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Posts from April 2014

Featured Blog: Addiction Recovery Foundation

BLOG: Addiction Recovery Foundation - UKESAD
WHY IT MATTERS: At the largest drug/alcohol-recovery conference in Europe, over 60 world class experts in how to recover from addiction will share their knowledge and expertise with attendees at over 40 presentations. The UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders (UKESAD) is the only event in the UK and Europe which has demonstrated how to achieve long-term, sustainable recovery. Likewise, the UKESAD (along with their publication, Addiction Today) helps addiction and recovery specialists meet friends, make friends, gain knowledge and expertise, and gain 27 'gold standard' CEUs whilst enhancing their CV and gaining valuable skills to help people into recovery. Make a donation today.

Addiction Recovery Foundation

Last week's downtime and what you can expect from us in the future

Between April 17th and April 22nd, many of our customers experienced a service interruption due to a series of large, sophisticated denial of service attacks against our infrastructure. We apologize for the inconvenience and service interruption you experienced. Our team has worked around the clock to try to help keep your blogs up and running, but we couldn’t keep your sites online to the level that you expect from us, or to the level that we expect ourselves. We also want to give you some insight into what happened, what steps we took, and what steps we are taking to try to ensure that we can deliver you the service that you deserve.

First, was my data at risk?

No. This was purely a denial of service attack, and your data was never at risk.

So, what happened?

What follows is a reasonably technical description of the attacks we faced. The short version is we were hit by repeated, large denial of service attacks that made Typepad intermittently available over the course of five days. If you’re not interested in the technical details, you can skip to the next section.

Starting Thursday, April 17, we were hit by a very large DDOS attack leveraging NTP, DNS, and SNMP amplification attacks. We worked with our upstream providers to block the attack before it hit our network, and we moved all traffic over to the provider that was able to block the attack and bring sites back online.

On Friday, April 18, using a new attack vector, a SYN flood was directed at the IPs we use to host Typepad’s services. To stop the attack, we had to move services around inside the Typepad network. We had services fully back online by 1pm EDT Friday, but about 600 customer blogs were down. Once the attack was mitigated, we reached out and worked with a new vendor to help us further protect our infrastructure and implement long-term mitigations.

The attack returned on Easter Sunday, April 20, spreading across our IP space. We once again worked to stabilize the infrastructure by moving services around. The attack returned again on Monday, April 21, at which point we moved all of the blogs behind a service that could mitigate the attack. This meant that mapped domains would not load — i.e., customers with domains would not load, but blogs were unaffected. All services were back up by 10am EDT on Monday, with the exception of the mapped domains. We spent the rest of Monday working on getting as many customer blogs up as possible, while putting in place a broader mitigation.

We completed the full mitigation implementation on Tuesday, April 22, just as we were hit with another massive flood. We finished bringing all blogs and mapped domains back online (with the exception of customers who were mapped to IP addresses). By early evening, we were just waiting for DNS records to update so that customers could see their sites were loading.

Since Tuesday, we have seen new attacks, but our mitigation is holding up (you may have noticed a few minutes of slowness on Friday — when our new defenses were being utilized to stop an attack). As a result of the changes we made to protect our network, you may have experienced some small issues resulting from our changes to protect our network (things like CSS caching longer than expected, certain feed readers being blocked, etc.). We believe most of these issues have now been resolved at this point. However, if you are still experiencing lingering issues, please contact our support team via a ticket. They are ready to jump on any issues they see.

Why did it take this long to stop?

The simplest answer: Typepad had never been subjected to this type of attack before, which placed stress on parts of our infrastructure. Each day, Typepad serves up a tremendous number of content, images, video files, etc. Our systems have always been able to scale and handle whatever traffic was thrown at them. However, these attacks were much larger and more persistent than anything we previously experienced. We believe that these attacks are similar to the attacks that have recently brought other online services down.

So, this is never going to happen again, right?

Unfortunately, there’s just no way we can say that. This bad actor has proven to be very determined, looping back against us trying new attack vectors and looking for weaknesses. Every day, we’re putting in place new rules and new ways of stopping attacks. But there is no way for anyone to be 100% protected. We’re working with our partners, providers, and our team to make sure that we are proactive in defending ourselves against future attacks.

Can you give us more detailed information?

Right now, we’re not able to provide more detailed information. The authorities are involved, and providing more information could make it easier for the attacker to find a way to exploit our system. We are going to err on the side of being conservative here. If you really need more information, please submit a support ticket, and our team will do their best to answer your question.

Why didn’t you email us to tell us this was happening?

During an issue like this, our team is very active on Twitter and Facebook, and answering support tickets. Our Twitter feed is also reflected on our status site as a one-stop shop to get an update on where things stand.

We tend not to use email during an issue like this since email relies on our domain, and that is often the service that is not responding. Using off-site means of updates is a safer, more effective means of making sure we can keep everyone up-to-date.

Thank you

We wanted to say thank you to the Typepad community, the vast majority of who were overwhelmingly supportive during the last few days. We’ve gotten so many wonderful tweets, Facebook messages, support tickets, and blog posts supporting us and backing us, that we can’t possibly express our gratitude.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out via support ticket, and we will get back to you as fast as possible.


Typepad General Manager

Featured Blog: Michigan By The Bottle

NAME: Shannon and Cortney Casey
BLOG: Michigan By The Bottle
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: Shannon and Cortney Casey are suburban Detroiters who adore Michigan wine. Their blog, Michigan By The Bottle, covers Michigan wines and wineries, promotes events, and introduces their readers to new wines (or helps them rediscover old favorites). They also aim to dispel misconceptions that wine is appealing only to older demographics and assure newbies that Michigan's tasting rooms are places ripe for learning and exploring, not daunting havens for elitist wine snobs, proving that wine is fun!


FOLLOW: Twitter | Typepad

Response to Typepad Downtime this week

Please follow us on Twitter for the most current updates on this issue.

Update 21-April-2014 9:45AM PT: We're sorry to inform you that Typepad was attacked again overnight. Our team has been working around the clock to restore service. While most blogs are available and the application is up, some mapped domains are showing a message that the domain is "unknown", but there is no problem with the domain itself. We're working to correct the error on our end.

First, let us say how much we appreciate all members of the Typepad community. We know the last few days have been trying and stressful to you all and us. Please know you have a team of people who love Typepad who have been working and continue to work to keep Typepad up 24/7.

What happened? Beginning Thursday evening, Typepad was hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) off and on through today. A DDoS attack is an attempt to make services unavailable, but in no way was your Typepad account compromised. All information in your Typepad account is secure, including billing information. The attack on Typepad was similar to an attack on Basecamp which you can read about here.

The Typepad blogs and application have been restored. We put in place some roadblocks to mitigate the attack, but we are on high alert as attackers change their tactics regularly.

We really appreciate all members of the Typepad community and your patience during this time. We're here to answer any questions you may have about the attack.

Typepad Master Class: Spice Up Your Own Comments

Welcome to the Typepad Master Class! If you've ever wanted to delve into more advanced trickery with your blog's design, the Master Class is for you. Topics covered in this series are for the adventurous or advanced blogger, so an intermediate to advanced level of knowledge of HTML and CSS will come in handy. Additionally, these guides will often require Custom CSS or Advanced Templates, so a Unlimited or higher plan is necessary to access those areas and achieve the look and effects we cover. Interested in upgrading? Just head over to the Account link in your Dashboard and click on Billing Info to get started.

All comments submitted to your posts will use the same style by default. However, you can use a little CSS to make your own comments stand out. Readers of your blog will then see which comments were submitted by the author of the post at a quick glance.

When you sign in to comment on your own blog, your comment will have the .comment-by-owner class applied to it, and we can use this class to make changes to the formatting.

You are currently signed inFor the specific styling to be applied to your comments, you'll need to make sure you see the You are currently signed in as... note above the comment form. (See screenshot.) If you don't see the note, click the Sign in with Typepad link and follow the prompts to confirm you are signed in to your account.

In this Master Class, we'll provide you with the CSS to make the following changes to comments submitted by the post's author:

All CSS can be added at Design > Custom CSS. If you don't see the Custom CSS option, you can upgrade to the Unlimited plan. Learn more.

Continue reading "Typepad Master Class: Spice Up Your Own Comments" »

Spotlight: Six Great Style Blogs You'll Love

Once a month, we scout for great blogs in the Typepad Showcase that fit a particular theme and are guaranteed to inspire. This month, we've hand-picked six great fashion and style blogs we think you'll love. Each one is guaranteed to captivate, inspire you, and make you think about your next style move - whether you're a fashionista or not. Click through the photos below to visit each blog, and see why we think they're fantastic.

Ready? Let's go!

Irenebrination: Notes on Architecture, Art, Fashion and Style


Style Bubble


Kingdom of Style


Fashion Copious


Wolf Whistle


Suzanne Carillo Style Files


We hope you enjoyed this month's roundup of fantastic Typepad blogs! Check out more great style blogs right here. We'd love to see your blog in the Typepad Showcase, so go ahead and submit it today - you might just see yourself in the spotlight!

Beta users, let us tempt you with some new features for our Snap theme.

We were hoping that our post last week about customizing our new Snap theme would tempt more of you to try the design out and give us some much desired feedback. Alas, we're just not getting the input we've been hoping for. So, we're upping the ante with new features that are only available if you use the Snap theme.

First, we have two additions to the navigation bar: you can center the links and include social media icons. Here's what to look for in Blogs > Design > Content: Navigation Bar:

image from

And here's how the two options look together on a blog:

image from

Cool, right? The social icons come from the profiles you've added on the Account > Other Accounts page, so make sure you have your social media profiles listed there.

The second new feature is what we're calling Post Link Tooltips. This can be selected from the Blogs > Design > Content page as well. Here's what to look for:

image from

This feature adds a little hover effect to the links you include in your blog posts. The tooltip will use the title field from the Insert Link tool. Here's a visual of how that works:


Also cool, yeah? Don't you want to give this awesome theme a whirl? If you do, head over to our original announcement post for all the details. Then, after you've had some time to play with the bubble wrap and kick the tires, open a help ticket and let us know what you think. If you find something that looks amiss, we need to know. If you love it and think it's perfect, we won't turn away that feedback, either.

A New SEO Feature and a New Account Level

We know that search engine optimization is important to all of our Typepad subscribers, so we wanted to let everyone know about a neat little feature we've recentally released - meta descriptions for Pages. We've had meta descriptions for posts already, but now your Pages have the same option.

When composing your Page, the Excerpt field can be used to generate a short summary of it. If you do not write an excerpt yourself, one will be generated automatically from the first 100 words of the post or the number of words you have set in Settings > Posts & Pages, under Auto-Generated Excerpt Length. This excerpt will also be used as the Meta Description for the Page and picked up by search engines like Google.

It's just another great way that Typepad helps your and your blog get the attention it deserves.

We've also added a new account level, Enterprise. Enterprise is aimed at small companies and other organizations who would like to add a blog administrator to their blog but for whom Typepad Business Class has been out of their budget. You can sign up for the Enterprise level here.

Good News: Typepad is Not Vulnerable to the Heartbleed Bug

An encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug has exposed a collection of popular websites, posing a potential security threat to credit card information and passwords. We want to assure you that Typepad is not one of the websites affected, and your information is safe.

The security of our bloggers is a top priority. We were able to confirm that Typepad was not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug as soon as the bug itself was discovered, and we worked diligently to ensure that none of our bloggers' personal information was compromised. As always, we will continue to work to protect the security of Typepad users and their data.

Your Community and Support team is always here to help, so please reach out if you have any lingering concerns about the Heartbleed bug.

Getting To Know CSS: Getting Started


Welcome to our special series on getting to know CSS! Every other week, we'll debut a new article full of valuable tips and tricks that will help you to understand how CSS works and how to apply it to your blog. We'll cover everything from the very basics, to fancy tricks, to the best way to find the code you need for your very own blog. Get ready to advance your skill set!

Now that we're all HTML experts (thanks to our Back To Basics To HTML series), it's time to move ahead and learn how to apply CSS to what we have built on our blogs.   Today we'll be going over what CSS is, and how and when to use it.

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is used to style the markup language you've created on your site.  CSS gives you more control and flexibility over your layout than what HTML can offer.  HTML provides the foundation and content where CSS will enhance the presentation of the HTML.  It is best to not mix CSS with HTML together which is why a stylesheet is saved separately.

Where can I add CSS on my blog?

On Typepad for Unlimited users and higher, we've made it easy to add custom CSS to your layout by going to Design > Custom CSS, there is no need to set up Advanced Templates.   Some examples of element changes you can make are fonts, colors, column widths, background images, advanced positions and more.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 1.14.11 PM

CSS minimizes the amount of coding needed for your site which will save on loading time.  For instance, if you have H2 sized headers throughout your blog but you wish to have them appear as bold, with HTML you will have to insert the bold HTML code <b></b> on every header which can be time consuming and clunky code-wise. With CSS, you can just set up all header elements to appear as bold at once.

How is CSS formatted?

The written format for CSS code is broken into two areas: the selector, which can be an Element, Class or ID; and then the property and property value. The selector and property info is grouped together within a curly brackets set.  

An Element selector specifies HTML tags (e.g. p, img, a), which can be as general as applying to all instances of the tag selected, or can be a child of a specific class or ID

p { property: value; }
.entry-body p { property: value; }

A Class is denoted by a period prefixed to the selector name. Classes are used for items that often appear in multiples (e.g. modules, list items, posts).

CSS classes are coded as: .element { property: value; }

IDs are used for when you want to specify one section of your layout (e.g. banner, navigation bar) and are denoted by prefixing the selector name with a hash or "#": #element { property: value; }

When can I use CSS?

CSS comes into play when you want to change or tweak your design and format.  It is not used to add additional content like advertisements and third-party widgets.

Need CSS? Yes No
Position your Navigation Links or Banner? X  
Inserting Javascript?   X
Changing the size of your columns? X  
Change the font of your blog post titles? X  
Add an image as your background? X  
Hide post footer links like tags, comments, permalink? X  
Add to a blog post or comment?    X
Change default post font? X  
Add banner to pre-defined theme? X  
Add buttons, badges, widgets?    X

Ready to level up? You're in luck! Over the course of our Getting to Know CSS series, we will be going over other features and functions of CSS, teaching you about editing and adding elements to your stylesheets, and finding which classes will work best with your specific Typepad theme. Stay tuned!