Category Archives: support

Introducing a cleaner inbox

A few interesting facts behind your inbox:   Over 98% of all emails zipping around the web are SPAM.  Of the remaining email, only 1 in 7 are from people, the rest are automated messages like newsletters, Facebook updates and the like.  Keeping your inbox clean has been an uphill battle, and each year the hill has gotten steeper.  It is a problem that causes everyone grief.  Companies and their employees spend exceedingly more time wading though piles of unwanted email which wastes time and hurts productivity.  Service providers spend more and more time just keeping the beast at bay.  This past month, for example, I personally spent a full week and a half on email.  Not reading email, or writing email, but keeping our email system healthy and delivering email.

I wanted to up our email game for everyone.  A few of my goals included: eliminating spam from your inbox, zapping viruses and other harmful email before they are delivered, and simplifying the back end management required to keep your inbox clean.  So, I brought in some help.

Rather than providing the same degree of protection as the rest of the industry, we’ve gone one step further and partnered with a company utilizing Commtouch, the leader in real-time email threat identification. With Commtouch’s RDP technology, our network can respond to new threats as they emerge. There’s no racing to write patterns and deploy them across our network, leaving you vulnerable in the meantime. Moreover, Commtouch’s technology enables us to achieve some of the highest capture rates and lowest false-positive rates in the industry.

I’m happy to report that we are now routing all of our inbound mail through this ‘carrier-class’ email security service, which will keep your inbox squeaky clean.  Additionally, we now detect viruses in your emails and attachments, and safely quarantine them from your inbox.

Nothing needs to be done on your end to take advantage of these new services.  I implemented the new filters a couple of days ago and the transition was smooth and without service interruption.  Speaking of service interruption, we now also have redundant email servers to catch all of your mail.  If for some unlikely reason our email service were to become unavailable, email will be seamlessly stored on redundant mail servers waiting for safe delivery once our primary email service came back up.  Nice.

So, spend a couple extra minutes chatting with your favorite barista in the morning. You’ll have the time now that you don’t need to hit the delete key so much in your inbox.

If you have any questions, or if you are currently running your own email server and would like to have us filter it for you, just contact us and we will be happy to help.

Enjoy,

Steve

 

Pretty permalinks for your WordPress site

WordPressAwhile back,  I posted about our support for “Almost Pretty”  permalinks for your WordPress site on our network.   Today,  I’m happy to announce that we now support “Pretty”  permalinks on your Word Press site.  When you host with PepperStation,  your website is supported by a number of servers behind the scenes.  Recent upgrades to our servers and various dial turning and button pushing now allow us to support “Pretty”  permalinks on your WordPress site.

So,  if you currently have /index.php in your permalink structure, and would like to remove it,  feel free to do so.

What are permalinks?  Here is a little refresher from our previous post.

A refresher on permalinks –

Permalinks are the links you can share with others and the search engines for your blog posts.  From a search engine performance point of view,links to your site or blog that contain keywords relevant to your page’s content,will boost the ranking performance of that page with the search engines.  By default WordPress uses “ugly”  permalinks which look something like:http://example.com/?p=N

These links while functional,do not have an added benefit of loading your link with keywords for viewer and search engine consumption.  The preferred permalink is the “Pretty”  or  “Almost Pretty”  variety which allow you to create and share links with keywords in them and look like this:http://example.com/yyyy/mm/post-name/

Read more about permalinks on the wordpress site at:http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks

To create links for your blog containing keywords,  log onto your WordPress admin and goto settings->permalinks.  Select a common link structure that you wold like to use and then modify it by adding /index.php to the beginning in the ‘custom structure’field.  You will have a link structure that looks something like: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/

That’s it,  you are good to go and now have links that contain great keywords for your blog post.

Enjoy!
Steve

Making sure your email reaches the inbox

I’m happy to announce that we’ve made some improvements to our email system that will help your emails reach the inbox.

Did you know that on average 20% of legitimate emails never reach the inbox?  Frustrating,  I know.  Recently,  we partnered with an email sending service provider to help us make sure that your emails are reliably delivered.

SendGrid.comSendGrid.com offers world class deliverability expertise to make sure your emails get delivered. SendGrid handles ISP monitoring,  DKIM,  domain keys,  SPF,  feedback loops,  link customization and more.

We run all sources of our generated email through the new system.  This includes transactional emails from our Spirit e-commerce accounts,  notifications sent from our Recordit web-form service,  emails generated from your website forms and word-press plug-ins,  and finally,  all of your POP/IMAP account emails.  Additionally,  all of these emails are also run through new spam checks,  which will help keep everyone’s inbox a bit cleaner. So,  a good day for email!

All of these updates happen transparently behind the scenes.  You do not need to update any of your email programs or web forms to take advantage of the new services.  Happily,  it just works.

Enjoy!

Steve

Updated PHP and MySQL services

Just a quick service update to let you know that we have updated our PHP and MySQL servers.

PHP v 5.3.6

PHP version is now 5.3.6

MySQL version is now 5.1.52

Furthermore,  your MySQL databases are now kept on Amazon’s EBS,  which basically means that data durability is better and the chance of a single drive fault causing problems is minimized. We continue to make hot copy backups of each database several times throughout the day (stored on S3) and have added a daily snap copy of our EBS backed storage to our backup processes. So,  in the unlikely event of a hard crash,  boy do we have some backups to choose from. :)

Enjoy!

 

 

“Almost Pretty” permalinks for your WordPress blog

 

UPDATE:   We now support “Pretty” permalinks for your WordPress website.
See:  Pretty permalinks for your WordPress site

 

Permalinks are the links you can share with others and the search engines for your blog posts.  From a search engine performance point of view, links to your site or blog that contain keywords relevant to your page’s content, will boost the ranking performance of that page with the search engines.  By default WordPress uses “ugly” permalinks which look something like: http://example.com/?p=N

These links while functional, do not have an added benefit of loading your link with keywords for viewer and search engine consumption.  The preferred permalink is the “Pretty” or “Almost Pretty” variety which allow you to create and share links with keywords in them and look like this: http://example.com/index.php/yyyy/mm/dd/post-name/

Read more about permalinks on the wordpress site at: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks

To create links for your blog containing keywords, log onto your WordPress admin and goto settings->permalinks.  Select a common link structure that you wold like to use and then modify it by adding /index.php to the beginning in the ‘custom structure’ field.  You will have a link structure that looks like: /index.php/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/

That’s it, you are good to go and now have links that contain great keywords for your blog post.

Happy blogging –

Steve

Running reports in Spirit’s Reports tab

There are two types of reports you can run in the Reports Tab;
Product reports and Customer reports.

Product Sales
allows you to generate a report based on the search of 4 product attributes:
Product name: tshirt_red (this is the product name saved in Spirit at the time the product is created)
Product id: tshirt006 (your SKU#)
Product title: Red 100% Organic Cotton T-Shirt (The name displayed to the customer)
Product key: 53 (this is the unique incremental Spirit # assigned when a product is created)

1. In the Reports tab, click on “product sales”
2. Select one of the four search on attributes as described above like, Product title.
3. Enter the name of the product as it appears to the customer “Red 100% Organic Cotton T-Shirt”
4. Enter a date range or leave blank.
5. Click on “create report” button.

Customer Sales allows you to generate a report based on the search of 3 pieces of criteria. I have used my profile as the example:
Email address: bierwag@e-techsolutions.com
Attributes: 85715 (this can be any attribute associated with a customer profile: street, city, state, zip, phone #, last name, etc.)
Customer Key: 26 (my customer number in Spirit is #26 – this number is a unique, incremental, Spirit assigned number)

1. In the Reports tab, click on “customer sales”
2. Select one of the three search on attributes as described above like, zip code.
3. Enter the zip code (or other attribute data).
4. Enter a date range or leave blank.
5. Click on the, “create report” button.

Once results appear, you can click on any individual order to view it. If you highlight the entire results listing, and “copy”, you can “paste” it into an Excel spreadsheet. The formatting will retain the proper columns.