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Back Up?

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We are kinda sort of up. I had to hire an expert (Julie) who is familiar with database and php used by both the hosting company and IP Board to create a more 'resilient' web site. At the moment this is the original site that is up and running. You may notice that we have a gap from 9/17 thru 5/18 of missing posts. This was due to an issue with backups. I am trying to locate a more current backup to get the forums whole again. At that time, it may be necessary to take the site off-line for about 24 hours to update it and then move it to a new, more reliable hosting company that Julie found that has an excellent track record.


I apologize for the site being off line, but this turned into the perfect storm as to when it occurred. I will provide more updates and information as to how this could not have happened at a worse moment once we have completed the migration.

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Now that we are moving closer to a more stable web site, time to let you know what happened.


This web site is actually composed of multiple pieces that operate like a well oiled machine when they can talk to each other.  When the site was originally built, the decision was to use IPBoard as the front end piece (what displays the topics and conversations to you) and another company to host the back end database. For the most part, all has worked well.  


The database hosting company has evolved over the years.  When we first started using them, they were great and a very stable environment.  There were some minor issues that would crop up, but that was to be expected.  They had always had our database on their servers and never had a data issue.  


In September, 2017, they notified all users they would be retiring the existing servers and bringing new ones on line in the near future.  New DNS entries were provided at this time.  Through this time, we were under the impression they owned the servers and we would be given additional notices as to when the old servers would be taken off line and replaced with the new ones (most data processing centers send multiple notifications for changes of this nature).  Well, this company did not send any follow-up notifications out (I checked for any emails that may have gone to SPAM folder or any deleted emails), and around May 15, they took the servers off line.  That was the first time we lost the site.


I was able to contact their tech support and got the above information.  Also found out they had stopped running automated backups of our database.  As a favor to us, they said they would contact the owner of the servers and have them brought on-line temporarily to allow a backup to be taken.  At this point I realized something was up since they did not own the servers.  The servers were brought back on-line for 72 hours, but neither the tech support person or I could get a good backup of all posts through 5/15/2018.  Oh, by the way, this realization occurred on 5/30/2018 as  I was working on this from the motel across the street the day before my brain surgery.  (I will start a new thread to update everyone on that adventure....a 7 day hospital stay that turned into a 28 day stay).


So, here we are now, me out of commision for nearly 2 months, the site unavailable and not backups.  The last good backup we were able to locate was from September, 2017, so we lost 8 months of data that could not be recovered from the hosting company, the database was also out of support and needed updating in order to work with IP Board, then migrate to the latest version of IP Board.  


I found a person that was highly recommended to assist in getting everything back up and running.  One of the requirements was that we were to find a more stable database hosting company, and we did.  The new one has two data centers (east and west coast), nightly automated backups of all data, and they own the data centers...they are not contracted out to a third party!  


So far we have completed the first phase of migrating the data from the old company to the new company and have 95% of the data issues corrected.  Once we get one last item fixed, we will be moving to the next phase, which is to upgrade to IPS 4 as part of the IP Board software.  This may result in a slightly different look to the site (format may change somewhat), but this is a more stable platform and is IP Board's latest updates.


I apologize for the missing data.  A lot of time and effort was made to try and recover the data, but the old vendor was just not making it happen.  As we move forward, I have learned from the mistakes and assumptions from the past and will try to improve the site going forward.  If you know of any members that joined in the past 8 months, please let them know we are back on line and ready to assist in any way.

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Phase 2 (upgrading web site to latest release) is just about complete.  This was required to incorporate the latest security features.  It has changed the appearance of the size somewhat.  I will be looking into how some of the old features (including the PayPal button) can be added back to the main page.

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