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

May 5, 2023

In the evening of Saturday, May 20, 2023 we will be upgrading the MariaDB (MySQL) database server on our Hermione, Snape and Tonks servers from MariaDB 10.3 to MariaDB 10.5.

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

2022 Year in Review

January 3, 2023

Thank you for supporting small business and selecting Varial Hosting as your independent hosting provider.

2022 brought a number of exciting changes to our company that I’m happy to reflect on and share with you today.

In January we moved out of our long-term office space and transitioned into an entirely remote workforce. While I deeply miss all of the tenants and businesses that we shared a building with, I grew to love working from home again and having the ability to spend more time with family.

A friendly reminder to our customers who pay by cheque, please note that our mailing address is now:

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

While the pros and cons of remote work will surely be debated for years, it has been a natural and effective transition for our company.

In fact, our 24/7 support ticket response time average for 2022 was just 16 minutes!

This even includes emails sent to us in the middle of the night on a weekend and happens to be our best year ever, with a reduction from 22 minutes last year.

We also added another full-time employee to our company last year! When my wife, Cara Warnar, completed her maternity leave, she left her previous employer to become our new Sales and Marketing Manager. I guess you could say we’re a family-owned mom and pop shop now!

One challenge we faced is the continued increase of our operating expenses from many of our suppliers.

When our former domain registration partner announced a significant increase to their domain rates, we explored other options instead of increasing customer pricing. In June we announced that we would be changing our domain registration partner so that we could keep customer pricing the same and also begin to offer Whois Privacy for free.

I believe that Whois Privacy is an essential service to improve the privacy of our customers and reduce the spam they receive. When our former partner announced that they would be increasing the cost of their Whois Privacy service to an amount that I feel would discourage customers from purchasing it, I knew a change had to be made.

I am very happy that domain names registered through Varial Hosting now include Whois Privacy for free and it is enabled by default!

With this fee removed it saves our customers $4.99/year per domain, and has already saved our customers thousands of dollars since implementing the change! As always, we are committed to acting in our customer’s best interests and keeping prices as low as possible.

Last year we also introduced PHP 8.1 support across all of our servers, deployed our most expensive server yet (and made an Instragram Reel about it that went viral) and our data center completed major upgrades to their network and power infrastructure to make our services even faster and more reliable.

In the coming months an entirely new cPanel theme called Jupiter will be available to all customers. We have been waiting for cPanel’s new design to be finalized so we can expand the resources on our website and create a robust and extensive knowledgebase for our customers as well as all new tutorial videos based on the updated design.

We will celebrate our 20th year of business in 2023 and improving our website is on the top of our list of changes to make.

Thank you for your business and for taking the time to read about our company.

Happy New Year and all the best in 2023!

Ryan Smith
Varial Hosting

Horde Webmail Removal Notice

August 31, 2022

Horde Webmail will be removed from cPanel in the coming months, upon upgrade to version 108 or later of cPanel. This is due to Horde not supporting PHP 8, while PHP 7 reaches its end of life in November 2022. Additionally, critical security vulnerabilities were discovered in Horde over the past year which required us to disable Horde for several weeks until security patches were released.

cPanel will be focusing on RoundCube Webmail going forward and are developing tools that will migrate Horde calendar and contact data to RoundCube upon upgrade to cPanel v108 or later.

If you are currently a Horde Webmail user, we recommend switching to RoundCube the next time you log into Webmail.

Scheduled Network Maintenance: July 5, 2022 [Completed]

June 30, 2022

On Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 7:00AM CST our network uplink will be migrated by data center technicians to a new core switch. This maintenance will cause approximately 60 seconds of downtime across all services as our network uplink is unplugged from its current switch and plugged into the new one.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Change of Domain Registration Partner

June 22, 2022

Our current domain registration partner, Public Domain Registry, has announced a substantial increase to their domain rates which we feel will limit our ability to offer competitive pricing.

Further, they are hiking the price of their Whois Privacy service to an amount we feel would discourage customers from purchasing, despite this being a necessary service to improve privacy and reduce spam.

Instead of increasing our customer’s pricing, we will be changing our domain registration partner, and may seek multiple partners on a per TLD basis in order to offer the best rates we can to our customers.

Effective immediately, .com/net/org/ca domains will now be registered through our new partner.

There will be no changes to pricing for .com/net/org/ca domains but Whois Privacy will now be free of charge and enabled by default for new .com/net/org domain registrations (Whois Privacy is already free for personal .CA domains).

For existing domains due for renewal after August 1st, our staff will facilitate the process of transferring the domains to our new partner upon renewal. To allow time for the domains to be transferred, your next domain renewal invoice will be sent two weeks early. If you had previously paid for Whois Privacy for a .com/net/org domain, this fee will be removed upon transfer to our new partner, saving you $4.99/year.

Upon completion of the domain transfer, you may be asked to confirm your email address with the registry. Please complete this step if you receive an email requesting it.

Customers with domains other than .com/net/org/ca will be notified separately of any potential changes.

While changing our domain registration partner is very time consuming for our staff, this decision has been made in our customer’s interests to avoid an increase in our domain rates.

cPanel Upgraded to v102 Across All Servers

June 13, 2022

The latest major version of cPanel is now available to all Varial Hosting customers.

This version of cPanel brings with it a completely redesigned interface that unifies the designs of cPanel, Webmail and the WHM reseller panel.

All resellers will find that WHM now features the redesigned interface.

cPanel users can optionally switch to the new Jupiter theme at this time. As cPanel plans to discontinue the previous Paper Lantern theme later this year, we intend to switch all customers to the new theme in the near future after applying some customizations and updating support documents.

Emergency Migration of Lockhart Server [Completed]

June 7, 2022

At approximately 4:00AM on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 our Lockhart server went offline. Data center technicians attempted to bring the server back online but the server hardware has failed and is unresponsive.

As attempts to bring our Lockhart server back online were unsuccessful, we have started the emergency migration of all customers previously hosted on our Lockhart server to our new Tonks server.

We have migrated all IP addresses previously used on our Lockhart server to Tonks, so no IP changes will be required.

Due to our Lockhart server being inaccessible, customer data will be restored from backups. A backup job was completed this morning just before our Lockhart server went offline and will be used to restore from.

Customer accounts will be restored alphabetically by username. Due to the large number of accounts to restore this process will take many hours and our staff will be working around the clock until completed. Progress updates will be posted below.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.


This work has been completed and all customer accounts have been migrated from our Lockhart to our new Tonks server.

Horde Webmail Temporarily Disabled [Resolved]

June 1, 2022

Horde Webmail has been temporarily disabled across all servers due to the emergence of a zero-day vulnerability found in the software.

Webmail users can continue to access their email using RoundCube instead.

Horde will be re-enabled once this vulnerability has been patched by our software vendor.

UPDATE: Horde has now been patched and re-enabled across all servers.

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.


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:

To change your PHP version, simply log into your cPanel and follow this guide:

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.