Today is World Backup Day (Yay!). Happy World Backup Day. Now, if you haven't backed up your smartphone and computer yet, go do that now. We'll wait for you here. Okay, got it? Cool.

Now, just like you back up your personal data and your company's data in case of fire, earthquake, power failure, alien invasion, etc., remember that backing up your website is just as important. It's a dangerous internet out there. Just think of the number of hours you've spent on your site so far and then think of all of that work being wiped away because you didn't make a backup.

With a Simple Hosting instance at Gandi, you can create backups with our free snapshots feature. But first, just in case you were wondering what kind of dangers are out there ...

What's the worst that could happen

Just in case you still don't want to take backing up your site seriously, let's look at some of the worst-case scenarios.

Compromised CMS

Of course, Simple Hosting instances are by and far used to host CMSes (Content Management System, like Wordpress). And you just need to relax your guard for one software update and you could wind up with malicious code worming its way into the core code of your CMS software. At which point it's better just to wipe the whole thing and start over from scratch. Of course, that becomes a lot more painful if you don't have an un-compromised backup to restore from.

CMS Update Gone Wrong

On the other hand, even when you're on top of CMS updates, things can sometimes go awry. Maybe you have a custom theme that suddenly breaks after doing an update, incompatible versions, or a connection issue mid-update.

Accidental Deletion of Files

All it could take is a sticky delete key and your whole site would be gone. But, more realistically, sometimes you think what you're deleting isn't important or that you'll never need it again, or it just ends up being something other than what you thought it was.

Missed Renewal

We don't doubt you're on top of your renewals (psst you could even try activating auto-renew), but on the off-chance you happen to miss the expiration date of your instance, you could end up losing your data. We warn you before the expiration date and you still have two weeks after expiration to renew, but we all know: stuff happens.

Total collapse of society as we know it

You'll definitely want to minimize downtime when society invariably devolves into Mad Max-style anarchy. You'll thank us when your blog post about picking through the rubble goes viral.

How you can backup

Now that you're on board with the idea, let's look at how you can backup your site using snapshots on a Simple Hosting instance.

To begin with, always remember the backup mantra: 3-2-1:

3 backups
2 mediums
1 off-site

If you follow the 3-2-1 mantra, you'll be sheltered even from the most catastrophic calamities that could befall your site.

To activate snapshots on your instance, click the Activate link next to Snapshots (in the upper-right corner) from the control panel page of your instance.

A snapshot takes a picture of your instance's disk at a given time, so you would use this to create a backup of your files.

More than likely, you'll need to back up your instance's databases as well. If you're using a CMS, that will be the case. Your database is where the majority of your content is stored.

Snapshots create a total of four images of your disk at four separate times: one snapshot of yesterday's content, one of the day before yesterday, one of last week, and one last month. They will appear in your instance as a "snapshot" directory in your root (/) directory.

That covers your files. You can schedule backups of your database using a tool built-in to your Simple Hosting instance called anacron. This will then create a "dump" of your database that will be included in your snapshot.

We'll go over setting that up for a MySQL database (the most common database) via sFTP. You should start by finding the anacrontab file. It should be at this address:

/lamp0/etc/cron/anacrontab

To do a backup of your databases, you need to perform an export using the command “mysqldump”.

To keep backups up-to-date, you need to create an anacron task that performs regular backups. Here is an example that you can add to your instance (If the user 'root' does not have a password, then you must delete {-pPASSWORD}, or delete the brackets {} and indicate the password of your 'root' user after '-p':

@daily 0 mysql_backup mkdir -p /srv/data/tmp/mysql_backup ; mysqldump -u root {-pPASSWORD} --all-databases | /bin/gzip -9 > /srv/data/tmp/mysql_backup/`date '+%F'`.databases.sql.gz ; rm -f /srv/data/tmp/mysql_backup/`date '+%F' --date '1 week ago'`.databases.sql.gz

This particular line will export your database everyday, and will keep the last export for one week, which will line up perfectly with snapshots.

And keeping in mind the 3-2-1 rule, remember to periodically copy the snapshot directory from your instance's root directory. If you do forget to renew your instance, like we mentioned above, and the whole thing ends up removed, your only backups will be the ones you downloaded to your local machine.

In case of emergency

If you should ever have to restore from your backups, then you would just need to put the contents of the directory corresponding to the most recent backup. The folder name will be a Unix timestamp like 1490741558.daily. The higher the number, the more recent the backup.

Copy the contents of the directory with the highest number into your lamp0 directory, delete 'htdocs' and then move 'htdocs' from the snapshot directory into the 'vhosts' directory.

First, remove the old database and create a new database with the same name.

Then, you can import your database dump into this new database using phpMyAdmin. To import it, click on the Import tab from the phpMyAdmin interface.

Happy World Backup Day

And that's it. Now, regardless of what kind of chicanery takes place tomorrow, even if you wind up fooled, you won't be a fool because you backed up your Simple Hosting instance. And the best part is, it's free now that we've introduced free snapshots on Simple Hosting. Happy backing up!


A few months ago we announced our plan to upgrade to a more recent version of Xen, a virtualization software used on our hosting platform, in order to be able to better mitigate security vulnerabilities without customer intervention.

In the meantime, we've been able to take advantage of recent stop/starts of servers to upgrade most of our platform to Xen 4.8. Thanks to the new features available in this version, the majority of you will not be impacted by a new security vulnerability found in Xen, to be announced in the coming days, which we are able to address by live-patching or -migrating servers without impact to our customers.

In the next few days, only a small number of our customers whose servers aren't yet running on upgraded nodes will need to stop and start their servers (restarting alone will not be enough) to deal with the new security vulnerability. We have emailed impacted customers directly to ask them to perform this operation themselves at their convenience, to avoid downtime, before the announcement of the vulnerability. We will stop and start any affected servers that have not yet been stopped and started ourselves between 9:00 AM and 02:00 PM CEST (12:00 AM and 3:00 AM PDT) that day.

Otherwise, we have been pleased to see the initial results of our recent efforts to upgrade our platform have been positive. This should hopefully be the last time we need to ask our customers to perform such tasks and we intend to continue working towards improving the customer experience on our hosting platform and we would encourage you to check out our plans for 2017.

Please feel free to contact our Customer Care team if you have any questions or to send us your feedback by emailing feedback@gandi.net.


We have decided to extend the Beta testing phase for our new datacenter in Paris, FR-SD3, to further test the networking infrastructure ahead of the official opening, first planned for March 20th, 2017.

Resource usage will remain free during the extended Beta phase. Be aware that only our Gandi Cloud hosting platform is currently available, which includes: Servers, Volumes, IPs, and Private VLANs. No date is currently set for the launch of Simple Hosting and Web Accelerators on FR-SD3. These are currently only available on our other datacenters in Paris and Luxembourg (FR-SD2 and LU-BI1, respectively).

We will announce the official opening date, at which point resource usage will be charged as per our standard rates, at least 15 days in advance. Until then, you'll continue to see the cost of your resource usage on FR-SD3 on all our pages.

Feel free to contact our Hosting Support team for any and all questions, comments, impressions, or thoughts. Or, alternatively, share them with us by emailing feedback@gandi.net.


Following the recent announcement of free snapshots, we are happy to announce that all Simple Hosting instances now have 20GB of free storage included, instead of 10GB as was previously the case.

Instances created starting today will have 20GB by default, and existing instances will see the addition of 10GB added for free.

The addition of additional storage space is of course still possible, and is billed per gigabyte at the usual rate.

Please don't hesitate to contact our customer support team for any question you may have.


After a little more than a month of Alpha testing, which has been well received, our new data center in Paris is now entering Beta testing, with a tentative production date of March 20, 2017.

Be aware that only our Gandi Cloud hosting platform is currently available, which includes: Servers, Volumes, IPs, and Private Networks. No date is currently set for the launch of Simple Hosting and Web Accelerators on FR-SD3. These are currently only available on our primary Paris data center and our Luxembourg one (FR-SD2 and LU-BI1, respectively).

We would like to thank all of you who have helped test this new infrastructure so far during the Alpha phase and we would encourage all customers to continue testing it for free during Beta testing as well, all the way up until the release date of March 20.

Once that date arrives, we will no longer be able to continue offering free hosting on FR-SD3. The pricing scale in place on our other data centers will be implemented for FR-SD3 as well.

Of course feel free to contact our Hosting Support team for any and all questions, comments, impressions, or thoughts. Or, alternatively, share them with us by emailing feedback@gandi.net.


We are very excited to announce that from now on, Snapshots are free on our Simple Hosting platform!

Snapshots allow you to schedule automatic, periodic copies of the files contained on your Simple Hosting instance. Until now, this service required an additional 30% disk space added to the total quota in order to use.

From today on, though, you can now activate snapshots without having to buy any additional disk space. The copies of your files will no longer count towards your total disk usage.

To activate snapshots, go to your Simple Hosting management page on our legacy site or on #gandiv5. If snapshots are already activated on your instances, the additional disk space will no longer be invoiced to you the next time your renew.

We would remind you that Snapshots are not a full backup as they do not include a backup of your databases. You can include your database in the snapshot by exporting your database into a file on your instance which will then be included in the next snapshot.

For more information on Snapshots, feel free to reference our wiki: https://wiki.gandi.net/simple/snapshot

Otherwise, you can of course contact our Hosting support team for any other questions.


As we anticipated in our first update about the new site, Simple Hosting is now available on #gandiv5.

We designed this new Simple Hosting interface with the intention to make it as easy to use for beginners as for expert users.

To that end, this new interface incorporates all the information required to manage an instance and bring sites online, whether you use sFTP, Git, our CLI, or the management interface itself.

We also completely redesigned our interface for managing services installed on instances in order to better align with how each technology is used: 

 

  • Since for PHP instances, each vhost has its own codebase with its own directory and Git repository, these are now under the "Sites" tab ;
  • Node.js, Python, and Ruby instances are all now available under the "Domains" tab, since a vhost with these instances allows you to direct requests to a single codebase

 

In addition, Simple Hosting instances no longer come with any commitment, which allows you greater flexibility to receive pro-rated refunds to your prepaid account should you decide to or need to delete an instance before it expires, regardless of whether you subscribed for one, three, six or twelve months.

Since this is a beta version, be aware that not all functionalities are currently available, but within the next couple of weeks we expect to roll out a few new key features. One is that you will soon be able to take advantage of our "Snapshots" archive tool, which will now be included free of charge. The standard disk size will also double from 10 Gb to 20 Gb. All existing instances will be upgraded to this new baseline, even if they weren't initially created on #gandiv5.

In the next few weeks, we'll be bringing other new functionalities on line as well, bit by bit, including statistics, event management, language version updates, disk space increases, and instance size upgrades.

If you'd like to test Simple Hosting on #gandiv5, just go to https://beta.gandi.net and log in with your Gandi handle.

If you haven't migrated your account to the new site yet, you'll need to complete that process in order to get your new username.

Of course, feel free to contact us if you run into any difficulties or have any thoughts or reactions. You can reach us at feedback@gandi.net

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And don't forget to follow news related to #gandiV5 by clicking here.


We're very pleased to announce the opening of FR-SD3, a new datacenter in Paris, in Alpha test phase. This new data center is part of a whole new points-of-presence architecture completely designed by our team on brand new hardware which is set to become the basis of our future of our hosting infrastructure. So far, our performance tests have come out much to our satisfaction: we're seeing a 30% performance improvement on CPUs, a huge improvement in terms of latency when accessing disks (nearly two times as fast) and 30% more rapid memory access as well.

 

The following Gandi Cloud services are available on the new datacenter: Servers, System Disks, IP addresses, and Virtual Private Networks (VLANs). The only service not available for now on FR-SD3 are Web Accelerators, which we expect to introduce on the new datacenter at a later stage.

And while this datacenter is currently in Alpha, if you decide to try it out, you'll be in good company. We are already using it to host some of our own infrastructure (though our resources are obviously isolated from our customers') including our new web site as well as a few of the services associated with it. That's why, having field-tested it ourselves, we can say with confidence that you're going to like this new datacenter.

 

But don't just take our word for it. If we've managed to catch your attention, you can already start using this new infrastructure. We would ask that you do keep in mind, though, that it is still in Alpha testing, so we don't recommend running production systems on it yet. To take it for a spin, though, you just need to choose "FR-SD3" from the list of data center options when you create your next server using either our site, the API, or Gandi CLI.

And if you're still not convinced, we're only charging Gandi server credits (or your prepaid account) for bandwidth consumed. The consumption rates for services created in "FR-SD3" will still be displayed on the website but nothing be deduced from your resources.

 

We'll be running Alpha and later Beta tests at least until the end of February 2017. While we tentatively hope to go live with this new infrastructure by March 1, we will let you know 15 days in advance so that you can plan for the return to our normal hosting rates based on resources consumed.

 

We hope as many of you as possible get a chance to try out the new archiecture and, obviously, provide us with your feedback, which is always immensely valuable to us. Any questions or comments can be directed to us on Twitter or by email at feedback@gandi.net or of course by contacting our Customer care team directly.


Gandi's hosting service saw a number of important decisions in 2016 that will have an impact the future of our offering, namely its modernisation, simplification, and stabilisation, as we prepare for the launch of our new platform, #gandiV5. The decisions make way for a more powerful hosting service, starting in 2017. Put simply, we're making it easier for you to host your projects on a better platform.

 

Since 2007, we have offered flexible virtual machines that are easy to create, update, and coupled with modular services to create your own cloud infrastructure. In 2012, we launched a container-based solution to host web projects that is just as easy to use as shared hosting services, but more a lot more powerful and secure.

The hosting market has been rapidly evolving over the past few years, confirming our vision of what good hosting should look like. However, as we developed our solutions in-house with our own means, we gave more importance to maintaining our solution's stability than to keeping up with novelties.

To refresh our offering and adapt it to the new tools and workflows that have emerged in the market, we have started ambitious projects to adopt new technologies. We have launched new instances with PHP 7 and fully customisable Node.js and npm runtimes, coupled with MySQL 5.6 and PostgreSQL 9.4 on Simple Hosting, as well as the 1-click installation of WordPress. We also launched the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64 bits (HVM) image on our Cloud offering that, for the first time, used the distribution's own kernel by default.

We have also made decisions that impacted a number of existing clients, as we had to shut down our datacenter in Baltimore where our infrastructure couldn't handle our planned updates, and discontinued certain services, such as Gandi AI and Gandi Flex that no longer fit with the usage landscape.

These decisions allow us to focus our efforts on a modern platform, aligned with our customers' current and future workflows.

Therefore, in 2017, you'll be able to manage your servers and your instances from your computer, mobile phone, or tablet thanks to our new website, currently in Beta testing. We'll also announce a new datacenter featuring brand new hardware, an upgrade to our virtualisation platform and a new way to build Simple Hosting images that, combined, form the base of our new infrastructure and the new features that will follow.

The new year hasn't started yet but we sure have started to tackle it!

 

Follow us on Twitter or keep tabs on our news site to learn all about the upcoming news.


Gandi Flex, launched in 2013 and developed by Gandi, enables our clients to update their servers according to a schedule that they make themselves, to add or remove CPU cores and RAM on the fly. Contrary to our initial expectations, only a minority of our users adopted it, and we have therefore decided to shut it down as part of our ongoing hosting projects for 2017.

 

In fact, since the creation of Gandi Flex almost 5 years ago, vertical scaling has given away to horizontal scaling as the preferred method to live scale most applications. Users prefer to add or remove servers from their infrastructure to cope with demand fluctuation, instead of adding or removing power to a single server. Going forward, it therefore makes more sense to focus our efforts on the Web Accelerator, a load-balancing and caching service that we built in-house and that is better adapted to these workflows.

Combined with the other features of our platform, it is very easy to clone or delete existing servers and add or remove them to Web Accelerators to scale an infrastructure up and down. They can even be securily connected to the same databases over a virtual private network, all while sustaining no downtime.

In addition, a number of open source and proprietary tools have taken shape that offer the same functionnality as Gandi Flex. It is fairly easy to use our API and CLI, or libraries such as libCloud in combination with these tools, to scale an infrastructure vertically and/or horizontally according to a predetermined schedule or in response to load events.

We will therefore be focusing our efforts on improving other aspects of our platform in 2017 and Gandi Flex won't be available as they are launched. On the one hand, it won't be available for servers running in the new datacenters and, on the other hand, it won't be available on our new website, currently in beta. Then, beginning on April 1st, 2017, our current users won't be able to create new probes in Gandi Flex anymore and the service will be definitively stopped on September 1st, 2017, at which time all scheduled tasks will be deleted. This time frame will leave ample time for current users to find an alternative solution.

 

We will regularly email all our customers currently using the service to remind them of these dates. Please don't hesitate to contact our Customer Care team should you have any questions about the end of life of Gandi Flex.


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