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Apr
20
May 2020 Update
Posted by Lee Blakely on 20 April 2020 09:10 AM

In this update:

COVID-19 Response
Payments
Folding@Home
Amazon WorkSpaces

COVID-19 Response
It's hard to comprehend the changes over the last few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread around the world. Fortunately the Internet infrastructure has remained stable even under the massive increase in traffic from "work-from-home", video conferencing, NetFlix and more. As always Reliable Penguin is committed to providing reliable service regardless of the circumstances.

We encourage everyone to maximize social distancing and show your support to the front line health care workers who are fighting the COVID-19 battle every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, our staff and their families and the families and staff of our clients.

Reliable Penguin has always been a distributed organization with most of our staff working from home offices. On March 10th we cancelled all travel, in-person meetings and use of shared work spaces. Additionally, we advised our team to begin aggressive social distancing and hygiene practices. As of the date of this post we have had no confirmed cases or known exposures within the organization.

We are in daily contact with our critical infrastructure partners including RackSpace, Amazon Web Services, CloudFlare, and OpenSRS. To date, all are reporting that the network infrastructure is secure and stable. We will continue to monitor the status of critical services and share updates as appropriate.

Originally we adjusted our support priorities to assist our clients transitioning to a work-from-home model. We have now returned to our normal support priorities.

Payments
As announced previously all payments should be made electronically by credit card, debit card, ACH, wire transfer, Paypal or Zelle.

Details can be found on your invoice and our payment portal here:

https://payments.reliablepenguin.com/

If you are unable to make electronic payments, then checks by postal mail will be accepted but processing will be delayed up to fourteen (14) days. Please send payments early enough to factor in this delay.

Please be aware that payments for services must be completed within the terms of your contract or service plan. Failure to make payments on schedule will result in late fees and service termination. If your payment will be delayed for any reason please contact our team to make arrangements.

Folding@home
Looking for ways to help fight COVID-19? Checkout the Folding@home project.

Folding@home is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data is helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

For COVID-19, the project is is running small molecule screening simulations and visualizing the demogorgon or spike opening. These simulations will contribute towards the development of new therapeutic treatments. Over the last month Folding@home has grown from 30,000 computers to over 700,000 and is not arguably the largest super computer in the world.

You can download the Folding@home software for your computer here:

https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/

Additionally if you have a managed server at Reliable Penguin then you can donate spare processing power. Just email support@reliablepenguin.com and we'll install the software free of charge.

Amazon WorkSpaces
Struggling with "work-from-home"? Consider Amazon WorkSpaces.

Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe. You can pay either monthly or hourly, just for the WorkSpaces you launch, which helps you save money when compared to traditional desktops and on-premises virtual desktop solutions. Amazon WorkSpaces helps you eliminate the complexity in managing hardware inventory, OS versions and patches, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which helps simplify your desktop delivery strategy. With Amazon WorkSpaces, your users get a fast, responsive desktop of their choice that they can access anywhere, anytime, from any supported device including desktop, mobile and web browser.

Reliable Penguin uses Amazon WorkSpaces and we've implemented for a number clients. For more information just email support@reliablepenguin.com.


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Mar
15
COVID-19 Response
Posted by Lee Blakely on 15 March 2020 08:44 PM

Given the evolving situation with the COVID-19 global pandemic, we at Reliable Penguin wanted to share with you measures that we are taking. We recognize that it’s vital to our clients that your websites and servers remain operational throughout this crisis and we're committed to ensuring that this is the case.

First we want to share our support for the many people working on the frontline to combat this virus … nurses, doctors, and other health care workers … and the many people throughout the country working to keep store shelves stocked and basic services running. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, our staff and their families and the families and staff of our clients.

Measures We Have Taken
Reliable Penguin has always been a distributed organization with most of our staff working from home offices. Early last week we cancelled all travel, in-person meetings and use of shared work spaces. Additionally, we advised our team to begin aggressive social distancing and hygiene practices. As of the date of this post we have had no confirmed cases or known exposures within the organization.

We are in daily contact with our critical infrastructure partners such as RackSpace, Amazon Web Services, CloudFlare, etc. To date, all are reporting that the network infrastructure is secure and stable. We will continue to monitor the status of critical services and share updates as appropriate.

We are adjusting support priorities and payment procedures as described below.

Support Priorities
We are receiving an increased number of support requests as organizations move to “work from home” and other arrangements in response to the crisis. In order to maintain our level of service we will apply the following priority rules:

  1. Operational issues on existing systems and services.
  2. Deployment of business continuity solutions for existing clients.
  3. New projects for existing clients.
  4. Projects for new clients.

We will continue to strive to meet all service level agreements within this framework. We appreciate your cooperation and patience with these priorities.

Payments

Effectively immediately all payments should be made electronically by credit card, debit card, ACH, wire transfer or Paypal.

Details and payment forms can be found here:

https://payments.reliablepenguin.com/

If you are unable to make electronic payments, then checks by postal mail will be accepted but processing may be delayed up to fourteen (14) days due to disinfection requirements. Please send payments early enough to factor in this delay.

Please be aware that payments for services must be completed within the terms of your contract or service plan. Failure to make payments on schedule will result in late fees and service termination. If your payment will be delayed for any reason please contact our team to make arrangements.

 


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Feb
29
Plesk Support Policy
Posted by Lee Blakely on 29 February 2020 06:28 PM

The scope for technical support on Plesks depends on the type of service you are purchasing from Reliable Penguin.

For Managed Web Hosting accounts or servers covered under a Support Plan, all issues with Plesk are fully supported. If Reliable Penguin is unable to resolve an issue directly then we will open a support ticket with Plesk Support and attempt to seek a resolution.

For clients who are leasing Plesk licenses through Reliable Penguin outside of Managed Web Hosting or a Support Plan, support is limited to:

* Plesk installation and upgrade issues

* License verification issues

For other issues you have the option of contacting Plesk Support directly or from Reliable Penguin on an hourly fee basis.


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Feb
27
IP Address Blocking
Posted by Lee Blakely on 27 February 2020 12:06 PM

Our shared hosting platform is designed to block aggressive behavior from attackers. In particular if you have more than 10 failed login attempts on SFTP, SSH or email then your source IP address will be blocked for 30 minutes. While blocked you will not be able to connect to your website, SFTP, SSH, or email. After 30 minutes your IP address will be removed from the block list and you will be able to connect again.

If you can load our help site at:

https://help.reliablepenguin.com

But you can not load our website at:

https://reliablepenguin.com

Then you are likely being blocked by IP address. In this case:

  1. Please confirm that you have the correct username and password configured in you email and SFTP/SSH clients. Contact support if you are uncertain or need a password changed.
  2. Wait 30 minutes for the block to expire. If you need urgent access then contact support for assistance.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this security system creates. Our policies are consistent with industry best practices.  Unfortunately the risk created by malicious spammers and hackers necessitates this system.


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Feb
26
WordPress Security Features
Posted by Lee Blakely on 26 February 2020 05:31 PM

Our shared hosting platform includes several important WordPress security features. These features increase the security of your site but may create confusion the first time you encounter them.

Extra Login Protection

Many WordPress sites are compromised by hackers using automated scripts that "brute-force" a WordPress login by making repeated login attempts. To minimize this risk, by default WordPress sites on our shared hosting platform have an extra layer of HTTP Basic authentication on wp-login.php. In your browser if you go to:

https://mysite.com/wp-admin

Then WordPress will redirect you to:

https://mysite.com/wp-login.php

This is the normal WordPress behavior. On Reliable Penguin's platform you'll be promoted with a login dialog similar to this:

At this dialog please enter:

Username admin
Password letmein

This easy to remember login discourages automated scripts and reduces the chance of your site being hacked by "brute-force" attacks. In some case this extra login creates problems. If you encounter such a situation just open a support ticket and we'll disable the feature on your site.

No PHP In Uploads Folder

Frequently when a site is hacked, the malicious party will install PHP code in the /wp-content/uploads folder. Properly designed WordPress plugins never put code in the /wp-content/uploads folder. To limit the impact of hackers we block execution of PHP, CGI, Perl and server-side includes in /wp-content/uploads folder. Contact support if this creates a problem in your application.


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