Data Centre Power Failure Update

Over the past few days since the power failure in the hosting comapnies data centre in Leeds I have been monitoring all of my clients web sites especially those that rely on MySQL databases as well as my own and everything appears to be stable although some sites may be slow to load, due to the massive amount of traffic flowing in and out of the data centre in the aftermath of this event.

From the information provided by the hosting company responsible for the data centre the power failure was caused by a fault in a voltage sensing device which triggered an alarm and the power system then shut down power in order to protect the system and then the UPS power supply kicked in 9 seconds later and power was restored.

The problem is that computers don’t like it when you shut off the power supply, and when you switch the power back on they don’t just carry on as if nothing happened, someone has to push the power button and hard reboot the machine, in this case the system admins had to hard reboot 15.000 servers, which has to be done in a certain order and is not a trivial task by any means.

It is now 5 days since the power failure and there are still many servers still down and customers sites offline and the system admins are still working to get them online, which clearly demonstrates the gravity of this event and its effect, fortunately all my sites and my clients were back online within hours, so its impact was minimal in that respect, I can only apologise for any inconvenience this caused. 

Power Failure Web & Mail Servers Offline

Yesterday I got a few calls from clients reporting that they could not send or recieve emails and that their web sites were down, when I checked I found this site was offline as was my hosting store Source Host and the system status page was also offline along with all of my clients web sites every site I tried to browse returned a 404 error.

When I checked the hosting company’s own system status page it stated that they had suffered a power failure mid afternoon within the data centre which had the effect of shutting down all the machines in one of the halls within the data centre, the system administrators were quickly on hand to start working restarting all the servers resolving any issues.

By late afternoon the admins had got the mail servers up and running and email traffic was begining to flow, I started to recieve emails sent 2 to 3 hours earlier, fortunately no email data had been lost during the time the mail servers went dark, but the webmail interface has been disabled while they rebuild the servers from backups.

I spent the rest of the evening monitoring the situation keeping an eye on the system status page and the companies FaceBook page for updates and slowly my clients sites started to come online as the admins continued working to restart all the servers and get everything back online, and get the system stable again as quickly as possible.

After a while all my clients sites that do not rely on a MySQL database started to come back online slowly mine included, but all the sites that use MySQL databases were still returning 404 or 503 errors, but after a couple more hours the Cube Cart stores came online and then all the WordPress sites, it was 10:30pm before all of my clients sites and my own were back online much to everyones relief.

Hopefully things will become more stable over the next few hours as the system admins get everything under control again.

I apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Email Service Problem Resolved

Over the past few weeks clients had had issues sending emails to Sky, Yahoo, BT and AOL email addresses, when an email was sent from a domain email address/account to any of these free service email accounts it would result in a bounce message being returned to the sender.

Over the past couple of weeks the system administrators within the datacentre have been working to resolve the issue, it seems that there was a problem with how the email traffic was being routed within the datacentres network to and from the mail servers.

I am glad to anounce that the system administrators in the datacentre have now resolved this issue.

Email Service Problems

Over the past few weeks a few clients have reported problems when sending emails to Sky, Yahoo, BT and or AOL email addresses.

Sending an email from a domain email account to one of these free email accounts usually results in a bounce message being returned to the sender of the message.

It appears that this issue started a couple of weeks ago shortly after the datacentre suffered a massive DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack, at first the problem was intermittent and had little effect, but the problem slowly got worse.

The system administrators in the datacentre are now working to resolve the issue.

Windows XP End Of Support

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As of April 8, 2014, support and updates for Windows XP are no longer available, this means that technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available, including automatic updates that help protect your computers operating system to fix bugs and patch any security flaws that can be exploited.

Please note that support for Office 2003 also ended on April 8, 2014.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/end-support-help

Microsoft has also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP if you already have Security Essentials installed on your computer, antimalware signature updates will continue to be released for a limited time, although this does not mean that your computer will be secure due to the fact that Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for the Windows XP operating system or Office 2003.

Install Linux Ubuntu And Stay Protected

If you are running Windows XP on an older computer that does not have the resources to run a newer version of Windows preferably Windows 7 there is no need to buy a new computer, you can install a Linux operating system on the computer such as Ubuntu whether it is a desktop or laptop.

If the computer has limited resources there are also light weight flavours of Linux such as Linux Puppy which is designed specifically for netbooks and older computers with limited resources.

You can even boot Ubuntu from a DVD or USB drive to try it before you install it, the graphic user interface is similar to the Windows operating system and you get access to a heap of free software for basically any task you wish to perform, if you need to work with spread sheets or create documents you have the Open Office suite and for graphics there is the Gimp for pixel art and image manipulation and Ink for vector graphics.

If you really need to run any flavour of XP because the application software you need to use won’t run on later versions, the only way to run XP would be as a virtual machine which would mean the operating system would be sandboxed.

You can find more information about Ubuntu and downloads here www.ubuntu.com/desktop/features

If you wish to install Ubuntu download the LTS version for extended support, which is more stable, select the appropriate OS type 32 bit or 64 bit depending upon your computers resources, if you are not sure if your operating system is 32 or 64 bit open the Start menu, right click on My Computer to open a contextual menu and then left click on the menu item marked Properties.

This will open a new window containing information about your operating system and hardware, look under the heading System and you will find the operating system type, once you select the correct type, download the ISO image of the operating system, you will then need to burn the ISO to a DVD to create a bootable disk which you can then use to try and install the OS on your computer.

RSS News Feed Added

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As part of the web site update I have added an RSS feed to the site to make it easier for web hosting customers and web design clients to keep up to date with news about the products and services that we have to offer here at Source Host and news about new web design projects that I have recently completed, with automatic updates each time the feed is updated without having to visit the web site to check for news.

Using the RSS news feed is very easy, just click on the little icon in your browsers tool bar or the one at the bottom of this page to visit the news feed directly. The news feed contains snippet or quick summary of each news item displayed here in this page to make it easy to scan them quickly for news that is of interest. If you want to get updated automatically every time the feed is updated you need to subscribe to the news feed.

Subscribing to the news feed is very easy, and only takes a few mouse clicks, first navigate to the feed and then click on the link at the top of the news feed page that is marked “Subscribe to this feed” to add the feed to your Favourites Centre in the Internet Explorer web browser. Under the Mozilla Firefox web browser click on the button that is marked “Subscribe Now” to bookmark the feed and under the Opera web browser click on the button that is marked “Subscribe” to bookmark the news feed. Unfortunately Google Chrome does not play ball you will need to use a feed reader.

Source Host Web Site Updated

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While I was busy resolving the issue with the VPS customisation UI I also took the time to update the web site to reflect all of the recent changes to the system and the services and products on offer here at Source Host web site and also make a few tweaks and changes to the web site to tidy it up the look of the site at the same time.

Apart from giving the look of the main part of the web site a lift the greatest changes have been to the Customer Control Panel interface in order to provide access to management and administration tools for all of the new products and services like the dedicated servers and VPS servers and it looks absolutely great.

I am really pleased with the changes to the customer control panel it has really made a big difference to the look which is much cleaner and a lot nicer as well as making it easier to locate and navigate around the different sections to manage any products, addons or services and renewals etc, within the customer control panel, providing a much more attractive environment and user friendly interface when you need to manage any aspects of your Source Host customer account.

The Help & Support section within the customer control panel was also in a broken state and I am glad to announce that I have now resolved the issues and everything is now working as expected, when a page containing questions and answers loads in your browser the pages are no longer broken and all of the answers are closed and when you click on a question to reveal the answer it appears within a lightbox and the page is greyed out so you can focus on the answer without distraction and it looks great!

VPS Customisation And Purchase Fixed

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I am glad to report that the issue with the VPS customisation that had occured since a recent update has now been resolved! and it is now possible to create your own customised VPS server or servers using the brand new UI (User Interface) with snazzy draggable sliders shown in the image here on the right
Just like those in the adverts on TV for cheap loans!

Our VPS provide the perfect solution for advanced websites, apps and programmes that require increased flexibility, power and control, without the cost of a dedicated server, VPS are ideal for small businesses and agencies demanding cutting edge technology at a great price. Using the latest Dell and Intel hardware for maximum performance and uptime.

VPS Customisation And Purchase Broken

At the moment due to a recent upgrade to the VPS section of the store that allows customers to customise a VPS is broken and the prices do not update to reflect the selections visitors make and the add to basket button is broken so it is not even possible to buy VPS servers at the moment. I have now started to update the site to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, once the updates are applied, customers will be able to use “Sliiiders” to create a customised VPS server to your own specification.
I will post an update here as soon as the issue is resolved.

Apple Trojan Infections

Visitors and customers who are running an Apple laptop or desktop PC or tablet PCs should make sure that their operating system is fully updated and patched and any security software is updated as well such as antivirus and firewall definitions, more than half a million Apple computers have been infected with the Flashback Trojan, according to Doctor Web a Russian anti–virus firm. The reportclaims that about 600,000 Macs have installed the malware – potentially allowing them to be hijacked and used as a “botnet” you can read more here BBC News web site and you can also find links to web sites where you download tools to remove the malware.