PowerDNS migration creates bug ripples


There is nothing more tricky and fraught with potential problems than DNS upgrades.

This week we migrated from BIND to PowerDNS.  Prior to the migration we dutifully tested PowerDNS on different servers, in different configurations, consulted other sysadmins who were running PowerDNS, and found all tests to be working flawlessly.

So we went ahead and upgraded all three of our DNS servers from BIND to PowerDNS, and watched…

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The most secure shared hosting – Brownrice!


Until recently our shared hosting servers suffered from some of the same vulnerabilities that many of the volume-based hosting providers do.  Namely, if one site on a shared server was hacked it was possible for the hacker to deface other sites on the same server that had files or directories with loose permissions.  I.e. 777 permissions.

Yep, even if you diligently keep your site and code up-to-date your site could still be hacked because someone else’s site on the same server was hacked.

Ugly, eh?

Read about this nastiness in action at Network Solutions, Bluehost, Dreamhost, and GoDaddy here: Continue reading

Can’t login to Squirrelmail!

Squirrelmail, aka “The old webmail,” has gone wonkey on us as we migrate it to more robust servers and upgrade it.  i.e.  Its online but its broke.  So don’t use it.

For the four of you who actually use “The old webmail” to read your email, I apologize.  In the meantime you can use the real webmail, here.

We’ll update this blog, and our twitter account, when its fully functioning again.

Better uptime than Google, Rackspace, and Amazon?

Smooth Flying

Better than Air Kazakstan!


In 2009 Brownrice provided our hosting, co-location, and virtual server customers with 100% network up-time for the entire year – soundly besting the volume-based hosting companies.

OK, full disclosure: Our network was down for a total of 3 minutes and 11 seconds for the calendar year.  I think that was when Dave rebooted one of our main switches.

How did we fair against the big boys?

Google had multiple network outages.  Amazon’s cloud went down.  Rackspace had multiple extended network outages which brought down many of the biggest sites on the internet.  Many hosting providers who co-locate in the Rackspace data centers suffered from their outages as well. And Dreamhost – who advertises a goofy 100% up-time guarantee (read the fine print, it’s funny) – seemed to have nearly daily network failures.

Why is our up-time so good?  Because our network is quadruple-redundant, impervious to fiber cuts, and because we are small.

Why is being a small provider good?  Because we run less than 100 servers – instead of hundres of thousands – most of which are in our own, on-site mini data center, where the size of our operation allows us isolate and fix problems extremely quickly.

I’ve always known that our staff is smarter, more experienced, and provide better – and friendlier – support than the volume-based hosting companies.  Now the raw data is proving that we are more reliable as well.