FlockHosting Blog

Hello 2016!

Greetings!

So here we are at 2016 and already working to get things moving and grooving! While I could outline everything in this post alone, I do want to save some for the FlockUpdate.  This month’s episode which will sport some better lighting & new mic for better sound! If my phone cooperates 4K video (oooh…. ahh) So stay tuned for that!

Some quick notes though that I wanted to get out there for everyone:

  • Web servers are all upgraded and secured! New versions of PHP & Apache deployed, enjoy the improvements!
  • Some over-protective rules made their way into the application firewall. They were causing hiccups, rules sorted and running smoother!
  • Weebly – Full story soon, but minor delays – if you sign-up I can “in theory” activate ya. If not please bear with me, reaching out to Weebly. By the FlockUpdate time, I hope to have a full update and active service!

That’s just a few things I wanted to get rolling. Later this month an all new FlockHosting.com will be coming! A new look, new content, and more ways to save! So stay tuned!

As always if you have any questions or want to get in touch, check the communicate page!

Billing System Upgraded

So our billing system came around to have itself a new update, Version 6. It added a few things:

  • Fully Responsive Layout (Resizes down to mobile!)
  • New Notifications on Account Issues
  • Re-Organized Data
  • Domain Name Search Revamped
  • Bug Fixes, etc. etc.

So instead of giving you a pile to read, here’s something to watch:

Have a great evening! More posts coming soon!

2015 Mid-Year Check-in!

summertimeSummer is Here!

And we are at the halfway mark for 2015! Hard to believe we’ve come this far this fast! Seems like just the other day the new year was here, but while I don’t care to believe it, it is indeed here! So let’s do a quick rundown of where we are at in these 6 short months, and what’s to come!

Dreaded Spam

Spam has been kicked around and kicked back, and currently sadly we are in a mode of its kicking back, even some of our new filtering isn’t doing as great as I’d like, but spammers are clever and they find new ways to get their garbage into our emails!

So what’s the plan? Well I’m trying out several systems – one of which is showing an amazing set of results! Out of all the mail scanned it did ding 4 false positives, easily whitelisted & released from a quarantine! One feature many customers have been asking for to return from the ASSP days – now this is an external service, and thus it has a cost, but it’s a minimal one, basically $0.25/user/month, and I must say, very pleased.

I am still testing, but if all goes well I’ll be HAPPY to help folks get things setup on their domain, and work out all the pricing and such (hoping to make it FREE!!) Hang tight, less spam may be in your future!

Church Hosting

It keeps going and going and going and going! Still have some folks in the queue for nearly a week, it’s taking a bit longer to fill orders, between fraud orders, and too orders which have domains that don’t seem like the name of the church, joesplumbingsupply.com – churchy right? (not a real domain I’ve gotten, just a random similar example).

Aside from the delay in orders, we are quickly filling the server to its final spot – in about 15 church hosting spots I’ll be suspending sign-ups until I can get another server lined up, and as always I’d appreciate your help! I’m not going to beg, and I’m not going to push, but if you have any desire to donate, please check the old Crowd Funding site and you can donate – thanks to those of you who have, some even have picked up a monthly $1 donation during hosting sign-up! Very cool, thanks to everyone who has supported so far!

PHP & MySQL Upgrades

We have come to a crossroads, PHP is needing to be upgraded, as is MySQL, so what do we do? We upgrade – July 31st all servers fleet wide will be making an upgrade to newer PHP and MySQL, this is a must for security & safety’s sake.

If you have old software which can not be safely upgraded, please contact me – there are options on Grace currently which would allow you at your own risk to use older PHP at the very least – so be in touch, this warning comes over a month ahead of time, so please be aware this must happen.

Use an app you are unsure about? Check with the software provider or open a ticket and I’ll assist you further in figuring out where you stand!

Server Migration & Upgrades

I’ve been looking at servers honestly – currently Lilly and Grace are two of the highest density servers we’ve had in the history of FlockHosting, Ruth on the other hand really never has been highly used, there are a handful of customers on the server in comparison to others, so what do we do?

Let’s give it a fresh breath of life. Slated for August 31st there will be new hardware, new software, a fresh rebuild to provide even better support than ever before for all customers, and hopefully a new home for newer customers moving forward! Keep your eyes on your inbox for heads up on times, and things to be aware of in the move!

Upgrades are also slated for Lilly, some additional hardware and software upgrades, Grace will get some software upgrades too – but all in all the fleet is performing great!

and more to come…

So much more I have planned, but some I want to finish the planning before, like changes to security when it comes to you getting your IP blocked, FlockHosting Design, FlockHosting Code (Custom Programming & Mobile App Design) and a slew of other products I hope to get done, now if a certain 10 month old allows it, we shall see 🙂 but hang tight as we get going into this second half of the year! Let’s make the last half of 2015 awesome!

2015: State of Spam

spamSpam is a thorn in everyone’s side lately, even a long time customer of FlockHosting recently changed her email to have a auto-response of:

Because of excessive SPAM, I no longer monitor this email account. If you need to reach me, please call me at:

Oi! This shouldn’t be happening, but every system we’ve used thus far has failed many users, for some the ASSP script was too intense, while yes spam was pretty much non-existent, so was some of their legitimate emails, and it wasn’t always easy to get it out of the lock-up, and a few users had so much spam, it used up all of their storage! Filtering was good, but too many folks had issue.

I’ve also tried to get MailCleaner going which has done a LOT and as I posted last Thursday to Facebook and Twitter  there were two systems I was monitoring which was helping spam, the latest kid on the block is called MagicSpam (no it’s not providing you magical spam, it’s magically removing it.) – It’s a small investment to try and eliminate spam, already with one server (Grace) it’s knocking down a TON of spam since it’s deployment on New Years Eve I’m seeing about 2,847 pieces of spam blocked on average per day! Wow!

Now the big balance I’ve been trying to work on is a balance of filtering as well as user control, and this new setup is doing a pretty decent job, where it falls short SpamAssassin jumps in to help the last leg!  So hopefully this new configuration if by the start of February has been doing awesome, I may slowly decommission Cleaner, and simply opt for MagicSpam as a new standard on the fleet.

How’s your spam lately? Seeing more or less? Need help? Remember I’m but a email away! Get in touch with me today and let’s see how I can help you eliminate spam!

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!