1and1 wp-login.php Redirection Issues

WordPresFor a time on December 30th, 2013, my hosting provider 1and1.com was redirecting all WordPress logins to 128.0.0.1 whenever one hit wp-login.php effectively blocking all attempts to login — and logout for that matter – from any WordPress installation on their servers.

Their response was less than desired; they stated that this issue was effecting only .5% of their customers.  Even if that were to be true, which I would find doubtful given the widespread use of WordPress, and it seems to discount the severity of the issue for WordPress user, a program that they say they support completely. Read more

Goodbye 1and1 Email, Hello Gmail

Google MailI’ve been with 1and1.com for hosting for many years and by and large have been happy with their services.  (Note, not necessarily their service, but their services.)  One thing that 1and1 had always done well was spam filtering.  Until recently that is.

Either they  have changed their real time blacklists, had a few points of failure or spammers are simply getting better — maybe all of the above, simply put, the amount of spam I was receiving on an hourly basis was greater than my legitimate email.  I contacted 1and1’s support staff on multiple occasions, tried different settings and such, but was still getting about 20-30 spam messages in my inbox every day.  Something had to be done to keep my email clean and return it to be a useful tool.

Spam adds up to lost time very quickly for me.  I check mail often at work and like to be able to respond in a very timely fashion to requests, issues, and such.  Spam makes me not want to check my personal email but every hour instead of continuously.  So many times the email notifications would be for nothing worthwhile at all.  Worse, I was losing legit email in the midst of all of this garbage, too.

I didn’t give up on getting email under control even though 1and1 wasn’t able to resolve the issues.  Instead, I decided to use Gmail; my domain’s email is now managed via Gmail’s Business Apps program.  Given I only need about 4 email accounts, I’m also able to get by with the free version.  I know other people who use all of the Google App features, but for me, getting a handle on spam is worth it all by itself.

 

UPDATE: As of November 2012, Google has stopped offering this free version.  We were very lucky to be grandfathered into the free setup.  If you’re having trouble with spam, the $5 per box per month charge is still a great deal in our view.

Backup Scripts for 1and1 and Others

1and1.com is the hosting provider I’ve been using and recommending to others for many years.  They provide adequate service on a very complete product offering that is inexpensive.  So long as you can either resolve issues yourself as their technical support is not what I would call strong, they are a great option.  (Does that spell out an endorsement with caution well enough?)

One thing I’ve come up with is a modification to a backup script that if you are using a Linux system at 1and1 and have access to making crontabs, you can have daily, weekly and monthly database backups stored on the server, emailed to you, or both.  I got this script from a project on SourceForge and modified it to work with 1and1.

  1. 1and1-backup-script  Download this zip archive and unzip it.  You’ll find a shell script and an empty folder called “backups” within it.
  2. Open the backup.sh file in a simple text editor — I use my SFTP tool Transmit for this, too – and enter your database information and change the “changeme@email.com” address to yours or make it empty for no email.  (A dedicated Gmail account would be useful here, too.)
  3. Save the file and upload it and the empty backups directory to your root directory of your 1and1 account. Be sure to set the permissions of your shell script to something that is executable.  If you have configured your domain(s) on your account to point to a subdirectory, this will also keep the shell script and backups from being accessible by a web browser.  More on this simple security hack in the future.
  4. Using a command line tool such as Terminal on a Macintosh, login to your 1and1 account using your SSH credentials.  1and1 has good online help here.
  5. Once you’ve logged in, it’s time to setup the crontab that will run the backup.  Enter “crontab -e” to enter the crontab editor.
  6. You’ll be in the program vi after entering this prompt.  To enter a new line, you’ll need to type “i” to INSERT a line.
  7. I have my backup run at 3:30AM on the server every day of the year.  Here’s the line to type to do the same:
    30 03 * * * sh ./backup.sh >> /dev/null 2>&1
  8. Press the escape key to exit Insert mode and then type press the shift key and type “zz” to exit vi.  You’ll get a prompt about your crontab being written (or modified) at this point.
  9. To view the crontab without editing it, you can type “crontab -l”

If you have multiple databases to backup, you can modify the name of the shell script and backup directory easily enough.  I’ve been using this backup script with my website and with client websites for years.  It has never failed me and has saved my clients several times.  Many thanks to the original authors of this useful open source script.

 

1and1.com – php.ini and htaccess customization

I host my website with 1and1.com, and can honestly say I recommend them to others, too. They provide a great deal of resources at a very reasonable price and have reasonably good service on the occasions I’ve needed it.   Perhaps because I don’t expect much from a low cost hosting entity is also why I think their service is fine, too.  It may also be said that I wouldn’t recommend them because of their service – that’s certainly true, too.

They provide a great Linux/Apache/mySQL/PHP setup and allow you to have private domains through their registrar for no additional costs.  Private domains save you against an onslaught of a ton of spam and unwanted phone calls as your registration remains one hidden behind this 1and1 proxy account.

There are a couple of oddities with any hosting provider to overcome and here’s what I have learned about 1and1 and the tools I use to make development easier.  First off, php 5 is not enabled automatically.  In order to have php 5 be the default for the website, you’ll need to add the following line to an htaccess file —

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

If you are running Joomla!, and wish to use the built in SEO mod_rewrite features, be sure to also set the RewriteBase flag to the root directory —

RewriteBase /

The controls over php values, like with many shared hosts, are controlled via a php.ini file that you may upload to your root directory.  However, with 1and1, there are some less than   traditional settings and you must also place a php.ini file in each directory on the website that php files are used.  If you’ve just started using 1and1 for the first time, figuring all of this out can be challenging.

Download the ini_help.zip files here To easily install a php.ini file everywhere in the website’s code, I use the script phpcopy.php that you’ll find in the archive.  If you need to delete files, you can use the phpdelete.php script.  You will need to insert the full path of where this script lives on the server within the file before you upload it.  I’ve also included a copy of the php.ini file I use.  It will also need the full server path added to it for the tmp directory line.

If you need to determine the full server path, you can do so with a php info script and look under the environment section. Alternatively, you could login via SSH and navigate to the web directory you wish to use and enter “pwd” to see the full path.