End of April Technology Update

Sam HorowitzI’m going to begin writing monthly updates on major technology projects at IWS. Here’s what the Technology department accomplished in April.

Admissions Improvements

We made several streamlining improvements in the Admissions area of the website. Anytime we previously linked to our online application, we now have the application embedded directly on the page in what’s called a modal popover. We used this same process for the Admissions Contact form. Those links now make contacting our Admissions staff or starting an application easier than ever!

Automated Recurring Donations

If you’ve ever wished you could automate the process of donating to the school by credit or debit card, then you’ll be happy to learn we now offer that service directly on our website! Regular checks are still the most cost-effective way for us to process donations, but we know that donating by Visa or MasterCard is far more convenient for many of our donors. If you’d like to “set it and forget it” take a look at the new . You can give any amount at any interval from 1-12 months and even choose which day of the month you prefer (if you’d like to give according to a different schedule, Dianna Andrews in the school office can help with that over the phone).

Spam Prevention

We use several technologies to prevent legitimate messages being marked as spam. Two of those are DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework). This month, we made several improvements to these services so that more mail is being expressly marked as not spam (Moodle messages, certain credit receipts, seminar registrations, and the like).

Web Server Migration

Our web server host, Linode, offered us a massive upgrade for free. We migrated to a brand new, state-of-the-art cloud-based server with just 15 minutes of downtime on Good Friday.

Hacking Defenses

Two major hacking attempts on our website this month (neither was successful) helped us tweak our defenses quite a bit. Suspicious activity is now more automatically brought to my attention and I forward those reports to the Service Providers of the persons responsible for these attacks. Fail2ban has been tremendously helpful in that work.


Encrypted browsing over SSL is now possible for any page on the IWS website and strictly enforced on payment pages. This is necessary because of adjustments we made to our credit card processing for donations and the new recurring donation page.