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Forum and Wiki Downtime


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#1 Westeros

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

Just a note to explain some of the issues the server has been having over the last two days. As you probably know, the TV show leads to spike in traffic that lead to intermittent outages. We have slowly been working to reduce the frequency of these. However, yesterday a new problem cropped up: msnbot spiders were slamming the server with hundreds of requests per second. If you Google, you’ll see that this is a common problem that other webmasters have had to deal with for their own servers, but it was a new experience for us. Today we thought we had mostly fixed the problem… only to have something new crop up, which may be connected to potential hardware failure. We’re doing the best we can to work around it, as this holiday weekend isn’t ideal for getting hardware problems fixed.With any luck, we’ll have things fixed up all right soon, or at least by the time of episode 2 of Game of Thrones, which airs on Sunday. We very much apologize for this inconvenience—as you can imagine, it’s an inconvenience for us as well, as we’re spending a lot of our holiday trying to get it fixed—and hope to have it sorted out as soon as possible.

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#2 Ran

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

One of the issues appears to be related to IPB's new archiving function. We had hoped that archiving would significantly speed up query-speeds... but unfortunately, the process of moving topics into archival state demands a lot of CPU time. Each time the automated task triggered, everyone visiting the forum would tip the server over the edge.

We've turned off archiving. We'll probably try to purge or archive a significant portion of the forum -- well over a million posts in 31,000+ topics aren't really necessary -- after the TV show is done, when load will fall back to normal levels.

#3 Werthead

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

Is there anything that can be done from a financial standpoint? It seems that the board has simply grown to a point where more hardware or infrastructure is required, and if there are cost issues I'm sure a board pledge drive or Kickstarter could be organised which would raise the necessary funds in a short space of time.

#4 Ran

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:58 PM

Last week it looked to us like we were really getting on top of the problems and smoothing out the experience a fair bit. This weekend has been a holy terror, though, and we're still not exactly sure of why. We've some support requests in with IPB to try and figure out if the upgrade to 3.3 is somehow involved.

#5 Linda

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:20 AM

The problem with getting a better server is that the server is leased from the hosting company by our host. Any upgrades mean an increased monthly cost, not a one-off investment. The server would have to be moved to being an owned, co-located server instead and for various reasons that has not been possible.

#6 Sparks

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

To clarify one thing, the options the colocation center offers are as follows:

1) Your own hardware, where you just lease the rack space and buy bandwidth for the server,
2) Leased hardware, which includes the rack space and bandwidth (at a much cheaper rate than just leasing the space and buying the bandwidth).

I used to do #1, and when the server there started to die, I moved to doing #2 to save money. There was talk a while ago about moving to self-owned hardware again, but given the current bandwidth use for the site that solution and the difference in bandwidth prices (or rather, the fact that we squeak in under the free-included-bandwidth-usage with a leased server) would make the just-buy-bandwidth approach actually more expensive than leasing is.

What would make *more* sense is adding another server and allowing the wiki and forums to load-balance across them, but that's 1) a very complex setup for someone who does this in their spare time, and 2) adding an entire other server to the mix is not cheap. Linda and Elio do the yearly donation drives, which are awesome, but it's worth noting that the yearly drive usually covers 4-5 months of the hosting costs; I cover the rest of the year out of my own pocket. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

Edited by Sparks, 09 April 2012 - 02:59 PM.


#7 iheartseverus

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:46 PM

Is there anything that can be done from a financial standpoint? It seems that the board has simply grown to a point where more hardware or infrastructure is required, and if there are cost issues I'm sure a board pledge drive or Kickstarter could be organised which would raise the necessary funds in a short space of time.


/agree.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':agree:' />

I'm sure I speak for many of our members that a quarterly, instead of yearly, pledge drive would be just fine, no problem. This is our 'home,' our go-to place for every new episode, every new bit of news--and hopefully, it will be for years to come. It's maddening to want to be all involved in the discussions, discoveries, impressions, laughs and rants, but... can't, because, well, the board's down... again.

Not trying to jump in as any kind of expert, here, I don't even understand what you guys are explaining--just saying, as a member who loves this place, if money's the issue, tell us, we'll be there.

#8 Sparks

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

As I mentioned in another thread, I finally threw in the towel and tore down the system setup today; we've built a new variation using completely different software. Half of it is mutant stuff I'd written to use on work servers at my day job, so... Lord of Light and Seven smile on us.

So far, things seem to be more solid for the most part, though Ran and I have been chasing weird little quirks for a bit; I think we nailed them all, but keep an eye on things for a bit.

#9 Ser Scot A Ellison

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:26 AM

What is a "MSNbot spider"? Sounds ominous.

#10 Ran

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:43 AM

All the search engines use spiders to crawl websites for indexing. MSNbot is the (deprecated) bot that Microsoft created for MSN, but now bingbot supersedes it. It looks like third party developers can use MSNbot, with their own unique rules... and in this case, MSNbot went wild over the site, sending hundreds of request per second in a way that it's not supposed to. We think we've sorted out the problem now.

#11 Rune Targaryen

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:08 PM

I hope every thing is allright,
I also support that all the cost of the server(s) should be thru donations, can´t you include a paypal donation button?

I may not been here as long as most of you, but since I discovered the forums I visited the site almost every workday, so I would gladly would donate a monthly amount.