State of the Sanctuary 2016

Happy New Year from all of us here at File Sanctuary! We hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and are recharged ready to get cracking with 2016!

In 2015 we launched several new products, kept you safe from major security threats, had excellent uptime and much more. This update is a summary of what we’ve been up to, intended to keep you informed of any changes and new products that you may have missed.

Keeping you online

2015 was a record year for File Sanctuary service uptime, with us reaching 99.971% uptime across all services throughout the year. We’ve also created a status page, which we frequently update with information about any service affecting issues or scheduled maintenance. This page is hosted outside of our network in order to ensure it stays online even if our other systems are unreachable.

Security

In 2015, security continued to be a hot topic in almost all aspects of the online world. Not only have we been keeping our own servers safe, but we’ve been helping managed Cloud Server owners keep their own servers safe too.

Once again we have noticed that not all customer accounts have a security question and answer set. This is something we require when you contact us via phone or our live chat so please ensure that yours is set and that any additional contacts on your account also know the answer to this question if they will need to contact us. You can check if you have a security question set or change an existing one in the customer portal by visiting the security settings page on the customer portal.

If you have a smartphone, we also recommend that you also enable two factor authentication on that page to secure your account even further. More information about securing your customer portal account with two-factor authentication can be found in our blog post.

Cloud Servers

Our Cloud Server business continues to see rapid growth, with the size of the File Sanctuary Cloud doubling over the past year, which has led to us launching even more host nodes to increase our capacity.

Over the next year we will be looking at launching our third generation hardware, once again making your Cloud Servers faster at no additional cost to you, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

File Sanctuary’s Cloud Servers are being used by customers like you to perform a wide range of tasks, ranging from media distribution networks, source code management, health and transport web applications, 3G mobile data networks, and even some other hosting companies use File Sanctuary behind the scenes to power their own service.

We continue to add new operating systems to our Cloud Server lineup as and when they become available. A notable addition due in April this year is Ubuntu 16.04, the next Long Term Support (LTS) release of the Ubuntu family of operating systems. We’ll also be launching an Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Cloud Desktop powered by X2go later this year.

Our Cloud control panel continued to get new features in 2015. Building on last year’s addition of an HTML5-powered VNC client for HVM Cloud Servers, we’ve now added an HTML5 Serial Console for PV Cloud Servers, no need for messing with SSH or Java any more to get access to your console! Haven’t seen these improvements yet? Visit the Cloud control panel now and take a look!

Web Hosting

Last year we had a successful beta and launch of our Ubuntu 14.04 powered hosting service with newer versions of Apache, PHP, MySQL, and many other components.

This year we will be retiring our Ubuntu 12.04 powered hosting service as the Operating System will not be supported from April 2017 onwards. We will be contacting customers over the next couple of months to migrate you to the newer service, which is also powered by newer hardware, improving the performance of your website and email!

Many of our customers make use of our Roundcube webmail client. We’ve continued to perform many upgrades to Roundcube over the past year, mostly security updates, although some new features are currently in beta and due out soon. We’re also super-excited that the Roundcube team successfully crowd-funded Roundcube Next, which looks set to bring some dramatic improvements to the table over the next couple of years.

New features have been added to our Virtualmin hosting control panel throughout the year including SHA2 CSR generation for SSL, lots of updates to the apps in the script installer, support for DMARC DNS records, better support for DKIM, to name but a few.

But it doesn’t end there! Later this year we’ll be preparing a beta for yet another upgraded Virtualmin hosting platform based this time on Ubuntu 16.04, which once again will bring thousands of improvements across the entire operating system and all the services we provide as part of our shared web hosting platform. We’re offering you the chance to be amongst the first to try out the new platform — if you would like to gain early access during this beta period, please create a support ticket mentioning the domains you’d like us to move across and we’ll get you added to the beta programme as and when it becomes available.

SSL/TLS

We’ve continued to flesh out our SSL certificate offering this year, and we’d like to welcome GlobalSign on board.

In 2014 it was announced that all major web browsers will stop accepting SHA1 certificates from 2017, however last year this was brought forward to 2016 as the security risk was perceived to be greater than originally thought. Since 2015 we have only issued at least a SHA256 certificates to ensure that your content is protected by the best possible security.

Livedrive

In 2015, Livedrive got new clients for almost every platform, and a new web portal, making it better than ever. We’ve written a couple of blog posts that go into more detail about the new Livedrive desktop clients and the new Livedrive web portal, so we’ll let those posts tell the story there.

Domains

Continuing on from the explosion of new domain names in 2014, we launched many more throughout 2015.

Don’t forget that if you own a .co.uk domain registered before June 10, 2014, then you also have the .uk version of the same name reserved for you. This reservation will remain in place until June 10, 2019, but why wait? Get your .uk now! Create a support ticket to get started.

Antivirus

It’s not just servers that need looking after, the computers you use in the office and at home also need to be taken care of in order to keep you safe online.

Our managed antivirus solution, F-Secure Protection Service, has been a runaway success, because it keeps your Macs and PCs safe from online threats, without the worry of having to deal with the alerts normally shown by antivirus software.

Similar to how a monitored burglar alarm system is watched over and controlled by a monitoring team, PSB sends all your computer’s anti-virus, firewall and software update alerts to the team here at File Sanctuary, allowing you to transfer these often complicated tasks to us so that you don’t have to worry about them.

The year ahead

As always we’re excited for the year ahead, and we’ll continue to work on making our products and services better so that you can stay not only safe, but successful online.

As a final note, File Sanctuary will have been in business for 15 years later this year, and we couldn’t have done it without you, our customers.

So from everyone here at File Sanctuary, thank you for your continued support: we look forward to continuing to support you in the months and years to come too!