Category Archives: Hosting

The Lastest Version of WordPress

I got behind again on my WordPress updates – I can be pretty lazy about that with the theory of “if it ain’t broke…” but I was doing a post or two today and the available updates were screaming at me (well, that little icon kept catching my eye). I had 6 plugin updates and one full WordPress update available.

So, I took the plunge. Being a Windows guy, and a long time server guy, I’m ALWAYS nervous about updates. But once again WordPress held strong and true. Every one of the updates processes flawlessly without any issues at all.

Good for you WordPress.

BTW – I like the new administration console interface. Very nice. :)

Happy hosting!

Convert a Folder to an Application on a Remote IIS Host

The topic recently came up of the best way to convert a folder to an application on remote shared hosting server. Some hosts may have this built-in to their control panel. I know many (like Cytanium) have options in the control panel to create Virtual Directories, but sometimes an application specifically needs its folder to be marked as a literal “application” within IIS.

Since I’m most familiar with Cytanium’s shared hosting I’ll use their service as a base in this example.

Within the Cytanium control panel first make sure that you have enabled Remote Management. This feature will allow you to directly connect from IIS Manager running on a remote server to the IIS service running on the hosting server.

Enable Remote Management of your shared hosting site

From your Website Properties page in the control panel, click on the Management tab (red box above), fill in the information for the new account you want to create for managing the site (blue boxes above), then click Enable (green box above). After a moment or two you will have Remote Management enabled for your shared site.

Next you set up the connection from your local IIS Manager service. If you don’t already have this installed, grab a copy here.

Open your IIS Manager and choose the option to Connect to Site. Do *not* choose Connect to Server (it won’t work) unless you have full administrative access to the server, which won’t be the case with shared web site hosting.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite

Specify the connection information. This should be the name of the server in which to connect (your host can clarify this for you) and the *exact* name of the site within IIS – the host can also clarify this for you if you don’t already know. The name should not have http:// and it may or may not match the domain name of the site, so if you can’t connect, the first thing I’d do it confirm these two settings.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite2

Assuming the IIS Remote Management service is running and enabled for the site, the next dialog box you see will be asking you for your username and password information (which, in this example, we set in the Cytanium control panel above).

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite3

You might get a certificate warning (you will at Cytanium). As long as you trust the source (and I sure hope you trust your host if they’re supporting your site for you :>) you can click Connect and move to the next screen.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite4

On this last screen it is going to ask you to name the connection. You can leave it as the name of the site or give it a name that has more meaning to you – it doesn’t matter technically and is only a reference that will be displayed in your IIS Manager.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite5

Viola! Your connected now!

Here is what it will now look like in the IIS Manager GUI. Note also that I’ve drawn a red box around the folder that we’re going to convert to an application.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite6

Right click on the folder and choose Deploy -> Convert to Application.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite7

You’ll now see that the icon next to the folder has changed to denote that it is an active “application” within IIS.

RemoteIIS-ConnectToSite8

That’s it – your done! That folder is now an application and should work exactly as-if you had made the changes locally on the server.

By the way, you might want to poke around with the other features you can manage from the Remote IIS Manager tool. Depending on what your web host has enabled, this is a nice way to make configuration changes to your IIS hosted site.

Happy hosting!

Getting .NET 4.5 working on a new IIS8 installation

I fought with IIS8 and ASP.NET 4.5 way longer than I should have had to this morning.

Per previous lessons learned, I used WebPI to install IIS and the recommended configuration. I also selected .NET 4.5 and Web Deploy. Afterward I threw up a simple Hello World type ASP.NET page but when I hit it I got this error:

HTTP Error 404.17 – Not Found
The requested content appears to be script and will not be served by the static file handler.

I checked the application pool and saw that it was set to 4.0. I also checked under Roles-IIS and confirmed that the server thought ASP.NET 4.x was installed. Yet obviously something wasn’t working properly. If I changed the application pool to 2.0 the test page loaded fine.

After a bunch of troubleshooting trying to figure this out, I decided to step back into WebPI and see if I could reinstall 4.5 that way. While it doesn’t allow a “reinstall” I did notice that the “IIS: ASP.NET 4.5″ component was showing as available for install. Hmm. Worth a shot.

So I let it run through that install, tested again, and the test page worked. Yeah! It seems like there might be some sort of failure or bug in this process since IIS thought 4.x should work yet it seems that there were no mappings set up until I did the additional component install.

(BTW – I tested this on two different fresh Windows Server 2012 installations, so it wasn’t just one bad build.)

Well, lesson learned and I’ll get through this a lot faster next time. Hopefully this saves someone else hours of troubleshooting and allows them to get on with their coding.

Happy hosting!

When Was The Last Time You Checked For Broken Site Links?

When was the last time you checked for broken site links?

For me, it has been years.

I don’t really deleted much content (personally or professionally) so I assume everything is fine. Well, related to an issue I was troubleshooting last time, I stumbled upon a dead link. Bummer. I figured if there was one, there might be more. So I took the top search result I found related to site link checkers and went over to www.brokenlinkcheck.com. They have a nice – FREE – option to crawl a site and report any broken links found.

Guess what -? I had 117 broken links on the site! I had no idea and never would have guessed there were that many. Quite a few of them were external links that I’ve referenced in different articles in the past (some of these articles QUITE old [I'm talking 10+ years old]).

Because, as noted above, I don’t remove much content, there were a lot of old posts – still valid and useful in their content – that referenced other sources that just didn’t exist anymore, or the pages were moved.

There were also a number of internal links that were broken – due to renaming or relocating of content.

So, now I’m in clean-up mode. I’ve corrected 47 of the broken link issues and will continue to work through the list over the next few days.

Perhaps you should run a scan on your own site and check for broken links? You might be surprised.

OrcsWeb Cloud Servers Compared to CloudServers.com

MeInRedJacketI’m running two primary brands now – still one company, ORCS Web, Inc., but two main brands… www.orcsweb.com (high-touch managed hosting) and www.cloudservers.com (IaaS unmanaged cloud servers).

Both brands sell cloud servers. Both brands have both email and phone support.

CloudServers.com Windows servers start at $34/month. OrcsWeb Windows cloud servers start at $99/month. BUT, when you go through and configure both apples-to-apples, the OrcsWeb server is only about 10% higher priced. And there are additional services included, and differences, that justify that difference in price:

  • Every OrcsWeb server has uptime monitoring that pages the support team 24×7 and they will respond to address any issue that arises – or contact the client as needed – even with the minimum level of managed services that are included in the base rate. CloudServers.com clients are responsible for configuring their own monitoring and responding to any issues specific to their server (not architectural).
  • OrcsWeb cloud servers are members of the OrcsWeb domain – allowing the support team to access the server to assist customers with any troubleshooting, performance analysis, or problem solving. CloudServers.com servers are not joined with any domain and the support staff has no direct administrative access to the systems.
  • Everyone OrcsWeb cloud server sits behind redundant high-powered physical firewalls that not only block all but primary ports, but also provides intrusion prevention services. Every CloudServers.com cloud server comes with its own virtual firewall. This provides a great additional layer of security but doesn’t have the advanced features of the OrcsWeb firewall solution.
  • OrcsWeb cloud servers are powered by VMware’s enterprise class (and license level) product solutions that are feature-rich and targeted toward a more enterprise level project and customer. CloudServers.com leverages CentOS, KVM, and a variety of different products for its cloud server architecture.

So which is best? It really all depends on your needs. If you want Linux, then CloudServers.com is the only choice today – OrcsWeb may start supporting Linux soon but it doesn’t currently. If you want an extension of your IT team to help with crafting solutions and assisting with any issues that might come up, OrcsWeb is best for you. If you self-administer your servers and just want cost-effective, yet still full-featured and fast-performing cloud servers, then CloudServers.com is best for you.

Hope this help clear up any confusion. If you are looking for cloud server hosting, be sure to check out whichever brand best matches your needs. Feel free to email and/or call in and speak with someone about either solution.

Happy hosting