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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 89 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: The downage  (Read 11377 times)
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« on: October 14, 2003, 05:03:11 PM »

The Forge was down for a day on Oct 13-14, 2003. I need to comment on it, although I'm on the road, and won't be able to read comments until Thursday.

Here's what happened:

- The Forge, as well as associated sites, is on a shared server, which means other sites by other people are on it.
- We started taking up over half the server load. That's very bad, considering we're one of over 100 sites on the machine.
- I got a nasty-gram from my webhost warning me that they were isolating indie-rpgs.com to another server and that I need to move to a dedicated server, one just for the Forge.
- During that move, they messed up Domain Name Service, closing down the site.

The symptoms are fixed, but not the problem: we are too big. I'm not sure what to do about this: to move to a dedicated server is $199/month, and that's if I pay for a year in advance. There is cheaper dedicated hosting out there, but I don't want to move away from Dreamhost, my webhost. Even with their foibles, they fixed the problem 10 minutes after I alerted them, and that's damn good service.

I'm stuck at an odd point here, with three solutions:
a) Eat a huge bill each month.
b) Start aggressively trying to make money and get donations for the Forge.
c) Beg to see if someone can provide us with bandwidth. If you work somewhere that will give us large bandwidth, I will pay for a machine to be shipped to you and installed there.

---

Lastly, apologies for the downtime. I've been travelling all month, and could have contacted Dreamhost earlier had I known. I will find a solution to this problem, even if it means I get a cellphone.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2003, 05:44:41 PM »

Having absolutely no experience running a high-bandwidth public site, I of course feel completely qualified to comment =)

The only two things that occur to me are:

At the very least, you could stick in a PayPal tip jar.  Likewise, do you guys charge for the use of the Forge Bookshelf?  Seems like one or both of those might help, at least a little.

The other thing that I wonder about is places like rpg.net.  Would it be possible to make the Forge a 'sub-board' of someplace like that?  I'm assuming your bandwidth is a drop-in-the-bucket in comparison to theirs.  Tangency alone must eat up an enormous pile of change...

However, that would of course depend on them being amenable to something like that, and whether or not you and Ron would be able to maintain editorial oversite with that sort of an arrangement.

Anyway, those're my Cr0.02.  Anybody else got any clever ideas?
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
joshua neff
Member

Posts: 949


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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2003, 06:24:38 PM »

According to Ralph's latest stats, there are 47 posters with, what, 200 plus posts? If all 47 chipped in $5 a month, that would cover the cost of the server, right? I'd be willing to chip in $5 a month for this site to go on.

Would charging $5 a month to be a Forge member drive down posting? How many people would quit the Forge if they had to pay $5 a month?
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Jeph
Member

Posts: 338

Jeff Schecter


« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2003, 06:28:37 PM »

With other sites out there with some fraction of the Forge's quality, I would definitely quit. I really wouldn't want too, though.

It would DEFINITELY drive off new posters.

I may be unique in my position, though, as I am a minor (14 years old), and don't have much (read: any) spare cash, nor complete control over where what little I do have is spent.

And yeah. Nice to be back. :^)
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Jeffrey S. Schecter: Pagoda / Other
rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2003, 06:31:58 PM »

There is a tip jar on the About the Forge page, although it is well hidden...

Thoughts on covering hosting costs:

1) Everyone pledges to stop hitting "refresh" in their browser as much ;)

2) $199 a month?  Service loyalty is understandable, but that seems a bit... non competative...  Shouldn't we shop around?  Just how much load *are* we generating?

3) The local NPR station is running a pledge drive.  Maybe we could do the same.  If 20 people ponied up $10 a month, that would cover hosting costs.  Put out names on the about page (esteemed supporters of our endevour) and call it good.

Once a year, you could have every other link at the forge return a "please call and make your pledge now" web page instead of somebody's post for a week.  Free copies of KPFS and OctaNe for people who pledge at the $120 level.

Okay, now I'm getting wack, but I think there are enough people who would be willing to spread the cost that we could make it pretty painless.  Anyway, I'll step up right now and pledge $10/month x 12 = $120.

-wilhelm
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Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2003, 06:32:43 PM »

To prevent time wasted discussing it, and scaring the young'uns:

The Forge will never charge to use it. Ever.

I'll spend 24 hours on an exercise bike generating electricity to power it first.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
ethan_greer
Member

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2003, 06:33:56 PM »

RPG.net has a store thing that goes through RPGShop.com.  Why not set up something similar with the Forge?
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rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2003, 06:34:35 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
To prevent time wasted discussing it, and scaring the young'uns:

The Forge will never charge to use it. Ever.

I'll spend 24 hours on an exercise bike generating electricity to power it first.


I totally agree.  I think subs are *not* the answer.

I do think voluntary pledges might work...
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Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2003, 06:41:39 PM »

This is a first guess after going over some stats, but the over-use seems to have occured because one IP address viewed the Forge twice as much as the average daily load of all users by itself on October 10th.

I will be contacting the owner of this IP.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2003, 06:52:47 PM »

I submit this discussion from earlier this year on paying for the Forge.

I hereby repeat the proposal I made at that time, with due adjustments for changes.

1) $200/mnth is about $46/week.  $40-50 being about the limit on what most people* would and should be willing to cough up.

2) If I were Clinton I'd start at the top of the most posters list and just go down one by one sending a PM "Are you willing to commit to paying $46 once per year to cover the costs of the Forge.  Please pick a week to sponsor" and just keep going down the list until 52 people sign up.  Then simply set up an bot to send an email out each week to the appropriate party with a paypal donation link.  Voila problem solved.  I'd be tremendously disappointed if there are 52 Forge members willing to pony up some dough.

Hell I'd do it if Clinton would be uncomfortable about it.



Edited after Clinton's discovery.  Even if this means the dedicated server isn't necessary yet, it probably will be one day.  I'd start the ball rolling even if we only need 12 members to cover current costs.
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 16490


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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2003, 06:54:54 PM »

All thanks to Clinton!

For some perspective, everyone, consider the old'uns' experiences with other sites during 1998-99. Server crashes, poor backup habits, and insufficient hacking-security led to thousands of lost posts and dialogues, as well as weeks down at a time.

One day ain't so bad.

Best,
Ron
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AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2003, 06:54:55 PM »

Hm.  What was I doing on Friday?

I sure hope it wasn't me...(gulp).
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2003, 07:02:04 PM »

It wasn't you, Dana. It was someone on the unsx.net network, housed in St. Petersburg, Russia.

I still have to confer with my webhost about this, though: the dedicated server might still be necessary. We'll see.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2003, 07:09:26 PM »

Whew!

I find that very interesting, actually.  I direct your attention to http://shop.rpg.net/ , where there is a notice saying:

Quote
We are currently battling a hacker/sitebot from IP 217.69.120.34 who is hitting our multiple servers for days now. If you are annoyed by the lag and downtime, then hack him back or help us find out who he is...


And I couldn't help but note that 217.69.120.34 resolves to:

Quote
dana@toaster:~$ host 217.69.120.34
217.69.120.34 does not exist (Authoritative answer)
dana@toaster:~$ whois 217.69.120.34
% This is the RIPE Whois server.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% Rights restricted by copyright.
% See http://www.ripe.net/ripencc/pub-services/db/copyright.html

inetnum:      217.69.120.0 - 217.69.120.255
netname:      UNSX
descr:        UNSX customer network
country:      RU
admin-c:      SNI2-RIPE
tech-c:       ZAA8-RIPE
status:       ASSIGNED PA
notify:       noc@unsx.com
mnt-by:       DSC-MNT
changed:      admin@teletube.net 20030828
source:       RIPE

route:        217.69.120.0/24
descr:        UNSX
origin:       AS29352
notify:       noc@unsx.net
mnt-by:       DSC-MNT
changed:      admin@teletube.net 20030828
source:       RIPE

person:       Smirnoff Nokolai Ivanovich
address:      UNSX
address:      St.Petersburg, Nevsky 32, 191187,
phone:        +7 812 384 25 71
e-mail:       sni@unsx.com
nic-hdl:      SNI2-RIPE
mnt-by:       DSC-MNT
changed:      admin@unsx.net 20030728
source:       RIPE

person:       Zhil Aleksandr Aleksandrovuch
address:      UNSX
address:      St.Petersburg, Nevsky 32, 191187,
phone:        +7 812 384 25 71
e-mail:       zaa@unsx.com
nic-hdl:      ZAA8-RIPE
mnt-by:       DSC-MNT
changed:      admin@unsx.net 20030728
source:       RIPE


It looks like whomever it is is perhaps targetting RPG sites?  I'd lay odds it's not someone actually in Russia.
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2003, 07:17:36 PM »

I understand (and completely agree) that the Forge is a no-charge forum.

But there's no reason why you couldn't have something special for those willing to pay a little. Maybe some extra pay-only forums? Maybe paying people get their username in a different color? etc.

Just something minor that makes it look like folk are getting something for their money. IME that's what usually makes the difference between folk ponying up a little cash and not.

Just random thoughts, not necessarily well thought out.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
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