Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Oops!

Sorry folks - I've broken it.  I ran an optimisation tool after the update, and I'm afraid it toppled the server over.  Oh the calamity! :S I've put in a request to reboot it, and will run the optimisation from our server instead once we're back up, then recount and rebuild everything.

Bear with me while I resolve it :)

The server is back up - running a repair/optimisation of the main tables, and then I'll try again :)

EDIT:  The problem was caused by a few of the new files I uploaded getting corrupted on their way - we'll blame BT for that - and resulting in a forum that worked, but only just.  All the fancy stuff like dynamic pages, fly-out menus and such were broken until we re-uploaded the file set, and after a hard-refresh of your browser things should now be normal. :)

To Hard Refresh your Browser
To speed browsing, Browsers cache commonly used files, which reduces the download on a page that shares files and code with other pages you have been viewing.  That's cool until the page is updated to clear a bug or similar, when a hard-refresh of everything on the page becomes necessary.  To do that, Press CTRL+F5 in Firefox & IE, CTRL+SHIFT+R in Chrome, and Opt+Cmd+E for Safari in Mac

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

It makes the time go SO sloooowlllyyyyy....


We're having the occasional incidence of the forum software going mental and hogging all the bandwidth and memory, which we're working on with support to try & fix.  It's happening around once a week at the moment, lasting only a few minutes at a time.  As I write this though, it seems to be coming out of the grand mal, but is still a little slow.  It should shake it off soon, and rest assured we're working to try & get it sorted ASAP.  It's preventing me from posting a review at the moment!

UPDATE: Some server settings have been changed to prevent overloading, so now we watch and wait.

UPDATE II: The server has gone down due to a crisis in faith.  Tech Support are on it, and we're hoping to have it back up again shortly after a good talking to.

UPDATE III: The server has gone down again, but luckily(?) just after we enabled some logging options to give us a clue as to why it is happening.  Fingers crossed we'll get some info back from it when it is rebooted.

UPDATE IV: We're spotting a pattern in the timings of these crashes, and have made our hosts aware.  As soon as we can we'll reboot the system and begin diagnostics.  I'll be turning off the board for a few minutes to repair the open tables, so don't worry if some minor settings get changed or something goes missing.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Not sorry at all!

Hello everyone.  I thought I'd just get in touch to say that the move to the new server has resulted in excellent stability, so we've not really had any need to make any posts.  good news for our members, but not so great for the blog's post count.  Like I'm worried about that! :)

I've added an extra link in the handy links section to the right, which takes you directly yo Google's checking page for malware.  As well as the well known Google offering, there is also still the unmaskparasites and securi sites, which are independent companies that provide a free check in the hope that you'll purchase services from them if your site is found to be infected.

So no news is good news on this blog, and long may that continue.  Come and join us for a chat on Britmodeller anytime, and if you enjoy the site, we could certainly use your help by way of a donation to keep the site's new server going :)

Hopefully we won't see you soon over here though ;)

Friday, 1 March 2013

New beginnings

Sorry that I've not updated the service blog for a while, but I've been a bit busy with the site itself, so forgot.  Anyone that knows me will know that I have possible the worst memory in the history of... something.  I forget.

Anyway.  Toward the end of last week our existing web server became unstable to the point that it was hanging every few minutes, giving us no chance to do anything other than curse as it crashed yet again.  By the end of the weekend, we shut down the web server completely to keep the FTP and database server processes up long enough for us to draw down all the site and database data.

We have struggled with support at times with this server and seem to have had more than our fair share of bad luck with faulty hardware and mysterious software problems that took a while to resolve, so decided to decamp to another host that has their servers in a main datacentre, has 24/7 support and can afford the time to listen to our pseudo technical ramblings when something goes wrong and we don't know enough to fix it ourselves.

We chose a managed server with dual Xeon processors totalling 8 cores, plenty of the latest DDR3 RAM, a large RAID1 hard drive (two drives mirrored for fault tolerance) with a another local backup drive, and a wide pipe to the backbone via the datacentre it resides in.

Our new server was commissioned within a few hours of placing the order, and I began finding my way around it.  Tech support were great, helping where needed, and it wasn't long before I was uploading the database to the MySQL server.  It's a big file, so it took a while from my poxy DSL connection, and during that time I was also downloading the approximately 5gb of files from the old broken server.  As soon as the forum software had finished uploading, I fired up the forums on the .net domain name, to see if they'd splutter into life.  After a few false starts, and some changes to the settings on our new server, we were up & running after a fashion, so myself and some of the reviewers ran through some unscientific tests, posting hither & thither, testing features etc.  After a while, we decided that the best test would be to open the doors and let everyone know via Facebook and Twitter.  We've got a fair following on both, so we quickly had folks trooping in.

As I write this, some people can access the forums via the .com name, while some have to go in by the .net name.  That's because I altered the DNS records late in the afternoon, and depending on where your ISP is on the DNS hierarchy, it can take up to 24 hours for it to propagate.  That's one of the reasons why I usually choose Google's DNS server (8.8.4.4) as one of my DNS servers when I'm setting up my router.  Higher up the tree ;o)

By later today (1st march 2013) the DNS should have propagated for most if not all of us, so I'll switch the server to the .com name, although you'll still be able to access us by the .net, .co.uk or .com names if you'd like to.  The Address Bar will revert to .com when you click on the first link anyway, so you might as well type in .com in the first place.

A long(ish) story, and a few people to thank.  Our previous hosts were great, but Britmodeller just grew too large for their expertise, as the recent Malware incident showed.  I'd also like to thank the "staff" of Britmodeller for their support during this process, and finally to the membership for being patient, and for being one of the main reasons that Britmodeller continues to be the fun place it is.

Mike.

Monday, 25 February 2013

It's never quite that straightforward...

As usual with IT, things aren't always cut-and-dried. This is how our current server is at the moment. we are struggling to get it to stay up and our hosts are scratching their heads as well. With this in mind, we have begun the process of looking for a new server with a more robust and professional specification. It's early days with that, but we're going to be working on that in the background with a view to bringing it on-steam at the earliest practical (and sensible) time.

In the meantime, we'll try to keep the current server upright as much as possible, but the final switchover will definitely require some downtime in order that we don't lose any data, or any of your pearls of wisdom.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ongoing dramas

We're having trouble with the server's HDD filling up with logs at the moment, and sadly, our hosts don't seem all that concerned about it.  We're trying to sort out the issue in the short term, but are actively looking for a long term solution now.

Bear with us. :)