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frostfire

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Everything posted by frostfire

  1. Hi Guys, Looking back over the data from years past (as I had to do for the site upgrade test I just completed), I noticed something that I remember from back in '07 but somehow forgot about between then and now. The Pattayatalk calendar can be edited by anyone. In the past it was standard practice for BMs to create an "event" for the time they will be in LOS, so that the calendar view would show to everyone who was in town at a certain period of time. Usually people plan their holidays months in advance, which allowed Martin to see where there were time periods of greater activity. I would really like things to get back to that point again - it would help a ton in organizing meetings and barcrawls. So... a simple request. Please start to use the calendar again, if you don't have a particular reason to keep your trip confidential that is. When the time comes to upgrade, the data will go with us, so nothing will be lost. The calendar also shows birthdays... might come in handy at some point. Assuming people are honest on their profiles. lol. Here is a link: http://www.pattayatalk.com/forums/calendar/ If your curious about what it looked like back when it was being used, click the link above, then click Jump To and select March (or whatever), of 2011 (the longest you can go back for some reason). If it becomes too crowded with data, ill find a way to compress it.
  2. OK, another update. The "background processes" finished about 2 hours ago, making it a total of right around 20 hours to run. Again, we will not need to do that when we port the live site over, but I wanted it to be finished before I did my initial testing. When I first visited the forum after the completion of the processes, it looked... ok. The skin was obviously gone, and I noticed another heretofore invisible (to me) link to agoda that I will need to find and kill (since nobody can ever collect that money lol), but when I tried to log in or visit a forum (browse), I got hit with a 404 error (page not found). Oops. After consulting with Invision, we finally deduced that mod_rewrite was not working for some reason, even tho it was active in PHP... turns out the apache config file needed a small change to allow access to the .htaccess files in order for things to work properly. Now why couldn't the forum detect that little problem? Strange, but fixed. So, I now have a fully working test version of Pattayatalk upgraded to the latest Invision, sans skin. Its naked as a jaybird. But it works. Now the fun part will begin... I need to learn how to skin the bugger to look and feel like the Pattayatalk we all know and love. (or hate. Whatever). This is the process that will likely take a bit of time, since I know fuck-all about skinning and will be learning from scratch with zero knowledge base to work from. But it should not be too tough - we don't have a very complex skin here I don't think. There are some UI changes that will have to happen tho once the upgrade is done, since there are new features that this old version does not have and we will want to take advantage of - but I will attempt to get as much as possible to appear like it does now. For anyone interested, a screenshot of the forum as it is freshly upgraded is below. Also, if I know you personally and/or you are a mod here, and if you want to take a look at the new forums, send me a PM and I will send you a link to it, where your existing user/pass will work to check it out - just don't get it confused with the real one and start posting shit, cause all of that will be deleted at some point :)
  3. With any luck then, this will complete and it will work properly. I suspect the reputation and calendar systems will be intact now too, which leaves the only open issue being the Skin. We have a fairly simple skin I think... but I say that with absolutely no experience in working with skins to back it up lol. My current plan rather than learn the ins and outs of skin design, I am likely going to go to freelancer.com and get someone to create a new skin for me, using the live site as a template. That way it gets done right.
  4. Btw, I do not have the Conversions sub-section that you show there. Perhaps because I have already upgraded... the bottom most section on mine is "Support"
  5. I have been in constant communication with them. They did offer to do it for me, but I felt (and still do) that my learning all of this is essential to the future well-being of the site as a whole, and so I opted to do it all myself. I may bring them in to do the live site upgrade when the time comes, or may not... will see how it goes. This is step one - thats like step 5. :)
  6. My first degree in 1991 (at age 18 - almost 19) was in Electronic Engineering Tech, and my 2nd a year later was in Automation Technology (Robotics its called now I think). I still love hardware, and miss the old school Radio Shack. That place was like walking in to a candy store for me. I still have and use breadboards from time to time to test circuits out, but have not yet found a place in Thailand to buy stuff to make my own boards. Technology has changed a whole lot too, so I likely wouldn't know how anymore lol. Still I used to love doing that stuff.
  7. Ok, So… In other threads I mentioned upgrading PattayaTalk.com to the latest version of Invision Power Board (That’s our forum software). The first step in upgrading such a large site is to set up a test server and clone the site over there, then upgrade the test server completely and fix any issues that arise (recording everything so you can reproduce it easily), and then once its all done and your happy with it, upgrade the live site and fix the same issues hopefully quickly since you have the notes and files from your last attempt. Some of the issues so far I have found interesting, and some of them quite challenging - so I figured I would share in the public area, so that anyone else going down this road may learn a few tricks (searchable via Google) Martin worked on this upgrade for several weeks a while back and eventually gave up. At the time he preferred to do this himself and did not consult me on the technical issues, so the info I got was informal - discussed over beer (or likely in a gogo bar), but I remember him telling me that both the reputation system and the calendar were broken beyond repair after attempting the upgrade, which is the reason the board is still on a several year old version. Another issue was the skin, but again at the time I seem to remember him telling me we could get around that issue. This website is hosted on a Linux server. My experience with Linux until this pretty much consisted of a lot of laughing and eye rolling. As a lifelong enterprise windows developer I have always held a bit of contempt for Linux… not because its useless, but rather because in my view it is way too limiting to be taken seriously in the “Enterprise” world. As I’ve gotten older that belief has softened, but not totally disappeared. I still believe it to be way too limiting for Enterprise use, except in a very narrow area, but I do also realize that there are things Linux does better than windows. One of those things is serving up static websites. The forum is not a static website, obviously, but it is written in PHP, which is another thing Linux does better than Windows - or if not better, than at least with less hassle and overhead. If I were starting this community up from the start I would be tempted to use a .NET based solution instead, so I could customize it to my hearts content using the skills I have honed over a lifetime of professional practice. But, since it already exists - I decided it is time to set my prejudice aside and learn how to properly administer Linux/Apache so that I can properly handle things going forward. So begins this journey to upgrade pattayatalk.com :) So, Martin told me about vague problems with Skins, Reputation System and Calendar. If he had told me the specifics of the problems, we may have been upgraded years ago. But he didn’t, so I had to learn all this myself. So, I got a new server set up with CentOS 7, and since I am a linux newbie, it took me a few days (a hour here and there) to get that installed, configured and working properly. I eventually learned all the “gotchas” of installing linux, mysql, apache and php. Turns out that, like windows, you can’t just pick those from the installer for the OS to pre-install and expect them to work. I ended up having to re-install CentOS 4 different times due to various conflicts, and this last time (which seems to have done the trick), I opted for the “minimal install” with no features added automatically - and then I installed everything I needed manually. The main reason for this was PHP. Picking that from the start installs a old version… 5.4? I forget the exact version, but its 5*. That works for our forum as it is now, but the upgrade needs version 7 - and removing 5.4 and installing 7 caused so many errors that after several hours of trying to fix it, I just reverted and tried again. Lesson: Install minimal and load the versions of each program you need one at a time. I am skipping over all the lessons learned in getting to that point - simply because most linux people will have already learned the same things (like how to use Nano, Sudo, what a wheel is and why you need to plaster one on the bottom of your user account to get around (lol)), locking out root, and what to do when your trusty internet instructions don’t work. (Nano is not installed by default - and installing it requires editing a text file. Which requires Nano. According to one article anyway - another taught me about vi ) All told so far it has been very simple technically, but it is still a new language and while my knowledge of how things work allows a great deal of insight, how things are MADE to work is not always intuitive, and sometimes google is a bit slow in giving up the gold. One other area I will touch on is permissions. Permissions in linux a bit weird from a windows perspective. And SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) is a right pain in the ass. In fact (and all you linux heads keep ur traps shut on this one for now), I ended up just turning off Selinux for the time being on this test server as it was causing way too many issues that just magically went away once I turned it off. I do realize that will not work for us in the long run, but it will for now on this test server so I can get the important parts of the upgrade done. On our live site, I take the time to learn it properly. In fact my favorite go-to training site (https://www.pluralsight.com/) has a course on SELinux that I plan on watching over next weekend, after which ill turn it back on here on the test server and get it configured properly. If any of you are techies and need to keep sharp on areas of technology you are not fully up to date on (and anyone that says there are no such areas is a liar lol), Plural Sight is great. It does cost $300 a year, but its value is far beyond that. I tend to turn on the odd video when I’m working on something else… and while my absorption rate isnt even close to 100%, I do pick up enough to be competent even in areas I have never touched. Well worth the expense for anyone actively working in the software world. You would think since I do use it so often I would have thought to watch a linux basics course of which it turns out they have several. Doh. (Including one called “Deploying a Linux Web Server for Windows Admins”). Double Doh. Well, I did not watch that… but guess I need to now, just to see how stupid I was and how many hours I wasted on google. But then again, I like many other techies before me tend to learn more and faster by hands on, not watching videos. So I don’t consider it a waste of time - just a Doh moment. :) - I also noticed they have one titled “CompTIA Linux+”... I think I see yet another certification in my future, just for the hell of it (if they test that one in bangkok that is - not sure if they do or not). So… at this point we have the forum backup (files) and database installed and working on the test server (able to log in, see posts and admin and nothing obviously broken). I logged in as a standard user, posted a test post, then moderated it, deleted it and the user (as admin), and everything was working - so I made another checkpoint and downloaded the latest forum software and followed the instructions for uploading the proper files to the server and initiating the upgrade process. Now, while I touched on this earlier I will do so again here real fast. The initial screen for the upgrade told me to create a folder named /var/www/html/forums/datastore and make it writable. I found the folder, it already existed, so I checked its permissions and it was already writable by “Apache”, which should have worked. After well over a hour of trying to fix that, I finally gave up and set it to 777 (writable and executable by all, which is a bad thing!) thinking that would at least get things moving… wrong. Still no go. Turns out this was some vague setting inside SELinux. I set SELinux to permissive mode (temporarily), and whoa and behold problem (that problem anyway) solved. At that point I had done so much crap with the folders and files trying to figure out what permissions were hosed (including replacing the owner/group and all permissions on all nested files (recursive) on the whole damn folder), that I decided it would be better to revert back to my last checkpoint so as to make sure permissions were not messed up anywhere. So I did that, and my first course of action was to disable SELinux (lol). That got me to the login screen for the upgrade process. After logging in (admin account), I was immediately hit with a huge wall of red. Error messages galore. Over 300 of them. But… after looking a bit closer I found that all but a handful were related to IP.Gallery, which was still installed and as far as I could see, enabled - but not actively used anywhere, and checking our account online we had not paid for it for a couple years and we did not have a current license. After consulting with Invision, I reverted back to the last checkpoint, turned off SELinux again, then logged in to (the old) admin and removed the Gallery app from IPB. I then uploaded the latest IPB files again, and took another checkpoint before starting the upgrade process again. This time around there were only a handful of issues… but one of them will be a PIA. Most of them were permissions issues - certain folders (about a dozen, maybe 10) that needed to be writable and were not. Easily fixed. One however, was PHP. We had version 5.6 or 5.4 or something like that (I forget the exact version, but it was 5*), and the minimum version for the new upgraded IPB needed 6.something at a minimum, and 7.0.0 recommended. And since we were upgrading anyway, I figured I would get the latest version - 7.0.28. This version required adding a new repository, which after learning how to do was quite simple. Trying to install it on top of the current version failed however. I had to remove the old version first. I did that… then installed the latest version. All went very smooth… (which should have worried me). From that point on and for the next 4 hours nothing I did would make php pages load in apache. Something was seriously broken. After a few hours I simply gave up trying and this is when I deleted all my existing checkpoints and did a new re-install of CentOS with no features added, adding in everything manually instead. Now, at this point it had been well over a week since starting this project (10 days?), but of course not at all full time - just a hour or 3 per day. On this last attempt getting the install done, configured, updated and ready to try again took well under an hour (I’m getting pretty good at this). Kinda reminds me of that time I found and installed a very old copy of The Bards Tale (my favorite Commodore 64 game from WAY the fuck back in the day), but for some reason it just wasn’t quite the magical experience it was before puberty. Funny how that works. (DOS anyone?) So, after all that I was back at square one. But it was very fast getting back to the upgrade wizard this next time, and setting permissions was even faster than last time (it really is very simple), so there we were at step 2: Database conversion. Turns out that IPB v4.+ needs the database to be based on UTF8, and the old one is not. So it needed to do some fairly extensive updates to the database using a tool they provide for the job. The name of the tool is convertutf8 and the main executable is convertutf8/cli.php (I put that here to be searchable by google). This tool is great, but oh so flawed. The first time I ran it in the browser, and after starting it (which makes no sense) it tells me in text at the bottom that if the process hangs repeatedly you can run this in the command line and gave the process to do so. I ignored that for now, trying to keep things simple. It started running… after about 2 hours it seemed to hang, or at least not move forward, but it was very hard to tell because it only updated its status on each table - and the table it stuck on was the Posts table, which has well over a million rows and I would have expected it to take some time. Eventually I refreshed the page, which resulted in a 500 server error. Back to the front page of the upgrade and it was nice enough to tell me that the upgrade to the database was in process and had finished x of x tables, and click here to continue. That was nice. Clicked there… and it was still on the posts table. 1 hour later I got the bright idea to check the server CPU to see if it was busy. It wasn't. (by the way, found a nice external tool called htop that works great in monitoring that). Turns out it was failing (or at least the CPU was dropping off) just a few seconds in to the update. So… I went to the command line version. Oh so much more informative. The CLI version said that a upgrade was in process and did I want to continue or revert and start over. I opted to start over. This time it went faster I think - at least it got to the posts table within 15 minutes, and did not die on it at all - it made it to one of the reputation tables, then it died. It died with this error message (putting it here to be google searchable) fatal error: allowed memory size of 134217728 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 32 bytes) 2 subsequent attempts at restarting this failed at the exact same place. Googling found that this was due to a limitation in PHP settings of 128MB of memory. Well, I have 12GB on the machine, so screw that. Right? I changed the php setting (easy enough to do) to 2048MB, restarted apache… restarted the process… reverted conversion and started from begining (just to make sure)... and poof. Failed with the exact same fucking error message. I confirmed that the change I made to the php settings took (phpinfo anyone?), and spent the next 2 hours trying different things - setting memory_limit to -1, to 4GB and then 10GB… nothing worked. It all failed with the exact same error message, implying that it had a cap of 128MB. So I downloaded a copy of /convertutf8/ and all its various files, and scanned them (text search) to find if it was somehow or somewhere setting the memory value to 128MB manually for the script. Nothing found. So I got to thinking… it must be setting that value somewhere or somehow. So I ran that script again, with verbose logging and let it fail. This time it failed and was nice enough to tell me the exact file and line number the failure was happening on: /var/www/html/forums/admin/convertutf8/system/Db/Db.php line 368 Again, I posted that to make it searchable here. So, looking at that method inside the php file, there were a shitload of for and foreach loops in the method. The methed itself was called “public function preparedQuery( $query, array $_binds )” - so I tried a little “hack” - I added this line to the very begining of that method: ini_set(‘memory_limit’, ‘-1’); That, in theory, should allow the proceeding code to use as much memory as it wanted up to the amount installed on the server. Now I am not a php developer, so I was not very confident, but it turns out that did the trick. Next run the program completed 100% without any error. I am hopeful that anyone having the same issue will find this here as the solution is not to be found on google (well, it is now!). So, after that I returned to the upgrade wizard and was hit with a new error. It was a file missing or corrupt error on: /var/www/html/forums/admin/convertutf8/system/Db/Db.php Lol. So now it decides to get smart. Bastard. I replaced the file I modified with the original, which made that error go away. Checksum’s suck when your trying to hack shit. Just sayin. Next the upgrade process started going thru a process whereby it made changes to the database tables (remember that last bit was just converting to UTF8). This required some commands to be run in the console to prevent long running queries from stopping (nice, now the damn thing gets smart about that), and so on we go thru about a hour of that (about 30 or so manual queries and a shitton of automatic ones). The next error happened on the ibf_cal_events table. This was not a manual code run thing - it was (or tried to be) automated. The error was “0000-00-00 00:00:00” is not a valid Date for field ‘event_end_date’. When it crashed, it gave me the option to "continue". Rather than do that, since this was one of the places Martin said failed so badly, I investigated instead. Tried the command in the command line, same result. I think the command it was running was: Alter table ibf_cal_events drop index approved Again, for google. So, I loaded up phpmyadmin to take a look at the data in the table. Total of about 4500 rows (not so bad). Sorted the data by event_end_date, and immediately noticed that most of the data either had a valid date/time in that field or it was set to NULL. There were, however, about 200 rows where the value was ‘0000-00-00 00:00:00’ - and funnily enough searching for this value in that field failed, since that value is not a valid date time. So rather than screw around with advanced SQL to detect that value without actually detecting it, I just exported the whole table to excel, sorted by that field, selected all the affected event IDs, and wrote custom sql to update those rows with a event_end_date of NULL. That fixed that problem. At that point I restarted the process again and it continued all the way thru to the end this time. Initial upgrade of the board was complete. Ish. Next I logged in to the new admin interface, and right away I really like the look of it. But the first thing on the screen showed a queue of “background tasks for the upgrade” that are taking place, and will finish when they finish. It gives the option to run those now to get them done faster - which I am doing at the moment. Its been running for the last 4 hours, and is not even close to being done. Just upgrading the posts table if it maintains its current speed will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours to complete. That said, the process is proceeding smoothly and so far no more errors. So… there it is so far. The successful upgrade to the forum software, at least on the back end. I have not even looked at the forum yet to see whats wrong with it, but based on what I’ve seen in the upgrade process, I can bet my hat that I successfully fixed all of the errors (except the skin) that plagued Martin. The major SQL related errors were related to the Reputation system and and the Calendar. The 2 areas Martin said were irreparably damaged during his run of the scripts. So while I have not yet looked at the forum, I am fairly confident that those major issues are resolved - and I kept my code and all that in a onenote notebook, so when I go to do the upgrade for real, it will go fairly quickly. For now, I am going to wait for these upgrade processes to completely finish before I do anything else - even before I look at the forum. When I do the real upgrade I will let them run in the background, provided I find no issues once they are done, to prevent the upgrade from taking more than a couple hours. From what I understand these processes are making minute changes to the data for posts and such, and the way it works so I understand is if a post that has not been updated in this way is requested by a user via the main website, the update process is done on that post/object just before it is served to the customer - so running the processes over a period of time while the forum is live will not impact anything. Even so, since this is a test I am going to let it run until its finished before I continue my testing. I am going to post this today and update it as soon as I complete the next step in the testing/upgrade procedure.
  8. Ya.... I don't want to do that. I know there are some of the guys that live here on a very strict budget. While 100b is not a lot of money for most people, It may be to others - and I do not want our events to be about money. Again, I would rather just continue fronting the costs myself if it came to that. We have had a great response to this thread so far tho, with enough to cover several months of costs, so its not critical by any means looking forward. Currently to register and actually see the members section users have to send a email to me, and in the email explain why they want access. These emails were going to Martin until just 3 days before his passing, but since that time I have activated about 20 new accounts, and I have rejected 3 other requests. One because he only wanted the account to sell stuff (I almost let him in, but instead I suggested he join the pattaya selling groups on facebook), and the other 2 because their use of broken English made me wonder if they were Thai nationals (e.g. police), and their email accounts were a bit weird. There are other checks I do as well before letting someone in... and yes I would like to semi-automate that process, and will be looking at ways to do that. ID will not be one of them. Anyone can get a copy of someone's photo ID - you can even find a few on google - and the privacy issue associated with asking for and recording that data is not something I'm interested in. I want it to be easier, not harder, to become a member. Now that said, I will be creating a new group for "Advanced" members at some point, and will be providing multiple pathways to join - such as being known by another known member, or coming on one of the bar crawls or monthly meetings. This advanced section will be totally invisible to people that are not in that group, and will contain anything even remotely "iffy" so that we can relax our grip on the standard members section a bit. To be honest I have no idea what threads there are currently that may be an issue - some trip reports surely, etc. Its going to be a huge job to find and move those... but I'll figure something out on that. I don't expect any of these changes to come fast, but they will come.
  9. Ya... I'm actually pretty good at this stuff... seein' as I've been in I.T. for 25 years :)
  10. Yes and Yes. In short, the reputation system is totally fucked, and so is the skin. Everything else seems ok so far, but I admit I have not dug too deep yet. I work a shitton, so getting time on this is kinda tough - so it will take some time. But I will work thru the issues and fix them one at a time. Current plan then once all the fixes are in place is to try to do a differential database port from the current server to the test server, and if that works, ill clone that server on to new hardware, turn this forum's "maintenance mode" on, port it over, then move DNS and turn maintenance mode off on the other side. But that whole process is weeks away at least as I can only work a few hours a week on it :)
  11. Ok, will tackle both of these one at a time. First, the upgrade. Unfortunately unless we want the board to die a very slow death, upgrading is necessary. This version has not been supported for some time, which means that security patches are no longer being generated for it - but at the same time, just like with any software, more security holes are being found every month. This makes it easier and easier for hackers and spammers to access the board. As it is, we are currently unable to stop them from registering - we get up to 50 new spam accounts registered per day (average about 20 or so), and while we do stop most of them from actually submitting spam, we do not stop all of them - and there will be more and more as time goes on. Eventually someone will figure out how to crack user permission security at which point those new accounts will be able to access all our secure forums - not good! In short, its much better to upgrade, even if that means moving to a new reputation system (which is one of the hurdles) As to Phil at Le Pub, I have not spoken to him about it yet, but based on our past discussions, I am sure it would be no problem. I will make it a point to get out there in the next couple days and have a couple beers talk to him about it.
  12. That is one of the things I am going to find out. It will take some time to get everything sorted. My first priority is to get the board upgraded to the latest version, which looks like its going to be one hell of a big job. I remember talking to Martin about it back in the day when he tried and failed - and I remember thinking... well, shit... if I had the time I could do that pretty fast. lol. Oops. So, I have a test server set up and I did a test port of the database and then did the upgrade, but so many things are broken that its hard to know even where to start fixing them. Then of course I need to keep a log of everything I fix and how it was fixed, and in some cases a file by file list of code changes (for the skin), so I can make those same changes again when I do the live port over for the real upgrade later. Its gonna be a nightmare lol. But I do want to say again... I am not expecting or asking our members to carry the weight of this whole thing like that. I will find a neutral solution such as ads from bars etc. The results we have had already have been awesome. I plan on working on this most of the day today and tomorrow (weekend), and will update again.
  13. Not sure whats up with the bad redirect page. Ill check that out. I suspect it has to do with it being a donation and not a payment - I doubt i programmed my receipt page to deal with that lol. Oops. Butch, I am sure it went thru. At least I did get one yesterday. Later tonight ill go thru and add them to the original post so you can be sure. Frosty
  14. No. Its a gaming thing. Frostfire was my very first gaming character name from when I was about 13. I don't even remember what game to be honest - I know it was AD&D but no idea what module/adventure. Back then my nickname began as "Frosty", and even my family used it. To this day I have RL friends that use only that name - and likely several that do not even know my real name lol. That was all... crap, 30 years ago now.
  15. So just for those interested, I spent most of the day yesterday between learning linux and setting up a test server where I can install the latest IPB and try to upgrade pattayatalk and fix any issues (likely have to re-do the skin). In the process of that, I found the commands I needed to see request metadata and found that there were a number of files being streamed constantly from outside our forum. One was a very large video. After a bit of trial and error, I enacted protections on them (and now all files on the server) that will prevent them from being abused by other websites. This resulted in a HUGE... and I mean absolutely massive decrease in bandwidth and CPU usage on the server, and the pages load noticeably faster now. I suspect that will drop the cost of the server dramatically. One of the videos is a porn video of some sort that must have been posted on a old (circa 2009) post that had been deleted, because I cannot find reference to it anywhere in our database (but it was in the right folder to have been a upload at some point, and its write time was in 2009). Anyway, I deleted that one. That was being streamed by a large number of porn websites as referrers, so I suspect that's where most of the bandwidth was going. Anyway - some good news. Let me know if you see a noticeable page load time difference.
  16. Original post updated with donations to date. Much better than I had hoped, tho I would have much rather seen more people put in less each. I will do my best to enhance the board and make it worthy :)
  17. I've tried unsuccessfully to sign up for 2 of them over the last couple days - both were "down". After doing research I decided against agoda, since many people seem to be complaining that they skim commissions and obfuscate click to conversion statistics. Over the coming weeks I will be looking for things like that tho.
  18. You are right in what it *should* be using. But its not. One of my jobs will be to find out why, eventually. Martin thinks that some of the photos' links got their way in to some other websites over the years. I suspect he is correct. In other words, other forums/sites use images with a URL on this website to save themselves bandwidth. We had a discussion about it some time back, but he could not find a way to isolate that. If this was a windows server I could do it in a minute. I will fix that eventually. But this whole part of the discussion is pretty much moot - I've already purchased a very good server, so getting one elsewhere would be a step backward, not forward. And lastly for the record, I would never put an important website on a shared host of any kind, and rarely on a VPS, unless the traffic was quite small. I know quite a bit about VPSs as I own a fairly large VPS hosting company myself :) (its a niche company, but currently leases several hundred VPSs). I know very well what they can do and what they can't - and a database heavy app like this forum would chug along like a snail under one of them, since there is never enough RAM for proper database caching.
  19. So ya... where to start on this one lol. Those are not dedicated server hosting plans. Those are website hosting plans. 2 problems with that. First off, between the database and the photos (many of which may be able to be deleted martin said, but I have no idea which ones or how to tell), we are using about 1.25TB right now. But the most important aspect of hosting is control. If we host this on a "website hosting" service, they control everything. We have no access to do anything special or set special permissions, etc. Further, the moment some asshat complains that we have pornographic content or "prostitution related material", they cancel the account and we lose the current database etc. Second I do not know of any website hosting plan that allows for 1TB+ - tho I may be wrong about that now since my firsthand knowledge of that is years old. Lastly, bandwidth. We use a absolute fuck-ton of bandwidth. The usual maximum bandwidth allotment for a shared hosting server account is about 5GB/mo. We use at least 50x that amount. As stated in other posts, I am not totally sure what our bandwidth use is at the moment, but I do know an approx. range - somewhere between 300GB and 1TB per month. Shared hosting just does not offer that type of thing. So, a dedicated server it is. And yes, sure, there are dedicated servers running in unknown datacenters in eastern europe where you can get a dedicated machine for $20 a month... so ya, I could lower costs that way. But I won't do that, even if it costs me out of my own pocket. Its a weak option with more negatives than I can list, not the least of which is at any time they could shut down with no notice and all of our data is lost. Cheap hosting services are a dime a dozen, and they go out of business as fast as they start up. Think of them like a beer bar in new plaza. Sure there are a few that have been there for years, but every time you go there's a new one and no sign whatever of the one it replaced. I would never put a server I control in to a situation like that, no matter the content. As for tapitalk, no they do not pay forum owners - at least that I know of. That is something I can check in to - perhaps Martin just did not mention it.
  20. I don't expect all that. Like I said, a little bit here and there will help, but its not required by any means. I knew when I offered to take over costs from Martin that I would take a small hit on it, at least initially. In the past he was leasing a dedicated server. That was most of the cost - bandwidth was only about ~$50 or so per month. I flat out bought a new server for this ($2400 as memory serves) - which is a very modest server as far as servers go (my largest server cost ~$25000), and so my only expense is the bandwidth and maintenance. And like I said before, I really have no idea how much that equates out to each month. I could monitor it, and will do eventually, but I do not currently monitor any of my servers bandwidth usages, aside from a master total at the end of each month (which is how they bill me). I know there are cheaper hosts out there that will give "unlimited bandwidth" for a fixed fee, but I have yet to find one of those that are both reliable and allow truly unmetered access to the pipe. Most of them connect via a CAT-5 cable (100mb/s), which is way too slow for some of my operations - and others have back ends that limit speeds to reduce costs. My servers are all connected directly to multiple providers via 10gb/s fiber, and even if I found another host that would be cheaper, it would be an unmitigated nightmare to try to move all my servers to a new host. I currently have 2 full racks of servers at my host in the US. Anyway - too much geek talk lol. My whole idea here is to partially defray the costs going forward - not looking backward. There were several donations last night - but it seems that paypal is not asking what the board name is? At least that's what one message told me... ill look in to that. Soon as I finish work today I will update the OP with the donations to date, but amounts only unless there is a supporting post about it by the person that made the donation so I know who it was. I do not for obvious reasons want to post the email of the people here, but I will put the amount and date.
  21. It is a payment to a merchant (PayPal), so it is likely considered a material purchase by the credit card company, and will likely work for miles depending on your terms of service. It is not a cash advance, so that fee would not apply. PayPal does charge a percentage, but it is fairly small and comes out of my end, not yours.
  22. As an aside, its the first time I've seen one of those new bills. When I saw it under light I was like... is this real? lol. Looks kinda like monopoly cash I really need to make a trip back to the US soon. I've left Thailand many times over the decade I've been here, but always to nearby countries either with friends or to sort out the odd visa. Never been back stateside. Really hate those long ass flights in coach, and business is just too darn expensive to be worth it. But enough with getting sidetracked - the donation is sincerely appreciated. Now just gotta remember how those exchange booths work
  23. And I don't see a PM from you. You may not have sent it yet. Im quick on the ball today
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