123Host.au is live

It has been a long time coming but finally direct .au domains are available.

As well as having 123Host.com.au or 123Host.net.au, I now have the short, sweet and cool (I think) 123Host.au

Map of Australia with .au superimposed

The process to register a direct .au domain is a little confusing, here is the (hopefully) understandable version.

If you want to register example.au you can try as long as there is no other example.??.au domains registered.

If a domain does already exist such as example.com.au then there is a specific procedure to register example.au. The first and most important thing is for the owner of the .com.au to get a token from https://priority.auda.org.au/. These tokens prove that you are the owner of the .com.au.

If you are the only person who has example.??.au then you will get the direct .au immediately.

However if someone else has example.net.au then this page https://www.auda.org.au/tools/priority-status-tool explains the process to sort out who gets the direct .au.

Should you own .com.au and .net.au then the trick is to apply for .au with one of them and decline to apply with the other.

Let’s add one more thing…if you don’t own example.??.au and want example.au and no one else applies for it. you can register it after September 20th. I can help you get to the front of the queue.

Yeah it is complex and confusing. I am wrapping my brain around it and can help, contact me at 123host.au (see what I did there?)

cPanel phishing scam

No matter who you are hosted with, please don’t be taken in by a new phishing scam trying to get your cPanel login.

It is a pretty convincing copy of a genuine notification that you have filled your disk space and has the subject WARNING The domain “(example).com.au” has reached their disk quota.

At first I thought the 123host server was sending them, so I was confused as the accounts weren’t full and the date was wonky. I eventually discovered that one of the links in the email is to a site with a fake cPanel login (the pink highlight). 

A good thing to help spot a fake, though they may fix this, is that the dates are inconsistent (yellow highlight).

Screenshot of fake cpanel email

Four customers had contacted me asking why their disk is full, in each case it wasn’t.  So this is definitely a thing.  I have since had a bunch more reports of the same thing.

You can always check how much disk space you are using in cPanel.

If you receive one of these ignore it.  If you are a 123host.com.au customer you can send it to me to double check for you if you want.

If you have received it, clicked the link and entered your cPanel login details, you need to let me (or your hosting service) know URGENTLY so your cPanel password can be changed.


WooCommerce oops!

A critical vulnerability has been discovered in WooCommerce prior to version 5.5 (the current version). You can read about it here, but they don’t give much info on what might happen.  I dug into the code and I think that if someone exploited this on your store, they could have access to order, customer, and administrative information via a cleverly crafted search string.

CloudLinux - CloudLinux Blog - New vulnerability discovered - the fix for  CVE-2016-8655 for CloudLinux OS 7 is here with KernelCare

It is extremely important that if you have WooCommerce installed you upgrade to 5.5.1 as a matter of urgency.  Once these vulnerabilities become public, the baddies know about and start using them.Please don’t ignore this.  And while you are at it, check that WordPress is at version 5.7.2

If you subscribe to the 123Host WordPress Management service, I have already upgraded WooCommerce for you.

What is an IP address?

From: Mozilla, the makers of FireFox

Every time you are on the internet, IP addresses are playing an essential role in the information exchange to help you see the sites you are requesting. Yet, there is a chance you don’t know what one is, so we are breaking down the most commonly asked questions below.

What is an IP address?

Your IP address is a unique identifier, kind of like a mailing address, associated with your online activity. Any time that you use the internet (shopping online, sending emails, streaming TV), you’re requesting access to a specific online destination, and in return, information is sent back to you. How does that work? Well the IP stands for Internet Protocol, which lays out the standards and rules (yes, otherwise known as the protocol) for routing data and connecting to the internet. This protocol is a set of rules each party needs to follow to allow for a bi-directional flow of data.

Does it travel with you?

No. Your IP address is only associated with one location unless you are using a VPN (we will get more into that later). When you are at your home and connecting to the internet you pay for, you are using one. However, if you check your email at home in the morning, then scan the news at a local coffee shop while waiting for your coffee, and then work from an office, you will have used different IP addresses at each location.

Does your IP address change?

Yes. Even if you are only using the internet at home, the IP address for your home can change. You can contact your internet service provider (ISP) to change it, but even something as routine as restarting your modem or router because of internet connection problems could result in a change. You can find out your current IP address here.

Can more than one device have the same IP address?

This is a bit of a tricky question — the answer is both yes and no. More than one device can share the same external (public) IP address, but each device will have its own local (private) IP address. For example, your ISP (internet service provider) sets your home up with one external IP address. Since your router is what actually connects to the internet, the IP address is assigned to your router. Your router then assigns a local IP address to each device that is connected to the internet at a time. The external IP address is what is shared with the outside world. Your local IP address is not shared outside of your private home network.

Can we run out of them?

When the Internet was first designed it used ‘version 4’ addresses. These are 32 bits, which means that we could have up to 4.2bn addresses. This seemed like enough at the time, but is nowhere near enough in a world where the average U.S. household had 11 connected devices.

We now have version 6 IP addresses, which have 128 bits per address. Unfortunately, version 4 and version 6 can’t talk to each other directly, so people are going to need version 4 addresses for a long time.

Should you hide your IP address?

You don’t need to hide your IP address, but there are some times where you may want to. The most common reason is privacy. In the U.S., Congress overruled privacy regulations designed to protect the privacy of broadband users. Internet service providers can see your browsing habits, what you are using the internet for, and how long you spend on each page. This communication is not encrypted, so third-parties can see what website you’re visiting. One way to combat this is DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH). This encrypts your DNS (Domain Name System) traffic, making it harder for ISPs to see the websites you are trying to visit. For US Firefox users, by default your DoH queries are directed to trusted DNS servers, making it harder to associate you with the websites you try to visit.

There are also situational reasons to hide your IP address. You may want to hide it when traveling. A VPN will also give you more privacy when connecting to WiFi to stream and shop while you explore the world.

Reaching the limits

A few months ago I set a challenge to beat the 123host support ticket response time of 51.7% within 1 hour and 82.7% within 4 hours.

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly!! Legendary as always. Katherine M-S.

It isn’t like all stops have been pulled out to try to beat earlier metrics, but those stats keep tumbling.

Steve!! It worked!! Thank you!!! I really appreciate how patient you’ve been with me. Sally S.

January 2021 – almost 69% of customer support tickets answered within an hour! That’s unheard of!

Within 4 hours, 95.4% of the 83 support tickets opened during the month had been answered.

It is getting harder to get better, but we’ll keep trying.

My word, you are a superstar! Thank you dearly!!!!! Nelle G.

Because I forget

It isn’t important until I remember to post the support ticket stats.

This is November…

63% heard back from me in under an hour and 93% received their first reply in less than 4 hours.

Happy customers :o)

You. Are. The. Actual. Best. Nelle G.

Thanks Steve! You are too good 🙂 Emma D.

I just wanted to say…. you are an outstanding human being! Michael G.

Thank you! What an amazing job you’ve done, I’m so grateful! Missy R.

The great customer service continues

The 123host mantra is “to give the level of customer service we wish we received elsewhere” because, let’s face it, most internet customer service sucks. It takes days to get a response to your inquiries…if you do get a reply.

Not at 123host. Pretty happy with these stats for September 2020.

Over half of tickets received their first answer within 1 hour. An incredible 82% were answered within 4 hours and 93% were answered within 8 hours. During September the average first response was 2.2 hours.

And it is all done with Australian staff…

Wide open spaces

The server restart referred to in the last post was used as part of updating the amount of storage. Did I say updating? I meant doubling.

There is now twice as much disk space on the server giving us all room to grow. I am committed to not having the server get overcrowded, often an issue if you use a cheap hosting service.

To “celebrate” I have doubled the storage quota for each plan.

Basic hosting has bumped from 15Gb to 30Gb and Advanced Hosting is up from 50Gb to 100Gb.

Use the space wisely grasshopper.