There’s a newer section in cPanel called the ‘Domains’ section. This strives to combine the subdomain, alias, and addon domains sections in cPanel allowing you to manage all domains in one interface. Yay platform changes!
When I first started in the wide world of web hosting, I got used to managing addons in the Addon Domains section and subdomains in the subdomains section, but I figure I should at least blog some notes for the Domains interface.
So you’ll see there’s a whole list of domains with some management features attached to each, you can set up a force redirect all traffic to HTTPS, even create email accounts for each domain/subdomain.
The next option you have is to create a new domain:
On this interface, this is where you can input any domain you wish to add to your account (assuming the DNS is already pointed to Reclaim). I’m using reclaimdocs.meredithfierro.com as an example here. This looks very similar to the other interface, where you can designate the directory for the domain.
You can also add the option to create an alias domain, like if you’re redirecting meredithfierro.net to meredithfierro.com. You’ll have the option to create multiple domains using the “Submit and Create Another” option or just submit the one domain.
Next, you can manage a particular domain from the interface.
This allows you to change the document root for the domain, create email addresses, quickly spin up a new site through site publisher using HTML files, manage DNS records, and modify any existing redirects. You can also remove the domain from your cPanel as well.
So the domains section is a great tool for all in one management of your domain! It’s almost like a one-stop shop for all things domain management.
Rsync is a great tool to use when you’re moving large files between a server. Reclaim uses it often when working through migrations. To start, you’ll want to make sure you’re logged into the server where the content currently is.
First, let’s break down the command as a whole. ‘rsync’ literally means Remote Sync. This command allows you to copy and sync file and folders from one location to another. You’ll need that part of the command first to ensure you’re running the rsync command.
Then you’ll see another piece of the common ‘-avz.’ These are additional options you can choose when running the command.
‘a’ means archive, which copies files/folders in a recursive manner while maintaining the current settings of each file. So the archive function will preserve settings like file permissions and ownership.
‘v’ means verbose, which will give you additional information when running the command. It will print out like a log file to show you the progress of the rsync
‘z’ means compression, so the command will compress the files before moving them to the new location. This will save you time when working through the move.
The next bit of the command is ‘. firstname.lastname@example.org’ which specifies where you’re moving the content. In most cases, for server admins, it will look like ‘. email@example.com.’ So in my case, meredithfierro.com currently sits on x.reclaimhosting.com. If I was using the rsync for my personal account, I would use firstname.lastname@example.org for this part of the command. If I was migrating another user’s account, I would use email@example.com. You can even use the IP address as the server name.
Finally, you’ve got ‘:path_to_folder/’ which serves as the destination. You’ll want to use the full path depending on what user privilege you used to sign in. If I was used firstname.lastname@example.org, I would use :public_html/ for the last bit of the command. If I was signing in as root, I would use :/home/meredith/public_html/ for the end of the code.
So once you run the code, you’ll be prompted to input a password. you’ll want to use the cPanel password for the account, or the root password if needed.
As an example, I decided to move WordPress files from a test WordPress site on another server to one of my accounts. I logged into the server, then changed directory to the WordPress site in public_html. Then I ran the command
From there, I got an output and running list of all processes to my account:
Once that’s done, you’ll see all the files in the new location!
From there, I usually will run the fixperms script on the account, just to confirm that all permissions are correct. That is run at the root of the server ‘sh fixperms.sh -a cPanelusername’
Well, 2020 is here! And what a year 2019 was. I have several drafts of things I’ve wanted to write (cough cough Domains19) that I didn’t get to so I’m dusting this blog off as part of some of my 2020 professional “intentions” (I hate the word resolutions) to write more. And what a better way than to announce one thing that’s changed in the first week of 2020.
Before you think, what Meredith left Reclaim?!? No, no, quite the opposite! I’ve accepted the position of Interim Customer Support Manager.
This is the first time I’m really writing that sentence and it’s kind of surreal. But I’m super excited to continue my professional career with Reclaim. I’ve been so fortunate to work with an exceptional group of people over the last 3 years and I’m grateful for all the wisdom shared with me from everyone who’s passed through the company and been a part of the community.
In this role, I’ll continue to work on the frontlines of support, which has been an integral part of my job since my first day and something I still enjoy! In addition to that, over the next 6 months, I get to do that while I oversee the support team. I’m now responsible for making sure our support team is running and continue to develop an infrastructure where we can work as efficiently as possible in a scalable way, which helps us help the Reclaim Community as it grows. That means, creating support schedules to ensure we have coverage throughout the day. I’m also learning the ins and outs of Reclaim’s infrastructure so I can train the other support staff.
So, in the coming months, as I continue to flesh out what this position really looks like, I’d like to use this blog as a way to reflect on the projects I take on and discuss things I learn along the way.
Stay tuned for lots more blog posts about the projects I’ve been working on within the Reclaim support infrastructure and some intentional learning as I grow into this position!
It’s been a week since OER19 concluded and I’m a little late to the reflection game as I’m the last Reclaimer to post, but nonetheless, I’m writing! Jim, Lauren and I discussed all of our thoughts and reflections about our time at the conference as participants and a ‘vendor’ (said loosely) on Reclaim Today Episode 014: OER19 Therapy, but I thought I’d formalize my thoughts into a blog post as well. Stay tuned for the podcast link down at the bottom!
First, I just want to say a huge thanks to the wonderful folks at ALT, Maren Deepwell and Martin Hawksey, Catherine Cronin, and Laura Czerniewicz for organizing an engaging and thought-provoking conference! Just like OER18, I left the conference feeling excited to see what others were working on and to keep the conversations alive. I’m already getting pumped for OER20.
Also, Galway is a beautiful city! I loved walking through the city center, coffees from our fave coffee spot Urban Grind, dinner at Tribeton, and pizza from the Dough Bros. If I ever moved abroad, Galway is definitely on the list. Quick Pause for some photos
Ok now on to the meat of the post, the reflection! I attended so many great presentations! I’m going to go down the line here:
openETC— Holy cow (chicken) this was so cool to see! Brian Lamb, Grant Potter, and Tannis Morgan all discussed what it looks like to create a collaborative cooperative, all in open infrastructure based in BC Canada. What really struck me in this presentation is their use of Sandstorm and Mattermost and how different the presentation style was. They used a website to explain the project and at the end, there was an interactive piece where we exchanged feedback as a group instead of a traditional Q&A.
Ama-zine Workshop– Bryan Mathers and Amy Burvall designed a creative workshop where the attendees were tasked with creating their own short 8 page Zine. They gave us some creative “restrictions,” where we could do whatever wanted with some guidance from the resources provided by Amy and Bryan. Talk about a creative outlet in the midst of presentations! Each attendee each had their own ideas! Browse all the submissions on twitter! Here’s mine:
#femedtech— Wow! I’m so inspired by this group of women curating a network centered around incorporating equality, diversity, and inclusion. The work Lorna Campell and Frances Bell are doing is incredible. Their values became a reoccurring theme throughout the conference and made for some great conversations! Anyone can submit a piece of writing to their website where it’s moderated by a rotating group of curators.
Serfs of Open– This was a knockout! A completely anonymous presentation without any sounds that became really thought provoking. It started out with a call to action, where the “presenter” asked us to put our devices down for the duration of the presentation. It really made you think while watching the presentation.
There were so many great moments outside of what I talk about that Jim and Lauren touched on so I highly recommend you all go check out their posts to get the full view.
Next, it’s time to chat about our Reclaim Hosting room! This all came together so well and we got to see all the iterations of Reclaim Hosting come together. First, we had the newly printed VHS t-shirts and stickers, but we also wanted to bring in an interactive piece to help tell the Reclaim story (like Lauren did in her presentation). Take a look:
Sick, right? We rented some monitors and brought Raspberry Pis with us and used the same video looper software used in Reclaim Video to loop three art pieces. From right to left in the video above:
OER19 Ad– This is the animated version of the ad we published in the conference program.
VHS Covers: This was a video Tim found. It’s on rotation in Reclaim Video and definitely on point for what we wanted to show on our booth.
These three videos came together so well, even in though it was unplanned. I couldn’t for the life of me get our original video to play on the landscape screen so, we had to improvise with the VaporWave. While getting the room set up I learned a few things about the internet:
Google’s public DNS does not allow you to authenticate with public WiFi networks that require an additional login. I generally use Google’s DNS when working because I’ve found they load sites faster and the cache is shorter. But I learned the trade-off on the fly while trying to connect to the venue’s WiFi unsuccessfully.
Raspberry Pi’s cannot authenticate with public WiFi networks with an additional login (just like Google’s DNS). There’s an additional configuration step needed to be able to authenticate, but I couldn’t quite figure that out. Thank goodness for Jimmy’s iPhone hotspot that we could use to FTP into the Raspberry Pis.
But with all of that said, our room looked fantastic. Each element came together in their own way, the stickers matched the t-shirts, which matched the ad, and the ad matched the other videos.
Ok, last section of the post, I know it’s a long one, but I’m going to talk about my personal reflections. For me, this conference was a statement of growth. At OER18, I was fresh out of my undergrad and super nervous for my presentation (still kicking myself that I didn’t blog about that). I was still so new into the Ed Tech community I found myself sitting on the sidelines, trying to process what was going on in the presentations. I was trying to remember names, affiliations, and job positions.
OER19 was a different story. I was invested in the presentations I went to. I understood what the speakers spoke about. I recognized participants, from OER18 or through Twitter. I contributed to more conversations. I was able to show my technical experience. I found myself stepping outside of my socially anxious, introverted self, and began to find where I fit into the Ed Tech community.
Overall, OER19 was incredibly successfully, not only personally but with Reclaim as a whole. I’ll stop rambling and let our discussion speak for itself! Check out the podcast down below. Here’s to OER20 and beyond!
Hiya! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a post on my blog, but I’m back! And ooohhh boy do I have an exciting post! Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working to animate our OER19 ad to display at our Reclaim Hosting table.
Lauren wrote about our process creating the Ad in her Be Kind Reclaim post. Sticking with our Reclaim Video aesthetic we decided to craft our own VHS covers to show some aspects of Reclaim Hosting and add them to our very own Reclaim Video shelf.
We put together the full ad within an afternoon and I’m very impressed at how quickly we worked! We all voted on the topics for each VHS (Lauren wrote a great description of each tape) and divided them up amongst the group. Tim was the choreographer and put all tapes on our shelf as we finished them.
I started working on the OER19 themed tape. We were playing with the idea to pull in the ET theme from the lovely conference banner.
Once I saw the bicycle in the moon, I immediately started searching for the iconic view of Elliot and ET flying on the bicycle. I knew I could create a cool poster using that VHS cover.
I grabbed this image and opened up photoshop to get to work. I removed the bicycle and ET from the VHS cover using the clone stamp to give a clean slate. Then I ended up using the selection tools to grab a the bicycle from the OER19 banner and found a transparent OER19 image to use as the movie title. I thought it turned out really well!
Here are the other tapes we created for the ad:
Pretty sick right? It gets better. After some brainstorming, we decided we were going to display this ad on our table at OER19. And what better way to do this? Animate all VHS tapes to make the shelf come alive.
Thanks to ds106 (#4life), creating the Gifs were super easy– I just needed to find the pieces I wanted to animate. There were 8 tapes in total and each became their own unique side story to the full story of Reclaim.
Domains19– This one is a announcing our upcoming conference in June. Ryan Seslow created this sick glitch gif of a man in a hoodie that Lauren used in the tape. I added that Gif over her original to animate the hoodie.
SPLOTs— This one I created new layers of the rorschach test and decreased the opacity for each frame. Then I reversed the frames to bring the opacity back to 100%.
Cursed Gutenberg– Oh the horror of the WordPress update. I made the hand move up and down as if it were getting chopped up (grossly awesome, right?)
ds106– This one was a little tough to come up with. I wanted to animate the lava flow in the background but, this was proving difficult in Photoshop. Then I found Plotaverse and let me tell you, this was a game changer! I was able to animate the background on my iPad in like 20 minutes.
OER19– This speaks for itself. I made it look like Elliot and ET were flying
yourdomain.com– This one is based on our Splash page. Here I animated each letter to appear as if you were typing in your domain name.
Reclaim Video– This is one of the longest GIFs to do frame by frame but my personal favorite! Taken from the intro of our awesome Reclaim Video video I was able to make it look like the video was playing in the tape cover.
Devo– This is an ode to our Shared Hosting servers– we name each shared hosting server after 80s pop punk bands. I animated each letter to make them ‘dance’ to the music.
So after all of these were finished it was time to put them all together on the shelf! This probably was the most time consuming piece of the whole project, it was a lot of coordination to make sure the frames were running correctly and on time. But here’s the final look!
Putting this together made me so pumped for OER19! I’m so excited to hear all the awesome presentations and catch up with some Reclaimers to see what they’ve been up to in the past year. So stop by our Reclaim table and see the shelf in real life (or just come by and say hello!) See you there!
Continuing on with the Zendesk train here, Reclaim is developing the best way to handle tickets as they come in. Up until now, we’ve had a little system going but it definitely needed a bit of improvement. I thought it would be handy to write out how we use the left sidebar of our ticket viewer in Zendesk. So while this post is really used for employees at Reclaim, anyone can really take bits and pieces to this process their own. I’ll start with an overview of what our window looks like when we’re interacting with a user then move into specifics about how these help us respond to each user as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This is what our main ticket viewer looks like from the administrator end. You can see on the left hand side there’s a tool bar dedicated to ticket fields. This helps us organize each ticket so they do not get lost. The middle section is where we see the users response and are able to write our own. The right sidebar is where the user’s data is held. We can see things like open tickets and their account information.
This is what the typical left sidebar looks like when managing a ticket. You can see the ‘brand’ of the ticket, meaning all responses are coming from Reclaim Hosting. When a ticket is created for Rockaway Hosting, we’ll see the Rockaway logo. This is one of the first things I look at when interacting with a ticket, it tells me where I need to login to access the client information. From there, you can see who is assigned to (currently working on) the ticket and if there is any one CC’d to the thread.
The next few sections you’ll see are mainly used for internal tracking and reporting. The tags section is used to tell us a bit about the ticket content. We can use these to run reports on specific tags to see how many tickets we get on each tag.
After the tags, the next section you’ll see is the the ‘Type’ section. This is used to designate a the type of ticket we received. There are 4 ticket types that Zendesk created by default. They are Question, Incident, Problem, and Task.
Each ticket type is used for a different purpose and helps us organize our tickets even more.
Question: This type is used for someone who’s asking a question about an invoice, a domain registration or transfer or, how to get started with their account.
Incident: This is used when someone submits a ticket for a specific issue. Maybe they’re using a certain plugin and it broke their WordPress site. Maybe they can’t login to their cPanel. Incidents are used for one off issues like this.
Problem: A problem type ticket is used when there’s a known issue within our system or if there is a server down. The problem type is the parent to an incident type ticket. You’ll designate one ticket to become the ‘parent’ problem then you’ll be able to link other incident tickets to that parent.
Task: Use the task type when you need to assign a date to a ticket. You can use this when you’re waiting for a domain to be released to the public after the redemption phase, or you want to follow up with a potential sales lead. After assigning the task type, you’ll see a due date field appear. Select the date you’d like and you can add it directly to your calendar.
Next to the ‘Type’ section is the ‘Priority’ section. We use this as a status to prioritize our responses to tickets.
Low: This status is used when the user doesn’t necessarily need a response right away.
Normal: Normal is probably going to be the most used status. Assign this priority to any ticket that comes through that isn’t a pressing issue. If you get a ticket with a question or a small incident ‘normal’ is a perfect priority.
High: Used for all tickets that need more attention over other tickets. So we can use these if a server goes down or we need to take a look at a site as soon as we can.
Urgent: This is the highest priority and used when the ticket needs to be looked at immediately.
The last ticket field in the left sidebar is the ticket Topic. The topic field is a custom field Reclaim Hosting created to help us designate the broad category of the ticket. So, we can designate the topic as Billing, WHM, WHMCS, Domain management and, DNS to name a few.
When editing the ticket before we send out our initial response, we go through each section and add tags, select the type, priority and, topic. These ticket fields are only viewable by the ticket agent (us at Reclaim) and we usually edit them as the ticket progresses. This is just a little glimpse at Reclaim Hosting’s back end of Zendesk– there’s definitely a lot of customization and our view might be a little different compared to another company.
If you’ve worked with me on a ticket in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed a new email come into your inbox from Reclaim Hosting support. It might look something like this:
I’ve been experimenting with a feature of Zendesk that automates some of the processes that Reclaim would normally complete manually, in particular, following up with the client.
Now don’t get me wrong, following up with the client is very important and we will definitely continue to do this where we can manually. With that said, it does take up time throughout the day and we were looking for ways to improve our agent’s experience while keeping in touch with the client.
I recently took part one of Zendesk’s training for Support Administrators where they touched on automations. Reclaim already has a few automations set up where we send out a survey after closing out the ticket and closes out the ticket completely after a few days. I was inspired to see where we could use some more automations within Reclaim’s support infrastructure.
Tim came across an automation method called the Bump Bump Solve where users are notified with automatic follow ups 3 days after there is no response from the Client. The article talks about following up twice before the ticket is solved. The entire process looks like this:
While this method follows up with the client twice, I decided that Reclaim doesn’t necessarily need to follow up twice so, I modified the method to only follow up once before solving the ticket.
I first tested this out with only tickets assigned to me, this way I made sure everything was going well and the users were notified. To make sure the automations were running as scheduled, I set up an additional notification to send an email to myself whenever the first email was sent out.
We decided to follow up with users 48 hours after no response, rather than the 72 hours mentioned in the article. This is what the first follow up looks like:
After the automation sends out the follow up, it adds the tag #bump1 to the ticket. That tag is vital to run the next automation, which solves the ticket.
That automation is very similar to the follow up automation, but instead of sending out an email, it marks the ticket solved.
And that’s it! If we don’t hear from a client in 96 hours from their last update, the ticket is closed out.
We wanted these automations to be a little nudge to the client to remind them they opened a ticket with us, and allows us to clear out our queues so we can focus what is important in the moment, like helping you!
Last week, was a whirlwind of work. But while everyone was back in the office for a few days, Lauren and I sat down for our first solo Reclaim Today episode. Tim and Jim already have 8 episodes behind them so we needed to catch up for sure. Lauren and I jumped into a quick conversation about Spark.
Now before I get into the gist of our conversation, I’m still new to using a third-party email client. I used AirMail for the past year I’ve been with Reclaim and before that, I used Gmail or iMail. It never really struck me to use another email client. I was so used to the default systems. But AirMail changed the game, and Spark is even better.
Lauren and I began talking about some of our favorite features. Mine, in particular, is the calendar. This helps a ton when trying to schedule meeting or calls, you don’t have to leave the application. I can see Reclaim’s calendar and manage my personal calendar all in one.
Another feature that is super handy is the Smart Inbox feature. While working with a traditional inbox, you see the emails in reverse chronological order. So all the newsletters, shipping notifications, and important emails. It’s not easy to sort through and I always felt like I was going to miss an important email. Spark has a Smart Inbox feature that automatically sorts out emails for you. So all your newsletters, notifications and personal emails are sorted into their own category. It makes sifting through emails so much easier.
Spark has a comment feature where people in your ‘team’ can comment and draft emails behind the scenes and collaborate on ideas. Reclaim Hosting receives a ton of notification emails and the comment feature comes in handy. It saves a few steps for sending emails responding to these notifications.
One of this week’s episodes of Reclaim Today sparked a conversation around archiving. These episodes are always a great listen, in this particular episode, Tim and Jim were chatting about Harvard’s announcement to close down blogs.harvard.edu.
A highlight of this talk occurs about 9 minutes in when Tim discusses how users begin to think about taking their content with them. Jim continues the conversation, describing that the blogging platform, specifically with UMW Blogs, was intended as a point of content creation with the notion that users own their content and can take it with them when they graduate. This became, as Jim said, the “kernel at the beginning of agency and digital identity.”
I looked into what this meant during my senior capstone project, where I created an Intro to Domain of One’s Own video.
I didn’t really think much of this after listening to the live stream, but then I came across an old twitter account. I created an account as part of a final project for ds106, where we portrayed a character from the Wire in ‘real life’ through social media. We watched the Wire as part of the class and my character was Beadie Russell.
This sparked my thoughts more on what I can control in other digital presences like through Twitter. I examined what this looked like through my own content and through my capstone project, but it never really hit me I could do this with content on a social media platform. So I decided, since I wasn’t actively using the account anymore, I would download an archive of the tweets I created for ds106.
So I requested an archive of the account (thank goodness I remembered the login credentials) and in a few short minutes, I had a .zip file of all the tweets for @beadierussell. I saw Tim did this exact thing with his previous twitter account as well. I combed through the files, fully expecting to keep them on my computer locally and, I realized this was set up to be uploaded online. So I decided to do just that, I created a subdomain from my domain, and upload the .zip file of the account to it, so I can link it to the final project.
A change is coming to WordPress. Don’t worry! It’s not as big as you think– but it’s worth noting. With the most recent version, 4.9.8, I took the opportunity to explore a little more. I think a lot of the change is coming to the post and page editors.
But don’t worry! If you’re already overwhelmed with the change you can continue to edit a post in the normal editor. I’ve got you as well– I’m going to go through some of the biggest changes and show you some tips and tricks to make the most of the Gutenberg editor.
Frist, I’ll start off by showing you a side by side of what the two versions look like.
Classic Post Editor:
Gutenberg Post Editor:
Big difference right? When WordPress 5.0 is released, Gutenberg will be the default editor. But, good news! The classic editor isn’t going away. You can access the classic editor through the post page.
So if you’re still unsure where you’d like to use Gutenberg, you can still edit a post in the classic editor.
From here, I’ll go through my process when I’m drafting a post. Hopefully, this will show you where you can incorporate the new post editor into your blog posts!
Gutenberg offers a visual way to compose media heavy posts. So, for example, if you wanted to create a gallery post to highlight some of your more recent photography, Gutenberg allows you to embed a gallery within it’s own section of the post.
So to demonstrate, here are a few photos I’ve taken over the last several months.
I was able to use a shortcut to insert the gallery. This is something I found out recently and I LOVE this feature. It makes inserting new sections into the post so much easier.
All you need to do is use the ‘/’ which brings up a menu of popular choices when working with your post. You can choose the specific item you’d like to work with by clicking the menu item or typing in the full name of the item.
You can also search for the block type you’d like to use. Gutenberg incorporates a ton of new ‘blocks’ or post elements. You can embed a lot more, like Instagram posts, tweets, Spotify playlists, TedTalks, among many others. You could still do this before, but having a specific block for each element makes the embed process so much easier.
So let’s say I want to share a playlist I’ve been listening to lately. I would use the ‘/’ and start typing ‘/spotify.’ This brings up the option to add a new block to embed the playlist or song.
And the finished playlist looks like this:
From here, I noticed the menu on the right-hand side change each time I click on a block. This allows you to modify a block even more. You can make changes to the entire document as well.
So you’ll continue to add blocks to your post until you’re ready to publish and the post. Luckily, this process hasn’t changed. I go through each section and add the relevant categories and tags. You can even write an excerpt and manage the discussion settings within that same section as well. When you’re ready hit publish. Tada! You just published your post using the new Gutenberg editor!