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Jul
22
July 2020 News: Upgrades & Domain Prices
Posted by Paul Woodland on 22 July 2020 09:53 AM

 CONTENTS

  1. SQL Server 2019 Upgrade
  2. PHP Upgrades
  3. Other Updates and Maintenance
  4. Changes to Domain Prices

 

 

Dear Customers,

We hope that all of you are doing well and keeping safe during this strange time for everybody. We have been continuing to operate as normal since the beginning of this outbreak, and expect to continue to do so. If there is any way that we can assist you or your business during this time, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We have a few updates for you this time about upgrades to SQL Server and PHP, as well as changes to some of our domain registration prices. If you have any questions about these, please get in contact so that we can assist you.

 

SQL Server 2019 Upgrade

On Saturday 15th August, we will be upgrading all of our customer Microsoft SQL Server instances to SQL Server 2019, the latest version of SQL Server that Microsoft has released, so that all of our customers have access to the latest technology.

This will be being done as an in-place upgrade to reduce the disruption. The window for the work will be between 12.30am and 6.00am UK Time (GMT+1) on Saturday 15th August, we will be doing each server one at a time. The downtime for each server during this period should be less than an hour and will be kept as short as possible. It is being done overnight to reduce the disruption that this will cause.

No changes will be required to connection details, and there are not expected to be any script compatibility issues - however you may wish to check with your developer that scripts are compatible with SQL Server 2019. The only impact that the upgrade is expected to have on customers is that older versions of SQL Server Management Studio will no longer be able to connect to the server properly. Microsoft make the latest version of Management Studio available for free to all users, so you can simply download the latest version from the Microsoft website here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/ssms/download-sql-server-management-studio-ssms?view=sql-server-ver15

This affects Microsoft SQL Server databases only, and not any MySQL or other databases, which will remain as they currently are.

 

PHP Upgrades

At the same time (12.30am to 6.00am Saturday 15th August) we will also be applying the latest upgrades to PHP available on the server. As each website will continue to use the same major version as it already does, but be updated to the latest minor update of that version, there should not be any action that customers need to take. There is not any expected downtime during this process. 

We do recommend that customers upgrade to the latest major version of PHP (7.4) wherever the scripts on their website are compatible. This can be done from the "Website Settings" page for the domain in the control panel. Where scripts are not compatible with the latest version of PHP, we do recommend that customers talk to their developers or software suppliers about making them compatible, in order to ensure that websites remain stable and secure, as older versions of PHP can have security issues that are no longer patched.

  

Other Updates and Maintenance

There will also be other miscellaneous updates and maintenance being performed at the same time (12.30am to 6.00am Saturday 15th August). There is not any extended downtime expected for these, but they may require brief server reboots during this window.

 

Changes to Domain Prices

Since October when we last updated our prices, there have unfortunately been further large increases by some registries on the cost of their domains. Although we have absorbed these costs so far, we are having to increase the cost of some of the domains we sell. These price changes will take effect for domain registrations and renewals that are paid for on or after the 1st August 2020. Renewals paid before this date will be at the old price.

The prices that will be changing are as follows:

All Nominet UK domains will change from £5.99 to £6.99 per year excluding VAT, this includes:

              .uk

              .co.uk

              .org.uk

              .me.uk

              .plc.uk

              .ltd.uk

 

.net domains will change from £14.99 to £15.99 per year excluding VAT
.org domains will change from £13.99 to £15.99 per year excluding VAT
.biz domains will change from £15.99 to £18.99 per year excluding VAT
.info domains will change from £15.99 to £18.99 per year excluding VAT
.us domains will change from £9.99 to £10.99 per year excluding VAT
.tv domains will change from £38.99 to £39.99 per year excluding VAT

There will be no changes to domains not listed above, including .com domains. These prices have been kept as low as possible, and are still cheaper than a number of the large UK domain registrars, especially our prices for .uk and related domains, which are significantly below the renewal prices of the large registrars.

Hosting plans, servers, SSL certificates and other services are not affected. We have never increased the price of our hosting services for existing customers, and this will not be changing. Only domain prices are affected, due to the registries increasing the costs to us.

 


As always, should you have any questions regarding anything in this newsletter, or need any assistance with any aspect of your service with us, please do not hesitate to contact us via the helpdesk at https://support.liquidsix.com.

 

Kind Regards,
The LiquidSix Team


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Oct
30

Dear Customers,

As you may remember from previous messages, last Saturday (26th October), an upgrade to MySql 8.0 was scheduled in the early hours of the morning, along with a move onto new upgraded hardware at the same time. As some may be aware from announcements on the support site, this eventually had to be cancelled. The other updates and maintenance scheduled for that night were completed as expected.

The MySql move was begun as scheduled, and the databases were moving across without issue. However, as part of this upgrade, a random selection of sites were tested after their database's moved to ensure that they were still working on the new server. Part way through this move it was deemed that the number of sites that were failing these tests was unacceptably high - whether due to scripts still being out of date or being incompatible with MySql 8. As such, to avoid these sites going offline, we were forced to abandon the upgrade, and leave everything running as it was before.

Although the move to MySql 8.0 has had to be abandoned, it does mean that we have new hardware for MySql that is sitting empty and waiting. Therefore, we are scheduling a shorter maintenance for this Saturday (2nd November) between 12.30am and 5am, during which we will be moving MySql onto the new hardware, whilst staying with the existing version of MySql, 5.7. The expected downtime during this window is approximately 30 minutes. There are no changes to sites needed to prepare for this, as the major version is remaining the same, as well as the configuration.

We are currently working out what is best to do in order to offer customers that would like it access to MySql 8.0, without affecting the websites of customers whose websites are not compatible with the latest technologies. If MySql 8.0 is something that you are interested in, please contact support to register your interest, and we can then plan the best way of doing this and keep you up to date.

  

LAST DAY FOR .UK PROMOTION

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

At 6pm GMT tomorrow, our October promotion on .uk, .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk domain registrations is finishing. Don’t miss out! For only £5.00 exc VAT, register a new domain in one of these extensions for 2 years. This is a saving of £6.98 exc VAT. For more details, and to register your new domains, please see here:

https://www.liquidsix.com/twoyearuk/

Only about 24 hours left to qualify for the promotion!

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As always, please contact us via the support helpdesk - https://support.liquidsix.com - if you need assistance with anything in this newsletter, or anything else to do with your hosting service.

Kind Regards,

The LiquidSix Hosting Team


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Oct
26
UPDATE: MySql 8.0 Upgrade Cancelled
Posted by Paul Woodland on 26 October 2019 05:23 AM

As per our recent announcements, tonight was scheduled to be the upgrade of the MySql server to the latest version, 8.0, as well as the move to new hardware. This was begun as scheduled, and the databases were moving across without issue.

However, as part of this upgrade, a random selection of sites were tested after their database's moved to ensure that they were still working on the new server. Part way through this move it was deemed that the number of sites that were failing these tests was unacceptably high - whether due to scripts being out of date or being incompatible with MySql 8. As such, to avoid these sites going offline, we have been forced to abandon the upgrade.

The current MySql server will remain in place, with no changes, whilst we consider the best option on how to proceed from here. We still wish to provide customers with the latest technologies, but will need a solution to the issue of out of date sites before doing so. We will make another announcement soon once we have finished investigating.

The other updates and maintenance scheduled for tonight were completed as expected.


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Oct
25
Reminder: MySql Upgrade Tonight
Posted by Paul Woodland on 25 October 2019 04:02 PM

During October, we will be performing a major upgrade to MySql 8.0, from the current MySql 5.6. We are making this change in order to keep up to date with the latest features, fixes and patches for MySql, after giving 8.0 some time to become as reliable as possible. There may however be some issues for very old scripts running on our servers, so there are actions that we are strongly recommend all customers who are using MySql on our servers take. Rather than detail these steps here, we have put together a knowledge base article on our website with our recommended steps to ensure that your website is compatible with the new version:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/111/5/the-october-2019-upgrade-to-mysql-8

This change will take place on the 26th October in a window starting at 00:30 UK time (GMT+1) and ending at 06:30.


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Sep
22

CONTENTS
I. Important MySql 8.0 Upgrade
II. September Upgrades: PHP, SmarterMail and Others
III. October Upgrades: MySql and Others
IV. Increases to Domain Prices (and one SSL certificate)

 

Dear Customers,

Welcome to the September 2019 LiquidSix Newsletter. There are some very important announcements in this newsletter, particularly regarding an upcoming upgrade to MySql which may require action to ensure there is no disruption to websites. We unfortunately also have to announce some price increases for our domain registration services (and one SSL certificate) due to continued increases in the cost of these to us. There are also announcements of general maintenance that will be happening in the next month and a bit.

 

I. Important MySql 8.0 Upgrade

During October, we will be performing a major upgrade to MySql 8.0, from the current MySql 5.6. We are making this change in order to keep up to date with the latest features, fixes and patches for MySql, after giving 8.0 some time to become as reliable as possible. There may however be some issues for very old scripts running on our servers, so there are actions that we are strongly recommend all customers who are using MySql on our servers take. Rather than detail these steps here, we have put together a knowledge base article on our website with our recommended steps to ensure that your website is compatible with the new version:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/111/5/the-october-2019-upgrade-to-mysql-8

This change will take place on the 26th October (please see below), so we recommend that during the next 5 weeks you check any MySql sites for compatibility with MySql 8.0. We understand that for many people, the details in the article may be too technical. If this is the case, then we recommend sending your website administrator/developer the link above, so that they can check these details on your behalf.

 

II. September Upgrades: PHP, SmarterMail and Others

We will be performing maintenance on Saturday 28th September 2019, in a window starting at 00:30 UK time (GMT+1) and ending at 06:30. During this time, we will be doing the following:

  • All current versions of PHP will be updated to their latest minor versions. The major version that a website is using will not be changed, so there should be no incompatiability upgrades. We do always recommend using the latest possible version on your site, for security reasons.

  • A new major version of PHP, 7.3 will be installed onto the servers and will be available from the "Website Settings" page in the control panel. It will also become the default for new domains (existing domains will be unaffected).

  • SmarterMail will be upgraded to the latest version. The mail servers may be unavailable for up to half an hour during the maintenance window whilst this is done (although it should be much less). This will add new features to SmarterMail and apply fixes. The user interface will remain largely the same.

  • General updates will be applied to the servers and some of our backend systems. These should not impact customers, but some may require server reboots during this maintenance window.

 

III. October Upgrades: MySql and Others

We will be performing maintenance on Saturday 26th October 2019, in a window starting at 00:30 UK time (GMT+1) and ending at 06:30. During this time, we will be doing the following: 

  • We are moving MySql to new, more powerful servers, at the same time as upgrading to MySql 8.0 (please see the details above regarding this). MySql databases may be unavailable for up to an hour during the window whilst we complete this. The same applies to both UK and US customers, but they will happen at different times during the window.

  • General updates will be applied to the servers and some of our backend systems. These should not impact customers, but some may require server reboots during this maintenance window.

 

IV. Increases to Domain Prices (and one SSL certificate)

As our long term customers will know, our domain registration prices have only changed twice in the past 15 years, with the last change being about 4 years ago. We set the prices as low as possible, as we consider the registrations to be a service to customers rather than a way to generate profit. Unfortunatley, over the years the various domain registries have increased their prices to us and our suppliers on a number of ocassions. We have absorbed these costs and kept our prices to customers the same. But over time, the many increases, coupled with the sustained poor exchange rate in the UK has meant that we have no choice but to increase the amount that we charge, as some of the domain extensions were being sold below our cost price.

You can view details of these price changes on our website here:
https://www.liquidsix.com/domains/changes.asp

The majority of our prices have had to be revised upwards in order to cover the increased costs. The UK domain registry, Nominet, have not increased their prices recently and are unaffected by exchange rate changes, so there have been no increases for these domains (.uk, .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk and .plc.uk), they remain by far the cheapest domains that we sell. 

Despite these increases, our domain registration prices for common domains such as .com remain below many of the large UK registrars and our prices continue to be the same for both new registrations and renewal - we do not charge you a higher price after your first year is up, unlike some competitors. We hope that you will allow us to continue to provide domain registration services to you, but we do understand that the price increases may affect your plans. You can cancel any domains that you wish through the "LiquidSix Domain Registrations" icon in the control panel at any time so that you will not be charged for their renewal.

We have manged to keep most of our SSL certificate prices unchanged, however there has unfortunatley been one change, this is to the "PositiveSSL Wildcard Certificate" price, which is now £119.99 for 1 year and £229.99 for 2 years.

These pricing changes will apply to both new orders and renewals of existing domains that are paid for from the 9th October 2019. We are giving notice of these changes as we are aware of the effect that they may have and that some resellers who sell our services on may need to adjust their own pricing. We do appologise for any inconvinence caused by these changes and we hope that you can understand the reasons why we have been forced to do this and appreciate that we do so as infrequently as possible. Please be reassured that these increases do not affect the services that we provide directly, including hosting plans, as these have never been increased for existing customers and are not being increased now.


 

We would like to thank you for your continued custom. As always, if you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us via the normal methods.

 

Regards,

The LiquidSix Hosting Team

 


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Apr
13
Delay to US Website Migration
Posted by Paul Woodland on 13 April 2019 01:27 PM

Customers on our US hosting will have received an email previously about the migration of websites to a new server on the evening of Friday 12th April. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen issues, there has been a delay in completing this. It is still progressing, however we now will not be sending out the IP changes (or making them automatically where possible) for approximately 48 hours.

Please accept our apologies for this and please watch for the IP change email in the next couple of days.


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