Ghost in a Shell

I woke up this morning with an excited texts from Tim “the wonderful wizard of Reclaim” Owens pointing me to some work he did on our Cloudron test instance. Short version: it is awesome.

Now for the slightly longer version. First off, for more background on Cloudron and why we are even exploring it, check out these two posts. Tim has made good on his promise to make this as simple as possible, and below I will use a series of screenshots to narrate the process of spinning up a Docker image of the node.js blogging application Ghost using Cloudron.

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And you get a server, and you get a server, and you….

I have been remiss in responding to Keegan’s post in early August exploring the idea of “A Server of One’s Own,” but I have not forgotten it. In fact, what he outlines in that post is something that dogs me regularly. Namely, how can we provide more options for folks when it comes to hosting a more diverse array of applications beyond what Domain of One’s Own currently provides.

Let me explain. As it stands right now, Domain of One’s Own has definitive technical limitations given it is built around a LAMP server environment. What does that mean? Well, it means beyond HTML, you are pretty much limited to PHP, Python, and Perl scripting languages. Also, it only supports the Apache web server software and MySQL (or MariaDB) databases. In other words, it is a specific server environment (a.k.a stack) that only supports specific applications. But given the wild success of PHP apps over the last 15 years, in particular WordPress, for most of us web plebeians that has been enough.

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Stepping into Domain of One’s Own

Over time, this web space has naturally become a collection of tutorials, guides & how-tos for navigating a Reclaim Hosting account. Documentation makes for really easy blog posts. And I’m constantly learning something at Reclaim. So when I learn something, I blog it. It’s been a great system.

That said, there’s a whole other side of my position at Reclaim that I don’t blog about often, likely because it still feels new and a bit intimidating. But it’s beginning to take up so much of my time that I simply can’t ignore it any longer!

I’ve always had a serious interest in the “people” side of Reclaim Hosting. And by that, I mean discussing with folks at institutions about supporting Domain of One’s Own on their campuses. For those who are new to the scene, Domain of One’s Own is a package offered by Reclaim Hosting to schools who are interested in giving their students and faculty members a space to explore what it means to have an online identity. Everyone who signs up through the customized single sign-on portal is given access to their very own cPanel account & domain. There’s generally a couple (if not a full team) of folks at the school that then spearhead the project and act as liaisons between students/faculty & Reclaim Hosting support. Read more

Featured App: Airmail

Just wanted to pop in quick to say that if you’re in the market for a great email client, I highly recommend checking out Airmail. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now per a recommendation from Tim, and haven’t looked back since!

I’ve somehow found myself in a position where I’m managing 5 email accounts, so I needed an interface that would allow me to access all accounts in a clean, organized fashion.

A couple of things to note about the main view: the color coding is phenomenal. Each of my accounts has a different color. Each email that comes in is then assigned to that color automatically.  You can view the master list that includes every email in all of your inboxes, or you can view each account separately. You can also see a list of your email accounts on the bottom, left-hand side. Read more

What people are saying

Wanted to take a quick minute to officially welcome Meredith Fierro to the Reclaim Hosting team via the blogosphere! Yesterday was her first day as Reclaim’s fourth full-time employee, and it’s already been wonderful having her online and around the office for the extended hours.

It’s also no coincidence that Reclaim’s support has been top notch recently! Our customer support satisfaction rating has been gliding at a steady 100% for the last few weeks, and there’s no doubt that Meredith’s participation has helped with that.

After folks submit a ticket, receive help, and then resolve the ticket, they’re sent a feedback form on the level of service they received. Here are some recent responses:

Best customer support I have ever received and I have been working in the technical field for over 20 years! The team responded within 5 minutes of my initial inquiry and my issue was resolved within an hour.

You guys are the best. I’m not the most tech-savvy guy, but you patiently translate my concerns into quick action. And somehow never charge me for it. Who does that anymore?

I was very impressed by the speed of reply to my initial email and the way I was kept informed all the way through the process. Everything was dealt with speedily and efficiently. Thank you.

Not only do you always address my problems quickly, but I always learn something in the process – a wonderful bonus to working with Reclaim!

And my personal favorite:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I feel incredibly lucky to be apart of a team that is so authentic and helpful.

Reclaim’s Fantastic Four

Yesterday was a special day, Reclaim Hosting grew to four full-time employees with the hiring of Meredith Fierro. Four is the perfect number for a super group, wouldn’t you agree? Needless to say, the costumes are on order. Meredith worked as an intern in Spring, a part-time employee over the Summer, and as of yesterday we made it official. Meredith will be focusing on support, and she is already bringing some of that Digital Knowledge Center magic to Reclaim. Our timing was perfect given this Fall has been quite busy, but I believe we’re handling it like, well, spandex-clad super heroes.

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Multiple Hosting Accounts made easy for Domains

One of the things Tim has been working on lately that has me excited is deeper API integration between WordPress and cPanel. This Spring we migrated and are now hosting Princeton’s cPanel offerings. Additionally, Tim has been working on some custom integrations for their existing setup. They have 3 cPanel instances that provided their community members with a personal account, department account, and/or dev account.

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