State of the Server (2016)

I was asked recently as things calmed down if I could do a “State of the Server” address, and you know what? Sure thing. It’s been about two years since the last one, let’s talk about where we stand!

Server: Grace & Church

This past weekend Grace & Church got their migrations completed, customers are moved over, and backups from the previous are still in place for about another week then I’m going to purge and free up space once we are in the clear 100%.

So what did we do in the realm of an upgrade? Well, we went from a Xeon L5420 series of CPUto an Intel Xeon E3-1230 v3 – definitely a more modern CPU! The memory we are still at 16GB, but I’ve been working to fine-tune the CloudLinux Setup.

Upgrades to Network too – a completely different path out of Dallas vs. Atlanta, but too 1gbps ports vs. 100mbps ports.

Server: Fellowship & Lilly

These two kids have been on their newer hardware for a while now, still rocking the Xeon E3-1230 – just the v1 not the latest v3, but still running like a champ with 16GB of memory, and a fairly well tuned CloudLinux setup to ensure everyone is getting fair use.

Server: VPS Servers

All private VPS and Mail Servers are still using the older network and provider. The move is not as easy as packaging up a pile of accounts, doing this is going to take more time and will come likely in July/August. I am looking at if we continue using OpenVZ (which has served us well) or make the jump to KVM.

If you use the VPS or Mail Servers and have a thought – drop it in the comments below!

Server: Name Servers

Still running DNS spread out in 2 locations and clustered – I will note Grace and Church are not yet linked into the cluster just yet, but they will soon, and no matter where you are – we have a name server that is close and ready to respond!

Server: Managed WordPress & Backup

Managed WordPress just did a BIG upgrade, invested a lot into the system which helps keep your WordPress Blogs up-to-date! Includes some features which I’ll be rolling out in weeks to come including Wordfence & iThemes Security scans on a regular basis, as well as some spring cleaning of your databases to make sure your websites run smoothly!

We now have 3TB of storage across three separate backup servers – this is a continual upgrade and looking at adding at least two more TB of storage before years end! Staying ahead of the growth not just in Church Hosting, but too folks in paid hosting, and with the $7 package coming soon I’m betting, even more, growth!

That’s it! I am always looking to improve, grow and expand services, more goodies are coming as we grow this year! Stay tuned for more!

I Appreciate You!

canwetalkSo this year’s customer appreciation had a lot of plans in my head!  But sadly being sick, loss of a friend, and a surge in customers & work, I didn’t get to do everything I hoped. The month is wrapping up quickly and I haven’t had time to be promoter, support, and billing department all at once – so things didn’t get out like I had hoped! But I don’t give up! The Final 5!

#1. Saying it. Meaning it.

Some of you have been around mere days in reading this (Greetings New Church Hosters!) and some of you have been around over a decade! Thank you! FlockHosting has continued to grow, maybe not always a paid account to bring in revenue, but to get a Church online & message out there for the world to see? Awesome stuff! It’s growing daily, up to nearly 40 churches hosting sermons, email, events etc. all online at NO COST! That’s a blessing! Even talking to the associate pastor at my own church on Sunday he had a friend who could utilize the service and forwarded it on! God is good!

But I do mean it when I say I appreciate my customers, I don’t just type words, I have some of the best customers – sure there’s always the ones who feel they are too needy and are my “trouble” customer, but even those requests that come of “HELP! THE SKY IS FALLING!” I’m here and happy to help, and I am blessed even recently in rough days one customer reached out and made sure I was okay, another on the passing of Tim, let me know they were praying – FlockHosting is a blessing to me for sure, I mean it when I do say I appreciate you guys!

#2. Being a Resource!

Some of you know me, some of you do not – If you are the second who doesn’t, get to know me. I’m here to be a help and a resource to any and all FlockHosters – Not just the common “Hey Chuck My Email isn’t working! Help!” – That I can help with, but too helping with your website, if you need help in trying to accomplish something you’ve never done before. Just ask!

Secondly I’m a prayer junkie, if you need prayer for family, job, website, church, healing, you name it – I am here to help you when and where I can! Just open a ticket, check the communicate page or catch me on Live Chat and we’ll get you helped out!

 

big-heart#3. Fun Fun Fun

It’s true – I’m a junkie for promotions, I still want to have some fun here, and there is still some giveaways to go in this these final days of Customer Appreciation – so why not see who’s actually reading this and make a few little offers:

How do you enter? Well between now and month’s end, give a shout out to FlockHosting! How do you shout out? Simple – you can use hash tag #flockhosting or tag us on Twitter/Facebook using @flockhosting (on Facebook this will change into FlockHosting’s name) – You can too share our tweets, tell a friend about FlockHosting, spread the word and each day you get 2 entries counted – one for Twitter and One for Facebook – You can earn a 3rd by referrals to FlockHosting – but you have 7 days to get your name in the hat to win ONE of the various prizes listed above!

Each entry is your name in the hat, and randomly I’ll select winners for each of the above! But wait there’s more!

  • 7 – $5 Starbucks Gift Cards Still Up for Grabs (Blog Post)
  • 10 – $5 Hosting Credits Still Up for Grabs (Blog Post)

I am going to be working on some other fun FlockHosting goodies (Still need a t-shirt!) but stay tuned for more fun for the remainder of 2013, and too leading into 2014!

 

#4. CA-2014-p/b Package

This year I’m kicking in a package to all customers CA-2014-P (Personal) and CA2014-B (Business) – these are some special accounts, they take you off the standard packages, and double your hosting power!

Personal will see 2GB->4GB of storage, and a upgrade from 30GB->60GB of bandwidth, Business will see 3GB->6GB of storage and an upgrade from 40GB->80GB of bandwidth! Now these are special and will upgrade differently than what FlockHosting.com offers! So all current customers and any new customers through October will benefit from these upgrades – All at no additional cost, and no request! I’ll be done by month’s end with the upgrades!

 

#5. Being open to help!

One of the big things I’m going to wrap up this month with is accepting help. Some have said they want to help FlockHosting, and I’m going to put it out there, with your help we’re going to eliminate some hassles with FlockHosting, and begin to lay the groundwork for some new staffers to come on board in the 2014 business year! Marketing and Billing folks! I am looking to expand and get things even more streamlined to where I can work where I am most useful and bounce around if I need to!

So stay tuned for start of November to have our own little kick starter to really push to build up FlockHosting’s offerings including Church Hosting and enhancing the servers even more! So stay tuned on how you can be a part and lend a hand, but never fear – there are going to be great rewards with each level of help including the return of the Founder’s Club!  So if you’re looking for great deals or a way to give back to the community of users at FlockHosting, stay tuned! I’m dropping my pride and looking for help!

 

work-n-man

Wrap up!

Thanks for taking the time to read, hopefully you’ll join in these last bits of fun and giveaways, if not I’ll have a lot of multi-media devices 🙂 Thanks for being a customer, but do stay tuned – you know me, you never know what I have up my sleeve still! More to come – I’m still building a bigger and better FlockHosting!

Late Night Work

Was up late last night working with 3 datacenters to help get “shields up!” for all servers! There is an exploit in the wild right now that appears to be effecting servers “SSH” – it is a interface which lets some users manage files & interact with the server, it’s been linked to the exploit on-going so in the realm of better safe than sorry, all servers have had SSH firewalled off.

What does this mean to many users? FTP is once again your friend – but if your a server customer or a high end user who utilizes SSH it means for at least a short time (hoping only a few days – but possibly more) the service will be inaccessible.

One datacenter in an extreme step decided to block port 22 (the port SSH uses) entirely – so in some cases even if I wanted to give you access, I could not (if you are at that datacenter).

Now this is hopefully a temporary measures the entire Linux community is abuzz about this, developers, security experts, and just good old fashioned home grown nerds are diagnosing the problem and every ounce of user provided data on how this exploit has spread etc. and they are working to come up with a patch long-term vs. just blocking ports for the rest of our days so hopefully this will be resolved soon.

Server customers in need of SSH, alternative ports can be setup – and firewalled to your specific IP addresses if in dire need, but I’d ask in the mean time to please try to stick to FTP for managing files, and if you need something done on the server side I’m happy to issue a few commands from the console itself (datacenters are lending a hand in this too) so just let me know.

As this progresses I’ll post more news, hopefully and with your prayers too this will be resolved quickly and painlessly. More information will be posted as I have it!

Summer Continues!

So July was another busy one! There was a newsletter, but never have found time for a video! Recorded one which had glitches – so re-thinking my recording setup, to get a cleaner video/audio etc. – may use my cell phone this week to record a quick one for August but that’s a story for another day! But onto the June/July Re-Cap + Looking forward to August fun, and some final plans are being laid and put into motion for September’s Customer Appreciation Month!  So take a minute and read thru if you can! Some things coming up here really soon!

The PRIZES!

Well I wish I could ay that the months of June and July’s various promotions and giveaways went over well, but in all honesty I think you were all busy too! But some folks did take advantage of the Summer Time Promo – saving 25% for the life of their account, and some new folks making use of the free Church Hosting! So here’s the breakdown:

Fitbit Challenge

The two lucky winners are:

  • Chris V.
  • Matt H.

I’ll be in touch by week’s end to confirm your addresses are correct in the billing system & get you color preference (Plum or Blue) – and should have those to you guys by month’s end!

T-Shirt Contest

My good friend (and long time customer) Katie sent in the only design which was a cute little sheep which I made into a shirt:

So while she does seem to win a lot – She gets the first prize – and her cute design was even liked by my mom on the Facebook Page – so at least two shirts are being made off the bat, but a limited edition print will be offered in a month or two via the blog, and I will be donating all 3 $50 donations to Love-Water in her name! Thanks for the design!

The Nexus 7 Giveaway

Sadly this one did not even have 1 valid entry 🙁 but stay tuned later in this post for how this will be making a comeback!

More Fun This Month… Read on!

 

August Promo Code

So savings for this month are here! While Customer Appreciation Month is just around the corner, what a better time than now to become a customer! Previous years provide free storage and various upgrades – so what better time to get started and get even more in a month! 😀 The code is “SCHOOLISCOOL” it provides 15% off your account for the life of your account (similar to last months promotion! So a great time for some savings, and you’ll be in line for next month’s fun!

New Server Coming!

I am a firm believer in not overselling a server – in most cases while folks run off to “UNLIMITED!” hosting, they quickly find that they are on crowded servers and sometimes resources are not as freely available as they had hoped – Not something I do here! So since some servers have been filling up to my thresholds (45% capacity) it’s time to turn on a new server! So deploying this week a fresh server, it will be a new location too in San Jose, CA – will have some of the latest build outs from FlockHosting’s test server – and you can move in next week!

Some customers will be getting notifications of required move, sites that have grown large in their several years with FlockHosting will be migrated to the less crowded server, freeing up resources to other customers on the old server they were on, so keep an eye on your email, notes will be coming out over the next few weeks, but if you feel like you could benefit from the move, let me know!  Requested moves will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

 

Customer Appreciation Month!

So I mentioned the Nexus 7 giveaway would be coming back and here it is! As a early lead-in to Customer Appreciation Month, I am continuing the contest, and removing the 2 sign-up minimum – Customer Appreciation, like the 10 Year Celebration is one of my favorite times! I get to highlight customers, give out upgrades, going to add in prizes this year too! Not to mention another big surprise like had in the 10 Year Celebration!

But back to the Nexus 7 (sorry I am excited again for another fun filled Customer Appreciation Month!) its all about getting the word out, and being involved. Like other giveaways this requires a little leg work from you – but instead of a play by play of “CHUCK I POSTED THIS!” Document it. Simply open up Notepad (Windows)/gEdit (Linux)/TextEdit (Mac) – and if you post on twitter, save the link from the post, if you post to a forum, save the link and note it, same goes for Facebook, Twitter! Sign-ups if they give your name in comments or use your affiliate link = 10 entries – so getting folks to sign-up does wonders!

Lists have two check-in points, one August 31st – this will allow me to tally up and get a inital count and leader board setup – the second list you can create is due September 30th – just email it into me or open a ticket, your pick!

 

Lastly Server Maintenance

Wrapping up here as already at 800+ words and I know this is a lot of information so going to do my best to keep it short – maintenance windows are going to be approaching – in an effort to upgrade services and functionality for customers, some upgrade windows similar to the emergency windows recently will be scheduled 2 weeks in advance – Downtime will vary and as posted it will give a rough ETA as to whats being done, may be upgrades to servers or software. So stay tuned!

So long… farewell…

THANK YOU for taking the time to read thru this, I appreciate customers involvement and I hope you can take part in the promo code or have fun with the Nexus 7 giveaway, I am VERY excited about the upcoming Customer Appreciation Month! You may be featured as a weekly customer appreciated, so be sure to stay tuned! If your not already be sure to check out the Facebook Page, Twitter Page or Sign-up for the newsletter! If you have another way you’d like contact, check the communicate page and catch me online and let me know how I can better communicate with you the changes here @ Flockhosting!

Have a GREAT August! Keep an eye peeled too for a short video later this week!

Server Move Fun!

Well the primary server which FlockHosting.com lives on was moved – you may or may not of noticed, downtime was really nothing as the site stayed live on both servers – however you may note the Customer Zone is still down, and that’s probably the old copy – once the “Maintenance” notice goes away your live on the new server. I am still double checking everything and making sure were good to go, but the move looks smooth and clean, and work on the wiki and new site will continue this week.

Thanks for the patience the last few months as things continue to revamp here and there, the Wiki is already laying out good – hope to unviel it before the first of the year if not target date for new website, and support wiki is Jan. 25th… and oh yes – fun things happening on that day (or so I hope!)

Have a Blessed Weekend! And stay tuned for more news!