At Nimbus Hosting we are constantly monitoring which features are being used and how users are interacting with them. This process allows us to quickly discover bugs and constantly evolve how we offer our product.
One of the most popular features in STORM is the whitelist an IP address. We found that users were logging in to just whitelist an IP address and then logging out without using any other feature. This involved quite a few clicks so we wondered if we could make this simpler.
We sat down, discussed the problem and came up with a new feature called Auto Whitelist. Auto Whitelist is a simple feature, that once enabled, will automatically whitelist your IP on the servers you have specified as soon as you login. This whitelist is set to expire in a day but saves multiple clicks. If you log in again from the same IP the following day and the IP address has expired STORM will extend your whitelist by another 24 hours.
The IP address is whitelisted for SSH, MySQL and, when PCI Compliance is enabled, FTP access to.
For security we recommend having two factor security enabled but STORM can remember your browser for 30 days so you don’t have to waste time looking for your smart phone each time you login.
We think this feature will be useful any developers or freelancers that regularly change location, or have a dynamic IP address, but always need access to the same servers.
We know how frustrating it can be for emails from your website, like order confirmations and contact forms, to end up in junk folders or in some circumstances to not arrive at all. Emails being lost or going into junk causes us plenty of tickets, but more importantly, causes lots of issues with clients losing order confirmations or even worse new business enquiries.
To solve this problem we teamed up with SendGrid to implement a one click Integration. Just sign up for an account with SendGrid and add an API key with just Mail Send access. Drop the API key into the SendGrid option under Configuration at the server level. STORM will automatically reconfigure your server to relay all email through SendGrid without the need for you to do any command line configuration.
Any emails sent on the server, including using the PHP mail() function, will now go out directly through SendGrid. For improving the reliability we recommend adding in the required SPF and DKIM records.
As of January 2019 PHP 7.3 has arrived on STORM. 7.3 includes bug fixes, new features, new functionalities and, most importantly, some performance improvements. Find out more in the release notes. PHP 7.3 is now the default choice for any new sites on STORM.
We know that editing your hosts file can be painful, and even more painful asking your clients to do it, so we have made this much easier with a new feature inside STORM. If STORM detects your website is WordPress and the DNS on the website is not yet live you have the option to enable WordPress Preview. WordPress Preview is a toggle on the website dashboard that takes just a few seconds to enable.
Once enabled WordPress Preview will add a temporary domain to your STORM website and update the address inside WordPress to this temporary domain. STORM will automatically enable prevent robots to deter Google and search engines from indexing your development website.
When WordPress Preview is disabled STORM will remove the temporary domain, inside WordPress change the domain back to what it was before and disable Prevent Robots.
Please do let us know your feedback. We want to hear both the positive and negatives.
With other hosting platforms like Plesk and cPanel it is common to share the login to your servers with your team. With STORM we take a different approach that each member of your team should be invited into the server instead. We have made this process very easy by just typing their email address into the team section of each server and clicking invite. If you have multiple servers we have recently added a tick box to invite them to all of the servers in one invite.
Once you have clicked invite STORM takes care of the rest by either inviting them to register for STORM for the first time or, if they already have an account, adding the server to their existing account. You can use this approach for both members of your staff or external freelancers.
We suggest this approach for a number of reasons:-
All events are logged by user
Underneath recent events all actions that the user performs are logged against the website or server. Should something go wrong it is very easy to find out who completed that action.
With shared logins details you have no control over who and who doesn’t know the password. This is very important when you need to comply with GDPR.
Two Factor Security
If each member of your team has their own STORM login they can enable Two Factor Authentication under their profile. STORM Two Factor Authentication works with a HMAC compatible device like the Google Authenticator App available for iPhone and Android as well as 1Password. If you have not used two factor before it works by requiring both your smart phone as well as password to login to STORM. To prevent this task from becoming time consuming STORM can remember PC or Mac for 30 days.
Two Levels of Access
The primary user of the STORM server we call the owner. The owner has permission to invite other members of their team into STORM. Anyone who has been invited does not have permission to invite anyone else in. This means the owner always has control of who has access to their servers.
Should you need to elevate a member of your team to an owner please contact support who can arrange this for you.
Single Dashboard for Freelancers
Freelancers who work across different teams, agencies or end clients can have a single login for all their servers. The single STORM login reduces having multiple logins and improves security by avoiding spreadsheets and scraps of paper full of logins that could be easily compromised.
Both GitHub and BitBucket work on the same security principle as STORM where each user should have their own login. We brought this into STORM where users have access to their own repositories which, for security, should not be shared with other members of your team.
Removing Access is a Breeze
If this member of your team or freelancer leaves you can just remove their access with a single click without having to reset any passwords.
UPDATED – 18th March 2019 – Tagging has been updated this month with some new features. Firstly, tags are now included in the server dashboard search and server website list. Secondly, when adding a tag to a website you will be offered autocomplete based on an existing tag. Lastly you can filter the website list by clicking on a tag.
To kick off the new year we’ve launched a new feature to make it easier to sort, view and organise your websites on STORM. On a STORM server with plenty of websites it can be difficult to remember which website belongs to which client, even the status of website build or even how much client’s pay. The new Tagging system in STORM will make this process far easier.
To assign a tag to a web site just click Tagging on the server dashboard. You can then set a keyword, phrase and colour for each web site. These tags can be based on your own internal reference, client’s name, project status or another internal reference.
We have also made it really easy to search your websites by tags. On your list of websites you can search for any of your tags.
To delete a tag just hover over it with your mouse and click the cross (x).
One of the most popular and unique features on STORM is the dashboard search. The search allows you to search any website name, IP address or domain name across all your servers. Following feedback from STORM customers we have improved this search with two new features.
The first is auto predict, similar to Google search, that helps you complete your search criteria and shows the category the result relates to, either IP Address, web site name or additional domain.
Until now the dashboard search just narrowed down which server which hosted the web site you were looking for. However, the second enhancement redirects you directly to the dashboard of that web site. You can select any of the results using either your mouse or arrow keys. This saves time and another search on the server dashboard.
We have some further time saving improvements coming in the new year. We’ll keep you updated via our blog as soon as they are live.