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Server Updates and Migration

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April 28 2017
April 28 2017
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We've completed phase 2 of our upgrades which gives us new servers that are faster, more secure, have more redundancy and are running newer operating systems for better long term support.

Faster with HTTP 2.0

This upgrade also enables HTTP 2.0 for all websites with SSL (Secure Certificates). HTTP 2.0 allows pages to load much faster by enabling multiple concurrent connections at once. That means if your page has 50 resources that have to be loaded (e.g. HTML, CSS, Javascript, and image files), instead of loading one at a time, all 50 can load asynchronously.

Our Apologies for the Downtime

We did experience two problems during the upgrade that affected some visitors to a few sites:

1. Intermittent Loading Problems: Our security software on the new web servers mistakenly detected that our Load Balancers were performing a DDOS attack on them. As a result, our web servers intermittently throttled the connections, which caused some resources to fail to load (e.g. the CSS or an image wouldn't load, or the entire site failed to load on the first attempt). This happened from Wednesday 10:00pm through Thursday 9:45am, before we figured out the cause and fixed it. We are now using an alternative security protocol to avoid this while still blocking DDOS attacks.

2. Safari Couldn't Load SSL Sites: Starting Wednesday at 10:00am and until Friday at 12:00pm, there was a persistent bug limiting Safari's ability to load secure pages on six of our clients' sites. All other browsers worked fine, and all non-secure pages worked fine. This was caused by a little-known bug in Apache 2 when using HTTP 2.0. Safari was not compatible with this version of the protocol and would repeatedly send the server new requests (endless redirect). This was a difficult bug to track down because there were no errors and we initially thought the problem was the load balancers. Eventually, we fixed this so that SSL sites now load on Safari using HTTP 2.0 (so they are fast).

We apologize for the disruption of service caused by these two complications. We did extensive testing beforehand but didn't detect anything until after the new servers went live. We're always working on creating better processes for maintenance, upgrades, and testing, and we'll strive to learn from this experience. These upgrades are necessary for maintaining the servers that host your sites, and our overall uptime is still in the top 99% range.

Phase 3

We've migrated our servers from Rackspace to Linode, which has much more powerful servers and better support for the type of architecture we've built. The next phase of our server upgrades will migrate Load Balancers to the new servers. All clients using our Easy DNS or our professional Domain Management service will not need to do anything. In the next week, we will notify the few people who use Advanced DNS to update the IP address (easy 1-minute change).


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