7Nov/170

CHIP Hotline-Test 2018: First place for Contabo!

Great news from inside Contabo: The German IT magazine „CHIP“ has thoroughly tested the hotlines of several providers. Among companies from other industries, 14 hosting providers were part of that study, which was conducted in cooperation with the market research experts from the well-known institution “Statista”.

Calling every provider at least 50 times at different points of time, the research team raised different questions and reported several problems. Every call was evaluated based on the following criteria: waiting time, reachability, transparency and especially the general service – on a range of 0 to 100. Our support team fully convinced the researchers, consequently leading to the following result:

Contabo is the overall winner among hosting providers and the only hosting provider in Germany with the top rating “very good”.

CHIP.de reports: “Contabo excels with a record-breaking low waiting time. After an average of 12 seconds, the research team spoke to a member of the customer service. This number can hardly be topped, even across other industries. In addition to that, everything worked smoothly. Hardly any other provider handled their inquiries in such a hassle-free manner, the researchers agreed.”

Overall, we achieved 92.8 out of 100 possible points (second best: 88.9) and CHIP especially praised the short waiting time and the great overall service experience at Contabo.

The complete test report with all details can be found in the CHIP edition 12/2017.

Receiving the award for the first place among 14 big hosting providers is a huge honor for us. In addition to that, we will continue to work hard every day in order to provide each and every one of you, our valued customers, the best possible support in every situation.

You can contact us by phone directly via landline number, without any hotline fees, queues and complex menu selection – on 365 days per year.

26Oct/170

How to manage your websites in Plesk: The WordPress Toolkit

In Plesk Onyx, which we offer for our VPS and dedicated servers, you can comfortably manage your WordPress sites with the extension "WordPress Toolkit". The software enables you to set up a new WordPress site by only a few clicks, it can find already existing WordPress installations on its own and it will show them all in a list. There you can do administrative tasks like updating, installing plugins and much more on all installed WordPress instances at once. Therefore, the extension is very interesting for resellers but also for end users. The WordPress Toolkit is available for all three Plesk Onyx versions at no additional charges, but the range of functions in the Web Admin Edition got reduced in some points. For more information about the differences between the full version and the special Web Admin edition, please take a look on this site: https://www.plesk.com/extensions/wordpress-toolkit.

You can easily check if the extension has already been installed in your Plesk by changing to the following oversight: Server Management > Tools & Settings > Updates and Upgrades > Add/Remove components > Plesk extensions. You should see a green tick next to the extension "WordPress Toolkit". If there is still a red X shown, please use the "Install" function in the drop-down menu. With continue, you will proceed with the installation. You will find the extension afterwards below the menu item "Server Management" in the main menu of Plesk. It is called "Wordpress" there. In case you can not find those menus, you can also use the Plesk search bar. Maybe you are not using the Service Provider view then.

Here you can see a screenshot of the available options. You can increase the size of every image in this tutorial by clicking on it.

You can use those options selectively or on all WordPress instances at once. We will now explain those options from the left to the right.

  • Scan
    There you can search for existing WordPress installations. They will be added to the list below automatically.
  • Check Security
    There you can check your WordPress instances for elementary security problems. You will get a list with points that got checked and possible automatic improvements you can confirm.
  • Plugins
    You will get a collection of the installed plugins and also an update check for those plugins will be performed. You can install and remove plugins for your sites there as well.
  • Themes
    There you can manage your themes and exchange them for multiple WordPress sites at once.
  • Update
    You can update your WordPress installations to the newest version here. Plugins are not touched.
  • Check for Updates
    Here you can check if there are WordPress updates for your sites.
  • Auto-Update
    There you can decide if your WordPress sites should get automatic updates in future.

Additionally to those features, you have the functions Clone and Sync available in every line with an existing WordPress installation.

With Clone you can save a lot of time, if you want to use a fully configured WordPress site as Template. You can also easily change the URL of a WordPress installation this way by deleting the original site afterwards. After clicking on this function, you can do the few required settings and create the target subdomain or select one of the existing domains.

With Sync, you can copy changes to other WordPress installations. This is useful, if you want to test for example new plug-ins on a subdomain before you use them in your public blog. You have the choice between the files, the database or both.

If you want to install a new WordPress for one of your domains, you have to change the menu. Please go to "Hosting Services" and there to "Domains". If it does not exist yet, please add your domain now and open it in the list with all the available domains by clicking on the name of the domain. Next to the usual options, you can see the new one called "Install WordPress", as shown in the image below:

After the installation, you can directly log into the WordPress administration panel from Plesk. If you need the login data or want to change them, you can find this and further options in a dedicated management menu. To open this menu, please click on the name of the WordPress instance left to the direct log in button. We marked this in the picture below:

Sounds great, doesn't it? Give Plesk Onyx a try at Contabo and benefit from our one month for free promotion:

Simply order one of our VPS in combination with Plesk and you will get the edition of your choice one month for free!

27Sep/170

HostingAdvice has reviewed Contabo

Today, we have got some great news for you: The experts at HostingAdvice have carefully examined us and our services and published a detailed review about us.

Besides our products, namely the webspace plans as well as our VPS and dedicated servers, they also checked and compared our overall features, our prices and the usability. All in all, we are delighted about a rating of 4.6/5 points!

You can read the full article by clicking the following link:

Review of Contabo's services

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
11Sep/172

Dedicated Server: 10 Gbit/s-port available

From now on and by your request, we offer you an internet connection of 10 Gbit/s (for every server) for our dedicated servers Dual Xeon and 10-Core.

With this upgrade, your server will receive an Internet uplink of 10 Gbit/s (=10.000 Mbit/s) instead of the regular port. We use a high-quality network card from Intel in order to provide you with that bandwidth.

This upgrade is especially suited for customers who generate traffic peaks, which exceed the standard connection of 1 Gbit/s.

You can add the 10 Gibt/s-port for 99.99 € /month plus a one-time setup fee in the same amount. New customers can select the upgrade during the order process of the respective dedicated server on Contabo.com.

Do you already have a dedicated server and would like to add this upgrade? No problem at Contabo! Existing customers can order this upgrade at any time. Please contact our customer support department and specify your wish.

5Sep/170

Impressions of the cooling system at our data center in Nuremberg

This year, as we have proudly informed you earlier, we won the German Data Center Award for our data center in Nuremberg. An independent jury awarded us first place in category 6: "Increase in energy efficiency through reconstruction in an existing data center"

Today, we show you some impressions from our cooling systems. Day and night, they ensure that thousands of servers receive reliable air-conditioning in our data center in Nuremberg. 🙂

 

These pictures show you our redundant air-conditioning systems. They are highly efficient and state-of-the-art machines and use external air for cooling - leading to significant savings in energy consumption.

There you can see our double-pumping plant. It transports the cooling water into the data center. Should it ever fail, the second one will take over instantly and ensure that your servers will always receive the best cooling.

By the way, our website provides more information about our data centers.

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , No Comments
24Aug/170

No space left on your HDD/SSD? Find big files and remove them!

It does not matter if you do website hosting, provide a gameserver or use other services, if you have no space left on your HDD/SSD problems will occur. Your websites might not be reachable anymore, your players cannot connect to your gameserver or all other services will not start.

To avoid this it is necessary to find big files on your system and to get rid of them. Today we will show you how to do this.

Linux:

1. Connect to your server using SSH

2. Execute the following code:

# Change into root folder
cd /

# Find the top 10 files. This may take a while:
find -type f -exec du -Sh {} + | sort -rh | head -n 10

Once finished, a list of the ten largest files will be displayed. Normally these files might be old downloads or big log files. Files that are no longer used can be deleted, of course. Before deleting log files you should check them for errors you can solve so that the issue will be permanently fixed.

3. Using the command below you can remove files

rm <path_to_file>

Windows:

In Windows you might not find big log files but forgotten downloads. To find them the following freeware is perfect:

http://www.jam-software.de/treesize_free/?language=EN

Once you downloaded and executed the software you can start scanning a partition. A list of all files will be displayed. Please make sure not to delete Windows system files 😉 .

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
11Aug/172

Overview of available RAID levels

With this tutorial we will explain certain types of RAID levels to you.
Some of you might have already experienced a loss of data, no matter if it was an SD card holding some vacation photos or a hard disk holding important files. Losing data can be very costly if you try to restore them by some specialist. An expert is needed and the procedure takes a lot of time, the easiest way to avoid those costs is simply to avoid any data loss in the first place.

This overview is not relevant for any VPS, your VPS systems are already running safe on a RAID system monitored by experienced technicians.

Creating backups is still very important, a RAID does not replace any backup!

You can find further instructions within the following tutorial: Data loss and how to avoid it

There are some points which you should think about first, there are several results depending on your requirements.

  1. How important is the performance?
  2. How much data security should be provided by the RAID?
  3. Are system resources available to manage the RAID, such as CPU and RAM

Depending on the results of the above questions and your budget, there are several options available:
A hardware RAID is always more expensive but provides the best performance and security (if combined with a battery backup unit).
A software RAID is the easiest way to go for a RAID, it is able to handle almost any type of RAID and can be set up within a few minutes.

An overview of available RAID levels is shown below:


RAID 0

The RAID 0 provides increased write and read performance, the data will be distributed to at least two disks. Since there is no redundancy all data will be lost in case one disk fails.

  • At least two hard disks are needed
  • No disk redundancy at all
  • Maximum (complete) storage capacity available
  • Improved read and write performance


RAID 1

The RAID 1 provides increased read performance (depending on the software/hardware controller used), all data will be mirrored to a second disk. There is also a RAID 1E available - in that case all data will be mirrored to additional disks too.

  • At least two hard disks are needed
  • n-1 disks can fail
  • 1/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with two disks = > 1/2 of total storage)
  • Improved read performance


RAID 5

The RAID 5 provides increased write and read performance, the data is written to at least two disks, an additional disk is always used for storing parity data. The parity data has to be calculated for every write - so for very write intensive applications the RAID 5 requires a lot of performance due to the necessary calculations.

  • At least three hard disks are needed
  • One disk can fail
  • n-1/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with three disks = > 2/3 of total storage)
  • Improved read and write performance
  • Requires a lot of CPU time


RAID 6

The RAID 6 provides increased read performance, the data is written to at least two disks, two additional disks are always used for storing parity data. The parity data has to be calculated for every write - so for very write intensive applications the RAID 6 requires a lot of performance due to the necessary calculations. As there are two parity bits saved on the disks, the needed CPU time is very high.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously
  • n-2/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with two disks = > 2/4 (half) of total storage)
  • Improved read performance
  • Requires the most CPU time


RAID 01

A RAID 01 is a combination of two or more volume groups. Each volume group is configured to have a RAID 0, those volume groups are mirrored in a RAID 1. With a total number of four disks one entire volume group can fail with both disks and no data will be lost.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously if they belong to the same logical volume group
  • Half of total storage capacity is available
  • Improved read and write performance


RAID 10

A RAID 10 is a combination of two or more volume groups. Each volume group is configured to have a RAID 1, those volume groups are striped in a RAID 0. With a total number of four disks, two disks can fail simultaneously and no data will be lost - the failed disks must not belong to the same volume group.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously if they do not belong to the same logical volume group
  • Half of total storage capacity is available
  • Improved read and write performance


 

The difference between RAID 01 and RAID 10 is only visible with six or more disks, if you have six disks a RAID 10 will provide a higher calculated security rate. We do recommend using a RAID 10 instead of using a RAID 01 even if you do only have four disks. Some RAID controllers do not even support a RAID 01 anymore. RAID 5 and RAID 6 require the highest CPU time since a checksum has to be calculated on every writing process to the disk. Only a few enterprise RAID controllers do support RAID 5 and RAID 6, due to the need of calculating checksums the writing speed might suffer which might then cause problems when using write intensive applications.

For our dedicated servers it is always possible to order additional hard disks or RAID controllers, current prices can be found on our web site. If you need a special configuration, please contact our support team any day between 8 am and 11 pm (German timezone, UTC+2).

Posted by: Gianni-Donato | Tagged as: , , , , , 2 Comments
3Aug/170

Available now: Fedora 26 and Suse Leap 42.3

As of today, we offer you the brand new Fedora 26, it replaces the previous version 25. Additionally, Suse Leap was updated as well and the latest version 42.3 is available at Contabo!

Both operating systems can be combined with the Software RAID 1 and Webmin. In addition, Fedora 26 can be installed via VNC as well.

Being an existing customer, you can easily upgrade to the new versions through your customer control panel.

We always offer you a large selection of Linux distributions (as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016). Just click on "Customize & Order" below your desired (virtual) server model in order to get a detailed overview and select the operating system of your choice!

Please note: You can find further information and a product overview on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
19Jul/170

Analysing log files in Windows and Linux

Everyone knows the scenario, you want to analyze an issue of your server or local computer but where to find all those log files?

In the following tutorial we are going to analyze specific log files in Linux and logs in the Windows Event Viewer. An additional chapter will go through the log analysis via Systemd.

Linux log files

Unfortunately, it is quite different from distribution to distribution, which information can be extracted from specific log files. In the following we will analyze the log file structure of Debian 8 and CentOS 7.2. The first location to look for log files should always be /var/log/. Depending on their configuration, Apache, Nginx or similar applications write log files to this folder too. System log specifications and locations can be found in the file /etc/rsyslog.conf.

Debian 8:

  • /var/log/auth.log

Logs of successful and failed authentications to your system can be found in this log file. It is also logged when a user invokes commands via sudo.

  • /var/log/messages

This file contains log entries of general system information, amongst others, you will also find the system upstart logs.

  • /var/log/dmesg or dmesg

The kernel ring buffer can be read with dmesg. You will find information about the system upstart, runtime kernel module messages and many further messages according to the hard and software of your system. By default, dmesg shows the full ring buffer. However, the output can be customized by adding specific parameters. A thorough documentation can be found on the manual page (man dmesg).

  • /var/log/syslog

This is one of the most important log files in general. Every Linux process is free to log to the syslog by implementing the syslog interface. It also logs the system upstart and executed cron-jobs.

CentOS 7.2:

As the log file structure is quite similar to the one of Debian 8, we will just mention the differences.

  • /var/log/secure

This log file is the equivalent to /var/log/auth.log in Debian systems. All kind of authentications are logged here.

  • /var/log/messages

There is no separation of /var/log/messages and /var/log/syslog in CentOS, all system logs of processes which implement the syslog interface can be found here.

  • /var/log/cron

Cron specific log files are not part of the syslog as in Debian. They can be found in the above mentioned file.

 

Log analysis via Systemd

Systemd is basically the standard Init system of nearly all major Linux distributions today. Since at least April 2015, when Debian and Ubuntu switched to Systemd, every Linux administrator or user has been in touch with Systemd. As Systemd is a complex system, we will only take a look into the log analysis functionality provided. Every process in Systemd is identified as a unit. All active units can be shown via the following command:

systemctl list-units

When appending the parameter --all, this command also shows all inactive units.

Logs being created by Systemd are managed in the so called Journal. These logs can be accessed via the journalctl binary. If journalctl is called without any parameter, it will print out the whole Journal. However, it is also possible to output the log entries of specific units only. In the following example, we are going to analyze the log files of the Apache web server.

journalctl -u httpd

It is also possible to restrict the output with the parameters --since and --until.

journalctl -u httpd --since "2016-11-01 20:00:00" --until "2016-11-03 20:00:00"

The above command will output the Apache log entries between 2016-11-01 20:00:00 and 2016-11-03 20:00:00. It is also possible to use keywords like "today" or "yesterday".

You can also output the log files of more than one unit at the same time. In the following example we will output all Apache and Nginx log entries which have been logged since yesterday.

journalctl -u httpd -u nginx --since yesterday

If the parameter -f is used, all desired log entries are shown in real time.

The above was only a slight view into the possibilities of journalctl, there are several other useful features which are described on the manual page (man journalctl).

 

Log analysis via Windows Event Viewer

Windows Event Viewer Overview

In the above picture in the left navigation you can see the entry "Windows Logs". The following entries are most important.

  • Application

This entry will show the events of locally installed applications.

  • Security

Here you can see successful and failed login attempts.

  • System

This entry logs operating system internal events and errors.

Via the entry "Custom Views" -> "Server Roles" -> "Remote Desktop Services" you can see RDP related events and errors.

Potential hardware issues can be identified via "Application and Service Logs" -> "Hardware Events".

Useful for error analysis can also be the overview which can be seen via "Overview and Summary" -> "Summary of Administrative Events", it provides a summarized overview of the system status in general.

7Jul/173

VPS: 100 Mbit/s – No limit, no throttling

Not long ago, the following rule regarding the internet connection of our VPS was in effect: 100 Mbit/s-port, when a certain traffic limit was exceeded, the port was limited to 10 Mbit/s.

As of now, we have removed this limitation to less than 100 Mbit/s for you and consequently, for all of our customers.

The same rule that applies to our dedicated servers is now also in effect for all of our VPS:
100 Mbit/s are available at all times – without any limitation, without port throttling, no matter how much traffic you generate.

This new rule is active for all new and existing customers at Contabo and you do not have to take any further action in order to benefit from this. Simply put, we have permanently removed the limitation for all of our customers.

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , 3 Comments