For all system administrators – we have put together a new handbook showing how to use your system admin powers effectively! It includes advice and instructions on how to delete an old database operators, insert new custom fields in profiles and activity records, set up a report template, merge duplicate profiles – and much more! Why not download your copy here and have a browse…
We will shortly be moving existing customers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers, and new customers will be hosted on AWS too. Some questions you may have:
Why are you moving?
AWS offers a more scalable and resilient setup than we can deliver on our existing host. Because AWS provide this platform at such a large scale they are able to invest in technologies that take care of some of the hard server problems, so that we don’t need to. Hosting on AWS should improve the resilience and performance of Lamplight – it’ll be quicker and less likely to experience server problems.
Where will our data be?
In London (UK!). We are using the AWS London region exclusively.
What will it cost us?
Nothing. The hosting charges will not change as a result of the move, and there is no charge to transfer you to the new servers.
Is it secure?
Yes, and in some ways more secure than at present. As currently, databases and files are encrypted at rest and in transit. Servers exist in private networks that are inaccessible from the internet. Security features already present will continue. Amazon do not access your data.
Snapshot backups of databases are automatically taken nightly, encrypted, and multiple copies stored on Amazon S3 storage. These can be restored quickly if needed. File storage also uses S3 and multiple copies are automatically created and stored to ensure high availability.
What will change?
- The web address will change to https://lamplight.online, and your login at https://www.lamplight3.info will no longer work. Your existing username and password will continue to work on the new server.
- You will not be able to send emails out directly using the Lamplight servers. The only emails we can send are passwords for operators. For other email you will need to either
- Link Lamplight to your own email server
- Use Mailchimp
This Setting up Email Accounts document will explain what settings you need, and how to enter them into Lamplight.
If you use the publishing module you will need to update your implementation when the changeover happens, to use https://lamplight.online instead of https://www.lamplight3.info.
Why to I need to set up email to send sms? To send sms messages we link up with a company called 24x, who send the text messages. To get them to 24x, your sms messages are sent by email, and are then transformed into text messages by 24x. So to send sms messages from the AWS servers, you’ll need working email. By way of analogy, imagine you want to send a postcard to a lighthouse keeper. Now the postman won’t row a boat out to the lighthouse to deliver it directly. So instead, you write your postcard, put it in an envelope, and add a little note asking the lighthouse keeper’s wife (who lives in the cottage on the shore) to pass it on to the lighthouse keeper. She gets the letter, reads the note, and pops the postcard in the lunchbox and sends it over to the lighthouse keeper. So the postcard is our text message; the envelope is the email; and the lighthouse keeper’s wife is 24x.
(Update on sending sms – 9/11/2017)
We’ve made some changes to the way Lamplight sends text messages and you no longer need email set up to send sms messages. Messages are now routed to 24x directly.
When will the change happen?
We can schedule that to suit you. There will be a short period of downtime (ranging from a few minutes to a couple of hours for customers with large volumes of files and data). System administrators will soon see a screen when they log in asking them to accept the change to the hosting agreement (as our previous host, Elastichosts, are referenced in it), and asking when they would like to schedule the move.
How long will it take to move our data?
The process is fully automated and typically takes a few minutes. Customers with large volumes of data will take a little longer, but it won’t be more than a couple of hours.
Do I have to sign anything?
No. You can confirm your acceptance of the changeover using the tickboxes that admins will see when they log in to their current system. You will be emailed a Hosting Agreement Amendment for your records.
Why is my question not answered here?
Because we didn’t anticipate it! Please Contact Us and we’ll update this page with other Q&As.
Email is a tricky business. Picking out the real messages from the deluge of spam is an on-going battle. But your messages aren’t spam – so how can you help to ensure that they get through? This post (intended for Lamplight system administrators) explains what you can do to improve your Lamplight email deliverability.
Over the years, various add-ons have been developed that try and make the basic business of delivering legitimate email more reliable. One of these is ‘Sender Policy Framework’ (SPF). If emails were letters, it would work a bit like this.
On every letter you write you put your own address on the back of the envelope. When your letter reaches the post office, the postman would get the phone directory out, and find your phone number. They’d give you a call and ask “did you really send this letter?” If you say yes, then they’ll go ahead and deliver it. But if someone was trying to impersonate you by putting your address on the back, you’d realise this and say no – and the letter goes in the bin before it reaches the intended recipient.
Fortunately, the economics of the postal system mean we don’t need to do this. But email is different, and SPF is the process by which your email server checks whether the email it’s received really came from where it claims to be from.
Now, in our postal analogy, there’s a problem if you’re ex-directory. The postwoman won’t be able to find your number to check. In this case, she might deliver your letter; or she may bin it, because she can’t verify it’s authenticity.
In the same way, you need a directory listing for your email domain (the domain is the bit after the @ in your email address). You need a way to publicly say: “email from me and originating from <this server> is legit: you can bin the rest” so that other email servers can look you up. That’s what an SPF record is.
On the internet, DNS (Domain Name System) is this directory, that we all use all the time. So to improve the likelihood that your email will get through, you need to add a listing saying “please accept email from me that’s sent from Lamplight’s servers”. We can’t do this for you (it would rather undermine the whole system if we could): you will need to add this for your domain.
Important Disclaimer: people may not be able to reach your website, or send you email, if you get your DNS settings wrong. Please proceed with caution and if in doubt ask whoever set up your website/email originally.
You will need to access your DNS settings. If you already have an SPF record, you should amend it (don’t create a second one); if not, you need to add one. It needs to be a TXT record, for your domain, and for email to be accepted from Lamplight the value should be:
"v=spf1 include:lamplight3.info ~all"
This means: “I’m an SPF record, use the SPF records from lamplight3.info for this domain too, reject mail from anywhere else”
However, if you are also sending email from your own ‘normal’ email system, you’ll need to include that too. For example, if you use GMail as your main email service, you would want:
"v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com include:lamplight3.info ~all"
This means: “I’m an SPF record, use the SPF records for GMail or lamplight3.info for this domain too, reject mail from anywhere else“
or. more generally:
"v=spf1 mx include:lamplight3.info ~all"
This means: “I’m an SPF record, accept our usual email server (MailboX) or the SPF records for lamplight3.info, reject mail from anywhere else“
(If you already have a SPF record, just add in the
include:lamplight3.info bit, just before the
~all at the end).
Once you’ve added this (and it can take a day or two for the DNS directory to get updated) email servers receiving your email should be happier accepting email that says it’s from you that you’ve sent via Lamplight.