Desktop Software, Registrar APIs and Whitelisting IP Addresses

Many registrar APIs require that you whitelist the IP addresses from which you connect. This is a problem if your ISP provides only dynamic IPs. Every time you want to import data from a registrar you will have to find your current IP address, add it at the registrar and wait for it to be whitelisted. At some registrars the whitelisting could take upto 30 minutes.

The solution

You can use your website to host an opensource registrar API script from CodePunch Solutions and then use it from Domain Punch Pro and Watch My Domains to fix this problem permanently. Your website will have a permanent IP address and you can easily whitelist it at your registrar.

Download and install the whois api client script on your web server and white-list your web server IP address at the registrar. Then specify the URL to the web client as shown in the screen-shot above. Include the required authentication parameter (&k=xxxx or ?k=xxxx) as part of the URL.

CentOS 7, SELinux and Watch My Domains SED

Installing Watch My Domains SED on a CentOS system with SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) enabled often requires some extra work.

The Log Folder

Watch My Domains SED requires that the log folder is writable by apache. For this to work you will have to properly set the security context and ownership for the folder.

By default the log folder is at the root of the base installation. If you are installing the application at /var/www/html/wmdsed40, the log folder will be /var/www/html/wmdsed40/logs. You can ofcourse change the location of the log folder by editing the config.php file.

To make the log folder writable you will have to run

chown apache:apache /var/www/html/wmdsed40/logs
chcon -t httpd_sys_rw_content_t /var/www/html/wmdsed40/logs -R

The first command will set the owner of the folder to apache and the second will set the security context so that the folder is readable and writable by apache.

If you set the log folder outside of wmdsed40, you will also need to set httpd_sys_content_t for it.

Changing DocumentRoot

Installing the application to a folder different from the default /var/www/html requires more changes. For example, to install to /home/wmdsed/wmdsed40 you would do…

chcon -R --reference=/var/www/html/ /home/wmdsed/wmdsed40 
chcon -R -t httpd_sys_content_t /home/wmdsed/wmdsed40/ 
semanage fcontext -a -t httpd_sys_content_t "/home/wmdsed/wmdsed40(/.*)?" 
setsebool -P httpd_enable_homedirs true 
chmod 755 /home/wmdsed/wmdsed40

You will have to edit /etc/httpd/httpd.conf and change the DocumentRoot settings. You should also make the log folder writable by apache as mentioned in the previous section.

Net_DNS2

It is a good idea to install Net_DNS2 so that advanced DNS monitoring is possible. You can do this by installing php-pear.

yum -y install php-pear 
pear install Net_DNS2

Setup Cron

Though this is not related to SELinux or CentOS, remember to setup the cron immediately after you install the application. This is essential for the default tables to get initialized.

Verify Installation

You can run the basic diagnostic tool by opening

https://<installpath>/verify.php

in your browser. For example, if your installation is at example.com/wmdsed40, you should open

https://example.com/wmdsed40/verify.php

Watch My Domains SED v4 and User Access Levels

Did you know that you can precisely control which columns a user can view in Watch My Domains SED v4 ?

You can specify an access level (from 0-8) to every domain data column in Watch My Domains SED v4. You can also specify an access level to every user. Columns with level-0 can be accessed by all users, but columns with higher access levels can only be accessed by users with the same or higher access levels.

All administrative users have a default access level of 24, which means they can access all columns. It is possible to use the API to expand the access levels to 32 instead of the default 0-8 supported by the user administration interface.

Watch My Domains SED v4, Command Line Tool

Watch My Domains SED v4 includes a command line tool that can be used to manage the database, check email settings and reports etc. This will be expanded in future to include additional features.

The tool is available as sed.php in the root folder. Run

php sed.php

to see the available options.

For example,

php sed.php list=tables

will list all the tables in the database.

php sed.php mailtest=contact@example.com

will run an email test if you have configured the email settings in the interface.

DNS Monitoring in Watch My Domains SED v4

The new Watch My Domains SED v4 (currently in beta) has a number of new options that make DNS monitoring of your domains and hosts very easy.

You can enable DNS monitoring and alerts from the settings panel. You can also specify alternate name servers to use for DNS checks.

If your DNS provider supports zone transfers (AXFR) you can use it to get the DNS data directly from your provider. Please see DNS Monitoring using AXFR.

Reports in Watch My Domains SED v4

The reports module in new Watch My Domains SED v4 (currently beta) allows you to combine domain data columns, DNS records and SSL data into the same table, sort them in any order you want and then create HTML and CSV reports.

Watch My Domains SED has a set of important reports already pre-configured. You can create any number of additional reports on your own using the administration module.

Creating and Configuring Reports (Admin Module)

You can download Watch My Domains SED v4 beta from here. A user guide (under development) is also available. This is being updated.

Oracle and MS SQL Server Support in Watch My Domains Server / Cloud Edition

We will be adding Oracle, MS SQL and PostgreSQL database support in Watch My Domains SED very soon. Currently Watch My Domains SED supports only MySQL / MariaDB.

This may be a good time to upgrade to the latest version 3, if you are using version 2 or purchase the latest version if you are planning to do so in the near future because there could be some price revisions after the changes.

Watch My Domains SED

Preserve Historical Whois Data in Watch My Domains SED / Cloud

Watch My Domains SED will normally overwrite the previous whois data in the database with the new one  when a new lookup is performed. However, it is possible to preserve the old data. To do this add the following to the config.php file.

$config_data['enable_data_history'] = "whois";

Make sure that you have the latest build.

After you do this, the whois data will be logged along with the time-stamp to the history data table in the database. Both registrar and registry whois are saved. You can then use the Details tab in the lower pane to access the old whois records.