No mo' yo-yo, y'know?

Do you linger on my every word like a lovesick schoolgirl? Or would you like to take a rusty ice pick to my jugular to make me shut the hell up? For, or against? Point, counterpoint? Discuss.

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Venomous
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No mo' yo-yo, y'know?

Post by Venomous » Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:56 pm

<a href="http://www.socialdeviancy.com/cgi-bin/v ... .gif"><img src="http://www.socialdeviancy.com/gfx/thumb ... h4x0rz.gif" width="145" height="120" border="0" align="left"></a>Well, as you all know, the 2005/06 financial year (this has little to do with finance, but I'm referring to the Jun-05 to Jun-06 period, give or take!) has been a rocky one for old SocDev. But one that, contrary to the doubters, we've come out of much stronger.

The original server that this site was hosted on was purported to be a VPS running on a box in San Francisco, California. The service was decent, the price was good, and everybody was happy. As most of you chat room regulars know, this was discovered to be a falsity when, after our previous hosting provider's websites all vanished offline, including their invoice payment console, and they stopped billing me for our hosting, a little investigative digging showed that they were in fact most likely just a reseller company for an ISP in Virginia, that had either gone bust or been cut off by their provider, and somehow in the process, the box hosting my VPS was never switched off. And yet still, no bills came my way.

So for several months there, we had free hosting for Social Deviancy. No bills ever came, but the server our site was on still was never taken offline. Of course, you get what you pay for - we had a few random downtimes, anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours at a time, but these were fairly rare - a couple of hours a month at most, and when you're paying $0.00/month for your hosting, you can't complain about your uptime - especially when there's nobody left to contact!

And, a couple of times parts of the site - usually PHP, or MySQL, went down for a little while due to development. There was a glitch or two resulting from MySQL needing to be restarted but wasn't, or similar things, when modifications were made on SocDev or another site on the server. These things happen to all sites from time to time.

Then of course there was the infamous "hack" - and I use that term loosely. You die hard users will remember the 3rd of Feb, when the SocDev forum suddenly started showing an extremely pathetically clichéd h4x0r image, complete with the cobras, the skulls and crossbones and everything, and then redirecting all traffic for the forum to this lame Turkish wannabe-cracker website. Shortly after, a pathetic little skript-kiddie h4x0r calling himself "yusufislam" took credit for the "attack" - a very lame SQL insertion exploiting a security bug in the crappy old version of phpBB that I'd been too lazy to patch until that point - on a website called Zone-H, which claims to be a greyhat reporting source for the archiving of website security breaches, but is essentially a home for blackhat lame skript-kiddies to post their weak exploits and earn their props from their fellow burger-flippers. This "yusufislam" (which, I might add, seems to be about the most common nick for h4x0r skript-kiddies, or variations thereof - poor old Cat Stevens would turn in his grave if he were dead!) seems to be some small-time pissant of little reknown who used a commonly available SQL insertion script to open a well-known security flaw in that old version of phpBB, and redirect the traffic to the Turkish hacker site, obviously hoping to earn some props there. This "hack" took a grand total of six minutes to repair (with no data loss at all, making me wonder if it were really intended to be a greyhat intrusion or just the weakest blackhat crack ever), and four additional minutes to apply the long overdue patch to phpBB to avoid repeat occurences. The only real downtime involved was that by sheer coincedence, it was done shortly after I went to bed, so it didn't come to my attention until about eight hours later the next morning. So, kudos to you, kid, you redirected a whole six hits or so with your masterful hack. We ph34r uR 1337 sK1lLz0r, d00d.

Anyways, the site chugged on with the usual occasional downtime, as we added several new features and mods, until finally, the old server went down and didn't come back up again. I guess somebody at the real host finally realized there were some accounts left active that nobody was paying for, and yanked the plug. Luckily, I'd been making weekly backups of the entire server since my "provider's" websites went down, expecting this to occur eventually, and nothing was lost besides two hours of work on the upcoming quotes database and IRC bot, and about a half dozen forum posts of little import. As I've said in the chat room a couple of times since then, if there's ever a time for a website to have a slow period, that was certainly it.

Luckily, the ravings of some demented naysayers who repeatedly and vigorously insisted that good quality Linux VPS hosting could not be had for anything cheaper than Surpass Hosting's plans, which start at $45.00/month, turned out to be, as I insisted from the beginning, a complete and utter load of bullshit. No disrespect to Surpass whom I'm sure are a fine hosting provider, but thanks in no small part to many hours of Googling by Kristi, it was discovered that there are in fact COUNTLESS other ISPs more within my price range, and, granted, while some of them were blatant scammers trying to flog off common shared hosting account as true VPS, many others were legitimate, top quality providers who simply divided their resources more finely to be able to provide VPS hosting with the modest specs I need, at a price I can afford. And if that makes me a "fucking cheap skate", to quote somebody who doesn't like to be wrong, then so be it.

From that point, it was simply a matter of choosing the provider who offered the best options and service at the price I was looking for, and since that turned out to be an easy choice, the entire server was migrated from the most recent backup onto the new server in under 48 hours. In the process, all the old outdated software was patched - I hadn't done any real server maintenance since launching the old server three years ago, so I was running ancient versions of Apache, PHP, MySQL, etc, which of course is never wise - and now we're actually hosting on a VPS which is higher spec than our previous server, paying LESS than I was before, and between the better hardware and the patched and sorted software, SocDev and my other sites should be running faster and smoother than ever.

So, special thanks of course to Amanita_Virosa and Hellmark, for guiding me through the sticky parts of Linux that an old DOS man like myself would have been stuck in otherwise - though if I do say so, I surprised myself with just how much of the migration I handled myself, considering I thought I knew almost nothing about sysadminning Linux. Also kudos to those of you who expressed their patience and stuck around in the IRC chat while we did the transition, and posted both their thanks and congrats when the move was complete.

Anyways, long story short, there'll be no more up and down yo-yo bullshit going on here. The kinks, bugs, and security loopholes from all the old software have been eliminated, and the old yo-yo of a webhost is history. Our new host has a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, so anything over about an hour of downtime in a month and it's money back city. =)

So, thanks again to those of you who were patient with us over the last couple of months, and didn't feel the need to sit in channel and bitch about what a loser and a cheapskate I am for not wanting to switch to the first overpriced web host recommended to me, no matter how good they might be. >=P
Last edited by Venomous on Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Mythic » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:39 am

Kudos to you for not becoming so disgruntled as to yank the plug on the entire thing. =)

Note: Two posts were deleted from below this one that were my own (of course.) I had accidentally double posted and then posted another to explain and then just thought I'd delete them and it would be easier! =P My bad. (This is mainly for Ven's benefit as he hates deleted posts)
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Post by Supernovae » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:46 am

No words can describe how much of a home SocDev has been since joining SocDev.

It was heart-breaking to see the downtimes and the foolish hacking attempt. But rest-assured the talent and dedication of Venomous and the two 'guides' Hellmark and Amanita_Virosa they have taken full-charge of the situation and created a better, stronger and more powerful SocDev.

Congrats again to Ven/HM/AV
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Post by Hellmark » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:50 am

It is nice having things back up and improved. Yay!

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Post by Venomous » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:24 am

StreetRodRacer wrote:No words can describe how much of a home SocDev has been since joining SocDev.

It was heart-breaking to see the downtimes and the foolish hacking attempt. But rest-assured the talent and dedication of Venomous and the two 'guides' Hellmark and Amanita_Virosa they have taken full-charge of the situation and created a better, stronger and more powerful SocDev.

Congrats again to Ven/HM/AV
Ermmm... {carefully examines this post for traces of sarcasm}... this seems a little overboard for the context... I mean, NOBODY likes this shithole THAT much... you weren't being a smartass, were you boy?? =)
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The old hack...

Post by Amanita_Virosa » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:21 am

Actually, while fixing the content of the BB and recovering from the actual SQL insertion took only a few minutes, it was an hour of painstaking patching to fully upgrade the BB, rather than just a quick "fix the one that burned us".

I remember all too well, it was my eyes that suffered through hundreds of pages of patches, lump by lump.

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Post by Supernovae » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:50 am

Venomous wrote:Ermmm... {carefully examines this post for traces of sarcasm}... this seems a little overboard for the context... I mean, NOBODY likes this shithole THAT much... you weren't being a smartass, were you boy?? =)
I admit that I was being a little facetious, but I wanted to write something better than plain-ole, "Congrats on the Update/Upgrade".

To be truthful, I am actually getting quite bored with the internet as a whole. This could, however, be from being depressed/unhappy.

But to end on a positive note:

Congrats on the Upgrade/Update =D
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Re: The old hack...

Post by Venomous » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:35 am

Amanita_Virosa wrote:Actually, while fixing the content of the BB and recovering from the actual SQL insertion took only a few minutes, it was an hour of painstaking patching to fully upgrade the BB, rather than just a quick "fix the one that burned us".

I remember all too well, it was my eyes that suffered through hundreds of pages of patches, lump by lump.
Uhh... yes, well... people, this is not the Amanita_Virosa I was talking about... this is some... uhh... other, LYING, Amanita_Virosa, that has never visited this site before! Evil nickstealer!!

{aside} Shhh!! You're making us sound not cool!! Minutes, hours - these plebs don't need to know the specifics!! You're ruining my story, damnit!! =P

{ahem}

Okay, so maybe it took me all of four minutes to instruct Amanita_Virosa to upgrade phpBB around all our buttload of custom content. That's, like, what I meant, or something. =P
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