Monday, December 29, 2008

Fantastico application updates

The following application updates are now available through Fantastico, for your updating pleasure:

* Joomla 1.5: 1.5.7 -> 1.5.8
* Moodle: 1.9.2 -> 1.9.3
* PHPlist: 2.10.5 -> 2.10.7
* SMF: 1.1.6 -> 1.1.7
* Xoops: -> 2.3.1
* phpBB: 3.0.2 -> 3.0.3
* WordPress: 2.6.3 -> 2.7
* b2evolution: 2.4.2 -> 2.4.5

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Follow us on Twitter

For those twits among you, Hello World Web Hosting Status can now be found on Twitter. The Twitter account is very, very "minimalistic", and will be designed to match to the new and upcoming site redesign, but for now it's all about functionality. We keep the tweet-level to a minimum, with only important announcements, and a link to the full post on the status blog.

In the future we'll add other Twitter accounts to correspond with the upcoming blog categories of design, general hosting news, and even support, so you can get all the news you want and none that you don't.

If you're following us and need to ask a quick question or have a hosting issue, one that will fit into 140 characters, feel free to send us a reply or direct message. We aim to be available in as many media formats as it takes to give our customers warm fuzzies!

More Update-y Goodness From Fantastico

The following application updates are available through Fantastico, for your updating pleasure:

* Drupal: 6.4 -> 6.6
* Gallery: 2.2.6 -> 2.3
* SMF: 1.1.5 -> 1.1.6
* Soholaunch Pro Edition: 4.9.3 r14 -> 4.9.3 r17
* TikiWiki: 2.1 -> 2.2
* WordPress: 2.6.2 -> 2.6.3

The guys at Fantastico seem to be on a roll with dishing out the updates in a very timely manner lately, and that's great to see. These updates are provided through Fantastico for your convenience and make it very easy to keep your applications updated and secure.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fantastico application updates available

The following application updates are available through Fantastico, for your updating pleasure:

* Help Center Live: 2.1.4 -> 2.1.7
* LimeSurvey: 1.53+ -> 1.72
* Noahs Classifieds: 1.3 [Patched-1] -> V8 (2.4.1)
* Open-Realty: 2.5.2 -> 2.5.3
* TikiWiki: 2.0 -> 2.1
* Crafty Syntax Live Help: 2.14.6 -> 2.15.0
* Gallery: 2.2.5 -> 2.2.6
* Geeklog: 1.4.1 -> 1.5.1
* Joomla 1.5: 1.5.6 -> 1.5.7
* phpBB: 3.0.1 -> 3.0.2
* phpCOIN: 1.4.1 -> 1.4.4
* Soholaunch Pro Edition: 4.9.1 r10 -> 4.9.3 r14
* TYPO3: 4.1.5 -> 4.2.1
* WordPress: 2.6.1 -> 2.6.2

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fantastico application updates available

The following application updates are available through Fantastico:

* Coppermine Photo Gallery: 1.4.18 -> 1.4.19
* dotProject: 2.1.1 -> 2.1.2
* Drupal: 6.3 -> 6.4
* Joomla 1.5: 1.5.4 -> 1.5.6
* Open-Realty: 2.4.4 -> 2.5.2
* TikiWiki: 1.9.11 -> 2.0
* WordPress: 2.6 -> 2.6.1

Update 'um if ya got 'um :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moving day is done, now it's time to arrange the furniture

All sites have been transferred to the new server and DNS (the system that points your domain name to it's place on the new server) has propagated. Websites and email, ftp, etc should be functional.

And speaking of 'bout all that SPAM?!?! Isn't that something, eh? Consider this an experiment to should just how POWERFUL our SPAM filtering system is. The SPAM filtering system will be reinstalled today, as will the necessary server system modules so the support ticket/client area will be up and running.

Had the old server not been ready to die again, I would have (and planned to) have everything ready on the new server before transferring client accounts, but given the circumstances it was better for all to make the switch as fast as possible.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moving day

This notice is being emailed as well as posted to the Announcements blog, to make sure everyone receives this information. If you don't already subscribe to the announcements blog, please do so through FeedBurner.

We're in the process of backing up all accounts to an offsite/remote backup server, and have begun transferring accounts to the new server. When the move is complete a notice will be posted here, but if you'd like to be ahead of the curve, the new IP will be: All account usernames and passwords will remain the same.

This move is being done ASAP rather than in stages, as I've been receiving warnings that the temperature on the current server is running high. Clearly, something is wrong, and I'd like to complete the move before the server goes down again.

DNS is being changed and the new nameservers are being *added*, with the old/current nameservers still listed so as to allow for some "cross-over" time. If this is all Greek to you, then we handle your DNS and you don't need to do anything, we will make the changes for you. If you handle your own DNS, please add the following nameservers: ( (

For domains ending in .org : ( (

Again, if you don't understand what that means about nameservers, don't worry about it, the nameserver information only applies if you handle your own DNS (and if you do, you'd know).

If you could please hold off uploading large files until after the transfer is complete, that would be helpful. The "all clear" will be posted when this process is done. Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

FINALLY! All services restored

Everything should be up and running, and with the exception of the absence MailScanner (which will be remedied in the next hour or so) to filter out all the spam, everything should be as it was.

If you notice any issues please login to the Client Portal and submit a ticket.

Once again, we thank you for your patience during this trying time. Even though this was completely beyond my control, and i did do everything to rectify the situation, I would like to offer some type of compensation to my valued clients. Rather than me deciding what < might like...I'm going to throw it out there.

What, within reason, would make YOU happy? A free month of hosting? More disk space? A free domain registration? A baby's arm holding an apple? Extra kudos to those who get that last reference.

The restoration is complete

Web services are the only thing down, as they are apparently updating Apache (the web server).

Email is working, but you will likely see SPAM that you're not used to seeing. The data center wiped out the SPAM filtering applications we had installed. Nice of them, eh? Yeah...I thought so too. They will be reinstalled as soon as the data center finishes whatever they are doing on the server.

2:43pm (PDT): Still waiting for the techs to finish restoring the accounts.

Continuing to monitor progress

I'm trying to find out what's going on, directly with the data center engineers. As soon as I can find out what's happening and when we can expect service restored (at this point just long enough to pull the backups off the 2nd drive and get the heck out of dodge) I will post that information here.

I was not informed they were replacing any hardware ahead of time, and only found out because the tech set off the intrusion detection. The server admin company seems to be having some sort of problem with their support ticket system, and I'm having trouble communicating with them, which is why I've gone over their heads directly to the data center engineers (as surly as they are, because I'm not supposed to do that).

I'm doing everything within my power to restore services to the server, short of driving to Atlanta and fixing it myself. If it weren't for the price of gas, I'd be doing that right now.

Again, I deeply apologize for this outage. I am disgusted with the way it's been handled by the server company and the data center, and at the first opportunity we will be as far away from them as possible.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Server drive being replaced

The data center has determined the drive is defective and it is being replaced tonight. Services will be down while this is being done and accounts restored to the new drive. This process typically takes an hour or two.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Server is down yet again

And yet they claim the hardware is "fine" per Tuesday night's test. Clearly it is not, and the data center is not performing according to my contract with them. We'll be moving the accounts to another server starting immediately. When we have the new IP clients will be notified individually.

I am very sorry for this disruption.

2:28pm [PDT]: Services are back up, the data center technicians are going over the server yet again. As soon as the new server (at a different data center!) set-up is complete, we will be transferring all accounts, as fast as possible.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Testing the server hardware at 9pm [PDT]

There will be brief but this time planned downtime at 9pm PDT, midnight EDT, to ascertain/troubleshoot the server problem. The test should last between 15-30 minutes, and was scheduled for a time when the lowest amount of server traffic would be expected.

Server down again

It just happened, as everything was functional not 10 minutes earlier. I've put in tickets with both the server management company AND directly with the data center. I'm also switching companies as fast as is possible, without any further disruption in services. It takes a few days for the new services to be set up on the new server.

11:30am [PDT]: Server, and all services, are backup. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Server down

The server is down with an "Internal Server 500 error", which means something's been misconfigured, although we haven't configured anything recently. I have an emergency ticket in with the data center, and will update the progress as soon as I have any news.

12:58pm (PT): Data center is still working on the issue, and have escalated the ticket. The server has been rebooted.

2:34pm (PT): I requested a progress update at 1:58pm, they have yet to reply. I will continue to monitor/prod until this is resolved.

4:12pm (PT): Still no word back, other than "We are still working on this." I've escalated the ticket, gone over their heads and submitted a ticket directly with the Engineering dept of the Data Center.

5:11pm (PT): FIXED! All services are back up and running! The only lagging I'm seeing is when the site's DNS is 100% external (meaning you have another company running your DNS).

This is never recommended, but what *is* recommended is having backup, or secondary DNS, with us as primary. That way, you're covered, no matter what. This will also keep your email flowing, etc.

There's not much that can be done when there's a hardware failure (as this appears to have been, but the specifics are unconfirmed), and we are pushing the data center for an answer as to what happened. The plan to switch data centers is being moved up, and customers will be contacted as their sites are moved. We plan to have "cross-over time" meaning the old server won't be shut off until all DNS is fully switched over to the new server.

We expect no downtime (further hardware failures on the current server not withstanding). The new server company advertises "ZERO downtime during hardware failures." It's something I hope to never have to put to the test, but no technology is ever 100%.

We apologize for this downtime, and are constantly striving to provide better service to our valued customers. We appreciate your patience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fantastico-installed updates available

The following script updates are available through Fantastico as of today. If you have any of the following applications installed, please update at your earliest convenience.


* b2evolution: 1.10.2 -> 2.4.2
* Coppermine Photo Gallery: 1.4.16 -> 1.4.18
* Drupal: 6.2 -> 6.3
* Gallery: 2.2.4 -> 2.2.5
* Joomla 1.5: 1.5.2 -> 1.5.4
* Mambo Open Source: 4.6.3 -> 4.6.5
* Moodle: 1.9 -> 1.9.2
* SMF: 1.1.4 -> 1.1.5
* TikiWiki: -> 1.9.11
* WordPress: 2.5.1 -> 2.6

Server rebooted

I just received notice from the data center that the server has been rebooted. Typically it takes 5-10 minutes to fully reboot, during which time services will be unavailable. The data center didn't say why it needed to be rebooted (it's very rare that it does), but if I can find out I'll edit this post.

Plans were already in the works to switch to another more reliable data center/network in the next 2 weeks...this just cements that idea as a sound one.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some services down

There is an intermittent outage of some services, which seems to be linked to last night's cpanel upgrade. We are working on the problem now and will have all services restored momentarily. Thank you for your patience.

EDIT: 2:18pm I am continuing to work on this issue. I've lodged a support ticket with cPanel, my first in five years. There are 28 requests ahead in the queue.

EDIT2: 4:36pm A cPanel tech is currently working on the server.

EDIT3: 6:30pm Fixed! That was quite a ride. We apologize for the outage and will look into what we can change to avoid this in the future. I was already researching adding complimentary backup DNS to be included in all packages...I think I need to step that up.

We're still not sure (nor was the DELIGHTFUL and efficient cPanel tech, David L, who fixed the problem) what caused the problem with the DNS server. I'm as guilty as anyone of jumping to conclusions and assuming it must have been cPanel, since it was working fine before their nightly update, but in truth...the cPanel update also "sets off" updates from the OS and various vendors. There are hundreds of different applications, software and scripts that get updated nightly, and occasionally they don't play nice or have an unforeseen bug.

We do the best we can to minimize downtime and outages, and thank you for your patience.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Server permissions problem / 403 errors

There's a problem with permissions on the server, which we are working on to correct. Since it was all working fine when I went to bed last night, my best guess is it has something to do with a cPanel update. It should be fixed in just a few minutes, thank you for your patience.

9:27am: Fixed.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

PHP permissions problem on some sites

If you're seeing a "server error 500", please hang tight, we're fixing that now.


PHP/Apache upgrade complete!

And it's lookin' good! *exhales*

We are now running PHP version 5.2.6 as the default, with PHP v4.4.8 available if necessary, and Apache version 2.2.

The change from PHP version 4 to 5 is a big one, which is why so many web hosts have been resistant to it. If you have an application that is not PHP5 compliant, simply change the file's extension to .php4 and it will continue to function. This should be used as a temporary measure until you find a suitable replacement or the developer provides PHP5 support.

The projects I've seen where the developers were not able to make changes necessary to be PHP5 compatible often die out and are abandoned. There is a strong movement to leave behind and scripts and applications that are not PHP5 compatible. Also please be aware that PHP4's end of life date is Aug. 8, 2008, and we will be dropping it by then, switching solely to PHP5. For more information on the conversion to PHP5 in general (and reasons why it's necessary) see the Go PHP5 website.

We have also made some significant security changes to the PHP configuration as well as various performance enhancements which should speed up the execution/loading of PHP scripts and pages.

PHP upgrade commencing now

Sorry for the delay, a couple of other issues came up that needed to be dealt with first. And in the meantime, cPanel has issued two more updates (which we've done, each time). Hopefully they've enhanced the user experience :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

PHP upgrade scheduled for Saturday

The PHP upgrade is being rescheduled for Saturday, May 31st.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

PCI Compliancy and PHP5 upgrade

We have been in the process of becoming PCI Compliant, which is required of all eCommerce merchants. Most of the requirements are standard security measures which were already in place, other requirements are questionable in a shared hosting environment, and still others...are down-right stupid, in my opinion.

Part of what is required is for the server to be running PHP5.25 and Apache 2.x. These are upgrades that we've been planning to do, but some apps that a few customers are running, not to mention many of the pre-installed scripts provided by Fantastico, are not PHP5 ready.

It's much like Microsoft's "pushing/forcing" users to upgrade to Vista, while many applications aren't yet Vista-compatible. In this case, we have no choice in the matter but to upgrade. The plan is to recompile PHP and Apache to run both PHP4 and PHP5 simultaneously, to allow for support of legacy applications. If this doesn't go as planned then we'll go straight PHP5.

It should be a simple process, but if any unforeseen glitches arise or anything you have installed stops working, please submit a support ticket. I'm trying to contact any users who have Fantastico installed scripts that may not be PHP5 compliant. In most cases there's a newer version of the script available that will work with PHP5, it's just not offered by Fantastico. In these cases we will be happy to help you upgrade the application manually, or do it for you.

The upgrade is planned for Friday, May 30th. As always, I'll post an "all clear" when it's done. There should be no actual downtime involved.

Roundcube webmail added

We have a nice surprise for webmail users: Roundcube was installed this week, giving you another choice in webmail applications. Roundcube has a very new, fresh, Mac-like look to it, and all the feedback on it has been positive.

Roundcube webmail

We still offer Horde and SquirrelMail, and you're always free to use any of the (now three) webmail applications to access your email. If you find one application you like best, you can set it to be your default by using the Enable AutoLoad option, so you can go directly to that application when logging in.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PHP register_globals are a thing of the past

We have joined the ever growing list of web hosting companies that have set register_globals to off, in the interest of security. Though I personally agree with those who say that it's not the configuration itself, but sloppy/unsecure code that causes issues, I also feel it's better to be safe than sorry.

For a long time there were still many server software applications that required register_globals on, but this practice is gradually fallen by the wayside, and now is fairly rare. In fact register_globals are now deprecated and being removed as of PHP 6.0.0. I don't expect PHP6 to be out any time soon (it's been in development since...2005?), and there was/has been/is great resistance from many web hosting companies to upgrade to v5.X (which we will be doing soon), since the jump between 4 and 5 (and what runs on each) is fairly significant and requires a lot of changes.

If you notice any issues relating to register_globals being turned off, please submit a support ticket and we'll see about creating a temporary over-ride for your domain, until you can make necessary changes in code or software.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Keeping current

Please remember to provide us with your current information, both contact (email) and billing (credit card number, current billing address including zip code). The address you give us needs to match the address associated with your credit card. This is an anti-fraud measure, standard among most companies that accept credit cards online, and it is for your protection.

As a victim of identity theft/credit card fraud myself, I can tell you how much of a hassle this is to straighten out, when it could have been prevented had the merchant refused the transaction because the address didn't match.

We also need to be able to contact you in case of an emergency or billing issue. Please make sure the email address you provide is one that is one that you check. We are an Internet-based company and primary method of communication is email.

There may be occasions when you will be asked to re-input your credit card number. None of your credit card information is stored on our server. This is done for your protection, and in accordance with Visa/Mastercard rules for online merchants.

The information passes through our system encrypted and should there be a glitch in the billing system, we have no way of retrieving the actual credit card number. The encrypted data is not human-readable nor even machine-readable. Again, all of this is done from your protection, and should be viewed as such. In the event you are asked to re-enter your credit card data we apologize in advance, but feel the security of your financial data is worth a little inconvenience.

And lastly, we provide numerous ways of subscribing to this announcement blog. You can subscribe by email, RSS reader or even have the posts sent to your cell phone. Please avail yourself to whichever way works for you so that you can stay informed.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Attention AOL users

To paraphrase an old Southwest airlines commercial...You are now free to move about the mail server.

The block that was placed against our server IP by AOL has been lifted, and email is now free to flow back and forth between AOL and our portion of the Internet. For further information on why this occurred in the first place, please read the original post about SPAM friendly fire.

As with the majority of web hosts who are concerned about SPAM and take email seriously, we are continuing to stand by our policy of not allowing automatic email forwarding to AOL accounts, to guard against this happening again.

I would strongly encourage all users to set up an email client on your computer, so you will have access to ALL your email and not need to use forwards or webmail. Our server supports IMAP which will leave a copy of the email on the server also, either for a set period of time or indefinitely, depending on how you set it up.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's the beginning of a New Year. And what does that mean?

Extra holiday pounds?
Leftover fruitcake?
Tax time!

For any Web Design clients who have paid more than $600 for design services in the last calendar year are required to furnish us with a 1099 form by January 31st. There is a W-9 form with our EIN in the Downloads section of the Client Area. You must be logged in to access the downloads section.

If you have any questions about the amounts paid in 2007 you can access that information by logging into your account in the Client Area. For questions concerning 1099's please contact your Tax Accountant or the IRS.

We at Hello World Web Design and Hosting would like to thank all of you for your continued patronage, and we look forward to a mutually prosperous 2008. We're developing many new, exciting services to offer both design and hosting clients, which will be implemented starting later this month. Shock and awe...that's what we're going for...shock and awe!

Well, OK....less shock, and more awe.