Defeat Terrorism, Cure Cancer, Win a Mythic Beasts Mug

April 17th, 2014 by

Pete before the London Marathon

On Monday, one of our founders Pete is going to run the Boston Marathon which was the site of a terrible terrorist incident last year. You defeat terrorism by not being scared and not changing your plans, so despite the massive security inconvenience he’s gone anyway.

Last week Pete went for a run around the London Marathon course with Jeremy and Chris, as they’d always planned to turn up and together. Sadly Chris wasn’t able to make it because a fatal brain tumour in 2012 has set back his training quite badly – it’s not looking promising he’ll make the start line next year either.




So if you were feeling charitable, and wanted to win a Mythic Beasts Mug, you could make a donation to cancer research at Jeremy’s fund raising page, putting your time prediction in as a comment in the form

MB account-number 3:15:30

If you get the closest result to his finishing time we’ll send you a very limited edition Mythic Beasts Mug.

If you want some information to guide your mug winning entry, all of Pete’s training from January to March was curtailed with a foot injury. his first run back was the Cambridge Half Marathon (1:39), and last week in London did a final training run with a hang over and toilet break in 3:27:22. Last year when on form he ran 2:59:28 again in London. Boston has hills and the course is a straight line so wind conditions can make a big difference.

Dynamic DNS

April 9th, 2014 by

With DynDNS shutting down their free dynamic DNS service quite a few customers contacted us to ask for an upgrade to our DNS API so that it can effortlessly substitute in for DynDNS. For example we saw this request over twitter.

Several people offered a suggested implementation. They all asked for something along these lines,

Can you make it so that when you put an update for an A record through
it can substitute in the calling IP address instead of supplying one.

It’s clear that many of our customers still don’t instinctively get the implications of dual stack hosting yet.

In particular if you call the API from a v6 address and ask for an update to your A record it will fail because it doesn’t know your v4 address. Similarly if you call it from a v4 address and ask for an update to your AAAA record, it will also fail for precisely the same reason. You have to call the API to update your A or AAAA record over the correct v4/v6 channel in order to get the correct update, and if you’re dual stack you need to call it twice.

We decided that we should fasttrack this project, and gave it to Liam Fraser – who’s back with us during his Easter holidays. We’re proud to present our fully documented and enhanced Dynamic DNS API which sample code for single (v4 or v6) and dual (v4 and v6) stack hosts.

We include our DNS API free of charge for anyone who’s bought a domain name from us, so if you’d like to use our Dynamic DNS service, create an account at our control panel and follow the instructions.

If you’re bored of working for a company where you can’t get things done, and would like to work somewhere where you can implement, test, document and release a small enhancement in about six hours, you can apply for a job with us here. We’re especially interested in talented graduates and school leavers who know their Linux.

Up to 33% off new domain registrations

April 2nd, 2014 by

It’s a Wednesday, which means more new top-level domains! This week’s new gTLDs are .camp, .education, .glass, .institute and .repair.

To celebrate all the domain name possibilities, we’re running a one week promotion on new registrations for all new gTLDs launched so far this year, with 33% off one year registrations, and discounts on longer registration periods too.

A full list of discounted domains is available on our Domains page.

The promotion will end at midnight on 9th April, so you can get next week’s new domains at the reduced price if you’re quick.

2nd Apr 9th Apr 15th/16th Apr
.camp .coffee .photo (15th Apr)
.education .florist .holiday (16th Apr)
.glass .house .marketing (16th Apr)
.institute .international
.repair .solar

Operating OS X without a mouse

March 25th, 2014 by

How to bring up remote desktop on Mac OS X without having a mouse so that you can operate the machine remotely:

option + spacebar, type terminal

This opens spotlight and starts a terminal.

sudo systemsetup -setremotelogin on

This enables ssh so you can log in remotely.

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -access -on -restart -agent -privs -all

This enables remote desktop so you can log in from another mac, and use the mouse on that one to finish the rest of your configuration.

Direct Debits and Domain Auto-Renewals

March 21st, 2014 by

We’re pleased to announce that we now support Direct Debits as a payment
method. By setting up a Direct Debit, payment for any invoices on your account
will automatically be taken from your bank account a few days after the invoice
is issued.

To set up a Direct Debit on your account, click here and log in with your account details.

The addition of Direct Debits also allows us to support another new feature:
automatic renewal of domain registrations. If you select this option, your
domains will automatically be renewed for one year 21 days before expiry, and charged
automatically to your Direct Debit.

You can configure the renewal behaviour of your domains using the Services tab on our control panel.

IPv6-only Virtual Servers

February 24th, 2014 by

Some months ago we announced that we were planning an even cheaper version of our entry-level VPS Lite virtual servers.

It took a little longer than planned, but we’re now pleased to announce the launch of our IPv6-only VPS Lite, for the ludicrously low price of £5+VAT/month (or even less if you pay annually). This virtual server comes with 4 billion IPv6 addresses, but no IPv4 connectivity.

The world is running out of IPv4 addresses, and whilst we’ve got an allocation that isn’t going to run out any time soon, issuing an IPv4 address with every server we sell will ultimately be a barrier to our growth. If you’re happy to have a server without an IPv4 address, we’re happy to give you a discount, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with our IPv6-only VPS Lite.

IPv6 usage is currently running at about 3% and doubling roughly annually, so now is a great time to get familiar with IPv6.

Whilst these servers probably aren’t suitable for fronting a website just yet, we’ve already got a number of customers who run IPv6-only backend networks, with everything behind their load balancers on single-stack IPv6.

Although these Virtual Servers themselves don’t have IPv4 connectivity, the host server does, which means that you can get to the admin console, virtual serial console and VNC over an IPv4 connection.

If you’re a technology professional and have no idea what any of this means, we suggest you start your training by placing an order here.

New Top-Level Domains

February 14th, 2014 by

As you may be aware, ICANN, the body responsible for domain names has introduced a lot more “Top Level Domains” (TLDs). This means that you’ve now got a lot more choice than the traditional .com / .net / .org /, etc.

You can now have names under .bike and .gallery, and very soon you’ll be able to have names under .kitchen and .land. Many more new TLDs have been approved, and will start appearing online in the coming months. (Given the quantities we drink, we’ve been wondering whether we should rebrand as

Below is a list of the new TLDs being released in February. You can find prices for these domains on our domains page.

Congratulations to, our first customer (that we know of) to get a website up and running on a domain released this week.

5th Feb 12th Feb 19th Feb
.bike .camera .construction
.clothing .equipment .contractors
.guru .estate .directory
.holdings .gallery .kitchen
.plumbing .graphics .land
.singles .lighting .technology
.ventures .photography .today

Update 2014-02-26. Four new domains will open up today: .diamonds, .enterprises, .tips, and .voyage.

Meaningless codes

February 13th, 2014 by

Given just how much of our lives involves using apps, websites or embedded computers, you might think that an initiative to teach children the basics of how to create software and not just how to use it would be uncontroversial.

Well, that’s the stated goal of Year of Code, and whilst you might be able to find fault with its execution, that’s not the angle that Jeremy Paxman chose to take when interviewing Year of Code’s director, Lottie Dexter, on Newsnight last week. Instead, Paxman decided to ridicule the very notion using the curious argument that because he couldn’t understand some computer code, it was therefore meaningless, and by implication, worthless. That he can’t get his head around what code is, let alone what it means, rather confirms the importance of this initiative.

Here at Mythic Beasts we have some pretty strong views on starting coding young, so Pete took his Raspberry Pi and attempted to explain what coding is in terms that even Jeremy might understand, through the medium of a musical e-Card and via a few lines of Perl that can generate just about every pop hit ever. To read Pete’s views, or just to see a video of him playing the piano, click here.

Single Point of Failure

February 10th, 2014 by

The Tower Bridge Lifeboat station put up a picture on Twitter of what London would look like today if the Thames Barrier wasn’t closed.

I’ve annotated it with the four biggest nodes from the London Internet Exchange.


It’s not known exactly what fraction of UK Internet traffic passes through these four buildings, but almost every major ISP or content provider exchanges traffic there, Mythic Beasts, Facebook, Twitter, Google, BT, Virgin, Yahoo, Microsoft, Akamai, Netflix, Talktalk, BSkyB, Vodafone, and hundreds of others. Very slowly regional exchanges are starting to be built, largely by LINX itself.

Monitoring service improvements

February 4th, 2014 by

We’ve just rolled out some improvements to our monitoring service. All server products, including virtual servers, get access to our basic ping monitoring service, allowing you to receive SMS and email alerts if your server goes off-line. For £5/month you can add enhanced monitoring, which allows you to confirm that individual services such as a web server are working correctly. Customers of our Managed Hosting service not only get access to enhanced monitoring, but also get the benefit of having our staff respond to the alerts for them.

The new features are:

Temporary silencing of alerts

You can now silence alerts for a set period. This is handy if you’re doing maintenance, and don’t want to be constantly pestered by alerts, but also don’t want the risk of forgetting to turn the monitor back on again afterwards.

Prowl notifications

Prowl is a notification system for iOS, allowing you to receive alerts on an iPhone or iPad. The advantage of Prowl notifications over SMS is that they’re not limited to 141 characters, so we can include a more verbose message, including direct links for silencing the alert. They’re also delivered over the internet, rather than the mobile network, so will work if you have a wifi connection, but no mobile signal.

Support for an Android equivalent (such as Notify My Android) is on the to-do list.

Improved email alerts

The email alerts previously included the same dense text that we use for SMS alerts. The new style notifications are now more verbose, and include links for silencing the monitor, and in the case of web alerts, a link to the page that failed.

Monitoring of arbitrary TCP ports
We provide monitors for most common services, including HTTP, SMTP, IMAP and POP3. You can now also monitor any TCP port. This check simply confirms that the host is accepting connections on this port, and then closes the connection.