Birdhouse Hosting News and Updates
Note: In the event of a system outage, this News page may not be available. Our status system, however, lives on a completely independent server and will always be available. Please bookmark status.birdhousehosting.com.
In our ongoing effort to detect and delete email spam, we’ve updated/modified our technique for obtaining daily updates to SpamAssassin rulesets (sa-update). Please let us know if you notice an improvement in the ratio of spam that slips through the cracks.
Sending mail from a web form is incredibly easy with our server-wide form-mail clone. Nothing to install – just include a few required fields in your form and you’re off to the races. We’ve just added a new FAQ to cover the details.
Birdhouse Hosting is proud to announce support for Ruby on Rails! All users will now find a new Ruby on Rails icon in their cPanel, and we’ve written a new Rails FAQ explaining how to get a RoR application scaffold off the ground. We’re looking forward to seeing what you create.
Birdhouse is pleased to announce our new Plan A account, optimized for student budgets and hosting needs. The Plan A account is available to students everywhere (with proof of enrollment, if we don’t already know you), and is valid until one year after graduation.
We’ve also reduced rates slightly for our other hosting plans, increased bandwidth and storage allocations across the board, and increased the number of plan features available to all users.
To celebrate our recent upgrades to CentOS, Apache 2, and PHP 5, the launch of a new specialized student hosting plan, and reduced hosting rates and increased bandwidth offerings for all users, Birdhouse is proud to launch the brand new Birdhouse Hosting web site you’re looking at now.
The entire site is built on WordPress, and features a newly integrated News section. The fancy navigation menu animation unfortunately doesn’t work in Internet Explorer, but degrades nicely and is still functional for brain-dead browsers.
Please let us know what you think!
We have completed the process of upgrading Apache and PHP to the latest versions (Apache 2.2.x and PHP 5.2.x), and everything appears to be running normally. In rare instances, some home-brew PHP scripts may break in unexpected ways. These breakages are generally quite easy to fix – contact us and we’ll take a look.
Virtually all modern 3rd-party / open source PHP applications will run fine under PHP5 without modification.
We’re planning to upgrade our installation of Apache to v. 2.2 and PHP to 5.2.5 on the afternoon of Sunday, April 20. After much research, we have concluded that we can do this safely without risk of breaking any existing customer scripts or software. If you find that any functionality on your site is not working as expected, please contact us, and we’ll get things working quickly.
On customer request, emacs is now installed and working (vi and pico were already present).
Go forth and edit!
Quick update: Since migrating from RedHat 9 to CentOS 4.6 and removing MailScanner a few weeks ago, load averages on Birdhouse servers have been reduced almost by a factor three. Performance has been excellent, and all systems are humming along nicely.
(Optimal load levels are below 1.0)
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7pm Pacific time, we’ll be undertaking a major technical upgrade of our hosting platform:
- Red Hat 9 → CentOS 4
- PHP 4 → PHP 5
- MySQL 4 → MySQL 5
We anticipate up to an hour of downtime, though it should be less than that total. The upgrade will be handled by an automated script, painstakingly written and watched over by our rockin’ datacenter. The process is well-tested and we do not anticipate any major issues, though it’s possible some minor things may crop up. Please let us know immediately if anything’s not working for you after the upgrade.
Update: The operating system upgrade went extremely well; downtime was less than 30 minutes. We had a few loose ends to tie up: Missing Smarty libs, some SSL issues, but everything’s getting ironed out quickly. SSL email on gong.birdhouse.org may not be fixed before morning.
SpamAssassin kept running, but the setting that enables SA for each user automatically had not made it across the migration. Spam was allowed through the system during this period. Spam settings were re-enabled a couple of hours after the migration was completed.
Unfortunately, the PHP / Apache / MySQL upgrades may have to wait for another day. We’re still running the previous AMP stack, and will tackle this portion of the upgrade soon.
Update 2: SSL certs for POP/IMAP access are working again, and we’ve ironed out all known issues (all were fairly minor; most users didn’t notice that anything had changed).
We’ll post an update on the AMP upgrade plans soon.