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Server on Willem's Blog

Building a professional 72TB NAS

Configuration and installation of an HPE ProLiant DL380 server

Nov. 22, 2019
This month I installed a professional HPE ProLiant DL380p server in a datacenter in Amsterdam, read this post to see how this was done!

Over the past few years I have been moving my data and work from local computers (mostly laptops) into the cloud. Cloud computing is done by servers in a datacenter, powerful computers that do the hard work. As my company grew, I needed more capacity. It was time to add some power to my cloud!

Fighting backscatter spam at server level

Configure Postfix to block spam before it enters the server

Sep. 10, 2019
Deal with backscatter spam by implementing a stringent SMTP delivery policy at MTA level.

This month I had to deal with backscatter spam, affecting one of the mail servers I manage. As server engineer I make sure that servers don't send spam and that incoming email gets filtered. Despite all good efforts, this server kept being blacklisted for sending spam to iCloud, Office 365 and Google Gmail for Business (G Suite). Read along to find out how what caused this and how to fix this.

Dig for dummies

Explaining an highly useful network tool

May 24, 2019
Learn how to use the dig command to query domain name servers to find the source of network problems, IP-addresses, hostnames, mail servers and related info.

When you're building websites, apps or email services you may run into domain names and their configurations. When everything is working as it should, most of this is invisible. But when troubleshooting a domain name configuration, it may be necessary to dig a little deeper... read along to learn how!

WordPress: 10 tips to secure your website

Keep hackers out of the world's most popular content management system

Mar. 31, 2019
A lot of people use WordPress to manage their website. Prevent your site from being hacked using this blog post.

A lot of people use WordPress to manage their website, therefore it's no surprise people ask me to have a look at their site's security. As ethical hacker, I encounter WordPress in different shapes, sizes and states. Some of them are really badly protected against hacks. Prevent your site from being hacked using these 10 practical tips.

Understanding the security concerns in shared hosting

Considering open ports and unused network facing services

Feb. 28, 2019
People pay me to hack them, provided I'll explain how I did it. Read along to learn how hackers use security holes to hack your app, webshop or website!

People pay me to hack them, provided I'll explain how it was done, so future hacks can be prevented. As security consultant, I scan for weaknesses in my clients' apps, webshops and websites. Very often a hack starts by exploiting a security hole that is visible remotely. Read along to learn how hackers find security holes and what you can do to secure them.

Is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Testing the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life

Nov. 2, 2018
I tested the Apple Watch during my work in Frankfurt this week where I had to go inside an internet data centre.

This week I went to Frankfurt for business. I had to perform maintenance to servers in a data centre. This seemed like a great opportunity to test the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life (other than health and fitness). I wondered, is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Optimising images for the web and performance

Reduce filesize with jpegoptim, optipng, pngcrush and pngquant

Sep. 26, 2018
Make your website faster by optimising the images. This posts explains how you can do this.

One way to make your website faster is to make it smaller. Not with tiny fonts, but with less bytes! More than half the weight of an average website is because of images. Yet very few people optimise their images for the web and performance, time to find out how much bytes you can safe!

Google Analytics vs AWStats

Understanding web traffic statistics software

Aug. 20, 2018
Comparing Google Analytics with AWStats to find out where they differ and which is better.

This month I have been working on website statistics, tracking traffic using different technologies. Some of my customers use Google Analytics, others use AWStats, and some use both. Which is better is often debated, but few people really understand the differences. Time to shed some light on the magic of web statistics.

Cyber security: 5 easy tips to protect your server against hackers

Server hardening best practices for Windows and Linux

Mar. 10, 2018
These 5 practical cyber security measures will improve the safety of server, website and data.

This week one of my clients was hacked and asked me for emergency assistance to help secure their server infrastructure. It was a web server that ran WordPress websites on Apache (with PHP/MySQL), including a few webshops with customer data. This hack could easily have been prevented with the following best practices, is your server secure?

Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

Clouds below my floor

Building a little datacenter in my basement

Aug. 31, 2017
Building a little datacenter in my basement utilising a very fast internet connection.

At my home I have this crazy fast optical internet connection. It is a 600MB up and down fibre connection which directly arrives in my home (no copper cables involved). It's like a private internet highway. Reason enough to find out if I could do something to make better use of all this speedy fiber galore...

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Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Inside a HPE ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server (LFF)
Inside a HPE ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server (LFF)
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS
Prevent backscatter bounce messages by responding with SMTP error codes instead
Prevent backscatter bounce messages by responding with SMTP error codes instead
Use WP Security Audit Log to keep an eye on what's happening with your WordPress website (wpsecurityauditlog.com)
Use WP Security Audit Log to keep an eye on what's happening with your WordPress website (wpsecurityauditlog.com)
Do you trust the free wifi you're using? (Image via buffered.com)
Do you trust the free wifi you're using? (Image via buffered.com)
Despite its small size, the Apple Watch's screen is very capable of displaying lots of information
Despite its small size, the Apple Watch's screen is very capable of displaying lots of information
Apple Watch showing an estimated delivery time of a parcel (from the Dutch PostNL service)
Apple Watch showing an estimated delivery time of a parcel (from the Dutch PostNL service)
Averaging 3.4 milliseconds in pinging Google. That's fast, datacenter fast.
Averaging 3.4 milliseconds in pinging Google. That's fast, datacenter fast.
Somewhere in a datacenter there is a machine like this hosting your website
Somewhere in a datacenter there is a machine like this hosting your website
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
The Domain Name System (DNS) links domain names to IP-addresses, which in turn are routed through cables. You're reading this - seriously! - through the cable connected to the server shown on this photo!
The Domain Name System (DNS) links domain names to IP-addresses, which in turn are routed through cables. You're reading this - seriously! - through the cable connected to the server shown on this photo!
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
Sitting on some concrete tiles the modified PC is connected to the internet
Sitting on some concrete tiles the modified PC is connected to the internet
It's pretty hard hacking into my WP-Admin page because you cannot find it (hint: it's not at /wp-admin)
It's pretty hard hacking into my WP-Admin page because you cannot find it (hint: it's not at /wp-admin)
Console connected to server
Console connected to server
A map of the ARPANET in 1973... imaging mapping the internet today!  (Public domain)
A map of the ARPANET in 1973... imaging mapping the internet today! (Public domain)
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)

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