Time to upgrade concept. Robot with abstract circuit chip. retro style toy character with funny black helmet head. green background

Why We’re Taking Our Control Panel Offline for 24 Hours

Taking our store and control panel offline for 24 hours is a fairly drastic measure.

But that’s what we’re doing next week

It’s not something we’re doing “for fun”. We’re doing it because we have to.

I know some of you might think it’s absolutely hilarious that we’d end up having to take systems completely offline for that long, but while in theory we’d never have to do this, the reality is that with such a significant software upgrade it’s unavoidable.

First off the maintenance shouldn’t  impact your existing websites, email or domain names. They should all keep working away. You just won’t be able to login to the control panel to make any changes. (And no, our staff won’t be able to either!)

So why are we doing this?

Simply put it’s a really big software upgrade. It’ll take several hours for the various scripts to run the upgrades on multiple hardware nodes. We are hoping that the 24 hours timeframe is an absolute “worst case” scenario, but we expect we’ll need to use a lot if not all of it.

Is there an upside to this?

Yes. Once we complete the upgrades we’ll be able to offer you several features we currently can’t. In the process we’re also addressing several bugs in the platform that have been annoying both us and you for a long time.

Ultimately a lot of the changes are “under the hood” so neither us nor you will see the immediate impact, but without this upgrade we wouldn’t be able to offer new products or services moving forward.

What about the timing?

Ideally we’d have scheduled this upgrade to take place over a weekend when the impact would have been lower.

Unfortunately, however, we are reliant on a 3rd party vendor to carry out a lot of this work and we needed to be sure that their senior staff were available should we run into any issues. On our side our developers and others will be working closely with our technical teams to ensure that everything works properly post-upgrade.

So what are the actual changes?

  • Database support: MySQL’s licensing has changed over the past couple of years, so most companies are offering MariaDB as a drop in replacement to MySQL. We’ll be able to offer MariaDB 10.1 after the upgrade.
  • DNS record changes: our control panel supports most common DNS records, which is great, but unfortunately up until now it was very strict in what it supported, so a wildcard (*) at the root in some records simply was not supported. Being RFC compliant is fine and dandy, but this was a silly issue to have. We’ll also be able to add the “_” in CNAME records. Small things yet very important if you rely on them
  • Improved performance of the control panel interface

 

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