FlockHosting Blog

The FlockUpdate-ish.

Greetings FlockHosters!

This 2019 has been a crazy one so let’s go with the things going on which are good before we get to the singular big bad thing.

  • Nginx + Upgrades – We have some minor performance issues on the current build-out of the server stack, cPanel does a good job, but we’ve had a number of attacks which have brought servers to their knees. So more adjustments are going in, but Nginx is improving overall load times and load time scores so all servers should have these updates completed in the next few weeks.
  • Website Design – Coming soon still, this was pushed back a little, but I wanted to let folks know if you are looking for a design for your site, it’s coming soon, BUT you can email me directly if you are looking for a rough quote on the work you desire to be done.
  • Custom Projects – Now this is one that’s going to soon be an option on the site but many have asked how to get information on a custom quote/project pricing, and the easiest way I’ve done this lately is the contact form, just leave some details and we can work out the plan – Already have helped a local Christian Station online with not only hosting, but now serving their online station radio! So I can meet most needs!

So that’s good! Sadly there is some bad, and I’m going to keep it brief and get straight to the point. 2 weeks ago after months in discomfort with back pain and really just feeling poorly I’ve been diagnosed with Esophagus Cancer – Stage 3. To better let me explain vs. many paragraphs here’s a 30-minute update from Me on Me.

What can I do?! I mention in the post the key thing I desire? Prayer. I don’t mind if you feel led to do more, giving you can do through the crowdfund site every little bit helps, I appreciate emails & letters all of that can be found on the communicate page – also the scheduling forgot to mention that some windows are closed off for treatments – but please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email, shoot a text, follow my private accounts on social+blog (IG, FB, TW, Blog)

Those of you have already given thank you so much for being amazing! Those of you who are saying “I want to, but ______” stop right there, bow your head and I say thank you! Giving something is not required at all, my mantra in all of this!

I’ll be checking in on social media now and again and hopefully in 6 weeks we’ll here is all gone, and that God, not me is victorious God is good and I hope you all had an amazing Easter and have an amazing week!

Church Hosting Update – Special Edition!

It is Sunday! You’d think that bots would have something better to do than to push an attack at 4:30AM bogging down a server till hanging up, and which is still running a little hot at the moment, but thankfully I’m seeing folks get to live stream URL’s and prayer boards – so PTL! God is indeed good to give the servers grace even in these surges of attacks and legitimate traffic.

But as it is Sunday and I have both Church & Family time ahead of me (and yes it’s going to be a bit sleepy!) I did want to address these continual issues we are seeing lately, sure a day or two working is great and I do say Praise God for uptime, but a more solid full-time solution vs. limping is needed so there is a plan. What’s that plan you may say? Well as I want to do this quick so I can go brush my teeth and get the family in the car to get there before song service starts, here’s the quick version:

  1. Fresh Network. Moving to another network, hopefully avoiding what appears to be, attacks common to this network for starters, but having Church Sites makes us a target too – so new network actually offers some DDoS filtering so should help!
  2. Fresh Hardware. Going to get some new hardware and spread out folks a bit to ensure a better growth plan, adding 2 new servers to make 4 total Church Hosting Servers.

So there is more to this for sure, but I wanted to just let folks know, I do take Church Hosting outages seriously. This is not some sub-standard service I’m just handing out for free and if it crashes it crashes, again I was up at 4:30AM to work on this and have continued to monitor this, but a 4yr must sing – and I have to trust that God can monitor the servers even while I’m at Church & Family time after.

Stay tuned this week for a plan to roll out as well as an early migration options to the 2 new servers which need names (Got any ideas?) thanks for your patience, kindness, and prayers!  Updates coming soon!

Securing Your Website

Greetings FlockHosters! One of the common questions that come through lately is “How do I secure my website?” so let’s dive into some options on how you can better secure your website and access to it!

Let’s Encrypt SSL

Off that bat let’s add a padlock to your website, and let’s do it for free. Yes free.

I have mentioned Let’s Encrypt certificates on the blog a few times, we are actually listed on Let’s Encrypt’s site as a provider (We are famous!) however not until the new build of the site will it be listed as a feature, but it is active on all accounts now. How do you enable it? Well good news, there’s a new video for that:

 

So it’s that easy! Still, if you have a question on adding this, don’t hesitate to ask for more help! But if you just walked through this – your site is a bit more secure now you are using SSL based content! If you are using WordPress and want to make the entire site over to SSL, just try the Really Simply SSL Plugin a great plugin to make all of your content SSL based. If you are getting some content that is not all going SSL try Why No Padlock – A great site to diagnose what’s not entirely secure.

Site File Management

Now if you are familiar with cPanel you’ll know there is a web based file manager but for most of you, it’s using FTP. Be it FileZilla, CuteFTP, SmartFTP, Transmit, Cyberduck you can quickly and easily migrate to the SSL version of communication so your content isn’t flowing over plain text. How do you do this? Look for an SSL option for starters, for most this should work just fine, however, if you hit any snags it will become a little bit easier this month using SSH Keys & SFTP – I’ll have a full guide on this walking you through it on Windows and Mac.

Now if you are using a CMS for site management, please make sure you use a plugin or adjust your configuration over to SSL as well so the easy option is in your site configuration where it lists your URL, likely something similar to this:

Site URL: http://mywebsite.com

Simply change it to:

Site URL: https://mywebsite.com

A lot of difference a simple S can do 🙂 This will force most of the common URL’s for your site to using the SSL login for your administration and keep things you do from writing an article to logging in all done over a secure connection.

Login Smart

If you are on a connection at your favorite local spot (I’d say the coffee shop, but honestly just about anywhere – McDonald’s, for instance, has access!) be sure you are logging in securely and your connection is secure!

If you are a Chrome User, I highly suggest checking out some of these options may offer a free browsing security, there are commercial options out there too like Private Internet Access which offer some great features for when you are browsing in less than safe options.

If you want to, however, have a browser set aside for secure browsing, Opera has you covered and even has an Android App & iOS App to secure your mobile devices too!

Auditing Security

Now last on my list is auditing. Your site may not be the first thing in your mind on a day to day basis, but to hackers and bots it’s a spot it can get its grubby little fingers into and do some damage, so why not set up a bit of free auditing on your site for some of the most common issues by using Gravity Scan.

Gravity Scan is a great app which you don’t even have to install anything on your site to get a scan! In a few minutes, it will scan and review all your visible URL’s and give you a run down if it finds anything.

Now if you want it to go deeper, it provides a single PHP file for you to download, then upload into the main folder of your website and it will deep scan, every file & folder gets a once over – now as you can see here on the blog on the right-hand side – I’ve got mine scanning daily and as proof of security it shows up with the last date things were scanned.

 

And that’s it!

While this isn’t maybe the most comprehensive article that could be written and fine tuning system security, etc. it will help get your feet wet! If you have any questions beyond what is covered here please do not hesitate to reach out! Here to help!

FlockUpdate for June 2017

Show Notes:

  • Jonah Swap – Getting Sorted! New Server is being spec’d out, lots of storage in the works!
  • New Servers – On Hold – Improved configuration handling the load better than expected!
  • New FlockHosting – Launching Monday! (I Hope and Pray!)
  • Some New Gear – Coming Soon! Already have Shirts, Mugs, Bags and Posters test runs ordered! They look great so far!
  • Patreon Page Live. Would love your support in helping Grow Church Hosting!
  • Did you want some of the new gear? Leave a comment! If there is a big demand I’ll happily get more made, all proceeds would goto Church Hosting!