Upcoming Changes

We're in the process of making multiple changes in our hosting.  This is an update.  Things that are coming soon?

  • We're going to be re-branding our hosting services as cms-farm to make them separate from consulting and design. Some time in the next couple months there'll be a new web site for that which will make the hosting services clearer and easier to buy.  Still part of the same company though - just a new face.
  • We're really interested in expanding some of our service for developers. This will eventually include a Git repository based on Gitlab (which will come with any of the non-shared accounts), a Dropbox-like storage system, and some new cleverer use of the Crashplan backup system.

Drupal 6 support

As most of you are probably aware, Drupal 6 support formally ends on Feb. 24 - so all official support for D6 ends on that date. This has a few ramifications:

  • As of that date the Drupal Security Team will no longer release new patches and will no longer send out security notices.
  • Most module developers will stop suporting their Drupal 6 versions of modules  altogether.
  • At some point the security notices on D6 sites should start reporting "unsupported" status for everything.
  • We will no longer be able to provide the same sort of support on D6 that we have in the past - in particular we cannot really guarantee any updates will occur.

We're still working on a formal stance on support for D6, since there's quite a lot of activity around the possiblity of a D6 LTS support model to be provided by a few commercial vendors.  Being a small company with limited resources, we will not be one of those vendors.

Most likely what we will recommend for everyone using Drupal 6 at this point will be the following:

  • If you keep a Drupal maintenance contract on your site we will make a best effort to apply any Drupal patches that become available through the D6 LTS support system - but we cannot make any promise that any Drupal security issues will be patched in a timely basis.  We will only be applying patches for security issues, and only if they become publicly available. We are currently mulling over a price structure for this.
  • If you prefer you can cancel your D6 support contract and your site will be on its own for any security updates. Frankly we do not expect a LOT of security patches will be ported to D6 in the future, but it's always possible something truly serious will pop up.
  • If support for your D6 site is important to you and you do not believe you will be upgrading to D7 or D8 in the near future then we will be happy to recommend a support company that is doing D6 support on a commercial basis.  This is likely to become expensive, and may in a lot of cases require that you host your site with the support company involved. However, if support long-term on D6 is important to you, subscribing to one of those services will help to fund back-porting of security fixes to D6 and will support the Drupal community.

In any case, we recommend that if you are on Drupal 6 that you make an attempt to upgrade to D7 or D8 as soon as possible. We will not be taking on any new support contracts for D6 sites as of today.  We'll be glad to discuss the possible options with you whether or not you are currently a customer.

Drupal 8 Shared Hosting Test

Drupal 8

Drupal continues to move forward, adding in more features, more power, higher performance, and lots of other new goodies. Drupal 8 in particular is bringing a lot to the table, and a whole new world of web development.

Unfortunately it's also big, and has a lot of new requirements for web hosting which may make it difficult to host your D8 site on a lot of hosting services, particularly if you want to host in a shared hosting environment.

We're working on a solution for that, and are offering a shared hosting environment guaranteed to work with Drupal 8. The D8 package is much like our previous half-acre hosting setup, but includes more:

  • Choice of PHP 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, or 7.0 - your choice on every site, or even by directory. We recommend 5.6 currently as many Drupal contrib modules may have trouble with 7.0 (and we REALLY recommend not going with 7.0 if you're on Drupal 7).
  • MariaDB 5.5
  • One-click Drupal 8 installer
  • CentOS 7.2 operating system
  • 20 Gbytes of storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 6 MySQL databases
  • Up to 4 real domains and up to 20 aliases
  • Up to 100 email accounts
  • php.ini per site under your control - with up to 256 meg php instances
  • Drush, Composer, and Git all available on the server
  • ssh login to server and scp file access
  • Virtualmin Pro control panel
  • Free optimized Cloudflare (optional)

This is a work in progress - we are working to make this the best shared hosting environment for Drupal developers, and we'd like to enlist your help. For a limited time we are offering one free month of this service, and you can sign up by going to https://billing.cruiskeenconsulting.com/cart.php?a=add&pid=36 and entering the discount code D8testing at checkout (you need to sign up for monthly billing). No contract, cancel any time.

Help us polish our D8 hosting service and get a free month of hosting to boot ---

Let's Encrypt

A lot of you may be aware of the Let's Encrypt project,which aims to provide free SSL certificates. We are currently working on bringing support for Let's Encrypt into our web control panels, to make it easy for you to get a free cert for your domain automatically. Let's Encrypt went into public beta yesterday.

As always with being an early adopter, there are still a few flies in the mayonnaise on that - but we hope to have this available to all of our hosting customers by Jan. 1.

Drupal 8 is out!

Drupal 8

As a lot of you are aware, Drupal 8 has just been released. We are at the moment doing some last-minute testing of D8 final release in our hosting environment, and plan to be selling D8-tested hosting plans by the end of the week.

Caching full content on Cloudflare

Yesteray I went off on an experiment with one of our own Drupal sites.  For some years now I've maintaned the web site http://www.uppitywis.org - it's a political blog about progressive politics in Wisconsin.  It's gone thorugh a lot of different configurations and life stages. At the moment it's built on a pretty straightforward build of Panopoly,.  In the most recent version I have taken it out of Varnish, and it runs behind Cloudflare.

In an attempt to eat our own Dogfood as a Cloudlflare host, I though I'd make a stab at making Cloudflare cache the entire site, rather than just the static assets. You can do this in the free Cloudflare implementation by setting up a rule that says "cache everything" and putting it in with your three allowed rules. I've also set up rules to not cache admin* and user* and have put those ahead of the cache everything rule - so that admin functions are not cached.

NERD Summit?

I'm spending time this week at Nerd Summit 2015. This has been a great experience, covering many different areas. This is fairly heavy on Drupal, but not at all Drupal-specific.  At the moment I'm in the Business Panel, which is really very interesting. 

Updating CentOS 6 servers to CentOS 6.7 CR release

Update --

All of our CentOS 6 servers have been updated to 6.7.

Just a quick note.  We're in the process of upgrading all of our public DNS servers to the CR release of CentOS 6 - this means that they will for all intents and purposes be running the test version of CentOS 6.7.  We're doing this due to an issue in BIND - the DNS server software, which can allow denial of service attacks against BIND.  We will upgrade all the CentOS 6 systems to 6.7 when it is released.

Drupal 8 and hosting requirements

Update -

The latest requirements for Drupal 8 include a requirement for MySQL/MariaDB/PerconaDB of version 5.5.3 or later - now THAT one may be an issue for  a lot of hosting companies.  We're going to get that done, but it's a little more unusual than the PHP requirement.  At the moment our solution to this is to be using CentOS 7 for all of our database servers (and since CentOS 7 uses MariaDB 5.5, that works fine). We're currently re-thinking what we're actually going to do about this before the Drupal 8 release.

I'm writing a little bit today about some of the concerns that folks are having about Drupal 8, the new hosting requirements it imposes, and particularly the concerns that smaller organizations will not be able to find Drupal 8 compatible hosting plans. There is a lot going on with us and with other hosting companies at the moment to support Drupal 8 and other PHP software that has more modern requirements. We don't think this will be an issue with most reliable hosting companies by the time Drupal 8 ships.


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