News

Is AVG preventing your emails from being sent?

Popular antivirus software, AVG Internet Security, AVG Free, and Avast, published an update at the beginning of August which has caused many users email to stop being sent.

By default AVG/Avast injects a signature into users email including a mail icon with a broken link which causes the HostAway SMTP server to reject the message (as well as many other provider’s SMTP servers).

To correct this simply disable the AVG/Avast signature using the steps below:

Open AVG/Avast dashboard > select Menu > Settings > Basic protection > Email shield > Disable signature

The steps to disable the signature vary slightly between AVG and Avast, please refer to their support articles for more detailed steps:

https://support.avg.com/SupportArticleView?l=en&urlName=AVG-Antivirus-email-signature&supportType=home

https://support.avast.com/en-ww/article/Antivirus-email-signature/#pc

.au Direct Registrations

.au direct domain registrations are open from Thursday 24th March. This means you can register domain names such as hostaway.au (without the .com or .net appearing before the .au).

If you already hold a .com.au, .net.au or .id.au then you have six months from 24th March until 20th September 2022 to apply for the exact .au match. This six month period is known as the ‘Priority Allocation Period’ during which direct matches will be put on hold.

This allows current registrants to have the first opportunity to register the exact match of their existing domain names, so long as their current registrant details are up-to-date and eligible*.

Whilst we encourage customers to secure the .au version of their domains to prevent brand confusion or from hijacking, you are under no obligation to do so and your existing domain names will continue to operate as usual.

Please contact us if you have any questions about eligibility or wish to pre-register your new .au domain!

Once HostAway has registered your interest, you can check the status using auDA’s tool here: https://www.auda.org.au/tools/priority-status-tool

Please note that during the Priority Allocation Period, all submissions are subject to an application fee (which is the cost of the domain registration) but this does not guarantee you the domain name in the event of a contested registration (ie. you are in the same Priority Category as another applicant). Unfortunately this fee is non-refundable regardless of whether or not registration is successful.

*Important Reminder: Businesses should ensure they have the correct ABN or ACN linked to their domain registration. auDA have recently been auditing domains and cracking down on those with expired or invalid ABNs. If your domain was registered many years in the past and you’ve restructured your operations or purchased a business it is imperative to update the domain registrant.

Oh what a feeling, we’re dancing on…

Our brand new walkway!

At HostAway we have more technicians crawling over our roof than most businesses – to service our air conditioner condensers, clean our solar panels and to access wireless equipment on our masts.

We have recently installed a walkway for safety and to prevent leaks…we’ll hold off on dance parties until the weather improves 😛

At the same time we replaced the guy wires that support our primary mast with new and higher gauged cable to improve support.

Welcome to our new guys

Although most of our time is spent maintaining and upgrading our software and systems occasionally we get outside and make improvements you can see!

Changes to the .au Namespace

auDA, the body which regulates .au domain names, will introduce a new set of rules for .au domains which comes into effect on 12 April 2021.


Some of the key policy changes include:

  • New terms and conditions for domain licenses.
  • Renting or leasing domain names AND sub-domains will be prohibited (An example of a sub-domain is members.hostaway.net.au).
  • Expanded eligibility for State and Territory namespaces (such as .wa.au).
  • New complaints and dispute resolution procedures.
  • If your domain was registered using an Australian Trade Mark (instead of an ABN/ACN) then your domain will need to be an exact match to your Trade Mark.
  • You can no longer register a .id.au name to refer to a personal interest or hobby (you can still use your legal names, acronyms or abbreviations of your name or a nickname).
  • Unincorporated associations which are not registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) will no longer be eligible for .org.au domains.

If your domain name licence expires after 12 April 2021 the rules in place at the time you registered or last renewed your domain name will apply until the end of the current licence period. If the name is renewed the new licensing rules will apply to it as the new licence is only created once the current one expires.

You can find a copy of the new rules on the auDA website here and we strongly suggest you read the more detailed summary of the changes here.


Another major change will be the introduction of shorter, simpler .au domain names – like forexample.au – which will soon be available as an additional option for registration by Australian internet users.

These names are known as ‘second level’ domains as they sit at the level below ‘.au’, the country code top level domain (ccTLD) for Australia. Second level .au domain names are expected to launch in 2021.

When second level names launch (auDA hasn’t specified a date yet), existing registrants of .au domains will have the chance to apply for priority to register the exact match of their domain name at the second level.

e.g. we will have priority to register hostaway.au because we already have hostaway.net.au

Registrants of existing com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au and edu.au domain names will be able to participate in the priority allocation process.

We will provide more details as they are released however if you wish to read more about the priority allocation process please visit this auDA page.

Office 365 is becoming Microsoft 365

Microsoft has announced changes to their naming scheme for Office 365 subscriptions. These licenses can be purchased through HostAway (see our page for pricing) so we wanted to let you know in case the multiple names cause any confusion (it certainly befuddled us when we first read their announcement!).

  • Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for business
  • Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

You may notice these changes reflected on future invoices however if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For more information please view Microsoft’s post, which includes helpful FAQs such as Why are you making these changes?

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/03/30/new-microsoft-365-offerings-small-and-medium-sized-businesses/

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) response & preparations

At this uncertain and difficult time we would like to reassure you, our valued clients and suppliers, that at HostAway the health and safety of our staff and that of the community is taken very seriously.

We have enacted internal safety and health measures in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust these measures as the situation unfolds.

All HostAway staff are capable of working remotely at any time with access to our normal phone lines and email ticketing systems. HostAway has commenced scheduling staff to work remotely to minimise the risk of staff unavailability.

These measures are designed to ensure business as usual for all our services, to mitigate risk, and to continue delivering the high level of support you expect.

For customers with colocation services, we require a minimum of two hours notice prior to attendance or we encourage you to make use of our skilled staff and remote hands service. HostAway will continue to have a physical presence at the data centre for access to equipment, management of the infrastructure and to respond to emergency issues.

We kindly request that if you have been overseas or in contact with anyone that has been unwell please refrain from visiting the data centre for 14 days.

We will continue to provide support as normal and customers can contact us via regular methods.

Please take care in these challenging times and we hope you stay safe and healthy.

Microsoft Customer Agreement

If you subscribe to an Office 365 service through HostAway then you have probably signed or accepted the Microsoft Cloud Agreement (in 2017 or 2018).

Microsoft have announced a new agreement which supersedes the previous one, simply called the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

Microsoft have announced that this new agreement will not expire and covers customers for any way they choose to buy their Microsoft products, be it directly or through a reseller (such as HostAway).

The most current version is publicly available at: http://aka.ms/customeragreement. Choose Australia and click Submit.

You can use the file symbol at the bottom of the viewer to Print to PDF.

All customers who have accepted the old Microsoft Cloud Agreement will need to sign or agree to the Microsoft Customer Agreement post January 31st 2020 to be able to place new orders, renew subscriptions or update subscriptions.

HostAway will be contacting all customers with Office 365 services to advise of this change and to request confirmation of their agreement to the new terms. We apologise for the inconvenience and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

LED lighting is our latest ‘green’ initiative

All data centres have a high demand for electricity as computing power generates heat which requires cooling, particularly in Perth’s warm environment.

HostAway has long been committed to running as efficiently as possible and minimising our environmental impact. Our previous works have included:

  • Installing a 30kW solar array, using 172 rooftop photo voltaic solar panels.
  • Modifying the data centre to use a containment system (hot aisle/cold aisle separation) including perforated rack doors and floor vents.
  • Running a paperless office and implementing a strict recycling protocol for plastics, metals, silicon boards.
  • Reducing our waste, using sustainable or recyclable office supplies which includes using biodegradable coffee pods (we still need coffee!).

Last month we replaced 70 fluorescent globes throughout our building with low watt LED lighting. The data centre and common areas include motion sensors which reduce their output to 30% when no motion is detected. When someone walks into an area then the light will switch to full brightness.

The solar power we generate (graphed below) has a significant impact on our daily power draw (graphed above).

New power sensors have been installed which gather more granular data about our power use in the office, data centre aisles and the HVAC system. This has provided insights into our power use (and drove the installation of the LED lighting), which allows us to fine tune our systems to maximise efficiency.

Changes to cPanel licensing

HostAway’s shared hosting plans operate on a custom-built cluster of Linux servers to provide high reliability, speed and uptime.

For customers with specific website hosting requirements a Virtual Private Server is recommended. These VPSs can use open-source (no charge) or licensed software to allow the VPS to function as a website server.

Of the three major web hosting control panels (cPanel, Plesk and Direct Admin), cPanel is by far the most widely used.

HostAway provides cPanel licenses which allows customers to turn their VPS into a powerful web hosting platform.

In a controversial move, cPanel recently announced a change to their pricing structure which will come into effect on 1st September 2019. The new “account-based pricing” means the cost for anyone with more than five accounts is going to increase. Unfortunately our base license costs are also increasing as cPanel stripped Partner pricing for lower tiered plans as part of the restructure.

We are investigating alternate licensing plans (such as a solo license for customers using a VPS to manage a single site) and trying to source better pricing. In the meantime if you are a cPanel user you should have received an email from our accounts team regarding the new prices, however please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

cPanel gave the following reasons for the changes in their official blog:

When cPanel defined its original pricing structure, some twenty plus years ago, servers were not as powerful as they are today. Thanks to constant innovation in the hardware sector and optimization in our software, we can now run hundreds of websites on a single processor system. With this change, we align ourselves with this growing technology.

….

Historically, cPanel has based its services and pricing around a VPS or Dedicated license with unlimited cPanel Accounts. As the company has evolved, cPanel has added more development resources, more structure, and more brain power that, in turn, makes it possible to take on an increasing number of development projects. Adjusting our prices will ensure that we can continue to invest in product development, thrive in an increasingly hostile security landscape, grow our customer ecosystem, and remain a leader in hosting automation.

The price change could also have something to do with cPanel being purchased last year by the investment group Oakley Capital, which also owns Plesk and Solus VM.

cPanel remains an extremely useful tool which is popular with web developers, however if you’d like to discuss alternatives we’re always happy to speak to you 🙂

Premium Spam Filtering now available

HostAway is now offering Premium Spam Filtering as an option for customers who receive large amounts of spam to their mailboxes, or would like more control over incoming emails.

Whilst our email hosting plans all include spam filtering as standard, the Premium Spam Filtering service is a more robust system that gives you access to premium tools such as logging, quarantining, spam training, and advanced filtering rules—for both incoming and outgoing emails—which are not possible with the standard filtering.

Pricing for Premium Spam Filtering starts at $7.50/domain/month ($90/domain/year), which will cover inbound emails. Outbound emails can also be filtered for an additional $7.50/domain/month.

For more information or to add Premium Spam Filtering to your email hosting, please get in touch with us.

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