Spring is a miraculous experience. The whole world comes alive after the winter in which it seemed that everything was dead. The world comes filled with color and the scent of delicious greenery. The world that seemed so dull and cold has come alive once again.
Little did we know that beneath the cold hard ground the plants and trees were preparing for rebirth. Spring gives us hope for rejuvenation in our own lives as well. Spring is a time to renew the excitement and zest for life that lives inside.
Spring Cleaning and Preparations for 2017
MESSAGE FROM MY BELOVED SOLUTION ARCHITECH.
All too soon we’re in the 8th month of the year, and your ever-loyal umpa lumpas at AMENFIS have started preparing for 2017, so we can better serve you for many more years to come.
Our servers — your servers — have been slow for a while. Here’s why, and what we’re doing about it.
We spec’d out our current BASIC VPS PLAN about 3 years ago, and through this time websites have gotten fatter and fatter. And since WordPress took over the world, most of you have resorted to using it for every single site you build — even for single-page brochure-type websites.
As a result, our baseline 1CPU/1GB RAM/100GB SATA HDD server configuration is barely able to cope when you install a complex control panel like cPanel and run more than a few CMS-driven websites off of it.
Add to all these the massive onslaught of attacks targeting WordPress websites (with most of your websites having ZERO protection and running out-dated themes, plugins and even WordPress core)… and what we have is slow websites, frequent hacks, and sleepless nights for us, your umpa lumpas.
To deal with these slow-loading sites, earlier in the year we bumped all servers from 1GB RAM to 2GB RAM, at our cost, without even telling anyone. We’ve also had to put some of YOUR client’s website behind a CDN (content delivery network) or WAF (Web Application Firewall)… again, at our cost, and without any mention of it to you. We’ve even had to dig into some of your client’s websites and clean-up backdoors and other oddities, again using our own billable hours but without passing on any cost to you.
While we’re always glad to help, I do believe you realize that this is not a sustainable way to do business (eg we cannot continue to increase RAM forever while keeping our costs to you the same). As a result, we’ve decided to make some changes in our product and service offerings to you beginning January 1st, 2017.
I’m writing today to give you a heads-up, so you’ll have ample time to make a decision and be prepared for whichever direction you decide to take… which may include parting ways with us.
1) Automated Billing *WILL* Be Enforced: Beginning January 1st, 2017, we’ll add ALL clients to our automated billing platform. Yes, that includes *YOU*, should you decide to stay with us. Offline payments will continue to be an option for those of you without Credit/Debit cards. But the key change is that all services _WILL_ be AUTOMAGICALLY SUSPENDED after 7 days of non-payment, and AUTOMAGICALLY TERMINATED after a further 7 days (ie your service will be TERMINATED within a total of 14 days from due date if no payment is received, with no room for any “special arrangements”).
2) Begining Janualy 1st, 2017, we’ll have the following baseline high-performance web server offerings:
FAST SSD SERVERS, CORE MANAGED
2CPU Cores / 2GB RAM / 2TB BW / 50GB SSD / Core Managed – $59/month
4CPU Cores / 4GB RAM / 4TB BW / 100GB SSD / Core Managed – $99/month
FAST SSD SERVERS, cPANEL FULLY MANAGED
2CPU Cores / 2GB RAM / 2TB BW / 50GB SSD / cPanel Fully Managed – $100/month
4CPU Cores / 4GB RAM / 4TB BW / 100GB SSD / cPanel Fully Managed – $175/month
Please note that these are only BASELINE servers: we always have higher VPSes and dedicated boxes for those who need them. Also, these servers are available immediately, but beginning 1st January 2017, our current legacy slow HDD servers will be no more, and all clients will have to move to one of these new SSD servers (or find another host).
Core Managed vs CPanel Fully Managed Support
“cPanel Fully Managed Support” is exactly the all-you-can-eat web server support that you’re used to (but you obviously don’t appreciate by paying your bills on time). As a reminder, we purchase, install and configure cPanel on your server. We also continue to pay the on-going cPanel license fees and provide unlimited support for your server, including performing upgrades on the underlying Linux server, cPanel updates, performance tuning, offsite backup, and managing security on the server. We even, often, go over and beyond our call of duty and fix issues on your clients’ servers.
With CORE MANAGED SUPPORT, we manage and support the server at the Linux operating system level, but you’re responsible for ALL Control Panel and Application level issues, including purchasing, installing and configuring cPanel, and managing cPanel upgrades and all cPanel / website / security / performance issues on your server. You’re also responsible for any on-going cPanel license fees, and backing up your server and websites. In essence, if you can ping and receive a reply from your server, our work is done and everything else is up to you.
If you opt for CORE MANAGED SUPPORT, our umpa lumpas will be glad to assist you, should you call upon us, at a cost of $50 per incident (not exceeding 1hour billable time).
Solid State Drives (SSD) are a new breed of high-performance storage devices that are becoming standard on web servers and even high-end laptops (all Apple laptops now use SSDs). As opposed to slow HDD (Hard Disk Drive) SSDs have no motors or moving components. Instead, they use similar “solid state” (as opposed to mechanical) technology as pen drives. As such they are FAST and make websites run much faster compared to traditional SATA HDDs. The downside is that they’re EXPENSIVE, hence the smaller disk space / higher prices given above.
As you can see from the above, the high-performance servers offer just 50% of the storage space at your current price point (or cost $75 extra for the same 100GGB storage you presently have, but also has double the RAM and CPU cores).
So if you want the performance of the new SSD servers, but cannot afford the extra cost, you’ll need to STOP treating your server as a garbage bin and start terminating long-dead accounts so you can reduce your disk storage needs.
To help you with this, our umpa lumpas have compiled a list of all domains that do not correctly resolve to your server, but which are still sitting on your server and taking space. As you review the attached list, please take note of the following legend:
RED and YELLOW rows indicate ERROR (ie domain resolve to external websites or not at all), whereas GREEN indicates OK (ie domain properly resolves to your server)
RED rows indicate FAILED DNS RESOLUTION. Most likely cause is that the domain has fully expired and not renewed (ie completely deleted from the registry and available for registration again). There is absolutely no reason these domains should still be sitting on your server and taking space. If you have some illusion that the client whose domain has expired and available for registration will ever come back to you, the right to thing to do is to make a full cPanel backup of the account and store it somewhere, locally or in a cloud storage account.
YELLOW row indicates domain resolves to an external server. This can mean one of three things:
Client has parted ways with you and moved their server to a new host. There’s absolutely no reason to continue to keep the site on your server if the client has moved their site away. If you have illusions of a combe-back, backup the site and store it elsewhere, not on your server.
Client domain has expired and grabbed by someone else (either temporarily pending renewal, or past the renewal / redemption period and taken forever). If a client doesn’t renew their account their account upon reminders (before expiration), and still don’t renew their account within the 60-day re-activation window, I consider this a lost client. Again, if you have illusions of a comeback, back-up the site locally, and terminate to free space on the server.
The 3rd-reason, and the ONLY time that YELLOW account should continue to be on your server, is if you’re using an external proxy, CDN or WAF (eg CloudFlare, etc) to protect the website or off-load traffic. In this case, by definition, the domain will resolve to the CND/WAF/Proxy’s IP address. NOTE THAT, AS MENTIONED ABOVE, WE SOMETIMES PUT SITES THAT ARE GETTING DDoSed frequently in front of a CloudFlare WAF/CDN, SO BEFORE YOU TERMINATE ANY YELLOW ACCOUNT, DO A WHOIS QUERY ON THE “RESOLVED TO” IP ADDRESS AND CONTACT US IF THE IP BELONGS TO CLOUDFLARE.
Please note that the above are merely technical recommendations. In the end, it’s your server, your (past) clients, and your business… and you’re the only one who can decide whether to keep or terminate an account.
I hope this will help you in planning your web hosting business into 2017.
Amenfis Communications Limited