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Sep
24
LiquidSix Hosting Newsletter Sep 2014
Posted by Paul Woodland on 24 September 2014 07:21 PM

Welcome to another LiquidSix Hosting customer newsletter! Although we do not have any big announcements this time, we have a number of scheduled maintenance nights during October, as well as information on changes to the default operating system used for new domains and a couple of other items. Please read on for more details!

CONTENTS

I. Windows 2003 and Windows 2012 Information
II. PHP Upgrades
III. MySQL Upgrades
IV. Migration of Websites on UK Web Server 'Metis'
V. SQL Server 2014
VI. Insecure Scripts
VII. Release of .uk domains

 

I. Windows 2003 and Windows 2012 Information

As you will be aware, at the beginning of this year we released our new hosting platform based on Windows 2012 R2. Many customers have been making use of this platform for their new websites, as well as using our migration tool to move existing Windows 2003 based sites onto it.

In July 2015, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 2003 and not releasing any further security patches. Because of this, we would like to encourage all customers to start thinking about moving their websites to Windows 2012 R2, if they have not done so already. Not only will you receive the benefits of the newer operating system, but also of the more powerful hardware that we use on our new platform. The "Move to Windows 2012" tool, which you will find for each domain in the control panel, allows you to perform the move at any time that you wish, so that you can plan exactly when it will take place.

In the lead up to Microsoft ending support, we will be taking steps to reduce the number of domains on Windows 2003. The first of these steps will affect resellers only, and will take place on the 1st December 2014. On this date we will be enabling Windows 2012 on all reseller accounts that have not already enabled it, and making it the default for new domains. Further steps will be announced in 2015.

If you have any questions about our Windows 2012 hosting, or need any assistance with the move, please do not hesitate to contact us. Remember that Windows 2012 does not cost any extra on any of our plans!

 

II. PHP Upgrades

Between 12.30am and 6.00am on Saturday 11th October 2014 we will be upgrading PHP 5.4 on Windows 2003 to the latest 5.4 release, and PHP 5.5 on Windows 2012 to the latest 5.5 release. This process should not cause any issues for websites as there should be no breaking changes in these upgrades, but we encourage all customers using PHP to check that their scripts remain compatible. There is no upgrade available to PHP 5.2 on Windows 2003, but in order to keep sites secure and up to date we do recommend that customers still using 5.2 investigate changing to PHP 5.4 which can be done from the "Website Settings" page in Helm once scripts have been checked for compatibility.

Each web server, both in the UK and the US, will be being upgraded in turn. The downtime for each server should be less than 10 minutes during the 12.30am to 6.00am window.

 

III. MySQL Upgrades

Between 12.30am and 6.00am on Saturday 18th October 2014 we will be upgrading MySQL both in the UK and the US to the latest release of MySQL 5.6. This process should not cause any issues for websites as there should be no breaking changes in these upgrades. The downtime for the MySQL servers should be less than 30 minutes each, during the 12.30am to 6.00am window.

 

 

IV. Migration of Websites on UK Web Server 'Metis'

Between 12.30am and 6.00am on Monday 13th October 2014 we will be moving websites on the UK web server Metis to new hardware. This will only affect websites that are hosted on Metis and will not have any effect on websites hosted on the other web servers. The migration will be prepared in advance so that the downtime for websites should be less than 30 minutes, during the 12.30am to 6.00am window.

 

V. SQL Server 2014

We have had some enquiries about when we will be moving from SQL Server 2012 to SQL Server 2014. We intend for this upgrade to take place in late December or early January for both the UK and US servers. Once we have further information and a date we will email all customers to give plenty of warning of the change.

 

VI. Insecure Scripts

We would like to take this opportunity to remind customers of the important of keeping scripts up to date with all the latest security patches. Many popular scripts have well known flaws in them that can be exploited to take control of a website if they are not properly patched. We especially recommend that customers using Joomla or Wordpress upgrade to the latest versions, as these are some of the most common targets. We have also recently seen a reoccurrence of attacks against an old ASP editor called "FCKEditor". If you have this installed on your website we recommend removing it immediately and replacing it with an alternative, as it has a number of major security flaws.

If you would like to secure your website further, Helm will allow you to disable features that you do not need on the "Website Settings" page. We recommend only having scripting languages that you need enabled, and also disabling "Website Write Permissions" unless your website needs to write to files.

 

VII. Release of .uk domains

Since our last newsletter, the UK registry Nominet has released a new product in the form of ".uk" domains. This allows you to use the shorter extension, such as liquidsix.uk instead of liquidsix.co.uk. For the first few years, anyone with a .co.uk has first rights to the .uk equivalent. If you have a .co.uk domain with us and would like to take advantage of this, or you wish to register a new .uk domain (for which there is no equivalent .co.uk domain currently owned by anyone else) you can do so through the "LiquidSix Domain Registrations" icon in the control panel. The price remains the same at £8.00 for 2 years.

 

 

We would like to thank you for your continued custom and if you have any questions about anything in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us in the normal way via the helpdesk at https://support.liquidsix.com.

Regards,
LiquidSix Hosting


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Aug
20
Emergency Maintenance on UK Servers Ganymede & Io
Posted by Paul Woodland on 20 August 2014 01:32 PM

To fix some problems located on these servers, we will be performing emergency maintenance on them this afternoon which will require some downtime. We expect this to be less than 20 minutes per server.

Ganymede hosts Helm and SmarterStats in the UK, so these services will be affected whilst it is unavailable.

Io is a Windows 2012 web server, and the downtime will only affect websites that are hosted on that particular server.


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Apr
17
10th Birthday Celebrations and SmarterMail Upgrade
Posted by Paul Woodland on 17 April 2014 12:52 AM

I. 10th Birthday Celebrations 

On the 16th April 2014, LiquidSix Hosting turned 10! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the rest of our customers for your custom over the past 10 years. To celebrate, we have 3 offers available to both new and existing customers until the 26th April.

 

OFFER 1: Existing Customer Shared and Reseller Upgrades

To thank our existing customers for their loyalty, we are offering a discount on plan upgrades based on how long you have been a customer! Every existing customer gets 30% off the initial cost of their upgrade, plus an extra 2.5% for each full consecutive year that you have been a customer as of the 16th April 2014. That’s a maximum discount of 52.5%! In addition you receive 10% off the future monthly, quarterly or yearly fees for as long as you keep the plan. To qualify, it must be an upgrade and not a crossgrade or downgrade. To see how we define an upgrade, as well as how the initial upgrade cost is calculated, please see our guide on changing plans: https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/default_import/Knowledgebase/Article/View/104/0/changing-your-hosting-plan. To view our full range of plans, please see http://www.liquidsix.com/hosting

 

OFFER 2: New Shared and Reseller Hosting Plans
Save 25% off the initial monthly, quarterly or yearly charge when you order one of our new single domain, multi domain or reseller hosting plans. As well as the initial 25% discount, you receive 10% off the future monthly, quarterly or yearly fees for as long as you keep the plan with us! To view our full range of plans, please see http://www.liquidsix.com/hosting

 

OFFER 3: Dedicated Servers & VPS

For our birthday celebrations, we are offering 30% off the initial cost of any of our dedicated servers or virtual private servers. That's a saving of up to £659.99!. Not only that, but we are also offering 10% off the future monthly, quarterly or yearly fees for as long as you keep the server with us! Finally, we are also offering free setup on any of our range of dedicated servers, saving you up to £150! Please note that the VPS and Dedicated offer is only available whilst stocks last. To view our full range of servers, please see: http://www.liquidsix.com/servers

 

If you would like to take advantage of any of the above offers, simply open a sales ticket at https://support.liquidsix.com and we will assist you with your order!

 

II. SmarterMail Upgrade

We will be upgrading both the UK and US mail server to the latest version of SmarterMail, version 12, between 12am and 6am UK time on Monday 21st April 2014. The downtime during the upgrade should be less than 15 minutes.

 

III. Heartbleed Vulnerability

We have had some questions from customers over the affects of the Heartbleed vulnerability recently found in OpenSSL. We would like to reassure all customers that as all of our servers are Windows/IIS servers, they use a Microsoft implementation of SSL and do not use OpenSSL. Therefore we are unaffected by this vulnerability and all sites hosted with us remain secure. There is no need to change any passwords etc with us, unless you use the same password with another company (which we do not recommend) and that company has been affected.

 

We thank you for your continued custom and we look forward to serving you for the next 10 years! If you have any questions or comments about anything in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us via the helpdesk at https://support.liquidsix.com.

Regards,
The LiquidSix Hosting Team


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Apr
15
Heartbleed Vulnerability
Posted by Paul Woodland on 15 April 2014 01:37 PM

We have had some questions from customers over the affects of the Heartbleed vulnerability recently found in OpenSSL.

We would like to reassure all customers that as all of our servers are Windows/IIS servers, they use a Microsoft implementation of SSL and do not use OpenSSL. Therefore we are unaffected by this vulnerability and all sites hosted with us remain secure.

There is no need to change any passwords etc with us, unless you use the same password with another company (which we do not recommend) and that company has been affected. 


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Mar
20
Domain Registration Changes
Posted by Paul Woodland on 20 March 2014 11:20 PM

Today we have implemented some changes to how we handle domain registrations. These changes are generally small, but important and come in response to customer feedback and new rules from some registries.

The most obvious change is that when registering or transferring a domain, we now ask whether a domain is for your own use or whether you are registering it on behalf of someone else (for example, resellers selling to their customers). In the case of the latter, we need to hold information on the reseller so that we can assist the owner of the domain should they ever contact us. You will only be asked to provide this information once per account, so that any future domains you resell can be registered without filling in the information again.

For customers with existing domain registrations, we need to establish which domains are for your own use and which are held on behalf of someone else. For this reason, the next time that you login to the Helm Control Panel you will be asked to complete a short form to provide this information.

The other important changes include new buttons in the control panel to allow you to renew a domain at any time and to cancel a domain registration without needing to contact us. These can be found by going to the "LiquidSix Domain Registrations" icon in the control panel and then clicking on the domain in question. We will now send a renewal reminder to the account owner 45 days before the domain expires so that they can choose to renew the domain at their convenience, cancel the domain, or leave it until the billing transaction gets added automatically 10 days before expiry.

If you have any questions about these changes or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact us via the helpdesk at https://support.liquidsix.com


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Mar
7
LiquidSix Hosting Customer Newsletter March 2014
Posted by Paul Woodland on 07 March 2014 05:35 PM

Dear Customers,

We hope that 2014 is going well for you so far. With the launch of our Windows 2012 hosting and new plans at the beginning of the year, this has been a big year for us so far. Since our last newsletter we have launched a number of new features for all customers, so we would like to take a few minutes to share these with you below. As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us!

CONTENTS

I. Migrating Existing Sites to Windows 2012 R2
II. Mail & Database Usage
III. Secure Folders
IV. URL Rewrite
V. Sending E-Mail from Websites (US Servers Only)
VI. 2014 Hosting Plans
VII. Testimonials

 

I. Migrating Existing Sites to Windows 2012 R2 

The most requested feature since the Windows 2012 launch has been a way to move existing domains onto the new platform without deleting and recreating it. We have been working on a tool to do this for the last couple of months and we have today launched this for all customers.

The tool can be accessed via a new "Move to Windows 2012" icon for domains in the control panel. This icon will show up for any domain on Windows 2003 as long as the reseller has enabled Windows 2012 support (for shared hosting customers it will always show up). As this is a complex process, there is a lot of information about what the tool will and will not do, and things to bear in mind to ensure a smooth process. All of this information can be found by clicking on the icon in the control panel. We recommend that the developer of the site read all this before any move is undertaken.

If you need any assistance with the move, or you have sites with SSL & Dedicated IPs (which can not be moved automatically), please contact us and we will be able to assist you.

 

II. Mail & Database Usage 

Another highly requested feature has been a way to view the sizes of individual mailboxes without logging into them. In order to help customers manage their disk space usage, and that of their users, especially those customers on plans with mailbox and database size limits, we have now added this information and a limit system into Helm. You can view the usage of all mailboxes on a domain by clicking on the "POP3 Accounts" icon in Helm. More detailed information on an individual mailbox and its limit can be viewed by clicking on one of the accounts. The same applies for databases, which can be viewed through the "Database Manager" icon in Helm. As well as everyone being able to set limits for specific mailboxes and databases through these screens, resellers can also set limits on specific Hosting Plans or for individual customers by editing the new limit found on the "Resource Limits" icon for the plan or package in Helm.

 

III. Secure Folders

At launch, Secure Folders was not available on our Windows 2012 servers. It has since been implemented and works in exactly the same way as for our Windows 2003 servers.

 

IV. URL Rewrite

Another new feature for Windows 2012 is the availability of Microsoft's IIS URL Rewrite 2.0 module. This allows you to create rewrite rules in your website's web.config file, so that you can use search engine friendly URLs. It is available on all Windows 2012 sites with no additional settings etc in Helm needed.

 

V. Sending E-Mail from Websites (US Servers Only)

At the end of last year, Script Mail was made available in the US. To bring the US servers in line with our UK ones, the use of Script Mail will become mandatory in just over 2 months on the 15th May 2014. Anyone who is sending out emails from their website on the US servers will need to make changes in order for it to continue to function, as we will be removing the "localhost" SMTP servers on that date.

For details on what Script Mail is, how to use it, and the changes that are needed, please see this article here:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/89/16/introduction-to-script-mail-with-questions-and-answers

There are also examples for different scripting languages here:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/16

We will send out another reminder closer to the deadline to ensure that people do not forget, but we recommend making the changes as soon as possible so that you get the benefits earlier.

 

VI. 2014 Hosting Plans

We would like to take this opportunity to remind customers about our new range of hosting plans that launched at the beginning of the year. Our full range can be found at the links below:

Single Domain Plans: http://www.liquidsix.com/hosting/single
Multi Domain Plans: http://www.liquidsix.com/hosting/multi
Reseller Plans: http://www.liquidsix.com/resellers

So that customers can get the best deal for them, we are allowing all customers the choice of whether they would like to stay with their existing plan at their existing price, or change to one of our new plans. For a full FAQ on this, please see here:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/default_import/Knowledgebase/Article/View/103/0/our-new-2014-hosting-plan-range

For details on how to change your plan, please see here:
https://support.liquidsix.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/104/3/changing-your-hosting-plan

 

VII. Testimonials

A question that we get asked is whether we have a testimonials page where customers can make comments about our services. We do not believe that these sorts of pages are useful, as they are controlled by the company being commented on. However, in response to these requests, we would like to invite anyone who wishes to to leave a review and share their experiences on a third party review site such as the one below:

http://www.serchen.co.uk/company/liquidsix-hosting/

We would like to extend our appreciation to anyone who submits a review to this, or any other site. Helping new customers to find honest reviews of our hosting helps us to grow our services and continue to expand and improve our service offerings.

 

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We would like to thank you for your continued custom and as always, should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us via the helpdesk at https://support.liquidsix.com.

 

Kind Regards,
The LiquidSix Team


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