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Bizhat very clunky this afternoon
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:31 pm    Post subject: Bizhat very clunky this afternoon Reply with quote

For John's attention:

John, the Bizhat database server has been running incredibly slowly today (Sunday) and on a couple of occasions has fallen over completely, with the default "Unable to connect with database" message being displayed as the forum scripts struggle to access the data.

That may account for a few duplicate and even triplicate posts here and there.

The question is: does the person or persons who run Bizhat actually care?
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had the same problem yesterday from about 5pm onwards off and on
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had to keep logging back in when I'd not logged out as well. Happened yesterday and today.

H
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I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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Angus McCoatup



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Bizhat very clunky this afternoon Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:

The question is: does the person or persons who run Bizhat actually care?


No Colin, they don't, but more to the point why should they? They provide free forums all over the world, or at least Europe (you knnow all this anyway) so when things go wrong they're under no obligation to get off their backsides and do anything about it quickly
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John W



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see the forum up and running again; yesterday I checked the support forum and many or all of the bizhat forums were down for some sort of maintenance.
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John W



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the forum was down for a few hours yesterday, Bizhat maintenance likely - I checked the Bizhat support forum and a thread had started indicating many sites were also down.

I'm hoping the maintenance was looking at the problem of bogus registrations, and so far fingers-crossed there've been no bogus today!

We were getting about 10-20 a day, the bogus can't post because I don't approve their registration but I have to delete then one by one, and do that task a couple of times a week.

It's a problem others forums have had, the version we have offers little in the way of filtering them out, there's a captcha device but clearly real people I think seemed to be getting through that and registering. The bogus folk are oddballs, they use absurd names which are easily seen as bogus, and as I watch guests IPs they seem to originate from Ukraine, China etc Rolling Eyes I do ban suspect IPs but occasionnally I've heard from members that their access sometimes got affected and I had to undo some bans.

Anyway hope the maintenance was looking at the problem of bogus registrations, and so far fingers-crossed there've been no bogus today!
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting John and explains a lot

I was wondering why on one day the members list almost hit 300 and the following day it was back below 235

All is revealed Very Happy
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John W



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and still no bogus registrations today Smile

Of course that might just mean the whole of the registration system is down, so I'll have to do a test.
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John W



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Registration works OK....

35 bogus members today Mad
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John W



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With such a high level of bogus regis it's getting tiresome deleting them and bizhat offer no solution on their support forum, so I'm thinking of suspending the normal join/registration facility.

Not sure where to do that. In the admin screen it says Enable Member Activation and three choices None - User - Admin and currently it's set at admin so someone joins but I have to activate it.

What does None mean? Does that mean the joining facilty is UN-abled? Or does it mean those bogus ones would automatically be active?


If I could stop the registrations then I would put a notice/link in the banner area saying new members could just e-mail me and I'd register them manually then get them to change their password.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds to me like a question for Colin Smile
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John W wrote:
With such a high level of bogus regis it's getting tiresome deleting them and bizhat offer no solution on their support forum, so I'm thinking of suspending the normal join/registration facility.


BizHat don't care. Seeing it from their side, though, it would be easy to do for one installation, but there are probably hundreds of these forums residing on their servers, and with all of them having been set up automatically it would be impossible for them all to be updated with a simple "variable challenge" plugin. Pity, because it's very easy to do.

If this forum were installed on a server to which you have admin rights I could rectify the problem in about 10 minutes (I know, because when I managed a handful of phpBB forums that's what I did and it cured the Registration Bot problem in an instant).

I don't see way out of it, John, unless you set up a new server on a server that you control....
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John W



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Colin. So, do you think None means the joining facilty is UN-abled? Or does it mean those bogus ones would automatically be active?

A new forum is the best answer, but I'd wish for someone else to start that up Smile
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John - it's a while since I've seen the admin backend for phpBB but my recollection is that "none" means that registration is closed, whereas "user" means that users activate their own registration (that being the original source of the problem). "Admin" is the only secure option at BizHat because otherwise you'll be over-run with successful spambot registrations again.

You're running phpBB2 here, whereas phpBB3 (introduced about 4 years ago) helped to resolve many of the registration issues with optional plugins that enabled the admin to create challenges to regestrants to check that they're "human" by posing a problem randomly - such as "What is the product of two and three?" or "What is the third letter in the word magic?" etc etc. Admins can create their own list of randomly-presented questions and answers, thereby making it impossible for the spam software to overcome the challenge on all phpBB installations.

Sadly, the BizHat owner isn't bothered, so - as you say - the best solution is to set up your own forum and control it completely. However, with waning interest in this type of forum it probably isn't worth the bother.
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John W



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Done a few tests and 'None' activation actually sends an activation key e-mail to the registrant/user. So I guess 'User' activates membership automaatically without that.

So I've reverted back to 'Admin' activation which means they register but need admin to activate, but instead I delete them. Had to delete about 80 today.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John W wrote:
Had to delete about 80 today.


That would drive me absolutely barmy!
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John W



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:
John W wrote:
Had to delete about 80 today.


That would drive me absolutely barmy!



I already AM barmy Colin, so somehow I just get on with it! Laughing
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John - where is your main R2OK site hosted? Do you have control over the web space? (Yes, I am going somewhere with it, by the way...) Smile
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John W



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I subscribe to a virtual server with serverchoice.com I have 5gig space in r2ok.co.uk mostly taken up by podcasts and other audio files and images at r2ok.co.uk and at jabw.demon.co.uk (which is my original old music site I still have at Demon)
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there more problems John?

I just clicked on to an email link to get a white page saying the forum was closed or suspended (?) as there was no activity. It said forums with no activity for 25 days would be deleted.

Managed to get the home page back, but had to log in again.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The forum installation has been unbelievably sluggish all week. I thought, at first, it was the WiFi connection I had access to up in North Yorks but when I got home I had exactly the same problems.

It seems to me that there's too much traffic hitting the Bizhat server, probably due to the fact that they have a limited amount of bandwidth available, but they're not doing anything about it. Respectable hosting providers would get alerts on their server-side monitoring when bandwidth is being squeezed so I can only assume that Bizhat is one person cramming as much stuff as possible onto a shared server or they just don't care.

I do know that, for the forums that I have set up and run in the past, if I ever got a "Could not connect to the SQL database" error I'd panic. By contrast, the bizhat person/s are probably asleep.

If the speeds stay this slow it won't be worth logging in. Shall I set up a new forum on a server for which I have unlimited space, databases and bandwidth?

Sad
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not that easy to copy over any data though is it Colin.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
It's not that easy to copy over any data though is it Colin.

H


It is if Bizhat allowed access to the SQL database (which I doubt), but even then the URL would have to change.

It would be better to start from scratch. I've had the idea of creating a new "British Radio" site and forum for some time now. The idea would be to use a much more up-to-date software package like BuddyPress which would make it possible to integrate with social media (Facebook, Twitter), YouTube, SoundCloud, etc., as well as offering other stuff. Trouble is that I can't decide whether it's worth the bother!
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just clicked on to another email reply link and got the closed page swiftly followed by this

http://forums.bizhat.com/

??

H
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just emailed John in case he hasn't seen the situation.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
I just clicked on to another email reply link and got the closed page swiftly followed by this

http://forums.bizhat.com/


Which means that they've put a generic re-direct over to their generic user forum if the database is uncontactable. Cowards!
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John W



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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Location: Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I've posted on the forum support forum I either get ignored or the thread is soon locked.

http://forums.bizhat.com/hosted-phpbb-forum-support/


Colin, I'd support your idea of a new forum though it might struggle with seeing how well Digital Spy is doing.

If the content of this forum could not be transferred I think there is a way to 'preserve' it in a readable/linkable form. We certainly did so with the old R3ok (new one was set up Nov 2008) and the threads can still be read somewhere.

In fact, here:

http://ded.increpare.com/r3ok_rescued/

Looks clunky but all the thread content AND links are preserved. Even the little piccies I put on the front page!
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John W wrote:
When I've posted on the forum support forum I either get ignored or the thread is soon locked.

http://forums.bizhat.com/hosted-phpbb-forum-support/


Doesn't surprise me.

John W wrote:
Colin, I'd support your idea of a new forum though it might struggle with seeing how well Digital Spy is doing.


It wouldn't be an old-fashioned "forum", it will be much different than that. And anyhow, Digital Spy is a different beast altogether. It survives by peddling gossip and rumour, and the general feel of the site is very negative, even if the whole domain is undoubtedly profitable. It's not mobile-friendly, either, which it absolutely has to be now.

My idea is to provide something different....... just not quite sure what, yet! Smile I just need to create a working test-bed for another project so it may be a good excuse.

John W wrote:
If the content of this forum could not be transferred I think there is a way to 'preserve' it in a readable/linkable form. We certainly did so with the old R3ok (new one was set up Nov 2008) and the threads can still be read somewhere.

In fact, here:

http://ded.increpare.com/r3ok_rescued/

Looks clunky but all the thread content AND links are preserved. Even the little piccies I put on the front page!


That's because there's no active Stylesheet to determine php page formatting. However, it's there in skeletal form and a good coder could hook it into a new installation, I would imagine.

The only way to preserve the whole forum content here (on Bizhat) is to get a complete MySQL Dump (literally, a massive text file whose extension is ".sql") which can then be imported into a clean install of phpBB2 on a different server. However, the main domain name of the forum is "r2ok.s4.bizhat.com" which will be lost when installing on a new server, so a complete text find and replace will need to be done to replace the forum url with the new one, and it needs to be done before importing into the new installation. I've done that before and it's a spine-tingling experience, to say the least. And, of course, all links from the web into the forum will end up going nowhere.

Given the low volume of regular users here, it's not really worth it, I suspect.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the person or persons who ran bizhat were in Malaysia but apparently they're based in Kerala, India, as this whois lookup shows:

Domain Name: BIZHAT.COM

Registrant:
FlashWebHost.com
HostOnNet.com (hostonnet@gmail.com)
VENUS CHAMBERS
CCNO. 39/1636, Valanjambalam
Kochi
Kerala,682016
IN
Tel. +091.4842294762

Creation Date: 12-May-2002
Expiration Date: 12-May-2013

Domain servers in listed order:
dns10.hosthat.com
server12.hosthat.com
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John W



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon to find there were no bogus registrations.

I tried a test registration and whatever new name I use the response is

SFS banned user

So bizhat appear to have disabled registration.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I logged in earlier, I got a very brief splash-screen message telling me that only moderators are allowed to post on the forums!
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Angela W



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
Are there more problems John?

I just clicked on to an email link to get a white page saying the forum was closed or suspended (?) as there was no activity. It said forums with no activity for 25 days would be deleted.

Managed to get the home page back, but had to log in again.

H


Every emailed link I click on ends the same way now Helen, it is very annoying and makes it hard to follow topics of interest!
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It just means that somebody hasn't bothered to reset the defaults in the server admin.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you must be right Colin as I found an old one from a couple of weeks ago that I'd not deleted and it worked fine.

Can something be done?

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
I think you must be right Colin as I found an old one from a couple of weeks ago that I'd not deleted and it worked fine.

Can something be done?

H


Helen, I suspect not. I'm sure that John has banged his head on the proverbial brick wall more than a few times on bizhat related stuff. They're a small (perhaps even one-man) operation based in Kerala, India, and by offering free forums on their servers they have an opportunity to sell advertising or derive a direct income through ad-clicks from other people's traffic. John has paid a fee to remove banner ads and "nag screens" but either way it's an earner for the service provider. Obviously, the more forums that operate on their server the more money they make. Unfortunately it also means that the one or two people looking after it are less capable of servicing the provision properly.

To be fair, this forum installation, known as "phpBB2", is a pig to maintain adequately. I used to run 5 of them side by side - two for me and 3 for clients - and in the end we ditched the lot because of the sheer hassle. Most stuff has now moved over to Facebook because everything is done for you there.

The only to solve the problem is to start up a new forum (or whatever) on a server controlled by oneself, which is what I do. I have a number of websites and utilities running out of a server in Houston, Texas. I pay for that facility but the service and backup I get is superb - often I'll get a response and solution to a server-related problem within 5 minutes, any time of the day or night.

As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch! I despair of operations like bizhat, though. Sad
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Angus McCoatup



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

It is possible to shift the entire contents of this forum into some more updated software such as MyBB for instance.

You would need to purchase a backup file from Bizhat then employ the services of someone who knows how to merge the two softwares.

I had it done for me a few years ago on a forum that I still host and admin and I am considering upgrading to the very latest version of that software.

If you have ftp access there are hundreds of plugins that can be installed (if you have the know how) which improve functionality and security.

That's if you can be bothered of course. Digital Spy is a world all on it's own. Forums of that magnitude are almost impossible to manage singlehandedly and require full time moderators. These forums then get littered with advertisers as the hosts need to cover the increased running costs.

The nice thing about this place is, ok, it's not the busiest forum in the world but it remains fairly trouble free these days and you know you can just dip in and out and make the odd post then probably come back a day later to read the replies. On forums like DS, your post will have disappeared off the page in a day.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Angus McCoatup wrote:
John,

It is possible to shift the entire contents of this forum into some more updated software such as MyBB for instance.

You would need to purchase a backup file from Bizhat then employ the services of someone who knows how to merge the two softwares.


It would make more sense to get a full (as in "all" - posts + structure) .sql file dump of the phpBB2 installation first and then upgrade it into a fresh installation of phpBB3. Only after that would it make sense to port the whole lot across to a different package, but is it worth the bother? There's a helluva lot of work involved and, don't forget, that because your base URL changes so all the internal references have to be changed, too. So you effectively have a new unspidered site rather than the one that Google knows about here on bizhat.

Angus McCoatup wrote:
I had it done for me a few years ago on a forum that I still host and admin and I am considering upgrading to the very latest version of that software.

If you have ftp access there are hundreds of plugins that can be installed (if you have the know how) which improve functionality and security.


I agree, though actually all that you really nice for phpBB is a manual challenge on registration - that will knock out the majority of spambot auto-registrations.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to be getting worse as well, extremely slow today.

However just clicked on a 'reply to post' email and it actually worked! First time in over a week.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
It seems to be getting worse as well, extremely slow today.


The server fell over completely for a couple of hours yesterday. They mustn't sit it so close to the edge of the table!

It is pathetic, though. It feels like they're running their server cluster on the end of a dial-up connection.
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FleetingEileenM



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wondering why I have to sign in so often even though I always tick the box asking to be logged in automatically with every visit. It's not really a problem and at least I now know my password off by heart Smile but I just wondered.
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