Scheduled Downtime: Jan 15 2015

This is an announcement that on January 15 at around 3PM PST VlexoFree will go down for scheduled maintenance to replace a hard drive.

The process can take up to 12 hours, but most likely if everything goes smoothly it will be down for only a few hours.

It is recommended that you manually make a full account backup and download the backup to your personal computer just to be safe in case any problems arise.

For instructions to make an account backup read this post: http://vlexofree.com/blog/2013/09/reminder-backup-your-account/

Downtime Report: September 3rd

This is a short report about the recent server downtime. At about 02:50am (PST /PDT) on September 3rd the server went down due to, what I suspect is a hardware issue. The server was brought back online at about 08:50am leading to 6hrs of downtime.

I’m in the process of contacting the upstream provider to determine the source of the issue.

Sorry for any inconvenience this downtime has caused.

-Eli L

Apache upgraded to 2.4 and more..

Today I upgraded our Apache (what’s used to make your web pages be seen on the internet) version to the 2.4 series (was the 2.2 series before). With this upgrade should come performance improvements so you should see your web pages load a bit faster now. For an in depth look at what’s new take a look at: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/current/new_features_2_4.html

An important note for all users who are running an RoR application, apache 2.4 is adding the index file name from the DirectoryIndex directive to the URI, so if rails is in production mode this shows up as a 404 error causing cpanel’s/apache’s redirect/rewrite to not work making your application not show up. To fix this you must add the following to your “.htaccess” file in your “/public_html” folder:

DirectoryIndex disabled

Other minor news is that PHP was also updated to the latest 5.4 minor version, which is not that exciting. The next major update should be updating PHP to version 5.5 but it was made available to cPanel only a few days ago so I’m going to give it some time to mature and fix any bugs that come up.

Exploit: “Hacked By Badi” – Explanation and Steps to Remove

After getting reports today about WordPress installs getting hacked on the server I did some investigating and found that this may be a server wide hacking, meaning potentially all WordPress installs may have been defaced on the server.

The exploit was mostly likely caused by a vulnerability in Apache having to due with symlinks.

If you were effected by this, I have wrote the following article to help you: http://vlexofree.com/wiki/Exploit:_Hacked_by_badi

I have also recompiled apache/php with a patch to prevent the exploit (although the patch may cause issues of its own) and globally changed everyone’s “wp-conf.php” to “600” permissions.

The exploit did not compromise your overall WordPress install or your passwords. The only changes made by the exploit are to the wordpress database in the following locations: the wordpress title, charset, and widgets. It only takes a few steps to fix, but it is a bit annoying to have to do it.

Server Reboot: April 24th 2013

If anyone noticed (hopefully you didn’t since the downtime was only about 5 minutes), the server was rebooted at around 12:30am PDT today.

First I’ll start off with the bad news…. which is that the server’s uptime has gone from 176 days of being continually online, back down to 0 days. Looking at the graph below it is a sad sight indeed. 🙁

Uptime graph

If you look at the far right you can see the emptiness of the drop to 0 days.

But! With all good things comes consequences. Which leads me to the Good News!

The reboot was not pointless, but required so we could boot into an updated kernel that fixed multiple security issues, address several hundred bugs, and added numerous enhancements. Exciting, right?

PHP’s configuration file updated for PHP 5.4

I thought I would let everyone know that I have just replaced cPanel’s old PHP configuration file with one designed for PHP 5.4. This should lead to some performance improvements for PHP scripts.

If you’re having any issues with you scripts that weren’t there before, be sure to post your issue in the VlexoFree Support Forum.

Note: My next project, once I have time, is to update to Apache 2.4 and resolve any issues that might cause.

Recent Downtime Announcement – Sept 29 to Oct 1

Here is the explanation for this weekend’s downtime that you’ve all probably have noticed.

On September 29th at around 6am (GMT -8:00) the server went offline for what was supposed to be a simple hard drive replacement due to a few SMART errors showing hard drive wear. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication between me and the upstream provider, the contents of the old drive were not transfered over to the new drive. The time between that and October 1st the downtime was due to waiting for responses from upstream and hiring a 3rd party to transfer all the data to the new hard drive. At 3pm (GMT -8:00) on October 1st all the data was transfered successfully to the new hardrive and all problems were successfully resolved.

There was no dataloss due to the drive transfer and in all, there was about 57 hours of downtime.

In regard to emails sent to your VlexoFree hosted email accounts; if you had emails sent to you during the downtime you will most likely start to receive them within the day as the sending host retries their mail queue.

Sorry for the unacceptably long downtime caused by this and the inconveniences it may have caused you. Hopefully this will not happen again.

Eli L.
VlexoFree Owner, System Administrator

Server issues – May 17th

For the first time in a while the server has had some major downtime.

Basically at 7:30am PST the server’s internet connection went offline and unfortunately I was asleep until about 10:30. So, when I woke up to see the server down I contacted upstream support and they replaced a faulty ethernet cable on the server.

About 3 hours downtime total; and I’m very sorry for any inconvenience.

-Eli L