This month, we’re going to do things a little bit differently with the monthly recap. We’ll still cover all the things we did the past 31 days. However, we’re also going to take the chance to introduce our new reseller plans and explain the differences from the old ones. We’ll also be mentioning our SSL certificates. First things first though, let’s discuss March!
IPv4 allocations and changes
As many of you know, the global availability of IPv4 addresses is rapidly decreasing. Not only is it decreasing, but they’re being scooped up at such a rate that experts predict we’ll have exhausted IPv4 allocations by the end of 2011. The immediate result of this exhaustion is all IP service providers (datacenters and carriers) are raising their rates for IPs. So, as a trickle down effect, we’re now paying more per IP to our provider. The end result of this is we’re forced to charge more for dedicated IP addresses, and we’re also required to become more critical of justification before assigning IPs. Moving forward, the charge for a dedicated IP is going from $2/mo to $3/mo. We may also contact you and request justification for the IP before setting up your order.
It’s not just us doing this, and that’s important to keep in mind. The hosting industry as a whole is beginning to tighten up on IP allocations, and hike up the fees on existing ranges. Until IPv6 is fully supported and widely in use on the Internet, we’ll all have to adapt to changing policies and IP availability.
Over the past month, Cody has led our sysadmin team in a massive effort to overhaul our Puppet deployment, along with our monitoring (Nagios, Munin, etc.) setup. Without going into too much detail (I’ll save that for him in a future blog post), suffice it to say this process involved breaking everything down and building it back up again. Or, that’s at least what I’ve been led to believe. In the end, we’ve gained quite a few perks for their hard work. Some major changes:
- Optimization of existing user monitoring scripts. Our teams will get more verbose output of processes, resource use, and account activity if the system detects anything suspicious. This leads to even more proactive “problem” solving.
- Better control over our server deployment process. We can now more quickly deploy new servers!
- Improvement of our system software reporting and monitoring. We’ve integrated legacy systems into one unified utility so we have an all in one portal for things like kernel versions, software versions, system patches, etc.
This is just a small, small subset of all the changes that were made. A big shoutout to Cody and crew for all their hard work and late nights. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much coffee consumed in such a short period of time though…
Migrations and new servers
This month brought another migration to segregate shared / reseller services. This time we did Mercury, so all of the reseller accounts that were on Mercury have been moved to new hardware. As for old Mercury, it’ll be formatted and put back into the pool as our new shared hosting machine in Dallas. Timing is perfect too, as we’re just about reaching the point where we need a new server. We also added another shared hosting server in Seattle, this one is Avenger. In the next 30 days we should be lighting up additional capacity, along with continuing migrations. Now is a good time to remind everyone that if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to your servers forum so you receive all maintenance notices. If you’re not sure what server you’re on, you can check the hostname in cPanel or contact our support department.
Alipay. What a success!
The title says it all, Alipay has been a *resounding* success for us. I blogged about this when we first launched the product, and since then it has been nothing but a great experience. We’ve increased our order volume significantly, and the amount of users taking advantage of Alipay (both new and existing customers) is more than we originally expected this soon after launch. We’re collecting some nifty stats on Alipay use and geography, so stay tuned for a post on that in the future.
Out with the old, in with the new
It’s been about a year since we got the crazy idea to redo our reseller plans. Not only did we change up all the packages, but we also added some new features which are already creating an impact. It’s been less than 24 hours since we launched these plans, too. For reference, our new reseller plans are named bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Our old ones were basic, standard, advanced, and super. Here’s what we changed:
- 10x as much bandwidth and disk space on the bronze plan compared to the old basic plan.
- WHMCS licenses included on all plans above bronze.
- AlphaSSL certificate included on the gold and platinum plans.
- Two dedicated IPs on the gold and platinum plans.
- You can now have up to 200 cPanel accounts on our highest plan. The previous limit was 100.
So why’d we do this you may ask? Primarily to stay competitive. Our old reseller plans were effective and were a great solution for people who needed the ability to create multiple cPanel accounts for a low cost. The problem we faced was that we just weren’t offering enough to keep people interested. Sure, the plans were affordable (and in my opinion, still are for everything you receive) but you didn’t get a lot of disk space, bandwidth, or cPanel account.
As you may have gathered, we’re now selling SSL certificates. Prices range from $14.99/yr for our entry level certificate up to $399.99 for our extended validation certificate. These certificates are supported on all of our hosting plans, and can be purchased when you order or anytime in the future for your account. We wrote an entire blog post about this, so you should check it out for more information.
Since we finished the reseller and SSL projects, the next big thing is when our hosting provider, Softlayer, opens up their San Jose location and we start offering services there. This location will be a major improvement in latency for users from Asia and across the Pacific. We’re also going to be working on our website by adding and modifying content, improving layout and pages, and highlighting a few of our new services. If you’ve got any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or post on our forums.