FlockHosting Blog

FlockUpdate 2014 – Episode #5

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140554819″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

Show Notes:

  • Dental Work Woes
  • Getting LLC’d!
  • Website Nearly Done!
  • Support Support Support – Comment on how you’d like to be supported!
  • WordPress Login Attacks! Update Update Update!
  • Got limit login plugin installed? Forward us the IP addresses in it’s blocklist and help keep the attacks down!
  • Help me build a cookie cutter Church Theme! Leave a comment about what you would look for/want in a Church Website
  • Always remember Communicate Page for easy ways to get in touch! (Faxing on new website!)
  • Want to help test support? Post a comment or get in touch and I’ll let you know how you can help test the flow of support!

Making the Grade!

Greetings!

Can We Talk?Quite the weekend of progress! As I mentioned over on Facebook/Twitter – some news was coming, and while I have nearly missed the day entirely! I do have a few things to fill you guys in on! But one quick note, be back here February 28th for a little something special! Long time customers may recognize this day, if not come on by for something special!

Okay! Without further delay, here is the latest!

 

We Got an A+! 

Yes it’s true, I was a proud proud man over the weekend testing out our new name servers!  In testing even just adding in the new FH2, in testing thru DNSStuff’s checkup, A+ was the result!

Sites that previously could take a few extra seconds are now resolving much quicker – while I had hoped to deploy our DNS thru a 3rd Party – the costs just kept growing, seemed like each step caused more headache and would create difficulty for FlockHosting customers – so instead built up 2 servers, 1 in Freemont,CA and another in Dallas,TX to build things up a bit! So far the results have been great, and while currently FH2 is the only updated, FH1 will roll out later this week, what do you need to change? Nothing. FH2 is already updated, and FH1 will update the same way!

However if you want more stability, Friday night you can add a 3rd name server! Who? What? Where? Why? Well if your really wanting to be 100% sure that if anything goes haywire you can still reach your server even if DNS is down, the server your on will respond! So if your on the server “faith” you’ll be able to add a 3rd DNS server of “faith.flockhosting.com” – this isn’t live yet, but I’ll have guides as well as a heads up in the Knowledge Base once this is completed.

Where in the World?

Some of you are die hard website folk, you are a PHP guru, a xHTML/CSS/HTML5 party person! And I know some of you too are speed demons, you build your website for say a local business, you want the local customers to get the best experience and speed! Thus in the order for starting in March, You can request geographically where you would like your site to be hosted!

For some this isn’t a big concern, and for now I can’t guarantee that you will be placed where you request, but if space is available I will locate you where servers are located, currently servers are located in:

  • Freemont,CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX

More locations are coming this year, but for now all locations provide speedy access, but I hope to provide those customers desiring something closer to home an assortment of options, so stay tuned!

 

Knowledgebase Growth!

I promised more, and I am doing my best to continue to honor that commitment! More articles are online now including a set dedicated to helping you learn/utilize the cPanel control panel system, currently the video series are up, and some lower bandwidth Image Walk-thrus are coming with the same content, but too have about 40 more articles queued up on some general guides plus adding more customer questions in! So keep checking back and if you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask!

 

Church Hosting Progress

Church hosting is still growing, and been blessed to have a few new churches joining on and utilizing the free service! Sadly some minor setbacks in folks attempting to sign-up then run off with the domain names! So sign-up process may take slightly longer as I am in some cases manually verifying churches exist and making sure things are setup carefully too for security of other churches on the server.

But please keep telling your churches about this new service! I hope to see it grow more and more this year!

 

Affiliate Program

Working on some exciting changes to the affiliate program – I need your help to get the word out about the services here at FlockHosting, I have some amazing word of mouth happening and folks coming in with very gracious reviews and recommendations – Thank you all! I hope to continue to build up the resources you have to help spread the word, but too working on some options for payout, but too quarterly bonuses to customers who help bring in folks! Just my way of saying thanks!

 

More on the way!

I have a few more things up my sleeves this year, bringing back some old products that have had to be refined, but too working on some enhancements to the website to give folks a better flow of what I do have to offer, but thanks for sticking with FlockHosting and encouraging your churches and friends to sign-up! Love the growth I have seen and more fun folks in the FlockHosting family!

Hope everyone has a blessed week!

Welcome to 2012! (Sorry, still no jetpacks!)

So we’ve made it across into a new year! And God is Good! Sure some hiccups already, but such is how things go, fresh year, fresh hiccups! But working to change that up some!

 

Addressing Support & Uptime

Outages happen – I can say that till I’m blue in the face and most customers are understanding, but some are not – wait, not being negative – but stressing a fact, some folks use FlockHosting for their businesses, so uptime is key! Even 15 minutes of outage, could mean a lost sale, and I completely understand that.

So the plan? A few things:

  • Better DNS Setup – What this means is the system that directs your visitors/customers to your website is hosted currently across 4 servers, I am stepping that up to 13 servers across the US/UK (more coming soon) but this means if my 4 servers of DNS goes down, other step in, or if my 4 are under an attack, the others jump in – should provide more uptime to folks.
  • Outage Monitoring – Now I have access to a remote monitoring system called Pingdom, it monitors all the servers I manage for customers, but I have put together the core of the FlockHosting/Thrust Networks family of servers to a public testing page [Visit it Now] – I encourage you to bookmark this, I am too going to be updating the Network Status [Visit it Now] with updates and real-time status of server monitoring – this is coming soon but bookmark the page for future reference.
  • SupportThis commitment hasn’t changed, and I plan to only continue to make it better and better, if you need help, Live Chat on Flockhosting.com (if you don’t see it try turning off AdBlock on FlockHosting.com), IM Support via Google Talk, Trouble Ticket or Community Forums – all of which I continue to monitor and work thru, just stop on by even if its to ask “How do I do this?” with something on your website, I am here to help!

But more and more is coming, and I want to ensure customers I don’t take outages lightly either – when outages occur I work with datacenters where I have servers to ensure things get taken care of not just “We rebooted it Mr. Brown all better!” I get detailed in some cases explanations of BGP & OSPF sessions – while those two terms may mean much to some of you, thats why you have me! I’m here to make sure these sorts of issues get sorted and things are back on the up and up! Not swept under the carpet.

 

First Round of Upgrades!

Good Stewards!I am working on a big audit right now and as one guy that can take some time across a number of servers and accounts, BUT I have begun looking at customer sites & billing to start issuing Good Steward Upgrades! (Learn More Here!) – but hoping to get in there and find some sites who have been doing great and give them a little more room to breathe! This time around focusing on some additional storage primarily, but too if folks are in need of some other resources by my exam, never fear you’ll get a little something extra!

So if you find you have some outdated scripts and need help, just open a ticket, IM, email, or live chat and let’s work to make sure your using your site and resources and keeping things safe!

 

More to come….

It’s a brand new year, and things are still brewing, even building up some plans for the yearly Customer Appreciation! As always my door is always open, toss me an email, add a comment, FlockHosting has been called a “small company” before but while I may not be a mega company or have 3000 staffers on hand, I am committed to helping customers not matter the size, even if your a Church Hosting customer for free, here to help from the moving in, getting online, to growing when your needs go to that “Next Level!” just ask!

Happy New Year All!

Support Seeing Problems

Most trouble tickets in the queue go something like this (please note this is simply paraphrasing, not an actual ticket, no customers were harmed in the making of this example) 🙂

Dear Support,

My website is not responding – Did I do something wrong?

Sincerely,Concerned Customer

So pretty standard all in all, an issue, but sometimes I need more complex data, and its not something thats an icon or easy to access say a traceroute, some customers know, some don’t but in many cases seeing the problem would help resolve the issue – so starting today I have a solution, Join.me.

The service is 100% free of charge (they do have a pro option which is paid but were focusing on the free version) – with this tool you can easily install it on your Windows or Mac and provide me a view of your computer, this way I can see whats going on and even if you allow take control of your computer to help make adjustments to your email account, ftp settings, diagnose from your computer why you can’t access your website, email is broken, you name it if its a problem, I’ll be able to see it first hand.

I am continuing to try and improve customer care, from a revamp of the Knowledge Base coming soon, to more support options to really do my best to take care of all customers and ensure your able to manage, access and interact with the servers and get the most use out of your websites.

To use the service just goto Join.me and choose “Share” you’ll get a small application download for Mac it’s a pkg, and for Windows it’s an exe – once you run the program your screen my flicker or flash, but once its settled a hovering box will appear:

This is a screenshot of the Mac version – you’ll note the box at the top that says join.me/345-153-671 – if your chatting with me and want me to take a look, simply send me the 6 digit code and were off and running.

Once connected the last 2 icons on the right will change, the person will the number of viewers (2 = Me and You) and the mouse will turn orange, from that button you can allow me access to your desktop to lend assistance.

Again this is all 100% free of charge and by the company LogMeIn which has some great services and tools I use for managing my own computers – it’s a great tool which I hope customers can use to get even better support from FlockHosting so if your in a bind and need a hand, catch me on Live Chat and give me your 6 digit code, and assistance is coming your way!

Updating Support

When FlockHosting started 9 years ago, support was easy to manage and handle thru Instant Message — Some customers from those early days still occasionally chat with me on AOL Instant Messenger, however things grew and got busy, and having a direct line sometimes slowed things down vs. helped as it was my personal IM account so even being online in the evenings meant I was on-call.

Well as of this morning as the new website came online I’ve brought back Chat, you may have noticed something on the main page, here on the blog, and even in the customer zone using SSL! A little bar that looks like this:

I am excited to bring this functionality BACK to customers for ease of support, REAL TIME help, simply click it and your off and running!

Why Bring it Back?

FlockHosting has gone thru a lot of changes over the years, from the look of the website to the tech powering the servers – and as things are moving forward and changes are happening I wanted people to really have an easier connection to getting ahold of me, and the option too as the company expands and grows (as I am praying it will!) – I need a set of tools to empower employees to serve you!

Plus as FlockHosting does not offer telephone support, this is an alternative that’s protected by SSL in the Customer Zone, so chats are secure, and for the simple Q&A here and there, it’s easy to use and on-demand!

What it’s Not…

End of the day, Support Issues may be better served thru Trouble Tickets, if something is detailed and your REALLY having a hard time with something laying it out in a ticket is quicker than a live chat about it – same with some billing issues – Tickets allow for more data to be collected/reviewed and resolve quickly.

What it is…

Great for questions, help on a problem your currently diagnosing, quick pre-sales questions, order/account management errors that may crop up, in the end a ticket may need to be made, but if you have a question and you’re hoping for a more “INSTANT” answer, this will work just fine.

Talking out an idea too is welcome here! If you have questions or an idea you’d like to really work out either a new website, your current website or a “What if” website, my 15 years in this industry as well as colleagues I have at my disposal who fill in the gap where I am not too savvy – are at your disposal, I want to see your website succeed and do well! Be it your blog, community, gallery, event… You name it. I am here to help!

Times of Operation

My goal is to keep this schedule best I can:

  • Monday thru Friday 9AM till 5PM
  • Saturday – 10AM till 2PM
  • Sunday – Closed

All these times are Pacific and they are not the only times, if you have been a customer here and interacted with me in tickets/email/etc. you know I don’t always keep “standard” hours as far as times of the day I’m awake, so if my evening is mellow and I’m working on some servers, you may see me on anywhere from 5PM->3AM easily – don’t hesitate to contact me!

When is it okay to chat?

Anytime. I can’t repeat this enough to customers:

I am a resource, I want to be a help!

You may already have a “Webmaster” or company that has designed and deployed your website – Excellent! They are a great member of the team of support you have for your website, but add my name (Chuck Brown) to that list, if you have a “What if…” or “Can I….” type situation, and your designer/webmaster isn’t sure – Simply fire up chat.

FlockHosting is not some cold-calculated business for me, chatting DOES NOT start a meter running calculating a cost for help, my help to my customers and visitors looking at FlockHosting is 100% free – I truly hope and pray you can use the information in my brain as a blessing to you and your website!

I hope you give chat a try if you have a question – the website will continue to get some extra makeovers here soon, more resources, more support documents, some extra support guides & videos! So stay tuned for even more!