September Newsletter – Delhi Belly edition

It’s September edition of the 123host newsletter. As you may have noticed by now I like to come up with a theme and this month is no different. Welcome to the Delhi Belly edition! Spot the bad puns.

Things will be a little loose from September 11th for few weeks as I take a long promised holiday and head to India. I have been to a lot of countries, but this is my first time there. People have warned me that INDIA stands for I’ll Never Do It Again – we shall see.

While I am looking forward to the adventure, I am pretty anxious about 123host running smoothly and the great customer support continuing seamlessly. I will be checking in as often as possible but I didn’t want to spend all my time thinking about tech support when my main worry may be locating the nearest toilet. I’d like to introduce you to David who is going to be looking after you while I am gone. He lives in Northern Queensland and runs a similar business to 123host. We are going to swap skills, down the track I will look after his hosting service when he needs a break. I am confident you will be taken care of as I have reminded him many times about how important customer service is :o)

While David looks after you, I have engaged a server management team to do the technical stuff. I am even going to visit them when I am in Cochin (Western India). I have had a support contract with them for a while for any stuff I couldn’t figure out and they have been fast and efficient. So as long as I avoid their water, things should go well.

Why India? I want to see crazy stuff like this

All you WordPress users take note: WordPress recently upgraded to version 4.3 – it is really important that you make sure your installation is up to date. If not and your site is compromised via a known exploit I am afraid my willingness to help sort you out may be less than enthusiastic. On the other hand, if you are up to date and your plugins are all updated I will do what I can to help clean up the mess.

Last newlestter I explained about a new spam filtering thingy known as greylisting. I am interested in feedback on whether you have noticed any difference – I have. Gmail keeps spam for 30 days before automatically deleting it. A month ago there was 9,000+ items in my spam folder…yes over 9,000 – crap! As I am typing this the current count is less than 5,500 – so I am down by about 30%. This is good.

There can be side-effects though. A couple of people have contacted me about weird bounce emails so an explanation of how this works is in order. When an email comes in, the 123host mail server says to the sending mail server “Sorry, not available right now, try again” – this is a legitimate response from a mail server. Most spam comes from compromised servers so when 123host tries to contact the sending mail server and fails, the spam is never re-delivered. If it is genuine email then the sending mail server gets the ‘busy’ message and trieds to deliver the email again. This time and for the next 10 days 123host will accept it without checking. Some mail servers (it is pretty unusual) will report to the sender “your email has been delayed and will be retried” and people somethimes think it means their email has bounced. So if you have someone say “your email bounced” do check with them whether or not it was just a warning about the email being delayed.

Why India? Bad Bollywood

As you may have noticed, unlike most hosting companies, I am pretty easy going with things like bandwidth and disk quotas. Bump the limit and most often I will give you a bit more resources. But there is one area where I am Mr Tough Guy (TM) and that is security. If anything you do – or someone else tries to do – on your account will affect the entire server I will step in quickly and maybe even automatically to limit any collateral damage. I know I have mentioned before and remind you that the server and your account is under constant pressure from people trying to get past logins.

I have a security setting that will automatically block an IP address via the firewall if there are more than 20 failed login attempts in 3 minutes. This has some explosive side effects. If you fail to login that many times via email or wordpress or wherever, your IP address will be blocked. You won’t be able to access your own site or anything else on the server. It is easy peasy for me to fix: if you can’t get in and you also can’t see head to and send me your IP address in a support ticket. Like me in India, you will be quickly unblocked.

I hope your online adventures are still fun.

If you are midly interested in following my adventures: – in progress…

After all that typing I am pooped.