Hosting Server Move
Mon, 17 Dec 2007
The hosting accounts (website, emails, etc) of most Virtual Creations clients will shortly be moved to a new server. This is because of unacceptable reliability and service issues that we have been experiencing with the existing hosting wholesaler.
As some of you may be aware, there have been intermittent issues with the current hosting arrangement. Some of you may have experienced email problems, while others of you may have occasionally been unable to access your website, or have experienced some other problem with your website (there were problems today for a couple of hours, in fact!). Some of these issues have been resolved so quickly that you don't even notice them, whilst others have dragged on for many days. Regardless of the speed of resolution, the sheer number of issues has been unacceptable. The organisation that manages the server has proved to be most unresponsive when dealing with these issues - also to a degree that's unacceptable. As such, Virtual Creations has identified a new hosting wholesaler and set up an arrangement with them. This arrangement has been in place for over a month now, and a few of Virtual Creations' clients have been moved over to the new servers, serving as guinea pigs. There have been no issues with the new servers, and the hosting wholesaler has been very responsive to all questions that have been asked of them. We are happy with them and believe they can reliably handle Virtual Creations' hosting needs into the future. So the time has come to move the remainder of our clients across to these new servers.
This move will be done over the Christmas/New Year break, in order to minimise any possible impact that such a move may have on your organisation. It is not possible to commit to a specific date at this point, but it will occur somewhere between December 27th and January 4th.
There is an automated process that will be employed to move your entire hosting account (website, emails, database, settings, etc) from the old server to the new one. This process has been well tested, so ideally, the move should have no impact at all on your website and emails - their service should be uninterrupted. However, these things don't always happen as smoothly as we would like, so there could be a period of up to 24 hours when your website/emails are inaccessible. It is for this reason that the move is planned for the Christmas/New Year break.
If your website uses a secure shopping cart (i.e. you have an SSL certificate), there will be a period of a couple of days in which your website transactions will not be protected by this SSL certificate.
New Server Locations
Virtual Creations currently utilises two servers - one in the USA, and one in Australia. The Australian server houses only a handful of our clients' hosting accounts - the vast majority being located on the American server (even though most of our clients are Australian). Ideally, the hosting accounts of our Australian clients would be located on a server physically located in Australia (simply for performance reasons), whilst our North American clients would have their accounts located on a server physically located in North America. This move to the new provider will allow this to happen.
The new hosting wholesaler has servers all over the world. There are currently no Australian servers online, but three are expected to go online over the next couple of weeks. A day or two after Christmas, I will contact the hosting wholesaler and check on the status of the new Australian servers. If they are online, then all our Australian clients will be moved onto them immediately. If they are not online yet, our Australian clients will be first moved to a server in the USA, and then moved again to an Australian server a couple of weeks later (this second move should be instant and transparent, with no impacts on email or website service). Our North American clients will be simply moved to a North American server.
By the time the moves are complete, around 80% of our Australian clients should notice that their websites and email respond faster. Australian clients that are already on an Australian server may experience a couple of weeks of slightly lower performance, before returning to normal. Our North American clients should not notice any performance changes.
What do I need to do?
Actually, not very much.
- Please do not change your hosting/Control Panel password between now and the move.
- Please check your email account settings ASAP. This is done inside your email program (such as Microsoft Outlook). The settings that need to be checked are your "Incoming mail server (POP3)" and your "Outgoing mail server (SMTP)". If either of these are set to server5.requestdns.com, server21.requestdns.com, or mercury.dnswild.com, could you please change them to mail.MYDOMAINNAME (e.g. mail.mycompany.com or mail.mycompany.com.au). Nothing else needs to change. If you are unsure about any of this, please call me and I can help you with it. Please repeat the above for any email account of any person in your organisation that uses an email address that is hosted by Virtual Creations.
- If you manage your own domain name (i.e. Virtual Creations does not manage your domain name for you), then once the move has completed, you will need to update your domain name's "nameservers" (or "delegation settings" or "DNS settings"). You will be advised as to what you need to set them to. It is advised that you do this immediately that you are notified that the move is complete.
- Could any clients that anticipate having a problem with the schedule of the move please contact us ASAP to discuss other options.
And of course, if you have any questions at all about what's going to happen, please don't hesitate to contact us.