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Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:49 pm
by mickeyduck
OK I discovered that the IP blacklist which was trying to keep out all those spam bots was also blocking Facebook. So I've added the entire range of Facebook IP addresses in to a whitelist.

Hopefully nobody on Facebook ever sees one of these again:
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Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:47 pm
by JasonFriday13
Yeah, I saw that too a couple of days ago.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:53 pm
by mickeyduck
Discovered the forum's permissions had got totally scrambled, and there were things happening as a result that weren't totally cool...

So I have "flattened" the forum so it's easier to keep things right.
There's no longer a "Wheeling & Dealing" section, its sub-forums are all now at the same level as all the others.
Same with all the Tech section sub-forums... they are all now at the top level.

I'm hoping the links to things / bookmarks etc don't get stuffed up as a result but hey...

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:26 pm
by mickeyduck
A heads-up for everyone:

A little after 4am today the Rackspace server this forum sits on suffered a hardware failure.

Rackspace are still working on restoring full service as I write this, a little more than 12 hours later. :shock:

And it seems we have lost anything that might have been posted after 11:30pm last night, dunno.

Hey at least it's back now... 8)

Snippets from the Rackspace emails I got -

4:10am
This message is to inform you that the host your cloud server 'ozzy' resides on alerted our monitoring systems at 16:10 UTC. We are currently investigating the issue and will update you as soon as we have additional information regarding what is causing the alert. Please do not access or modify 'ozzy' during this process.

9:53am
This message is a follow up to our previous message regarding your chassis swap. We are still in the process of completing the chassis swap for the host that your cloud server 'ozzy' resides on. We will notify you once the chassis swap is complete and we have verified that your cloud server is online. Please do not attempt to access or modify 'ozzy' during this process.

4:11pm
This message is a follow-up to our previous message regarding your server migration. At this time we are still in the process of migrating your cloud server 'ozzy' to a new host. Your server is currently online but will experience some intermittent downtime during the migration process. We will notify you once the migration is complete and we have verified that your cloud server is online. Please do not attempt to access or modify 'ozzy' during this process.


And why is my Rackspace server named Ozzy...? Because this pic of Ozzy ties in so well with the all-too-often encountered frustrations of IT. :lol:
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Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 12:00 am
by mickeyduck
Well that was interesting...

Logged into the Rackspace system to check on a few things and grab a copy of the database and discovered my automated backups were kaput because the backup volume (a block storage device) had gone into read only mode. WTF...??? So I read up on Rackspace's DIY fix-it stuff and tried doing as they said. Nope. It refused to cooperate. OK so I rebooted the VM. Took it about a minute and everything came back. Sites were there etc, all seemed good.

Except that in the portal it showed the VM as having no disk. WTF...???????

df -h in the Terminal and sure as eggs, no root drive. Woah. OK maybe another reboot will not sort it... :shock: The whole thing might disappear.

Time for a call to a Rackspace tech.

After helping them untangle some confusion due to the fact they use the same account numbers in different areas of the world (groan) I finally managed to get hold of a tech able to help. It's kinda funny but essentially I had to list the mounted file systems, then copy that info into a file used by the Linux VM so that it knows what they are. Hmmm... Someone needs to improve upon how Linux knows what's what and make it a little more dynamic. More able to figure out its own reality... :idea:

Ah well all good now anyhooo. The forum's still here. :lol:

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 1:48 am
by JasonFriday13
Yeah, I noticed the forums went down several days ago, I couldn't even access the main site. Good you sorted that out.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 7:12 am
by Benckj
Glad your there to sort these things out behind the scene. Most of us haven't a clue on how it all works.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 11:09 am
by mknz
Linux is a perfectly fine OS (probably the best for servers) but of course, you're going to have problems with any of them when you put them in a VM and do magic. It sounds to me like Rackspace moved the VM around or reconfigured their storage hence the need to 'reinform' it of its location. I'm not sure of the feasibility because I don't have an idea of the current setup but it's ideal to backup to another service at another physical location.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 1:02 pm
by 85AW20v
Sounds like you might have to share the load with Charlie..... :D

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Sun May 07, 2017 6:58 pm
by mickeyduck
Yeah they had rejigged the Block Storage side of things. They do have issues on occasion but generally it's pretty solid.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:00 pm
by mickeyduck
OK now this really annoys the heck outta me. And I can't believe the timing of it considering I am about to hand all this on to the care of others!

I've just received notification from Spark (Telecom) that my mail server has been flagged as a source of SPAM "due to suspicious content reaching various email providers."

That "suspicious content" is, in the example given to me, notification that the user has received a PM.
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Email will still get through to the President, the Secretary, the Membership Officer, the Treasurer.
But to safeguard that I have had to disable the forum's ability to send email, as that is why Spark has flagged my mail server as a SPAM source.

I have had no option but to disable the email functionality of this forum until I am able to set it up to use a different mail server to send its email.

This means:
Nobody gets an email to tell them there's a PM.
Nobody gets an email to tell them there's a new post.
Nobody gets an email about a new forum joinup. That means nobody can join the forum.


On a personal level I am seriously annoyed too.
This is a huge PITA and will waste a lot of my time.
This is what I get for providing years of free mail server functionality to the club at my own expense.
This isn't the first time it's happened either. It's the third. I'm over it.

I would like to thank the idiots who junk their forum notification emails by banning them from the forum.
You subscribed to this forum and its functionality and your actions have now cost ALL of its users, and would-be users, an essential part of that functionality.

I would also like to thank those who don't keep their email addresses up to date (as stipulated in the forum rules that you agree to when joining) by deactivating their forum accounts as well.
Because that also has contributed to and helped cause this problem. Your prior email service providers automatically flag our club's mail server (my mail server) as a SPAM source, you clowns. Adhere to the rules of the club and we'd have no issues. :roll:

The rest of my mail server functionality is of course also in the doo-doo for the time being thanks to these idiots. Brilliant. Thanks.

I will need to do something urgently like purchase mail server functionality from Rackspace and migrate all the club's email addresses to it.

And this, just as we move into an AGM? Grrrrr....!!!!!! :evil:

NORMAL SERVICE WILL RESUME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Funny, I could say the same about my own evenings eh...? :lol:

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:22 pm
by flying_wedge
Hi Charlie,

Pretty normal on that one if you send email from home I'm sorry to say. Can be a frequent issue for SMB's with on prem mail servers in NZ, especially if you did have one rogue PC that did send a few spam it can take a long time to clear off international spam lists.
Checking your IP 222.154........... on mail.mr2.org.nz doesn't reveal you're on a blacklist https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx so perhaps it's just Spark that has you flagged on their internal system.
Drop them an email/web chat and question the block?
You could just foward on to another smtp host, or route by DNS but difficult to suggest an immediate solution without knowing what your mailserver is.

Alternatives for a hosted email solution that stands up to normal duties is Office 365, their 'Exchange Online' email plan is only NZD$5.50 per month per mailbox so pretty light on it. Very very quick and easy to change over and manage too.
If the club had planned for formal hosting rather than on your personal kit then the email is a minor extension on this.

No need to stress out about it, it's just one of those things and there are alternative options available.
If it wasn't on your home kit it would be easier for others to manage/get in and share the load too, as I doubt you'd want someone poking and prodding remotely around your own stuff at home. Having it held on your own personal kit does pose abit of a liability for the club too, in my opinion.
Thanks for hosting the email for so long, Charlie, but perhaps a time to look at a solution for the club for the next chapter?

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:55 am
by Mike n Rochelle
Paying for a host is all good but this assuming EVERYONE is prepared to pay for it not just the few. Is it possible to link the messaging to another platform like (cringing while I type this) facebook? I am no expert by any means on this but could be worth a go. It might also have the advantage of better exposure of the club and maybe even some advertising revenue with out FB page if there are enough members. As I said I am no expert but it might help :\

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:17 am
by Benckj
Sorry to hear about the IT troubles Charlie especially when your stepping down and have the flu to contend with. Just brings home the message about the work you have done to keep forum & club alive and what it means for the future.

I'd say at this stage to simply scrap the mail service as used by the forum. Anyone who want to see their messages or post notification can simply look at forum. Can still use emails for club contact media but no need to use forum function.

Re: Webmaster's Blog

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:04 pm
by mknz
Benckj wrote:Sorry to hear about the IT troubles Charlie especially when your stepping down and have the flu to contend with. Just brings home the message about the work you have done to keep forum & club alive and what it means for the future.

I'd say at this stage to simply scrap the mail service as used by the forum. Anyone who want to see their messages or post notification can simply look at forum. Can still use emails for club contact media but no need to use forum function.
Can't just scrap it, we need a mail for people to sign-up to the forum. Either we'd have to do it manually with an intermediate Google form or something or seriously modify phpbb which is basically not an option. Even as a software developer I wouldn't attempt it.