Saturday, May 21, 2016

Starting the Web Site Move

Users of the Community Color sites may have noticed that the sites are overloaded. I added some come that drops the page when the serverload is over 85%. Without that code, the sites would be crashing every hour or so.

The sites are dropping several thousand of pages each day.

This should not be happening. I bought enough resources that I should be able to handle ten times the current traffic.

The solution is to redesign the site and move to a new server. Back in December, I experimented with PHP7 on Ubuntu 14.04. Several of the features of PHP7 did not work correctly; So, I decided to wait until PHP7 was available on a Linux distribution with long term support.

That finally happened about ten days ago.

The day after I bought the new account, my father passed away. Since that event, I've been unable to get a block of time sufficient to test the server and start the migration.

This morning, I decided there was insufficient time to fully test the new server; So, I started the migration. I turned off the ability to register as a user and started the migration.

Five minutes after taking that action, a family member came to the house with ambitious plans that will consume the next three days. I probably won't get an opportunity to work on the migration until next Wednesday or Thursday.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

In Passing

My father passed away today. It was an expected event after months in rehab and hospice; So, I didn't get a chance to work on my website migration as I had hoped. I will probably be busy for a few days.

Migration to

Hurray, finally added a template for Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus). This LTS (Long Term Support) release includes PHP7. LTS means that a company called Canonical will provide security and product upgrades for 5 years.

I plan on migrating the Community Color sites to this new service. My site has been on its current server for about eight years. One should upgrade servers about every five years or so; So, this upgrade is long past due.

I will be using the VPS SSD account. The account is actually hosted on an array stack of SSD memory rather than a traditional hard disk.

I already moved my email accounts to the new service and am extremely pleased with the performance of the server.

I don't send a lot of email; So, I purchased a single node account for my mail server. The cost of a single node is $5/month or $60 per year.

Webhosts often put email same server as the email. This means that people who attack your email accounts can attack your website and people who attack your web site can get their fingers into your email.

Putting the email on its own server also frees up resources on the web server for delivery web pages.
Email tends to be disk intensive; so it is an ideal application for an SSD cloud account. I am using To get an account do the following:

  • Copy the number 69032. This code gives you a $10 discount on the service and gives me a $10 discount.
  • Go to and select a single node for $5 month.
  • Select the data center which is closest to you. At this point in time, I would select Ubuntu operating system and the Ubuntu 16.04 template (which was just released.)
  • will ask for billing information. Paste the number 69032 into the coupon box. This gives you $10, which offsets the cost for the first months.
  • I installed the following packages for my web server: Postfix (a mail transfer agent), Dovecot (email server). Setting up an email server is a pain in the tush. The default settings of these programs often work, but it is best to read the online manuals to fine tune the configuration.
  • I like to read email online; So, I installed Apache2 (a web server), PHP7 and SquirrelMail. (Most of the tutorials have you install MySQL, but you don't need it.
  • As only a few people use my email server. I decided to use a self-signed SSL Certificate. If multiple users use the server, you might one to get one from a certificate authority.
  • The hardest part of the installation was setting up the DNS. This is different for different domain registrars.
Setting up an email server is a real pain in the tush. But I highly recommend putting email on a separate account from the main server.