GoDaddy: A note to put your mind at rest

Posted in General by

We just wanted to provide you with an update and some reassurances about your WebFaction services, following the recent announcement that the brand was joining forces with GoDaddy.

We’re sorry we’ve not communicated with you as much as we would have liked to up until now.

First and foremost, we want to assure you that we will continue to provide you with the level of service that you’ve always relied on, and that we’ll give you plenty of notice of any future changes to ensure your business can carry on as usual. For example, one thing we are currently considering is re-evaluating the migrations that were planned for this summer. We’ll let you know as soon as we can the outcome of that evaluation.

Secondly, we wanted to let you know that, as you read this, we’re researching options for the future of WebFaction. We’re looking into products, feature sets and support set ups to ensure you have everything you need to thrive online going forward.

We really value you as a customer and we look forward to supporting your success in the future.

If you have any more questions, feel free to raise a support ticket in the control panel.

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GoDaddy SSO: A single login process

Posted in General by

What does it mean that WebFaction has joined with GoDaddy?
Our joining with GoDaddy enables us to offer you even more than we have before. It means you’ll have larger product range to choose from and even better customer service to enjoy, thanks to the use of Single-Sign-On (SSO).

What is SSO?
SSO stands for Single-Sign-On and this allows you to access both your GoDaddy and WebFaction accounts with a single login. You can use your WebFaction products and services from your WebFaction account, but when you need to purchase and use a GoDaddy product or service, you can do so without having to log in all over again.

Why do I need to connect my WebFaction account with a GoDaddy account?
We are beginning the process of migrating your products and services to GoDaddy. If they are linked now, it will make for a seamless transition and make managing your accounts much easier in the future.

Do I need to connect my accounts?
You don’t need to – you can continue to use your WebFaction account separate from a GoDaddy account. However, we do recommend connecting your accounts to streamline the process of using them and the products and services within each of them once the GoDaddy migration is complete.

How do I connect my accounts?
Go to www.webfaction.com and click on “I have a WebFaction account”. Log into your WebFaction account from there and follow the instructions provided. Easy!

What happens if I do not connect my WebFaction account with a GoDaddy account?
You will still be able to use your WebFaction account as you have been doing. However, WebFaction will soon be migrated to GoDaddy and you will need a GoDaddy account to access your services. Connecting the accounts now will make it quicker and easier to access your products and services in the future. We know the prospect of change is daunting for some – but we promise it will be business as usual and once your accounts are connected, it’s smooth sailing from then!

When do I need to connect my accounts by?
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the finalised information and therefore cannot provide an exact date. We understand this might be frustrating, but we apologise that we can’t say much more right now and assure you that you’ll be kept up to date with the developments.

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Issue Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates with the control panel

Posted in Control panel by

Screenshot of WebFaction control panel Let's Encrypt section

Starting next week, our in-house developed ACME client will go live and you’ll be able to issue and install a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for the majority of your WebFaction hosted websites.

We will enable this feature in two waves. On Monday, the 17th of September, 2018, at 13:00 UTC for all websites on cloud servers and, baring any major issues, for websites on shared servers a week later, on Monday, the 24th of September, 2018, at 13:00 UTC.

In order for our Let’s Encrypt certificate tool to work, the website you want to generate the certificate for should be resolving to the IP address of our server, either by having it’s NS records pointing to our nameservers or have it’s A records pointing to the web server’s IP address.

We’ve already updated our control panel documentation to include instructions on how to secure your websites, but if you have any questions feel free to raise a ticket and our support team will gladly answer any questions you might have.

Please note that there are currently three limitations on our custom ACME client:

  • there is no support for wildcard domains
  • it is not possible to enable or disable a Let’s Encrypt certificate using our API
  • no certificates for webfactional.com subdomains. If you have one in your https websites, you will need to remove it before issuing a certificate

All are in our road-map to work out in a future version.

Also note that Let’s Encrypt has set some rate limits, which you can review here. Our control panel will show an error if you try to hit them.

UPDATE: Our ACME client is now enabled on all sites hosted on cloud servers.

UPDATE: We’ve postponed the deployment of our ACME client to the shared servers for tomorrow, the 25th of September, 2018, at 13:00 UTC.

UPDATE: Our ACME client is now enabled everywhere.

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New one click installer: Gitea

Posted in Git by

We have just released a new installer for the lightweight code hosting Gitea application for the Git version control system.

Gitea is similar to well known services for modern software development like GitHub, Bitbucket, and Gitlab, aiming to provide an easy, fast, and painless way of setting up a self-hosted Git service. It joins our pack of project management applications, along side Redmine and Trac, providing a new, fresh approach.

With Gitea you can have both public and private repositories hosted under the same roof. With a wealth of tools available for collaboration, you can manage pull requests, merges and branches directly from its UI, grant and fine-tune permissions for fellow developers working on your projects. As well as the ability to enable a wiki and an issue tracker for each repository where everyone can contribute.

You can create a Gitea app using our control panel, by selecting Gitea in the App Type dropdown menu of our Add new application page:

Screenshot of WebFaction control panel gitea app picker

Check out the WebFaction specific docs here or the official Gitea docs here.

This is our first installer that uses the Go programming language. Go has been on the rise in the last couple of years because it makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. The language was created at Google and it is perfect for creating APIs and services due to its portability across different architectures. It can be compiled for all major operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS or Linux, and run on a plethora of CPU processors.

A “Hello, World!” code looks like this:

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
fmt.Println("Hello, World!")
}

If it you want to test Go, you can give Revel or Echo a try or even the Macaron web framework, that Gogs and Gitea are built upon.

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PHP 7.2 general availability

Posted in PHP by

PHP 7.2, which is the latest second feature update to the PHP 7 series, is now available as a one-click install in our control panel!

While it has been installed on our CentOS 7 servers for a few weeks now, you should now be able to create new apps using our control panel by selecting the Static/CGI/PHP-7.2 option in the App Type dropdown menu.

Screenshot of WebFaction control panel php version picker

If you want to run a php script from the command line, like composer or drush, you can invoke the php 7.2 interpreter as php72.

[iliasr@web624 ~]$ php72 -v
PHP 7.2.1 (cli) (built: Jan  5 2018 04:43:31) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies

Eager users (and there were a few judging from the support tickets about it) were able to use PHP 7.2 by manually putting this in their site’s .htaccess file:

<FilesMatch .php$>
    SetHandler php72-cgi
</FilesMatch>

If you want to switch an existing PHP app to PHP 7.2 you will need to do the same. While there are only a few backward incompatible changes with this release, it would be wise to review the official migration guide before doing so.

PHP 7.2 brings a lot of impromvements and new features such as the ability to convert numeric keys in object/array casts, the migration of the Hash extension from Resource to Object and the introduction of libsodium as a core extension. You can review the full list of changes in the official ChangeLog.

Please note that PHP 7.2 is not available on our CentOS 6 servers (any machine lower than Web500). Users on CentOS 6 who wish to install and use PHP 7.2 apps must migrate to a CentOS 7 server.

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Manage SSL certificates with the control panel

Posted in Control panel by

Screenshot of WebFaction control panel certificate picker

You can now manage SSL/TLS certificates with the WebFaction control panel! In just a few clicks, you can:

  • generate certificate signing requests
  • upload or copy and paste certificates
  • choose which certificate to use with each of your websites

Effective immediately, you can secure a site without opening a support ticket. But if you run into any problems, the support team is still available to help you out. Because we’re sure you’re eager to start managing certificates on your own, we’ve enabled the feature now, but we’re working to make managing certificates even better over the coming days, with complete documentation, API support, and more.

But as of today, you can upload a certificate and private key from any certificate provider through the control panel. If you don’t already have a certificate, you have a few choices when it comes to getting one:

  • You can use your server’s default, shared certificate, though visitors will get an error message warning that the connection may not be secure.
  • You can buy a certificate from a certificate provider (typically your domain name registrar can provide this service).
  • You can get a certificate from Let’s Encrypt, a certificate authority that provides free 90-day certificates.

The new functionality is available in the panel under “Domains/Websites > SSL Certificates”.

We’re really excited about Let’s Encrypt! It’s a great project that’s helping to make secure sites practical for everyone. And though we’re not ready to announce anything yet, let’s just say that we want Let’s Encrypt and the control panel to work very well together.

Update: As of 12 October 2016, our documentation and API have been updated to include the new SSL certificate management features!

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Rails 5 is here!

Posted in Rails by

 

Rails 5 screenshot

Rails 5 was recently released, and is now available as a one-click install in our control panel! This release has a ton of new features, including built-in WebSockets support via Action Cable, an API mode to build backends for web and native client apps, and much more.

Our installer sets up Rails with Ruby 2.2.5, served with Passenger 5 on Nginx 1.10. This stack is available on our CentOS6 and CentOS7 servers – customers on CentOS5 servers who wish to install Rails 5 should request a migration to the newer OS via our control panel.

Why are you still reading this? Go install Rails 5 and build something cool today!

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WordPress 4.4 + PHP 7 + SSD = great performance

Posted in WordPress by

WordPress 4.4

WordPress 4.4 has been released! You can now find WordPress 4.4, named “Clifford”, in our one-click installer. It’s running recently-introduced PHP 7.0.

WordPress 4.4 has several new features, including:

  • a new default theme, Twenty Sixteen, that’s designed to look sharp on all screens, from mobile phones to giant desktop displays
  • responsive images so WordPress shows images at the right size for each device (potentially abbreviating page loads)
  • embeddable WordPress content, so your content can be shared more gracefully across sites that support consuming oEmbed data
  • more support for embedding outside content, like Speaker Deck and Reddit comments

Plus, many changes have been introduced to WordPress core to support WordPress developers—including changes that lay the groundwork for the eventual introduction of a REST API in WordPress core in a future release.

Specific to WebFaction, installations of WordPress 4.4 use PHP 7.0. PHP 7.0 is known to improve the performance of many PHP applications. In an informal test of a new WordPress 4.4 installation running under FastCGI, PHP 7.0 handled almost a third more requests per second than PHP 5.6:A graph comparing WordPress 4.4 under PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.0

And that’s before any other steps to optimize the application, like caching WordPress.

For a complete look at the changes in WordPress 4.4, check out the project’s official announcement. When you’re ready, fire up a WordPress 4.4 installation with the one-click installer. If you have any questions, join us in the Q&A community.

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PHP 7 is here!

Posted in PHP by

PHP 7 is here

PHP 7 has been released! That’s right, PHP 5.6 has given way to PHP 7.0 (stop, do not pass PHP 6, do not collect $200)! The new version is now available on all WebFaction servers. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest changes in PHP 7.

Performance

Perhaps the most talked about part of PHP 7 is the substantial improvement in performance and memory usage. Measuring requests per second, benchmarks with PHP 7 have shown 30 to over 100 percent improvements over PHP 5.6. You read that correctly: upgrading to PHP 7 can sometimes double the performance of an application. The PHP project achieved these gains by merging the changes of PHPNG into the main PHP project. Although memory benchmarks are harder to come by, anecdotal reports are that PHP 7 uses less memory as well. While the real-world performance gains of upgrading to PHP 7 vary by application, you should expect to experience a marked improvement.

Spaceships

PHP 7 comes with a spaceship, or at least it comes with an operator that looks like a spaceship: <=>. The spaceship operator, more formally known as the “combined comparison” operator or “three-way comparison” operator, makes it easier to write comparisons for sorting. The spaceship operator compares two values and evaluates to 1, -1, or 0, if the first value is greater, less than, or equal to the second value, respectively.

Take the expression a <=> b, for example. If a is greater than b, then the expression evaluates to 1. But if a is less than b, then the expression evaluates to -1. If a and b are equal, the expression evaluates to 0. In this way, the spaceship operator reduces a complex ternary expression like ($a < $b) ? -1 : (($a > $b) ? 1 : 0) to just a <=> b.

Plus spaceships are cool. Pew pew!

Type hints

PHP 7 expands the language’s type hinting features. Previous versions of PHP supported limited argument type hinting. PHP 7 adds scalar type hinting to arguments, so you can hint int, float, string and bool for argument types. What’s more, PHP 7 lets you declare what type a function is expected to return, including the scalar types.

But there’s a catch

With these changes, you may be eager to upgrade, but keep in mind that PHP 7 is not a drop-in replacement for PHP 5.6. Many long-deprecated SAPIs and functions have been removed. There have been changes to errors and exceptions, variable handling, and source parsing too numerous to list here.

We recommend that you read the official guide on Migrating from PHP 5.6.x to PHP 7.0.x or see the the official ChangeLog to learn about every change and how it may affect your application. We also recommend that you test your application before upgrading your live site.

When you are ready to upgrade, you’ll find PHP 7 available in our one-click installer and on the command line as php70.

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Meet our new SSD hosting plans

Posted in General by

Over the past few months we’ve been hard at work preparing our next generation of hosting plans. We’ve selected high-performance, pure SSD servers and we’ve carefully crafted a robust and secure software setup based on CentOS 7. Today we’re excited to launch these new plans:

  • $10/mo, 100GB pure SSD storage, 1GB RAM, 1TB bandwidth, shared servers
  • Managed cloud servers from $20/mo for 2GB of RAM

All existing customers can continue using their existing plans at their current price for as long as they like. To be migrated to a new plan just put in a migration request from the control panel.

Just like the old plans the new ones come with fully managed servers, SSH access, email and DNS hosting and a full-featured control panel to let you configure all aspects of your hosting.

Our friendly customer support team is available 24×7 to answer any questions you might have: either open a ticket or just email support@webfaction.com.

You can find all the details about our new plans on our updated website.

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