FlockHosting Blog

Performance Issues

Good morning. It has been a long 24 hours trying to sort through some performance issues seeing hit largely on Lilly, other servers have varying degrees of the issues but it’s not what I aim for when I offer to host – it’s not “Oh well you are only paying $5/$10… You want performance you pay for it!” not a bait-and-switch company until you outgrow truly the limitations of Shared Hosting, it should be snappy and happy. Yesterday, it was not.

I have been monitoring increased load across all servers, and it seems something was updated and it’s not playing nice. I’ve been working to help customers with performance issues today, and some are improved, some are not, but working on the issues with software that was updated to see if we can nail it down, but this isn’t a “quick” thing to fix. I’ve stopped all but critical updates on all other servers for the short-term to avoid any other boxes getting to this level of performance loss.

Now for some of you – this REALLY isn’t good. You run a business, you are publishing, you need a quick, responsive website which doesn’t take over 60 seconds to load – and I’m not diminishing anyone else, but some of you have told me:

No Big deal, praying it gets fixed quick, don’t forget to sleep!

That’s who I’m mentioning here – but to all of you who are waiting for improvement, Moses is here to lead you to the promise land! Fresh hardware in a slightly different configuration which should help lighten the load on not just Lilly but Grace as well – and I’ll continue to monitor, and work with software vendors and hardware vendors to find a more long-term fix that holds as we tried several fixes that seemed to work, but even under slight load, things went sideways.

So if you are feeling the pain of lag and then some on your current account on Lilly or Grace, then Moses will be a live option in the morning, currently provisioning software, and making it ready to bring over some websites out of the wilderness! Those of you who already have a ticket I’ll be reaching out to as soon as the server is up with the option to move, if you don’t have a ticket open and need/want to move please do so! Easiest is using FlockHosting nameservers, I can do all the work, but if you manage your own DNS, I’ll provide the fresh IP of Moses via the ticket!

I do apologize for the issues and the time it has taken to get to here, but datacenter guys were helping, software vendors were reviewing, I didn’t want to have to move folks again if it could be avoided, but sadly looks like that’s where we stand. More updates on this post and social in the AM once I manage to get some sleep under my belt.

Friday Migrations – Church, Grace, Lilly @ 10PM (Pacific)

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Good Afternoon! 

It is time for another round of migrations this Friday for Church, Grace, and Lilly. The move should be super straightforward – if you are using your DNS you’ll need to make some changes, this includes Cloudflare users too – so without further delay here are the new IP changes, RED are the old and GREEN are new:

church.flockhosting.com
142.54.180.243 -> 173.82.245.171

lilly.flockhosting.com
23.111.146.75 -> 173.82.106.161

grace.flockhosting.com
23.111.146.78 -> 173.82.106.154

Starting at 10 PM Pacific time the server data will begin moving over, rebuilding on the new hardware – in most cases with domains using FlockHosting DNS the change should be super quick – cutting over once the moves are done within 10 minutes. Now if you are using your own DNS provider and want a similar situation then adjust the TTL column to say 500 – this varies with each DNS provider but the TTL column in most is accessible and will greatly increase the speed at which the site cuts to the new IP on Friday.

Now to clarify it’s OK to adjust the TTL now. This won’t hurt anything, but don’t change the IP till Friday at which point anytime after 10 PM will be fine.

Now as always if you have questions, concerns, or just need help on this move please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, open a ticket or schedule a call with me.

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!

 

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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!