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Happy Holidays from Varial Hosting

December 21, 2018

As we gear up for some much needed family time we’d like to wish all of our lovely customers a Happy Holidays and thank you for supporting our business. Whether you have been with us for one month or 15 years, we appreciate you!

Please note that our office will be closed and telephone assistance unavailable from December 22 to January 1st, but as always email support will be available 24/7 over the holidays if you need us.

Before we grab some eggnog and get our Santa hats on, we’d like to quickly recap the past year, and bring attention to all of the new features implemented and hard work we’ve done in 2018.

First, we crunched the numbers and would like to boast that day or night, our support ticket response time average for 2018 was 20 minutes! We believe that providing quick, quality support is one of the most important aspects of running a web hosting business and is something that we strive to do our best at.

And now, on to the features!

With WordPress representing over 75% of all web applications installed on our servers, you may be excited to hear that WordPress 5.0 has just been released and brings with it a new block based editor and default theme.

Additionally, WordPress 5.0 has been made compatible with PHP 7.3 which is now available across all of our servers.

We’ve also recently updated cPanel to version 76, which is notably the last version of cPanel that will include SquirrelMail for Webmail users and support cPanel’s legacy web stack.

Earlier this month we changed the default version of PHP across all servers to a hardened version of PHP 5.6 that will continue to be maintained and receive security fixes from our operating system vendor. This change will make it significantly easier for us to switch to cPanel’s new, modular web stack, which we plan to complete over the next few weeks.

This will leave us with one last task in our goal to reach feature parity between all servers, upgrading MySQL! We will be working hard in 2019 to ensure that all customer accounts are ready for the switch to MariaDB, the new database server currently in use on our newest web hosting servers.

We also launched a new backup system, introduced server side caching for Joomla and Drupal and debuted a cutting-edge malware prevention tool.

But two things really consumed a lot of our time in 2018.

When our domain registration partner of 15 years announced a change to their business model and drastic price increases, we sought out a new domain registration partner in order to continue to offer competitive rates and keep pricing the same for our customers. Every day our staff have been manually transferring customer domains to our new partner as they come due for renewal.

In July, Google made a controversial change to the Chrome browser and began labelling all websites accessed over HTTP as “Not Secure”. This sparked a rush for customers to switch their websites to HTTPS to avoid scaring away visitors with this warning. We received so many questions about this that we launched a HTTP to HTTPS conversion service for WordPress to help our customers with this change.

Are you still using HTTP? Make switching to HTTPS one of your New Year’s Resolutions!

Lastly, we’d like to note that in addition to credit card, PayPal, Interac e-Transfer and cheque or money order payments, we now accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means to pay your invoices. While we don’t expect many customers to pay in this manner, we’ve been mining cryptocurrencies for some time and thought that allowing our customers to pay with them only made sense.

Stay warm, stay safe, and have a wonderful holiday season.

See you in 2019!


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