Webcam setup howto

While we host VPS’s, email, and dedicated servers one of the most enjoyable parts of our business is our webcam hosting services. Our clients cameras literally transport us around the world, every day.

And one of our favorite webcam customer webcams is the Marshall Point Lighthouse and Museum which provides incredible views of the Maine waterfront throughout the day.

Fortunately for us, and you, Carolwood Productions, the tech team that purchased and install the Marshall Point webcam wrote up a fantastic how-to what they did, which can be found right here.

A little something extra

We’ve decided to add an extra 10GB’s of disk space to all our SmartVPS SSD hosting customer’s plans. So if you have a 10GB SSD disk space server, when you login to your server you’ll see that it actually has 20GB’s disk space.

And that makes for some nice line movement in your performance graphs:

SmartVPS Generation 7 is here!

We’re pleased to announce the release of the 7th generation of our SmartVPS hosting platform. It’s been over a year in the making and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the features that come with this release, each of which make our customers hosting experience faster, more secure, and easier to use.

  • Faster PHP: PHP is now powered by PHP-FPM which is up to 30% faster than regular PHP.
  • More flexible PHP: With PHP-FPM our users can now switch PHP versions on a per-site and per-subdomain level with version changes taking immediate effect.
  • PCI Compliant: Each SmartVPS has passed a Qualsys PCI Compliance scan, which means that your organization’s path to being fully PCI Compliant just got a whole lot easier.
  • 100% faster pages with HTTP/2: Every web site on your SmartVPS will get an immediate speed boost with HTTP/2. Depending on how your web site’s code is written page speeds can increase by up to 100% with HTTP/2.
  • Even more secure with HSTS: HSTS creates another layer of security between your web site and your visitor’s web browser and prevents web site spoofing attacks. HSTS is now enabled be default.
  • Optane SSD caching means its all even faster: Our SmartVPSs run on PCIe SSDs, which are already four times faster than normal SSDs, and now we’ve added Optane SSD drives for OS caching. Its more speed on top of speed for your entire server.

And of course all of our earlier generation SmartVPS features have been baked into these new servers so you won’t miss a feature. Oh yeah, and you get all of this for $7.95 per month.


Managed PHP 7.3 Hosting

Update:  New SmartVPSs that are spun up on Brownrice servers are now being packaged with PHP 7.3.0. Some benchmarks claim that PHP 7.3 is 12% faster than PHP 7.2 and over 50% faster than PHP 5.6.  

WordPress sites are compatible with PHP 7.3 (unless you’ve got some funky customizations or out-of-date plugins of course.) 

If you are an existing SmartVPS customer and want to be upgraded just shoot us an email and we’ll make it happen.

New (and free!) webcam features

Here are a few new features we’ve recently added to our webcam streaming accounts, all of which are totally free:

  • Sign up for email alerts when we can’t reach your cameras.
    • Want to know when your camera goes down?  Then turn this option on and we’ll email you if we can’t reach your webcam after 30 minutes. 
  • Replace all overlay logos and links yourself.
    • You can now login to the dashboard and add, remove, and replace all of the logos that are overlayed on your video player without contacting us to do it for you. Also, you can update the links that people are sent to when they click on those logos.  These overlay logos are great ways to generate advertising revenue.
  • Define custom video player aspect ratios.
    • If your webcam player currently has black bars on the sides or top and bottom of the video you can now change the aspect ratio of the player (by default its 16:9) to remove those bars and have your video fit snugly inside of the player.
  • Restrict playback of your webcams to only web site addresses that you allow.
    • While most of our customers want their webcams embedded in as many sites as possible, some want to restrict playback to certain URL’s.  You can now define a list of addresses that are allowed to play your video in the dashboard.  By default we don’t restrict playback.
  • The monthly webcam analytics emailer.
    • You’ve received these, right?  On the first of every month we send you viewer numbers, camera status, and how many recordings and time-lapse videos are waiting for you to view in the dashboard.  Remember that time-lapses are created every night and are great and easy to share on social media.

All of these changes are accessible by logging into and then clicking -> Streaming -> camera Manage -> Camera Settings.

More improvements are coming soon but in the meantime check out our webcam FAQ which will show you many of the great things you can do with your streaming account:

How many simultaneous connections can a server handle?

Well, it depends on quite a few things, but let’s start by looking at some server settings and example web applications.

Arguably the two most important settings that govern how much simultaneous traffic a Linux server running the LAMP stack can handle are the Apache MaxClients setting and the MySQL/Mariadb max_connections setting.  From here on I’ll refer to both of these settings as your max connection settings.  If set too high your web and database software can consume all of a server’s available memory and crash it, which can be very painful.  If set too low your web server will slow incoming traffic unnecessarily.

For example, if your application is streamlined and doesn’t use much RAM to render web pages then your max connections settings can be set very high, allowing hundreds of simultaneous users to your site on a small VPS with, say, 2GB RAM.  However, a WordPress site with tons of plugins – some poorly coded with non-optimized MySQL queries – can use so much RAM that the max connections settings should be set very low, in order to prevent RAM swapping and server crashes.

Continue reading How many simultaneous connections can a server handle?

Your own private cloud!

Ready to roll!

Do you know what’s even better than Brownrice’s SmartVPS hosting?  Hosting a bunch of SmartVPS instances on your own Private Cloud server in the super-green Brownrice data center, that’s what!  And we’ve got extremely fast and affordable servers in stock right now.

Why use Private Cloud server?  First, when your hosting accounts and VPS instances are on a shared server they can be bogged down by the other accounts on the same machine.  This simply can’t happen when you own the underlying hardware.  Secondly, the amount of RAM, CPU, and Disk that you assign to each of your instances is controlled by you with easy sliders in our dashboard. Heck, you can even oversell the host servers resources to your customers if you like.  So if a site is slow just drag the sliders to give it more RAM and CPU without incurring increased costs.

What can you put on a Private Cloud server?

  • SmartVPSs.  These instances are pre-configured with everything a hoster could want (dedicated IP, free Let’s Encrypt SSL’s, easy control panel) and is fully managed and optimized by our automatic tuning scripts.  These VPS are *always* fast and can host as many sites as you like. WordPress screams on a SmartVPS as does just about any CMS that you like.  See the full details here.
  • Un-managed Linux instances:  If you prefer to roll-your-own you can choose nearly any Linux distro and assign whatever resources you like to each instance. Think Node.js, or Nginx, or python scripts!  We’ll automatically back up the entire OS every night to multiple data centers and our auto-tuning scripts will alert you if anything is getting wonkey.
  • A world of software! Want a private Git repository?  Want to share files with OwnCloud in a secure and PCI and HIPAA compliant way?  Need a private Wiki for your companies internal documentation?  A Private Cloud server will host all of this and more.

We have 24 CPU (X5660) servers with 64 GB’s of RAM and 2TB’s of hardware RAID-10 disk space for $99 per month – in stock right now.  Connect one of these bad-boys to our Dashboard and you can easily spawn as many SmartVPSs and non-smart VPSs – any Linux OS – as you like and we’ll manage them and back it all up to two data centers for another $99.00 per month.  That’s $198 per month and includes so many features you’ll never go back to a clunky CPanel machine again.

If you are interested in signing up or have questions please ask!

Thank you!

~ Oban