Frequently Asked Questions
A site's "realm" refers to the combined collection of all the operating system files and third party applications present in its CGI/ssh/PHP environment.
Some people want the latest and greatest versions of applications, particularly programming languages, especially while they are developing a new site. Others strongly prefer things stay as stable as possible so they don't have to deal with their site breaking every time a non-backwards-compatible change gets made by some application developer, especially once their site is up and working.
Likewise, security updates always run the risk of breaking things. Some people prefer to receive security updates immediately to minimize the risk of exposure. Other people prefer to defer updates to a time of their choosing, so they can deal with any problems that result, to minimize the risk of downtime.
Because all of these desires are in direct conflict, we provide multiple types of site realms. They are broadly divided into the following types:
We add new stable realms based on the then-current beta realm about every three months. These new realms are stable and reliable, but remain "Upcoming" for about three months to shake out any weird defects or bugs before becoming the current stable realm. Newly-created sites will start in the current stable realm and, by default, when a new realm becomes current, sites in older realms will be automatically migrated to it.
A site's schedule for automatic realm upgrades can be adjusted via the "Realm Updates" setting in the "Config Information" box on the Site Information Panel. This gives you some control over when to upgrade. If you select the "late" update option, we recommend that you upgrade your site's realm manually about every six months to avoid falling too far behind. (The farther behind you fall, the greater the likelihood of problems when you update.) Although rare, compatibility issues are possible, so it's best to do this at a time when you are ready to deal with them.
You can also switch between available site realms, or get a list of currently-supported realms, by selecting "Edit" on the "CGI/SSH Realm" line of the same box.
Caution: This is not a subtle change; if you're logged in to ssh when you change realms, it will attempt to kick you off. It is a little like rebooting. So make sure you have saved your work!