Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2012

Please remember, even though you are enjoying the holidays, your Firemaker Hosting account is keeping your site up and functioning.

WHMCS and cPanel Join Forces

August 20th, 2012

This announcement came through a few weeks ago.

When a web host begins to gain a reputation for great service, it can feel like a superhuman feat to keep up with the demands of a growing business. Thankfully, hosts can depend on the help they need from the heroic developers of online automation tools and control panels. cPanel & WHM (WebHost Manager) is a control panel for the Linux operating system, allowing hosts, resellers, and end-users to work with their hosting accounts through a web-based browser. WHMCS (WebHost Manager Complete Solution) is a system that turbo-charges the provisioning of new accounts, client management, billing and support.

But while these two heroes of the web hosting world are often used together by millions of users worldwide, their distinct, separate nature previously forced hosts to use both tools separately to manage a single account. This adds to the administrative workload within a web hosting company, increasing expenses and affects the company’s ability to deliver fast and responsive customer service.

Finally, these two giants of the web hosting industry are coming together. With the goal of creating a more integrated solution for web hosting providers, cPanel, Inc., and WHMCS Ltd. have recently announced a new partnership to deliver a more cohesive solution that includes both control panel functionality and billing.

“We have felt for some time now that a much-needed component for cPanel & WHM was an e-commerce solution to automate billing, account creation, and so on,” says Aaron Phillips, Vice President of Operations at cPanel, Inc. “We knew if we built our own product, we would be competing primarily against WHMCS, and the challenge would be to produce something better.”

Under the new agreement, cPanel, Inc., will now have a financial stake in WHMCS Ltd. This strategy gives WHMCS Ltd. access to cPanel, Inc.’s vast business resources, and also allows both companies to benefit from shared expertise under a “brain trust” model. As a result, customers can enjoy tighter integration and an optimized exchange of information between the two individual platforms. WHMCS will not be included in cPanel & WHM, thus there will be no automatic deployment or need to opt-out within cPanel or WHM.

NBA Finals Sale, 80% Off

June 17th, 2012

As an Oklahoma City based company, we’re super excited our basketball team is in the NBA finals. We’re so excited, in fact, we’re going to put on a ridiculous sale to celebrate! We’re taking 80% off your first month of hosting. This includes any hosting package. Simply use the promo code THUNDER and receive your 80% off discount. This sale goes until June 30, 2012.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Random Sale, $3.00 off Anything

June 9th, 2012

For no apparent reason, we’re giving $3.00 off any order. Use coupon code RANDOM at checkout.

Random Dice

Good until Sunday, June 10.

Scamming Sucks

June 5th, 2012

We here at Firemaker Hosting are the regular target for scammers and con men. Everything from spam emails to hosting illegal content, we’ve seen it all.

Here are the main security things to know when doing business with us:

  1. We will never ask you for your password.
  2. We recommend you run some antivirus program.
  3. Do not give out your user name or password.
  4. We will alert our customers immediately if some breach should occur.

We take security very seriously, and will continue working diligently to protect our servers and our clients.

This is an update to let you know Firemaker Hosting will never ask you for your password.

Memorial Day Sale! 50% off all Hosting

May 28th, 2012

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. To celebrate, a sale! 50% off all hosting products (including upgrades!).

Simply use the coupon code MEMORIAL before 5/31/2012 and save 50% off of your order.

Firemaker Hosting is an internet hosting company based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We provide top of the line web site hosting for web sites of all sizes and provide top notch customer support.

How to Change Language cPanel Tutorial

May 27th, 2012

In cPanel, there is an easy option to change the language of the interface.

  1. Log in to cPanel
  2. Click on “Change Language”
  3. Choose your desired language.

Voila! The interface will be displayed in the language of your choosing.

Google Translate

Whenever you have a website in a different language, Google Translate can come to the rescue. Enter the web address of the site into Google Translate, and select the desired language.

The Google Chrome browser comes with a “translate bar.” This option pops up whenever you view a page in a different language, and offers to translate it for you!

Follow Up to WHMCS Security Breach

May 26th, 2012

This email was sent out this morning.

Dear Customer,

This is a follow up to the Urgent Security Alert email sent earlier this week. As you will be aware from that, we were the victim of a malicious attack which has resulted in our server being accessed, and our database being compromised.

As a security precaution, we are expiring all passwords for our client area. In order to restore access to your account, please visit the following url to reset your password:

https://www.whmcs.com/members/pwreset.php

We have restored all essential services except for our forums, and resumed normal operations as quickly as possible in order to keep licensing and support channels open. We are still actively working to restore the forums, and we expect them to return to operation soon.

A full security audit and hardening was undertaken immediately following the breach, and the site remains safe to use. It is important to note that the breach we experienced was the result of a social engineering attack, and not the result of a hack or a breach in the WHMCS software.

We continue to experience a distributed denial of service attack, which has caused disruption to our public facing site. We are in the process of moving to a more expansive infrastructure which should mitigate this type of attack in the future. With this move, we will have a much stronger setup with additional layers of security, and these upgrades to our infrastructure will ultimately mean that our servers, and your data, will be better protected than ever before.

Please be aware, that in order to deliver these security upgrades, we expect some very brief downtime during the migration process. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

While we are all currently focused on security, we would like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to read our Security Guide @ http://go.whmcs.com/22/security

While it would be ideal for all steps to be followed, we recommend that you at least rename (http://go.whmcs.com/23/securityfolder), and apply IP protection (http://go.whmcs.com/24/securityip) and/or password protection (http://go.whmcs.com/25/securityadmin) to the admin directory.

We are continuing to work tirelessly to resume normal service and regain your trust. On behalf of everyone at WHMCS please accept my apologies for the inconvenience and we thank you for your support.

—-
Matt
WHMCS Limited
www.whmcs.com

Security Becomes a Priority

If your site is running WHMCS, consider making these security changes.

WHMCS Security Tips

May 26th, 2012

Earlier this week, WHMCS suffered a security breach. If your site uses WHMCS, there are several things you can do to minimize any risks. It’s worth noting that the breach was a “social engineering” attack, which implies someone gave out a password.

In order to protect your own site, here are some security recommendations.

Password Protect the Admin Directory

Add a second layer of protection to the admin directory by setting up .htaccess password protection. Most users can do this via the Password Protect Directories option in cPanel. Remember to keep your .htaccess username/password distinct and unique. You can use the Random Password Generation feature in cPanel to help.

Move the attachments, downloads & templates_c folders

The three folders “attachments”, “downloads” and “templates_c” need to be writeable by WHMCS and therefore require the permissions 777 (writeable by all). When folders have this permission level it is safer to place the folders outside of the public accessible folder tree on your website. WHMCS allows you to do this. If you do move the folders, then you must tell WHMCS where they have been moved to by adding the following lines to the configuration.php file:

$templates_compiledir = “/home/username/templates_c/”;
$attachments_dir = “/home/username/attachments/”;
$downloads_dir = “/home/username/downloads/”;

In the above example, “username” is the cpanel username and so the 3 folders are located in the home directory, above public_html.
Note that if you are running suphp or phpsuexec you should not make the mode changes as the folders will already be writeable. In fact, you cannot set folder or file permissions to be 777 when running suphp or phpsuexec – the highest permissions are 755 for both folders and files.

Restrict Access by IP

If your company uses a static IP address, consider restricting access to critical directories to certain IP addresses. This would force anyone who wanted to access those directories to be coming from certain IP addresses. Simply create a .htaccess within the WHMCS admin directory with the following lines of code:

order deny,allow
allow from 12.34.5.67
allow from 98.76.54.32
deny from all

You can specify as many different allow from lines as you require. Or you can even allow entire IP subnet’s by specifying just the first part of an IP, for example: “12.34.”. This is called Htaccess IP Restriction.

How to Optimize Your WordPress Database

May 25th, 2012

WordPress is used every day to run millions of websites. The CMS is stable, powerful, and flexible to handle almost anything. However, one thing that is often overlooked is getting the most out of a WordPress installation. Things like writing pages and making posts, managing comments, and even changing users all make use of a database to keep track of the information. These database tables can get bloated over time. Here are two easy ways to optimize your MySql database for a WordPress installation.

WP-Optimize

Download and install WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize is a WordPress 2.9++ database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to optimize your database tables.

It allows you to remove post revisions, comments in the spam queue, un-approved comments within few clicks.

phpMyAdmin

Here are the steps for using the phpMyAdmin software.

  1. Go to your web hosting account’s cPanel and click the “phpMyAdmin” icon. If you don’t see one, look for a “MySQL Databases” icon, click it, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the “phpMyAdmin” link.
  2. Select your WordPress database.
  3. Look in the “Overhead” column. If you see a table with overhead, click the overhead value.
  4. Click the “Optimize Table” link.
  5. Once it’s done, click the Back button twice (to go back to the tables list), and repeat from step 3.

And that’s it!

As always, anytime you are messing with databases, a backup is a good idea.