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cPanel Updated to v74 Across All Servers

September 5, 2018

The latest major release of cPanel is now available to all Varial Hosting customers. Version 74 includes improvements to the new Git Version Control feature, improved domain validation to reduce hiccups when issuing SSL certificates and automated spammer detection to prevent spam from sending from our servers.

More details on all the new features can be found at:
https://releases.cpanel.com/

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Stop Malware with Proactive Defense

August 2, 2018

One of the biggest innovations in website security is now available to all Varial Hosting customers!

Unlike traditional approaches that scan and remove malware from infected websites, Proactive Defense analyzes the behaviour of PHP code in realtime and stops dangerous executions, preventing malware from running in the first place.

Thousands of malware samples were analyzed to develop heuristics to distinguish malicious behavior from legitimate activity. By analyzing running PHP code and detecting dangerous executions in realtime, Proactive Defense is able to stop both known and zero-day malware in its tracks!

Top security researcher Patrick William of Rack911 Labs has said this of Proactive Defense:

“After extensively testing Proactive Defense, we’re confident that it will stop almost all malware in realtime. Combined with the other features of Imunify360, there is nothing else on the market that offers such a high level of security.”

After weeks of testing, not a single false positive has been reported and Proactive Defense has now been enabled as part of our Imunify360 security package for all Varial Hosting customers!

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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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How to Avoid a “Not Secure” Warning on Your Website

May 1, 2018

Web browser developers are strongly pushing for an encrypted web and are taking actions to encourage website owners to begin using HTTPS.

The latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari now display a “Not Secure” warning when visiting a login or payment page over HTTP. This is to alert the user that the information they are submitting is being sent over an unencrypted connection.

To remove the “Not Secure” warning, these pages should be accessed over HTTPS instead so the information is transmitted over a secure, encrypted connection from the user’s browser to the server. To use HTTPS, your website must have a valid SSL certificate installed for your domain name.

We got you!

The good news is that Varial Hosting provides free SSL certificates for all domains hosted on our servers! Free SSL certificates have been provided for over a year and are ready for our customers to begin using.

For example, Varial customers can log into their cPanel and Webmail interfaces securely over HTTPS from the following locations:

https://cpanel.yourdomain.com/
https://webmail.yourdomain.com/

* Replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain name.

You can also log into your WordPress administrative area securely over HTTPS from an address like:

https://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/

Make the switch

The next step is to use HTTPS across your entire website. This not only offers a security advantage, but can improve search engine rankings and speed up your website by enabling the next-generation HTTP/2 and QUIC protocols which are available only to HTTPS websites.

Switching your website to HTTPS may be as easy as typing in https://www.yourdomain.com/ instead of http://www.yourdomain.com/ in your browser.

However, it unfortunately is not always that simple. Changes to your website code may be required to make your website compatible with HTTPS.

We recommend reading over the following articles for more information on preparing your website for HTTPS compatibility:

Why is the lock icon not displaying or my website loading incorrectly when accessed over HTTPS?
– How do I redirect all visitors to HTTPS?

If you require assistance updating your existing website for HTTPS / SSL compatibility, please consult a web design firm. Varial Hosting does not provide support for updating a customer’s website code.

The ugly

In a bold move, Google has announced that in version 68 of their Chrome browser (due later this year), they will begin to label all pages accessed over HTTP as “Not Secure”. This will force the hand of website owners to switch to HTTPS to avoid scaring away visitors with this glaring warning.

If your website is not currently taking advantage of HTTPS, we recommend making the switch at your earliest convenience!

Update: A professional HTTP to HTTPS conversion service for WordPress websites is now available for Varial Hosting customers.

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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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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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WordPress Cache Plugin Updated to v2.0

March 9, 2018

LiteSpeed Cache, the caching plugin allowing Varial Hosting customers to achieve lightning fast Wordpress performance has just been updated to version 2.0. This new version includes big improvements to image optimization, bug fixes and more.

Customers can update this plugin through their WordPress admins or install it by following this guide: https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/wordpress/#caching

Changelog:

v2.0

  • [NEW FEATURE] Image Optimization Added level up guidance.
  • [REFACTOR] Image Optimization Refactored Image Optimization class.
  • [IAPI] Image Optimization New European Image Optimization server (EU2).
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Manual pull action continues pulling until complete.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] CDN Multiple CDNs can now be randomized for a single resource.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Improved compatibility of long src images.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Reduced runtime load.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Avoid potential loss/reset of notified images status when pulling.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Avoid duplicated optimization for multiple records in Media that have the same image source.
  • [IMPROVEMENT] Image Optimization Fixed issue where phantom images continued to show in not-yet-requested queue.
  • [BUGFIX] Core Improved compatibility when upgrading outside of WP Admin. (@jikatal @TylorB)
  • [BUGFIX] Crawler Improved HTTP/2 compatibility to avoid erroneous blacklisting.
  • [BUGFIX] Crawler Changing Delay setting will use server variable for min value validation if set.
  • [UPDATE] Crawler Added HTTP/2 protocol switch in the Crawler settings.
  • [UPDATE] Removed unnecessary translation strings.
  • [GUI] Display translated role group name string instead of English values. (@Richard Hordern)
  • [GUI] Added Join LiteSpeed Slack link.
  • [GUI] Import / Export Cosmetic changes to Import Settings file field.
  • [INTEGRATION] Improved compatibility with WPML Media for Image Optimization. (@szmigieldesign)
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Next Generation QUIC Protocol Now Supported

October 20, 2017

QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) is a next generation internet protocol developed by and in use across most of Google’s services. It improves upon HTTP/2 by reducing the time it takes to begin serving content.

By replacing TCP with UDP, and encrypting the majority of its payload, QUIC shortens the handshake process by a factor of two or three, all while maintaining data security. </end technical mumbo jumbo>

Today you can use QUIC on more than just Gmail as it is now available to all Varial Hosting customers!

To start using QUIC your website just needs to be accessed over HTTPS from a supported browser.

That’s all there is to it! Enjoy faster page loading times!

QUIC is enabled by default in Google’s Chrome browser and support has been recently added to the Opera browser as an optional setting.

(Please note that QUIC is not yet supported on websites that have the CloudFlare content delivery network enabled.)

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WordPress Cache Plugin Updated with Support for Edge Side Includes

September 1, 2017

LiteSpeed Cache, the caching plugin allowing Varial Hosting customers to achieve lightning fast Wordpress performance has just been updated to version 1.2.0.1. This new version includes a major new feature, support for edge side includes (ESI)!

What are Edge Side Includes?

ESI allows you to serve both public and privately cached content together on one page. In other words, ESI allows you to designate parts of your page as separate fragments that are treated differently from the rest of the page.

For example, if you use WordPress’ Recent Posts widget, normally all pages would be purged and recached whenever a new post is published in order for that widget to display the most up to date information. With ESI enabled, all pages remain cached with and only the widget fragment needing to be purged and recached.

If you use WooCommerce, you can now cache your entire website but leave your shopping cart widget uncached so it always stays up to date for each individual visitor.

Varial Hosting customers can update their LiteSpeed Cache plugin through their WordPress admins or install it by following this guide:
https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/wordpress/#caching

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How to use the official cPanel iPhone and Android Apps

August 30, 2017

Earlier this year cPanel released official mobile apps for iPhone and Android, that allow Varial Hosting customers to easily access their cPanel control panel and Webmail interfaces from their mobile devices.

To get started simply download the cPanel app from the links below or search for “cPanel” in your device’s app store:

Download for iOS
Download for Android

Once downloaded open the cPanel app and press on the + icon at the top left to add an account.

On the next screen you will need to enter your cPanel login information.

Under the Name field, you can type anything to identify the account, such as cPanel.
Under the Address field, type cpanel.yourdomain.com (replacing yourdomain.com with your actual domain name).
Ensure the Service field is set to cPanel.
Next, type in your cPanel username and password. When you hit Connect you will be logged into your cPanel control panel.

You can also use the cPanel app to connect to your email account’s Webmail interface.

To connect to your email, repeat the above process but enter your Webmail login information instead.

Under the Name field, type anything to identify the account, such as Webmail or your email address.
Under the Address field, type webmail.yourdomain.com (replacing yourdomain.com with your actual domain name)
Next, select the Service field and change it to Webmail.
Finally, type in your email address as your username and its password. When you hit Connect you will be logged into your Webmail.

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