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The sad saga of the death & hopeful revival of the forum

Discussion in 'Suggestions/Complaints' started by Converse, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Converse Active Member


    Here’s what happened with the old forum.

    Although I had run forums a few different free forum scripts in the past, some of them for years, in the end they always died when the forum would crash, either during an update or hack. One of them was very popular locally, and had run for several years. Being free software, there was little or nothing available in the way of tech support.

    On the other hand, during a time when I was raising a child who suffered from a particular pediatric disorder, I started a support forum on Delphiforums.com in 2002, and that one is still going strong. I am no longer the chief administrator there, although I am still a co-admin, because my child no longer suffers from this disorder, and is no longer a child. Delphiforums worked in this instance, but you are limited to the Delphiforums community, so I didn’t want to do that for a web directory forum.

    I chose ProBoards because it was easy to manage and it was cheap. Actually, the ProBoards forum was free, but I paid to remove the advertising banners. Still, for the first year or so it was costing me only about ten dollars a month.

    The last few months that I was on the ProBoards system, the number of page views had gone up, so that it was sometimes costing me twenty dollars, which still wasn’t bad.

    Then ProBoards started its Forums.net plan, which was a paid hosting plan. At the beginning level, for $10 a month, I would be allowed more pageviews than I was previously paying $20 a month for, plus it was more configurable, and cost per thousand for extra pageviews didn't look too bad. Plus, after being with Forums.net for six months, I could get access to the database to migrate the board to another system if I wanted to, which was something that wasn't available through ProBoards.

    I decided to go with that. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the number of pageviews went up beyond what I was allowed, and beyond what I had ever received before, yet the actual traffic to the forum had not changed noticeably; if anything, it was down. The first month cost me about forty dollars.

    On the second day of my second month with Forums.net, I went into my control panel to find that the projected cost (based on the number of pageviews received so far) for the second month was nearly four thousand dollars.

    Yet, my forum stats didn't reflect this. The number of pageviews shown in forum stats were not much different than in previoius months. I wrote to the guy from ProBoards who had previously assured me that I could revert to the ProBoards system if Forums.net didn't work out for any reason. He replied, only to say that he couldn't do anything to get me out of my six month contract.

    I wrote to tech support, pointing out, and even providing screenshots showing the difference between the number of pageviews shown in the control panel and those reflected in my forum stats. Tech support replied, saying that the forum had been hit by a persistent DOS attack on the first day of that month.

    I wrote to billing, who responded to say that I was responsible for the pageviews whether they came from forum traffic or through a DOS attack, since they each had the same effect on their resources.

    Four thousand a month for forum hosting? Then, there was the fact that I had no way of even knowing that a DOS attack had actually occurred or whether this was something that they do in order to raise the rates on their customers.

    Of course, there was no way that I was going to pay four thousand dollars for one month of forum hosting, especially since I would be responsible if this were to occur again in the future. Since they had lied to me about being able to revert to the ProBoards system, I had no reason to trust they they weren't the ones generating the pageviews on my forum. Certainly, they weren't doing me any good.

    At that point, there was no way that I could stay, nor could I afford to pay them (potentially) four thousand dollars a month for the next five months in order to get access to the database, I couldn't save the forum.

    I bought another hosting plan, did some shopping around, and decided on Xenforo. Fortunately, I had opted against allowing Forums.net to control my DNS settings, so I changed the nameservers to point to the new server, and here we are.

    My bill for the first day of the second month with Forums.net is more than $200. With no further pageviews, of course, the project $4,000 bill won't come about, and with no pageviews during the final four months of my contract, I would be paying them only $10 a month. However, since I changed the nameservers, I've been unable to connect to the old forum, even through the temporary URL they gave me to use while I was waiting for the nameservers to move from ProBoards to Forums.net.

    Theoretically, the old forum is still there, although I put it on maintenance mode before I changed the nameservers. At some point, maybe I can point another domain at it, pay my minimums for the last four months, and migrate it to another forum software, and perhaps host it on a subdomain of this one, called archive.webdirectoryforum.org, where it will become available for whatever good it might do.

    That's the story. I owed it to those of you who were so abruptly shut off a few days ago. I hope and pray that you will return to be a part of this new forum.

  2. Converse Active Member


    As I can find the time, I'll be adding new features to the forum and fleshing out some other things. For example, there are currently no help pages other than those that came with Xenforo. I will be working on these, not that anyone actually reads them but they tend to index well in the search engines if they're not generic. There are several plugins available for Xenforo. I added a few before I opened the forum, but I'll be paging through them as well, to see if I come across something that might make the forum a better place for everyone here.

  3. danimiranda New Member


    I would hate to see this forum succumb to depths of the forum abyss. I think this could be a great platform for discussions. May I suggest just one thing? Maybe a section that gives a newbie, like me, a general idea of what the forum is about. Obviously we know it is about web directory, but what about it? What is it about web directory that would make it a hot topic for discussion? Ads are cool, but they really wouldn't make much of a difference. How about banners or pictures or something interactive? Just suggestions, here. :rolleyes:

  4. Converse Active Member


    It won't. There will be introductory sections and help pages. Right now, the forum doesn't even refer to the other sites in the network -- Web Directory Reviews Org and WDR Directory of Directories -- both of which do include a large amount of information about web directories. Once the forum gets going again, I'll probably include one advertising banner, just so that it can go a ways toward supporting itself, but I'm not looking at this forum as a moneymaking scheme. As for interactivity, the very nature of a forum is interactivity. Without it, there is just a forum script.

  5. danimiranda New Member


    That works just fine! :) Good ideas to get it going again. I am looking forward to its progress and interaction.


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