A Few Quick Site Notes

A few notes on the site, what's coming up, how things are going, etc. etc.

Updated the blogads on the site to support their new 3.0 code.. Once the current ads are done running the old panel will be removed, but for now both panels are showing so that the page hits can start being tracked in their new system. The 'Advertise here' link re-appeared with the switch, so that's one problem I don't have to track down..

Most of you are probably aware of the 4 hour downtime on 9/11. This was of course due to the massive number of hits we got that day. Apparently for some only the day of 9/11 warrants any interest in the subject matter. Since then the site has been running relatively well, but that includes anywhere from 0 to 5 'CPU Quota' errors a day. When these occur the site goes down for about 2-3 minutes, it is more an annoyance than anything, but this is just a reminder that we have outgrown our current hosting solution, and that if/when we get hit again we can expect the same downtime.

So, with that in mind I went ahead and bought into a VPS hosting solution late last week. This setup will provide us a guaranteed CPU allotment, and if we max it out then we max it out, we won't be shutdown for overloading anyone else on the host. This VPS also has a great upgrade path for future growth. It is somewhat amusing to me that our first host switches were done because of bandwidth (2+ Terrabytes monthly), and that now our issue is CPU usage, I never would have guessed that CPU was one of the main limiting factors for high traffic sites.

(more after the jump..)

I had planned on switching over to the new host last weekend, but I wasn't ready in time. This weekend I will be out of town, so the current schedule is for the switch to occur not this upcoming weekend, but the following one (weekend of October 7th). Since this switch will involve switching hosts, there will be some period of downtime for the DNS to propagate. In some cases the DNS can propagate to your ISP within a matter of hours, but for some - particularly those whose hosts use longer DNS caching - it may take up to 3 days before you will see the site. So, keep in mind that the site may be down for 2 hours to up to 3 days starting the evening of October 6th.

Once we are up and going on the new server you will hopefully notice nothing at all. The idea isn't to add any new functionality or anything, but to remove the outages and slowness we have when we reach upwards of 75 users being active at a time. I'll start working on setting up the new server tomorrow night, and I will be sure to put something on the front page to notify everyone once the switch date is more set in stone.

On a side note, I support the argument that our users should not rely on any single website for 9/11 related stuff. This site is really blossoming at the moment, but having any reliance on any single source is a really really bad idea. I would ask that everyone take some time to checkout some of the news sources and blogs we link to, and keep them bookmarked, no one website should ever be relied on solely.

Until next time.

Update: Forgot to mention how we are funding the new host. I've decided to use the money that comes in from the google ads to fund the new site. Right now the funds from these ads along with any donations and blogads we display are going straight to the fund raising we do. The google ads should cover the host costs just fine, and anything beyond what we need for the host will go back into the ad fund raising. We have gotten a lot of donations and questions about how to help us out with hosting costs, but luckily these new google ads should cover everything we need for now, that way all donations can still be given right back to the community.