Plusnet pioneered the bundling of quality, free, value add services some years ago. One of the most popular services at that time was our advanced web hosting platform (known as CGI). However, development of the CGI Platform has been limited in recent times and we've been considering the future of the service for a while. We're now announcing plans for a major update to our advanced hosting products (including CGI and Frontpage), which will take place during the first half of 2009. This will see us offering access to a new platform (based on the one used by our sister brand PAYH). This news will impact all users of the current CGI service and details of a preview available now to all customers is available below. We have been working to find the most appropriate way to bring the CGI service up to date for some time. The main reason for the lack of development with the current platform has been that the highly customised design made it very difficult for us to perform updates and upgrades in line with the speed that hosting technology has changed. There are now a number of commercial solutions available which make this process easier for service providers. Following numerous discussions with suppliers, as well as a small scale trial with the Usergroup and a number of selected customers, we have now chosen Plesk to run our new advanced hosting products. Using Plesk we will be able to provide a range of new hosting products, in line with our desire to provide a high quality hosting platform that is fit for all purposes. This includes professional and business use. It will mean we can keep things up to date and maintenance will no longer be the chore it is today. This should prevent the same issues occuring that we've seen with the CGI platform over the years. There are however some drawbacks, such as the lack of support for shell logins on the new system. We hope customers will be able to work round these and will find that the benefits of the new service (such as PHP5) outweigh the disadvantages.
A preview and trial of the basic elements of the new service we plan to provide will be available from next week. This is in advance of development work to build the new solution, which is scheduled to start early in the new year. This preview is available to all Plusnet customers, and will also allow people to start the process of migrating their site from the CGI service now if they so wish. We will be asking for feedback on the service before the main development work commences and will include as much of that feedback as possible in the product.
Further details about the preview and how to take part, as well as what to expect from the new hosting service, can be found in the detailed announcement in the Web Hosting forum.
Users of the 'homepages' webhosting service are not affected by this proposal, although they are welcome to try the new hosting service if they wish.