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Control Panel updates

announcements

leversWe’ve made a few changes to the Control Panel that should make life easier for some of you power users out there.

First, if you have a large number of sites in an account, we have significantly sped up the
Order New Site
and Order New Domain Name functions. Now there is no need to go make a sandwich while those pages load. Though, if you think about it, it’s almost always a good time for a sandwich.

Next, if you’ve ever entered a DNS TXT record in Control Panel, you may have run into a 128 character limitation. We have increased the TXT record limit to 512 characters (the maximum the DNS system will accept).

Finally, if you like to mess around with DNS records in general (and really, who doesn’t?), there may have been a time when you thought, “Well, that was fun, but I wish I could just dump all these cool experiments that have made my site redirect to altavista.com and somehow caused my email forward to the White House and just start over with a clean slate…” Well, now there is a Reset DNS button that does just what it claims to do – resets the DNS record for the site to our default settings. It’s cool, it’s powerful, and it will completely remove any customizations you’ve ever made, so use it carefully.

That’s it for now, but we’re always hard at work over here making the world a better place, so let us know if there is something we can do just for you.



Change is afoot


announcements

On November 11th, 2013 we are introducing some plan changes. Check your email for details. To summarize what’s happening:

Quota increases!

These increases will take place automatically on November 11th.

whatsnew

Changes to payment plans and prices

In order to make the plan changes, we are updating the pricing and payment options. You can find details in the plan change email.

While the quarterly and yearly payments will increase slightly, we have introduced a new two-year payment option that allows you to pay as little as $3.95 per month for the Basic plan. Even less than the old price.

The two-year payment option applies to every Winhost plan, so no matter which plan you use, you can decrease your monthly price by up to 20% by choosing the new two-year payment option.

And you can make the switch right now in Control Panel, before the new quotas and pricing go into effect on November 11th.

As we mentioned in the email, the price increase was a difficult decision for us. We never want to increase prices, but we want to continue to make improvements to the hosting services, and this will allow us to do that.

We hope the two-year payment option – which actually lowers current prices – and the quota increase will help ease the transition for some of you.



Hello world! Um, I said, hello world! Hello? Hello?

insidewinhost

On April 24th we had a brief interruption on one of our backbone connections that made it appear as if Winhost had dropped off the map.

That interruption, outage, glitch or whatever you want to call it, raised a lot of questions that I thought I could use this opportunity to answer.

1) How could this happen?

Every data center is connected to the Internet through high capacity connections called backbone connections. The “backbone” of the Internet is a group of high capacity providers called tier 1 providers.

Tier 1 providers are pretty reliable, they have to be or the Internet wouldn’t work. But they still have problems from time to time. A cut fiber on a construction site, a natural disaster or power outage, someone flipping the wrong switch – all of these things can cause an outage on a backbone connection.

2) Why don’t you have a backup in place?

We do. We have two backbone connections to our servers, provided by different companies. Normally the traffic in and out of the servers is balanced between those two connections using a number of network analyzing tools and a lot of routers and switches.

So if one connection is dropped, everyone whose traffic has been routed through that connection is cut off. The other half of the traffic, coming in on the other backbone connection, doesn’t experience a problem. That’s what happened on the 24th.

If there was an extended outage on one of the connections we could switch all traffic to the working connection. Making that switch (and then switching back when the problem is solved) is not a trivial matter though, so we wouldn’t do it unless we anticipated a long outage on the connection that was down.

A long outage on a backbone connection is rare though, so rerouting all the traffic is usually unnecessary.

3) Why don’t you post the outage on your site or in the forum?

Anyone affected by the outage wouldn’t be able to see our site or the forum, since they can’t access anything on our network.

We reacted and responded on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook, which is probably more effective than an outage post somewhere on our site or on a status site somewhere (that no one knows how to get to).


Things like this are part and parcel of life on the Internet. Any provider who tells you they can host your site and there will never be an outage of any kind isn’t telling you the truth. All of these things (even the mighty, mystical cloud) run on hardware. And hardware is just machines and machines don’t run perpetually without problems.

When they invent machines that do run forever without problems, we’ll be first in line to buy them. I can guarantee that. 😉

Until then, we’ll continue to provide the best service your money can buy, and be open and honest about actual and potential problems.



Happy New Year!

insidewinhost

2012 has been a great year for us, and we’re glad that you have been along for the ride.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have some exciting things on the horizon for 2013, and we look forward to bringing you cool new products and services, and continuing to be your hosting provider of choice!

Because we know that you do have a choice – lots of them, in fact – when it comes to hosting, and we work hard to be the best choice. The only choice!

Thanks again for a great year, and here’s to 2013.

newyear



Competition is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

insidewinhost

devproawards

You may remember that last year around this time we reported that we placed fourth in the DevProConnections Community Choice Awards.

Well I’m proud to announce that this year we placed – fourth!

Again.
And just like last year, we’ll take it, since the top three are the same behemoths that eclipsed us last year (Amazon, GoDaddy and DiscountASP.NET).

We feel pretty good about placing above Rackspace, another monster host that could lose more customers than we have and not even notice it.

babypageant

But next year – you’ll see – we’re going to crack that top three!

We’re working hard on some cool new stuff (if I tell you about it now, they’ll fire me), but suffice it to say that we’re always working to make Winhost the world’s best hosting platform, and the kind of place where your sites can be proud to live.

Here’s to fourth place, and nipping at the heels of the giants!

Image: Mary Ellen Mark, “Baby Beauty Pageant Winner,” California, 1992.


Check out these spacious new office digs!

insidewinhost

I don’t know who put them there, but there are several desks and office chairs taking up parking spaces in the underground garage here at the office.

I assume they are left over from a bank that recently vacated, but I have to say that I’ve worked for hosts in the past that would see this as a perfectly viable alternative “work space.”

In fact, it would have been a step up in some of the places I’ve worked.

I’m not naming names, but if you worked in the hosting industry in Los Angeles in the decade from 1996 to 2006, you probably know the two hosts I’m talking about.

(Their initials were Affinity and PowWeb.)

Happy Thanksgiving!



Vote for Winhost (again)!

insidewinhost

Last year you turned out in force and voted for us in the DevProConnections Community Choice Awards, and we placed fourth behind some industry heavyweights!

Well guess what? We are nominated again! And it would be great for this still scrappy upstart to show the big boys what we’re made of. If you have a couple of minutes to spare, we would appreciate your vote!

Here’s the voting page.

We’re listed under 10. Hosting Service. Voting closes on Friday the 28th, so please pop on over there as soon as you have a chance.

It would be quite a feat to move up in those rankings considering the competition, but anything is possible, right? Vote!

And thank you for your time, your support, and most of all, thanks for using Winhost!



An unusual flyover

A few minutes ago the space shuttle flew directly over our offices here in Pasadena.

Well, that’s not something you see every day.

Better pictures to come, but here are some phone pics in the meantime.

(Updated pic:)

shuttle3