WordPress Blog Install – oneClick Installer

There is no doubt that WordPress is the most popular application installed by our oneClick Installer. In fact, it was the first application we added when we first started developing the tool. And while it has had its ups and downs in popularity, even after all this time is sit top of the list for installs.

With our custom installer, the process of getting WordPress setup really couldn’t be easier. In fact, our Support Team will install it onto any new account if you request so, free of charge. This guide will walk you through the steps if you want to do it yourself.

Pre-information

The most common setup for people is to use http://blog.yourdomain.ext just like we have here, but you can of course use whatever layout you want.

Step 1 – The Subdomain

Start by logging into your control panel. Proceed through to Account Utilities and Subdomains. Click Add a new subdomain.

Subdomain = The bit before your domain where you want it to appear
Domain = Your domain
Path = This is the location you want to install the files inside of your public_html folder. Usually the most misunderstood part. At Vade we try to keep things neat so we recommend you install the blog into a subfolder, even if it is the only item on your website.

Step 2 – Installing WordPress

The next step is to hit Web Applications in the menu, select WordPress from the list. Then you choose blog from the subdomain drop-down and ensure your domain is selected in its drop-down.

As seen above, leave the installation path blank. This is used when you are pushing the install into a sub folder of a domain. For example if you wanted the site to appear at
http://blog.vade.ie/subfolder, you would put subfolder into the installation path.

Once the details are in, scroll down and hit Install Application to have WordPress installed for you.

Step 3 – Login to WordPress

After the install, follow the link to the admin section and enter your username and password as specified by the oneClick installer. When you first login, you will probably be presented with the following notice. (The version number will most likely be higher)

WordPress has a very good updating method so just click to update now. You will be transferred to the following page.

Select Upgrade Automatically and after a short wait, you’ll be on the latest version.

The next message you’ll likely notice is about the auto generated password. It is recommended that you follow the steps and change your password to something you’ll remember.

Step 4 – Configure a mail account

While this step is optional, it is recommended. By default we set the admin mail account in WordPress to admin@yourdomain.ext. You can either choose to change it inside of WordPress, or setup an alias for this in the Mail Manager. Either will work fine.

Summary

All that is left now is for you to customise your blog and write your first post. If that means using our own web design services or any of the many free WordPress templates, we wish you the best of luck with your new endeavour.

As always, please contact us with any questions or comments.

Mail Feature Upgrade

Email is often compared to that weed that never dies. Just when a new technology comes along that will supposedly kill it off, it makes another come back. And since it is always one of those things that has to “just work”, we do put a fair amount of effort in to have the features you require to make your life easier.

Over the past year we have been working quietly behind the scenes upgrading our mail infrastructure and adding features to the control panel. What began as a simple upgrade to improve speed has expanded out all the way to additional server side – user level spam filtering, and lots in between. Read on to get an overview of the different features we have added, and even those you may not have known existed.

Server Side – Out of Office

An out of office reply is what you need for those times when you are off work. The server sends a nice email to anyone to emails in your absence, all while your email client is not turned off.

Even though this features has been in the control panel for some time, it is still regularly requested. You can find it in the Mail Manger section when logged into your control panel.

Mail Relay / Non-Local Email

Sometimes referred to a Backup MX, you can now use Vade as a secondary email server should you run your own. While previously you needed to contact Support for this, all the settings are inside of the Mail Manager under Mail Domains. First set the domain to Non-Local, then adjust the transport to where you want the email to be forwarded to.

You can also choose not to use Vade for email and simply turn off local email here. This will force our email server to use whatever DNS entries you have specified.

Updates to Spam Filters

Spam filtering is one of those items that is constantly being worked on. And we here at Vade are continuing to update the different sections to make it more effective.

Over the past year we have improved the hit ratios, both for detecting spam correctly, and reducing the number of incorrectly tagged emails. Because we understand that you’d rather not miss an important email, we always side to less false positives rather than less spam getting through.

All these updates tie closely into the rest of the features.

Customisable (per user) whitelist/blacklist email addresses

For those times when you want to block a particular email from sending mail to yourself, a black list is the way to go. We have expanded it out so that the lists are done per user and you have the ability to set the scoring on them. As such you can determine if you just want it filtered as spam, or even to a level that gets it deleted.

New Billing System

Over the past few months, we’ve worked hard behind the scenes developing our new billing system. And with it, a whole host of new features. While we are still enabling some of them for all of our original customers (you can contact us if there is something you want access to immediately), we have finished the migration of packages onto the system. All invoices going forward are generated by it, and all payments processed through it.

Multiple Notifications

One thing we heard back was that one invoice notice wasn’t enough. We are all human, and getting the renewal notice doesn’t always mean that that we’ll pay right there and then. Sometimes life has to take preference and we forget. We’ve all been there.

As of right now, you’ll get a notice at 30 days out, 14 days, 7 days, 3 days and then 1 day. You can pay anytime during this period too. Once it goes overdue, we can make no guarantees about things staying online as usually the domain registries shut things down, but we’ll give grace on the hosting side. And of course your data remains safe.

Invoice History

In the past we’ve used more than one system for generating invoices for different sets of customers. Since we have it all centralised and accessible by you, our customer, you can easily gain access to invoices, account balances and statements. Not monumental by any stretch, but our aim is always to make your life easier.

Other Features

The developers are adding order features quite regularly as well as finishing the integration right back to the control panel systems. For those with multiple accounts, you will be able to manage them all from one, central location. The authorised user list as well as contact details are all update-able through the new billing interface. In fact, its goal is eventually to become something more…

Watch this space.

Continuous Data Protection

One question we get every now and then is about data backups for our servers. Hopefully this article can clear up what is included and what extra can be done if and when you require it.

What is a backup and why is it important

There are two types of people in the computer world when it comes to backups, those who have lost data, and those that will. When it comes down to it, it is critical to understand that there are multiple ways for data loss. Anything can play a role, from application corruption, to hardware failures, to malicious actions, to natural disasters. And any of these can require a trip to the backup data.

Recent statistics have shown that 1 in 10 harddisks fail or have a critical error each year. And since a harddisk is where your data is being stored, they are some important odds. Here at Vade, we use high quality, server grade disks as well are technologies such a RAID to lower these risks and make the hardware failures transparent to you, the end user.

The biggest reason we get asked to restore data is in fact accidental deletion. We have all experienced it. Just as you are about to copy that file, something happens that takes our attention for a split second, and the wrong file is put in the wrong place, or the wrong file clicked and deleted. In these cases, it pays to have another copy, a backup copy.

7 Day Rolling Backups – and then some

At Vade, we decided a long time ago to have at least 7 days full backups for all our data. While others get away with 24 or 48 hours of backups, we realised that there are times that that just isn’t good enough. Perhaps something happens on a Friday, just before you leave early for the long weekend. And since Monday is a bank holiday, you rightly decided that it was a perfect time for a longer trip away and have booked the Tuesday off too. Your return on Wednesday is greeted with friendly faces asking how you enjoyed the time off. After lunch, just when you have caught up with your email, you notice something overwritten on the website, nothing important, just a small piece of text. By now it is a fully 5 days since the change, but you are safe in the knowledge that the original can be recovered. A quick email to support listing the file, and the damage is undone. Once again, you have saved the day.

Now while that may seem far fetched, you will probably know that it is always those far fetched, edge cases that really cause those headaches. At Vade we have you covered. And not only do we keep 7 days backups, our system actually expands out quite a bit beyond this point in a staggered fashion. With upgrades coming, we do hope to be able to expand this out to a guaranteed month covering all data. But as always, if you require more, please contact us with your requirements. We can accommodate almost any request.

Off site backups

A backup really isn’t a backup until it has been transferred from the machine it came from. Even then, it rightly should go somewhere geographically disperse to cover in case of fire or flooding. So that is exactly what we have done.

Vades backups are all located in a complete physically separate location from our web facing servers, on a separate network, with different providers. The equipment is even using different vendors for everything from servers to the raid cards, and right down to the harddisks. Data is also fully encrypted during the transfer between locations to ensure it is protected. This gives the benefit in that if a once in a lifetime event like a meteor striking the data centre were to occur, your data would still be secure.

Does your existing web hosting provider take as much precautions for the safety of your data?

File based vs Server Based

Firstly let us explain the differences.

File based backups backup the individual files and store them either in another, usually larger compressed file, or in a full copy somewhere else.
Server based backups read the 1’s and 0’s from the harddisks and then store that in another big file.

The main difference is that a server based backup will allow the full machine to be recovered easier, but individual files will take longer.

At Vade, we understand that should you need your data back, you will want it back quickly. As such we maintain primarily file based backups. We can still restore full systems, but it is geared around recovering individual files or directories. This gives us very fine grained control over what can be restored if and when needed. If we had chosen server based backups, a single file recovery might day hours, if not days.

Additional Options

Beyond what we do above, we can offer some additional features to cover your needs. Below is just a small snapshot of what is possible.

  • Real time email backups.
  • Near realtime file backups.
  • Near realtime database backups on shared hosting or realtime on managed hosting.
  • Application specific backups.
  • Weekly / Monthly / Yearly data archiving.

Restore costs

Free. Nada. Nil.
Yup. It is true. The price is honestly nothing. While we admit that this is subject to change, there is currently no charge with restoring files to your account, and there hasn’t been for the 4+ years that we have been doing backups like this. We can also guarantee that there will never be a charge associated with restoring files in the event of a fault on our end.

Good practice

The advise still remains to take backups using your own methods, be this keeping the files backed up on your own system, or downloading a full copy of your site via our Backup Method in the control panel. While we have total confidence in our systems, only you can fully understand the value of your data. Only you can fully understand your own backup requirements.
But if you require, we can also automate custom backups so that the files are automatically transferred to one of your systems via FTP, SFTP or SCP, giving you the piece of mind ensuring your data is safe.
You can always be secure in the knowledge that we will be go above and beyond that what you expect to keep your site protected and online. Sign up today.

Control Panel – Web Aliases URL Forwarding

One feature we have been asked about quite a bit over the previous months has been the ability to redirect URLs to other locations. Normally we have just handled this as a normal support request once asked, but it now available in the Control Panel, under Account Utilities.

What is a Web Hop / Web Alias

A web hop is the ability to redirect a URL on your domain to another location, be that on your own domain, or another domain. Usually it is used for shortening those long, hard to remember URLs that sometimes become necessary for different web applications.

An Example

Say you have a web based application that you use, and you regularly find that you and others regularly need to go to a special part of it that has a long URL. You use this application to manage the addresses of people you deal with and want to be able to get to it quickly from where ever you are. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just type http://address.yourdomain.ext instead of http://customapp.yourdomain.ext/web/modules/?section=address&type=search

A web hop gives you this ability. In the control panel, you enter address in the Subdomain field. Select your domain from dropdown menu, then enter http://customapp.yourdomain.ext/web/modules/?section=address&type=search into the redirect Url box. Simple as that. The control panel takes care of everything needed to get it to work.

As always, we welcome your suggestions or feature requests. Please contact us with any you may have.