Group Calendar

I have been asked on a number of occasions is it possible to have a group or office shared calendar. The problem is generally those people who are used to using Outlook in a business context have used an Exchange Server which managed all of the calendaring functions for you. In a charity situation, particularly a small regional one, it is not very likely that your charity uses a Microsoft Exchange server. The calendar management needs to be handled at a central point such as a server.

I received a request about a group calendar a few days ago and did some digging and have come up with a solution. So if you are interested in having an office calendaring system that is online, that your volunteers and office staff can log into then this may be for you. Continue reading Group Calendar

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Some checks to make

One of the things I try to provide is a one stop shop for email and for the website. While moving people over the past 6 weeks, it has become apparent that some people are still using 3rd party email systems. That is absolutely the right thing to do if you consciously set it up to work in that way. Particularly those of you that have moved to Outlook 365 which uses cloud based email.

Who sources your email?

However in a few cases I have found email is being used through a 3rd party provider, but nobody knows why. The issue here is you may be paying twice for hosting.

There is another case where people are using hotmail, yahoo or gmail accounts. Possibly because they did not realise they could use an email account with their domain name. Continue reading Some checks to make

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Hosting Move News (May 2017)

While preparing the newsletter for May, I thought I would place a quick summary here for those that are interested.

At the beginning of May 2017, I am around 75% of the way through moving everyone from their former hosting to the new hosting.  For most people the move required little more than a change to where they were picking up email from. For those using 3rd party email services, or not using mail associated with their domain name, they did not need to do anything.

Some Goodies for you

For many people that find the idea of editing a website to be a daunting prospect they are not generally interested in looking any deeper into the systems that are available through the hosting.  Things such as email set up, out of office messaging, forwarders etc. For this reason I have set up Control Panel users for the new system on the basis of whether they were accessing their control panels before the move or not. If you were not using it, I have not bothered to ask. If you are a “power user” then I have set you up on the new system.  Anyone wishing to have access to their hosting control panels can contact me and request to be added. I will need from you your contact details including address and telephone number. These are used in the form to set up the control panel user. Continue reading Hosting Move News (May 2017)

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New Cpanel for migrated websites

The following is available to all of my clients. Each hosting account has a control panel where you can access various things in the hosting. For example set up forwarders, set up email accounts, change the password on email accounts, set up an out of office message. Backup the entire hosting including email. Block countries from accessing the hosting.  Continue reading New Cpanel for migrated websites

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March 18th – April 30th Migration in progress

If you have read the previous items on my support pages you will know that we had some failures in March with websites being unavailable for short periods of time. I was in constant communication with technical support, whatever the problem was (it amounted to a little over 6hrs downtime for websites over a period of 2 weeks) there were three separate emergency attempts to resolve the problem. I considered that the performance, and some other factors relating to support requests I deal with on a day to day basis suggested that I should seek an alternative hosting account. Not a step that is taken easily, because there is a lot of work and co-ordination to do this. Continue reading March 18th – April 30th Migration in progress

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Website Availability

13th / 14th March 2017 Hosting status

At 6pm through to around 8:20pm on the 13th of March access to websites became intermittent. Mail services were maintained and unaffected.

I am adding this entry at 2pm on the 14th of March. Websites have become intermittent again because InMotion Hosting, the hosting company are running some unscheduled maintenance on the server. The issues seem to relate to the MySQL database which is a critical component of WordPress websites.

As we have had several instances of downtime on this server this year I have decided to take out another Reseller Hosting account based with 20i Ltd in the UK to achieve a better service. I am currently testing this hosting. The site you are looking at now is currently running on their systems. It is noticeably faster. I will be running some tests over the next week or two.

Depending on how quickly InMotion Hosting resolves the problem; anyone wishing to move to the new hosting (provided I do not find any reasons not to move) I can move you over in approximately 24hrs starting next week. (Week commencing  20th of March). Continue reading Website Availability

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Hosting Review – Your opinion counts.

Each year I review the performance of the hosting we are using. I use two centres, one in the UK and one in the USA. We use reseller hosting, which is shared hosting, this means activities on other sites not under my control may affect the performance of our sites. This has historically not been an issue, and has been well managed at the respective hosting companies. We have had two outages over a couple of hours over the past 2 weeks with one of the hosting companies which is what is prompting my thoughts here. these are exceptional, and we have not seen this over the previous year.

I am aware that in business, those seeking to be successful, may not offer the same service when they are successful, or have outgrown their infrastructure, which may be what we are seeing at one of the hosting companies. I cannot tell right now. However now is a good time to look retrospectively. Continue reading Hosting Review – Your opinion counts.

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Working with your local IT consultant?

Do take care!

I had a situation several months back where an organisation bought in their local IT consultants and moved their mail system to Exchange/ Outlook 365, basically web based mail using Outlook. This in itself is not unusual, it has happened several times before and Outlook running in the cloud offers several benefits in terms of assisting people to work together, things like improved communications, shared calendar etc.

To get another mail server on line you need to change some of the settings in the hosting. I normally handle that, but in this case I passed the control panel user name and password to the consultant under the direction of the client.

Everything appeared to go smoothly, their mail came on line and we forgot about it and moved on. But……

Some months later the client tested and found out that mail was no longer being sent from the website to the email system. This had worked when it was set up but was not working now. I was called in at this point.  Continue reading Working with your local IT consultant?

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New Tutorial Videos Added

I often find that I spend a lot of time going over the same things with different people. That was why I set up this website in the first place. If I get enough requests, then I can create a video. I have not added any since the site started, but I have just created some more, and bought some things up to date.

For full details go this page:  Video Tutorials (You will need your password to access it).

Of note, particularly for new clients are:

An introduction to Divi, this is the premium template I am using on new premium sites now. It is very flexible and powerful. I give an overview of a website, and show you from the inside how it is constructed. It is different from conventional editing that most of you are used to, but do take a look, it is the future! You can see it in Video Tutorial 11. Continue reading New Tutorial Videos Added

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IP Geo Block

I have found a WordPress plugin which looks quite interesting. I am currently evaluating how it works, and whether it makes any difference. What it does is blocks access to your site from countries that are not listed as acceptable.

Why would you want to do that?

Hackers control things called Bot Nets. They are computers based all around the world. In many if not most cases the owners of those computers are unaware that they have been infiltrated. What a hacker may do with a compromised server is use it to launch attacks on other sites and servers.

With the security used on your sites there is a mechanism which will detect failed logins. If more than three failed logins occur over a set period (generally 30 minutes) the device that is attempting to login will be blocked for a period of time.

At the point the login is blocked another computer comes on line and attempts to login too, and so the process repeats itself. It is called a Brute Force Attack, they occur all of the time, and sometimes for extended periods of time. Continue reading IP Geo Block

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