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    July 31st, 2007HARTHART-Empire Network

    * knock on wood

    My host provider has started to set the wheels in motion and get our new “Dedicated Server” ready for use .. This process should be completed by early morning (CST) and at that point all files will (probably) be transfered over.

    Hopefully – this will be painless process .. Although I won’t be posting new articles tonight – I do have some PRE-posted articles coming through a few of the sites …

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    July 24th, 2007HARTBlogging, Hmmmm Things, Quickies, Statistics

    * This is a looooong post! If you prefer to just read the “Short Version” .. click HERE!

    I used to have two ISP servers. ISP#1 was a super-mega account, downgraded a few notches to just a mega account. ISP#2 was a reseller account that I used to create and build up sites in the HART-Empire Network. I found both accounts at a reasonably managed level to pay and service was spectacular and I never had any downtime, that I can think of .. or any server crashes or problems. Support and service was exceptional.

    But – around the middle of May 2007 .. I found out that I had already exceeded my monthly alotment of bandwidth on the ISP#1 account, and perhaps it was time to upgrade. I decided to slow down on my postings around the network, but by the end of the month I had exceeded my bandwidth limits by over 18 GIG traffic. My ISP#1 wanted me to upgrade to a larger account. However, the bandwidth limits on this larger account would have been that I would have exceeded my bandwidth alotment by 3 GIG if it remained the same. It was obviously not enough.

    Dollar-wise .. combining the two servers .. I was paying about $800+taxes per year to host all of my sites. A few years earlier, it was about $960+taxes per year. In June, I was charged $180 for the excess bandwidth usage and if I were to upgrade to the plan that was suggested to me, the annual cost for my ISP#1 would have been about $2,200+taxes (CDN).. plus, $420 USD for my ISP#2.

    THAT’s What Prompted Me To Move Servers .. Hosting Fees – I admit that

    Overall, if you translate that into a monthly fee, it probably would equate to about $240/month USD equivalent. But, that seemed a lot to me, and in both cases for my ISP#1 and ISP#2 .. the prices were actually discounted, assuming I would pay it in advance in one lump annual sum. That’s a lot to cough up at once – even with planning – and my online revenues were just being eaten (or rather reinvested) back into financing the growth of the HART-Empire Network.

    I ended up with two choices of ISP’s to move to:

    (1) GLOBAT.com – I actually hosted my curling blog on this server, and by far (in my own humble opinion), this is the best server hosting deal and cheapest price with respect to both hard drive space and bandwidth that is out there. But, I don’t think it would be good enough for a multitude of sites, except perhaps a small handful.

    (2) MIDPHASE.com – I personally have never used them, but there are big names out there from my Bloglines and daily reads that I respect and trust their opinions, and in addition to that – all stories, reviews, and research seemed to indicate that this is a reliable company.

    I selected MidPhase as my choice for the new server

    But, you probably know that already – as I documented earlier … I closed both of my ISP’s and transferred everything into a new Virtual Private Server (VPS). If you are unfamiliar with how hosting plans work, I just quadrupled the length of this post and added some extra information about hosting that I pulled from Wikipedia .. BELOW!

    PS: Virtual Private Servers are also shared servers, but in my case and VPS-PRO account that I selected, the bandwidth is unmetered. Unmetered bandwidth appealed to me because it’s unlimited. On my old ISP#2 reseller account, I had to allocate limits for bandwidth on each account. However, if an account got stumbled upon or dugg (which never happened btw – but could have) I could reallocate bandwidth limits among accounts. On this VPS Server, with unmetered traffic, the only limitation is the System resources that it uses. Blogging and accessing MySQL databases access a lot of CPU resources, and my limit of resources available on my VPS is 25% of total available resources.

    PPSS: midPhase.com is where the shared hosting is, and Autica.com is where the VPS and dedicated server hosting is. There are a few other sites that are used by them as well.

    I have a lot of blogs in my network and domains with non-blog sites .. and bottom line is that when I hit or reach the maximum allowed CPU or System Resources, for server starts to kill systems and resources to keep the server active. Unfortunately for me, this happened to me last Monday July 16, 2007. It was unfortunate for me, because I couldn’t figure out how to reboot the system .. and some of the killed systems and resources ceased access to all my online sites, and emails.

    I took only a few screenshots of resources – which, is at a point in time and not a dynamic and changing resource graph. This means that although I might have reached a maximum resource usage, I might refresh 20 seconds later and the usage may be 0%. It’s all relative. Anyway, feel free to click on the thumbnails below, and just hit your BACK key to return to this post.

    VPS Resources – Clean Slate – Before I transferred everything over – June 8, 2007

    vps-midphase-2007-0608-before-trsf.jpg

    VPS Resources – June 26, 2007

    vps-resources-20070626-2302cst.jpg

    VPS Resources – June 29, 2007

    vps-resources-20070629-0516cst.jpg

    VPS Resources – July 23, 2007

    vps-resources-20070723-2245cst.jpg

    SHORT VERSION

    That last screenshot was taken about 2 hours ago .. Today I decided to upgrade from a Virtual Private Server Pro account to a Dedicated Server Pro. The schedule move from the Virtual Private Server to the Dedicated server will take place August 1, 2007 – *knock on wood* – if everything goes according to plan.

    ~~~~~
    HOSTING INFO

    Shared Web Hosting Service

    A shared web hosting service or virtual hosting service is a form of web hosting service where more than one instance of the same web server is hosted on a single physical server. This is generally the most economical option for hosting as many people share the overall cost of server maintenance.Wikipedia

    Reseller Web Hosting Service

    Reseller hosting is a form of web hosting wherein the account owner has the ability to use his/her allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites on behalf of third parties. The typical web hosting reseller might be a web design firm, web developer or systems integrator who offers web hosting as an add-on service. Reseller hosting is also an inexpensive way for web hosting entrepreneurs to start a company. Most reseller hosting plans allow resellers to create their own service plans and choose their own pricing structure. In many cases, resellers are able to establish their own branding via customized control panels and name servers.Wikipedia

    Virtual Private Server

    A virtual private server (also referred to as VPS or virtual server, and abbreviated VPS or VDS) is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers that each has the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted.Wikipedia

    Dedicated Server

    A dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting where the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. Dedicated servers are most often housed in data centers, similar to colocation facilities, providing redundant power sources and HVAC systems. In contrast to colocation, the server hardware is owned by the provider and in some cases they will provide support for your operating system or applications.Wikipedia

    Managed Server versus Non-Managed Server

    Dedicated hosting server providers define their level of management based on the services they provide. In comparison, fully managed could equal self managed from provider to provider.

    Administrative maintenance of the operating system, often including upgrades, security patches, and sometimes even daemon updates are included. Differing levels of management may include adding users, domains, daemon configuration, or even custom programming.

    Dedicated server hosting providers may provide the following types of server managed support:

    * Fully Managed – Includes monitoring, software updates, reboots, security patches and operating system upgrades. Customers are completely hands-off.
    * Managed – Includes medium level of management, monitoring, updates, and a limited amount of support. Customers may perform specific tasks.
    * Self Managed – Includes regular monitoring and some maintenance. Customers provide most operations and tasks on dedicated server.
    * Unmanaged – Little to no involvement from service provider. Customers provide all maintenance, upgrades, patches, and security.

    Note: The provider will continue to maintain security on the network regardless of support level.

    Wikipedia

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    July 18th, 2007HARTHmmmm Things, Quickies

    I originally started this domain to be a forum for all the “Battling-Series” of blogs but, the spam is unmanageable in its current configuration – using phpBB … I know it’s not the latest version that has been released (I’m running phpBB v2.0.19 and the latest version is phpBB v2.0.22) but, this is what my issues are:

    * I’m using a tool script to delete all the spam users to ban their IP or username etc .. but, it doesn’t delete the posts. So – I get a lot of “Deleted” posts. This takes too much time to delete and ban once and for all.

    * I have made custom modifications to the standard template and everytime there is a new mod or update, it takes … well, let’s say concentrated efforts to modify the files properly

    What I’ve Decided To Do

    DELETE *.*

    It’s time to experiment with a new forum software until I can find one that is manageable, and brings back confidence in using the forum, and creating a community resource from the community.

    I thought since I am deep in WordPress .. I would try the WordPress version of a forum .. bbPress .. as the next version

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    July 17th, 2007HARTHmmmm Things, Quickies

    Yesterday between the hours of 1:39pm CST and 5:14pm CST all of my sites were down. It seems that my new VPS (Virtual Private Server) may not be sufficient for my needs for as long as I had hoped. I figured, I would not have to upgrade to a full dedicated server until the Fall 2007 or early 2008.

    But, a process reached a critical level and killed many other processes, and halted everything. All that seemed to have been needed was figuring out how to “correctly restart the named/bind services”.

    It was almost comical (with a touch of me wanting to bang my head on the keyboard and desk) trying to figure out the whys and hows of what happened and secondly, what was needed to fix this.

    YES! I want to know everything I can about the VPS system, but I also want to win the lottery. It’s just not possible for me to get everything I want. I know that.

    However, I NEEDed the system to be rebooted, and for some reason the support guy would NOT reboot the system for me. Now, this is a total guess … but, I think he either wanted to “teach me how to fish” instead of just feeding me a fish and rebooting my servers for me. I felt that this particular person was really BAD at teaching me anything, and was inadvertently giving me bum advice .. because for some reason, besides not solving my problem – he was giving me distress!

    Fortunately, a second tech support came in to just FIX the problem and correctly restarted the named/bind services. So, now I know what to do the NEXT TIME .. if the same problem happens again.

    OR .. I could upgrade to a dedicated server now so this particular problem never happens again.

    It’s like a dark cloud hovering over me at this time, because if I start to go crazy with new postings on all the sites .. this might be pushing my plans towards upgrading this network sooner than expected for me. Bottom line – is that because of the cost involved in providing an effective solution to this potential problem .. (and since I’m on summer hours) .. I’m wondering if it’s probably better to just continue with a slowdown and have less postings – than risk having sites that are down and unaccessible being offline.

    I need to do more research. And, be prepared for what will come.

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    July 16th, 2007HARTHART

    For some reason, my wordpress MySQL database for The-Singers.com is damaged. If you click on a link in the sidebar’s tag cloud, you can access the posts .. however, for all intent and purposes, wordpress does not recognize that there is a single post in this blog.

    I’m almost sure it has something to do with a plugin, but you know what? I don’t care.

    I plan to delete this blog on the weekend and start over from scratch. I have managed to export all of the information, and I haven’t decided if I will import it back into the newly re-created blog .. (I might) .. and the backup is clean and fullly complete.

    I am getting a new toy next week, for my birthday .. and I thought I would play with that for a while.

    What do you think?

    I have some keyboard/synthesizers in my basement getting dusty. I miss playing the keyboards and just jamming away playing as much stuff as I can remember how to play. Soon, I will be able to just plug my keyboards into this UM-3EX device via MIDI, and connect to my laptop computer using USB. Then, with software I already have – I should be able to instantly record what I play into an .mp3 song.

    Then, I will just fill that blog with songs of me playing (or trying to play) my favorite music – or the classics!

    Does that sound LAME? or, interesting enough to listen to?

    I figure .. THE-SINGERS.com … Although, I am ~much~ better than any American or Canadian Idol contestant~ (at least singing in the shower, eh!) I can’t sing – and this site should be music oriented. I’m sick of most of the YouTube and other stuff I have // HAD on that site has been removed from its original source, and there were a lot of dead links in there anyway.

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    July 11th, 2007HARTHmmmm Things

    Oy.

    Okay. I’ve got a lot of blogs and I do have backup routines in place. Basically, every night a backup of the MySQL database is being emailed to one of my gMail accounts .. for every blog of mine.

    But, after 3154 emailed backups with attachments .. I have finally received the following in my regular email.

    This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

    A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
    recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

    IN MY GMAIL ACCOUNT

    You are currently using 2874 MB (99%) of your 2874 MB.

    That’s right! I’ve used up 2.5 GIG of free space for backups of my blogging data. That’s since the last time that I cleaned out my gmail account – to December 31, 2006.

    So, I get about 30 of these rejected emails … so what did I do?

    I deleted everything!

    Yup. I probably should have made a backup first, or saved yesterday’s backups – but I didn’t. In fact, if that doesn’t sound really stupid .. how about this?

    I checked my available space AFTER deleting everything in my gMail account and it showed:

    You are currently using 2874 MB (99%) of your 2874 MB.

    That’s right! gMAIL doesn’t actually delete anything .. it just transfers everything to the TRASH and will automatically delete it in 30 days. Of course, I didn’t check the TRASH until I received another email message stating that an email sent with an attached backup failed … then, I emptied TRASH – 3155 emails.

    I think next time I will probably make a backup before deleting everything … I do have clean backups when I closed down all my servers ISP#1 and ISP#2 in early June 2007 .. so, it’s not that serious in my mind. I guess that’s why I was careless.

    Careless .. I say that outloud because it was me. But, honestly .. the reality would seem to be that as much as I preach about making backups, I’m less likely to be safe on my own computer. Yet – already my backups at June 2007 are almost obsolete, because they were made when most of my sites were at wordpress version 2.1. Currently, all my sites are at the wordpress version 2.2.1 version. Everytime there is an upgrade, it changes the MySQL database and I’m worried what will every happen if I really do have a crash – and have to restore a backup from an earlier point in time.

    To me, restoration at its finest will be taking yesterday’s backup and restoring it onto the system as if nothing ever happened. Backups prior to yesterday are really not that useful to me … unless yesterday’s backups turned out to be faulty.

    At the new server, in my “VPS Account” (Virtual Private Server) .. I haven’t even had time to create automated or even manual backups from within my VPS Manager. I think I can do that. Pitiful, eh? I really don’t know.

    But today, July 11th is my birthday and it is now a good time to start a better routine for a whole lot of things, including better management of the database and the backups.

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    July 1st, 2007HARTHmmmm Things, Statistics, WooHoo

    * I’m keeping track of my HART-Empire Earnings for 2007 Online ..

    Here is the link: HART-Empire Network Earnings Spreadsheet Document

    June 2007 was a transitional month for me, and the HART-Empire Network. I basically shut down my blogs for half a month while moving to a new server. And, it was quite a challenge. I wasn’t moving one or a handful of blogs .. I was moving over 45 blogs in total. SIX of those blogs shared the same MySQL database and the actual database .sql file was over 400 MB in size! It was quite hard to backup, and even during restoration .. there were issues because of its size. I managed to segregate all the six blogs into a unique MySQL database for each blog .. and get that working.

    As for the June 2007 earnings … the earnings are on an “Accrual” basis, where I’m documenting what I’ve earned, but monies will usually come in the following month, or (if ever) when I reach the minimum threshold for release of my earnings for payment. The expenditures are on a “Cash” basis, as I pay something related to my online earnings, I just load up the spreadsheet and modify it. At the moment, I am at the cottage and there are a few small accounts not verified. I will update during the week.

    Summary of Gross Earnings 2007

    * January 2007 – $344.61
    * February 2007 – $372.37
    * March 2007 – $492.41
    * April 2007 – $491.85
    * May 2007 – $620.99
    * June 2007 – $632.47

    ** Year-To-Date Gross Earnings (Jan-Jun/2007) – $2,954.70
    * Average (YTD) $16.32 per day or, $492.45 per month

    Reflection

    Costs were high in June 2007, and exceeded my cash inflows. First, I got hit with an $180 charge by my old ISP#1 for the overage of the bandwidth levels in May 2007 .. which, equates to $10 per 1GB Bandwidth overrun. My bandwidth on just 6 sites – including PetLvr and 1800HART was 33GB in May 2007. I’m also paid up for the first three months (jun-jul-aug) with the new ISP#3 quarterly VPS plan. A whole bunch of domain renewals came due and I renewed them all. The next batch is in September, and I’ll probably renew them later this month before I forget.

    The big news (and new monthly expense) is that I started an EVDO account June 30th, which gives my laptop hi-speed internet access where ever there is cell phone connectivity .. and besides signing up for a 3-year contract, I had to “buy” the PC EVDO Card for about $100 plus taxes (CDN). For the first three months, my cost is $60 CDN per month based on 500MB transfer per month. I have no idea what that translates to until my first bill – as, I will be using this all July! After that, I get one free downgrade to the minimum $45/month fee it will cost me in the off season .. and then I have to pay $25 each time to max out the plan to next summer’s monthly fee of $90 .. and then to downgrade again in September to $45 per month. It’s a vicious cycle, but as you can see with my online earnings – I think it is a valid expense at this time. Last year, my blogging empire began to dwindle while I was out at the beach enjoying the summer. Now, I can still do that – but, at night check in with the virtual world and keep my blogs posted.

    Tags:
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    July 1st, 2007HARTHmmmm Things, Quickies

    Okay .. so, it’s really no big deal being the first post under the “so-called” NEW Name for this blog .. which, is the same name that’s been on the header image since Day-one!

    July 1st marks an important day every year for me .. June 30th has come and gone! That means, that there should be much less stress on the offline work giving me much more time to concentrate on the online work!

    And – this summer will be different than last summer, because I now can access Hi-Speed internet on my laptop at the beach with my new EVDO card! .

    My wife takes every Friday off during the summer, as part of her vacation schedule planning to get a long-weekend EVERY weekend, plus we take two weeks off as well. Since my mother-in-law passed away last May 2006 .. we’ve been going out to the ‘cottage’ that my wife inherited with her sister … it’s a shared cottage arrangement, where my wife’s mother only had 1/3 share … but, we’ve been going out every weekend! 🙂

    At least, now I can blog in the evenings, or whenever .. while I am out at the beach! I’m soooooooo happy.

    I was going to update all of my “HART-Empire Network” Earnings … since it’s online with the shared Google Documents .. however, I forgot to bring the database of mine that has all the links and passwords to the sites that I am earning information from! So .. I will not update the June 2007 earnings until mid-Week.

    I don’t expect any big monetary improvement for June 2007 .. and I know my traffic levels decliend

    If you haven’t been aware .. during the month of June 2007 … I closed down my reseller account at ace-host.net (ISP#2) and moved 42 blogs to my new ISP#3. This was brought about a decision created by my mega host provider Blacksun.ca (ISP#1), who I have been dealing with for about 5 years or so. All of a sudden in May 2007, my bandwidth traffic doubled my normal ordinary limits, and I was to be charged for this .. plus they wanted me to upgrade to a plan that was about $1200 per year. Currently, I downgraded last year from a $960 plan to a $360 per year plan and started the reseller account to take off the burden.

    What got me – was that I ended up being charged $180 for the extra bandwidth of May 2007… and this new upgraded plan $960 they wanted me to switch, covered LESS Bandwidth than I actually achieved in May! The next step was a dedicated server, which is a costly move on my part – given my earnings at this stage.

    So /// Shopped around .. looked within deep of blogs that I read, and opinions that I trusted .. and decided that I would move everything to Mid-Phase .. midphase.com – That was in the last week of May 2007. Based on all of the information, the sales reps, the websites and everything I was familiar with in obtaining information about online web hosting (WHICH OBVIOUSLY SUCKS) .. it because apparent that the Technical Team at MidPhase didn’t know what to do with me! There was NO WAY IN THE WORLD all of my accounts would have fit that “Pro-Phase” Plan that I ordered .. (about $215 USD per year). Instead, I ended up getting a Virtual Private Server (VPS) account … at a cost of $195 USD per quarter year.

    I am in the process of documenting my move and combination of two host server providers into one host provider and will discuss more of the details on that in a later series in this blog

    Meanwhile .. I think 95% of my blogs have been restored .. I’ve now got EVDO high speed internet access (where ever you can access a cell phone) .. my offline workload deadlines have mostly come and gone … and it’s about time I started paying more attention to the HART-Empire Network!

    I should note, that after moving everything over to midPhase on my VPS account .. it seems that I am taxing the resources somewhere between 70% and 90% depending on traffic, and when the smoke clears .. I will probably have to move everything once again to a dedicated server .. before the year is out.

    Oh well .. that’s Growing Pains!

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