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Scheduled Maintenance: MariaDB (MySQL) Upgrades on Hermione and Snape [Completed]

May 2, 2022

In the evening of Saturday, May 14, 2022 we will be upgrading the MariaDB (MySQL) database server on our Hermione and Snape servers from MariaDB 10.2 to MariaDB 10.3.

Websites utilizing MariaDB/MySQL databases will be temporarily unavailable for approximately 10-15 minutes until the upgrades are completed on each server.

As both MariaDB 10.2 and MariaDB 10.3 are optimized replacements for MySQL 5.7, we do not anticipate compatibility issues for our customers.

This document will be updated with our progress as the upgrades are performed.

Progress:

Hermione – Completed
Snape – Completed

PHP 8.1 Now Available

April 21, 2022

PHP 8.1 is now available to all Varial Hosting customers.

PHP 8 builds upon the great improvements brought forward in PHP 7 and introduces several new features for developers which you can read about at: https://www.php.net/manual/en/migration81.php

To change your PHP version, simply log into your cPanel and follow this guide: https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/hosting/#changephp

Please be aware that not all web applications and PHP extensions are compatible with PHP 8.1 at this time. For best compatibility we recommend using PHP 7.4 until development of PHP 8 matures.

New Mailing Address for Cheque Payments

January 15, 2022

Effective January 15, 2022 our new business mailing address is:

Varial Technologies, Inc.
PO Box 32107 RPO Erindale
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
S7S 1N8

If you pay your invoices by cheque or money order, please send your payment to our new mailing address going forward. Customers paying by credit card, PayPal or Interac eTransfer can disregard this notice.

Temporary mail forwarding has been established so if you have recently mailed a cheque to our old address it will be redirected to our new address.

2021 Year in Review

December 31, 2021

I’d like to start by thanking you for supporting small business. With the web becoming increasingly centralized year over year, thank you for selecting Varial Hosting as your independent hosting provider.

The pandemic has been hard on us all, both personally and professionally. While we’ve had a few bumps, we’re incredibly thankful that our business has remained strong and stable. We are striving to be as accessible as possible to our customers, to make your website and email one thing you don’t have to worry about during these difficult times.

In fact, our 24/7 support ticket response time average for 2021 was just 22 minutes!

This year we introduced PHP 8.0 support, made major improvements to our email spam scanner and deployed new servers that feature significantly faster SSD storage.

We’ve also kept prices low for our customers, despite further massive price increases by our software vendors. Keeping our services affordable is of the highest priority to us.

Our staff have been working from home since March 2020 and this is a change that we will be making permanent. In the new year we will be moving out of our sales and support office and transitioning to an entirely remote work force.

The only thing that will change for our customers is our mailing address (to be announced soon). Our servers will remain physically located in our Saskatoon data center and you will continue to receive the same quality of support that you’ve come to expect from us.

Being able to spend more time with our families while working from home has been a blessing. Thank you for bearing with the occasional barking dog or crying baby during our calls.

Here are a few new features we’re excited to launch in the new year:

  • PHP 8.1 support
  • Automated malware scanning and cleanup of WordPress databases
  • Migration of all remaining MySQL database servers to MariaDB (an optimized replacement)

We are hopeful that life will be a little easier in the coming year and we are always a quick call or email away if you need us.

Have a Happy New Year and a safe and healthy 2022!

Ryan Smith
CEO
Varial Hosting

Removal of CloudFlare Content Delivery Network

November 22, 2021

Over the weekend CloudFlare made breaking changes to their hosting partner program without providing advanced notice.

Effective immediately it will no longer be possible for Varial Hosting customers to manage CloudFlare services through your cPanel control panel and we will no longer be offering CloudFlare’s content delivery network as an option that can be enabled for new hosting plan orders.

I use CloudFlare, what does this mean for me?

All CloudFlare services will continue to function and will remain enabled for websites currently using their content delivery network.

However, to manage your CloudFlare services you must now login at cloudflare.com as you can no longer access your CloudFlare content delivery network settings through your cPanel control panel. This will be necessary for tasks like purging your CloudFlare cache.

If you do not know your CloudFlare login you can request a password reset from their website.

How do I completely disable CloudFlare?

While existing users can continue to use the CloudFlare content delivery network without interruption, if you would like to completely disable CloudFlare, please contact our Support department and we’ll modify your domain’s DNS records to remove CloudFlare for you.

How do I enable CloudFlare on a new website?

If you wish to enable CloudFlare’s content delivery network on a new website you must now sign up for an account at cloudflare.com and follow their setup instructions. CloudFlare offers both free and paid product tiers.

You will be required to change your domain’s name servers and use CloudFlare for DNS management in order to use their service. It is no longer possible to enable CloudFlare on a new website without switching to their DNS service.

PHP 8.0 Now Available

November 19, 2021

PHP 8.0 is now available to all Varial Hosting customers.

PHP 8 builds upon the great improvements brought forward in PHP 7 and introduces several new features for developers which you can read about at: https://www.php.net/manual/en/migration80.php

To change your PHP version, simply log into your cPanel and follow this guide: https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/hosting/#changephp

Please be aware that not all web applications and PHP extensions are compatible with PHP 8.0 at this time. For best compatibility we recommend using PHP 7.4 until development of PHP 8 matures.

.COM Domain Price Increase

July 21, 2021

Effective July 21, 2021, pricing for new .COM domain name registrations and transfers will change to reflect an increase in price of all .COM domain names as announced by Verisign and ICANN, the operators of the .COM TLD.

.COM domain names expiring within the next 30 days will renew at existing rates. No changes will be made to existing renewal invoices.

.COM domains expiring after August 20, 2021 will renew at the following rates:

Was $16.99CAD >> Now $18.99CAD/year
Was $12.99USD >> Now $13.99USD/year

Scheduled Maintenance: MySQL Upgrades on Lockhart, Malfoy and Sirius [Completed]

February 3, 2021

In the evening of Friday, March 5, 2021, we will be upgrading the MySQL database server on our Lockhart, Malfoy and Sirius servers from MySQL 5.6 to MySQL 5.7. MySQL will be run with strict mode disabled for best compatibility.

Prior to the upgrades, database servers will be briefly taken offline in order to make a complete backup of all customer databases. Websites utilizing MySQL databases will become temporarily unavailable for a short period until the MySQL upgrades have completed on each server.

This document will be updated with our progress as the upgrades are performed.

Progress:

Lockhart – Completed
Malfoy – Completed
Sirius – Completed

Upcoming Changes to Default Spam Scanner Settings

February 3, 2021

Last fall we introduced a new, highly-anticipated feature for our MailScanner spam scanner — the ability to automatically move spam emails to a special Spam folder within your email accounts.

This allows customers to keep their inboxes free of spam, while providing a convenient way to review emails that have been flagged as spam.

Currently our MailScanner spam scanner is configured to deliver low-scoring spam and update the subject line of the email to identify it as potential spam.

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, we will change the default settings of our spam scanner to automatically move low-scoring spam emails to a Spam folder within your email accounts.

The Spam folder can either be accessed through Webmail or with an IMAP email client on your computer/device to allow you to easily review emails that have been flagged as spam.

To prevent your email accounts from growing excessively large, emails within your Spam folder will be automatically purged after 60 days.

Please note that your spam scanner settings will only be changed on April 1st if you are currently using our default settings. If you have made any modifications to your MailScanner settings in the past your custom settings will remain in place and this change will not be applied to your account unless you manually update your MailScanner settings in cPanel to enable the new SpamBox feature.

2020 Year in Review

December 31, 2020

2020 has been a heck of a year.

Our staff began working from home in early March and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We thank you for bearing with barking dogs and crying babies during phone calls with us.

When the pandemic brought the first wave of lockdowns, support requests increased tenfold, as many customers required assistance getting setup at home.

We quickly shifted our focus away from marketing endeavours and plans for expansion and tried to focus our efforts on providing the best support we can during this most troubling time.

We had heartbreaking conversations with many customers who were forced to close their businesses after decades of operation and were inspired by those who were able to shift their businesses online.

Even while working from home and with a 10X increase in phone calls and emails, we were able to shave a minute off of last year’s support ticket response time average. Day or night, our support ticket response time average for 2020 was 19 minutes!

While we saw a record number of cancellations earlier this year, we our thankful that our business has remained strong and stable, and we are now seeing an increased demand for our services as retail businesses rush to build websites and online stores.

Now that we have adapted to this new normal, we look forward to 2021 and resuming our plans for feature improvements and expansion.

Here are a few things we’re excited to launch in the New Year:

  • Major improvements to our email spam and virus scanner
  • Introduction of PHP 8.0 support
  • Migrating all remaining MySQL database servers to MariaDB (an optimized replacement)
  • Deploying new servers on next-generation Linux operating systems on new hardware with significantly faster SSD storage.

Have a Happy New Year and a safe and healthy 2021!