The root of the problem is straightforward: not enough is being done to curtail NSA abuses, and the fact that larger steps haven’t been taken clearly shows that the administration does not understand what’s at stake here. I want to explain what we’re fighting for and what you can do to help us fight. First, though, let me set the scene:
Last Friday, President Obama outlined his proposed changes to NSA policies and procedures at a speech given at the U.S. Department of Justice. In his remarks, the President announced minor tweaks to NSA policies on data collection that were trumpeted as big changes, designed to convince the people of the world that they had no reason to fear NSA invasion of their privacy. Like the last time the President spoke about the NSA, this address was given on a Friday before a holiday weekend — the traditional dumping ground for news which our elected leaders would prefer we ignore. All in all, it was deeply disappointing. Read more
In a previous blog post, our CEO went into detail on the reasons why our new SolidFire SSD VPS is so important — to small businesses worldwide, to ServInt, and to the hosting industry at large. I want to take a few minutes to share more information on what makes this platform so compelling from a performance perspective.
Most important, of course, is the fact that with the SolidFire SSD VPS platform, you always get 100% of all the server resources — CPU, RAM, Disk, Network and IOPS — that you pay for. We are the first (and only) small business-targeted SSD VPS provider that can make this guarantee. All other small business-focused SSD VPS products only guarantee access to a minimum amount of server resources, and customers on these products are continually at risk of performance degradation due to resource contention (otherwise known as the “noisy neighbor” problem). Read more
For almost 19 years I’ve believed that trust should be the foundation of every action we take here at ServInt. I originally set out to share my belief with small businesses by creating a different kind of hosting company — one that strives to find ways for small businesses to succeed and for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. I wanted to let them focus on what they do, not on what we do.
Reliability, integrity, transparency, support, and expertise are cornerstones of building such a high level of trust, and these are values all of us at ServInt share. About a year ago I realized that I remained confident in why we do what we do, but despite all the breakthroughs in cloud technology I wasn’t confident in how we do it — not just as a company, but as an industry. Since that day ServInt has been working on a paradigm shift in web hosting, and today I’m proud to announce the result of our efforts.
We’re solving a problem that most people don’t even know exists. The most prolific example is someone with a new VPS or cloud service that complains of unreliable performance. They assume their provider sucks, or the industry sucks. It’s clearly not that customer’s fault and we all know it, but nobody knows what to do about it. Those types of situations make the whole industry look bad, and they should. This problem needed to be solved, and we are disrupting the industry by solving it. Nobody who cares about their business should buy a product they can’t trust, but there haven’t been cloud or VPS products they truly could trust without over-buying or over-engineering – until now. Read more
A few months ago we covered how to install a vanilla Minecraft server. Bukkit is a modified version of Minecraft that allows for, well, modification — including a host of terrific plugins to enhance game play. You can find out more about Bukkit here.
Installing a Bukkit Minecraft server on a VPS is as simple as — and very similar to — installing a basic Minecraft server. And once again, with a few quick commands you’ll be on your way to survival/adventure/creativity!
Note: This guide is specific to CentOS cPanel servers, but can be followed for a non-cPanel server as well. Also, this tutorial assumes you are familiar with working on the command line on your server via SSH. If you’re not, you might want to check out this article first to get your feet wet.
Also note: This tutorial does not include purchasing and installing the Minecraft stand-alone launcher. If you are new to Minecraft, download the launcher here to connect to your Minecraft server installation.
The web hosting market is a pretty saturated one. With software such as cPanel and WHM, it’s very easy to set up a server and begin offering shared hosting packages to people. For less than the average cost of a quick bite to eat, companies are promising unlimited disk space and bandwidth to anyone willing to become a customer.
The main reason why there are so many web hosting companies offering shared hosting is the profit margin. The more customers they can cram on a server, the more profit they can make. There are, however, numerous drawbacks to selecting a hosting company based on the price of the service. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for and a low cost hosting package can sometimes end up costing you more than just money.
Know your shared hosting neighbors
Shared hosting services often use a single IP address for all customers on a single machine. One of the biggest issues with this type of setup is that if one of your neighbors on the same server gets identified for spam, malware or anything similar, everyone on the same IP address can end up suffering along with them. Not only can this seriously affect your search engine ranking and appearance, but it can also cause some web filtering and malware protection services to inadvertently block you along with everyone else on the same server.
Is unlimited really unlimited? Read more
Over the years, countless businesses have started at ServInt. We are a hub for entrepreneurs looking to turn their dreams into reality. We have talked about Etsy as one of my favorite examples of this, but the list is long. We know what it’s like to start with a dollar and a dream, and we connect with the people who have that passion.
I don’t know if you know this, but ServInt doesn’t generally do a ton of coupons. Building the kind of value we have as an organization takes time and dedication, and we know our value. But it’s the end of the year, and one of my resolutions for 2014 is to find some new companies to help. I know that takes planning, and I want to give you the tools today to make that happen.
Earlier today, ServInt signed on to a letter, spearheaded by the Center for Democracy & Technology, that was sent to leaders in the U.S. House and Senate. The letter urged reform of U.S. surveillance practices “by limiting the scope of surveillance and by substantially enhancing…privacy protections, oversight, and accountability mechanisms” — specifically through the enactment of the USA FREEDOM Act, about which we’ve written here before.
Following is a transcript of the letter. Please take a moment to look it over — then contact your elected representatives to urge them to support it. If you’re looking for the Reader’s Digest version of what’s at stake here, it boils down to this: the USA FREEDOM Act would close a wide range of loopholes in previous homeland security-related legislation that make it easy for the government to gain access to your e-mail, data, and other private information, without warrants or the protection of other elements of basic due process. Here’s the letter: Read more
This past weekend, I had to take a long road trip to help somebody with an interstate move. As I often do when I’m struggling to keep my eyes open after many hours on the road, I tuned in some talk radio. As luck would have it, I managed to catch a half-hour or so of Glenn Beck’s daily radio program. On this occasion, Mr. Beck was spending a good portion of his time selling a new e-mail service — one which he claimed would “never, ever, ever” surrender any content to Uncle Sam unless the government first came armed with a warrant. For this privilege, Mr. Beck expected listeners to subscribe to his TV channel, for the modest annual fee of $99.95.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not writing this blog post to discuss Glenn Beck’s politics, or even his (considerable) marketing acumen. No, I’m reserving my precious blog column-inches to call Glenn Beck out for something that is well within my professional wheel-house: the fact that he is misinformed about how e-mail service providers are actually obligated to work with law enforcement, and, more importantly, the fact that he is not helping in the effort to get the NSA out of America’s e-mail inboxes.
To be fair, Glenn Beck is promising one thing that is under his control (though there are any number of e-mail service providers who offer it without the $99.95/yr price tag): that his service will not scan its customers’ e-mail accounts for the purpose of serving ads that match content included in those e-mails. However, Mr. Beck’s other claim — that his e-mail service will only yield to government inspection upon presentation of a warrant — well, let’s spend a moment looking at that more carefully. We’ll start by examining how Glenn Beck himself describes his offering, in a recent online “broadcast”:
(Note: I’m not going to provide any links to Beck content in this blog post. It’s easy to find plenty of Glenn Beck-sanctioned information about his e-mail offer with a simple web search.)
Beck says: “Everybody is scanning your e-mails, so they can… target you for the Feds…”
We say: The NSA scans a portion of all internet traffic, large enough that it could possibly contain most or all e-mail traffic sent inside the United States. This is being done without the consent of ISPs, web hosts and other e-mail providers. In addition, all e-mail service providers/web hosts are required, by law, to surrender any e-mail content they may have if they are served with a warrant by law enforcement. In fact, as detailed by our COO, Christian Dawson, in this post, there are circumstances where law enforcement can force e-mail service providers to hand over your old e-mails without a warrant. You cannot avoid the NSA scanning, or law enforcement searches, no matter how much you pay Glenn Beck.
Beck says: “The NSA and Google (scan your e-mail), and they’re in bed with each other.”
We say: Beck is conflating things here. Gmail does scan its users’ e-mail accounts, in order to serve them with targeted advertising — which they see as the price users of its e-mail service pay to get Gmail for “free.” Separately, documents released by Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA has been eavesdropping on e-mail traffic headed into and out of the Google network, completely unbeknownst to Google. In addition to that, Google, like all e-mail service providers, is required by law to respond to warrants and legal, warrantless requests requiring them to share e-mail content, if they have any. These things are not related to one another.
Beck says: “We’re not surrendering any lists, any emails, anything, without a warrant…”
We say: As I mentioned before, there is nothing Glenn Beck can do to prevent the NSA from “reading” his customers’ e-mail, or to avoid legal warrantless demands for old e-mails — so there’s not much to that promise.
So what’s the takeaway here? If you want to protect your e-mail from unlawful inspection by the government, sending Glenn Beck $99.95 won’t accomplish anything. But a few minutes of your time might. Our COO has written two recent blog posts about things you can do that won’t cost you a dime, and could make a huge difference: supporting the USA FREEDOM Act and keeping abreast of developments surrounding ECPA. Do yourself, and your country, a favor by checking these posts out and contacting your congressmen to urge their support as required. Glenn Beck is right about one thing: unauthorized, extra-legal snooping into e-mail accounts is unethical, un-American, and just plain wrong. We just wish he would use his considerable influence to help change things for the better.
New Relic is a resource monitoring tool gaining popularity in the hosting community. It is not uncommon for our customers to ask for help installing this software. In my last article, I explained how to install New Relic’s application performance monitoring. In this post, we’ll look at installing their server performance monitoring.
New Relic has a free tier for their service. A free account allows you to monitor cpu, memory, disk, and network traffic for your server. The following directions will guide you through the installation of New Relic on a CentOS server. Other Linux OS servers will be similar, but not exactly the same. Please note that these directions require you to log in to your server on the command line and execute commands as root. Read more
Accessing SSH for the first time can be fairly daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Command line access via SSH is the single most powerful tool you have for administering your server. Not only can you do everything on the command line of your linux server if you wish, there are certain tasks you can only accomplish through SSH command line access.
After learning how to check for permissions to access SSH, configure a client and log in to your server via SSH in part 1 of our SSH Basics series, you’re ready to execute your first commands. Let’s dive right in.