NinerNet Communications™
System Status

Server and System Status

NC018: Move of nameserver complete

11 September 2017 16:26:25 +0000

The move of NinerNet‘s primary nameserver to a new machine (NC033) has been completed, and our testing over the weekend shows that the new DNS information has propagated to the rest of the Internet.

The new nameserver has its own control panel, but we have not set up all client accounts on it yet. When that task is complete we will be sending you an email with your log-in information, and instructions for using the new control panel. If you have a need to manage your domain’s DNS and have not received that email yet, please contact support and we will assist you.

Thank-you for your patience during our recent migrations.

NC018: Server back online

9 September 2017 14:39:20 +0000

No sooner had I clicked “publish” on that last post than the server was put back online. Again, we apologise for the service interruption.

NC018: Server taken offline prematurely

9 September 2017 14:30:56 +0000

Somebody at our data centre jumped the gun, and has taken server NC018 offline two days earlier than it should have been taken offline. This is (or will shortly be) causing a problem for all services on most domains, including our own.

We are waiting for the data centre to reactivate the server, and will update this ticket as it’s possible to do so.

We very sincerely and humbly apologise for this situation.

NC018: Server to shut down

8 September 2017 01:19:46 +0000

We will be shutting down server NC018 within the next 24-72 hours. Normally the closure of a server would not be an event we’d dwell on, but server NC018 has been around for a long time and the migrations off of it have been dragged out for longer than they should have been.

We want to assure all hosting clients that the email that used to be hosted on this server has long since been moved to server NC027, and all websites that used to be hosted on NC018 have been moved to servers NC020 and NC031. No email or websites remain on server NC018.

What does remain on this server at the moment is the DNS (domain name system) service. A new server (NC033) has been commissioned and configured to take over this service, and the DNS information for all domains has been transferred to the new server.

All that said, completely removing NC018 from the NinerNet ecosystem at the flick of a switch will probably reveal one function or another still connected to and relying on a server that has been around for as long as it has. While this is possible, any such function will be of minor significance — it won’t be anything vital to the operation of your email or website — and we’re doing this at the start of a weekend so that we can quickly address any issues that may arise outside of your business hours. We will, of course, post any necessary updates here on our status page (status.niner.net), to which you can subscribe.

One long-standing item that we will address after NC018 has been removed is the matter of control panels. The reason we have multiple control panels will be the subject of a future blog post, but there is a reason we don’t have one grand, unifying control panel … besides the fact that we’ve been there and done that and don’t want to do it again. We have three main servers (with control panels) providing our three main hosting services:

  • NC027: Mail server (email hosting)
  • NC031: Web server (website hosting)
  • NC033: Name server (DNS hosting)

Once server NC018 has been shut down we’ll redirect cp.niner.net to a page that explains the above. In the future we’ll implement a more elegant way of unifying (to a certain extent) the way you access the three control panels.

We thank you for your patience as we work very hard to improve our infrastructure to serve you better. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Craig

Access to control panel on server NC018

28 August 2017 21:16:37 +0000

Access to the control panel on server NC018 has been temporarily blocked while we deal with an issue on there. At this point, the only service provided by server NC018 is “nameservice”, as all client websites and email have been migrated to newer servers. Therefore the only reason you might need access to this control panel it to make changes to the DNS for your domain.

If you need to make changes to your domain’s DNS, please contact us with the changes you would like to make, and we will assist you as soon as possible. Thank-you, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Migration of websites

17 July 2017 07:36:44 +0000

We are moving the remaining websites on server NC018 to server NC031. This will result in automated emails with important configuration information going out to the designated contact for each domain. Please save these emails for future reference.

If you have any questions, please contact us. Our own website will also be moving, so if you have trouble with our contact form please email us at migration201707@niner.net. Thank-you.

Chromium certificate issue resolved

17 November 2016 20:08:44 +0000

The issue with the Google Chromium web browser reporting valid certificates as “unsafe” has been resolved today with an update to Chromium.


Update, 2016-11-20: We’ve posted a commentary about this on our blog.

Issues with *.niner.net certificate

16 November 2016 10:34:52 +0000

We are aware that s small subset of users of the Chromium web browser may receive the following error when trying to access websites and control panels via HTTPS that use the *.niner.net certificate:

Your connection is not private

Attackers might be trying to steal your information from cp31.niner.net (for example, passwords, messages or credit cards). NET::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED

(cp31.niner.net will be replaced by whatever domain you are trying to access.)

If you click the “ADVANCED” link you will see the following additional information:

The server presented a certificate that was not publicly disclosed using the Certificate Transparency policy. This is a requirement for some certificates, to ensure that they are trustworthy and protect against attackers.

This is a bug in Google Chromium, not a problem with our certificate.

Until Google fixes this bug we recommend using a better web browser (e.g., Firefox), or clicking the “Proceed to cp31.niner.net (unsafe)” link that is revealed when you click “ADVANCED” as described above. Clicking the “unsafe” link is indeed safe in this case. Even very big and very busy websites — such as Yahoo and Flickr for example — are currently affected by this bug.

Web server upgrade

12 March 2016 12:33:12 +0000

We’ll be sending out an email shortly to informĀ NinerNet clients that over the next few weeks we will be moving all of the shared hosting websites hosted on servers NC018, NC020 and NC026 to a new server, NC031. While this might look like one server is taking on the workload of three, that’s not quite the case; servers NC020 and NC026 are currently hosting only a relatively few websites that had outgrown the limitations of NC018. On top of that, server NC031 is a shiny new server, running the latest commercially available versions of all software, with far more resources than the servers it is replacing, and an increasing emphasis on secure connections.

The new server is also running a new control panel. The one on server NC018 (Plesk) has served us well. In fact, server NC026 was running the latest version of Plesk when it was set up a couple of years ago, but our experience with the new version has — to put it simply — been disastrous. In fact, we’ve gone out of our way to avoid clients actually using it. We evaluated another popular control panel — cPanel — but we came away with much the same opinion as we’ve developed of Plesk, but for different reasons.

The new control panel we’re using is called Virtualmin, and is based on a control panel (Webmin) that we first used privately in 2006 but which has been around since 1997 … almost as long as NinerNet! There will no doubt be a period of adjustment as we switch — for you and for us, especially as we develop support documentation — but we’re confident that Virtualmin is far better than other control panels that we have evaluated, and we’ve been impressed by their responsive support so far.

With that background information out of the way, here are a few points you need to know:

  • As we set up your domain(s) in the new control panel you will receive an automated email with the log-in information you will need for the control panel and for FTPS (FTP Secure) for uploading files to your server. Please keep this information in a safe and secure place, for future reference. Your website will be moved shortly after that, but not necessarily immediately.
  • Where possible we will move your website without any coordination with you. Where coordination is necessary or desirable, we will contact you at least 24 hours in advance.
  • If you or your web manager, designer or developer would like to contact us in advance of moving your website to discuss any particular needs or requirements, please feel free to do so as soon as possible.
  • We will be starting with websites on server NC026, then server NC018, and lastly server NC020.
  • All files in the “web root” on the old server will be moved. Where necessary (rarely) we’ll rename existing directories if their names clash with directories set up by default on the new server — unless this will cause a problem with your website, in which case we’ll rename the directories on the new server. If you have any files stored outside of the “web root” — the “httpdocs” directory on NC018 and NC026, or the “htdocs” directory on server NC020 — please either download them to your local computer, or contact us so that we’re aware that they need to be moved too.
  • Speaking of the web root, the file path on the server to your website will change. The new path will be /home/USERNAME/public_html , where you will replace “USERNAME” with your actual user name, of course. Most of the time this is irrelevant, but for some web applications it might be important to know this.
  • If the nameservers for your domain are hosted elsewhere — i.e., we cannot access them to update the information for your domain to point it to the new web server — you will need to do this yourself. The IP address of the new server is 173.255.231.250; you will need to know this to point your domain to it after we transfer the files.
  • We will manually check to ensure that your site is online after the move and check a few additional pages, but please check yourself to make sure everything is good. Once a day we’ll email the owners of the websites that were moved that day.
  • Your website will not be down during the transfer. Where there is the possibility of complications, we will leave your domain pointing to the old website until any complications have been resolved.
  • This migration has nothing to do with email in any way. The email server is not involved, and your email will continue to flow uninterrupted while we migrate websites.

One other item to note is that we’re really emphasising the importance of complex passwords. These have always been important to us, but our older systems haven’t always enforced complex passwords. Complex passwords are vital to the security of everything you do online that requires you to log in to view private data (such as your email or bank account) or manage services that unauthorised users should not access (such as the back-end of your website). This is why we set longer (a minimum of 12 characters) and more complex passwords by default. To manage long and complex passwords we use and recommend a program called KeePass, which has versions and clones made for all major systems — e.g., Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad). We strongly recommend this program or one like it. It will make your life so much easier, and more secure too.

As always, we strive to ensure that your hosting (and the move to the new server) are without any headaches, and that attitude will apply to this move as well. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank-you.

Email migration: Update 11

31 August 2015 07:22:31 +0000

Unless you have been advised otherwise, all domains with mixed-case user names have now been migrated to server NC027.

Again, using Bob@example.com as an example:

  • People can still send email to Bob@example.com and you can still use it as a return email address.
  • However, when logging into your account on server NC027, you must log in as bob@example.com, not Bob@example.com.

Passwords have remained the same.

Please also remember to update your email program’s configuration per the instructions at docs.niner.net/email.

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Systems at a Glance:


SystemStatusPing
NC020OperationalPing
NC023OperationalPing
NC024InternalPing
NC027OperationalPing
NC028InternalPing
NC031OperationalPing
NC033OperationalPing

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General Information:

This blog provides information about the status of NinerNet Communications systems. Dates and times of posts to this blog are in the UTC time zone, and dates and times given for events are also in the UTC time zone, although conversions may be offered for some time zones common to our clients. Please use the World Time Server to ensure accurate conversion of dates and times to your own time zone.

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