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If you’ve sent us a support request in recent weeks, there’s a high probability that you got in contact with Simon, the newest member of our web operations team. He joined us in December 2016 and has already contributed an impressive level of work. Over on our company blog, we’ve just posted an interview with Simon in which he shares his professional background and what attracted him to the freistil way of “Hosting by Humans”. His description of our company culture makes us really proud!

I’m sure he’d love it to get a shout out from you, so go and say Hello!


03 Apr 2017

After a new team member has been with us for a while, we do an interview about their background, their motivation to join freistil and their first impressions.


30 Mar 2017

For the first time in our company history, freistilbox will be represented at a North-American DrupalCon! In only a few weeks, I’m going to board my flight to Baltimore. Not only will it be my first DrupalCon outside Europe, it’s actually my very first trip to the United States. I’m so excited!

Would you like a first-hand introduction to our managed web application platform and our “Hosting by Humans” strategy that ensures your Drupal hosting is a full success? Get in touch — there’ll be plenty of opportunity to grab a coffee (or a beer) and talk DevOps!

Speaking of DevOps: I’m proud that I’ve been invited to give a talk about Kontena, the Open Source Docker orchestration platform that allows us to easily and securely manage a huge number of interconnected containers. Kontena is so simple to set up that it’s the perfect tool for web development teams. Drop by room 310 on Tuesday at 12:00 and I’ll teach you how to set up a Drupal cluster on any infrastructure in less than 30 minutes!

Going to DrupalCon Baltimore, too? I’d love to hang out, so give me a shout!


29 Mar 2017

When you look up our company’s core values in the freistil IT Runbook, you’ll find that “community” is one of them. That’s not only because we’d like to think our team is held together by more than just employment contracts. It’s also because with Open Source Software, we’re working in a space that teaches us the power of community every day.

Recognising the people who contribute to this community in an exemplary way and showing appreciation for their work is important. While there are more people who get payed to work on projects such as Drupal or WordPress than 10 years ago, the huge majority of Open Source contributors still invests their personal time and money in an altruistic fashion. And although a myriad of businesses use Open Source Software, only a few of them actually engage in the community that’s building it.

That’s why we at freistil IT think that the Splash Awards are a great idea. Let’s shine a light on people and businesses who help both the Drupal project and the Drupal community grow and improve! The Splash Awards started as a yearly event in the Netherlands and will be coming to Germany this week. At a great venue in Hamburg, the Drupal community will honour companies and individuals doing outstanding work in the following categories:

  • Social
  • Publishing/Media
  • Engagement
  • Architecture
  • Government
  • Education
  • Tools/Apps
  • Commerce

And on top of the awards in these categories, a deserving Drupal hero is going to be named “Drupalista of the Year”.

We’re more than happy to support the Splash Awards as a Gold Sponsor and I’m looking forward to presenting one of the awards myself!

And if you’d like to join the party, simply give us a shout — we have a few free tickets to give away!


10 Mar 2017

They had a great run, but the day had to come where it would all end. Launched into this world four years apart, it’s now time for both of them to make way for the younger ones.

PHP 5.3.0 was released in 2009, PHP 5.5.0 in 2013. They’ve both outlived their official support by the PHP project for quite a while now. We were only able to operate PHP 5.3 for six years because it got a life extension in the form of the 5-year Long Term Support for Ubuntu 12.04. Now that this support is expiring, too, we’re going to replace all older freistilbox setups with our modern multi-version setup offering customers to choose between PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.0 on a per-application basis (PHP 7.1 is in the pipeline).

We’re going to upgrade all freistilbox applications still running on PHP 5.3 or PHP 5.5 to our new multi-version setup on Wednesday, 29th March 2017.

In order to make this change as smooth as possible, we’ve prepared upgrade paths that PHP 5.3 and PHP 5.5 users can take advantage of during the transition period we’re in now.

Switching from PHP 5.5

If your freistilbox cluster originally came with PHP 5.5, we’ve already upgraded it to our modern multi-version setup, adding the options of PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.0. You can now switch PHP versions for each application instance individually in the freistilbox Dashboard.

We recommend using our staging workflow to start upgrading from PHP 5.5 right away. If you haven’t done so already, just deploy a test instance for every production application you’d like to check, and use that test instance to fix all the issues the version switch might cause. Then, after you’ve made sure your application will behave, throw the switch for the production instance.

Switching from PHP 5.3

If your applications still run on PHP 5.3, you must have been a freistilbox customer for many years and we’re immensely grateful for your loyalty!

Since our old PHP 5.3 setup unfortunately does not allow us to run other versions in parallel, things get just a bit more complicated here.

The recommended staging workflow approach is the same as described above for PHP 5.5. The difference is that the PHP versions you assign to your testing instances on the freistilbox Dashboard won’t have any effect on your production servers. That’s why we’re temporarily adding a separate test box that runs your applications already on our multi-version setup. During the transition period, we’ll provide you with one test box per cluster free of charge. Should you need your transition period extended, please get in touch with our web ops team.

This test box isn’t part of your normal hosting setup and doesn’t get requests from website visitors. To see the effects of your version changes, you’ll have to talk directly to this specific test box. We recommend using one of the following two approaches.

Temporary modification of your local hosts file

Open your /etc/hosts file in an editor and enter the IP address of the test box with the domain names you’ve assigned to your test instances:

Alternatively, you can enter a single row per domain:

When you now visit in your browser, your web requests will always go to the test box instead of your production cluster. (So don’t forget to remove these entries after testing!)

Using a browser plugin

With the help of a browser plugin that allows you to send HTTP requests with specific headers, you can talk directly to the test box, e.g. You then use a plugin such as ModHeader for Chrome or Modify Headers for Firefox to make the Hosts header indicate the actual application you’d like to access. For example, Host:

After the transition period

After we’ve upgraded all freistilbox clusters to our modern multi-version setup, customers will be able to switch between PHP versions anytime they like, for example to take advantage of the improvements coming up with PHP 7.1.


24 Feb 2017

A newer Solr version than 3.x has been a frequent feature request for quite a while now. Now that we’ve regained our grip on project management (a story I’m going to share in a later blog post), we’ve shipped support for Solr 4 on freistilbox. (Attentive freistilbox users might already have spotted it in our Changelog.)

We’re running Solr 4 on brand new servers with high-powered CPU’s and SSD storage, so you’re going to enjoy maximum content search performance.

If you’d like to take advantage of the search improvements Solr 4 brings for your Drupal or WordPress website, you can simply request a new, fully managed Solr index via the freistilbox Dashboard. We can’t transfer data that has been previously stored in Solr 3, so switching to Solr 4 will require a reindex.

While this is only an incremental improvement, we’re excited to be back on top of our game again and already working on the next couple of features (of which Solr 6 support is one).


15 Feb 2017

Apart from our local Drupal Open Days, DrupalCamp London is the Drupal event to which I’m looking forward the most every year. DrupalCamp London 2017 is coming up in the first week of March, I have everything booked and freistilbox will be sponsoring the party on Saturday night!

One of our core values at freistil IT is “community”. There are two aspects to this: first, our company as a community and second, being a member of the open source community in general and the Drupal community in particular. We think that giving back is an indispensable part of doing business in a community. So after the great party we had at DrupalCon Dublin, we thought that we should also make sure DrupalCamp London attendees will be having a great time outside of keynotes and sessions!

Speaking of which, the programme looks exciting! It covers a lot of interesting angles of using Drupal:

  • Site building
  • UX design
  • Coding and Development
  • Community and business
  • Symfony

The most awesome DrupalCamp London team also got together a great bunch of keynote speakers:

  • Matt Glaman, Commerce Guys
  • Jeffrey “Jam” McGuire, Acquia
  • Danese Cooper, Node.js Foundation

I’m also going to attend the CxO Day where there will be another impressive lineup:

  • Sarah Wood OBE
  • David Axmark
  • Benn Finn OBE
  • Barney Brown
  • Prof. Andrew Spicer
  • Paul Reeves

If you’re based in Europe and interested in Drupal, you really shouldn’t miss DrupalCamp London. Places are filling up quickly, so go ahead and register!

And hey, make sure not to miss the party on Saturday — we’d be very happy to see your drink on our tab!


13 Feb 2017

It’s Saint Nicholas day, time for an important announcement! As every year, we’ll be taking time off over the holidays to recharge our mental and emotional batteries. We’re going to close the virtual freistil office (which by the way just welcomed its newest member — hi Simon!) from Saturday, December 24th, to Sunday, January 8th.

While we won’t be available for regular support requests during that period, our on-call schedule guarantees that our hosting infrastructure won’t be running without adult supervision at any time. As usual, we’ll provide 24/7 emergency support for freistilbox clusters with an Enterprise SLA.

If you’re going to need help with a project from our web operations team before the end of the year, please get in touch soon so we can allocate some resources for you before we leave into the winter wonderland!


06 Dec 2016

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