Wednesday, 30 December 2009

We are down... Looking into the why & wherefore shortly

There's not much point in looking for reasons in the first few minutes of an outage, as it's often caused by transient problems, so just sit tight and I'll update this post once it's back up, or I know what the score is.

UPDATE 14:14:  Could be something a bit icky, as our host's sites are also affected.  That sounds more like an internet issue that's preventing "us" getting to the server on which we're hosted, which probably means we'll need to be patient.  If something pops up later, I'll let you know.

RESOLUTION: It was a problem with the UPS, which somehow tripped their switches, leaving a big bunch of servers without power.  It took a little while to get access to reset them, but they managed to get it up & running again in a couple of hours.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Britmodeller is moving

Hi guys,

BM was scheduled to move to a new server early this morning (around 8:30am), and it looks like it's taking longer than anticipated - what IT project doesn't?

Grab a coffee, do some modelling, or God forbid do some work, but keep checking to see if we're back.  I've put in a call to IT who have confirmed I'm right, and there is a little wider network disruption that's also slowing them down.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Can't Access Britmodeller?

If you're getting a persistent "website not found" type error, could you leave a comment on this blog entry with your Britmodeller username, and I'll get in touch with IT support & get you back on the site.

If you can remember the last thread you visited before you got locked out, could you also include that in your report please.  Thanks :o)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wobbly again

Hello folks.  Looks like the server's having a wobble again... it could be our hacker back trying to make our life difficult, or an issue with the new server we're on, which thinking about it is entirely likely while a new server "beds in".  Be patient ;o)

Friday, 23 October 2009

5,4,3,2,1.... We're back in the room!

After a lot of hard work by our hosts, we're back online, which is nice :o)

There may be some continued disruption if the hacker is still up to no good, so bear with us... meantime, you can now stop doing the models, and get back to talking about doing models... Hmmm....

Well done to everyone for keeping yourselves amused while we were down, and thanks very much to our hosts for their hard work.

We'll be moving the domain name of the blog to a custom domain over the next few days, so if you lose the blog from your current link (I'm not sure if you will or won't), just re-direct yourself to - this isn't live at time of writing, but should be within 3 days of this post.

Happy camping ;o)

Not much to report yet today...

I thought I'd better say hello, even though there's not much to report at this stage today.  I've spoken to our hosts again, and the net closes in on the hacker(s).

I'm hoping that we'll be back online at some point today, but it's obviously in the hands of our hosts, so I can't be 100% certain, as even with the best will in the world, IT projects rarely run to schedule.  If the site comes up and is a bit wobbly, that'll basically be down to the hacker still trying to take down the server.

I'll try and update this later today if the site's still not up, but I have a hozzy appointment so might be a bit erratic in responding to emails etc.

Thanks for the messages of support etc. that have been trickling in... much appreciated. :o)

UPDATE: IT support have just confirmed that we should go live again today.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Update on server downtime

The server won't be fixed tomorrow (Weds 21/10/09), but we have more information about the possible attacker now, so we're hoping to get the forums back up by some time Thursday. Just keep yourselves busy and maybe do a bit of modelling... and surely not having the forums to distract you means you can work on your Group Build projects all the more?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Hack attack?

Hi everyone,

I've just been contacted by our hosts as they're currently investigating a suspected hack attack on the forums. They've turned off the forum software temporarily while they trace the issue, so please bear with us.

More news later :o)

Update: You should now be getting a 403 error, as the site's been taken offline by the hosts to prevent it crashing the server cluster we're on. The selfish actions of one hacker is affecting several thousand websites when BM is taken down, as it crashes the whole cluster.

Keep watching this space for updates.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Intermittent service

It seems BM is up & down like a whore's draws as of about 10 minutes ago, and I can't get on at all. I know the chaps are doing some background work to some of the servers, including some new ones onto which we're hoping to migrate, so please bear with us. Keep hitting F5 every few minutes if you're desperate for your fix ;o)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Downgrading seems to have worked

I think IPS are very busy fixing people's forum software, so as it's now been 7+ hours, I re-uploaded the previous version of the forum software, and hey presto, it seems to be working.

Sorry for the messing about today folks... I hope you weren't TOO productive! ;o)

EDIT: I now know what the problem was, so I can begin to work on a solution for the next time I try.

Upgrade kills forum software

I've just uploaded the update files for the latest version of our forum software, and it seems to have killed the forums - how is beyond me! I've put an urgent support request in to our tech support folks, and we'll have it back up & running as soon as possible.

I've been putting off the install for just such reasons, as it invariably causes some problems, but it just goes to prove that there's no such thing as a "good time" to do the updates. Looking on the bright side, at least most of your are at work, and can get some work done for the day instead? just remember not to do too much as they might get suspicious! lol

Keep checking back through the day - I'll keep this entry updated with progress (or lack thereof).

Sorry for the inconvenience! :o(

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Page Not Found errors

We seem to be experiencing the occasional page not found (404) error at the moment, in a seemingly random manner. This results either in a blank screen, or a message from the browser telling you it couldn't find the website. Pressing F5 (refresh) usually clears the issue & displays the page properly.

I've contacted our support people & will post again when a resolution is found.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

IPS Driver Errors

It seems that the IPS Driver errors haven't gone away over night, so I've contacted tech support for a resolution. These errors are caused when the database that holds all the forum data (posts, avatars, statistics) doesn't respond to the website's request for pages within a given timeframe.

While I'm waiting for a response from support, I'm going to optimise the tables, in case one has got a little corrupted.

UPDATE: The server has been re-started, which seems to have cured the issue from this end.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Instability of the database server 19/06/2009

The database server seems a little preoccupied tonight, so please bear with us if you're receiving the IPS Driver error. Click the little try again button to refresh your request.

Please though... if your post doesn't seem to be doing anything the first time you click "Submit", don't keep clicking away, as this will queue duplicate posts & make you look silly, whilst creating work for the over-stressed moderators.

Monday, 18 May 2009


IT Support have identified & closed down a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that has been so stealthy in its execution that it took this long to track it down. Basically, someone (for want of a better word) has been tying up our host's resources with spurious requests, effectively stealing bandwidth from genuine users like our goodselves. The consequence of this was slow responses when you request a page, time-outs, and the good old 404 error - page not found.

Now that this has been thwarted, you should have noticed a distinct improvement to service since mid evening yesterday. I know I certainly have :o)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

False Alarm

It seems that the replacement of one of the airconditioning compressor & updating of their DNS server software wasn't entirely successful, and we're still suffering from VERY patchy service. Rest assured that we're working on resolving it with our hosts, who are just as keen to sort this out as we are. They take their hosting business very seriously, and this sort of service isn't acceptable to them, and I might add, not typical of the service I've had from them in 7+ years of using them.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Brown outs

No - it's not a political rant :oS Our hosts have some faulty equipment that's causing loss of service for up to ten minutes at a time, while the server re-boots. They've only just found this out (I suspect from my frequent reports to them), so are scheduling a maintenance window to fix it as soon as they can.

If you hit refresh & nothing comes up, go make a coffee & it should be back online shortly. Hopefully this will be sorted shortly.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Checking if the site is down

If you're not sure whether you are suffering your own personal internet hell, or if everyone else is suffering with you, this site's as good as any for finding out:

Enter the domain name & it tells you whether it's just you, or not. Simple!

Service distruption

Hello again... it's getting disturbingly regular, this blog, isn't it?

Looks like our Hosts are having a major outage again, along the same lines as their last one. Their whole universe is down, and not just Britmodeller. I'll let you know if it looks like it's going to take time to resolve in due course.

What a lovely birthday present for me! :oS

UPDATE: It seems it's a hardware issue, and they're looking into ways of solving their problems with a new transit provider & new routers. Hopefully this disruption we've been having of late may soon be over. :o)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Normal service?

Good afternoon campers. I finally got to bed around 2am last night, after rebuilding the template that wraps all the forum in pretty graphics - called Skins by the technophiles. I have had a member of IPS's tech-support check through the whole of the forum's airspace, and they assure me that there's nothing untoward there now, and think that I'd probably fixed it before they got there.

A number of people are still reporting greeblies on their anti-virus/spamware software, and I suspect that's down to the persistency of their caches. If in doubt, clear your browser's cache, and delete all the temporary internet files. That should purge anything 'orrible that's still lurking.

I would also counsel that everyone that's had an issue runs a virus scan of their systems as a precaution, and checks any spamware/malware programs they have installed. I use SpybotSD, so if you don't have a suitable program already installed, it might be worth a look at that one.

I've been mooching round the forums for an hour or two now without any further issues, so if you're still suffering, clear your internet files down & try again. If you're still getting nasties after that, report it on the thread and we'll keep looking for possible sources of "infection".


I suspect we've been hacked by someone, and we're getting a lot of issues with pages not loading correctly, sometimes not loading at all, and occasionally getting a re-direct, or some kind of spoof "anti-virus software" telling you that you have problems with your PC, and you need to download some software.


We're in touch with our hosts, and have lodged a ticket with our forum software provider to resolve this issue, but until that time, things might be a little unpredictable. please bear with us, don't download anything, and keep your anti-virus and anti-spam software updated. Just cos you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you!

I don't need to regail you with my thoughts on hackers. You know what I think of them.

It's 1:48am, and I'm going to bed. :(

Sunday, 3 May 2009

...and we're off again. Doh!

I'm saying nothing for a while now. Bloody internets!

Allez oop! We're back up again.

Looks like the problem has cleared now, and you should be able to view the forums as normal. Happy days, but it'll mean a downturn in modelling... bugger!

Oooh, cor blimey! Someone's broken the internet!

We've been without any service for the majority of the day today, due to a major network outage affecting every aspect of our host's activities. Even their support site is down, and if it wasn't for their blog, we'd have no clue what's going on.

I'm afraid that patience is the watchword here, so just sit back, twiddle your thumbs, talk to your family (remember them?) or go outside & take advantage of the remaining sunshine. Tomorrow's going to be raining cats & dogs in my neck of the woods, so it's an indoor day - typical Bank Holiday, eh?