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PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

jelv
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

When Ian Wild made his announcement New Web Hosting Preview - Details in October it was stated that CCGI would close in April but there was also a comment about development work.
Quote
Development Schedule
This preview will run from now until January 2009 without much further additional development. At that  point final decisions will be made in terms of design and development requirements. Customer feedback will be a key element of this process.
We will begin development work proper in the new year and at this stage is looks likely that the closure of the CGI platform will occur sometime around April 2009, although this is subject to change.

Since then major security problems have emerged with Safe Mode which means many applications can't currently be ported from CCGI to PAYH.
So where does that leave us?
Well I think this weeks announcement has given us a very big clue. None of the new products include hosting (not even simple static pages on the HomePages server).
My prediction is that the ability to have free hosting on PAYH will not go in to full production and it will be a case of use CCGI as it currently stands with it's unsupported, out of date versions of PHP etc, or find your own independent hosting.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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starfry
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Yes I think PN need to step up to the plate here and make a statement about what is going on. Do we waste time porting to Plesk only to have to go elsewhere ?
Hosting is a major factor for choosing and remaining with Plus. Without that incentive I wonder how many people will go elsewhere....
Be3G
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Quote from: starfry
Hosting is a major factor for choosing and remaining with Plus. Without that incentive I wonder how many people will go elsewhere....

I'd just like to back this up myself. I investigated switching ADSL provider a couple of months ago, but I soon found that anyone who's cheaper wouldn't be able to offer me hosting, which would require me to pay another company to provide it, thus negating any difference. So, at least to some people, hosting on their broadband account is of some monetary value.
Penny
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Quote from: starfry
Hosting is a major factor for choosing and remaining with Plus. Without that incentive I wonder how many people will go elsewhere....

Mine is a slightly different perspective, in that the quality of the hosting here (homepages server) is what (for me) makes the service outstanding.  And as use of the Internet becomes more deeply entrenched, I believe more people (rather than fewer) will find their way around creating websites (whether business or personal, or both).
I recognise that the facilities of cgi/php/mysql and the like are more complex (and perhaps costly) to administer, but they have an increasing place in Internet activity, especially with a progressively-greater percentage of commerce becoming web-based.  A significant proportion of businesses must require a full complement of hosting capability and all that goes with that, and dropping the hosting altogether would be a serious disadvantage to acquiring the bigger customers (and their 'spend' capability) in the longer term.
Like everyone else I would like to know where we stand with the whole ccgi/PAYH situation (if only because the transfer would/will involve such a huge amount of work - and has indeed, for many people, no doubt exacted considerable expenditure of time already).  I still don't find PAYH remotely 'user friendly' but I believe a proper solution does need to be identified.  If PAYH doesn't "fit the bill" then perhaps time needs to be given (development-wise) to locating or creating an alternative.  The PN crew certainly have the ingenuity and resourcefulness to engineer a solution, if so doing can be given sufficient priority in the workstack.
Walking away and simply 'dropping the hosting', largely, has no doubt been one of the options on the table.  But PlusNet have - always - risen to any challenge in the past - and successfully so.  Which is why they have such a high degree of customer loyalty.  I recognise that hosting - and all that goes with it - is currently secondary to broadband provision in terms of income generation - but for many customers it still remains a primary element of their PN service.  Why change a successful formula?  Or disregard the major advantage of plus dot com addresses?  Personally I'd like to see hosting accounts as plentiful here as broadband accounts - a potential revenue stream that deserves its place alongside the existing highly-successful broadband provision.  But hosting needs to be re-structured perhaps to accommodate the bandwidth requirements of an increasing number of existing customers.
First-class hosting and reliable high-speed access are complementary requirements of the Internet (the second being relatively pointless without the first).  No point in fast connections to nowhere.  I don't believe that PN "can't do all the elements of hosting" (whatever the technical requirements of that).  So I guess on balance I'd like to see that aspect of the business brought up to speed, so as to retain all the existing customers and bring in many more.
Regards,
Penny.
Penny Rollo * Force 9 from 17/02/98 * PlusNet from 2000 onwards
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
decomplexity
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Penny's reply is right on the button.
I myself have already shifted all my PHP and MySQL stuff from CGI to PAYH Preview - and gone through the pain barrier not just of Safe Mode but the additional Permissions relaxations (often 644 to 666) needed to make things work, not forgetting Magic Quotes (which should never have been turned on in the first place).
Having got there however, and still suffering with workarounds for PHP Safe Mode, I can see how the Plesk management environment fits the 'automated' PN service model which has for long been in the vanguard.
In one of his posts describing what was planned, Ian Wild mentioned 'Plusnetifying' Plesk to streamline and simplify what was displayed. What is probably not apparent to PAYH Preview customers is that the 'full' PAYH environment (which I also use for developing applications for others who take broadband from elsewhere) is considerably richer in function: email, for example,  offers far more than the simple mailbox or single redirection offered by PN email. But this richer environment needs disproportionately more Plusnetification: much is still generic Plesk and it is unclear how much applies to PN's particular implementation.
Lastly, I would echo previous posters' requests to PN to be more open about what is planned - or even what is being trialled or mulled over. Those PN customers who stuck with PN through the dark days when it was being squeeeeeeezed for selling off might remember Lee Strafford's description of his market: "the discerning customer".  PN, like Zen, has a lot of 'discerning customers', which is why we buy from PN and not from Orange or even (ssshhh...) from BT. Please, PN,. treat us as such.           
Zen from May 17. PN Business account from 2004 - 2017
mal0z
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

I defer to the experts here, but I started of with home/hobby  websites over 12 years ago, and slowly built my skills where I can now do all html & css layouts and use fairly basic php .
I was always advised by some IT guys that I trusted, that it is better not to reply on "free" ISP webspace - as a) there is no server level commitment, and b) the backup facilities etc are not that good. I was advised to use a competive web hosting company and keep it separate from the ISP contract, especially for sites any bigger than a few pages.
Was that good or bad advice ??.
starfry
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Would there be any chance that a PlusNet staff member would reply on this thread and let us know what the plans are regarding CCGI and PAYH. I would imply from the lack of hosting in the new packages that these services are deprecated and their support is going to be run down.
Oleo
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Registered: ‎22-01-2009

Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Alternatively web hosting could become a 'paid' for service. As a generalisation, dedicated web hosting companies provide a much better and robust service than the free offerings that come with broad band subscriptions. It could be that +net are working to that end, although they have some way to go yet if the PAYH preview service is used as an example.
adie:quote
mal0z
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Registered: ‎02-10-2008

Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

I would  prefer to see a web hosting facility as an optional extra - just what % of broadband use their "free" webspace. ?
let those who want it, pay for it and have some sort of server level agreement in return. Why should people who don't use it subsidiced those that do ?.
We pay seperately for our web hosting - one site with PAYH.

ISP's can by all means do web hosting as well - so making it easy for their customers to have a basic web hosting service.
Penny
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Re: PAYH/CCGI - What is the plan?

Quote from: mal0z
let those who want it, pay for it and have some sort of server level agreement in return. ... ISP's can by all means do web hosting as well - so making it easy for their customers to have a basic web hosting service.

Assume from the above comment that PN don't offer "just hosting" accounts any more?  The main account I use is a 'NetStart Business' account taken out years back - with Force 9 - and it's "just hosting" ("connection" separately, for ccgi access etc. to the Force 9 account,  via PlusNet, not F9).
I only use ccgi / mysql / php for dynamically-generating pages for the site which are converted (via php script) to static pages before being uploaded to the homepages server.  Perhaps there's a case for having
(1) 'simple paid-for hosting accounts' (for use on the existing flawless homepages servers) (with free-included-webspace accounts making use of the same servers).
(2) 'simple-level cgi facilities' (making use of the existing ccgi server)
(3) dedicated hosting accounts for higher level / higher-complexity business-type websites that need dynamically-generated pages.
I don't know that PAYH "fits the bill" for the latter,
(a) because of the unbelievably-low space/bandwidth constraints
(b) because of the seeming restrictions on what facilities PAYH supports.
Homepages works superbly well.  So (for me) does the ccgi server, for the low-level stuff I need to do (and no dynamically-generated pages being called up from the site itself).
But in these days of high-bandwidth requirements for all but the most simple sites, there needs to be a "third option" for business-level customers that need lots of webspace and lots of download capability.  Businesses can - and will - pay for such capacity (especially with an ISP that offers 24-hour support).  Bringing with them business-level broadband accounts that provide additional revenue.
To me (and to many others, no doubt), F9/PN has always been rather more than "just a connection provider".  But, as I said previously, the hosting capabilities need to be brought up to speed to cater for the much wider range of uses and applications the Internet now offers.
Exploring PAYH has been a useful (if time-consuming) process but it doesn't seem to offer the full range of capabilities required by heavy-duty sites.  PlusNet excels at broadband provision - it could equally well excel at hosting provision across all levels of requirements.  I hope (very much) that the decision is made to commit to this and a suitable level of development resources allocated. 
As decomplexity said, "PN, like Zen, has a lot of 'discerning customers', which is why we buy from PN."  In recent years I've seen a fair few people take their websites elsewhere because the facilities here fell below their requirements.  That needs to be addressed unless "just a connection provider" is all PlusNet is destined (or intended) to become.  That would impact not only customer levels but also the morale and retention of the high-level staff (in terms of technical capability) who have helped to make PlusNet what it is today.

Regards,
Penny.
Penny Rollo * Force 9 from 17/02/98 * PlusNet from 2000 onwards
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com