October 2006 Newsletter


Why do I seem to start so many newsletters with an apology? This one is an apology for the lack of newsletters recently (in fact it almost exactly a year since my last newsletter). A lot has happened since then!


First of all I must thank all the clients who’ve passed on their best wishes in the last year. It’s only looking back now that I realise that the last time I wrote to you, I was several days away from starting Chemotherapy. Thankfully I was able to stay pretty much in control of the business (with a lot of assistance from friends, family and understanding customers – you know who you are!!) it certainly slowed a few things down, changed a few priorities in my life, and gave me some new challenges!

I was given the all clear back in January (and promptly disappeared on holiday and got engaged!), and have spent the rest of the year getting back to full strength. Hopefully now that is on the way, more improvements and changes will appear at BetterWebSpace.

Server News

In the last year we’ve added more new servers to our range. We’re still growing day by day, with the assistance of some of our affiliates who are promoting us very aggressively, thank you to them!

We will be doing some more work on our affiliate system in the near future, and then we’d urge all ours users to sign up and earn from referring us (as we know so many of you do already!). Watch you inbox for the note to sign up!


The new support helpdesk will be launched soon (I know it’s been a year since I last said that!), we’re still putting the finishing touches to the configuration (I’ve never seen so many options!!), and will be looking for beta testers in the near future (so if you fancy being a guinea pig let us know ASAP!).

Server Upgrade & Maintenance

Several of our servers are long overdue for a full security audit and kernel upgrade, we plan to schedule these for the coming week.

As such I’d like to schedule a maintenance window nightly during this week (16th – 20th October 0200-0400 GMT / 0300-0500 BST), short outages will be possible. Each server will be rebooted during this time and is only expected to be offline for 20 to 30 minutes, and not the entire duration.

Email from Nobody?

Every day we see hundreds of emails being returned which have been sent out from the user “nobody”. The user “nobody” sends out emails from PHP software when it hasn’t been configured correctly to give a correct return address. We’d like to stop this for two reasons:

  • It clogs up the mail server as the mailbox “nobody” often gets filled up very quickly and mail sits on the queue.
  • You don’t get your return emails to tell you whether an email address is invalid, often this results in the user being allowed to continue using your forum, or you emailing them in a mailing list when they aren’t a valid email address.

There are a few major culprits as far as software goes at the moment and these are:

  • phpBB – Consider applying the following modification or asking us for a quote to get it done for you. phpBB Modification.
  • Niche Portal Builder – We see many from this, We’re not sure if this one is incorrect configuration or a problem with the script. Please check with the vendor if you are using this software.
  • Custom Scripts – If you are using the php mail() function please ensure you are setting a valid from address in the headers.

This is something we’ll be checking up on in the coming months. Please make sure your website is in order today!

Your Responsibility!

It is your responsibility to ensure that all the software on your website is kept updated with the necessary version(s). Where there are security fixes/upgrades available you should apply these ASAP. It is often worth visiting the writers of your software and signing up to their mailing lists, remember if your account is compromised in any way, you are accountable.

If you are unsure about doing your upgrades, contact us. Often we are happy to perform them for you as a custom job.

Member Spotlight

I’d like to get back to spotlights on our members in newsletters as well as necessary information, so if you’d like to tell us a bit about your website and services, and what you do – get in touch!

Until next time!

Where hosting just got better…

September/October Newsletter


First of all an apology, this newsletter is exceedingly late (even by my standards) and there are a couple of reasons for this. Given my policy on BetterWebSpace being an honest company, I’m going to be completely honest with you about them!

Server Transfers

The transfer to the new Dumbledore did not go as swimmingly as we expected, the intial test move of data took far longer than expected and the team we had brought in to make the transfer couldn’t do it in an agreed timescale. Their planning made it likely that many of you would lose upto 24 hours email. A risk I was not willing to take.

The server transfers were therefore done by myself over a period of several days. Most went perefectly with many users not even noticing. A few others suffered minor problems, whether that be related to their internet provider storing old data, or them accessing the wrong server when making updates (Please use the fftp address as the hostname (e.g. ftp.domain.com) and NOT the IP address. Thank you for your patience during that time.

NOTE: If your sites were on Dumbledore (IP:, please check them before the 22nd of October. After this date we will be retiring the old Dumbledore and all original data will be lost.


I’ve found myself answering the same questions many times in recent months, and the support forum remains quiet with many of you prefering direct contact with us. As such I’m investing in a ticketing system (which will suggest solutions before you even submit your ticket!). I hope to launch this during the coming week – so be ready for it as the support email address will no longer be the immediate point of contact.


Some of you are already aware of this little problem, others may find it a shock – I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer last month. I’ve had an operation and I embark on a course of Chemotherapy soon. During this testing time, I hope you can appreciate that at times other people will be at the helm of BetterWebSpace and may take a little longer with Sales and Support information than normal, I apologise for this and assure you that I’m doing my utmost to minimise disruption to the business (hence the new support system!).

People Make Prizes
I watched two users come surprisingly close to taking money off me in this event (you were only two away guys!), but we only had one person take any serious money from us. This user has asked to remain out of the spotlight (a less shy member appears below) but a cheque for £100 is on it’s way to you for signing up 43 hosting accounts (mind you several of them were for themselves!). Congratulations!

Member Spotlight: Simon Carter

Simon has been a reseller with BetterWebSpace since early 2004, and I’m sure he won’t mind me telling you that he is one of our more successfull resellers, so we caught up with him for a chat!

Simon is originally from Swindon, but now lives in Welton, a small village just outside of Lincoln and works from his office in the City of Lincoln. Simon has always offered website design, and a website hosting business seemed the next natural progression. Dealing with lots of small businesses Simon provides the full package (not just the hosting) from an initial consultation to the finished article, along with a friendly voice at the end of a phone line to answer any questions. Simon aims to provide just the right balance and be able to offer small businesses almost any IT-related product they need (You can find all of Simon’s products and services at www.scisuk.com).

What we have noticed about our more successful resellers (and I’m hoping the next person I’ve approached about having the spotlight on them will agree with this!) is that they target a niche market. Much of Simon’s clientbase are home users and small businesses, he does a lot of work offline – visiting peoples homes and workplaces to overcome their IT issues. Working late into the evening is nothing unusual and he’s been known to go out to a farm house in the middle of nowhere at midnight, to fix a crashed PC with the couples information on that they needed for their wedding the next day!!

When I asked Simon what he’d got planned for the future he was honest – he doesn’t even have time to think about that at the moment – he’s just taken someone on to ease the workload somewhat and wouldn’t mind getting a bit of sleep in the future – but the odds are more likely (after watching Simon’s recent successes) that he will take on even more customers!

Simon’s lucky, he loves his job! He knows the hours are long and stressful (18 hours+ some days), but he has one message “keep at it!”, he tries to take weekends off but even just recently he’s found himself working 6 hours on a Sunday – now there’s determination for you!

Simon, we wish you the best of luck, and some sleep when you get a chance!

If you’d like to tell us a bit about your website and services, and what you do – get in touch!

Until next time!

Where hosting just got better…

Default Address Changes – Action Required



This is an important message for all users!

In an effort to reduce the amount of spam being received by many users, that is slipping through our existing spam detection systems we are employing a new dictionary style attack blocker. This is already installed on one server and we anticipate rolling out to all servers within 7 days.

Quick Info:

For those that just want the cold hard facts and not the reasoning behind it.

The action required is simple:

  • Create POP3 Accounts or Forwarders for the e-mail addresses you need.
  • Set your default email address in cPanel to :fail: (using a catch-all style address for your domain will no longer be allowed).
  • Once the above is done only mail addressed to your main cPanel username, and the email addresses/forwarders you create will be delivered, all other email will be returned to sender.

More Details…

A common technique for spammers to use is what is known as a dictionary attack on a domain. A dictionary attack, in this context, is when a single mail connection that attempts to send email from a spam source to a random set of names on our domain, e.g. bob@ourdomain.com fred@ourdomain.com harry@ourdomain.com, in the hope that one of the many hundreds that they try will get a hit and deliver our spam.

This technique is used by spammers mainly because most people don’t advertise their email addresses (due to spam!) and they want to access this untapped market!

What are we doing about this?

The new system we are employing will attempt to detect and block this kind of spam, when a number of rejections is noticed by the script (hence the need for mail not addressed to a valid user to be rejected and not just delivered to a catch all address), the connection from the offending mail server will then be blocked and banned by our system.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to get in touch!

Where hosting just got better…