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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.

Yet another domain scam

We have seen a number of customers receive the following domain scam email, please rest assured that you can safely delete it!

From: William | DNS Australia william@dnsaustralia.org
Date: 26 June 2019 at 8:16:58 am AWST
To: “name@yourdomain.com.au”
Subject: Your domain name has been claimed

Dear Sir/Madam,


We have received a request for the registration of the website www.yourdomain.info Our system shows that you are the owner of www.yourdomain.com.au. This can have far-reaching consequences for you in the future. We are therefore under the statutory obligation to contact you, in order to offer you the first right of registration. This means that we will reject the application of the third party and the website:

www.yourdomain.info

After agreement we will link this website to:

www.yourdomain.com.au

This means that you will have the first option on the domain name, in order to avoid possible future problems.

We are usually under the obligation to register the domain name and to protect it for a period of 10 years. The annual price for the .INFO extension is AU$29.75 per year. This means a one-off payment of AU$297.50. When the link has been completed, all the Internet traffic that goes to the .INFO extension, will be automatically linked to your current extension and website. This process will take a maximum of 24 hours. This domain name will then have a worldwide reach. The third party will be rejected and can no longer use your domain name.


Important information:

  • You will receive a one-off invoice of AU$297.50, exclusive of GST, for a term of 10 years.
  • This contract can be cancelled at all times after the first term of one year. The paid amount for the remaining number of years will be refunded to your account.

If you agree to our offer, please send an agreement by email within 48 hours after receipt of this email, stating your name, address and ABN number in a reply to this e-mail address.
The third party will subsequently be rejected by us, and we will then complete the link. You will receive a confirmation and all the information you need by email on the same day.

With kind regards,

William Miller
william@dnsaustralia.org
www.dnsaustralia.org

Whilst misleading and morally reprehensible, it may not be illegal as the scoundrels are offering to register a similar domain for you and redirect it to your existing site.

If you would like another domain to redirect to your primary site, please contact us as we can investigate the options and provide a cheaper, more reliable service!

Is someone else using your email address?

Have you ever received an email from someone who is impersonating someone you know? Perhaps you have received an email from your very own address?

This is a common problem with email and a recent spate of phishing messages has people worried their computer has been hacked.

Most of the times this is not the case, the spammer has merely taken advantage of a long-term weakness in email protocols. It is a simple matter to forge an email address. Whether or not the recipient accepts the forged email depends on:

  • the quality of the incoming mail filter
  • the quality of the forged content (does it appear legitimate?)
  • the recipient’s attention to detail
  • whether the sender used any email authentication methods
He’s wearing a hoodie with a cap…he must be a hacker!

HostAway can add an authentication method to your email hosting account called an SPF record, which stands for Sender Policy Framework.

This tells other mail servers who is allowed to send emails on your behalf. Not all mail servers follow the same rules, however this certainly improves your chances that the only emails people will receive from your address have actually been sent by you!

A valid SPF record will also help avoid your legitimate emails from being marked as spam.

Other Recommendations?

  • Don’t open or click on emails from unknown senders
  • Run a reliable and up-to-date Anti Virus software
  • Check email addresses and URLs, and hover before you click! Many times spammers will switch around a letter or two from a valid domain name e.g. support@hostoway.net.au
  • Be careful when viewing emails on smartphones as the warnings signs may not be displayed properly
  • Have a backup solution and test it regularly

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this in more detail.

Email tips whilst travelling

Whilst many people like to escape their desks and inboxes, sometimes you need to check in every once in a while. Here are some tips for using your email when away of the office:

Check in from any device. If you don’t have a laptop, tablet or phone with you, HostAway’s webmail interface is an easy way to check your emails. Simply visit https://mail.hostaway.net.au and log in with your full email address and password.

Set an autoresponder. A simple autoresponder message can be added in the HostAway Members Panel to let people know you’re away. This can be set to reply to every single email, or just to each sender once (so people who send you many emails whilst you’re away aren’t bombarded with auto-replies). You can also set a forward in case one of your colleagues needs to receive your messages.

Be careful whilst using public WiFi networks. It is highly recommended to use the secure mail protocols SSL and TLS when away from your office. This is because of the potential for someone to view your traffic if it is not encrypted. Check out https://www.hostaway.net.au/support/email/ for the recommended settings or give us a call if you’re unsure. Also beware of using computers that are not your own, as they could have malware installed to capture your keystrokes (passwords!).

Contact us if you have any issues, but please identify yourself clearly. There can be factors outside of our control. For instance, we’ve had a customer accessing mail whilst in Greece, using her hotel’s WiFi. This customer was unable to send any emails because the hotel’s IP address was on a blocklist (another guest may have done something to affect their network’s credibility such as sending out a lot of spam). In this case the customer could not use Outlook on her laptop but using HostAway’s Webmail was a way around this issue.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be a good solution to these issues as it creates a tunnel between you and your regular network no matter where you are connecting from. If you have any questions before heading on holiday or a business trip please don’t hesitate to call us (hopefully well before you get to the airport!).

Virtual Servers Price Cut!

Following a major price review we have doubled the bandwidth allowance for all our virtual server packages and halved the cost for additional RAM and disk space!

We have also drastically reduced the price of the Complete VPS package, to bring it in line with the new low prices for additional resources.

CHECK OUT THE

NEW LOW PRICES BELOW

Or call us if you’d like to discuss how we can customise a plan for you!

Basic

$29.95 / month
  • 512Mb RAM
  • 10GB Storage
  • 100GB Bandwidth
  • Linux OS
  • 1 IP Address

Professional

$44.95 / month
  • 1Gb RAM
  • 25GB Storage
  • 250GB Bandwidth
  • Linux OS
  • 1 IP Address

Advanced

$79.95 / month
  • 2Gb RAM
  • 50GB Storage
  • 500GB Bandwidth
  • Windows or Linux
  • 2 IP Addresses

Complete

$99.95 / month
  • 3Gb RAM
  • 75GB Storage
  • 1000GB Bandwidth
  • Windows or Linux
  • 2 IP Addresses

Pay yearly in advance and receive a 10% discount!

TAILOR YOUR HOSTING PLAN WITH ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

OR CONTACT US FOR A CUSTOM QUOTE

RESOURCES

MONTHLY

RAM

$10 / 1Gb

Storage

50c / 1GB

Bandwidth

50c / 1GB

IPv4 Addresses

$2.20ea

LICENSES

MONTHLY

cPanel

$25

Windows Server Standard

$33

Microsoft Office Standard

$25 / user

Remote Desktop (Terminal Services)

$10 / user

Other Microsoft licenses available on request.

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