Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you Offer DNS Services?

Yes we offer primary/secondary/slaving DNS service in support of your JohnCompanies server. Simply provide the DNS information and we take it from there.

Can I Get Additional IP Addresses?

Additional IP addresses are available for $1 per address per month. An assignment of more than 8 IPs will require written justification to satisfy ARIN rules for IP address allocation.

What about IPv6 Capability?

As of now we have enough IPv4 addresses for the next 24 to 30 months of growth. However that is not to say that we are not planning to implement an IPv6 capability as soon as practical. Our IP network provider has received an IPv6 allocation from ARIN and we are in the process of verifying that each backbone provider can support IPv6. We will be developing a test network for dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 operation and expect to offer IPv6 implementation using a dual-stack approach in 2012.

Why do your Servers Have RAID Arrays?

Even though drive reliability is improving, hard drives (since they have moving parts) are still the most likely component to fail in your server. Typically the failure is not a total drive failure but a problem with a particular sector that results in a server crash. The hard drive can be reconfigured to avoid that sector but in the meantime your server is down and data is lost. At JohnCompanies (unless you otherwise request a different option) we provision all dedicated and VPS servers with a hardware RAID controller card and mirrored hard drives so that failure of one hard drive will not cause a server crash or loss of data. This means your server stays up and you stay on line.

Does RAID Protect Against all Hard Drive Problems?

As discussed above, a mirrored RAID hard drive configuration will protect you from a single hard drive failure; however, the mirrored configuration will NOT protect you from data corruption or software upgrade issues that affect both drives. In these cases, you will need to restore from backup files.

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How Many Data Centers Do You Have?

We operate 2 physically separate datacenters in Southern California. Each datacenter has physical security, backup power, fire suppression systems and multiple backbone network connections.

Are Your Data Centers SAS 70 Type II Audited?

Yes both of our datacenters have been successfully SAS Type II audited. SAS 70 is a Service Organization audit standard that is designed to provide reasonable assurance that certain risks will be mitigated or detected in a timely manner. A Type I audit includes the auditor's opinion on the fairness of the service organization's description of controls that had been placed in operation and the suitability of the design of the controls to achieve the specified control objectives. A Type II audit includes the information contained in a Type I audit report plus the auditor's opinion on whether the specific controls were operating effectively during a 6-month audit period. Type II audits are performed periodically on an on-going basis.

How Do You Secure Your facilities?

Our physical facilities are manned 24 hours per day 7 days per week. Biometric access controls are employed as well as video recording and strict entry/access logs.

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Bandwidth and Connectivity

Are There Limits to Connect Speed?

Our higher level network switches (and as an upgrade option for certain types of dedicated servers) are set up to connect at 1gbps to our facility routers. All standard servers operate at a connect speed of 100mbps.

How Is Bandwidth Usage Measured?

We measure bandwidth usage (traffic) monthly by counting the total number of bytes in plus total bytes out. We do not limit the connect speed of your server and we size network capacity so that each server can connect at very high burst speeds when needed to maintain network performance.

What Happens If I Go Over my Bandwidth Limit?

When you signup for your server we ask whether you want us to limit traffic to the server once the bandwidth limit is reached or whether you want to continue and pay up to a certain maximum for overage fees. However less than 0.5% of our customers ever exceed their bandwidth limit and in most of those cases the excess bandwidth usage is within a few percent of their limit and we waive overage fees.

How Do I know How Much Bandwidth I am Using?

You can see your bandwidth usage in total or by individual IP by logging in to your Account Manager. Bandwidth usage is displayed for the current month but you can search and display bandwidth usage from previous periods of time to look for trends or determine if there is unusual activity.

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VPS Servers

Do You Have a Firewall for VPS Servers?

Yes we do provide a firewall for VPSs. You may of course setup your own firewall using IPTABLES rules, or alternately (or in addition to your own firewall) you may craft as many ipfw rules pertaining to your IP address as you need and provide them to us. These rules will then be placed onto our firewall at the border of our network.

Can I Scale/Upgrade My VPS?

Yes you can scale your VPS at any time by moving to the next level server package. Typically this can be done without a reboot but occasionally due to disk space constraints you may have a brief downtime to allow us to migrate your server to a new host. You may also request additional memory, disk space or bandwidth at any time and we will accommodate your request in short order.

How Does Backup Work for a VPS?

When you are set up, please send us a list of all files and directories on your system that you would like us to automatically back up for you. We do not backup anything by default, and we do not backup the entire system - only what you tell us to. This will be backed up in full nightly.

How Many Domains Can I Host on My VPS?

You may host as many domains as you like on your VPS or dedicated server.

Is there a Control Panel for a VPS?

There is a Virtuozzo control panel for all Linux VPSs. This control panel allows you to reboot your system, stop/start your system (or services running on it), browse your filesystem, monitor resource use and open an SSH connection to your server among other things. A FreeBSD VPS uses our Account Manager which provides bandwidth use and information about your account. Each Linux VPS also has an option to use Plesk for your system.

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Dedicated Servers

Can I Have Remote KVM Access to My Dedicated Server When Needed?

For those dedicated servers without a hardware management card, we can provide temporary remote KVM access to your server for trouble shooting or installing new software. Just send an email with your request to support

Is there a Control Panel for Dedicated Servers?

The Account Manager provides a means to look at bandwidth use and for most dedicated servers perform a hard power reset. If you want a commercial control panel you may install it yourself or ask us to install. For RAID array monitoring we provide a script that you can install on the server that will advise you of RAID issues should they arise.

Can I Remotely Power Cycle My Dedicated Server?

Many dedicated servers come with remote power recycling through the Account Manager. If your server does not include the remote power recycle feature, you may request a power cycle any time by sending and email to our support mailbox and specify "Reboot" in the subject.

Do you Offer a Server Monitoring Service To Alert Me to Server Problems?

We offer a "ping" or "ssh" availability type monitoring service that will send you a text or email message if the server is non-responsive. Simply request this service at signup or at any time with an email to our support team.

Can I Have Dedicated Servers in Each Facility?

Yes you can split your severs between facilities for redundancy or protection against facility outages. The only downside is that the traffic between facilities will be counted as bandwidth usage whereas colocated servers on our internal network do not incur bandwidth penalties for peer traffic.

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Included Backup Services

What Backup Services are Included with My VPS or Dedicated Server?

We perform backups nightly on all VPS plans for those files/directories that you specify for us. Once setup, we automatically save the most recent backups for you, up to 7 days worth of data. Our dedicated servers include backup space on our local backup servers. The amount of backup space varies by server plan and you set up the backups as you require. We will provide a script that you can install to perform the backups on a schedule and for files that you set up. Backups do NOT count against your bandwidth allocation.

Can I Buy Additional Backup Space for my Dedicated Server?

Yes you can add dedicated server backup space any time for $0.15/GB per month.

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Offsite Backup Services

How Does Your Offsite Backup Service Work?

Our Offsite Backup service is offered and provided independently of our dedicated and VPS server plans. You can use this service for any server, desktop or other device you want to backup – Windows, Apple or Unix. If you have a server with JohnCompanies, the Offsite Backup is offered at a 10% discount and you can use it for any server or desktop you want.

What is the Difference Between the Standard and Geo-Redundant Backups?

Both products are identical in terms of your usage and interaction. The geo-redundant accounts are distinguished in that every night, automatically, their contents are replicated to one of our other sites around the world. No action is needed on your part, and no additional integration or maintenance is necessary - we are solely responsible for this secondary replication.

Which Should I Choose?

If you are backing up data that you are retaining yourself, at your own location, then a standard offsite filesystem is probably sufficient. JohnCompanies then becomes your backup, and the data exists at all times in two locations (your location, and your JohnCompanies filesystem).

However, if you do not maintain a copy of your data yourself, that is, if your JohnCompanies filesystem is the ONLY location that your data is stored, we suggest you purchase the geo-redundant product. Remember - if you maintain a copy, your JohnCompanies filesystem is your backup. If you do not maintain a copy, and you do not use the geo-redundant product, your data is NOT backed up. It exists in one location only (granted, a very secure and well maintained location, but still just one).

How is the filesystem fault tolerant?

All data is housed on hardware RAID arrays providing at least RAID-6 protection. DO NOT trust your data to anyone running software raid, or anyone using RAID-5 (even if they utilize hot spares, etc.) All power is conditioned and backed by battery banks which are backed by diesel generators. Physical machines are connected to at least two distinct power circuits.

What Security Measures do you Employ?

We employ network Intrusion Detection Systems as well as IDS on each individual host.
Each user’s individual filesystem is in a chroot that isolates it from the rest of the system.
Finally, user filesystems all live on data partitions that are mounted noexec / nosuid / nodev which provides an additional level of safety against sophisticated attacks.

Is My Traffic Encrypted?

Yes. Although JohnCompanies supports the ftp and http (WebDAV) protocols (for legacy and embedded applications) we do not recommend them. Our standard network protocols are SSH and HTTPS (webDAVs), both of which are encrypted with the same level of security that is required for online banking and credit card processing.

Do You Offer an Encrypted Filesystem?

Yes. We support several offsite encrypted filesytems for Windows, Mac OSX and Unix. These encrypted filesystems are fully documented, and we provide full installation and integration support for them.

Note that by default, the files in your filesystem are NOT encrypted, even if they are transferred over an encrypted link.

What transfer protocols do you support?

We support plain old FTP and HTTP (WebDAV). We support the following applications over ssh: rsync, sftp, scp, unison, rdiff-backup, rdist, duplicity. We support HTTPS (WebDAVs).

Can I use (ftp/FUSE/sshfs/WinSCP/etc.)?

Yes. We have opened our systems to the open-standards based protocols of FTP, SSH and WebDAV. Anything that operates properly over those channels is not only workable, but is encouraged and supported. We have tested sshfs, ftpfs, WinSCP, gftp, etc., and they behave as expected.

We encourage our users to develop whatever applications or programs they would like that take advantage of our systems and the open standards they employ.

Do you support subversion and remote repositories?

Yes. The svnserve command is available for you to run, remotely, over SSH. This means that you can upload a repository with rsync or sftp and then access it remotely with any tool that supports the svn+ssh:// URL format.

Do you support postgres and MySQL databases?

Yes. Because we allow the remote execution of the 'dd' command, over SSH, you can run database dumps across an encrypted channel to a dump file in your JohnCompanies filesystem:

pg_dump -U postgres db | ssh "dd of=db_dump"

mysqldump -u mysql db | ssh "dd of=db_dump"

Because you are using your own dump program, you need not worry about version incompatibilities between your client and our server.

How will my JohnCompanies filesystem integrate into my existing backups?

Quite easily, in fact. Regardless of whether you use an enterprise backup system in a corporate setting, or a simple consumer application at home, it will be extremely simple to integrate your JohnCompanies offsite filesystem. Our open systems allow a seamless integration into the operating system of your choice, allowing you to target your JohnCompanies filesystem as a drive letter, as a mount point, as a URL ... as anything you'd like.

Further, we are intimately familiar with backup procedures and applications and will provide full support for whatever integration you require, including helping you write scripts and procedures.

Is there a file size limit?


Do you have multi-user access?

Yes. You may configure additional users, at no cost, that can log in and share your account. You may control access and file permissions with standard Unix tools like 'chmod' and 'chgrp'. OR, you may simply describe to us the permissions and access scheme you would like, and we will implement it for you.

If you are an existing customer, simply email support and request one or more "sub accounts" - we will provide them for you immediately.

What remote commands may I run over SSH / putty?

You may run the checksum commands md5, sha1, sha256 and rmd160. You may run rsync, unison, rdiff-backup and rdist. Other remote commands include: dd, cp (GNU), ls, mkdir, pwd, chmod, chgrp, ln, mv, rm, rmdir, touch, tail, groups, id, passwd and quota.

Will the Off Site Backup integrate into all versions of Microsoft Windows?

Yes. A JohnCompanies offsite backup account, and the associated client programs, will run on any version of Microsoft Windows - including Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Can I back up multiple Windows systems to a single account?

Yes. You can set up backups on one or more systems, all of which can store them in a single account.

Most of the time a network of multiple Windows systems is first backed up, locally, to a central server (perhaps a file server or your Primary Domain Controller, etc.) then our Backup Agent is run on just that single computer, backing up all of the data in one transaction.

You can, of course, simply install our Backup Agent on all of your systems and have them individually backup their data - all to the same account. Or you can have some combination of clients and servers. It is completely up to you, and we are happy to help you implement a strategy that fits your needs.

Can I back up my Exchange Server and SQL Server to my account?

Yes. Our Backup Agent automatically detects open files and uses the builtin Windows snapshot functionality to safely back those files up.

How does the JohnCompanies filesystem integrate into a Mac OSX system?

Integration for OSX systems is extremely fast and simple because OSX is built on an underlying Unix system. Therefore, implementation is as simple as adding a few rsync lines to your crontab or launchd. There is no need to install any software or make any configuration changes. Setting up powerful, efficient backups on your OSX system is literally a five-minute operation.

As for browsing and interacting with those backups once they are on our end, you can simply browse the offsite filesystem from the Finder, and interact with your offsite data just like you would on any local hard drive.

What other tools can I use on my Mac OSX system with our Service?

Interarchy, Fetch, Fugu, RsyncX, Goliath ... there are literally thousands of FTP, SFTP and rsync clients for a Mac OSX system, not to mention the standard unix tools scp, sftp, rsync, etc., that come pre-installed in the Unix subsystem.

Can I back up multiple Mac OSX systems to a single account?

Yes. You can set up backups on one or more systems, all of which can store them in a single account.

Most of the time a network of multiple Mac OSX systems is first backed up, locally, to a central server (perhaps a file server or departmental server) then rsync jobs are run from that central file server, backing up all of the data in one transaction.

You can, of course, simply run rsync jobs from each individual workstation. Or you can have some combination of clients and servers. It is completely up to you, and we are happy to help you implement a strategy that fits your needs.

Will an JohnCompanies filesystem preserve OSX metadata?

Yes. The unison backup tool (free, open source) preserves all OSX filesystem metadata and is a backup protocol that we fully support.

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