Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, TensorFlow is an end-to-end platform that makes building and deploying Machine Learning models a snap! Because TensorFlow is based on the Python system, you can install it on multiple operating systems, including Windows. This article will take you through the necessary steps to get TensorFlow installed on your Windows server.Continue reading “Install TensorFlow on Windows”
Reading Time: 3 minutes
What is DNS?
If you are new to web hosting, you may have heard the term DNS, but you might not be sure what it means or how it is essential to you. DNS is short for Domain Name System, and it is the process by which the whole Internet organizes and easier way for humans to reach websites.
Numbers or IP addresses identify all of the computers/websites connected to the Internet. While computers have no trouble identifying each other using these strings of numbers, it would be challenging for humans if we had to remember a set of numbers for every website we wanted to visit! Fortunately, DNS translates domain names like liquidweb.com to an IP address and back, so all we need to know to find a website is the name. For a more in-depth discussion of the DNS system, see Understanding the DNS Process.
You can use the DNS Tree for a quick, visual comparison of the records that exist on all of your nameservers. Making sure your records match across nameservers and that they match your server is an essential part of troubleshooting possible website issues. If you’re error messages like “This site can’t be reached” or “webpage is not available”, the DNS Tree may help you figure out where the problem exists.
How Do I Check My DNS?
Verifying accurate DNS records is essential for navigating traffic to the correct web server. You can use Liquid Web’s Internet Webhosting Toolkit to view your current, authoritative DNS records. Just go to the toolkit’s site, click on the DNS Tree tab, enter your domain name, and click Submit.
If you have registered your domain and set DNS records our tool will display the results in an easy to see “tree” of records, organized from most general to most specific.
In our example, we are looking up the records for liquidweb.com, so the tree begins with that domain at the far left of the screen.
The next set of records displayed are the Authoritative Nameservers for the domain. These are the servers designated as the holders of the records for this domain. If you want to change the records for this domain, you must change them on these servers. Changing records anywhere else won’t make reflect DNS changes. Your domain can have one, two, or as many Authoritative Nameservers as you would like but most websites use at least two for redundancy and stability.
The next set of entries in the DNS Tree show the Types of records that are available. DNS record types are unique for each kind of DNS function.
- An “A Record” is used to identify primary IP addresses of given domains.
- “MX Records” are used for email routing and delivery.
- “TXT records” hold additional information about the domain, like SSL validations, DKIM entries, or SPF records.
For more information about DNS record types, see DNS Record Types.
The final “column” of entries displays the actual DNS record. This is typically an IP address for an “A record”, and domain name for an “MX record”, or a string of text for a “TXT record”. Hovering the mouse over a circle will display all of the information for the record in a pop-out window, including the TTL, Type, and Data.
If you’ve made recent changes to your DNS records, the toolkit may be showing an older, or cached, version of the records. The TTL portion of the record indicates how frequently the DNS system should update its records. TTL is shown in seconds, so a typical setting of 3600 means that servers will be asked to update your records every 6 minutes.
The delay that occurs during this period is referred to as propagation. Some DNS changes, like nameserver changes, can take up to 72 hours to propagate, so if you are going to be making changes to your DNS records, you’ll want to lower your TTL values for a quick update. For more information on reducing your TTLs, see How To: Lowering Your DNS TTLs.
If you need additional help, Liquid Web customer’s can contact the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting via ticket, chat, or phone (1-800-580-4985) at any time and we’ll do our best to make sure everything is working correctly.
Reading Time: 4 minutesThe security of your website is vital to the success of your Internet business. One way you can protect your data (and your customers) is through the use of encrypted communication protocols. Secure Socket Layer (or SSL) was the original method of providing for basic encryption between servers and clients. The industry mostly uses Transport Layer Security (or TLS) protocols now, but the process is basically the same, and most users refer to this kind of encryption by the old name: SSL. As part of our Web Hosting Toolkit, Liquid Web provides and SSL Tool to help you verify that your SSL is installed correctly and up-to-date. Below is an insight on how to use this tool and as well as some core concepts and certificates types to know when dealing with SSL.
SSL Certificate Checker
You’ll want to confirm that everything is functioning correctly on the server once you’ve successfully ordered and installed your SSL. At this time, you’ll want to check on your domain SSL’s to confirm expiration dates, covered subdomains, or other information. While you can use various third-party SSL checkers on the Internet, Liquid Web makes gathering this information about your domain simple. Just go to the Liquid Web Internet Webhosting Toolkit page and click on SSL Tool.
How Do I Check If My SSL Certificate is Valid?
Enter your domain name in the box provided and click on Submit. You can enter either your primary domain name (like mydomain.com) or any of the subdomains you may have created SSL certificates for (like blog.mydomain.com). If an SSL certificate is installed on the server for the domain, the page will display the status of the certificate and additional information.
In this example, you can see that the certificate is valid and trusted by browsers and that the tested domain matches the certificate.
You can also see which Certificate Authority issued the certificate and the dates for which the certificate is valid.
Finally, you can see which signing algorithm was used to generate the certificate (indicating how complex and secure the certificate is) and which domains and subdomains are covered by the certificate.
How SSLs Work
SSL connections work through a series of tools that exist on your server and on a client’s web browser. At the simplest level, the server and a client computer exchange information and agree on a secret “handshake” that allows each computer to trust the other computer. This handshake is established through the use of private and public SSL certificate keys. The private key resides on the server, and the public key is available to a client computer. All information passed between the computers is encoded and can only be decoded if the keys match. These keys are generated by a Certificate Authority (like GlobalSign) and can vary in complexity and expiration date. These matched keys exist to prevent what are known as “man in the middle” attacks when a third-party intercepts the Internet traffic for the purpose of stealing valuable data (like passwords or credit card information). Because the third-party doesn’t possess the matching keys, they will be unable to read any of the intercepted information.
By using a trusted certificate, your website users can enter their information with full confidence that their data is safe. Certificate Authorities only grant SSL certificates to operators who can prove that they are the legitimate owner of a domain and that the domain is hosted on the server for which the certificate is being issued. This proof is usually obtained by modifying the DNS records for a domain during the verification process of the certificate ordering transaction. To learn more about how to order an SSL through your Liquid Web account, see How To Order or Renew an SSL Certificate in Manage.
Types of SSL Certificates
While SSL certificates all provide the same essential functions, there are several different types of certificates to choose from. You’ll want to establish which certificate meets your needs before you decide to order one for your domain. The types we’ll discuss here are Self-Signed Certificates, Standard Domain Certificates, Wildcard Certificates, Extended Validation Certificates.
Most servers have the capability of generating a Self-Signed SSL certificate. These certificates provide the same kinds of encrypted communication that certificate provided by Certificate Authorities provide. However, because they are self-signed, there is no proof that the server is the “real” server associated with a website. Many control panels use self-signed certificates because the owner of the server knows the IP address of the server and can trust that they are connecting to the correct site when using that IP address. The advantage of self-signed certificates is that they are easy to generate and are free to use for as long as you want to use them.
Standard Domain Certificates
If you only need to secure a single domain or subdomain, a standard domain SSL certificate is appropriate. Standard certificates are generally the least expensive option from Certificate Authorities and are designed to cover one domain or subdomain (generally both domain.com and www.domain.com are covered by a standard certificate).
If you have multiple subdomains, you may be able to save time and money by getting a wildcard SSL certificate. Wildcard certificates cover a domain and all of its subdomains. For instance, if you have a domain website that also has a mail subdomain, a blog, a news site, and a staging site that you want to be protected by SSL communication, a single wildcard would protect all of the sites.
Extended Validation Certificates
SSL certificates are generally issued to companies that can prove they have the right to use a domain name on the Internet (normally because they can modify the DNS records for that domain). While that level of verification is sufficient for most companies, you may need to have additional evidence that your company is a reliable entity for business purposes. Organizational SSL certificates require additional vetting by a Certificate Authority, including checks about the physical location of your company and your right to conduct business. Organizational SSL details can be visible on your website if you install a Secure Site Seal. Additional vetting is available for companies that choose Extended Validation SSL certificates. Extended Validation processes are often used by banks and financial institutions to provide extra reassurance to their customers that their website is legitimate. EV SSLs will turn the address bar of the client’s browser green and display the company’s name on the right side of the address bar.
If you need help determining which type of SSL is right for your business, chat with our Solutions team for additional information.
Now that you’ve checked the details of your SSL certificate and confirmed that all of the information is correct, you’ll be sure that the communications between your server and your customer’s computers are secure as that information travels over the Internet. For more information about improving the overall security of your server, see Best Practices: Protecting Your Website from Compromise.
Reading Time: 3 minutesAs part of our Web Hosting Toolkit, our Liquid Web IP Checker makes it easier than ever to identify IT issues. IP addresses are the unique numbers assigned to every computer that connects to the Internet. When troubleshooting connectivity issues, checking your computer’s IP address is the first step in identifying possible network issues. Correctly identifying your public IP address allows you (and our Support technicians) to find information on the server and it’s log files to pinpoint possible issues between your computer and server.
Finding Your Public IP Address
As the first piece of information in the connection between your local workstation and server, your Public IP address is critical to the information gathering process. Fortunately, you don’t need to navigate complex networking configurations on your computer to find the public IP address; you need to ask an external server what IP identifies with your connection. You can do this by using Liquid Web’s Internet Web Hosting Toolkit. Go to the toolkit website and click on IP Checker. You’ll immediately be shown the public IP address that your computer is reporting.
You can also get additional information about how your computer is identifying itself (including location, operating system, and browser details) by clicking on the link in the extra information area. This information can help identify website compatibility issues based on various user settings.
How Do I Know If My IP Is Public or Private?
Most computers that are attached to a network have both a Public and a Private IP address. The IP address assigned to your computer by your router or wireless modem is generally a Private IP and typically is in one of two “reserved” ranges: either 10.x.x.x or 192.x.x.x. These Private IP ranges allow all of the devices in your local network to communicate with each other. When connecting with devices outside of your local network, your router will provide a Public IP address to outgoing traffic (often all of the devices inside your network will “share” the same Public IP address). The Public IP address allows computers across the Internet to identify each other and communicate effectively. To troubleshoot networking issues, we’ll need to find the Public IP address that your computer is broadcasting to the Internet. With the Public IP you can search through the firewall and server logs to find connection attempts and identify possible issues that may be preventing access.
How Do I Know If MY IP Address Is Blocked?
Most servers have software that works to detect and prevent possible malicious activity. Sometimes this software is part of the firewall or another application, but the result is the same: computers that fail to satisfy this software will be blocked from accessing the server. These blocks can occur due to repeated failed login attempts or even by opening too many connections at the same time (this often happens when transferring a large amount of data via FTP).
Security software typically blocks IPs by an escalating scale. That is, an offending IP address will be blocked for a short amount of time on the first offense, but the blocks will increase in length as the behavior continues until the IP address is permanently barred. An incorrect password saved in an FTP client can result in a permanent block in a short amount of time. If you suspect your server is blocking your IP, you may be able to remove the block automatically. For more information on unblocking your IP, see Unblocking Your IP Address.
Now that you’ve got your Public IP address, you can check your server logs for failed connection attempts or other errors that may indicate why you are having trouble connecting. Or you can share that information with one of Liquid Web’s Most Helpful Humans in Hosting and they can help resolve whatever connectivity issues you are experiencing.
To learn more about the tools Liquidweb offers, submit a ticket with us via our firstname.lastname@example.org email, give us a call at 800-580-4985 or, open a chat with us to speak to one of our skilled Level 3 Support Admins today!
Reading Time: 2 minutesIf there is one truth in the world of web hosting, it is that we always need more information. Information about configurations, dedicated servers, VPS servers, connections, delivery speeds and networking is essential in troubleshooting and optimizing our web presence. While this kind of information can be gathered from various providers and sites across the Internet, Liquid Web has developed a one stop shop toolkit to gather some of the most vital troubleshooting tools in one convenient interface designed to make your life easier.
The Liquid Web Internet Webhosting Toolkit provides you with the data you need to verify connectivity, identify DNS issues, and test web page performance. We’ll continue to develop and share new tools that will make your job easier; it’s one of the ways that we are working to be the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting. Continue reading “How Do I Use Liquid Web’s Hosting Toolkit?”
Reading Time: 2 minutesPython is a powerful programming language that is scalable and uses code that is readable and clear for all types of projects. Python is also available across a number of operating systems, making it a popular choice for developers. If you are using Python on your Windows operating system, you may need to adjust your System Environment Variables to simplify utilizing Python on your server.
The latest installers for Python for Windows can set the System Environment Variable Path automatically if you choose that option during the installation. To verify if this setting is correct, open an administrative command prompt (right-click on the command prompt and choose “run as administrator”) and type the word python, then press Enter. If the System Variable Path is correctly set, you should receive output similar to what is shown below.
If you receive an error indicating that the command is unknown, but you’ve confirmed that Python is installed and can be launched from its directory, you will probably need to add the Python variables to the System Environment Variables. By following these quick steps, you’ll be able to access Python from any command prompt.
- From the server desktop, click the Windows icon and search for “Environment Variables”. Press Enter to launch the System Properties dialog.
- This will open the System Properties dialog. Click Environment Variables to make the necessary changes.
- Create a new User Variable named: Path and Variable value: C:\Users\*yourusername*\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python37 (change the variable value to match your actual installation path).
- Next, find the System variable called Path and click Edit.
- Create a New entry that matches the Path variable that you created. Add \Scripts to the end of the entry (the new entry should look like C:\Users\*yourusername*\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python37\Scripts\
- You can verify that you have completed this successfully by opening a new administrative command prompt from any location and typing “python” (without the quotes). You should receive a response similar to what is shown above.
Reading Time: 2 minutesPython is a popular programming language for developing applications. The Python design philosophy emphasizes code readability and focuses on clear programming for both small and large-scale projects. Python allows you to run modules and full applications from a large library of resources (or even applications you write yourself) on your server. Python works on a number of popular operating systems, including Windows Server OS.
One of the best tools to install and manage Python packages is called Pip. Pip has earned its fame by the number of applications using this tool. Used for its capabilities in handling binary packages over the easily installed package manager, Pip enables 3rd party package installations. Though the newest versions of Python come with pip installed as a default, this tutorial will show how to install Pip, check its version, and show some basic commands for its use. Watch the video below or review the following article for additional instructions.
Reading Time: 4 minutesRemote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is the easiest and most common method for managing a Windows server. Included in all versions of Windows server and has a built-in client on all Windows desktops. There are also free applications available for Macintosh and Linux based desktops. Unfortunately, because it is so widely used, RDP is also the target of a large number of brute force attacks on the server. Malicious users will use compromised computers to attempt to connect to your server using RDP. Even if the attack is unsuccessful in guessing your administrator password, just the flood of attempted connections can cause instability and other performance issues on your server. Fortunately, there are some approaches you can use to minimize your exposure to these types of attacks. Continue reading “Improving Security for your Remote Desktop Connection”
Reading Time: 6 minutesRemote Desktop Protocol (or RDP) is the most common method of gaining administrative access to a Windows server. RDP is available on all versions of Windows server and a client (called Remote Desktop Connection) is included with all versions of Windows desktop operating systems. Clients are also available for Macintosh operating systems from Microsoft in the iTunes store and for Linux desktops with applications like FreeRDP. Connecting to your server via RDP allows you full control of the server desktop environment, just as if you were sitting in front of the server’s monitor and keyboard. Depending on your permissions and settings, you can copy and delete files, change file permissions or settings, and even print documents from the server.
Using Remote Desktop Protocol to manage a Windows server generally requires a few basic settings and information about the server.
- First, the Remote Desktop Service must be running on the server to which you would like to connect (RDP uses port 3389 by default).
- Second, you need to know the IP address of the server.
- Third, you must have a username and password that is allowed to connect to the server remotely (often, this is the primary administrator account, but can also be a secondary account set up specifically for remote access purposes).
- Finally, the Windows firewall (and any other hardware or software firewalls) needs to be configured to allow Remote Connections from your location.
Once you have all of the correct settings enabled, IP address and user account details, you can connect RDP to your server! Just launch the RDP client, enter the IP address of the server and the user credentials, and log in to the server using what looks like the standard Windows desktop environment.
As helpful as the Remote Desktop Protocol can be when it comes to managing your Windows server, there are also times when the connection fails, which can be very frustrating as the error message is generally not very helpful (often just the window shown below).
The error shown above means that for some reason, your client was unable to make a connection to the Windows server via the Remote Desktop Protocol. When you are experiencing connectivity issues, there are many items that you can check to try to resolve the problem.
- Ensure you can reach the server via ICMP (or Ping). Most desktop operating systems will allow you to send small bits of information to the computer to verify connectivity and connection speeds. Generally, you just need to open a terminal window (on a Windows desktop, press the Window key, then type cmd and press enter) and enter the following command: ping IP or ping domain.tld. Normally, you’ll receive an output that is similar:
- This output shows the pings were successful to the destination and took between 50 ms and 150 ms to complete. These pings indicate a successful connection to the server as desired (at least over ICMP). If the output for the command shows a failure to respond, we know there is some network interference.
- If the ping test fails (indicated by repeating asterisks), check your internet connectivity to guarantee that you can reach other resources on the internet. If not, you may need to contact your local service provider to restore your internet access.
- Reaching other internet sites but not your server indicates your server is refusing connections from your IP address (due to security software or firewall settings). You may need to contact your hosting company to verify there is not an IP address blocked by your server. You can find your current public IP address by going to https://ip.liquidweb.com.
- Can you ping your server, but still can’t connect over RDP? It is likely an issue with the RDP service or your firewall. You’ll need to contact your hosting company to get assistance with the service or firewall.
Best practices in configuring a firewall is to allow the least amount of access necessary for the various connections to the server. Limiting the connections to a particular service like RDP is called “scoping” the access for that service. If your configured Windows firewall scopes traffic on RDP, it’s possible that a user may not be able to connect due to their IP address not being included in the rule. Access to the server via RDP from one user but another user is not, check the firewall; their IP address may not be included in the allowed list of IPs for Remote Desktop Access.
- Log in to the server, click on the Windows icon, and type Windows Firewall into the search bar.
- Click on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
- Click on Inbound Rules
- Scroll down to find a rule labeled RDP (or using port 3389).
- Double-click on the rule, then click the Scope tab.
- Make sure the user’s current IP address is included in the list of allowed Remote IPs.
If you are unable to connect to the server from your location, contact your hosting company for help in checking the firewall rule for RDP access.
User Connectivity Problems
Can you connect to RDP using the administrator account, but one or more of the other accounts cannot? There may be a problem with the user account permissions.
- Make certain the user is a member of the Remote Desktop Users group. Log in to the server with the administrator account, then go to the Local Users and Groups control panel (Open Administrative Tools, then open Computer Management).
- Navigate to the Remote Desktop Users group and verify that the user is a member of the group. If they are not a member of the group, add them as a member of the group.
- Go to the username under the Users tab. Make sure that the user account is not locked out. Accounts can get locked out due to too many attempts to log in with an incorrect password (either by the user or by a brute force attack on the server).
- Double check the firewall for the IP address of the user and add to the scope of the RDP rule.
No Available Connections/Sessions
By default, Windows server only allows two users to connect via RDP simultaneously. If both sessions are already in use, you will receive an error indicating that no additional users are allowed to connect at this time.
To resolve this issue, you will need to wait until one of the other users logs out or you’ll require to purchase additional RDP user licenses from your hosting provider (assuming that you regularly need access for more than two users at a time).
Failed login attempts during a brute force attack can sometimes take up RDP licenses, even though the session isn’t connecting. If you are experiencing unavailable sessions even when no one is logged in to the server, it’s possibly the result of a malicious login. The best remedy for this situation is to scope the firewall rule to prevent access attempts from unauthorized IP addresses.
Data Encryption Errors
If you are using an out of date Remote Desktop Client or are connecting to an older Windows server, you may receive an error that there is a problem with the TLS settings for the connection. Generally, you can resolve this issue by updating your RDP client software on your workstation. It may also be possible to set the client to ignore these errors, but that could leave your workstation and your server vulnerable to malicious attacks.
If you are using RDP and suddenly lose the connection, the issue is almost always related to your internet connection. Check to make sure that you can stay connected to other services (like running a ping command in the background). If you are not losing internet connectivity, it’s possible that the server is running out of memory or the RDP service may be experiencing an active attacked in a brute force attack. If you’ve confirmed that your internet connection is stable, contact your hosting company to make sure that the server is not the cause of the lost connection.
Slow Connection Issues
If the connection between your location and your server is slow your Remote Desktop Session may not function as smoothly as you would like. However, you may be able to adjust the Desktop Environment settings of the connection before you connect to simplify and speed up the connection.
- Open the Remote Desktop Client application (these directions are for the Windows built-in client, but most RDP clients have similar settings available).
- Click on the Experience tab to see the various items you can choose to enable or disable to improve your connection speeds. Change the drop-down to select a specific connection speed or select/deselect the various items to optimize performance.
Windows 10 Update Issues
Oddly enough, Microsoft updates often cause problems with RDP connectivity. As recent as April 2018, an update on both the server operating system and the Windows 10 desktop operating system caused connectivity issues for many users. Generally, the best policy is to update both the server and workstation, as connectivity issues most often arise when the two systems are not on the same update cycle. You may be able to resolve a new connectivity issue by removing a recent Windows update (either on the server or the desktop). Many users also reported that disabling the Printer option from the local resources setting resolved the most recent connectivity issue.
While RDP is a great tool for managing your Windows server, connectivity issues can be frustrating. By working through the possible causes of the connection problem, you will generally be able to get reconnected and working again in no time!