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!

Let’s Clean-up Email!

spamI’ve been searching for something that combined what most folks wanted – a quarantine (one of the most requested features!), a good whitelist, and free. Fortunately, I found MXGuardDog which fits the requirements. If we pool our resources, it can be free for any and all FlockHosters!

The service uses “Tokens” that you can earn or buy.  In our case, I’m hoping we can all pool our tokens. I am currently using the number of website projects I have out there to earn a bunch of tokens (Currently earning 30+ and only using 8!). Earning tokens is as simple as putting a link at the bottom of your website. Here’s an example:

Image 2015-06-26 at 1.14.20 PM

This is at the footer of a website! Easy right? From there you can even set things up to automatically sync up with cPanel to ensure it has all of your new accounts. You’ll never have to go in and add a batch of folks to ensure everyone gets filtered!

If you would like to join in on our pool of tokens, simply open a trouble ticket and I’ll help you update your MX Records to have MXGuardDog filter your email and link up your cPanel account with their service so anything you add will be automatically synced!

If you would prefer to do this on your own, open a ticket as well and I’ll help you make the needed changes to get your email filtered!

How’s that for good news on a Monday? Have a GREAT week!

 

Church Hosting On Deck!

So paid customers this past week got a taste of new hardware and improvements to the servers, hopefully you are all enjoying it! And while Crowdfunding for Church Hosting really didn’t take off sadly, that doesn’t change that I still have a view of Church Hosting growing.

So why stop growth? Two servers both really just maxing out and filling up – well it’s time to kick it up a notch while I’m at it, let’s make a new server and we will call it simply…

Church

We’ve had Fellowship and Koinonia both servers are nearly full – I try to keep some room but when the demand keeps up at on average 2-4 accounts a month sign-up, it’s time to really buckle down and make a way for Churches to Grow. More room for Email, more room for MP3 sermons and much much more! Let’s just be honest, I haven’t given up my dream of a big Church Hosting platform that rocks! Here’s still my dream list:

  • Email Only Service (similar to Google Apps)
  • Massive Storage
  • Video Streaming
  • Audio Streaming
  • Windows Hosting
  • Help Making Apps for Android/iPhone
  • Logo Design
  • Custom Programming
  • Pre-Fab WordPress Setup (fill in the blanks!)

I’m going to step out in faith and KNOW that God is GOOD! Let’s get things setup for a bigger Church Hosting and take that step and see where God leads the next one!

The new server Church will bring the latest tech, the latest security enhancements, and even more room for growth as you need it! More CPU dedicated towards your websites! Let’s me be a good steward with the resources we have at hand, and toss as much as I can at the server to ensure your websites load quickly, safely, and have the latest and greatest!

So all sites are moving! I don’t have a date just yet, waiting for word on the new hardware in the morning from the Data Center – Likely Monday, but don’t quote me on that just yet! Fellowship & Koinonia will both re-locate! If you are managing your own DNS stay tuned, I’ll get a new IP to you!

Why?

Because I do have a vision of Churches saving money on hosting – saving the church even $50 a year is $50 to feed a family, fill a gas tank, you name it! Let the funds of the church be used to serve the community around it, and let me serve them on the web! Sadly I don’t always get every church to believe this is a free service, nor does every church see the self-hosted platform as the best way to get online, very few take and utilize the help I have offered! It’s not just a free lunch, dinner is included too!

Recently a church came on board, then when they found things to be difficult they just said “Point my domain at XYZ” and then even after that they were back a week later because they saw that service XYZ was charging for every.. little.. thing. I’m not.

So let me help you get your website online! I have been helping churches set up something that may not be a multi-million dollar website theme, but some great options out there for getting a great looking website, and many churches are having a great time making a website!

More is coming after the Church Migration, including easy upgrades and management by FlockHosting at again no cost! Things are getting good!

Stay tuned for more, I’ll newsletter on this and the next post coming Friday about a new service called FlockHosting Design! Stay tuned! Have a blessed night all!

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!

 

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!