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Archive for the ‘How-to’ category


Getting Started with SpamExperts

SpamExperts is a great anti-spam service. It’s easy to use, and relatively inexpensive because you just need one service to cover your entire domain. (Most other spam services require you to buy one service for each of your email addresses.) Our SmarterMail email service (included with all of our plans) comes with some spam-fighting features that allow you to set your own weights and filters. But a lot of our customers were not comfortable with tweaking those weights and filters on their own and risk losing important emails.

SpamExperts is highly effective out-of-the-box. Simply set-it-and-forget-it. In fact, we found it so effective that we switched over to using it for our own corporate emails.

This articles explains how to set up your SpamExperts service.

  1. Login to the control panel at: https://cp.winhost.com/
  2. Click on the SpamExperts button

 

 

  1. Click the green Order New SpamExperts button

 

 

  1. Select the domain name you want to buy the service for and the billing period you want, then click Continue

 

 

On the next page, you can set where SpamExperts will send your email after filtering. Our system will look up the current email servers for your domain. This will be the correct setting for most users.

 

 

  1. Click Continue
  2. Click Submit My Order

The service will only take a few seconds to set up. Now you have to set up your domain mail records (MX Records) to point to the SpamExperts service.

  1. Click the SpamExperts button
  2. Click the Manage link

 

 

On the next page, you’ll see the SpamExperts MX Records to use. If you are using our nameservers, our system will automatically set up the MX Records for you.

  1. Click the Yes, update my DNS records link

 

 

  1. Click OK on the notification to confirm

And you’re all set! Again, SpamExperts works great out of the box. If you’re so inclined, you can click the green SpamExpert Portal button to get the SpamExperts interface to make changes to the service settings.

A note about Greylisting: Greylisting is an effective anti-spam function that we enable in SmarterMail by default. Greylisting can delay when you receive new emails. Disabling Greylisting gets rid of the delay, but likely results in much getting more spam. With SpamExperts filtering out spam, you can disable Greylisting in SmarterMail. No spam, no delay. Yay!



Getting Started with SiteBackup

SiteBackup is a set-it-and-forget-it backup service that will automatically backup your website and database. Backups are stored in a remote location and previous versions can be restored to the web server with just a click. Here are instructions on how to order and set up SiteBackup.

You can order SiteBackup through your Winhost Control Panel. We offer three plans, each with different storage amounts. You only need one SiteBackup plan to back up all of your sites, so just pick the plan with enough storage to cover your sites. Click the orange button to select the plan you want, then click the Submit My Order button on the next page.

It takes a few minutes for our system to provision the service. You can click the Back button or the SiteBackup tab, and if the service is ready, you’ll see this page, where you can add a site:

Click the Add Site button and on the next page you can select the sites you want to back up.

Select which site(s) you want to back up, click the Submit button, and our system will automatically pass along the required info. On the next page, you can click the SiteBackup Management Tool link to get to the SiteBackup Dashboard interface.

On the SiteBackup Dashboard, you can configure your backup schedule. By default, there will be a daily backup scheduled. You can keep that, change the backup time, change the backup frequency, and run an immediate backup.

You can also back up your databases (the example in that Knowledge Base article is an MS SQL database, but SiteBackup can also back up your MySQL databases).

The system will email you if a backup fails (like when you change the FTP password). So just keep an eye out for those emails. But other than that, it’s set and you can forget it.



iPhone Secure Email Setup

We support secure SSL/TLS connections to our email server. We’re going to show you how to setup a secure connection with your iPhone.

For the “Incoming mail server”, enter:

For the “Outgoing mail server (SMTP)”, enter:

You will get a certificate warning about the server identity. We installed an SSL certificate on our email server for the convenience and security of our customers. But the problem is that we can’t install a certificate for every customer domain on the server. Instead, we installed a certificate for *.internetmailservice.net. The iPhone will display the warning because of the domain name mismatch; you are trying to reach mail.HostingAccountDomain.com, but the SSL certificate was issued to *.internetmailserver.net. The certificate we installed is safe to use.

Your iPhone may set the default SMTP port to 25. Many internet service providers block port 25, so you should change the SMTP port to 587.

You’re all set! Now your iPhone now has secured, encrypted communication with our email server.



Using the Secondary Web and FTP URLs

When you open an account at Winhost we set up your website space immediately so you can start uploading files right away. But if you have an existing site hosted elsewhere, you will most likely want to get everything set up here and test the site before you actually point the DNS to Winhost. The Secondary URLs make that possible.

Your permanent FTP URL is ftp.HostingAccountDomain.com (where HostingAccountDomain.com is your domain name). But of course that URL won’t connect to the server here until your domain points to our servers, so we set up the Secondary URLs, both for FTP and web access.

The Secondary URLs can be found in the Site Info section of Control Panel:

So the Secondary FTP URL (ftp.w12.wh-2.com in the example here, yours may be different) is what you use in the “host” field of your FTP software to make the connection.

Then when you want to view your uploaded files, you would visit the Secondary Web URL, in this example, http://winhostc.w12.wh-2.com.

Another use for the Secondary Web URL

After your domain’s DNS is pointed to Winhost and your site is up and running, you can use the Secondary Web URL for troubleshooting purposes.

For example, if it seems that your site is unavailable, try entering the Secondary Web URL into your browser. If the site comes up, there’s a good chance that domain registration or DNS issues are the culprit.

When a site is unavailable, domain related-issues aren’t usually the first thing we think of as being the source of the problem, but even the most diligent among us can let a domain registration lapse, or make a mistake in DNS settings that takes our domain off line.

When NOT to use the Secondary URLs

Once your domain has been updated to point to our servers, remember to update your FTP software to use ftp.HostingAccountDomain.com (your domain name) as the host. And you should never use the Secondary Web URL as a link to your site from another site or social media platform, or hard code it anywhere in your site.

We make this recommendation because while it’s unlikely that the Secondary URLs will change, it is possible. They have changed for various reasons in the past. So once your domain points to our servers, only use the Secondary URL for troubleshooting purposes. Never as a link to your site.



myLittleAdmin on Winhost

myLittleAdmin is a tool that allows you to manage your SQL database through a web browser. Here at Winhost, we support SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), which is the preferred method for managing your database (you can find out how to do that in this KB article.)

But sometimes you can’t use SSMS – maybe you’re sitting behind your corporate proxy restrictions, or you’re using a computer without SSMS installed. That’s where myLittleAdmin steps in. It’s a web-based SQL management tool that provides a friendly interface for you to edit tables, work on stored procedures, run queries and much more.

We have a license agreement for myLittleAdmin, so you can use it on our system without having to obtain your own ($590!) license. There’s nothing to install. Just go to https://sqladmin.winhost.com

Log in to your database, and get your SQL on!



Filezilla ENETUNREACH FTP Error with Kaspersky Anti-Virus

If you’re using the anti-virus application Kaspersky Endpoint Security 10 for Windows and Filezilla for FTP, you might have encountered an ENETUNREACH “Network unreachable” error when trying to upload your files to the server. Or, perhaps you updated Filezilla to version 3.11.0 (or above) and it stopped working, giving you the same ENETUNREACH error.

This is a known issue between Filezilla and Kaspersky. It happens because of the new way Filezilla binds IP addresses to prevent data connection stealing. You can read about the details in this forum post.

You can fix this issue by either reverting back to an earlier version of Filezilla (version 3.10) or by adding an exclusion to the Kaspersky firewall.

Follow these directions to add an exclusion for Filezilla:

  1. Open the Kaspersky application window (by clicking the Kaspersky icon in the notification area or through the Start menu)
  2. Click on the Settings tab
  3. On the left column, click the Anti-Virus protection category to expand it
  4. Click the Firewall item
  5. Click the Application Network rules… button to open the “Firewall” window
  6. Locate the “FILEZILLA PROJECT” folder (it should be under the “Trusted” folder) and click the plus (+) sign next to it to expand the folder
  7. Click on filezilla.exe
  8. On the lower split window, click the Additional… button to open the “Application control rules” window
  9. Click the Exclusions tab
  10. Check the box for “Do not inherit restrictions of the parent process (application)”
  11. Check the box for “Do not scan network traffic”
  12. Click OK on the “Application control rules” window
  13. Click OK on the “Firewall” window

You should be able to connect to the server with Filezilla now.

Of course, there are lots of other reasons why you may get an FTP error. If you do, we offer free (and excellent) technical support for our customers. You can always reach our Support team 24/7 at support@winhost.com or through our support portal at support.winhost.com.



How to create an FTP user that can only access a specific folder

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Sometimes you want to give someone FTP access to your site, but you don’t want them to have access to all of the site files. So we’re going to go through the steps to set up an FTP user that only has access to a directory that you specify.

no1The first thing we’re going to do is go to the Site Tools section of Control Panel and click on the “FTP Users” icon or link:

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no2Click the “Add” button:

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no3Enter a username (it will be appended to the primary FTP username, that format can’t be changed) and a password. Enter the directory name or click the “Browse” link to choose from directories on the server:

Note that entering the name of a directory that does not exist does not create that directory on the server. You must enter the name of an existing directory.

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no4If you clicked the “Browse” link, select the directory (it will turn bold and the path will be automatically entered in the text field below) and click the “Select” button:

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no5Make sure you leave the “Permissions” field set to “Read & Write,” since this user will be uploading files (the other option is “Read Only”). Click the “Create” button:

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no6When the user is added you will see it listed in the FTP Users section. Here you have the option to update the user’s password, or delete the user. The username cannot be edited once the user is created.

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no7The new user will log in to the same hostname as your existing user(s), but of course the username and password will be those that you just created.

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Installing Jetpack for WordPress on Winhost

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Jetpack is one of the most popular plugins available for WordPress (with over 29 million downloads!), created by Automattic – the same people who made the WordPress app itself. It’s a Swiss Army knife for you site with over a dozen different functions all rolled into one plugin.

It includes essential tools like a website stats, subscriptions, social network sharing and a contact form. It will also hookup with WordPress.com to perform related posts and website uptime monitoring. And it’s free!

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If you try to implement Jetpack on Winhost, it won’t work out of the box. By default, we filter requests to the xmlrpc.php file. WordPress.com will try to ping that file during the activation process and it will fail.

One of the reasons we block requests to the xmlrpc.php file is because of an exploit hackers can use to get your WordPress username and password. You can read about the exploit in this excellent Sucuri article.

If you don’t want to bother reading the article, in short, hackers can try thousands of username/password combinations with one request and try to brute force their way into your WordPress site.

But don’t worry, you can still get Jetpack to work by simply overriding our default request filtering. You just have to add this setting in your web.config file:

<configuration>
   <system.webServer>
      <security>
         <requestFiltering>
            <denyUrlSequences>
               <clear />
            </denyUrlSequences>
         </requestFiltering>
      </security>
   </system.webServer>
</configuration>

If you just have a WordPress site on our service, or if you used our App Installer to install WordPress, you might not have a web.config file on your site, so you’ll have to create one. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Notepad application (or similar application) on your computer
  2. Paste the following into Notepad:
    <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
    <configuration>
    <system.webServer>
    <security>
    <requestFiltering>
    <denyUrlSequences>
    <clear />
    </denyUrlSequences>
    </requestFiltering>
    </security>
    </system.webServer>
    </configuration>
  3. Save the file as web.config (not as a .txt file). If using Notepad, click File and Save As. In “Save as type”, select All Files (*.*). In “File name”, enter: web.config
  4. Click Save
  5. Upload the web.config file to your root folder through FTP

You should now be able to activate the Jetpack plugin. But before you go, there’s the pesky security issue! Your xmlrpc.php file is now susceptible to that security exploit, which may allow hackers to get your username and password. Let’s fix that!

SiteLock

The best way to prevent the xmlrpc.php brute force exploit is to get SiteLock with TrueShield CDN. You will need both SiteLock and TrueShield. TrueShield will block those suspicious requests trying to get your username and password, and protect your site from all sorts of other bad stuff not covered in this article. (If hackers were limited to just one exploit, our jobs would be so much easier!) We highly recommend getting SiteLock and TrueShield. It will block malicious bots, comment spammers, and likely make your site faster, too!

Another solution would be to use Jetpack’s own Protect function. You have Jetpack installed, now use it! Just activate the Protect feature in Jetpack in the Admin panel. The Jetpack team confirmed that it works.

Finally, though perhaps foremost: always use a strong password for your site! Please don’t use qwerty123 or pa$$w0rd.

Actually, do all three – get SiteLock with TrueShield, activated Jetpack Protect, and keep those passwords strong!