FlockHosting Blog

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!
  • 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!

The Next Big Thing!

This past month I announced the creation of Free Hosting for Churches – which I’ve gotten some amazing feedback on! I really do look forward to what God is going to use this for, and I hope to see churches blessed and big budgets for websites be put into other areas, food ministry, youth programs, you name it! Money saved from that put to good use within the church!

FlockHosting hosts more than churches! There are hundreds of sites which are personal, blogs, photos, bands, businesses, etc. what about them? Well things are changing there too! Simplifying plans, giving clearer “Upgrade” options as well as The Good Steward’s  Program based upon the idea of Matthew 25:14-30 [read it!]. This will be given to all customers, doesn’t matter if you’ve been with FH for 1 hour or 9 years your now enrolled.

The Good Steward Program

Good Stewards ProgramIn the years I have done hosting I’ve seen all sorts of uses for hosting, one customer was nightly backing up his home computer to his space, and suddenly wondered “Why can’t I get email?” he’d used up every ounce of space and his bandwidth was getting eaten up too – so his website suffered – well with this program I am looking to end this type of use, sure sure you paid for your storage you can do backups if you choose — however — were looking to go along with the parable and like verse 21 says:

“You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things”

For customers who don’t abuse their resources, keep a good handle on email accounts, and don’t have a large store of personal files – and don’t abuse the resources given, I’m going to add more resources to your account on a regular basis – your plan will be tweaked and a “GS” will be added on the cPanel side of things, this GS will allow your accounts to be upgraded on a regular basis easily, now this isn’t a set amount but it’ll be something that will be a blessing!

New Plans

So of course FlockHosting has always tried to be affordable, and offer the most bang for your buck, there are big hosts out there who offer the big plate of “UNLIMITED!” but as some of you are refugee of those so called Unlimited Hosters, you know how that can come back to bite you in the end – but today I’m simplifying our plans into two price points – for Personal: $5, for Business: $10 and that’s a standard monthly rate, as always some discounts will be applied should you go for 6,12,24,48 months – but we’ll get to those when the plans go live 🙂

So what’s new? What’s different? What’s the deal? Well for starters how about Unlimited Databases? Unlimited Domains? The new plan offers 1GB of storage as a standard for the personal, and 2GB for the business side, but with that storage you can use it as much as you have space to spare, but using it to the max would opt you out of the Good Steward Program, BUT some folks may need the storage – but the end goal in the new accounts is use it for what you’ve paid for, if you want to run 3 sites, you can – no extra charge, but there will be some notes about the security/safety of doing so – not to discourage it, but to educate folks in the security of sharing a single space.

These plans get rid of the levels, no more “SMALL MEDIUM LARGE” like FlockHosting has always had, plans tend to be more than folks need, so to that end I’m announcing simple upgrade options or “Packs” and these are mainly for folks with active websites who need MORE MORE MORE! The rates are simple for both business & personal:

  • $2.5/m for 2.5GB additional Bandwidth
  • $2.50/m per 2.5GB Additional Storage
  • $12/yr for IP Address (Business Accounts Only)
  • $50/yr for SSL Certificates (Business Accounts Only)

So there is the bulk of it, all accounts come with a standard 20GB of bandwidth each month, and still aside from the Good Steward Program, I will always be offering Good Faith upgrades on the fly for accounts who have maybe just a monthly spike in traffic, or need a little more storage to clean up your email/files – I’m always going to offer that, but hopefully as it has not been yet, that won’t be abused.

What about Me? I’ve been here for ages!

And many of you have! Some have been with FlockHosting all 9 years! And your not going to be left out! I am creating a special “Loyalty” group within the billing software, what does this do? How does it benefit me?! Well I want to reward those who have been with FlockHosting for over 5 years, and that reward? 10% savings on services – why? Because you’ve all helped FlockHosting become what it is today, consider the savings an on-going “Thanks!”

Now for those saying “But I’ve only been here less than 5!” well in 6 months you and all standing customers will be able to migrate to the new packages! Why not instantly? Well honestly budget reasons 🙂 If all customers shifted from $15/m to $5/m my budget will not have time to re-cooperate! As much as I want to bless everyone across the board instantly, I can’t afford to, just like many folks who host here have very tight budgets at the moment, as do I! But still you do get the benefit of the Good Steward Program, and for a good portion of customers still the benefits of Customer Appreciation Month from last year! So really you may have MORE right now than these plans, and to switch may cost you more, so if your unsure, check with me!

Why The Big Push?

A lot of changes have been announced and are coming this month! Why? For 9 years now FlockHosting has been a source of income for me, that has truly been a blessing to me, but it’s never been a “Money Maker” if you will, but this year I am pushing it forward, some would say it’s silly to lower prices, and give away hosting, but God’s laid it upon my heart and I’m going to do it, BIG leap of faith here and I know God has my back! But this year is a building year and then some, going to get business cards, t-shirts, really ask for your help to promote and spread the word as well!

I want to see FlockHosting grow and flourish, and really be able to grow and meet the needs of Churches, Individuals, and Businesses – and as I am leaning into a serious relationship, there is also the desire for the needs of a family, no longer just thinking like a bachelor who can live on Ramen noodles 😉

So I hope that as these changes come about, #1 they are a blessing to you, or maybe someone you know who needs some great hosting at a great price! And #2 that you’ll be as excited and truly help share these changes with local churches, friends, family and help continue to grow FlockHosting into a great ministry first and foremost, but secondly provide also for me and my family.

Looking forward to the Journey and really hoping for all the support and continued business from all of you as this journey begins! Looking to launch both New Packages & Free Church Hosting by end of June! So stay tuned – more is on the way, a big push to finish up the initial release of the Wiki, so some more great resources including how-to’s for the new church hosting, media hosting options, and cloud/dedicated server options! Lots coming stay tuned!

Mid-Year Catch-Up

Man this year is just blasting by! Everytime it seems I start to get caught up with various projects I get hit with things again, I do apologize for some of the recent outages network issues at some of the datacenters I use seem to have had some issues, but most seem to be patched up and working smoothly again – So thanks again for your patience and prayers!

2010 – Part 2

The remainder of the year is going to bring some changes, some I have mentioned on the Facebook/Twitter account – for one this blog will be re-located to off-network location for ease of status updates, and should also line up with Facebook and Twitter – so across the board it should line up nicely.

After trying out a new pricing structure it’s become clear it may of helped 1 or 2 folks find a plan that “fit” their situation, however it’s simply over-complicated it for others looking for that “Easy” to sign-up hosting plan – so to that end I am creating 1 base plan, plenty of storage and resources for a Church, Business, or Personal – but offer easy to upgrade add-on’s which will include a new feature I have been working on for those wanting to do media, but not wanting to fiddle with 3rd party solutions which require complex keys, urls, which can be time-consuming, but rather simple high-traffic media solutions for Audio and Video, including mass storage & transfer quotas – so stay tuned for that.

To the current customers on the various packages and plans over the last few years, your going to be adjusted to a “LOYALTY” plan, which will get quarterly upgrades – so additional storage/bandwidth every quarter – so you’ll see your packages upgrade on server occasionally – but if you feel the need to upgrade to the new standardized package you can, but you’ll miss out on the increases – first one will be if your account does not have 1GB in storage (with the exception of tiny customized or under $5 a month packages) you’ll get 1GB of storage by the end of June – and your increases will go from there – there will be some caps on this, but I’ll have a full run down on that as the process moves forward.

Last upcoming change coming in June is the new website, should help in the simplify process – hope to get a lot of work done on it and avoid more projects and distractions this month as I write it up and get the code adjusted and site looking slick – also if you are a designer please drop me a email looking to get some contact information for a new “Find a Designer” section of FlockHosting, hopefully it can send some business your way!

Final Bits

There are a few other mini-bits which I would post, but I am still fine tuning things, but I appreciate everyone sticking with FH these past few years, and I do as always apologize for lag in billing issues – working to get that spruced up and back on track after the recent PayPal issues where payments weren’t getting posted, if your still having issues, cancel your subscription and re-create it on the next invoice, I apologize for the hassle, but just how PayPal works I guess – but things will get better in that area too.

If you have not checked out the Facebook Page or Twitter, I encourage you to like/follow them – most of the updates lately flow there quickly – so a good place to watch for news on outages, but soon that’ll tie into the blog as well – but stay tuned! More good things coming very soon! Thanks for your continued prayers and business – looking forward to a great 2nd half of the year here @ FlockHosting!