We have begun to receive a few more concerns regarding the disappearance of the autoresponders link in your control panel after the upgrade. We have received enough concerns that we have now re-enabled autoresponders in everyone’s control panel.
The points that were raised in the previous post are still valid and it should be worth mentioning that just because autoresponders are enabled by default now, does not mean that it is a good idea to use them.
We will likely revisit this later in the year. Perhaps by going through all of the accounts that do have autoresponders set up. At any rate, if you do have autoresponders set up on your account or if you are thinking about setting up autoresponders on your account, please have a read of the previous post concerning this matter and use good judgement.
We have had a few people write in with complaints regarding the new File Manager in cPanel 11. Some of the complaints range from lock ups to not being able to display your files. If you have any problems with the new File Manager, try using the Legacy File Manager.
I’m not aware of any widespread issues regarding the new File Manager throughout the webhosting industry. I suspect that there are a few isolated cases here and there concerning it but nothing major.
If you experience any problems using the new File Manager then you may need to use the Legacy File Manager and you just may not be able to use the Code Editor or HTML editor.
We have received a few concerns raised over the autoresponders feature disappearing in cPanel 11 (I say concerns because they aren’t really complaints and there’s only been a handful). This was a decision that we made in removing autoresponders from the default feature set. Autoresponders are still available, you just need to request them from our support staff.
The problem with autoresponders is that they contribute to the ongoing spam problem. If you have an autoresponder set up and you receive any spam messages on your account, then you are effectively sending out spam (as in unsolicited e-mail) to some innocent person who never sent you a message in the first place. If enough of this happens, our servers will get blacklisted. This is a very short explanation of why autoresponders are a bad idea.
All that said, I do realize that just taking away autoresponders is probably not a good idea and the fact remains that there’s just no real alternative for autoresponders. However, just because there’s no alternative does not make the statements in the previous paragraph any less true. All of this is why we do enable autoresponders back onto an account if they are requested, usually with a note explaining why autoresponders are a bad idea.
I would ask that if you have autoresponders set up on your account that you take a close look at them and ask yourself if they are really necessary. Is it worth the risk of having the server blacklisted just so users can receive your autoresponder? I know a lot of users want to use autoresponders when they are vacation so that users know they are unavailable. However, because of the issues with spam, it may just be better for users that write you to not get that autoresponder and instead you just review your mail once you get back from vacation.
We will likely be addressing this issue in further detail once we have all of the servers upgraded to cPanel 11, which should happen next week. We just wanted to offer a better explanation as to why the autoresponder feature has disappeared and give you some food for thought concerning the usage of autoresponders.
Your suggestions and comments concerning this feature are always welcomed.
We are nearing the last batch of cPanel 11 upgrades. We have another batch scheduled for this coming week (July 23 through July 28) and we will probably have one more batch after that.
We have received a few e-mails raising concerns over the wide-ranging dates of schedule. We are basically giving a week’s worth of a window to upgrade the specific servers. Yesterday we sent out notices to the accounts that will be affected by next week’s upgrades. We gave the entire week as an upgrade schedule. This is about as specific as we can get. We don’t know how many servers we will get upgraded in a particular day. It depends on how many other issues we are having to take into consideration for that day. The upgrades are a priority, but not necessarily a top priority. There’s just not that much of a change or that much that affects end users for us to make a statement like “We are upgrading your server at 9AM on July 24.” If the upgrades were that big and really affected the usability of your account, then we would make a statement like this and then when 9AM rolled around the upgrade would be our only priority, everything else would move back. But this is just not the case. The upgrades are big enough that we felt it was necessary to send out e-mail announcements, but this is just so that you would be aware of the changes and would not be caught completely off guard. The upgrades themselves are very straightforward and just don’t really affect the functionality of your account in anyway. When you receive one of these notices, it is meant to act as a reminder so that you won’t be alarmed when you log into your control panel and see changes.
I believe I had found and resolved a lot of the issues that were previously discussed. I implemented a fix on the servers a couple of days ago and so far I have not noticed any problems with the fix and everything appears to be working as it should.
Throughout all of this I seemed to have identified a “bug” in the cPanel code. I hesitate to call it a bug as it is really probably more of an oversight where the developers have one thing doing the same thing two different ways. I have informed the developers about this.
Because all of this happened at the end of the week, I probably won’t do any more server upgrades this week. I would have liked to have upgraded some servers this week, but I would rather that I get any bugs and wrinkles ironed out before upgrading too many servers. I will probably do some more upgrades early next week. Look for an e-mail tomorrow for those you that will be affected by the upgrade.
We upgraded a couple of servers last week to cPanel 11 and so far have not had any clients raise any questions concerning the upgrade. However in our own review of the new system we seem to have identified a flaw. At this time, I’m not at liberty to discuss the flaw, partly because we are having trouble always duplicating the issue and trying to determine if it really is a flaw or something else. At any rate, this has kind of put a damper on our upgrade schedule. We don’t want to upgrade any other servers until we can get a better understanding of this flaw or issue.
It should be stated that this is just a flaw in the backend of the code and is not a vulnerability or anything that would adversely affect your data. It is more of a nuisance than anything else. But still we would much prefer to have the issue resolved or at least identified before we begin upgrading any other servers.
As always, for those clients that are on upgraded servers, if you experience any problems at all, please let us know. This helps us identify potential issues and it is much easier to handle those issues when dealing with a smaller scale rather than our entire server base.
We have scheduled the first set of servers to be upgraded to cPanel 11 this Thursday, July 5th. Notices have been sent out to the accounts that will be affected by this upgrade. We are only upgrading a couple of servers during this phase. We will evaluate the upgrade and any problems that are encountered after that upgrade and then proceed to another group of servers. It is likely, as we upgrade more servers and get more comfortable with the upgrade, we will upgrade more servers in a group.
We will send out notices to all accounts as the upgrade approaches. Please, if you are unsure if your contact information is up-to-date with us, please update your contact information with us so you can be sure to be informed of this upgrade.
As promised, below are some screenshots taken of the new control panel theme with cPanel 11.
We are planning to begin rolling out cPanel 11 upgrades to our servers within the next week or so. We will be writing accounts that are on servers that are going to be upgraded.
This is an overview of what changes you might see in regards to the cPanel 11 upgrade.
- SpamAssassin Subjects — All spam messages that are flagged by SpamAssassin will have their subjects rewritten to include the term ***SPAM*** in their subjects. Previously this was customizable in a user’s control panel, but this has been removed in cPanel 11. This is part of cPanel 11′s plan to be more efficient. If you are using the spam box function on your account, spam messages that go into your spam box will also be rewritten to use the ***SPAM*** subject. This cannot be changed as it is now a server-wide function.
- Password Strength Check — The new control panel theme includes a password strength checker that helps determine how good your password is. This is something that we have a lot of trouble with. Users want to use very simple and easy to remember passwords, but what they don’t realize is that those simple and easy to remember passwords are also easy for malicious users to guess and hack into your accounts. It is always a good idea to use a strong password.
- Video Tutorials — The new control panel includes a lot of Flash based tutorials that show you how to perform certain tasks on your account. It should be worth noting that not all of the tutorials apply to our offerings and the tutorials may not represent a complete replica of our offering. We have striped out some of the cPanel 11 offerings because we believe them to be ill-advised or not ready for production use.
- Improved File Manager — The File Manager in cPanel 11 has been completely rewritten to provide a cleaner interface. I have read reports of a few issues concerning the new File Manager, but I’m not sure if they are actually problems with coding or just with users having difficulty adjusting to the new set up. The older Legacy File Manager is also still provided.
As well as these included features in cPanel 11, I am also going to take this time to implement some changes to the mail server. A lot of these changes I have successfully implemented on some of our other servers and have gotten a lot of good use concerning these improvements.
- Reject mail when account is over quota — I have implemented a system that checks to see if your entire account is at or over its quota limit. If it is, the server will not accept new messages for your domain and the sending server will receive a message stating so. The sending server will then be responsible for sending a bounce message back to the original sender. We have a lot of problems with spammers writing e-mail addresses that exist on the server. If an account is over its quota, the server won’t be able to deliver that message and it just causes problems with our mail queue growing too large. The larger our server’s mail queue gets, the bigger the performance hit the server takes.
- Reject mail when a mail account is over quota — This is something new that I have developed. I will be the first to admit that I am not a big fan of setting mailbox quotas on e-mail accounts. In my opinion, when you set up a mail account you are going to do one of two things. You are either going to check the mailbox regularly or you are not. If you are not checking the mailbox regularly, then what’s the point of having the mailbox created in the first place? If you are checking the mailbox regularly then the mailbox should never go over its quota. Even if you are only checking mail via webmail or IMAP, where the messages stay on the server, you would not want to set a mailbox quota because the mailbox would eventually reach that quota. If someone can explain to me a good reason for using a mailbox quota, I would like to hear it, but I just don’t know of one. In the meantime, I am going to try this system where the server finds mailbox that are at or near their respective mailbox quota limits and then rejects messages to those addresses in the same manner that it rejects messages when an overall account is at or over its quota limit.
- Spam filtering for e-mail forwarders — We have had a ton of problems with users forwarding their e-mail off of the server and causing our servers to become blacklisted by various providers. I really wish there was some way I could convince our clients not to forward mail off of the server. If you have an @aol.com or @comcast.net or other e-mail address that you prefer to check, please just use that e-mail address when you are giving out your e-mail address. Granted it may not look as professional as giving out an @yourdomain.com e-mail address, but if you need to use @yourdomain.com e-mail addresses, please learn how to check those addresses directly from our server. When you forward mail off of the server, you also forward your spam. When these forwarded spam messages reach their final destination (for example, the AOL servers if you are forwarding mail to an @aol.com address) then those servers (the AOL servers) see those spam messages as being sent by our server and they will blacklist our server. This spam filtering system, grabs a snapshot of all the e-mail addresses that forward mail off of the server and subjects messages to those addresses to a SpamAssassin based spam scan, to determine if the message is a spam message. If the message is determined to be spam by SpamAssassin, the message will be rejected. If our SpamAssassin determines that a message is a spam message, then its a good bet that other services, such as AOL, will also determine the message is spam. We also have an information page that discusses this feature in more detail. We have had a few users complain about this feature, but the fact is, if you need someone to send you a message and you are giving them an address that forwards off of the server, then you either should be giving out the other e-mail address where the message is forwarded to or setting up that address as a mailbox on the server and removing the forwarder.
As well as these changes, some other options that I am considering making are listed below.
- Remove the Default Address link — The default address is really just more of a burden than anything. Basically all it does is collect spam, because spammers are either sending messages to firstname.lastname@example.org causing the default box to collect mail, or a spammer is sending out spam and faking their return address to be email@example.com causing your default box to fill up with undeliverable messages. If I can get most of our clients to set their default box to :fail: then this would open the door for better anti-spam measures on the server. I thought about removing the Default Address link in user’s control panel, but I wanted to give users the chance to set their default address to :fail: before I did away with it. There is an information page concerning the usage of the default box. If you have a lot of addresses (say 50 or so addresses) that you want to forward to one specific address, but do not want to manually set up internal forwarders for those addresses, submit a support request and our techs should be able to help you with this. If you need more forwarders so you can forward addresses internal within your domain, let us know and we can likely add more forwarders to your account at no charge. Any of these options is preferred over using your account’s default address.
- Mailbox quota removal — I did toy with the idea of removing mailbox quotas when we rolled out cPanel 11, but instead I developed a system to reject mail for mailboxes that are at or over their quotas. That system is still experimental, and I may yet decide to remove the mailbox quota option in your control panel. The reasons are explained in the above section.
This details some of the changes we are proposing with the cPanel 11 upgrade. I may try and get some screenshots of the new control panel interface a little later and post them. Let us know what you think. Give us feedback concerning the upgrade and the changes. We want to know what you think, as it helps us to make better informed decisions.
The cPanel developers have released their latest update to cPanel, called cPanel 11. This update has a lot of changes to the backend code and base code of the cPanel backend, and really serves to provide a much more efficient manner of accomplishing tasks.
cPanel is the backend controlling software on basically all of our servers. It controls things such as the web server, the mail server, the database server, etc. It is also the control feature that you see when you log into your control panel, when you go to http://yourdomain.com/cpanel. Suffice it to say, the upgrade will affect a lot of functions on the server, although when I say affect I don’t mean it in a negative sense. However, as with any update, especially one of this magnitude, it would be wise to anticipate some problems or at least some questions, because the way some things work will change. I am taking as many measures as I can to insure that the update goes smoothly, but realistically, no number of measures will prevent all issues.
It should also be pointed out, that there’s really not a choice in regards to the upgrade. The upgrade can be postponed, but sooner or later the upgrade is going to have to be done. The current version of cPanel, cPanel 10, will go end of life eventually and support for cPanel 10 will likely fade very soon, because the cPanel developers cannot maintain two different versions of cPanel. There may be some changes in the way things work, when cPanel 11 is rolled out on our server, and at first it may take some time getting used to it, but I think eventually you will like the new features.
I have been taking the time to test some of the new features and new coding structure involved with cPanel 11. Some of the new features I have disabled because I don’t think they are quite ready for production use. Other features, I am looking into implementing those features in a manner that is more conducive to our web hosting offerings. Ultimately, the real test won’t come until the roll out has begun and our end users are using cPanel 11. I will be honest, I probably deal more with the backend of the server and probably don’t use the controls and features that are available to end users that much, and so it our users that have a better understanding of how those controls and features should work and can give us feedback when something isn’t working the way it is expected to work.
The rollout will likely work with us updating one or two servers to begin with. You will probably receive an e-mail from us before we do the update, once we schedule the update. Be sure that you are keeping your contact information up-to-date. You can use the Account Management link on the right and use the Contact Information link to update your contact information. It is important to note that we use a separate billing database and contact information, than the contact information that in your control panel. Just because you update your contact information in your control panel, does not change your contact information in our billing database. The rollout will be done in this manner so as to work on any issues that might be raised during the short rollout. It is easier to resolve an issue if it is only affecting one or two servers, rather than resolving an issue on all of our servers. The rollout will likely continue in this manner throughout all of our servers. As we become more and more comfortable with the update, we may rollout the update to more servers at one time. But we won’t be updating all of our servers all at once.
I’ve spent the last couple of days testing some of the new e-mail features. For the most part, you won’t notice any major changes, the changes are basically done to the backend code which just helps with efficiency. I hope to give some additional updates, maybe some screenshots of the new control panel, within the next few days.