Latest Changes

December 16, 2019

Christmas is coming, and we hope you are ready for that Christmas ham. But we all know that nothing screams “lump of coal” like website SPAM. Since the beginning, we’ve offered various levels of protection for your website. Let’s cover that briefly, and then we’ll unwrap this shiny new gift…

Brute Force protection from, well… brutes.

Pretty much all the horrible things that can happen to websites happen when a robot start poking around your login page. They take a peek at your code and start pasting in the most common username and password they can think of, like password, 1234, and… password1234 …stuff like that. They also need to know the username, which by default on most websites is… wait for it… admin.

So we don’t let our users use the username admin or passwords that are stupid simple. And because of that, the bots have to try a lot harder to get into your site. But our system automatically detects when a user is failing at the password attempt more than a handful of times and then it locks them out entirely. As a result, if you forget your password and try a few times, you might also be locked out. Don’t fear, though… Just come back in ten minutes and you should be able to try again. The bots will just move on to the next sorry chump.

(By the way, if you do get locked out and can’t get in, just hop over to our website and one of our amazing support reps will help you get back in.)

SSL/TLS Certification (A.K.A. “the little green padlock”)

Let’s say these bots get a little smarter, and they hire a real human to go over to your local coffee shop and attempt to intercept some of the internet traffic there. (It’s really gross… kind of like taking a sip of everyone’s drink.) If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, someone like this could grab your password as you send it from your laptop to our server. But we’ve taken the pleasure of installing a security certificate on every website we care for. That certificate encrypts your password as soon as it leaves your browser and keeps it encrypted all the way to us. So you don’t have to worry about someone sipping your coffee. Or stealing your password. The same goes for credit card information, because, well, you don’t want to be paying for their coffee, either.

But what is this new thing?

Okay, okay… I get it. I’ve made you wait long enough. So here’s the deal. There was one annoyance that we’ve had trouble finding a good way to prevent. See, we’ve always wanted your websites to be something that your people use to interact with your church. We want them to have a good reason to create a user account on your website. We want them to comment on your sermons, sign up for events and groups, and maybe even subscribe to email or text messages (hint: text notifications are on our roadmap) from you to stay in the loop and get better connected to your church. So we’ve made it possible for them to sign up for user accounts that have no access to the dashboard. They can’t edit any site content, but they could submit a comment on some of yours. The default role is “subscriber”, so there’s never been a concern for them to start hacking away at your website. But it’s really annoying when you look at your user list and there’s a dozen new users from Russia… So we found a way to fix that.

Beginning today, you shouldn’t see much more of that funny business. We’ve installed some new code into the system that watches for things that might identity user registrations as fake news. For instance, it probably takes most human beings longer than three seconds to type in their name, email, and password when they’re setting up a new account online. Bots do it almost instantly, so our new software watches how long it takes, and if they type at a billion words per minute, you shall not pass.


Merry Christmas!

That’s all for now, but I really hope you have an excellent Christmas season in your churches. If you’d like some help setting up a Christmas landing page or something, let us know in the support chat and we’ll help you get started. Over the next few months, we’ll be migrating our existing clients over to our latest build of the platform. It has some new features built into it and should hum a little faster as well. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

P.S. If you want to take a look at your user accounts on your website and remove any shady characters, now is the time. Feel free to knock them out if you don’t recognize them as part of your church.

November 1, 2019

For the past several months, we’ve been moving our development into a new server environment with better scalability and a much more involved server management team. Digital Church is officially moving from a SiteGround Cloud to a GridPane Managed Cloud. GridPane represents the latests in a high level of security, availability, and scalability for Website-As-A-Service businesses like us, and we’re so excited about the level of support we’ve already received from them as we prepared our new home.

What Does This Mean?

Over the past several months, we’ve been bumping up against some of the limitations on SiteGround. They have been excellent for the time we’ve spent there, but we’ve outgrown it a bit. So it was time to get some new digs. GridPane specializes in wordpress installations, and specifically in running multi-site businesses like ours. They work with multiple cloud providers using the latest technology stack available. We’re still getting settled in, working out the kinks and squashing some bugs, but in the long-term, this is going to be the best option for us to move forward and scale as we continue to help more churches and organizations reach more people.

Currently, we have about forty paying clients. We need to scale to 100 as soon as possible in order to get to the next level, and in order to do that, we needed to be ready to grow.

How does this affect client sites?

For now, most of your existing sites are still on SiteGround. We have installed a few sites on the new environment to allow us to put it to the test. We’ll continue to add a few more each week until things are settled in. Once we get there, we will be batch-migrating sites over. The whole process will take a few months, but our goal is to be done by the end of January. When we are ready to migrate your site, we’ll reach out to you.

What will be different?

Not much will look different at first. We’ve been developing our latest features on the new platform, though, which include live streaming integrations and some tweaking of our templates. If you’d like to see a site we built on the new platform, check out Pineville Church. We’re still wrapping up a few revisions for them, but the site is live now, so check it out!

A few other reasons this new platform is better has to do with some integrations with Cloudflare DNS, the ability for client sites to automatically install SSL certificates when the domain is mapped, and a few other super-geeky things. You’ll probably notice that the builder will load faster, the dashboard will be a little snappier, and the caching of your site will be automatically managed.

What is next?

After we get all our client sites migrated, we are going to start working on more templates. We have plans for six new template sites, with over 30 pages each, so we have a lot of work ahead of us.

How can I help?

Please continue to tell people about us! We are just beginning to dip our toes into some paid advertising for the platform, but there are many other businesses like ours out there that we are competing with. Our best way to move forward will be one customer at a time through word of mouth referrals. Please tell your friends to check us out! Also, if you’d like to leave us a review on Facebook or Google, that would be excellent!