InterServer’s Shared Web Hosting Servers

Posted at March 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm by Stacey Talieres

When building our webhosting servers, we strive to ensure that our customers will have the best experience when utilizing our services. When purchasing standard webhosting you are probably unaware of all the components that go into making sure that our server is ready to perform. There are three major layers that we protect our servers against which include: external, internal, and outbound. The external environment includes all the of traffic from the Internet, which poses a unique challenge to us. However, there are several applications that we use in order to strengthen our servers which include: clamav, Firewalld, brute force, and ModSecurity. In order to protect the server’s internal environment we use applications such as: CageFS, Kpatch, and ClamAV scanning. Which is used to uphold  the integrity of these servers while also monitoring outbound traffic through monitoring applications such as SpamAssassin, clamav, and mailchannels.

External

  • ModSecurity

A web server may experience a wide range of attacks from various sources. A major Apache module to help protect our servers is ModSecurity. It works simply by blocking common code injection attacks. It’s flexible ability allows administrators to implement a react and response policy. Also, administrators are able to analyze behaviors which helps them detect exploits before they occur.

  • Clamav

Discussed in our previous article, this anti-virus application was originally developed for Unix. This free open source software allows us to scan any incoming email and web traffic. It’s database is constantly being updated, with its users updating it every four hours. Clamav is not only used to detect malware coming from the Internet, but it is also used to monitor email or web traffic that resides in or that is sent out from our servers

  • Firewalld

Firewalld allows for us to actively manage our firewall on our web hosting servers. With this application, we are able to deploy persistent network traffic rules. In simpler terms, it ensures that unwanted visitors are kept out.

  • Login Failure Daemon

This is an essential feature that many firewalls come with. LFDs search for brute force attacks against the server. Once an IP address has been identified the LFD will block it from making any further connections. This is extremely crucial since brute force attacks are unrelenting.

Internal

  • CageFS

As you might know, a web hosting server has many users sharing the server’s resources. To help better understand how a shared web hosting server works, imagine an apartment filled with tenants. In an apartment the tenants are renting and sharing the facilities resources. With CageFS, users are prevented from seeing each other. This stops them from viewing sensitive information, information disclosure attacks, and viewing configuration files. The only thing users will have access to is safe files and their individual account.

  • kPatch

kPatch was created to ensure maximum system uptime and availability. From time to time, patches need to be implemented. Usually when patches are made, the server must restart and go down for a bit. With the implementation of live patching, the downtime of a server is reduced. This powerful application allows system administrators to apply important security patches without fear of disturbing users.

Outbound

  • Apache SpamAssassin

This open-source application allows for system administrators to filter email and block spam.It’s API is highly integrable into an email stream which makes it easy to setup. Spammers will find themselves having a difficult time when trying to find new methods to spam, because this advanced system is quick at determining the criteria for spam.    

  • MailChannels

In order to stick to our guaranteed email delivery promise, we use this application to ensure that our customers aren’t sending spam. Mailchannels is a tool that provides outbound email filtering and is a perfect delivery solution for web hosting companies. It is a highly trusted member of the messaging, malware, mobile anti-abuse,  and anti-phishing working group. The way it recognizes spam is by looking for spammers within the network to improve email reputation. By doing this, it ensures other users will have reliable email delivery. Certain spam signatures are tested against a database of known spam signatures which is constantly being updated. Spammers face harsh consequences because they will instantly be shut down.

The quality of our web hosting server is of the utmost importance to us. We utilize a vast array of tools to make sure that your experience with us is the best. We offer our standard web hosting plan at $5 per month with no contracts. How much better does it get than that? You are easily able to manage your websites through cPanel which is included for free. We manage every aspect of the server, in order to allow for your primary focus to be running your website.

A System Administrators Dream Come True – KernelCare

Posted at March 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm by Stacey Talieres

I am sure we can all relate to the gut wrenching feeling when working on your computer and all of sudden it needs to reboot in order to update the OS. It typically happens when you are in the midst of something very important and during the most inopportune time.

When this occurs we  find ourselves frustrated and wanting to avoid the whole issue altogether by delaying the reboot. Hence why we wanted to share a nice solution which is through CloudLinux whom has a feature called KernelCare which happens to be an awesome application that allows for kernel patching without the hassle of reboots! Who could imagine that a simple single line of code could be so powerful and alleviate unwanted stress.

System administrators who are constantly monitoring  their server for the latest security patch don’t have to wait around anymore.  KernelCare is able to automatically check for the latest patches and apply them as quickly as possible. You also never have to worry about live patch updates slowing down your server either. KernelCare does not only promise superb server performance, but saves you time and money.

At InterServer it is our belief that this tool has proven to be beneficial to us and our customers.  Our goal is to ensure we never have to warn users about unexpected and sudden system reboots.  KernelCare ensures that you can seamlessly run your website 24/7 which we all know brings relief to many.

 

Digging in the Trenches

Posted at March 8, 2017 at 1:00 am by Stacey Talieres

The Backbone of a Web Hosting Company

In the beginning of 2017, we decided to further expand our current fiberpath to meet our network demand. Fiber is comparatively easier to install compared to other telecommunication mediums. Due to its nature, fiber installation can be done underground. Installing fiber underground protects cables from experiencing any outside interference such as bad weather or natural disasters.

What is Fiber?

The cornerstone of any strong and reliable network is built upon fiber optics. Ever since the 1970s fiber has become a necessary tool for building networks. Fiber optics allows for information to be spread through pulses of light. Not only do we rely upon fiber optics for our network, many other telecommunication companies use it as well.  There are multiple advantages that come with using fiber despite how expensive it is. These include:

  • No electromagnetic interference which is present in metal/coaxial cables.
  • Enhanced security – Fiber does not leak any electromagnetic signals, which prevents people from listening in.
  • Easier installation because fiber is flexible and thin.
  • It can transmit a large amount of data over large distance compared to other mediums of communication. Fiber optic cable has a bandwidth of 400MHz/km.

In the pictures below, you can see the steps that were taken to ensure a successful underground fiber installation. When hiring a team of experts fiber can be installed with ease.

In order to install new fiber, contractors will first dig into the ground and clear away any debris that would interfere with installation.

Fiber cables being installed into the designated trenches.

After a successful installation, the trenches are paved over. This is the process that we undertake when expanding our network to provide our customers with a reliable hosting experience.

Auto Clamav

Posted at January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm by Stacey Talieres

Let’s face it, anti-virus software is just an afterthought when purchasing a web-hosting service. Nobody is excited to spend money on something they do not believe is essential. However, the Internet can be a very dangerous place for those unaware of what lurks behind each corner. When you purchase a standard web-hosting package, you will notice how secure we have made our service by integrating clamav. We believe that a strong anti-virus software is the cornerstone of a robust security policy.

What is clamav?

Linux has a well known reputation for encountering less malware verses a Windows operating system. This is due to the fact that Linux OS downloads programs from a centralized source and cannot originally run any Windows software. With a Linux system you can install a free open source anti-virus software known as clamav. Clamav was originally developed for Unix, but later made available for Linux systems.  It can be used in various scenarios which involve email scanning, web scanning, and endpoint security.

Many people would argue that you get what you pay for, but clamav is highly effective compared to the competition. In the most recent testing results available, it was able to detect about 75% of all viruses ranking them fifth. They were not far behind first place, which was only about 5% above them.

Behind the scenes

You will never have to worry about manually running clamav on your web-hosting account or installing another anti-virus software either. Scans are specifically designed to never slow down the speed of your website. However, we do provide you the option to run your own scans if you prefer. When you login to your cPanel you should see a section labeled “advanced”. Underneath this tab you will notice a button called “Virus Scanner”. Once clicked, you will be given several options on how you want to run your scan. The options range from: scan mail, scan entire home directory, scan public web space, and scan public FTP space. The virus scanner included in cPanel covers all of your needs to protect your website.

 

Shared Hosting Backups

Posted at January 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm by Stacey Talieres

When searching for a shared web hosting plan, you probably are considering many factors. Will my prices stay the same from month to month? Will I be locked into a contract? How will I be able to manage my websites? With all of these questions front of mind, you more than likely haven’t taken into account how important it is to effectively backup your data? That may be the last thing you are thinking about, but in reality you should be looking into Web-Hosting companies that care about taking backups. We pride ourselves on ensuring weekly backups for our shared web hosting customers. It provides our customers with the flexibility and peace of mind that they need when running a website.

Where Does this Option Exist?

After logging into your my.interserver.net page you will be directed to your homepage. This is where you will find any web-hosting package or other services that you may have with us. From here you can quickly go to your web-hosting package and manage it. On our control panel you should notice a button that says “download backups”. With this amazing feature readily available at your disposal you will never have to worry about losing your website as a result of a malfunction or catastrophe.

How it Works

In order to keep to our promise we use an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) called OpenStack, also known as Swift to us. Some of you may be familiar with this service and others may have never heard of it. That’s okay, because we will briefly discuss how important OpenStack is. Imagine yourself within a very large datacenter. In this datacenter to ensure data redundancy, information is stored across many different servers. Let’s just say that if one of these servers were to fail (hopefully never) then data would be copied from the cloud onto multiple servers running this service. Swift allows us the versatility to avoid major disasters. However, be aware that we only can store up to 11GB of your website’s data. If it is larger than that we suggest maintaining your own backups.

The great thing about our weekly backups is they are done automatically. You can rest assured knowing that you are in good hands. We keep at least three copies of those backups for at least 60 days. This extended time period allows for an extra layer of redundancy as a precautionary measure. Our main goal is to ensure that we provide all the necessary resources for your business to operate seamlessly.