View Full Version : Why older versions of Applications?

11-13-2003, 07:03 AM
I was just down in the E-mail section and was reading a post on IMP and how it is an older limited version of the current program that is avialable. I have noticed this comment on other programs available and was just wonder if perhaps WestHost could at some point give an explination for why they use certian version. I am most interested to know if maybe they are using the older or compacted version because of security issues or if the versions they use are more stable and more compatible with VDS. It would be good imformaition to have when decideing to upgrade or not.

12-14-2003, 10:26 AM
Interesting that there are no comments on youíre upgrade observation. After a series of really pointless exchanges with Jalal on upgrading spamassassin to work with black lists, I found myself wondering why I was doing all this. I have an account with server4you, nothing fancy like Westhost just VPS, 2 Gig disk, and 10 Gig bandwidth. What they do have is a control panel that that lets you configure what they have at the touch of a button. Their spamassassin configuration lets you select any or all of 5 services without ftpíing a bunch of perl modules that should have been installed in the first place. Normally when I ask the same question I get an assortment of PMís or post replies telling me how easy it is to do my own upgrade. The point isÖI donít really want to do my own upgrades, thatís not what I am paying for, I donít want to install my own perl, php, modules, scripts or anything else other than my store. I do expect the host to keep everything more or less upgraded and working (a bit on the more side). If it donít work here it will somewhere else.

12-14-2003, 02:51 PM
I think you raise some good points Johnie and I assume that Westhost is aware of some of them.
With Westhost we get a good basic VDS and a basic Site Manager, but the Site Manager falls between two stools. For the admin it is not really powerful enough and I find myself doing a lot of stuff through SSH that I should really be able to do with point and click. I'm a programmer by trade (and a budding network admin by necessity :) ) so I'm reasonably comfortable with going in there and getting my hands dirty. But is it really necessary?
However, the Site Manager is overkill for most of my clients, who have no idea about installing mod_php or changing DNS entries. They have enough problems with setting up their email clients to receive mail. SSH - forget it!

But as for software upgrades, I don't expect the latest and greatest of everything, I'd rather have a setup that is secure and working. So, the latest Perl is not an issue for me. But the latest SpamAssassin is not a security issue and should be upgraded for us. In fact, it is my understanding that system security patches will be taken care of by Westhost when and if they are needed. I hope that is the case as without root access there is a limit to what we, the resellers/site owners, can do.

I get the impression that Westhost is aiming more for the reseller market with the new Westhost2 setup. With the old Westhost1 it was possible for John Doe to buy a site and just "have it work". Now he needs to understand "catch-all" aliases, installing software applications and so on, something that resellers can handle as an intermediary.

Question is, how does it work for those of us who are resellers?
For me, its been quite good so far. None of my customers need anything special in the way of software so what there is is just fine and it seems to work and is secure. (Most of my hacking has been on my own web site and thats partly my own curiousity at work).

I assume and hope, that now Westhost is back on a more even keel, then things such as software patches and upgrades will become more regular. Otherwise, well, we'll just have to harass them a little.


12-14-2003, 03:03 PM
I agree with Jalal that the Site Manager is kind of "stuck" in between. My hope is that it well soon be changeing since they ran the questionair on it and were looking for ways to improve it. It would be nice to have an optional "Site Manager" available to those who simply want the contol over e-mail and such. Maybe if resellers could have more control over it for thier clients. I know they are working on changes for Site Manager and it well be intersting to see what they come up with.

Perhaps if we keep this thread going and others add thier thoughts it well give WestHost an idea of what is needed.

12-14-2003, 03:40 PM
I also agree with the points made above. The main complaint I have is that there are things you can do in the Site Manager that you can't in SSH and vice versa. It's really annoying for those of us that like to use the one (SSH in my case) because we have to keep switching to the other. Fair enough that you can only install custom apps via SSH, but you should be able to add e-mail accounts, view your bandwidth usage, etc. via SSH instead of having to log in to your SM for that. One of the problems is that many of the functions of an account are dependant on the SM - therefore, people that would otherwise be happy with SSH alone have to use it, and like Jalal mentioned, these people are probably the more advanced users that would otherwise not be using the SM at all! Couple this with various complaints about speed between switching pages/sections in the SM (and other bugs?) and you can see why people are still a little unhappy.

12-14-2003, 04:06 PM
Spent the better part of the afternoon checking the westhost control panel, I noticed the file manager search quit working, must have been a flaw in the backup (after the spamassassin debacle). A functioning control panel is essential to us "half IT people"

I did get the Spamhaus and ORDB Blacklists working. At least the test passed although Spamhaus is down as much as it's up. I did not (obviously) use spamassassin. I added features to sendmail.mc then ran it. Sure enough they were added to sendmail.cf.

FEATURE(dnsbl, `sbl.spamhaus.org',`"550 Mail from " $&{client_addr} " refused. Rejected AS SPAM, for more information see http://www.spamhaus.org/SBL/"')

FEATURE(`dnsbl', `relays.ordb.org', `"550 Email rejected due to sending server misconfiguration - see http://www.ordb.org/faq/\#why_rejected"')dnl

Apparently there is more than just one way of killing spam.

As far as upgrades go they just need to work, it's impossible for one person to keep up. I just downloaded Spamassassin 2.6 a few days ago and already they have version 2.61 out.

I am not a reseller because I do not know enough to care for the customers, I have not seen a host yet that is responsive enough to justify the risk. Court records are loaded with lawsuits against resellers, who didn't have a "clue". I believe to operate as a reseller one must have As much knowledge as the host techs, itís not enough to have control of the environment you also have to know how to manipulate it, which I don't.


12-15-2003, 12:44 AM
There's no reason another, simpler, control panel couldn't work in parallel with what is there. To handle adding and removing email accounts, setting up aliases and tuning SpamAssassin.

What else would a basic Control Panel need to do? Any input?

Ya never know, if I have a couple of spare days over XMas....


P.S. Great that you got sendmail working Johnie, I'm going to give it a try.

12-15-2003, 09:39 AM

I think you hit the major ones that the clients I work with want. Control over their e-mail as far as adding aliases, forwarding and controlling spam. I have many clients that I have developed scripts to upload images to galleries and edit content on their site. I think a good alternative Site Manager would allow for customization of adding in links or incorporating such things. That seems to be the problem with the reseller account that although you can limit what is offered you can't add your own "offerings" if you want.

Organization and language is key to a user friendly Site Manager. The use of say "alias" in the current one seems to be confusing as it used for diffrent things. When it comes to the more advanced things it seems many things become problems because they are reliant on another program but that is not clear and all you get when they are not installed is the error. If instead the logic behind an install is not to return an error but to go ahead and install what is needed and then return a message that would say " Your application was installed along with the following reliant programs." I know these things are more then what you are talking about with a scaled down version of Site Manager but was using them as examples.

I really am curious to know what they are planning for the re-worked Site Manager after their poll of users. I wonder if we are working on something that they have already done or are working on. Anyone from West Host following this thread? Any input?

For my clients things have to be simple and done through their browser. They even have a hard time remembering the url's I give them to access the control panels I have created for them. :) Just how many times can I say "bookmark". It can be hard since there are so many diffrent levels of knowledge. I guess I always try to assume they know nothing about computers or even a web browser. I have even had to lead them through how to find out what browser they use.

Sorry for the ramble. Just some thougths that came to mind.

12-16-2003, 11:19 AM
Great idea! I'd be interested in helping code a new simple Site Manager (if need be). I'd use PHP though (and maybe mySQL). We could incorporate some missing things in it such as Procmail manipulation and so on. As I said in my above post though, being able to add new E-mail/FTP accounts, amongst other things, would still only be possible via the "real" SM, unless WestHost revealed the files that are modified (and programs run) in this process. I'm currently on holiday, but when I get back home I'll start playing around with this idea :)

12-16-2003, 12:51 PM
"Helping code" can start with putting together ideas for what is needed, but especially with the focus on what the "basic" user wants (not a site manager).
Its easy to work out what files are modified by Site Manager (no black magic involved) but what I'm not sure about is whether SM runs as the user or as root? I'm pretty sure it is as the user, in which case there is no problem.
And PHP fer sure...!

12-16-2003, 01:35 PM
Alright, I'll think up ideas over the next few days ;) As for the user stuff, I don't think we should have a problem since most of the config/important files (maybe all of them) are "editable" via SSH, which means (I think) they are assigned to username and not root. In my experience all of the files assigned to root are not "editable" (at least for me) via SSH.

12-16-2003, 03:41 PM
Would a combined "Vacation Mode" be possible. I have one client that goes out of town often and has to not only forward the mail to a diffrent address but create an autoresponder to the mail they recieve. If in this area they could not only set the forward address for an e-mail but also enter an auto response message it would be handy.

Right now when you create a new User in the Site Manager it gives them a scaled down version with the Account Details showing and Overview and the ability to change the password. I had seen in one post that someone wanted to remove the Password option. I think the Overview is a good idea. In the full Site Manager you can go to Statistics and then get Webalizer read out. I am not a fan of the options WestHost offers for this so I always convince clients to use outside sources for it but some might want the same ability here. The only other options they have are E-mail/FTP that starts with a FTP Client launch button. Here this seems to be reliant on the FTP they have on their computer instead of linking to the File Manager. I think most would prefer the File Manager idea since a basic user may not have an FTP client or know how to use one.

The Webmail area has links to the services, depending on the account, that open in seprate windows. You then have to log in to the application. This may be getting deep in to things but I know I always try to set things up so that once a user has logged in they do not have to do it again.

The other two in this area are Auto Responder and Auto forwarder if these wher available seprate but in the same place the Vacation Mode I mentioned above I think it would be good. I think even the basic user may want the ability to create mailing list and to me the logical area for that would be here.

I am happy to help in anyway possible but my knowledge is pretty limited. I spend most my time when modifiying programs on the look and way they display since I look at it more from a desingers point of view.

12-17-2003, 04:29 PM
You guys already stated it, control over e-mail,spam and to some degree security.

If you do not already know, the file manager search has a limit, too many folders and it times out, I did add 4 or 5. Also I'm not sure but it (in my case) will not delete a folder unless it is empty, I don't know if this is system wide I suspect it is because the response to my help ticket said it will be corrected in the programs next release.

The encouraging note is the response to the ticket came in 1 day.

next release, Hum? I going downstairs now and hold my breath (right after the second beer)


12-18-2003, 07:56 AM
Would a combined "Vacation Mode" be possible.

Should be possible. Its just a forward file and a vacation message.

The Webmail area has links to the services, depending on the account, that open in seprate windows. You then have to log in to the application. This may be getting deep in to things but I know I always try to set things up so that once a user has logged in they do not have to do it again.

It is two different programs so they cannot share the same authorization information. Most users I think would go straight to the webmail (using short links as described in another thread somewhere else in the forum).

The other two in this area are Auto Responder and Auto forwarder if these wher available seprate but in the same place the Vacation Mode I mentioned above I think it would be good. I think even the basic user may want the ability to create mailing list and to me the logical area for that would be here.

I'm not sure if users are allowed to create mailing lists unless they are the site owner. In which case they can do it through the main Site Manager. If they just have a small mailing list, most clients that I have use their mail program to deal with it. If they need something more, then I install Mojo for them.