Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

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theanimal
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by theanimal » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:48 am

Jacob posted some updates on facebook. Apparently the site went down this morning and some functions are temporarily and/or permanently lost. Besides the quick links, the search bar is gone too.

jacob
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by jacob » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:54 pm

Bluehost suspended the site without warning at midnight because some of the databases had grown too big.

The database related to the search function was the biggest problem and when I switched that off, active topics went away as well. I'm trying to figure how to recover the active topics, etc. functionality w/o blowing up the database again.

Also, it's no longer possible to comment on the blog (the 20000 spam comments that arrive weekly was the second biggest problem). No big loss there though. That had been coming for a long time.

Tyler9000
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by Tyler9000 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:34 pm

Seems to work now. Thanks, Jacob!

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by jacob » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:40 pm

Might be temporary.

cimorene12
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by cimorene12 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:32 pm

Thanks for turning Active Topics back on. I don't know what I'd do without the search functionality on the ERE forums. Are you going to upgrade ERE's hosting?

Would you consider migrating to a new web host? I personally use GreenGeeks, and they've been nothing but delightful to work with. They're Canadian, and they buy 300% of their energy usage in wind energy credits. Everything online that I've read comparing them pretty much says that they are equal to Bluehost, though.

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by jacob » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:24 pm

I find google to more useful for searches ... the built in version returns too much.

Including site:forum.earlyretirementextreme.com as a search term limits google returns to the forums only.

Spartan_Warrior
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:19 am

As a user of Bluehost, I'm dismayed by this situation. Not that I have to worry about exceeding any limits any time soon, but still. Bad business. Are these database size limits even publicly available?

Blog comments I won't miss and search I can do without, but Active Topics, I'd rather not lose. Is it possible to reduce the database size, e.g. by deleting all posts with no new replies in X years, etc? PhpBB may even be equipped to cull old posts automatically. I don't know SQL databases well enough to know if that would even solve the problem, and obviously it would entail the loss of some information (and SEO), but given the choice, personally, I'd rather lose old posts than lose functionality on the forum. There's always the wiki to store the nuggets of wisdom from the forum that deserve to live into posterity. Just a thought.

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by bigato » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:41 am

Hey Spartan,
Sql size is not the problem. They were complaining about load on the server: since it is shared we were affecting our neighboors that are in the same server. That most likely happened because of spambots attacks. We made some changes that hopefully will prevent that, but I am still looking into it.

GandK
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by GandK » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:46 am

Spartan_Warrior wrote:...but given the choice, personally, I'd rather lose old posts than lose functionality on the forum. There's always the wiki to store the nuggets of wisdom from the forum that deserve to live into posterity. Just a thought.
Agreed. Maybe we can automatically delete posts older than X. Or maybe those in all the forums except money/finance, journals and reference... the places where we'd expect long term information to be.

The star icon is gone now, I see (the one that tells you which threads you've posted in before).

Edit: thanks for all your work, @bigato!

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:21 am

Yeah, thanks for working on this, Bigato. Definitely seems like blog comments and forum search would be the most vulnerable to spambots, DDOS attacks, etc. I assume only forum members can use the search function? I'd just jack the minimum search interval up to 60 seconds or so and let everyone know the Google search hack. It might also be possible to disable search completely, and use a different forum skin to achieve the functionality of "view active topics". Just spit-balling here; I know even less about reducing load on a server than I do about reducing a database.

Still seems low of Bluehost to respond the way they did, especially if this was related to something like a one-time spambot or DDOS attack. Hell, even if the overall average server load is just too high, seems like closing the website without warning is a stupid way of letting a customer know.

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by bigato » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:25 am

No, old posts are not a problem.
The "star icon" that you refer to, I think you mean the bookmarking functionality? I had disabled it, I restored it now.
Well GanK, it's not a lot of work, but unluckly for me I am not retired and these things tend to break right when you do not have time.

And by the way, contrary to you guys, I'd rather loose all functionality other than the most basic, instead of loosing realiability and speed. Luckly for you guys, doing that the way I want would require writing my own forum software, and that would take a lot of time that I do not have now. Maybe one day I will try to crowfund money for writing such a software, but I do not believe that promising to deliver a software that won't have any features other than the most basic would generate much interest from people.

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by bigato » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:06 am

Yeah Spartan, I also disliked bluehost approach.

Blog comments are disabled now, and forum search uses a new much faster method of indexing now, but also has those time limit protection, specially for people who are not logged in. Disabling search completely in phpbb is not possible without loosing some other functionality. That's not very intelligent from them, but software in general tends to get worse with time as it acquires more functionality :(

It would be possible to have google search when someone types something in the search box, but that would require installing extensions or changing templates and I do not want to do that for reasons I explained in posts above.

I do not like the direction php is heading for. When I migrated the software, it was the best option available and it probably still is, but it is getting worse. At that time, loading the initial page of the forum was fast, taking something like 500 ms. Now it takes like 3, 4 seconds, sometimes more. It worsened after we upgraded to the 3.1 version with all of its new features. Unluckly I do not see any hope anywhere else; it just tends to get worse with time. Solving this would require to write my own forum software, and I am sure we would be able to withstand lots more traffic with a lot less server power, also meaning very cheap hosting. But I do not have such free time. Other than that, Jacob is considering upgrading the hosting plan, but I told him that I still want to make sure that's the better solution. If it becomes obvious that the hosting provider is the problem I will find a better one, but so far I am still looking into the problem.

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jennypenny
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by jennypenny » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:46 am

You can't see who's online anymore. Just FYI.

I used to moderate a forum that used IPB and I don't remember many issues or complaints.

henrik
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by henrik » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:27 pm

Active topics seems to work now, but the icon beside the post title that used to take me to the first unread post in the thread now takes me to the first post in the thread. Seems like the personal history of what's been read is gone? It's not a big problem at the moment, just so you know.

slsdly
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by slsdly » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:26 pm

I remember SMF to be decent forum software back in the day with conversion tools from phpBB and seems to still put out releases. Mind you, it was 10 years ago I used it mind you :).

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by cimorene12 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:35 pm

slsdly wrote:I remember SMF to be decent forum software back in the day with conversion tools from phpBB and seems to still put out releases. Mind you, it was 10 years ago I used it mind you :).
MMM uses SMF, and he's had problems with server load.

I like IPB a lot, since I go to a board that uses it multiple times a day. Clicking through JennyPenny's link, I saw that it's relatively simple to migrate from phpBB to IPB. It looks a bit expensive, though.

theanimal
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by theanimal » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:52 pm

MMM also has a TON more visitors, participants etc. his site/forums. A few of his sub-forums have more topics/posts (on their own) then this whole forum here. If it works most of the time there, then I'd have to guess it'd do pretty well here.

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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by bigato » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:22 pm

I know how these things works inside their guts guys. That's why I do not trust them. None of them. PHPBB is pretty good compared to them. It is the forum with the most numbers of installs world-wide, and it also hosts the forum with the biggest number of posts per day (one million). Thing is, these guys pay expensive servers and have whole teams of professionals dedicated there. They have headaches, but they deal with them. My point is, I do not want these headaches and I do not believe that any software in the market will do better than this one (unless I am missing some of them) in this regard. I won't migrate to something else just to try it out, because I would still be responsible for maintenance. If someone wants to take over it, has the time and skills, and Jacob agrees, I'm perfectly fine with it. While that doesn't happen, I ask that you guys be patient that I will do the best possible to keep the forums working smoothly.

GandK
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Re: Various forum issues: Signatures, Board Index, ...

Post by GandK » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:35 am

Wow... what forum has one million posts per day?!


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