Web Hosting Account Improvements at HostNine

We have been hard at work behind the scenes at HostNine, and we want to announce the implementation of a number of new measures here designed to make your hosting much more stable and secure!

CloudLinux

The operating system on nearly all servers has been changed to utilize the first Linux Operating System specifically designed for shared hosting environments. CloudLinux OS is a revolutionary OS that takes each shared cPanel account and drops it into an almost VPS-like container called a Lightweight Virtual Environment™ (or LVE). The LVE will help manage resources on each cPanel account and, by extension, optimizing resource use and population balancing for the entire server. You can now see your site’s resource usage within your cPanel
by clicking the “Resource Usage” icon.

Please note that while bandwidth and space are “unlimited”, CPU and Memory resources on the server are not. Currently, all accounts are allowed to fully utilize a portion of the CPU and up to 1 Gigabyte of memory at any given time. If your site is using more than that consistently, or if you max out your resources, your site will begin to slow down and, eventually, will stop serving altogether until the resource usage comes down to a normalized level while the server continues to serve your neighbors. In other words, your site may appear “down” though the server is up if you max out your resource container.

Should this happen, please take a look at your history in your cPanel and take steps to optimize your site with caching, optimization, and so on. If you are unable to do so, or your resource usage is consistently higher, submit a ticket to support and we will work with your site to find where it’s resource needs are and work with you on a price for that higher container or, if necessary, help transition you to a VPS if your site has outgrown a shared server environment.

Microsoft FrontPage Extensions Disabled

HostNine has made the decision to disable Microsoft FrontPage Extensions across all servers. The last release of Microsoft FrontPage was in 2003, and the software and extensions for the servers were actually “End of Lifed” in 2006.

What an End of Life Date means is that the company that releases the software is stating to anyone that uses that software that they should stop using it on that date. FrontPage extensions were utilized quite a bit beyond it’s EoL cycle because they were in widespread use and changes made to other server technology wasn’t particularly incompatible.

The landscape has significantly changed with regard to extensions – they have never been tested with the operating systems being used today or with current versions of the web server software. Furthermore, they are not being monitored for security issues. Since this is a closed-source product, these issues are not being addressed and security patches are not begin published. As there are higher security risks and far more attacks being perpetrated on web sites than ever before, and these extensions represent a serious liability.

While we urge our customers to cease using Microsoft FrontPage, please note you may still publish a FrontPage designed site, though some advanced aspects will cease to work. The lack of server extensions only limits some of the advanced features of the product. We suggest using the Find feature within FrontPage and search the source code of all you pages for “webbot” without the quotation marks. This will highlight each instance where the code relies on the server extensions. Publishing can be done with the built in FTP application
within FrontPage.

Previewing with /~userid Removed

The ability to see a site at /~userid is intended to be a temporary feature to allow people to preview their site before changing DNS. One of the drawbacks of this is that the traffic is assigned to the server name, and not the cPanel account, we have become aware that some on HostNine’s servers have been using this to “steal bandwidth”. As it also works with any domain name on the server it also allows people to steal bandwidth from their fellow hosting shared server neighbors.

While HostNine allows unlimited bandwidth, many of our Reseller customers do not and do implement a bandwidth limit on accounts, and unfortunately, many people have chosen to utilize this preview feature to permanently load content on another site from the HostNine servers without having this bandwidth counted against their usage. In addition, malware infected sites can potentially show up in your domain name structure and get your site banned and flagged on Google even though your site is innocent if this feature is enabled.

We have disabled this preview feature to both ensure that customer sites are not inadvertently tagged as hosting malware if their neighbor is infected, as well as to ensure all bandwidth use is registered to the correct account.

If you need to preview the site to work on editing it, you can change your hosts file so that you can “move” the domain for *you* before you move it for everyone else. If you are unsure how to do this, please let us know and we’ll be happy to send you directions for your operating system. Just let us know which one you use.

If you are attempting to serve content from a cPanel account without a domain name, you will need to install a domain name or subdomain into the cPanel site for that to take place. If you don’t wish to change the original installed domain name, you can do this by parking a domain name and creating an A Record where your current DNS is hosted to point to the IP of your site, and it will function with the parked name after propagation.

Backup Changes

We have changed backups from Daily to Weekly due to a number of our customers finding issues for which they needed a backup and not noticing they need one until the problem they are attempting to correct has already been backed up, rendering the backup unhelpful for their purposes.

If you need daily backups because your site frequently changes, we can recommend a number of services that will do so for you, and please remember we do require all HostNine customers to maintain their own backup as well. You can take one quickly and easily from within your cPanel.