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Windows, Linux, Cpanel & Plesk Life Cycle

Has Your Windows/Linux Or Control Panel Reached Its End Of Life?

Every software product including Operating System (Windows & Linux) and control panel (cPanel & Plesk) has a life cycle. The beginning of life is when the software is released to the public and the end of life is when the software developers stop supporting it. When you are keeping your OS and applications up to date you are not only taking advantage of new features but also by applying security updates and patches you are keeping your data safe. Hackers are preying on vulnerable and outdate servers to lunch ransomware attach, steal your personal information, to take control of your server to send out spam or attack other computers. A lot of people are hesitant to migrate to a new server either they don’t have time or they think it will cost a lot of money but I assure you the benefits outweighs the cost. In some cases, our technical team can move your data to a new server free of charge. Following tables highlights the Life Cycle of MS Windows, some of the Linux distros and 2 of the widely used website hosting control panels ( cPanel and Plesk):

  • MS Windows: if your windows version is older than 2012 you have to consider migrating to a new server immediately. You can search and learn more about the Microsoft product life cycle here
Operating SystemMainstream Support End DateExtended Support End Date
Windows 2019January 2024January 2029
Windows 2016January 2022January 2027
Windows 2012October 2018October 2023
Windows 2008 R2 STD.April 2013April 2013
  • Linux: your server is always more sure with the new Kernel, newer Linux versions are generally more stable with improved performance. If you are using CentOS 6 or older or Debian 9 and older you should consider migrating to a new server as soon as possible.
Operating SystemEnd of Life
CentOS 8May 2029
CentOS 7June 2024
CentOS 6November 2020
CentOS 5March 2017
Operating SystemEnd of Life
Debian 10January 2022
Debian 9January 2020
Debian 8June 2018
Debian 7April 2016
Operating SystemEnd of Life
Ubuntu 20.04April 2025
Ubuntu 19.04January 2020
Ubuntu 18.04April 2023
Ubuntu 17.04January 2018
Ubuntu 16.04April 2021

Control Panel: To get the important security updates, access to free SSL, latest application and features, mitigate risk, and ensuring compliance with standards like GDPR we strongly advise you to upgrade your control panel to the latest version. If you are using Plesk 12 or earlier version you should migrate to a new server + control panel as soon as possible. You can read more about Plesk’s end of life here. If you are using cPanel on CentOS 6 or 5 you should migrate to CentOS 7 as soon as possible.

Plesk PanelEnd of Life
Plesk ObsidianN/A
Plesk OnyxApril 2021
Plesk 12January 2019
Plesk 11December 2016
cPanel OS SupportEnd of Life
Centos 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux7, cloud Linux 7December 2024
Centos 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux6, cloud Linux 6June 2020
Centos 5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, cloud Linux 5October 2017

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About Cirrus Tech Ltd: Cirrus Tech Ltd. has been actively promoting its services to the hosting industry since 1999. The company has focused on 24/7 tech support, value-added services, and a cooperative attitude towards all its clients. Cirrus Hosting is now one of the largest Web / cloud Hosting companies in Canada.

Remote Desktop / Virtual Desktop

Remote Desktop or Virtual Desktop is a hosted workstation on a remote server that is accessible from anywhere in the world. You can use your PC, laptop or even smartphone to connect to your virtual desktop over the Internet. Rise of the virtual machines made virtual desktops more cost-effective; for instance here at Cirrus Hosting, you can get your own virtual desktops for as low as C$20 per month. Let’s explore some of the great benefits and used cases of Remote Desktop:

  • Easy access / Work remotely: Virtual desktop enables your employees to access their applications and files any time and on any devices. Your staff can get projects done or contribute to collaborative projects remotely when they are working from home or on vacation or self-isolating due to Covid-19. 
  • Install any app on your server: Like your desktop environment you can install your applications and configure your remote desktop exactly as if the program were installed/loaded on your PC; for instance, you can install your accounting software or CRM or tax software. You no longer have to be in the office to generate an invoice or run a report. You have the option to create different accounts with different access levels so your team members or your accountant can access the server so you don’t need to print out the reports or moving the files around.
  • Greater processing capacity:  Virtual desktops eliminate that need to upgrading all your PCs if you do not have the processing power or the latest Windows version to run your new applications natively. Your virtual desktop resources are scalable and you can upgrade or downgrade the Memory and CPU as you go.  
  • Bypass Geo-Restriction: I am sure you have already come across the geo-restriction when trying to access online content or post your product and services from different countries to e-commerce platforms like kijjiji.ca or Amazon.ca or if you are traveling and you need to access your online banking or the government online services. Since your virtual desktop is hosted in Canada You can easily bypass these limitations by remotely connecting to your virtual desktop. 

At Cirrus Hosting we are proud to offer Canada’s fastest Windows Virtual Desktop. We utilize pure SSD drives and resources are physically dedicated to your server. Full administrator access, console access for troubleshooting and also access to the firewall to allow or block traffic before it gets to your server. Our solution is designed for mission-critical and/or highly secure environments. Our downtown Toronto Datacenter has the following attestation reports: SOC1, SOC2, HIPPA and is PCI compliant.

You can view the new Cloud VM plans here. To find out more about Cirrus’ Cloud VMs, visit us at www.cirrushosting.com or call 1.877.624.7787

About Cirrus Hosting

Cirrus Tech Ltd. has been a leader in providing affordable, dependable cloud hosting as well as website hosting services in Canada since 1999. They have hosted and supported hundreds of thousands of websites and applications for Canadian businesses and clients around the world. As a BBB member with an A+ rating, Cirrus Hosting is a top-notch Canadian web hosting company with professional support, rigorous reliability and easily upgradable VPS solutions that grow right alongside your business. Their Canadian data center is at 151 Front Street in Toronto.

Cirrus Hosting’s 2019 Year in Review

Happy New Year from everyone at Cirrus Hosting, we wish you joy, happiness and peace for 2020.

Let’s review some of the highlights of 2019.

Revamped Dedicated Web Hosting Plan

In the first quarter of 2019, we revamped our Dedicated Web Hosting plans. Dedicated website hosting offers the best of both worlds; ease of use of shared website hosting and reliability of VPS/VM without the complexity of managing the server at an affordable price. New plans are running on pure SSD, fully managed and all the resources are dedicated to you. In this article , we highlighted all the features and advantages of hosting your website on a Dedicated Web Hosting platform.

Cloud Accelerator, Enhanced performance & load time

We have integrated the next generation of CDN into our cloud platform. Cloud Accelerator automatically optimizes web applications and content running on the virtual private server (VPS) and automatically publishing them to our global CDN. Cloud accelerator is a geographically distributed network of servers that host files, images, video and other internet content and deliver them to an end-user from the location nearest to them. It improves the performance, security and reliability of your website.

cdn and accelerator provided by cirrus cloud hosting and dedicated server hosting

Focus on Performance and security

As part of our ongoing effort to improve our network security and In order to increase our resilience against DDoS attacks, we have significantly improved our capacity and peak throughput by upgrading our core routers and networking gears. We also increased our pipeline by almost tenfold. We recommend our web hosting clients to scan their website, application, and plugins and eliminate any vulnerability from their website; keep their PHP, WordPress, and plugins up-to-date.

In 2019 Security researches found major vulnerabilities like Zombieload Attack and Exim mail server. Our technical team secured our infrastructure as soon as the security patches were released. Rest assured we got your back!!

What we talked about in our blogs

In 2019 our aim was to share with you all the new ideas and developments in the web hosting industry; we also talked about infrastructure, security and best practices – server management.

Some of the most popular blogs were:

Backup, Backup, Backup, Reliable Backup Solution for your VPS Cloud VM

In today’s digital economy a reliable Backup and Recovery strategy should be part of your business continuity plan. There are many reasons why you need a backup solution, to name a few server failures, deleting files by mistake, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) corruption and Virus / Malware / Ransomware attack. As we highlighted in our earlier blog, WannaCry ransomware has wreaked havoc on windows computer systems since its first major attack on May 2017. Small businesses were not immune to these attacks; ransomware attacks resulted in the loss of data and weeks of outages. Some website owners/admins neglect the fact that data backup is their responsibility.

At Cirrus Hosting we offer two backup solutions, remote backup and VM backup (Snapshot):

Remote backup plan:  Our remote backup plans provide clients with a more value-added service than a traditional backup solution. We provide managed and  near-continuous backup by taking periodical snapshots of a client’s storage and storing each snapshot as a separate restore point. The frequency of restore point creation is determined by each client’s data protection needs. Each plan has a specific amount of backup space and the maximum number of restore points. Having multiple restore points enables you to choose which restore point you would like to use in the case you need to restore your data. Cirrus Tech’s remote backup plans are designed to be easily scalable. All restore points (backups) created are stored on Cirrus Tech’s backup servers running R1Soft. In addition, clients can easily manage their backups through an initiative easy to use web interface.

For more details on our remote backup plans, click HERE.

VM backup: Clients can initiate a manual VM backup or schedule an automatic snapshot to be taken of their VM(s), only a single image can be taken and stored at any given time. VM backup is included in most of our cloud VM Plans free of charge. The advantage of VM backup is that you can convert the backup to an image and built a new server or rebuild your existing one.  Unlike Remote backup plan the VM backups are unmanaged and we do NOT monitor the state of VM backups, there is a chance that a VM backup failure can go unnoticed.

We recommend our clients to take advantage of both remote backup and VM backup solutions at the same time as remote backups are managed and monitored by our technicians, you can have a peace of mind that backups are being taken regularly, you have multiple restore points and your backups are stored on a different hardware than your VM. The VM snapshot is a good solution to easily duplicate your VM or recreate your VM. 

What Can You Do With Windows Virtual Machine 2019 – 2020

A Windows Virtual Machine (VM) or Windows Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a program that emulates a computer system and offers the same functionality as a physical Windows server. VM performs and executes tasks exactly like an isolated standalone server, it can be rebooted independently and have its own administrator access, users, IP address, Memory process, etc. The cool thing about Windows VPS is that you can use it for whatever you like exactly like your computer at home. Let’s explore some of the great uses of Windows VM/VPS:

  • Virtual Desktop: Like your desktop environment you can install your applications and configure the server, for instance, you can install accounting software or CRM and access them from anywhere in the world. You no longer have to be in the office to generate an invoice or run a report. You have the option to create different accounts with different access levels so your team members or end users can access the server and start using the software. Or you can simply use the virtual desktop to browse the internet, play games, FOREX trading or post on local e-commerce platforms.
  • Website Hosting: Windows server can be configured as a web server and it enables you to utilize a full range of Microsoft products such as MS SQL, .net, .ASP and many more to run your websites more efficiently. Depending on your level of expertise you can either use IIS to lunch your website or install a Plesk control panel to assist you with launching and managing your website.
  • Mail Server: It is the most common use of a Windows server. Historically businesses preferred to host their mail servers on a Windows Server, Windows server provides greater security and better control over the environment. There are various mail server applications in the market like MailEnable or you can utilize the latest Plesk panel (Plesk Obsidian).
  • Sandbox: Windows VPS server is the best and chipset testing environment; you can try the untested code or application on the isolated environment or you can install the latest Windows Version and test the software for compatibilities, identify bugs or test application patches. You can reformat, reinstall and recreate the server by push of a button.

At Cirrus Hosting we are proud to offer Canada’s fastest Windows VPS / Cloud VM. We utilize pure SSD drives and allocate dedicated resources to every VM. Full administrator access with console access and also access to the firewall to allow or block traffic before it gets to your server. Our solution is designed for mission-critical and/or highly secure environments. Our downtown Toronto Datacenter has the following attestation reports: SOC1, SOC2, HIPPA and is PCI compliant.

You can view the new Cloud VM plans here. To find out more about Cirrus’ Cloud VMs, visit us at www.cirrushosting.com or call 1.877.624.7787

About Cirrus Hosting

Cirrus Tech Ltd. has been a leader in providing affordable, dependable cloud hosting as well as website hosting services in Canada since 1999. They have hosted and supported hundreds of thousands of websites and applications for Canadian businesses and clients around the world. As a BBB member with an A+ rating, Cirrus Hosting is a top-notch Canadian web hosting company with professional support, rigorous reliability and easily upgradable VPS solutions that grow right alongside your business. Their Canadian data center is at 151 Front Street in Toronto.

Cirrus Hosting VS Azure VS AWS: Which One Is More Affordable?

If you are a small business owner and thinking about using VPS or cloud services, confused about the AWS and Azure pricing model and wondering how Cirrus hosting’s cloud services fares against them… this post is for you.

There are many reasons to order a cloud server from Cirrus Hosting rather than Azure or AWS – for instance, we offer Better support, greater ease of use, better IOPS, enterprise hardware, flat monthly rate and no hidden fees.

I plan to compare Cirrus Hosting could VM plan IV against comparable tier, similar hardware, hosted in Canada and monthly billing plan (pay as you go) without a long-term contract.  For Azure, I am taking General purpose D series, Canada Central datacenter and pay as you go. For AWS instance I have chosen m5d.large, 100% utilization/m, Canada Central datacenter and NVMe SSD.  

The following table shows the resource and price comparison between Cirrus Hosting Cloud VM, Azure VM and AWS instance.

TierRegionStorageMemoryvCPUOSPrice
Cirrus HostingCloud VMToronto80 GB SSD8 GB4CentOS$80.00
Microsoft AzureD- SeriesCanada Central64 GB SSD7 GB2CentOS$149.66*
Amazon AWSEC2 – m5d.largeCanada Central75 GB NVMe SSD8 GB2CentOS$131.50*

Cirrus Cloud VM 2.1 is running on enterprise Dell servers, Pure SSD, redundant network, scalable resources and our main data-center is located in down town Toronto (in compliance with Tier 3 dc requirements).

Click here for more information about Cirrus Tech’s cloud VM Hosting solution.

 

About Cirrus Tech Ltd

Cirrus Tech Ltd. has been actively promoting its services to the hosting industry since 1999. The company has focused on 24/7 tech support, value-added services and a cooperative attitude towards all its clients. Cirrus is now one of Canada’s largest Web / cloud Hosting companies in Canada.

*AWS and Azure prices were collected on 07/17/2019, exchange rate 1.3. Following price calculators were used:

Azure: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-ca/pricing/calculator

AWS: https://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html

How To Protect Your Apache Against DDoS With mod_evasive

In 2019 we have seen a surge in number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, according to the Kaspersky researchers number of DDoS attacks have gone up by 84% this year and the prediction is these types of attacks will get more sophisticated and more common. As a web admin you should explore different options to harden your server and increase your resilience against DoS, DDoS or Brute-Force attacks. You can take some basic steps to protect your website, for instance if you are using Apache HTTP server you can enable mod_evasive module to have a layer protection against DDoS and Brute-Force attacks. In an event of HTTP DDoS attack mod_evasive provides evasive action, It works by recording the incoming traffic (IP and URLs) to Apache and it blocks the IP if it exceed the threshold like:

  • Multiple request per seconds
  • Makes multiple concurrent connection

Mod_evasive emails the abuse reports to web admin and it can be configured to talk to your firewall.

Following are the step by step instruction on how to install mod_evasive:

  • If you have cPanel/WHM you can install mod_evasive from the interface via (WHM -> Home -> Software -> EasyApache 4) and run the following command : yum install ea-apache24-mod_evasive 
    • and to configure mod_evasive you should edit the .conf file  /etc/apache2/conf.d/300-mod_evasive.conf
  • For instruction on how to install mod_evasive on CentOS please refer to our KB here
  • For instruction on how to install mod_evasive on Ubuntu please refer to our KB here
  • mod_evasive configuration parameters are

DOSHashTableSize 3097  //number of top-level nodes that each child’s hash table contains.

DOSPageCount 2  //maximum number of requests per interval for a single page before it blocks the IP address

DOSSiteCount 50  //maximum number of requests for any object per IP on the same listener per site before it blocks the IP address

DOSPageInterval 1  //time interval per sec. for the page count

DOSSiteInterval 1  //time interval per sec. for the site count

DOSBlockingPeriod 60  //time interval per sec. to block a site’s IP address

DOSEmailNotify <YOU@YOURMAIL.COM>   //to set the admin email to receive the IP blacklist report

Plesk Obsidian Features and Release Date

Plesk has recently announced the major release “Plesk Obsidian” and published a release cycle calendar. Although “Plesk Obsidian Release candidate 1” was released on June 4, but General availability of stable version will only be released on October 2019. This major release intends to move Plesk closer to achieving their goal of becoming a “complete website and server management tool”.  Let’s take a look at some of the new cool features of Plesk Obsidian:

-SNI for Mail Server: You can enable SSL/TLS for individual domain to secure the connection. This feature supports both Postfix and MailEnable.

-Composer v2:  Composer is a dependency management tool in PHP. It is not only installed and updates the dependencies but also reviews and highlights the potential challenges with updating the particular PHP version.

-Advanced Monitoring: New Grafana charts give you visibility and insight into your server health. You also can configure email notification to be sent to admin or push notification to the plesk mobile app.

-Mango DB Support: Wait no more with the Plesk Obsidian you can install and manage Mongo DB databases and users.

-Improved Plesk Backup in cloud storage: Taking or restoring backups in Google Drive, Amazon, S3 requires less free space on your server.

To read more about the new the Plesk Obsidian release please click here.

DNA Data Storage is Going Mainstream!!

What is a big deal about DNA data storage? Some might say they have ample space in the cloud to store all their photos, music’s and data but thanks to the emergence of big data we are generating and storing loads of data every second. According to IDC’s 2018 white paper, the amount of data created, captured, and replicated will grow from 33 Zettabytes in 2018 to 175 Zettabytes by 2025 and guess what, we do not have enough storage space to store all that information. Although data storage technology has come a long way since IBM introduced “305 RAMAC” in 1956, which offered 5 megabytes of storage, all these media’s eventually wear out or become obsolete. If someone handed you a cassette tape or 8-inch floppy disk to listen to music or access an old photo you have no way of retrieving the data.

What makes DNA so great is that DNA can store Gigabytes of data in a minuscular space. DNA is very stable over time and does not even require electricity to store information. Unlike the older storage solution like an 8-inch floppy disk or different/older data format type, there is less likely that we lose the ability to read DNA. As long as the humans are alive we will care about reading our own DNA. The other great advantages of DNA storage is you can make millions of copies of data fairly easily and almost for free.

The biggest challenges of DNA storage at the moment are slow read-write process and high price tag. To write the data onto a DNA first you should map 0s and 1s into DNA’s 4 types of nitrogen base A, T, C and G pairs. A synthesis company will write the converted data into DNA and you should expect to pay around $1000 per MB. To recover the data you need to sequence it and that process could take hours or days to complete.  

Companies like Microsoft and Intel are investing heavily in DNA storage R&D. Microsoft in collaboration with the university of Washington demonstrated the first fully automated DNA data storage in March 2019. They proved it is possible to automate the read-write process to convert bits to molecules and back to bits again. Scientist and storage experts are confident DNA storage will become widely available at a reasonable price in the next decade.

What is a Virtual Machine (VM)

A Virtual Machine (VM) is a program that emulates a computer system and offers the same functionality as a physical server. VM performs and executes tasks exactly like an isolated stand-alone server, it can be rebooted independently and have its own root/admin access, users, IP address, Memory process, etc. multiple VMs can run on the same server and in order to create VMs businesses utilize a program/software called hypervisor. A hypervisor runs on top of the hardware and facilitates the creation, deployment and management of VMs. Some of the popular hypervisor solutions are KVM, Hyper-V, VMware, and Oracle VM.

Today’s technology consumption and utility have increased leaps and bounds due to low-cost computers and storage devices, high- capacity networks as well as a widespread adaptation of service-oriented culture and hardware virtualization. Some businesses, however, are still resisting to transition from dedicated server to VM. There are many advantages in migrating to VM, to name a few:

 

  • You can save money by Utilizing hardware resources more efficiently, reducing the number of physical servers and as a result lowering the hardware maintenance cost.
  • You can clone your VM and move them easily between your physical servers.
  • You can use VM to try the new operating system, test your application, keep the legacy system, and lunch your website and browse the internet.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint as you will use less power, less cooling, rack space, etc.

 

You can view the Cloud VM solutions we offer here on Cirrus’s website: Cirrus Cloud Hosting

To find out more about Cirrus’ Cloud VMs, visit us at www.cirrushosting.com or call 1.877.624.7787