Site hosting news, tutorials, tips, How Tos and more

Windows 2003 is dead. It’s time to move on.

On July 14, 2015, Microsoft ended their support of Windows 2003. That means they won’t be issuing any more security patches or updates.

If your website is still hosted on a Windows 2003 server, it’s time to move away from that unsupported technology, and Winhost is here as a Windows hosting option for you.

Winhost has never offered hosting on Windows 2003 servers, so we have no legacy O/S servers to contend with. We support all the modern Windows Stack including ASP.NET and SQL database, but we also continue to support legacy technologies like Classic ASP and Access databases.

It’s the best of both worlds, so come and enjoy it.



Late Summer Updates

announcements

The latest versions of the following applications are now available through our App Installer tool:



Automatically back up your SQL databases to the cloud

announcements

Our SiteBackup service can now automatically back up your MS SQL databases to the cloud. You’ve always had the ability to back up site files and MySQL databases, but we’re excited to add the ability to back up MS SQL databases.

You can order SiteBackup in Control Panel.

SiteBackup is inexpensive (starting at only $2.95 per month for 10 GB of space!) and easy to use. You choose how often you want to back up and how long to retain the backups. Set it and forget it, your backups will be reliably and safely kept in secure cloud storage outside of the Winhost network.

 

We have also added Blacklist Monitoring

If your site is ever compromised, Google will flag it and our Blacklist Monitoring service will alert you and stop your site and database backups (to prevent making a backup of compromised files).

If you run third-party applications on your site, Blacklist Monitoring is a valuable tool to help you recover from common compromises. Even if you wrote all of the code on your site, Blacklist Monitoring is a great tool to have at your disposal. Even better, Blacklist Monitoring is available as part of the SiteBackup service at no extra charge.

 

We’re really excited about these new additions to SiteBackup because we believe they are going to make your life easier. Let us know if you have any questions about SiteBackup or anything else.

Things to note: SQL backup is available for SQL 2012 and later databases, and it only works for SQL databases that are on Winhost servers. Each backup is a full backup, not incremental. Blacklist Monitoring is only available for sites that are being backed up by the SiteBackup service. Read our Knowledge Base article for instructions on using SQL database backup and Blacklist Monitoring.



Winhost Supports Classic ASP and Microsoft Access Databases

insidewinhost

Did your current host drop support for Active Server Pages, or Classic ASP? (We’re looking at you, GoDaddy!) Well, we support it! And we’re committed to continuing support for Classic ASP sites on modern servers.

We also support using Access databases with your Classic ASP site. Here are some help articles to get you up and running:

How to query an Access database with ASP using a DSN-less connection

How to Query an Access database in ASP with a DSN/ODBC Source

We also support Persits ASP components: ASPUpload, ASPEmail, ASPJpeg and ASPEncrypt are all installed on our servers.

Classic ASP, Access and the Persits components are available on all of our plans.



Google Chrome, SSL certificates, SHA-1, SHA-2 and the “obsolete cryptography” message

howto

If you use an SSL certificate (https) on your site, you may have seen a couple of new things happening in Google Chrome.

When you upgrade the Google Chrome browser to version 41 or later, you may see various warning messages such as, “The identity of this website has not been verified,” “Your connection to <domain> is not encrypted,” or other visual indications that the https connection is not secure.

Those indications can appear when your SSL certificate uses a SHA-1 signature (most SSL certificates issued before 2015 use SHA-1).

SHA-1warn

To fix the problem of browser security warnings you must get your SSL certificate re-keyed for SHA-2. If you don’t see those warnings in Chrome and you purchased your certificate recently, it may already be SHA-2. You can verify using this test site.

 

If you purchased your SHA-1 SSL certificate from us, here’s how to re-key:

1) Contact us and we will re-generate and re-submit the CSR.

2) You’ll then get an email from GeoTrust with a link to complete the process. When completing the re-key on the GeoTrust site, be sure that SHA-2 is selected as the “Hashtag Algorithm.” You can find step-by-step instructions (and a video) here.

3) After you’ve completed the reissuing process, you’ll receive an email with the new certificate. Go to Control Panel and paste the new certificate into the SSL manager and you’re finished.

 

If you purchased your SHA-1 SSL certificate from another company:

1) Contact us and we will re-generate the CSR and email it to you. Then you’ll have to contact the issuer of your certificate to get your certificate re-keyed for SHA-2.

2) When you receive the re-keyed certificate, go to Control Panel and paste the new certificate into the SSL manager and you’re finished.

 

“Obsolete cryptography” message after re-keying with SHA-2

There is another potential problem after you’ve re-keyed your SSL certificate. While the address bar will show the green lock icon, if visitors dig deeper in Chrome, they may see an “Obsolete Cryptography” message.

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Basically what’s happening now is they are ignoring the cipher preference we use on the server (which includes their preferred ciphers) and pointing out any “weak ciphers” they find. You might notice that many large corporate sites (such as Apple) are also insecure according to Chrome, for similar reasons.

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That “obsolete cryptography” message may be with us for a while because Google is not providing any information (yet) on exactly what they want from the server to stop calling it insecure. It would seem that what Google would like to see is every server everywhere removing support for all older cryptographic methods.

The problem with that is removing some of those methods will shut out visitors using some older browsers and operating systems that don’t support newer methods (i.e. Windows XP). Since our servers are shared by many customers, it isn’t really an option for us to make global changes that prevent some visitors – even a small number – from accessing our customer’s sites.

We are test configuring some special servers that will not support any of the older cryptography methods, but that’s much more complicated than it might seem on the surface, so it’s not something we can offer just yet.

And of course we continue to monitor information from Google on recommended server configuration, as well as continuing to test various configurations ourselves to prevent the “obsolete cryptography” message.

If you have any trouble re-keying a certificate, or if you have any questions about these ongoing changes, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help.



Spring Updates

announcements

The latest versions of the following applications are now available through our App Installer tool:



Dear Winhost

insidewinhost

I was checking the Winhost mailbag this morning when I came across this letter:

“Dear Winhost,
Your new website is so pretty. Why on earth does your blog continue to be such a monstrous eyesore?
Sincerely,
Patricia Cardingiff Baxbauer”

Dear Patricia,

Actually, we couldn’t agree more. If you would be so kind, please allow us a moment to adjust…

Just a little bit more…and…almost…

There!

How’s this? Better?

Sincerely,
Your pals at Winhost



Take full control of your site backups right now

announcements

What if you could have instant access to backed up site files and databases, and the ability to set your own backup schedule?

If you have ever mistakenly deleted or overwritten an important website file, and suddenly realized that you’re without a backup, you know it’s not a good feeling.

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have your website hacked or compromised, you know it can be next to impossible to tell which files have been changed or added. If you didn’t have a “clean” backup, you probably had a tough (or expensive) time getting things right.

With our new SiteBackup service you never have to be caught unprepared again.

openvault

SiteBackup performs automated backups of your website files and retains up to 30 versions stored securely off-site. If you accidentally delete or overwrite a file, you can restore the backup instantly with one click. You can find more details about SiteBackup on the Winhost website.

SiteBackup is available in three sizes:

10 GB storage: $2.95 a month
30 GB storage: $6.95 a month
60 GB storage: $12.95 a month

SiteBackup is not an extension of our own internal daily backups. It’s a completely new system that performs backups on your schedule and stores them at a secure data center outside of the Winhost network. So your working sites, databases, email, etc. are in one data center, and your backups are in another. Geographic separation for maximum safety and security.

Want even more good news? When you order SiteBackup you can use it for as many websites as you’d like! Backup multiple websites under a single account.

SiteBackup is ready and available for you right now. And if we do say so ourselves, it’s pretty cool.