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Varial Celebrates 15 Years of Business

June 1, 2018

Today we celebrate a major milestone.

15 years ago I began selling web hosting and design services as a way to subsidize the cost of running a music discussion forum I had created that was exploding in popularity.

Our first customers were the bands that frequented the forums and other users of the Magento software (now known as Joomla) that I used to develop the site.

We started out as a reseller for the Florida-based hosting company I was using at the time, before expanding to a dedicated server that I had rented from a data center in Texas. After our first few years of business we stopped offering design services to focus solely on web hosting and building our own products.

Upon completing my University education, web hosting became my full-time career as we moved into a downtown Saskatoon office space and purchased our own server hardware which we colocated in Montreal, Quebec.

With business growing rapidly, we incorporated and changed our name from D.I.Y. Web Hosting to Varial Technologies Inc in 2008 and launched a number of successful blogs and iPhone applications, alongside our hosting operations.

In 2011 we relocated our offices to a new technology hub and co-working space in Saskatoon and began making plans to focus our services and ultimately reinvent our company.

With WordPress becoming so popular with our customers we launched our next-generation hosting platform and optimized WordPress hosting plans in 2016 to rave reviews and moved all of our server hardware from Montreal to our new Saskatoon data center. Today WordPress accounts for over 75% of all web applications installed on our servers and runs over 4000X faster compared to our legacy platform!

While we aren’t throwing a big party for our 15th anniversary (like the one pictured above from our most recent website launch), we are planning to catch up on some much needed rest over the weekend and get ready to continue working on many planned backend changes like bringing all servers to feature-parity and improving our website and support materials.

What started as a side project to make a few bucks ultimately led to a 15 year career in technology that sparked unexpectedly. I sincerely want to thank all of our customers, family, and friends for all of their support in making that happen.

Fun fact: Varial is now half as old as the Internet itself!

Much love,

Ryan Smith
CEO
Varial Hosting

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Introducing JetBackup

May 30, 2018

For many years, R1Soft has been our primary tool for daily backups of our servers and disaster recovery.

R1Soft has many benefits over cPanel’s native backup system as it supports fast incremental backups of changed files and full bare-metal restores of entire servers. Unfortunately the software is not without its problems as the longer you seem to use it the slower and less reliable your backups become.

Over the last few years we’ve migrated our R1Soft backups to three different storage servers to combat its issues but problems with it continue to persist. Backups have gone from taking 1-2 hours per server to 6+ hours, with frequent failures requiring a full block scan that can take over 24 hours to complete.

Due to these pressing issues we have decided to replace R1Soft with an alternate solution called JetBackup, which we’ve been testing across our servers for over a year.

JetBackup shares many similarities to cPanel’s native backup system but with many advancements. JetBackup supports incremental backups to remote servers, allows for self-service restores of files and databases through a customer’s cPanel control panel, and is lightweight and uses minimal system resources. More importantly, JetBackup has proven to be more reliable than R1Soft in backing up our servers.

We have set up a brand new storage server for JetBackup and initial replications of our servers are underway. The initial backup will take up to 7 days per server to complete, with subsequent incremental backups then being taken daily. Once initial backups have completed a new JetBackup section will be available in cPanel, allowing customers to directly download and restore their backups.

Once all servers have been backing up with JetBackup for several weeks, we will then disable R1Soft, making JetBackup our primary backup solution going forward.

JetBackup Migration Progress:

Hermione – Completed
Lockhart – Completed
Malfoy – Completed
Potter – Completed
Sirius – Completed
Snape – Completed

 

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Change of Domain Registration Partner

May 15, 2018

After 15 years as our domain registrar, eNom has announced a change to their business model and major price increases coming to all of their partners.

The planned price increases are so drastic that we would have to substantially increase our domain rates, which would put us in a position where we do not feel we could offer competitive pricing.

Instead of increasing our customer’s pricing, we have sought out a new domain registration partner.

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

As customer domains come due for renewal our staff will facilitate the process of transferring the domains to our new partner. To allow time for the domains to be transferred, your next domain renewal invoice will be sent two weeks early.

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.

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 and keep all of our customers at their current pricing.

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Introducing Server Side Caching For Joomla and Drupal

April 12, 2018

Joomla and Drupal users, get ready for a major performance boost!

LiteSpeed Cache, the caching plugin allowing Varial Hosting customers to achieve lightning fast WordPress performance is now available for Joomla and Drupal!

Our server side cache can make your website load hundreds of times faster and reach many more visitors.

Improve your website performance today by installing our LiteSpeed Cache plugins:

How to install LiteSpeed Cache for Joomla
How to install LiteSpeed Cache for Drupal
How to install LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress

Need help installing these plugins? Simply contact our Support department and we’ll install them for you free of charge!

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Varial Featured on Top 10 Website Hosting

April 11, 2018

UK review site, Top 10 Website Hosting recently caught up with our CEO Ryan Smith for an interview and review of our services.

Learn more about our optimized WordPress hosting service and origins of our company by clicking here to read the article!

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Content Delivery Network Expands to 150 Locations Including Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg

April 2, 2018

CloudFlare, our content delivery network partner recently expanded their network to 150 cities across the world, including points of presence in three new Canadian cities, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

With our company and data center located in Saskatoon, this is particularly exciting news for us as CloudFlare is now a participant in the Saskatoon Internet Exchange and can interconnect locally with our data center partner to exchange traffic faster and with lower latency.

Varial Hosting customers can easily activate the CloudFlare content delivery network from their cPanel control panels by following this guide:
https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/hosting/#cloudflare

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Varial Reviewed by FindMyHost.com and Awarded Perfect Grade

February 7, 2018

FindMyHost.com recently reviewed our web hosting service and awarded us a perfect grade after testing our speed, uptime and customer service.

We have been added as an Approved Host to their database and given the following grades:

Support = A
Sales = A
Plans/Features = A
Usability = A

Final Grade = A

Click here to view our full report card.

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.NET Domain Price Change

February 1, 2018

Effective February 1, 2018 pricing for new .NET domain registrations and transfers will change to reflect a recent increase in price of the .net TLD by its registry operator.

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

Domains expiring after March 3, 2018 will renew at the following rates:

.NET:

Was $21.99CAD >> Now $23.99CAD/year
Was $16.99USD >> Now $17.99USD/year

If you have any questions or concerns please contact billing@varialhosting.com for clarification.

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Happy New Year from Varial Hosting

January 1, 2018

January 1st is always an exciting day.

It’s a chance to look back at what has been accomplished and a day to set goals and make plans for the next 365 days.

We had an exciting 2017 and have started on our to-do list for the upcoming year, so we’d like to share our highlights and roadmap ahead with you.

Faster servers. Faster support.

Day or night our support ticket response time average for 2017 was 18 minutes. This blows away industry standards and was even a pleasant surprise to us!

We’ve often heard that the quality of our support is the reason why our clients recommend us, so we’ll always strive to answer your questions as quickly and effectively as possible.

Along with our support, our servers also got faster. We completed the migration of all customers to our next generation hosting platform, bringing many exciting new features like server side caching for WordPress to all of our clients!

We also helped the web become a little more secure by providing free SSL certificates to all domains hosted with us. With the Internet moving towards an encrypted web, Google now ranks websites using SSL certificates higher in their search results!

The road ahead.

As we dive into 2018 we have identified three key areas we plan to focus our attention on:

Feature parity between all servers

Customers who have been with us for a while may find that their default PHP and MySQL versions don’t match up with what we install on our newest servers. Updating all servers so they feature the exact same software configuration is of the highest importance to us. A considerable amount of work is required to ensure compatibility and prepare for this upgrade, so our staff will be working hard throughout the year to complete this. Plenty of advanced notice will be given before server software is upgraded.

New features and better documentation

We will continue to improve our next generation hosting platform and already have several new features in the works, but one thing that could use some love is our documentation and tutorial videos. We plan to revamp the support materials available on our website to keep up all of the big changes we’ve been making.

Marketing and expansion

We’ve invested heavily in our next generation hosting platform and are ready to grow! We hope to expand our customer base and the size of our company through extensive marketing efforts. Expect to see us much more active on social media and placing the occasional advertisements.

We hope you had a happy holiday and your new year is filled with love and prosperity!

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Black Friday 50% Off Hosting Sale

November 23, 2017

Our annual Black Friday sale is back!

Get 50% off your first year of web hosting when ordering using the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at varialhosting.com.

This offer is available through to Cyber Monday and is valid for new orders on annual billing cycles only.

Click here to get 50% off your first year of web hosting!

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