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Dec
8
LiquidSix Hosting: December Offers, Migrations & VAT Changes
Posted by Paul Woodland on 08 December 2014 12:49 PM

CONTENTS

I. 12 Days of Christmas Offers
II. SQL Server 2014 Migration
III. US Websites and Control Panel Migration
IV. VAT Changes
V. Windows 2012 Servers Update
VI. 2015 Plan Updates

Welcome to another LiquidSix Hosting newsletter, the last one of 2014. It has been an exciting year for us, with the launch of our Windows 2012 hosting and new plans in the first few days of the year. We hope that 2014 has treated you well, and we would like to wish all of our customers that celebrate a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to serving you further in 2015! In this newsletter we have some special offers to finish off the year, details of migrations for SQL Server and US websites, details of EU mandated VAT changes, and updates on Windows 2012 and our new plans. As always, should you have any questions or comments about anything in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at https://support.liquidsix.com!

 

I. 12 Days of Christmas Offers

Starting today and lasting for 12 days, we have 12 exciting offers available for both new and existing customers. All 12 offers will be available for all 12 days, and they are available to view on the website now! 

Included are offers on Single Domain Hosting, Multi Domain Hosting, Reseller Hosting, VPS and Dedicated Servers, along with addons such as disk space, bandwidth, domain registrations and SSL certificate packages. Savings of up to £799 a year are available in some cases!

For full details of all 12 offers, please click here:
http://www.liquidsix.com/christmas2014

Offers are available until 11.59pm on 20th December 2014, although some are only available while stocks last, so don't delay!

 

II. SQL Server 2014 Migration

On Wednesday 31st December 2014 between 12am and 6am GMT, we will be moving all SQL Server databases hosted with us (both in the UK and the US) on to SQL Server 2014, the latest version. In the UK, this is also being combined with a move onto new improved hardware for the database server.

There will be no changes required to scripts, the address to connect to SQL Server will remain the same. If you connect from your PC to manage databases, you may need to download an updated client from Microsoft, depending on your needs.

The downtime for each database server during the window should be no more than 1 hour. After the migration is completed, as well as the new features of SQL Server 2014, you should also see improvements to performance provided by the new hardware.

 

III. US Websites and Control Panel Migration

As part of our continuing service improvements, we will be moving some services in the US onto new hardware shortly. This will only affect the Helm control panel and websites hosted on Windows 2003 (websites on Windows 2012 are unaffected). Because of this, and the recommendation to move sites off of Windows 2003 in the next few months, if you would like to avoid moving the sites twice we recommend using the automated tool in the control panel to move the sites to Windows 2012 before the migration date.

The migration will take place between 12am and 6am GMT on Saturday 3rd January 2015. There will be IP address changes during this process, which will be communicated to the affected customers a few days beforehand. All customers using our nameservers (which is strongly recommended) will not need to take any action as we will make the changes automatically. Customers who are using nameservers elsewhere and pointing domains to our servers via A records will need to make these changes themselves. The websites will continue to be served from the old IP (although this also means they come from the old server and old copy of the files) for 7 days after the migration. The old server and IP address will be shutdown on the 10th January.

Helm will be unavailable in the US for a few hours during this process. The websites will not experience any downtime, as they will remain online from the old IP during the propagation process, however there could be some minor disruption during the migration window.

 

IV. VAT Changes

On January 1st 2015, new EU laws will come into force regarding VAT which will affect how we have to bill a small number of customers. To get a summary of how (and if) these changes affect you, please read the section relating to you below:

Customers inside the UK: There will be no changes, you will still be charged VAT at 20% as normal and any VAT registered businesses can claim it back from HMRC.

Customers outside the EU: There will be no changes, you will still not be charged any VAT.

Customers outside the UK and inside the EU with a VAT Registration number: If you have registered your VAT number with us, there are no changes - no VAT is charged on our bills and your local tax authority can advise on how you report the purchase to them.

Remaining customers outside the UK and inside the EU: All purchases from the 1st January 2015, including new purchases and renewals that have not been paid before that date, will now have VAT charged on them at the VAT rate for your own country (whereas previously it was charged at UK VAT rates). You will see Helm reflect this as from the 1st January 2015.

Hopefully this explains the changes that are being made to comply with the new laws without causing unnecessary confusion. If you have any questions relating to VAT, please contact your local tax authority who will be able to assist you.

 

V. Windows 2012 Servers Update

As communicated in our last newsletter, the default operating system for new domains for all resellers is now Windows 2012. We strongly recommend moving existing sites onto Windows 2012 as soon as possible (using the automated tool in the control panel), as Microsoft are ceasing support and patches (including security patches) for Windows 2003 in July 2015. We will be contacting customers again before then with any additional changes that are being made. We expect to stop allowing new websites on Windows 2003 in the first half of 2015. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

VI. 2015 Plan Updates

After the launch of our complete new plan range at the beginning of 2014, we are planning to make updates to our range each year. For 2015 the changes will only be small, with a few tweaks to some of the limits. As all of the changes will be increases, we will be applying the changes as well to anyone who has one of the existing 2014 plan range at no extra cost. For customers on a pre-2014 plan, there will not be any changes.

You will see these small changes reflected on our website and in Helm in the first few days of 2015.

 



Thank you for reading this newsletter and for your continued custom. We hope that 2015 will be a good year for you and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at https://support.liquidsix.com.

 

Regards,
LiquidSix Hosting


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Nov
12
Critical Windows Updates
Posted by Paul Woodland on 12 November 2014 11:32 PM
Some critical windows updates will be applied to all servers overnight tonight. This will mean that all servers will be restarting and there may be brief periods of unavailability during this process. It is being completed overnight to ensure that the disruption is kept to a minimum.
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Oct
16
"Poodle" Vulnerability in SSL
Posted by Paul Woodland on 16 October 2014 02:32 PM

As you may have read recently in the media, a flaw has been discovered in the SSL v3 protocol that leaves SSL vulnerable to having the secure data decrypted and read by third parties.

In order to protect our customers and their visitors, we have disabled the SSL v3 protocol on all servers. This will not affect most people, as only very old browsers still use this protocol. The newer protocols remain secure and available for use. If you have any trouble accessing SSL sites, please ensure that you update your browser to the latest version.


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Oct
15
Problem on US Server Oberon
Posted by Paul Woodland on 15 October 2014 05:13 AM

We are currently working on a problem with the US server Oberon which provides Web and the Control Panel. The issue has been caused by a Windows Update. We are currently working to repair Windows and bring the server back online. As soon as an update is available we will post here.

Please accept our apologies for this issue.

UPDATE: Windows has now been repaired and the server is back online and running as normal. Please accept our apologies for the issue caused by a Windows Update.


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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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