Server Fleet, Growth,Crowdfunding & A Deal

Greetings! So it’s been 9 days since I said:

screenshotBetter late than never?

Server Fleet Changes

Well as of late my hours have been upside down and backwards, some days I honestly feel like I haven’t slept at all! A lot going on, but more on that area of my personal life another day, but a lot to talk about when it comes to services here at FlockHosting, things are going to be changing.

Many of our servers in our fleet work without issue, however they are growing older and software is getting to End of Life (EOL) and with these additional EOL deadlines coming up, but in some cases while core software is supported with updates, other softwares NEED a more modern version of the OS to give us the best features – So if you are saying “tech talk… ah the lovely sound of whitenoise!” let me break it down — It’s like our servers are running Windows XP, but the software I want to run for best features and growth require Windows 8.

I need to upgrade.

The fleet was originally built with the idea of specific resources to fit 50 customers per server, this allowed for low volume servers so folks all got the best performance, and use of resources they could ever need – however as customers come and go, we have hit a problem, many servers half filled, and not even reaching all the use of resources.

I need to cut the fat.

So with these two ideas in mind it’s time to retire some additional servers similarly to what I did with Solomon, and produce another set up like Lilly to better suit what FlockHosting needs moving forward. Room for growth.

A new server is being prepared called Grace. Hoping to have it’s hardware online by the end of this week and configured with the latest tech, and like it’s partner Lilly it will have gobs of storage, memory, and latest tech to ensure customers get a fair shake for their websites – this server will completely absorb the customers on Faith and Shepherd, two long-time standing servers which have served FlockHosting well, but it’s time to move forward and build the future!

A 3rd server will be coming online within the next 2 months called Church, and it’s use is to consolidate the Church Hosting servers into something more powerful and stable.

Another thing on-going are the following server changes which will become fleet standards:

  • NGINX installed in front of Apache to improve overall server performance.
  • Removed ASSP Filtering – Too many issues lately, if you feel too much spam is coming through now and Spamassassin isn’t doing a good job, open a ticket to get added to Cleaner or have Spamassassin tuned up a bit!

More things are on the way, but enough about fleet changes, onto…

Growth

Has been slow, summer is a 50/50 time of the year, either you have folks being homebodies and staying home to work on new project ideas, or you have everyone out and about – away from the computer and no new projects start up, so it’s been on the side of slow this year, apparently some great summer fun was had 🙂

But I need your help to really get things spreading the word abou FlockHosting services! While Church Hosting has never shown a real sign of slow down, I need your help to bring folks in to get the standard packages for their everyday needs! Here’s a few ways you can lend a hand:

  1. Share the FlockHosting Facebook page to your friends!
  2. Give FH a shout out on twitter!
  3. Give FH some love on your website, maybe say “Powered by FlockHosting” or maybe “Powered by powered-by-fh” make people wonder what powers your website!

I’m working on other things too, just only so many hours in the day, just a lot to do with everything above so if you guys can help spread the work as my marketing team a bit, that would be incredibly helpful!

Crowdfunding

So the option for Crowdfunding didn’t go as well as expected:

screenshot 2

Just never took off, had some fair traffic and folks visited, but never a single donation. It doesn’t mean the end of Church Hosting, just means growth is a bit slower than I’d like, but hey maybe God has a better plan than I do when it comes to how quickly Church Hosting should grow!

I will be giving things another go, maybe a bit more polish if time allows for a video, marketing a bit more, and see what we can drum up, but with the growth mention above if you have the desire to donate just to donate with no prize options in return, you can visit the site and donate using your Credit Card or PayPal!

A Deal

It’s been a while since there has been a deal posted, so why not now? Let’s “GETTALKIN” – spread the word about that coupon code, share GETTALKIN on your favorite social media outlet and be sure to tag FlockHosting with a hashtag or @flockhosting – lets spread the word about FlockHosting with a deal that gives anyone 50% off their first invoice! So a great way to get online and get a great savings on hosting! Doesn’t apply to domains, can’t be combined with any other offers, but a perfect time to sign-up for say two years for the price of 1! A great savings and it lasts through the remainder of this month!

Share it around, hopefully with your help we can shake off the summer and get speeding forward with the remainder of 2014!

More on the way!

There is a LOT going on behind the scenes, hopefully if all goes well (and I do things like sleep and eat) things will get done and online sooner than later and FlockHosting will continue to grow! Have a BLESSED Week! If you guys need anything at all, may be a little slow to reply, but I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

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!

FlockUpdate Special Edition!

The Promotion

For current customers only – That’s what I should of started the video off with – for others there will be a 33% discount option here this next week, but this deal is $200, it makes your monthly bill disappear, you’ll have hosting for life! But there are questions I’m sure! If you have one and don’t see it listed below, by all means visit the communicate page and send me your question!

FAQ

  1. When will I get a chance? How do I sign-up? The first time will be Monday at Noon, I’ll announce each window on Facebook at Twitter, 1 day before, the 33 minute window will be opened and for the entire month only 33 spots will be around – once all 33 spots are taken, the promotion will end!
  2. I have 3 accounts with you, will this cover all of them? No. Sadly not, this is meant for 1 hosting account.
  3. I previously got my domain FREE with a year of hosting, do I continue that? Sadly no, as the yearly offsets the cost of the domain for me, and loosing a yearly rate, it doesn’t work for me, so your domain will be billed at the yearly rate of $11.
  4. What if you disappear? What if you die? What if….? All understandable questions – I promise this – I’ve been in business over a decade, and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon! I have already got commitments to customers for another 10 years, so I’ll take care of you, if anything changes I’ll do my best to keep you hosted!
  5. I’m a customer can I buy this for a friend?  Yes. Simply let me know you wish to do so, and what I’ll do is give you a unique link for your friend to get their hosting going at no cost to them, the $200 must be covered in your account.
  6. I want to buy 3 of these, can I? One per customer – again you must be a customer to take advantage of this promotion (For yourself or someone else).
  7. Come on Chuck, I don’t have $200! But I wanna, I wanna, I wanna! I know – it’s not for everyone, heck no one may take advantage, but I wanted to make the option – BUT – While I don’t want to discourage you, I will say there is something looming later this month for customers too – that will be up for grabs for all… not going to say what exactly but it is savingsful (its a word, but don’t look it up, dictionaries don’t have it) 🙂
  8. What’s the package size? The $10 a month package – and you’ll be up for any and all upgrades applied to it!
  9. I need more… More…. MOre…. MORE!  So let’s get you more – as always Good Stewards program is in effect, manage your space and take care of it, plus any yearly upgrades applied to the $10 package are yours! But if you REALLY REALLY REALLY need more? Additional Storage will be available in one time payments of $50 for a bundle of 1GB of Bandwidth and 1GB of Storage, so you need more and more and more, need less bandwidth and more storage (say email archiver) then I can always work out a fair balance with a custom quote.
  10. I have a server, can I use this? Sorry standard hosting accounts only, if I could wing a lifetime server at this rate, I’d do it too! Sadly just not possible (yet….)
  11. The time you keep announcing is when I’m away from the computer! Come on! I’ll be announcing options randomly, so there’s a chance you’ll find one, and I may leave it open for another version of 33 say 33 hours…. So keep tuned here!
  12. I have a question about this… Take a minute and use the communicate page and let me know what it is!

Cyber Monday Specials!

So everywhere you go today online there seems to be some CRAZY specials! Well – I figure why not, as I previously noted there would be some specials and while I had hoped to throw in a game, sadly today ended up being busy outside of the office, but now back and getting into things, scavenger hunt – not a BIG priority… I’ll drum up something fun for Christmas time, for now – DEALS! No Work! Just Deals!

Deal #1 – 50% off!

So without any heavy lifting you can get 50% off your bill, simply use the code “TURKEY-DINNER”  and your set! It’s a one time discount, meaning you buy 1 month – it’s 50% off, you buy 3 years, its 50% off! (~$81 for 3 years!) – doesn’t cover the domain, but hey – $11 for a  domain – your at under $100 for 3 years of hosting!

Deal #2 – 75% off!

Okay – why second? Why not just lead off with big discounts? Oh you know me, bigger and better 😀 same specifics as above, however just a larger % off 🙂 Use code “ITSLIKEFREE” and your off and running!

Side Note….

These are limited use codes, they are first come first serve and they all expire on Monday (one full week to use em) but there are limited number of uses! So don’t wait, use them today and enjoy the first 1 month -> 3 years of your hosting at steep discounts!

I still have some other things planned based upon folks who visit FlockHosting.com and say hello, or use any of the communicate options today, some random giveaways may happen! But for now going to be catching up on some more work on FlockHosting projects – so stay tuned for more! Happy Monday!

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!