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Default PHP version to be changed to 5.6 on December 1, 2018

November 1, 2018

In the coming months cPanel will be discontinuing their current web stack, in use on our Lockhart, Malfoy, Sirius and Snape servers, in favour of a new, modular system that allows for easy, automatic upgrades of its many components.

We have been preparing for this change for many months, planning the best way to proceed to minimize the impact to our customers. After much testing we have created an upgrade plan that we feel will be the easiest for our customers and introduce the least amount of changes.

On December 1, 2018, all customers who have their PHP version set to our “Native” or default version of PHP will be switched to our alternate, hardened version of PHP 5.6 that is supplied by our operating system and security vendor, CloudLinux.

Customers using Native PHP on our Lockhart, Malfoy and Sirius servers will see their PHP versions changed from 5.4 to 5.6. Customers on our Snape server will remain on PHP 5.6, but will be switched from cPanel’s Native PHP version to CloudLinux’s hardened version of PHP 5.6.

This change will only impact customers who have their PHP version set to “Native” on our Lockhart, Malfoy, Sirius and Snape servers. If you have previously changed your PHP version from Native PHP to an alternate version, you will remain on your current PHP version and will not be affected by this change.

As we have offered customers the ability to change their PHP version from cPanel for many years, you can feel free to make this change in advance of December 1st if you’d like to test your website running under PHP 5.6, or even with newer versions like PHP 7.2 which offers significant performance improvements over PHP 5.

Customers on our Lockhart, Malfoy and Sirius servers can also change to our hardened version of PHP 5.4 if you wish keep your PHP version the same as you are currently using.

To make this change in advance of December 1st, please follow this guide to change your PHP version from your cPanel control panel, or contact our Support department and we’d be happy to apply this change for you.

Once all customers are switched off of Native PHP on December 1st, we will then schedule the upgrade to cPanel’s new, modular web stack at a later date in December.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our Support department for assistance.

Progress:

Lockhart: Completed
Malfoy: Completed
Sirius: Completed
Snape: Completed

Changes to Default Options for Alternative PHP Versions

November 1, 2018

To prepare our servers for upcoming web stack upgrades, the following changes have been applied to our default PHP options for alternative PHP versions.

These changes only affect customers who have changed their PHP version from “Native” to an alternate PHP version on our Lockhart, Malfoy, Sirius and Snape servers.

allow_url_fopen = Off (previously On)
date.timezone = America/Regina (previously undefined)
disable_functions = exec, passthru, popen, proc_open, shell_exec, show_source, system (previously undefined)
max_input_time = 60 (previously -1)
post_max_size = 64M (previously 8M)
upload_max_filesize = 32M (previously 2M)

All of these options are user configurable and can be changed from within cPanel.

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

 

Migrating R1Soft Backups to New Server

October 11, 2017

We are in the process of migrating backups taken using our R1Soft continuous data protection software to a new, more powerful server, to allow for additional storage space and faster backups and restores.

Backups will be taken using a secondary system while this migration occurs for added customer protection.

A full replication of each server will be required, a process that will take up to 48-72 hours per server, afterwards daily backups of changed files and databases will continue as normal.

Migration Progress:

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

If you require a restore from a backup during this time, please contact Support for assistance.

Zeus Server Shutdown Notice

May 7, 2017

Now that the migration of all customers from our Zeus server to our new Sirius server has been completed we are making plans to shutdown and decommission our old Zeus server.

On Monday, May 22, 2017 we will stop all services that are running on our Zeus server.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers and have not yet updated your IP address from 108.163.168.170 to 69.27.124.150 to complete the migration, your service will cease to function on this date until this change is made.

Similarly any attempts to directly connect to Zeus’ IP address 108.163.168.170 after May 22nd will no longer function.

All data will be wiped from the server on Monday, May 29th when Zeus is fully taken out of service.

Zeus Server Migration Progress

May 6, 2017

The transfer of all customers from our Zeus server to our new Sirius server has been completed.

If your domain names are connected to our name server addresses ns1.varialhosting.com, ns2.varialhosting.com, ns3.varialhosting.com and ns4.varialhosting.com (or our older diy-dns.com or diywebhosting.ca name servers), your migration was fully automated and no action is required of you. Your domains will begin to resolve to the new server within 24 hours.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers you must manually update your IP address from 108.163.168.170 to 69.27.124.150 to complete the migration. This change should be made immediately to avoid an interruption of your service.

Over the coming weeks we will begin to add many exciting new features to bring our Sirius server inline with the feature set of our next generation hosting platform.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@varialhosting.com for assistance.

Zeus Server Migration Scheduled for May 6, 2017

April 5, 2017

Beginning Saturday, May 6, 2017 all customers hosted on our Zeus server will be migrated to a new web hosting server as part of our commitment to provide all existing customers with a free upgrade to our next generation hosting platform that we recently launched last year.

The migration to our next generation hosting platform will be completed in two stages:

1. Server Migration / Operating System Upgrade

Our Zeus server currently uses aging server hardware and a last generation operating system. We will take this opportunity to migrate all customers currently hosted on our Zeus server to a new, significantly more powerful server that features the latest Linux operating system.

Our new Sirius server is physically located in our new Saskatoon data center. We have deployed our Sirius server with a similar configuration as Zeus to eliminate compatibility issues at this stage.

2. Feature Additions / Server Software Upgrades

Once all customers are migrated to our new Sirius server we will gradually begin to add new features and upgrade server software to bring it inline with the feature set of our next generation hosting platform so all customers may enjoy the vast performance and security improvements our new platform offers. Customers will be notified when major features are introduced or when changes are scheduled that require customer attention.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT ME???

If your domain names are connected to our name server addresses ns1.varialhosting.com, ns2.varialhosting.com, ns3.varialhosting.com and ns4.varialhosting.com (or our older diy-dns.com or diywebhosting.ca name servers), your migration will be fully automated and no action is required of you. Your domains will begin to resolve to the new server within 24 hours of being migrated.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers you must manually update your IP address from 108.163.168.170 to 69.27.124.150 with your DNS provider to complete the migration. This change should be made on Sunday, May 7th after your account has been copied over to the new server to avoid an interruption of your service.

No website downtime is anticipated however we ask that you do not update your websites on Saturday, May 6th and Sunday, May 7th while the migration occurs. We will begin at 6:00am MST on Saturday and expect it to take up to 24 hours to copy all data to the new server and complete the migration for all customers.

Once your account has been migrated you may experience a delay receiving new mail until your domain is resolving to the new server. If you require urgent access to your email you can directly login to Webmail on the new server at https://sirius.varialhosting.com/webmail/ to view new mail you have received until you are able to connect to your email normally. If your email accounts are connecting over SSL please accept any certificate warnings if prompted.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@varialhosting.com so we can help to ensure that your server migration will be as smooth as possible.

We will be posting updates during the migration at https://varialhosting.com/support/zeus-migration/ if you wish to follow along with our progress.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and we hope you enjoy the many performance and security improvements coming your way!

Ares Server Shutdown Notice

March 26, 2017

Now that the migration of all customers from our Ares server to our new Sirius server has been completed we are making plans to shutdown and decommission our old Ares server.

On Monday, April 10, 2017 we will stop all services that are running on our Ares server.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers and have not yet updated your IP address from 108.163.173.34 to 69.27.124.150 to complete the migration, your service will cease to function on this date until this change is made. Customers with dedicated IP addresses have been provided with alternate instructions.

Similarly any attempts to directly connect to Ares’ IP address 108.163.173.34 after April 10th will no longer function.

All data will be wiped from the server on Monday, April 17th when Ares is fully taken out of service.

Ares Server Migration Progress

March 25, 2017

The transfer of all customers from our Ares server to our new Sirius server has been completed.

If your domain names are connected to our name server addresses ns1.varialhosting.com, ns2.varialhosting.com, ns3.varialhosting.com and ns4.varialhosting.com (or our older diy-dns.com or diywebhosting.ca name servers), your migration was fully automated and no action is required of you. Your domains will begin to resolve to the new server within 24 hours.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers you must manually update your IP address from 108.163.173.34 to 69.27.124.150 to complete the migration. This change should be made immediately to avoid an interruption of your service. Customers with dedicated IP addresses have been contacted with alternate instructions.

Over the coming weeks we will begin to add many exciting new features to bring our Sirius server inline with the feature set of our next generation hosting platform.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@varialhosting.com for assistance.

Ares Server Migration Scheduled for March 25 & 26, 2017

February 22, 2017

Beginning Saturday, March 25, 2017 all customers hosted on our Ares server will be migrated to a new web hosting server as part of our commitment to provide all existing customers with a free upgrade to our next generation hosting platform that we recently launched last year.

The migration to our next generation hosting platform will be completed in two stages:

1. Server Migration / Operating System Upgrade

Our Ares server currently uses a Linux operating system which will soon reach its end of life and must be upgraded. We will take this opportunity to migrate all customers currently hosted on our Ares server to a new, significantly more powerful server that features the latest Linux operating system.

Our new Sirius server is physically located in our new Saskatoon data center and its upgraded operating system introduces many highly requested features like TLS 1.2 encryption and the ability to install SSL certificates without the need for a dedicated IP address.

We will deploy our Sirius server with a similar configuration as Ares to eliminate compatibility issues at this stage.

2. Feature Additions / Server Software Upgrades

Once all customers are migrated to our new Sirius server we will gradually begin to add new features and upgrade server software to bring it inline with the feature set of our next generation hosting platform so all customers may enjoy the vast performance and security improvements our new platform offers. Customers will be notified when major features are introduced or when changes are scheduled that require customer attention.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT ME???

If your domain names are connected to our name server addresses ns1.varialhosting.com, ns2.varialhosting.com, ns3.varialhosting.com and ns4.varialhosting.com (or our older diy-dns.com or diywebhosting.ca name servers), your migration will be fully automated and no action is required of you. Your domains will begin to resolve to the new server within 24 hours of being migrated.

If you are using a 3rd party DNS service to point your domains to our servers you must manually update your IP address from 108.163.173.34 to 69.27.124.150 with your DNS provider to complete the migration. This change should be made on Sunday, March 26th after your account has been copied over to the new server to avoid an interruption of your service. Customers with dedicated IP addresses will be contacted with alternate instructions.

No website downtime is anticipated however we ask that you do not update your websites on Saturday, March 25th and Sunday, March 26th while the migration occurs. We will begin at 12:00am MST on Saturday and expect it to take up to 48 hours to copy all data to the new server and complete the migration for all customers.

Once your account has been migrated you may experience a delay receiving new mail until your domain is resolving to the new server. If you require urgent access to your email you can directly login to Webmail on the new server at https://sirius.varialhosting.com/webmail/ to view new mail you have received until you are able to connect to your email normally. If your email accounts are connecting over SSL please accept any certificate warnings if prompted.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@varialhosting.com so we can help to ensure that your server migration will be as smooth as possible.

We will be posting updates during the migration at https://varialhosting.com/support/ares-migration/ if you wish to follow along with our progress.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and we hope you enjoy the many performance and security improvements coming your way!