Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It's been a while

Is it really four months since I was last able to post to this blog? It's been a summer of one problem after another, culminating with the complete loss of the whole site for a week at the back end of September, while it was transferred to a new host. That was supposed to be seamless but turned into an utter disaster mostly because the new host failed to appoint a single tech s'port person to oversee the whole move, and so six weeks of meticulous preparation counted for nothing.

Whilst researching the move, I came across a number of 'site transfer management experts' who offered to handle the whole move on your behalf. Some were obviously students in a back bedroom, but I was very impressed with a US-based company, Websitemovers who offered excellent technical advice and what now seems like a very good price. After all the grief and stress and sleepless nights myself and my technical guru Ian went through, $200 seems like a right bloody bargain! If I ever have to move a site again, I won't hesitate to hand it over to someone like that.

The old hosting company had been a wonderful home for over the past decade, but they decided to pursue a business model that focuses on large corporate customers and they could no longer cater for smaller customers. Back in 1997 when all this started, 200Mb of webspace was gi-bloody-normous and I couldn't imagine ever needing more than around a tenth of that. Back then, most of us were on 56k copper-line dial up, so keeping images small and compressed was vital to maintain a reasonable download time. With the widespread uptake of broadband, images have been allowed to expand, in size, quality and number, but even so, it came as a bit of a shock to be told that the site was occupying a rather cumbersome 1800Mb, nine times what was allowed, but it was the bandwidth that most concerned the ex-host. With traffic over the so-called summer peaking at just short of 180,000 unique visitors per month, they wanted me to invest in one of their very expensive and phenomenally large, e-commerce enabled dedicated servers which would have pushed the running costs to well over 10 grand a year, and as the site makes no money but relies entirely on my own pocket money, that just wasn't practical!

So: a new host. It's costing more than it did, but not as much it might have done. To date, other than the transfer problems, all seems to be functioning well, the speed and uptime seem very good, and I'm playing around with some new toys that may appear over the winter, not least of which should be the new Brew Cabin discussion forum.

For now, it's good to have the blog functioning again. Let's see what goes wrong next!
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