Out of Beta: Disqus Integration for Typepad

December 10, 2014

Previously we announced that optional Disqus integration for Typepad was available to our Beta members.

After further refinements, we're pleased to announce that we've begun rolling Disqus out to the rest of our subscribers.  Some of you will already see this option at Settings > Comments with everyone else having the feature released to them in the upcoming weeks.

You can learn more about how to integrate Disqus comments in your blog in our Knowledge Base.

As always, if there's something you need help with, or have any questions on, just leave us a comment or open a help ticket!  We always happy to help!

Adding Security Questions to Your Account

November 24, 2014

When you log into Typepad today, you'll see a red box across the top of your dashboard.  It will look like this:

Redbox

There's no need for alarm. The red box isn't scary; it's a way to help your account become more secure than it already is. To increase the security of your account, and to get the box to go away, go to the Account link and answer two of the security questions posed in the drop-down boxes.

You may be wondering how these questions increase the security of your account. The answers you provide will help identify you in the event that you become locked out of your account. This is essential for making sure you are who you say are, beyond the measures we already have in place.

If you have any questions, as always, just simply open a help ticket and one of our friendly Typepad staff will be there to assist you!

A brand new theme just for food lovers!

July 25, 2014

Are you into food? Like really into food? Then our newest theme is for you. It's called Gourmet and it has two style variations - Spicy and Sweet.

Gourmet Theme - Spicy Variation
Gourmet Theme - Spicy Variation

The theme is available for all account levels and it's built on our very cool Repsonsive framework, so it'll look great on any device. Give it a try by going to Blogs > Design > Choose a Theme and look for Gourmet in the listing.

Gourmet Theme - Sweet Variation
Gourmet Theme - Sweet Variation

Do you want your social media icons to show in the navigation bar, the way they're shown in the theme examples above? Just add your social accounts in Account > Other Accounts and then enable those for display in Blogs > Design > Content: Navigation Bar.

We're going to be adding more variations to the Gourmet theme soon, so we're wondering - what types of foods would you like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

New For Beta Users: Widgetpalooza!

July 22, 2014

Adding widgets is a great way to easily and quickly implement features on your Typepad blog.  With that in mind, we're very pleased to introduce several new and exciting features for our Beta Team subscribers: Take a look at our Sidebar Carousel widget, Spotlight Posts widget, and the Copyright and Introduction widgets!

Let's break down what each of these features are:

The Sidebar Carousel places a slideshow of the images from one category of posts to your blog's sidebar. These pictures will then rotate, based on the various settings you can choose.  It's a great way to highlight specific categories or images on your blog in an eye-catching way. You can even add more than one Sidebar Carousel if you'd like.

Postcarouseltheme
Example of the Sidebar Carousel in action.

To add the Sidebar Carousel to your blog, simply go to Design > Content, find the Carousel option under Widgets, select the options you'd like to use, and save your changes.  Easy as pie! See the Knowledge Base article to learn more about the available settings for the Sidebar Carousel.

Next up is the Spotlight Posts widget.  It displays a list of posts from a category in your sidebar, and even gives you the option to show the thumbnail for the first image in the post along with the post excerpt.

Top-excerpt_spotlightAs you can see, it's a pretty nifty way to highlight a specific category in your sidebar.  This can be useful to highlight text, images, or both! Learn more in the Knowledge Base.

Finally, we have the Copyright and Introduction widgets.  When you add either widget, they'll come pre-loaded with some text that we think is useful: the Copyright widget contains the HTML code for the copyright symbol and your blog's name and the Introduction widget contains some simple text to welcome and invite users to visit your blog.  The text for both of these widgets can be edited as you like.

Want to give these widgets a go but aren't a member of our Beta Team?  It's easy to join!  Just go to the Account tab, check the Beta Team option, and save your changes.

Beta Team, we'd love to hear what you think about these features!  Please open a help ticket with your feedback so that we can make them even better.

Yesterday’s Outage

May 20, 2014

We wanted to give an update on yesterday’s outage. Just before 9am EST, we were hit with an attack. Our mitigation tools kept the attack at bay early on. Your blogs, and typepad.com, may have been slow or occasionally shown an error, but services were mostly up. At about 10:40am ET, the attack grew massively in size — large enough that our upstream providers dropped all of our traffic.

This was unexpected and came without warning. We don’t blame our partners — they were also feeling the brunt of this attack and it was in their best interest to drop our traffic. We worked with our providers to find a solution that would bring us back online. It was a significant effort, but with the help of our partners, we were able to get everything back online by the end of the day.

Why did Typepad get attacked again? Similar to other popular sites, we are the target of a criminal trying to extort money. The attack this time was much larger, with the goal of forcing us to give in. Typepad has been working with other impacted companies to share information and help end these attacks.

Some of you have asked why we did not give more details in our status updates on Twitter and Facebook. Simply put, we are trying to avoid leaking information that may make it easier for criminals to attack us in the future. We have heard from other victims that the attacker may follow social media and has adjusted attacks based on information found in updates on networks like Twitter and Facebook. We did not want to make it any easier for them to attack us, so we chose to keep the technical details to a minimum.

We believe that we have a solution in place that will be sustainable in the long term. There are still some things we are working through, but they are mostly behind the scenes. The Typepad team is incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received from our partners, from other companies who’ve faced this DDOS and reached out to help, and from our community, who were incredibly gracious and supportive during yesterday’s outage.

Thanks,
Ryan
Typepad General Manager

Today's Outage

May 19, 2014

We’re truly sorry for today’s extended outage. If you didn’t see our status updates, we were under a large DDOS attack. This attack was large enough to have a significant impact on our upstream providers, leading to the outage. In situations like we dealt with today, we have intentionally left out technical details as to not give away anything that might open us up to new attacks. We continue to work to improve our defenses and will provide a more detailed update tomorrow.

Responsive features out of Beta plus a new theme!

May 15, 2014

You may remember that we recently released a theme called Snap to beta users - this theme is fully responsive so it looks great on any size screen. We're happy to announce that after lots of testing, we're ready to release the theme to the entire userbase.

Snap - a responsive theme

To celebrate Typepad's foray into the world of responsive design, we're releasing a second new responsive theme today called Sol.

Sol - a responsive theme

With a variety of color options, and a simple design aesthetic, Sol is ready to showcase your content. If you prefer to select your own colors, or add a banner, you can do so easily with the Custom CSS feature; a lot of what you need to know to make those changes was previously shared and still apply to Sol.

Along with these themes come some new features - centering and adding social media icons to the navigation bar and fancy tooltips for links in posts. You can read about that here. These features are only available with the responsive designs, so we encourage you to give them a try!

To apply one of the new themes to your blog, just go to Blogs > Design > Choose a theme and look for the Responsive category on the left side. Each theme has multiple color options to choose from.

We look forward to releasing more responsive themes soon!

Announcing: Retiring the Typepad Community on Get Satisfaction

May 06, 2014

Over the years, the Typepad community on Get Satisfaction has been a great place to ask questions, get answers, and suggest features to us, but most of all, it's been a great place for you to talk with your fellow Typepad fans and help each other out.

Over time, though, participation has shifted away from the forum to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and since we always want to be where the action is, the time has come to retire the Get Satisfaction community, effective May 6, 2014.

We want to let you know that your input, assistance, and participation has been an integral part of our community's success over the years. We all appreciate your work as an extended part of the Typepad team.

There are still many opportunities for you to participate in the Typepad community, from starting and contributing to conversations in the comments here on Everything Typepad, to tweeting about #Typepad and @ replying to other Typepad bloggers, to commenting on our Facebook Page.

If you ever need help with anything, you can open a Help ticket in your Dashboard, email us at support@typepad.com, or tweet to us directly @Typepad. We hope you'll continue to be an active part of the Typepad community - or become one, if you haven't been in the past!

Have questions? We want to hear from you, so let's start a discussion in the comments!

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

April 29, 2014

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 .typepad.com 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 @typepad.com 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.

Ryan 

Typepad General Manager

Response to Typepad Downtime this week

April 20, 2014

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.

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