SSL certificate price drop from $99 to $19

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve dramatically lowered our price on SSL certificates — they’re now just $19.00.

What’s an SSL certificate? It activates the “padlock” icon for your site in a Web browser, showing that the connection is encrypted for security. You should use an SSL certificate if your visitors type sensitive data such as usernames, passwords or credit card numbers, because it ensures that “hackers” can’t intercept that data.

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Special deal: a year of Web hosting for $20.10

To celebrate the new year, we’re offering a special deal: a full year of Web hosting service for $20.10. That’s more than a 75% savings over the standard price of $83.40 — you’ll save over $63!

Our Web hosting plan includes e-mail accounts, free domain name registration, and free WHOIS privacy (an option that often costs $8.99 or more elsewhere). Get the full details here.

This offer is available through January 15 at 5 PM Pacific time, and it’s for new accounts or transfers only — so sign up now if you’re in the market for Web hosting service.

This plan is still eligible for our Referral Rewards program (you’ll get 33% of the $20.10). So if you have friends who need hosting service, be sure to let them know about this special offer.

PHP 4 being phased out

For the last several years, we’ve offered PHP versions 4 and 5 on our servers. This made sense when PHP 5 was new: Even though PHP 5 is faster and more secure than PHP 4, a small handful of scripts were originally incompatible with version 5, and we wanted to give customers a choice.

However, PHP 5 is now more than five years old, and the PHP developers declared version 4 obsolete in 2007. All our new customers have been using PHP 5 by default for more than a year, and we’ve received no complaints about incompatibilities.

No PHP script should require the obsolete PHP version 4 any more. Because of that, we’re beginning the process of removing it from our servers.

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FTP virus spreading in new ways

An earlier blog post described how several of our customers got their personal computers infected by a new virus that has been spreading across the Internet. Initial versions of the virus spread themselves by reading a Web site’s FTP username and password stored on the PC, then downloading Web pages, inserting an “iframe” tag, and re-uploading the Web pages back to the server. As a proactive measure, we started scanning all uploaded files and stripping out any malicious “iframe” tags.

We are now seeing newer versions (commonly called “Gumblar”) which spread by inserting “script” tags with encoded JavaScript code. Because there are several variations of this approach, and because some legitimate commercial scripts use the same technique to hide their source code, we cannot perfectly identify and strip out these infections. Therefore, we will not automatically strip out the “script” tags from any upload file that looks suspicious.

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New feature: Live error logs

We’ve added a new feature to hosting accounts: Live, realtime access to the Apache Web server “error log”, both in the “My Account” control panel and as raw files you can access through FTP/ssh/etc.

To view the most recent 200 lines of the error log, login to the control panel (having trouble?), click “Statistics and Logs”, and look at the new “Web site error logs” section.

To download the full raw error log files, see this page.

We hope you find this useful!

Protection against viruses that steal FTP passwords

Recently, several customers have told us that pages on their Web sites have been modified without their knowledge. Upon investigation, the customers found their computers had been infected with a virus that steals saved FTP passwords, such as the “Gumblar” or Trojan.PWS.Tupai.A virus.

We’ve taken a step to protect you against this problem (described below), but it’s wise to protect yourself, too.

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Brief scheduled maintenance Friday, April 3 (completed)

At approximately 11:00 PM Pacific time on Friday, April 3, the “flexo”, “mom” and “elzar” servers will be restarted. As a result, Web site and e-mail service for some customers will be unavailable for approximately five minutes.

No e-mail will be lost, of course; incoming mail will just be slightly delayed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. This maintenance is necessary to install an updated “kernel” on our servers, as described in an earlier post.

Update: We’re also going to include the “zapp” server in this maintenance to replace a disk in the RAID array.

Update 2: The maintenance was completed with less than five minutes of “downtime”.

Now offering $25 Google AdWords credit (expired 2009-12-31)

We are pleased to announce that all of our customers are now eligible for a $25 credit to start advertising with Google AdWords™.

AdWords ads run alongside or above Google™ search results, so you can reach new customers right at the moment when they are searching for keywords related to the products and services you offer.

This offer expired December 31, 2009.

Brief scheduled maintenance Saturday, January 31 (completed)

At approximately 11:00 PM Pacific time on Saturday, January 31, all of our Web hosting servers (except the “hypnotoad” and “mom” servers) will be restarted. As a result, Web site and e-mail service for some customers will be unavailable for approximately five minutes.

No e-mail will be lost, of course; incoming mail will just be delayed for a few minutes.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. This maintenance is necessary to install an updated “kernel” on our servers, as described in an earlier maintenance announcement.

Update: the maintenance was successfully completed on all servers with less than 5 minutes of “downtime”.

Mail improvements

In the past few months, we’ve made a couple of behind-the-scenes improvements to our mail systems that have improved reliability for our customers.

  • Redundant outgoing mail delivery
  • Automatic whitelisting of replies

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