Account Upgrade Notice
Posted by Joe Rebis on 05 June 2012 09:42 AM
This important announcement is directed to our customers on our Windows 2003 / Helm web hosting platform. If you are a new customer within the last year, please disregard.
Customers on our old platform we will be moved to our new web hosting platform this month. If you did not opt to take the self-migrate option we offered last year, this is a mandatory and unavoidable upgrade due to difficulties forced upon us by the Helm control panel software and the aging Windows Server 2003 platform.
Your participation is required.
The process will begin next Monday June 11th and continue for 3-6 weeks until complete. Your particular website(s) will be moved at an unannounced time during this window. You will receive a notice when we begin and when we finish along with specific instructions.
Most of the work will be done for you, but your participation is required in testing your website to ensure everything is working correctly after the move. For most customers little downtime is expected as your website visitors will go to the old server or the new server. Your email service and databases will remain unaffected, but FTP will be disabled during the move.
We have listed some specific situations that may cause some problems. Please take a moment to review the list to see what applies to you. Please feel free to reply to this email with any questions, but please note it is not possible to review each site in specific detail to offer a “guarantee”- otherwise we would have done so already.
This isn’t just about switching your control panel software. Since the process of switching your control panel software is nearly as in depth as moving you entirely - we opted to solve all problems at once. Your website will be placed on speedy new x64 bit servers packed with 24 CPU cores / 32GB of RAM, Windows Server 2008 R2 / IIS 7.5, PHP, .NET, ColdFusion 8 (soon to be 10), full .HTACCESS support, and our new control panel software.
This is a tremendous amount of effort for everyone involved, but it is in fact better and part of the natural, sometimes frustrating, cycle of technology. We appreciate your business and look forward to servicing your account on our speedy new servers.
Technical Details - Please review carefully.
If you are not sure if these settings apply to you, please note we are making our best effort to migrate your website with little or no problems. We WILL notify you of issues we find and will provide assistence in correcting those issues once your account has been moved.
Windows Server 2008 R2 x64
Your website(s) will be moved to new high-powered servers (24 CPU Cores and 48GB of RAM each) running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 with IIS 7.5 and Helicon APE, an Apache emulator to extend functionality. Websites will be placed in their own Application Pools for performance and isolation. The new control panel system is called Web Site Panel and includes the Microsoft Web Application Gallery, database/website backups tools, the latest PHP & .NET releases (All Frameworks) and ColdFusion 8 (soon to be ColdFusion 10). IIS 7.5 features remote IIS access, configurable web.config files for making on-the-fly IIS changes, integrated URL Rewriting, Caching, and Compression options. The new Helicon APE tool will give you the ability to use standard .HTACCESS files for URL rewriting, caching, compression, and password protection too.
By default, websites are created in a 32bit Integrated Application Pool with PHP 5 and ASP.NET Framework 2 enabled by default. This is ideal for website’s running PHP and ColdFusion as you will still need .NET enabled to use the new .HTACCESS capability and make modifications to your web.config file. If you are using ASP.NET you may upgrade the application pool to whatever version you need.
The PATH to your website files will change for those of you referencing it in your scripts. The new path will be sent to you when we move your website. We will be attempting to automatically update files with the invalid reference, but in some cases this may not be possible. E.g. stored in the database
MS Access / 32 bit ODBC DSNs
If you are using an ODBC DSN, aside from a ColdFusion DSN, you may need to request us to manually setup a 32bit ODBC connection as Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 typically uses x64 ODBC DSNs. Please contact us AFTER the move by submitting a DETAILED email to email@example.com. Please be sure to include the name of the requested 32Bit ODBC DSN, and the location of your MS ACCESS database.
Dedicated IP addresses
If you have a dedicated IP address or are using an SSL certificate (a dedicated IP is required) your dedicated IP address will almost certainly change. We will update DNS for you if you are using our DNS service.
If you are not using our DNS service for your domain please see Customers with 3rd Party DNS Servers below.
If you currently have an SSL certificate we will be migrated them to the new server automatically. This process may take longer to complete. Please contact us if your SSL certificate is not working after we notify you that your site has been moved.
Password Protection Services
If you are currently using the old password protection tools please take steps now to protect your content if it absolutely cannot be exposed. we recommend renaming those pages temporarily. We will not be held responsible for exposed data.
We will be making all attempts to restore your password protection automatically, but due to variations in those systems over the years and file path changes it may not be possible. We have two ways to protect content going forward using the new control panel. Please see Secured Folders or .HTACCESS in the settings area for your website in the new control panel.
Shared SSL will not be able to be migrated to the new system automatically. Additionally, the URL to the shared SSL feature will change. If you are currently using the Shared SSL feature you will need to re-enable it in the settings area for your website in the new control panel system, and then update your links accordingly in your website code.
Usage of URL Rewriting
If your website is doing URL rewriting using our ISAPI_Rewrite 2 tool then you will need to update those rules to the new .HTACCESS format we now support. You will know this is the case if you have a file in your WWWROOT folder called HTTPD.ini.
The new rewriting tool emulates what you might typically use on Linux/Apache servers so most of what you find online for .HTACCESS can be used interchangeably on either system.
Please see the following examples to rewrite your rules to the new format.
Please note, IIS 7.5 also has a URL Rewrite tool built-in which can be configured using the web.config file which will now automatically appear in all websites regardless if you are using .NET or not. The web.config files adds a whole new level of control over your IIS website.
See Web.Config Reference:
Front Page Users
FrontPage was discontinued in 2003 and was replaced by Microsoft Expression in 2006. Our new servers WILL NOT support Front Page, but will support Microsoft Expression and Web Matrix.
If you have a Front Page website it may not function entirely, or function correctly, after this move. please take immediate action.
We recommend upgrading to Microsoft Expression or one of the many open-source options out there like WordPress. We would be happy to help set this up ASAP for you to begin moving content.
Non Standard DNS / Web Server Setups
Over the years we have made custom DNS and custom web server modifications to users for a variety of reasons, but most especially for DotNetNuke users running multiple portals (aliases) with and without independent email service.
These custom changes will be lost and unrecoverable. You will need to re-implement your custom DNS and web server changes using the control panel AFTER you are moved. This DOES NOT apply to custom email MX DNS records. If you are using a 3rd party name server this will be especially important. See Customers with 3rd Party DNS Servers below.
Customers with 3rd Party DNS Servers
The process of moving your website will likely involve an IP address update. If we are managing your DNS then we will take care of updating your DNS for you.
However, if you are using a 3rd party DNS server, action will need to be taken by you after your website has been moved. If you do as “WhoIS” look up on each of your domains and one of the following nameservers is NOT listed - then this applies to you.
After the move you will need to login to the new control panel, determine your new IP address and update the WWW and @ records at your 3rd party DNS provider to the new IP address.
1) Go to http://www.whois.sc
Sub-Domains & Domain Aliases
Domain aliases and sub-domains may be added beyond your total domain limit count inside the new web hosting plans. However, in the case you want to use a sub-domain as an independent website, or an independent website pointing to a sub-directory in your primary site root folder, it is counted against your website count. Otherwise, it will simply point to the root of your primary website. This is contrary to our Helm system where it did not count against your hosted website quota. We will grandfather in existing setups like this and increase your website quota when used reasonably. You can circumvent this by using .HTACCESS directives if you so choose. See our KB.
Virtual Directories will not be able to be migrated to the new system automatically. If you are currently using virtual directories you will need to re-add the virtual directory using in the settings area of your website in the control panel.
Unfortunately, we no longer offer Reseller Web Hosting plans. It has not been a business model that has worked out for us. In fact, immediately after this migration, but after the ColdFusion 10 upgrade, we will begin branding all of our services under EPhost, Inc. look-and-feel (see below though).
That said, we will move you, as a Reseller, to the new Control Panel system. However, all of your domains will be placed under your root reseller account rather than nested in individual customer web hosting accounts. You will need to reorganize these accounts AFTER the migration has been made and you will need our help to do this. However, you will FIRST need to create adequate reseller hosting plans, create individual customer accounts, and then assign the hosting plans to the customers PRIOR to contacting us to help reorganize.
Please note the BILLING SYSTEM in this new panel is provided without warranty and has NEVER been tested. However, there are a few upsides including the ability to install the Control Panel portal software directly on your own website (not required) and brand it for customers (not required). We recommend WHMCS for billing and account management which can be installed on your website, branded and works with the new panel perfectly. Please see: http://www.whmcs.com