PHP 7.1 Now Available

April 6th, 2017

Php 7.1If you are one of our customers that uses our Advanced Hosting Platform, you’ll be pleased to know Register4Less has now added PHP version 7.1.   PHP is one of the most popular programming languages used on the web today.  Sites like Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and Wikipedia all run using PHP.

The cPanel default (and native) version of PHP is 5.6.  Switching to version 7.1 should make your website load more quickly, thanks to the optimizations that have been made in 7.1.

To make the switch for your website, do the following:

  • Log in on http://register4less.com for your domain that’s using the advanced hosting.
  • Open up the cPanel (Paid Hosting > Manage Advanced Hosting)
  • In the Software section, look for “Select PHP Version” and click the link or icon.
  • You may want to note the current version you are using in case you need to revert if your website has problems with PHP 7.1.  It’s probably 5.6 though.
  • From the drop down menu, select 7.1 and click the Set as Current button.
  • Click on “Use Defaults” at the bottom of the page to use defaults PHP modules.

You’ll want to test your site to make sure everything is functioning correctly.  For WordPress sites, some plugins are not yet compatible with PHPp 7.1, so you may want to try 7.0 if things are not working correctly, or revert back to the version you took note of earlier.

Upgrade of Basic Hosting Server to NGINX

March 28th, 2017

NGINX is an open-source, high-performance HTTP server and reverse proxy, as well as an IMAP/POP3 proxy server. NGINX is known for its high performance, stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption.

This past week, out network staff have upgraded the hosting platform for the 10MB free hosting service Register4Less.com provides with every domain name.  The server for the http://Register4Less.com website itself has also been upgraded to NGINX.  The hosting platform had been using Lighttpd for a number of years before the upgrade.

NGINX provides a number of advantages over Lighttpd or Apache, including:

  • possible per-domain customizations if required,
  • sub-domains can now be setup by ftping using the same credential as the domain it’s based on, using its own top-level folder,
  • no database use for configuration, so even more responsive than before,
  • using latest stable Nginx web server for better security.

While our staff are confident that the change from Lighttpd to NGINX will be seamless, we ask that if you are using our basic hosting platform and see any issues to contact our support team.

In the industry today, NGINX is second only to Apache in terms of volume of sites that use it as the web server application.

.EU – Changes to the Renewal Grace Period

November 17th, 2016

Effective November 23, 2016, all .EU domain names will no longer have a Renewal Grace Period.

Any .EU domain expiring on or after November 23, 2016 will be deleted immediately, if not renewed before that date.  .EU domains still retain the Redemption period, so any domain that has been deleted will be subject to a redemption fee plus the domain’s normal renewal fee if needed to be renewed.

We at Register4Less.com of course would prefer to avoid this additional fee on the domain’s renewal, so it is imperative to not allow .eu domains to expire unless you fully intend to drop the domain.

If you have questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team.

New Rules for Changing Domain Ownership

October 4th, 2016

ownershipOn December 1st, 2016, ICANN will require all accredited registrars significantly change how they handle domain ownership changes.  Briefly, it will no longer be possible to update the domain owner’s contact information by simply logging in to manage the domain and submit a new set of contact data.

Inter-Registrar Transfers

Currently, the only type of transfer of a domain that requires confirmation is the Inter Registrar transfer which is governed by ICANN’s Inter Registrar Transfer Policy.  The process of transferring a domain from one registrar to another will still follow the confirmation process with the domain’s current administrative contact.  The current contact must click a link sent to the contact in the current Whois record for the domain being transferred.  The admin contact must confirm the transfer with the current registrar, and may confirm the transfer away from the current registrar.

Inter-Registrant Transfers

New starting in December will be the process of confirming changes in the owner contact of a domain.  When there is a change in the owner contact’s first or last name, organization name, email or telephone number, a new confirmation process will be triggered.  The process is as follows:

  • Register4Less (R4L) will first check if the domain name is eligible for a change in the owner’s contact.  If the domain is not, the contact update will not be saved and a message presented to the user stating why the domain cannot be updated at this time.
  • R4L will send an email to the current owner contact requesting they (or their designated agent) approve the change.  If that email is not responded to favourably, the contact change is rejected.
  • Once confirmed by the current owner contact, R4L will send an email to  the new owner contact requesting they (or again, their designated agent) approve the change.  Note, the previous and new owner contact may be the same address.  Both emails need to be confirmed in order for the update to complete.
  • If / when both confirmations are positive, R4L will then send an email to both contacts confirming the update.

The R4L Team will post updates to this procedure as they develop.

Use Your Gmail Account to Filter Spam

July 7th, 2016

Less Spam with GreylistingI have had a gmail account setup for a number of years, but really haven’t been getting much use out it since I prefer to use my personal email based on my own domain name, which is of course registered and hosted with register4less.com.  The one thing gmail does actually do quite well is filter spam with a low rate of filtering out valid email.  There are a number of reasons I recommend to use an email address based on your own domain, including branding, portability, tie-in with your website, but that’s not the focus of this post.

Gmail allows you to forward incoming messages to your gmail address to any other external address, and this is what allows you to flow your email to gmail and back to your domain based email address for filtering.  Here are the steps:

Setup on Gmail:

  • If you don’t have a gmail account, go to their website and create a free account
  • Log into your gmail account, and go to Settings page, and then to the Forwarding and Pop tab.
  • In the Forwarding option, set gmail to forward all email to your domain based email address, and keep a copy in inbox on your gmail account.

Setup on R4L:

In this example, I will use the example email address johndoe@gmail.com and john@doe.com (both not real addresses, so please don’t email them).  My apologies if Mr. Doe receives additional email as a result of this post 🙂

  • Log into your account on Register4Less.com and go to the cPanel (Paid Hosting > Manage Advanced Hosting) where you normally manage your email accounts.
  • Click on Email Filters, and then your email address (john@doe.com in this example)
  • Click the blue Create Filter button
  • Give the filter a name (gmail filtering)
  • Under rules, choose Any Header and does not contain
  • In the box below, enter in the text X-Forwarded For: followed by your gmail address and then your domain based address.   In our example, that would be  X-Forwarded For: johndoe@gmail.com john@doe.com .
  • Under Actions, choose Redirect to Email, and in the text box below enter in your gmail address.  Again in our example, you would enter in johndoe@gmail.com .
  • Click the blue Save button

That is the entire setup.  Your email will now forward to gmail (spam included), be filtered, and then forwarded back.  The filter in your R4L account checks to see if the email was forwarded from your gmail account, and only if it finds that the email did not come from there will it forward to gmail.

You may know that Register4Less.com automatically backs up all of our hosting accounts on a daily basis for one week, and on a weekly basis for four weeks.  Setting up this forward will also create an additional backup for you, as all of the email that is forwarded to your gmail account will stay in the inbox there as well.

Please give this a try and let us know how it works for you.

Site Publisher

May 6th, 2016

SitePublisherA new feature has been added to our paid hosting platform that allows you to create a simple website with no HTML coding needed.  Three different styles of web pages are supported.  To access this new feature, connect to your cPanel by going to the menu for Paid Hosting, and then click on Manage Advanced Hosting.

Personalized Parking Page

A domain registered with Register4Less.com will have a parking page generated by us if nothing else is setup for the domain.  If you prefer to setup your own parking page, choose the Under Contruction template.  You’ll enter in a title, description, your email address and Google Analytics tracker ID (optional).

Personal Website

With the personal website, you will enter in more contact information (name, tag line, avatar image URL), along with contact information, an about me description, links to social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and the Google ID.

Business Website

The business website adds more options for your site, including a description header, business description, business hours and hour notes, social media links and a google maps URL to help customers find your business.

Publish and your site is live

With all of these options, once you click Publish, your web page will instantly go live.  All of your content can be edited at any time.

Change Where Your Site’s Hosted (without changing where it’s hosted!)

April 14th, 2016

The Domain Name System (DNS)

When you type in the name of a website, there’s a lot that happens in the background that will connect your web browser with the server the site is on, and what does that is DNS.  Every website, every service, practically every device connected to the Internet has a unique address that tells every other device where to connect to it.  That numeric address an IP address like this one: 192.99.3.191 (IP version 4) or 0:0:0:0:0:ffff:c063:3bf (IP version 6).  Problem is, numeric addresses are not easy to remember, so the DNS system translates web addresses like www.register4less.com that you and I are familiar with into the IP address where that website is hosted.

The Hosts File

This week, we’ll cover how you can override the actual IP address a website is on for Mac and Linux computers.  Next week, we’ll cover how to do this on a Windows computer.

On your Mac or Linux computer, there is a hosts file that contains a listing of IP addresses and domain names.  Your computer will look to the hosts file prior to going outside to your ISP for cached (saved) DNS or to the DNS server for the domain, so if you have an entry for a domain in your hosts file, it will supersede the domain’s actual DNS.

There are a number of reasons why you would want to have an entry to override a domain’s actual DNS information.  If you’re testing a new environment as discussed above, this is a very quick and easy way to get your domain to resolve to a new host without complications.  You can also use the hosts file to “blackhole” sites that you do not want accessible like spyware sites, ad networks, pornographic sites, etc.  For those sites, you would specify the IP address as 127.0.0.1.

How to Edit Your Hosts File (Windows)

In Microsoft operating systems, most versions will have the HOSTS file is located in the following location:

C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc

As with Mac and Linux, the hosts file on Windows is a text file.  To edit the file, open the File Manager, navigate to this directory.  Locate the file, right-click on it, and choose to open the file with Notepad. You will see a file similar to this in Notepad:

# Copyright (c) 1993-2009 Microsoft Corp.
#
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows
#
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
# be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
# space.
#
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.
#
# For example:
#
#      102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
#       38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host
# localhost name resolution is handle within DNS itself.
#       127.0.0.1       localhost
#       ::1             localhost

Enter in the the IP address of the new server, along with the domain name and www. plus the domain name.

# Override the actual IP address where the domain's DNS resolves
198.27.68.184 lakesideninos.org www.lakesideninos.org

Write the file and exit Notepad.

How to Edit Your Hosts File (Mac)

The hosts file is a text file that is in a directory that you would not normally access, /etc.  The best way to edit and save the hosts file is to use a text editor on your computer’s console/terminal.  One your mac (if you’re a Linux user, we are assuming you know already how to access the console and use the vi editor), do the following:

  1. Open Finder and click on Applications
  2. Double click the Utilities folder
  3. Double click on Terminal
  4. type sudo vi /etc/hosts and hit the enter key
  5. You will be prompted to enter in your account password for your computer.  Type that in and hit enter.

You will see a file that looks something like this:

# 
# Host Database 
#           
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting.  Do not change this entry.
# 
127.0.0.1       localhost

In our example we are going to use the domain name lakesideninos.org and the IP address 198.27.68.184, the IP address for our ahs2.R4L.com server.

Adding an entry to your hosts file

  1. Hold Shift and G down together to place the cursor at the bottom of the file.
  2. Type o to go to insert mode on the next line
  3. Type in the IP address followed by a space, then the name of the website, and then the name of the site again with www. in front of it and hit enter. In our example, I would type in the following:
# Override the actual IP address where the domain's DNS resolves
198.27.68.184 lakesideninos.org www.lakesideninos.org

# Block out unwanted websites
127.0.0.1 badsitename.com www.badsitename.com
  1. Hit the Esc key to exit insert mode.
  2. Type :wq and hit enter to save and exit the editor.
  3. type exit and hit enter to close Terminal.

Undoing the Change

Once you’ve tested the site and want the real DNS to apply, you will want to make the changes for the domain to point to the new host (assuming that’s why you are overriding the real DNS resolution), you will want to delete the entries from the hosts file.

  1. Follow the instructions above to open the terminal and edit the file with vi.
  2. Use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the first line where the domain and its IP address appear.
  3. Hit the d key twice to delete the line.
  4. Do the same with the entry for www. plus the domain.
  5. Type in :wq to write the hosts file and quit the editor.
  6. Hold Control d to close Terminal.

Using Customer Service / Support

April 4th, 2016

Smiley SupportOur support team often gets complimented that we have the best support in the industry, and that our customers tell their friends and colleagues about us all the time.  One of our team has even once been “accused” of cloning himself because he’s always there.

As you can imagine, this is of course nice feedback to hear. Then this….

This morning I had a chat session with a customer that’s been with us for a few years, and he was looking for information on how to transfer the registration and hosting away to another provider.  We have domains that transfer in to us and away from us.

Normally when we get a transfer away I inquire as to the reason for the transfer.  The reason he gave was that he could not get the free basic hosting service to work.  I asked if he’d contacted our support team for help, and his initial reply was yes.  I wanted to check with whom he spoke, and turned out he had not contacted our support team, and that’s a shame.

He’s already got the transfer process underway, and of course we recommend our customers rights to move their domains to another registrar if they so choose.  He’s moving to a registrar that does charge for Whois privacy, so will be paying quite a bit more for the registration service.  Moving the domain’s registration and hosting will also not necessarily solve the issues he’s having with hosting.

So the take away from this is if you are having an issue with an R4L service, please get in touch with our support team.  It’s not really possible for our team to know what customers are having issues with connecting to a mail account, server, or other issue unless we hear from you.  Usually these kinds of issues are pretty quick for us to look into, and once resolved, you can get to using the hosting or mail service.  In the case with this particular customer, not only could we have helped him months ago to get his site online, but he’d still be able to take advantage of the free hosting and Whois privacy we provide with the domain registration.  Where he’s transferring doesn’t provide these free services,  so his cost per year will be going up substantially.

Getting in Touch with the R4L Team

Secure Online Chat

Our newest way to get in touch with the support team is via the secure chat from our website.  Simply go to https://Register4less.com and click on Chat Now – Online.  The chat session between you and the agent that answers your chat is fully encrypted, so if you’re renewing a service with us, it’s safe to provide payment information over the chat.  All chat sessions automatically will create a transcript in our support ticketing system.

Support Ticketing – Email

Our support address is support@Register4Less.com, or support@R4L.com.  All email there gets tracked by a ticketing system.  Tickets can be transferred between agents, be assigned a reminder date, etc.

Toll-Free Phone

You can also reach our team by calling within the US and Canada toll free 1 (877) 905 – 6500.  Outside of North America, call int + 1 (514) 905-6500.  If you are calling outside of our core office hours (9 – 5 Eastern), please leave a voice message and we will call you back as soon as we are able.

How to Create a SPAM Filter

March 15th, 2016

Less Spam with GreylistingAhh, spam. Nobody likes spam. As a hosting provider, we really don’t like spam. But there are steps you can take to help protect your inbox from spammers. That’s why we have specific tools available to you in the cPanel interface to deal with spam. Some of these like BoxTrapper we’ve written about before.

SpamAssassin

Preloaded into the cPanel dashboard, SpamAssassin is an open-source tool built to filter and classify emails while blocking spam. Through a combination of subject line and body text analysis, Bayesian filtering, and DNS blacklists, SpamAssassin drastically limits and can  prevent spam from touching your inbox.

Creating a Spam Filter

In the Mail section of your cPanel account, choose Apache SpamAssassin. By default, Apache SpamAssassin is enabled.

Now you’re ready to set up email filters and specify how powerfully you’d like SpamAssassin to gate and vet incoming messages.

First, head to the “Email” section, navigate to “Global Filters,” and select “Create New Filter.”

Then, select “Spam Bar” from the first menu in the “Rules” section and then choose “Contains”from the second menu in that same section.

In that field, enter a spam score using a series of (+++++) symbols, with 5 being an adequate number for an individual user.  Lower numbers here mean a more aggressive spam filter.  Select “Deliver to folder” from the “Actions” section and enter the name of the folder (usually Junk or Spam) to which you would like to direct spam.  We don’t recommend deleting spam with this particular filter

Finally, click “Create” to activate the spam filter and, voila, your first filter is set up! (Be sure to check to occasionally check this folder to ensure items that are NOT spam aren’t being flagged.)

If you are getting spam that has specific patterns in the subject, from or to address or other part of the header, you can filter against these patterns as well.

Webmail Calendars & Contacts

March 7th, 2016

Calendars and Contacts Setup

With Register4Less's email service, you can maintain your contacts and calendar within your domain-based webmail interface, and access these using your smartphone. This can also be accessed from your desktop's contacts and calendar apps.

To set this up (example given here is iOS 8 on an iPhone), follow these steps:

Tap Settings

Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and then on Under Accounts, tap Add Account

Choose Other for the account type.

How to Set Up Your Calendars

Tap Add CalDav Account

Enter your email address account information:

Server will be in the form of: ahsN.R4L.com:2080 where N is a number.  

To determine your server name, go on your web browser, and type in http://webmail. plus your domain. You will be forwarded to https://ahsN.r4l.com:2096. The N of course will be the actual number of the server, so something like ahs4.R4L.com.

Username is your complete email address.

Password is of course the password you have created the account with. If you're not sure what this is, you can reset the password, but you will then need to change this on any device you use to connect to your email.

Description is optional.  It is simply a text description to differentiate different accounts if you are connecting more than one.

A Note About Port Numbers

In the URLs above, :2080 and :2096 are the port numbers on the server being connected to. 2080 is the port reserved to connect to CalDav, and 2096 is the port for encrypted webmail login.

 

How to Set Up Your Contacts

Tap Add CardDav Account

Enter your email address account information:

 

All of the settings for server, username and password will be the same as for configuring your contacts.

User Manager and Unified Logins

February 24th, 2016

cPanelUnified Logins

In the past, cPanel maintained different specifications/rules for usernames and passwords for email, FTP, and Web Disk.  These different rules meant that users logins for each of these services had to be different.  Requiring different username/password combinations for different services complicates access unnecessarily.

Starting with version 54, cPanel is introducing a new username standard, with all usernames now following a typical email address format.  By implementing a common username format, cPanel account owners can now give end users the same login for email, FTP, and Web Disk, easing account management.

mail-ftp-web-diskThe User Manager

There is now a single interface with which you can quickly create, search, filter and manage User accounts on cPanel.  This streamlined interface provides improvements over existing interfaces, including:

  • A single page User creation screen which can create an email, FTP, and Web Disk account at the same time
  • A simple way to configure and maintain email, FTP, and Web Disk settings for a User in a single page
  • A simple way to link separate email, FTP, and Web Disk accounts that share the same username so your End Users can start taking advantage of a Unified Login immediately
  • Password reset for all of a User’s services in single step

The User Manager List View

manageUsers

The User Manager Create/Edit Screen

editUser

If you have old accounts that have different usernames and passwords, you will see these displayed separately, and have a link to connect them to one synchronized account login.  User accounts can very easily be edited for the users name, email address, alternate email address, and restrictions you would want on their accounts.

Where does this take us?

Usually you will connect to the cPanel using your register4less.com account by navigating to Paid Hosting > Manage Advanced Hosting.  This will then open the cPanel interface as normal.  We do occasionally get requests by domain owners to give their web development person direct access to the cPanel.  While this can be covered by creating a sub-user with permissions enabled for Manage Email hosting and Manage Web Hosting, some developers are more comfortable with accessing the cPanel interface directly.

The cPanel development team are looking to the future and building a robust User Model, which will allow for granting of access to specific cPanel feature sets in addition to the common email, FTP, and Web Disk services.

Keep Spam off your WordPress Site/Blog II

February 17th, 2016

Less Spam with GreylistingThis is part 1 of a 2 part post.  You’ll find Part 1 of this post here.

More Anti-Spam Plugins

WP Spam Fighter

WP Spam Fighter checks two different parameters to the comment submission.

  1. The time the commenter has taken to submit the comment, and
  2. If any hidden fields were completed with the comment submission.

If the time is too short or fields that are hidden from the screen (but visible to a bot) are filled in, the comment will be rejected outright, as these don’t follow human behaviour.

Anti-Spam by Cleantalk

captchaA lot of sites will use a captcha with the form that needs to be entered in correctly in order for the comment to be accepted.  While captchas certainly will help reduce spam, it puts the load on your visitor to fill this in correctly, and you risk annoying them or stopping them from submitting a valid comment.

The Anti-Spam plugin stops spam comments, registrations, orders, bookings and more, all without the need of a captcha.

Quick Install, Less Spam!

The recommended plugins only take a matter of minutes to install onto your WordPress site, and once activated, will go to work for you in the background to prevent spam comments and ping backs.  Disabling comments on older posts can be simply the matter of doing a quick edit on the last post that has comments / ping backs enabled when you publish a new post.  Just a habit to get into.  With these practices and plugins in place, you should see a dramatic reduction in the amount of spam that comes in from your WordPress site.