? Get in touch!
  • Website Coming Soon! Preview here on the blog!
  • Church Hosting Email Hosting – Beta Test! Interested? Get in touch!
  • Crowdfunding Soon!
  • INC’d 100% – Fresh bank account and more soon!
  • Fresh new setup for FlockUpdates! No More SoundCloud! Enjoy!
  • Solomon Fresh Upgrades! More CPU, Memory and Network Backbone! Enjoy!