web13 server error March 17, 2017 (resolved)

Between 11:06 and 11:08 AM Pacific time today (March 17, 2017), the “web13” server experienced high MySQL database load that led to some sites being unavailable.

The problem has now been resolved, and other servers were not affected. We apologize for the inconvenience this caused our customers.

Audio and video uploads not working in old versions of WordPress < 4.4

We’ve received a couple of reports that audio and video file uploads don’t work anymore in old WordPress versions (4.3.9 and lower). You instead see the message “HTTP error”. (This doesn’t affect uploads of images, PDF files, etc.; it affects things like MP3 files and movies.)

This is because of a bug in the WordPress software itself, which will presumably soon be fixed, and not related to our servers.

However, if this is happening to you, you’re using a very outdated version of WordPress. You should update to the current version 4.7.3, which is easy to do by clicking “Updates” in your WordPress dashboard. We recommend that you always update WordPress whenever it tells you to do so, because it avoids all sorts of problems.

Apache Web server updated to fix CVE-2016-8743

We’ve upgraded our Apache Web server software to fix the security bug CVE-2016-8743.

Customers should not notice any changes, with one exception: If you’ve written your own software, and that software contains certain bugs that haven’t previously been noticed, the update may cause the bugs to be more visible.

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Brief MySQL scheduled maintenance Feb 24, 2017 (completed)

Between 9:00 PM and 11:59 PM Pacific time on Friday, February 24, 2017, the MySQL database software on each of our servers will be restarted. This will cause an approximately 60 second interruption of service on each MySQL-using customer Web site at some point during this period.

This is necessary for security and stability reasons. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes.

Update 9:49 PM Pacific time: The maintenance was completed as planned and all services are running normally.

PHP 7.0.16 and 7.1.2

The PHP developers recently released versions 7.0.16 and 7.1.2 that fix several bugs. We’ve upgraded the PHP 7.0 and 7.1 series on our servers as a result.

These changes should not be noticeable, but as always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any trouble.

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President’s Day 2017 holiday hours

Our business offices will be closed on Monday, February 20 to observe the US legal holiday. As always, we’ll provide same-day support for time-sensitive issues via our ticket and e-mail systems. However, questions that aren’t time-sensitive (including most billing matters) may not be answered until the next day, and telephone support (via callbacks) will be available only for urgent problems.

Brief MySQL scheduled maintenance Feb 3, 2017 (completed)

Between 9:00 PM and 11:59 PM Pacific time on Friday, February 3, 2017, the MySQL database software on each of our servers will be upgraded from version 5.5.53 to 5.5.54. This will cause an approximately 60 second interruption of service on each MySQL-using customer Web site at some point during this period.

This upgrade is necessary for security reasons. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes.

Update 9:44 PM Pacific time: The maintenance was completed as planned and all services are running normally.

PHP command-line version changing

This post has technical details about a change in the way PHP scripts are run from the command-line shell on our systems. It doesn’t affect PHP scripts run through websites, which is what most of our customers use (for WordPress and so on); nothing is changing about those web-based PHP scripts.

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PHP 5.6.30, 7.0.15, and 7.1.1

The PHP developers recently released versions 7.0.15 and 5.6.30 that fix several bugs. We’ve upgraded the PHP 7.0 and 5.6 series on our servers as a result.

In addition, we’re now providing support for the PHP 7.1 series, so PHP 7.1.1 is also available in our control panel.

Finally, the PHP 7.0 series has been out long enough that all modern script software should be compatible with it, and the authors of the WordPress software recommend it specifically. Because of that, we’re making PHP 7.0 the default for new customers, and we recommend that all customers switch to PHP 7. It’s almost twice as fast as old versions of PHP.

If you’re not yet using PHP 7 but you’d like your WordPress or other PHP-based site to seem snappier, or be able to handle twice as many visitors per second, you can easily do so:

  1. First, update your site’s PHP scripts, including WordPress, Joomla, any plugins or themes you use, and so on
  2. Login to our My Account control panel
  3. Click PHP Settings
  4. Click PHP 7.0 series
  5. Click Save Settings

Then test your site to make sure it works properly. If it does: Great, you’ve just made your site much faster! If it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’re using older scripts that haven’t yet been updated, and you can simply set PHP back to an earlier version for now. (But be sure to contact the authors of your scripts and ask when they will be compatible with PHP 7.)

As always, if you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Minor change to SSH settings

We’re making a minor technical change to the SSH settings our servers use, removing obsolete and insecure ciphers like “3des-cbc”.

The changes are required to ensure that sites we host pass PCI compliance scans. The obsolete ciphers allowed SSH connections that appeared to be secure, but really weren’t.

This should not affect anything for our customers who use SSH, as long as you use modern, updated SSH software. We’re just documenting it in case anyone has difficulties with SSH connections.

If you do have any trouble, the solution is almost certainly to update your SSH client software, though — the program you’re using is probably pretty outdated and will have trouble connecting to other servers, not just ours.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any trouble or questions.

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