We only post on this site when something that might affect Birdhouse services has occurred, or when we’re expecting a planned outage. Sometimes we go for many months without posting here. That’s a good thing – it means things are running smoothly!
Everything below this post refers to a service-affecting event.
This upgrade includes significant security enhancements. Users will notice minimal changes to the cPanel interface.
We’ve upgraded all MySQL instances from version 5.0 to 5.5, with an intermediate 5.1 upgrade in the middle. All WordPress and Django sites appear to be running normally after the upgrade – please let us know if you experience any issues.
We’ve recently had some issues sending outbound mail to Comcast users. The issues that caused the temporary blacklist have been fixed, and Comcast has lifted the blacklist.
Birdhouse Hosting will be down for maintenance the evening of Saturday 10/20, starting around 5pm Pacific / 8pm EST. The outage will affect all web and mail services. The length of the downtime is indeterminate (depending on how long the datacenter takes to do their work), but is estimated to last between 1 and 8 hours - almost certainly on the short side of that window.
All inbound mail will be re-tried by sending servers and will arrive safely once we’re back online.
This weekend we’ll be changing the way customer domains interact with PHP on the main web server. After we make this change, rather than everyone sharing a common PHP process, each PHP request will be owned by the user who owns the files in that directory.
This technique, known as PHPSuExec, has benefits for both you the customer and us as system administrators. For you, it means you’ll be able to use WordPress’ built-in updater for core, plugins, and themes (among other benefits). For us, it means we’ll be able to see at a glance which Apache processes are consuming a lot of resources – we’ll be able to know immediately who has the busy sites. This will greatly add in trouble shooting.
And for all of us, it means more security.
Your site may experience a brief bit of downtime while this conversion happens. We’ll manually check all sites after the upgrade it complete to make sure all sites are working properly.
We are back online as of early this morning, but to ensure that we are not at risk of further outages from disk failure, we have opted to move our hosting environment to a different physical server in the same datacenter. This will work will take place between midnight and 3am, PST tonight.
Customers do not need to change anything, and no data or configurations will be affected.
Thanks for your patience.
Update: The migration is unfortunately taking far longer than expected. Nothing has gone wrong, but the engineer who provided the original time estimate was unfortunately way off. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Update 2: All systems came back online around 9:00 am PST.
Unfortunately, we are experiencing an issue with the main Birdhouse web and mail server that is disrupting all services. We are working on this and hope to be back online soon.
Update 1: The server has failed to come back from a reboot. Two engineers at the datacenter are working on it. Stay tuned.
Update 2: Unfortunately, the problems appear to be quite severe – we appear to have a major disk problem. Engineers are restoring to another server in the datacenter, and we should be back up within an hour. However, be advised that we’ll lose data created between 8:53pm and 12:30 pm.
Update 3, 7:45 a.m: We are back online now, on our original server. However, there is a possibility that we may experience more downtime today if it is determined that the disk problem is unrepairable, as that will necessitate moving to another host machine in the datacenter. We’ll have information on that soon.
PHP has been upgraded to the latest version available as of today. If you notice anything not working properly, please let us know.
Update: After a month of operation, ASSP was later removed. It was causing SMTP problems for many users, and was somewhat unreliable. We have returned to cPanel’s built-in SpamAssassin configuration. The original information is preserved below.
We’ve swapped our SpamAssassin spam filtering system with a much more sophisticated system called ASSP. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing a temporary resulting problem that prevents users from sending outbound through Birdhouse over SSL. We expect to have this worked out by this evening. In the meantime, please use the Birdhouse webmail systems if this affects you.
If you find that the new anti-spam system is being too aggressive, please let us know of any email senders that have been blocked, so we can train the filters.
Soon we’ll provide you with information on how to train the filters yourself. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.
Update 6:30 pm: This problem has been solved! Unfortunately, the fix involves making a few tweaks to your SMTP server settings. The change should be easy and quick. Please let us know if you need a hand making those changes.
In addition, we’ve now documented our shiny new spam controls – please have a look!