News

This page contains copy of #news:etke.cc room messages, but you may use RSS , or Fediverse to get them.

Stable Updates Published

  • GoToSocial 0.13.0 -> 0.13.3
  • Hookshot 5.1.2 -> 5.2.1
  • Miniflux 2.0.51 -> 2.1.0
  • Signal bridge 0.5.0 first actual realease of the go-based bridge

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Element / app.etke.cc 1.11.57 -> 1.11.58
  • Jitsi 9220 -> 9258
  • #postmoogle:etke.cc 0.9.16 -> 0.9.17
  • Synapse-Admin 0.9.1 -> 0.8.7 downgrade due to regression issue in 0.9.x versions
  • Synapse 1.100.0 -> 1.101.0
  • Traefik 2.10.7 -> 2.11.0

#discussion:etke.cc

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🎉 Today marks 3 years of etke.cc! 🎉

The etke.cc managed Matrix hosting service was launched on the 12th of February 2021 and has turned 3 years old today!

Below, we’d like to show you what improvements have happened over the last year and what’s coming ahead for us.

New payment model, more services, more server regions

In case you’ve missed our large news announcement from December 2023, it’s not too late to learn about it now.

To summarize, we have:

  • switched to a new payment/pricing model, which is more sustainable
  • launched many of new components and services (see below) and will continue to launch new ones
  • completely reworked order form - easier for you and for us - a quicker turnaround time when deploying servers
  • began offering more powerful servers (using Hetzner Cloud ’s CPX line) and in more geographic locations - including the U.S.

We encourage you to read the our original news announcement for more details about these changes.

New component additions

In the past year, we have launched many new Matrix-related and non-Matrix components.

If you’d like to use one or more of the components seen below, contact us and we’ll install it to your existing server.

All of the Matrix components described below are new additions to our stack. Some are installed by default to all servers managed by us, as part of our base Matrix components stack .

  • (free) Sliding-sync - assists next-generation clients like Element X in talking to the homeserver in an optimized manner. This component is installed by default to all servers as part of our base Matrix components stack .
  • (free) Encrypted Bridges - we now offer a checkbox on our order form that globally enables encryption for all bridges that support it. This is experimental and may not work well for some bridges, so we don’t recommend it to everyone.
  • (free) The synapse_auto_compressor tool, which runs in the background and periodically compresses the (Postgres) database for the Synapse homeserver, so that it runs optimally. This component is installed by default to all servers as part of our base Matrix components stack .
  • (free) We’ve switched to exim-relay for delivering emails (optionally via an SMTP relay ) and wired all email-sending components (the Synapse Matrix homeserver and other addons) to it.
  • (free addition to our $5/mo bridge pack) a Google Messages bridge (powered by mautrix-gmessages). The old Google Chat bridge still continues to work.
  • (+$1/mo) the SchildiChat web-based Matrix client - an Element-web fork offering more customization.
  • (+$3/mo) ChatGPT - a Large-Language-Model (LLM) bot that you can talk to via Matrix, based on OpenAI ’s ChatGPT (Requires a separately-obtained OpenAI API key )
  • (+$2/mo) S3 storage support for the Synapse homeserver - for infinite Matrix media storage (Requires a separately obtained AWS S3-compatible object store of your choice)
  • (+$5/mo) Synapse workers - a multi-process homeserver setup to more efficiently handle many users and large rooms (Requires a powerful server - 8+ GB of RAM)

We’ve also replaced our Signal bridge (mautrix-signal) offering with the new bridge implementation (complete rewrite from Python to Golang ). 

  • (+$1/mo) [previously-offered and making a comeback] the Miniflux RSS reader
  • (+$1/mo) [previously-offered and making a comeback] the Radicale CalDAV/CardDAV server
  • (+$1/mo) [previously-offered and making a comeback] the Uptime Kuma monitoring system
  • (+$1/mo) [brand new] the Linkding bookmark manager
  • (+$2/mo) [brand new] the Vaultwarden password manager (a lightweight Bitwarden -compatible server which can be used with the Bitwarden client apps)
  • (+$2/mo) [brand new] the Firezone - a VPN server based on WireGuard with a Web UI
  • (+$3/mo) [brand new] the GoToSocial ActivityPub server (a lightweight Mastodon alternative)

New or discontinued etke.cc services

Dedicated support

On the services front, we’re now offering a Dedicated support tier for $100/mo. This is an addition to the free Basic support tier that we offer to all etke.cc customers.

The dedicated support tier is useful when your product relies on Matrix and you may require quicker help in case of outages. The main differences with the Basic tier are the dedicated Matrix chat room with etke.cc developers and the higher priority of your requests relative to others.

We’ve developed the Matrix Rooms Search tool (naturally, as AGPLv3-licensed free-software). Anyone can run their instance and index the global Matrix Federation.

MRS provides a search across room names, topics, etc., allowing for better discoverability of rooms across all of Matrix.

We’re making Matrix Rooms Search available to etke.cc customers in 2 ways:

  1. The MatrixRooms.info website
  2. Pre-configured as an alternative Rooms Directory in Element

More domain choices

To those who don’t wish to use their own custom domain for their server, we’ve been offering hosting on etke.cc-owned domains like my-business.etke.host.

At the expense of some independence (afforded by having your own custom domain), using etke.cc-owned domains allows people to avoid dealing with domains, DNS, and the cost that comes with that.

We now offer hosting on these additional domains:

  • onmatrix.chat
  • kupo.email
  • matrix.town
  • matrix.fan
  • ma3x.chat

When making a new order , you can claim your subdomain on any of these domains and get your Matrix server deployed more quickly and easily (no DNS configuration required on your side).

Discontinuing our Custom Consulting/Development service

We used to offer a Custom Consulting/Development service - helping people with custom deployments or integrations on top of Matrix.

We have discontinued this service in order to free up time and let us focus on improving etke.cc for everyone. This is part of the reason why we have so many major improvements to announce in this birthday post.

Improved internals

Besides the many new components, services and tools, we’ve also done a lot of internal work - improving reliability and performance.

Below are some of the important internal changes we’ve done:

  • The Scheduler :
    • Automatic HTTP, DNS, and port checks, including federation tests, on run ping and run maintenance
    • Cumulative alerts - we combine multiple failure alerts into a single message that we deliver via Matrix and email
    • Improved deliverability of emails, thanks to sending them via Postmark
    • Full overhaul of the agent/worker (injector) part making it blazing-fast and decreasing the delay (to milliseconds) between receiving a command from the user and executing it
    • Huge refactoring of the codebase
    • Many automation improvements, allowing us to more quickly and easily install new servers
  • Server Maintenance:
    • Automatic Postgres database vacuuming on each maintenance run
    • Automatic Postgres database tuning (based on PGTune ’s calculaton logic) which takes into account your server’s configuration and installed components
  • Networking: reworked Matrix stack networking for improved security, performance and ease of plugging-in new services (we’ve migrated from nginx to Traefik )
  • Emails: we’ve also configured DKIM , SPF and rDNS for customers hosted on our (Hetzner Cloud ) servers - this improves outgoing email deliverability for big providers like Google (see New Gmail protections for a safer, less spammy inbox )

Free-software work

We’ve also done a lot of work on a new free-software (AGPLv3) Ansible mega-playbook - mash-playbook , which currently includes 80+ components. Many of these began their life at etke.cc, while others were developed by us (or by the community) later on. Some of these components will be offered as addon components to etke.cc customers in the future. There are no technical difficulties to offering all of them immediately, but supporting a new component is not so simple - it requires documentation, commitment, support-staff training, etc.

Components from mash-playbook and the matrix-docker-ansible-deploy playbook are at the core of our automation (etke/ansible ), powering all servers managed by us.

As part of our work over the past year, we have also developed and released as free-software (AGPLv3) the following new tools:

Numbers!

  • We’ve installed 243 new Matrix servers
  • Pushed 461 updates and enhancements to the automation framework used as the service core
  • Posted 60 updates in the announcements room, so you’re always up-to-date with what we’re working on

If you’re curious to travel back in time, here are posts from previous etke.cc birthdays:

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Stable Updates Published

Reminder

All announcements published into the #news:etke.cc room are published on etke.cc/news page, RSS feed , and Fediverse account for your convenience. Moreover, we’ve added Attention needed! block with the most important things on the news page

Please keep an eye on them, to avoid missing important information. We publish announcements only once a week (except security updates - announcements published ASAP), so you could safely enable “All messages” notification preset.

Service Updates: Deprecating Abandoned Components

Some of the components we offered previously have been abandoned or deprecated by their developers, but we continue to maintain them on customers’ servers (if any of the abandoned components are installed).

Unfortunately, such components misbehave and sometimes can’t even work with modern APIs, so we’ve proclaimed them deprecated many months ago and now defined a removal plan.

Starting from 1st July 2024, the following components will be uninstalled from customers servers:

Almost every component has maintained and updated successor, so you have time to migrate to the new components until the deprecated ones are removed.

More details are available in the related FAQ entry: etke.cc/help/faq#what-about-deprecated-components

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Element / app.etke.cc 1.11.55 -> 1.11.57 there was no 1.11.56
  • Jitsi 9111 -> 9220
  • Synapse 1.99.0 -> 1.100.0
  • Vaultwarden 1.30.1 -> 1.30.2

this update contains fixes for S3 and coturn issues

Service Updates: Synapse Workers are available for order

Larger matrix servers may suffer from Synapse slowness. To increase the throughput and performance of your matrix server, you could now order Synapse Workers (charged extra) to be enabled on your matrix server to offload Sync, Client, Federation, Encryption, Authorization, Events, Account Data, Receipts, Presence, and Directory APIs to worker processes.

Existing customers may request Synapse Workers to be enabled by contacting us

Service Updates: Better Email Deliverability for the New Orders

As an answer to Google’s and Yahoo’s tightened requirements for emails, prerequisites for all new orders were updated to include DMARC and SPF DNS records. For hosting orders, we additionally configure rDNS record to resolve to matrix.your-server.com by default.

Existing customers are unaffected, but may update their DNS records to accommodate the changes:

For custom domains:

  • Add new TXT record for matrix subdomain with the following value: v=spf1 ip4:REPLACE_WITH_SERVER_IPv4 -all (REPLACE_WITH_SERVER_IPv4 should be replaced with your matrix server’s IPv4)
  • Add new TXT record for _dmarc.matrix subdomain with the following value: v=DMARC1; p=quarantine;
  • Reverse DNS (rDNS) records configuration depends on your VPS provider, you may wish to contact their support to help with changing it

For etke.cc-owned domains (etke.host, kupo.email, ma3x.chat, matrix.fan, matrix.town, onmatrix.chat)

Contact us: etke.cc/contacts

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Element app.etke.cc 1.11.54 -> 1.11.55
  • Grafana 10.2.3 -> 10.3.1
  • Sliding Sync 0.99.14 -> 0.99.15

Service Updates: Server Emails are sent through Exim from now on

Previously, when you ordered the SMTP Relay component we configured it for Synapse only because it was the only real email sender on matrix servers, but as we’ve extended the components we offer, some of them can send emails as well. We’ve reconfigured SMTP integration on all customers servers to use Exim for sending emails, and integrated it with all email-capable components by default

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Discord bridge 0.6.4 -> 0.6.5
  • Element / app.etke.cc 1.11.53 -> 1.11.54
  • Google Messages bridge 0.2.3 -> 0.2.4
  • Reminder bot 0.2.1 -> 0.3.0
  • Prometheus 2.48.1 -> 2.49.1
  • Signal bridge updated pinned commit
  • Synapse 1.98.0 -> 1.99.0

Service Updates: etke.cc SSH Keys Have Been Rotated New keys published on etke.cc/keys.txt , all customers servers were updated to accept the new keys only. That’s an automatic process, you don’t need to do anything

Service Updates: Element’s Identity Server is Enabled By Default

Due to increased support requests regarding Element Web bug that stucks on registration with token and email, we’ve enabled Element’s proprietary identity server by default. That does not mean you are forced to use it; however, there is no other option, as Element Web does not follow the protocol specification and requires an identity server to complete registration with invite token + email

Service Updates: Huge Networking Refactoring

With that update, we’ve redone the networking of the matrix stack to remove unnecessary layers and rearrange private networks to minimize latency and increase throughput of the components. Unfortunately, such significant changes cannot be completely bug free, so there is a chance something may be broken. Thanks to the customers using fresh stability branch and open source community, we ensured the new networking setup works correctly on numerous different configurations!

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Borgmatic 1.8.5 -> 1.8.6
  • Signal bridge updated pinned commit
  • Sliding Sync 0.99.13 -> 0.99.14

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Element / app.etke.cc 1.11.52 -> 1.11.53
  • Etherpad 1.9.5 -> 1.9.6
  • Hookshot 5.0.0 -> 5.1.2
  • Signal bridge new
  • Uptime Kuma 1.23.10 -> 1.23.11

Service Updates: Signal bridge was replaced

Signal bridge has been replaced with the new golang implementation. While the new bridge implementation works as drop-in replacement, you will need to relink your devices after installation. The new bridge implementation doesn’t have an option to link matrix account as primary device (i.e. register with it in Signal)

Service Updates: Signal contact option was removed

Due to the bridge updates mentioned above, we no longer support Signal contact method, all other contacts remains unchanged

#discussion:etke.cc

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Stable Updates Published

  • Hookshot 4.7.0 -> 5.0.0
  • Telegram bridge 0.15.0 -> 0.15.1

Service Updates: New Domains

The following new domains are offered for subdomain orders with no extra fee: matrix.town, matrix.fan, ma3x.chat. You can get your @own:server.matrix.town or @be:a.matrix.fan, or @unusual:name.ma3x.chat

#discussion:etke.cc

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Don't have a Matrix server yet?

We specialize in setup, hosting and maintenance of Matrix and various Matrix & non-Matrix add-ons.
Hosting is on affordable VPS servers provided by us (via Hetzner Cloud) in the EU or US, or on your own infrastructure anywhere in the world.

Let's build your Matrix haven together!

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